Industry 4.0 – a simple definition

Industry 4.0 conceptual image
Industry 4.0 Conceptually

There is a lot of talk about Industry 4.0 but what does it really mean?


Industry 4.0 is the cyber-physical transformation of manufacturing. The name is inspired by Germany’s Industrie 4.0, a government initiative to promote connected manufacturing and a digital convergence between industry, businesses and other processes. (TechTarget)

Wikipedia Definition

Industry 4.0 is a name given to the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. It includes cyber-physical systems, the Internet of things, cloud computing and cognitive computing. … Industry 4.0 fosters what has been called a “smart factory”. (Industry 4.0 – Wikipedia)

A Simple Definition

The above definitions are fine but do not really get to the essence of “What is Industry 4.0?”.

At its most fundamental level Industry 4.0 is:

  • Obtaining real time data from a machine
  • Adding context to that data to turn it into useful information
  • Analysing that information (manual or automated)
  • Using that analysis to make decisions (manual or automated)

Whether you gather data manually or collect it in an automated form, whether you use low cost wireless #IoT sensors or a traditional networked plc or sensor, whether you use XL or complex analytical models, artificial intelligence or machine learning, the fundamentals above are what makes it work.

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