The Adaptive Digital Factory: Part I – Industrial Internet and Industry 4.0

"With connected devices and assets, Industry 4.0 envisions active monitoring of data generated by the entire supply and value chain as a way of managing logistics and enacting real-time controls."

This is the first post of a series on the Adaptive Digital Factory. The posts will include excerpts from the eBook at pega.com.

The impact of IoT on industrial ecosystems has been so great that the emergence of connected devices, systems, solutions, and services with robust cyber-physical connectivity is now called the fourth industrial revolution. We just completed a very exciting and successful Pegaworld 2016 and saw a number of interesting keynotes and demos, as I had alluded to in my previous post.

Robust interoperability within and across industries as well as standardization of protocols of IoT architecture stacks are necessary for successful Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) deployments. In one of his keynotes at Pegaworld 2016, Alan Trefler, CEO and founder of Pegasystems, also alluded to the Fourth Industrial Revolution and to Industry 4.0 – that is disrupting and revolutionizing end-to-end digital factories and manufacturing. Among the many IoT standardization initiatives and consortia, two stand out as key facilitators for Adaptive Digital Factories:

  • Industrial Internet Consortium: In 2014, AT&T, Cisco, General Electric, IBM, and Intel founded the Industrial Internet Consortium. This consortium is “setting the architectural framework and direction for the Industrial Internet.” Among many initiatives it has defined an overall Reference Architecture (RA) for the Industrial Internet application of IoT, encompassing all related phases, technologies, and solutions. This RA provides guidance covering all functional domains in industries leveraging IoT, including business, operations, applications, and especially controls involving connected devices. Manufacturing is, of course, a major sector, but other verticals, such as healthcare, public sector, transportation, and energy, are addressed as well. The scope of the RA and the IIC overall is to provide architectural best practices in combing, aggregating and connecting people, processes, data, and IoT.

  • Industry 4.0 (aka Industrie 4.0): Industry 4.0 is a key high-tech manufacturing initiative introduced in 2011 by the German Federal Government. Industry 4.0 “is a term applied to a group of rapid transformations in the design, manufacture, operation and service of manufacturing systems and products.” This initiative encourages manufacturers of all sizes to achieve efficiencies in maintenance, operations, and energy savings. Cyber-physical systems with sensors are among the key digital technologies that are leveraged in Industy 4.0. Another major focus of Industry 4.0 is mining the data or information generated by the assets and applying real-time analytics to predict, for instance, failures in maintaining assets. With connected devices and assets, Industry 4.0 envisions active monitoring of data generated by the entire supply and value chain as a way of managing logistics and enacting real-time controls.

In Part II of the Adaptive Digital Factory, we shall delve deeper into Digitizing the Supply Chain.