The 4th Industrial Revolution (also known as Industry 4.0) is upon us, but what exactly is it?

The 4th Industrial Revolution is a transformation that makes it possible to gather and analyze data across machines of a great many types thus enabling faster, more flexible, and more efficient processes to produce higher-quality goods at reduced costs with greater agility. This manufacturing revolution will increase productivity, shift economics, foster industrial growth, and transform the existing workforce and in doing so ultimately change the competitiveness of companies, regions, even continents.


To date the world has experienced three previous Industrial Revolutions:

  1. Mechanisation – water power, steam power.
  2. Mass production – the assembly line factories.
  3. Computer and automation – early analogue and then digital robotics.

Now we are entering the 4th Industrial Revolution of Cyber Physical Systems. 

Illustration below: The Four Industrial Revolutions.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution, or Industry 4.0, builds on previous revolutions, which began in the 18th century with the invention of the steam engine.

The Second Industrial Revolution used electricity to create mass production, and the Third used electronics and information technology to automate production.

The main differences between previous revolutions and the Fourth is the pace of change – breakthroughs are happening at a rate unprecedented in history – and the scale of disruption; today, every industry is being transformed at an accelerating speed.


The 4th Industrial Revolution will have many technologies that become part of it as it develops over the next few decades but  currently the key technologies that form the back-bone of Industry 4.0 are those listed below;

  • Simulation software
  • Machine to machine (M2M)
  • Predictive manufacturing
  • Cyber manufacturing
  • Supervisor control & data acquisition (SCADA)
  • Service 4.0 (includes Big Data, Internet of Things, Value Chain)
  • Digital Modelling (includes Second Life)
  • Robotics
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Nanotechnology
  • Quantum Computing
  • Bio Technology
  • Digital Rail
  • Digital Twin
  • Virtual/Augmented Reality
  • Big Data/ Huge Data


The 4th Industrial Revolution is driven by the coming together of physical and digital technologies. By gathering and analysing data from machines and robots, we are able to obtain insights into the health and performance of industrial installations, national infrastructure, machines (aircraft, trains, ships), entire cities, and even society itself. This will allow us to optimise their operation to increase up-time, speed and yield while at the same time gather information to develop the next steps in their accelerated evolution. We can now envisage autonomous operations, where machines, and even entire facilities, can run themselves.

The 4th Industrial Revolution, or Industry 4.0, builds on previous revolutions, which began in the 18th century with the invention of the steam engine but the main differences between previous revolutions and the 4th is the pace of change. At no time in human history has change occurred at this pace, and the scale of that disruption will continue to accelerate. It is this sheer pace of change businesses will struggle with because as soon as they develop a capability it will already be aging.

Many businesses will struggle to develop the capabilities to adapt to these changes, but this is where NJM Consulting want to help. NJM Consulting aims to provide a core centre of skills and experience in Industry transformation programmes & projects that companies undergoing change can pick-up and use as needed. It is up to NJM to keep abreast of the changes and bring them to our clients