Industry 4.0 – Is It Really Future Reality?

Traditional manufacturing or Industry 3.0 existed for approx. 45 years despite problems like unavailability of skilled labors, the dispute between labor and manufacturers. Now industry 3.0 is going through the profound digital transformation.  The technological advancements in robotics, sensors, 3D printing, and integration of the Internet of the Things (IoT) devices are boosting this revolution

Germany is undisputed leader in this revolution called as Industry 4.0

What Industry 4.0 Promises?

Industry 4.0 promises slick production systems, smart factories integrated with intelligent logistics, marketing, and agile services with faster customer specific product customization.

Industry 4.0 will create new value creation network across the globe by interconnecting business partners, customers. This will be the co-operation based model by using automation, flexibility in manufacturing with increased quality and productivity.

The changes like lack of standardization, non-availability of required finance, increasing proliferation of security threats, monitoring and controlling diversified interconnect devices are the top most challenges.

The direct integration of consumer’s devices and supply chain with manufacturing processes can pose additional threats.

Obstacles for Industry 4.0

Let us view the Industry 4.0 challenges from the cyber security point of view.  Data protection and access control are the top most challenge that industry 4.0 is facing today.

Security threats

Interconnected smart factories, supply chain, and business operations will generate, process and exchange the large amount of data which will be critical and sensitive. This will make the Industry 4.0 as an attractive target for cyber attackers.

The scarcity of the skilled resources to design monitor and manage cyber security and generating security awareness won’t be an easy ride

Identifying and authorizing the access level required by each participating device, business partners and consumers will be challenging.

At this point in time, we do not see the adequate security is embedded in the Industrial IoT (IIoT) devices.


In the interconnected world of Industry 4.0 it becomes more important to have defined standards and policy guidelines to make sure that parties involved are adequately protected from the cyber security risks.

The progress in anticipating standards requirements and development is very slow, and due to lack of standards, it is becoming difficult for measuring and validating the quality of Industry 4.0 solutions from cyber security.

Other Obstacles

The increase in the use of robotics and IIoT in smart factories will raise the ethical and legal questions. The policies and laws should be made accordingly.  In the IoT World 2016’s opening day in Dublin  John Walsh of Smart Insights, and Dr. Katherine O’Keefe of Castlebridge raised a very valid concern “

In the IoT World 2016’s opening day in Dublin  John Walsh of Smart Insights and Dr. Katherine O’Keefe of Castlebridge raised a very valid concern

Will people be treated as “yet another sensor”? Will Privacy as a Service be possible, and at what cost?


Current State

All this sound great, but we are not noticing the rapid changes across the industry. The recent study conducted by Bitkom, the German IT and Telecom Industry body, reveals that Industry 4.0 is a mere extension to Industry 3.0 by the implementation of automation and energy saving solutions, either to reduce the cost or optimize production.

The application of Industry 4.0 mainly visible in the mechanical industry, followed by the electronics and vehicle manufacturing, process industry is lagging far behind. The debates are still going on whether the processes industry can get real benefit by integrating its value chain in short term.


Industry 4.0 is yet to get into the mainstream in predictive maintenance and new business models with complex service interconnections. The true implementation of  Industry 4.0 in converting product based businesses into cloud-based services is still in infancy.

Industry 4.0 has not lived up to the hype, we can still see the large potential for progress as more and more transformation initiatives will be publically available.

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