Future of the Technician Workforce Study

2. INTRODUCTION TO THE FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION (i4.0) The fourth industrial revolution—or i4.0—encompasses the rise of digital industrial technologies in which companies use cyber-physical systems to integrate physical devices with digital technologies to improve production quality, enhance productivity, and realize economies of scale. Uniquely, i4.0 is not exclusive to traditional manufacturing production; it enables all sectors to create interconnected digital enterprises and ecosystems to make more holistic decisions from real-time access to data and information across humans, machines, and predictive analytics. i

Table 3: Characteristics of the four industrial revolutions. ii, iii, iv

Industry 1.0

Mechanization: Mechanical production, steam power, hydro-power, machine tools.

Industry 2.0

Industrialization: Mass production, electricity-based production, assembly lines.

Industry 3.0

Automation: Lean revolution, electric automation, outsourcing phenomenon, robotics.

Industry 4.0

Digitization: Digital manufacturing; digitization of production, ubiquitous production and control, decentralization of processes, networking of the working environment, cyber-physical systems, intelligent factory, decentralization of decision- making structures.

Industry 4.0 is driven by a convergence of the following disruptive trends: v, vi 1. Big Data : Rise in data volumes, computational power, and connectivity allows companies to extract new data and insights. 2. Advanced Analytics : Emergence of advanced analytics and business-intelligence capabilities to forecast future business scenarios. 3. Human-Machine Interfaces : New forms of human-machine interaction including touch surfaces, augmented reality systems, and cloud-based collaboration platforms that connect and empower both consumers and employees. 4. Digital-to-Physical Transfer : Digitization of products, services, and manufacturing environments, or “Digital Twins,” allows for more agile, customizable production. This section briefly summarizes benefits and value drivers of i4.0, examples of how industry is responding to i4.0, and the eight major i4.0 technology areas used to organize the findings of this study.

The Future of the Technician Workforce Study

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