Industry 4.0: the architecture of opportunity

From uncertainties such as Brexit in the UK and compliance requirements to urbanization and sustainability demands, organizations are on a tightrope, balancing these priorities whilst trying to modernize their services.

However, with the right digital transformation strategies and support in place, this balance is easier to achieve. Not only because organizations will have the technology in place to help them remain compliant, but because the collection of meaningful information and the use of automation will help businesses move towards the collaborative and connective standards of Industry 4.0.

What is Industry 4.0?

Industry 4.0 is arguably one of the most evolutionary eras the manufacturing industry has ever experienced, and also describes the automated/digital trend.

Centred around the exchange and automation of data, this wave of digital transformation moves physical assets from static structures into connected ecosystems.

Technology like Big Data, Internet of things (IoT) and Building Information Modelling (BIM) is improving the way buildings are designed, made and maintained as they allow for communication between human and machine, and machines with each other. And this is just the beginning.

Industry 4.0 is built from the convergence of technology including:

  • IoT
  • Big data
  • Additive manufacturing
  • Automation and autonomous controls
  • Cloud computing
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Wearable technology
  • Building Information Modelling (BIM)
  • Robotics

Industry 4.0 builds the foundation for tomorrow’s smart assets and smart cities

Using IoT networks and sensors, smart assets collect data from their surroundings so that they can adapt to their environment and adjust their operational performance accordingly. Not only does this increase the efficiency, sustainability and security of buildings and infrastructures, but it also transforms facilities management.

This technology creates the framework for smart cities, where assets, buildings and infrastructures can not only communicate with each other, but also with an interconnected network of work, travel and living spaces.

Investment in smart cities is expected to reach $135 trillion in the next two years, making this urban evolution a reality.

The reality of Industry 4.0 and digital transformation in 2020

The opportunities that Industry 4.0’s technologies present for the built environment are astounding. Not only will this combination of technology unify today’s fragmented landscape – connecting building owners, designers, construction teams, facilities managers and occupants through shared asset data – but integrated workplace management solutions allow multidisciplinary teams to better collaborate and communicate. As a result, projects will become more efficient and profitable in the long term.

Top five innovations predicted to have the biggest impact on the built environment over the next five years:

  • BIM
  • Cloud computing
  • IoT
  • Automated construction and system processes
  • Artificial intelligence

How ready are we to adopt and invest?

Despite their investment intentions, only 12% of organizations we surveyed would consider themselves as leaders in their field in terms of their digital transformation strategies. This lack of confidence is hindering the ability of organizations to modernize and deliver better services for their clients.

To move towards Industry 4.0’s shared goal of an open and collaborative built environment, we must adopt a growth mindset that will allow us to invest in our future, today. This begins by breaking down adoption barriers and creating a strong foundation of useable data to light the spark of digital transformation.


This article was originally published in BSI's Digital Transformation: How to build the future, today report