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How digital thinking is unlocking 4IR

By Johan Potgieter, software leader at Schneider Electric

Moving at speed towards 4IR, spurred on by climate change and the net zero imperative, has brought immense challenges.

With AI, teams have safely achieved an increase in productivity. Image credit: akitada31 | Pixabay

With AI, teams have safely achieved an increase in productivity. Image credit: akitada31 | Pixabay

With the challenges, we are also seeing industry players becoming more innovative, embracing artificial intelligence (AI), cloud technologies, using digital twins, and ultimately integrating data to operate more efficiently.

If anything, the last two years have demonstrated that those companies that are adopting a digital mind are set to succeed.

For one, operational resilience, values-led leadership and data-centric operating models have created new avenues for growth. Subsequently, manufacturing and industrial teams across the world have adjusted to different ways of operating.

Providing more than just resilience, a digital approach helps to overcome logistical disruption and supports generational shifts in the workforce.

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Second, industry-specific AI enables companies to work more efficiently. Pattern recognition from digital twins combined with AI and decision support connects systems so people can work in new ways.

Some smart manufacturing factories in Asia experienced this first-hand because of social distancing measures enforced during lockdowns in 2020. As a result, operations moved to the cloud, and even while functioning remotely, teams safely achieved an increase in productivity.

The lessons learned in those early days of the pandemic have set new efficiency standards that are now being deployed throughout our global network.

Digital thinking realises ingenuity

With many organisations operating hybrid networks, we are seeing an increased movement towards sharing data securely throughout the industrial ecosystem. We call this the connected industrial economy and encourage organisations to adopt this approach to boost efficiency with suppliers, partners, and customers – ultimately increasing the value chain.

According to analyst group Gartner, cloud-based data-sharing is key to integrating working teams and driving the decision-making required to cut carbon emissions, increase profitability, and ensure agility. For example, leading carbon capture provider, Aker Carbon Capture is using AVEVA cloud-based software to design leading-edge facilities capturing carbon dioxide from industrial operations.

By adopting a digital mindset built on continuous innovation, industries can use data-centric intelligence to become more agile and profitable. This digital foundation, enhanced with AI and scaled in the cloud, gives us the confidence to succeed both in today’s changing world and tomorrow’s sustainable future.

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