What is the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

The world is on the edge of a technological revolution that will change how we live, how we interact with one another, and our work. This transformation will be unlike what we have ever seen in terms of complexity, scale, and scope. There is no definitive guide or manner on how this revolution will unfold, but one thing is certain, it must be met with a comprehensive and integrated approach that involves not only world leaders, but also both private and public sectors, the academia, as well as its citizens.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution has grown from the foundation of the three previous revolutions. It all started with the First Industrial Revolution which was the use of water and steam to power machines. The Second Industrial Revolution happened with the birth of electricity that aided in mass production while the Third Industrial Revolution came about with the development of computers and automation.

Although it is said that the current evolution of technology today is a prolonged version of the Third Industrial Revolution, it can also mean that a new revolution is arriving. The arrival of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is nearing and we need to know how we can handle it.

What Exactly is the Fourth Industrial Revolution - and Why Should You Care?

The Fourth Industrial Revolution talks about how the lines between physical, biological, and digital worlds are blurred. It is an amalgamation of technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, quantum computing, 3D printing, genetic engineering, and other advancements.

A good example here is the GPS system that informs you what the best possible route to take is to reach your destination faster. Aside from that, there are virtual assistants that are voice-activated like Siri and Alexa, both of which can help you find information, play songs, and the like with just your voice.

With these advancements in technologies, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is making huge changes in the way we live while at the same time causing disruption in the business industry. Everything is happening at a rapid pace that is causing massive changes to the life that we know of.

Klaus Schwab, the World Economic Forum’s executive chairman, was the one who labeled the current advanced technologies that we are experiencing. He even wrote about it in his book, The Fourth Industrial Revolution. According to Schwab, this new revolution has the potential to boost income levels across the globe as well as improve the way of life. He further stated that these technological advancements can lead to more supply while efficiency and productivity lead to more gains. Additionally, the cost of communication and transportation will go down, while logistics and supply chains across the globe will be more efficient.

However, Schwab also noted that the new revolution can lead to more inequality especially in terms of labor. It is possible that segregation will occur in the work industry where “low skill/low pay” and “high skill/high pay” can cause tension in the workforce. What’s more, with automation replacing workers in various fields, there can be a huge gap in terms of returns to labor as well as in returns to capital.

Inequality is further heightened as innovators, investors, and shareholders benefit mostly from advanced technologies, leaving laborers behind. Technology has played a major role in why income has leveled out or decreased especially in high-income areas. This is because demand for highly skilled workers has gone up while those who have low skills are left behind.

Additionally, technology has contributed to the growing discontent because of its pervasiveness as well as its contribution to information sharing. Although some see this as an efficient way to learn new things and to connect to people across the globe, it can also cause unrealistic expectations among groups of people, not to mention the ease with which extreme ideologies and ideas are shared.

How Will the Fourth Industrial Revolution Affect Business?

The Fourth Industrial Revolution will also raise and change customers’ expectations. Since there are more advanced technologies that can be utilized by companies large and small, customers believe that how they interact with their favorite brands will change in a few years.
Advanced technologies are creating a more personalized shopping experience not only in bricks-and-mortars but also online which gives customers plenty of options to choose from. This means that they are willing to switch brands if they feel that their needs are not met.

There are several factors that customers consider for a business to have to win their patronage. Among these are connectivity, personalization based on their previous purchases, and contextualized engagement patterned after their previous interactions.

What this means is that businesses need to shift their focus on improving customer experience in a way that will beat their competition. If they fail to do this, then there is a good chance that they will lose customers which can affect their business. Additionally, there are also peer review sites that customers can use to leave positive and negative reviews. Receiving negative reviews can affect the company’s standing in the business.

Companies will need to employ data collection on their customers to create a more personalized experience. However, with more customers experiencing fear of how their personal information is stored and used, companies will need to give their guarantee that their data will be secured properly.

With regards to supply, industries are seeing how advanced technologies are creating new ways to serve the existing needs. Disruption is also possible with competitors becoming more agile in their use of advanced technology to increase their supply chain, develop a more robust marketing strategy, and improve distribution services. These companies can far outstrip established organizations that are yet to incorporate technology into their business.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution will impact businesses in the form of product enhancement, customer expectations, organizational forms, and finally, collaborative innovation. Customers will remain in the center of the business industry and as such companies will need to find ways on how to improve their customer experience in order to keep their loyal buyers and attract new ones.

What Should Businesses Do to Future-Proof Their Workforces?

With the Fourth Industrial Revolution practically on our doorstep, businesses need to step up their game to ride the tide of advanced technologies. To future-proof their workforces, they will need to ensure that their employees have the right combination of skills.

For starters, companies should invest in upskilling their employees especially now that AI-based technologies are being implemented across the industry. This will not happen once, but multiple times. In order to achieve this, both governments and companies need to work together to provide the necessary training for their workers so they can have a more competitive chance in the business industry.

Additionally, companies should not just rely on hiring new people, but rather upgrade the skill set of their employees so that they will be able to work with advanced technologies. By building a workplace environment where workers can thrive, the business itself will be able to keep up with the ever-changing technologies we have today.

It is not just about improving their skills with regards to the use of technology, but companies should also focus on creativity, emotional intelligence, as well as creative thinking to achieve the right balance in their workforce.

Managing the Future

Humans still have control over new technologies and the resulting disruptions that come with them. Everyone has a role to play in how this new revolution is going to shape our future. It doesn’t matter if you are an ordinary citizen, a consumer, investor, or innovator, we have the power to shape the Fourth Industrial Revolution into one that benefits everyone.

In order for us to achieve this goal, there should be a comprehensive view that is shared across the globe on how technology is unfolding and its effects on our everyday lives. This is the time when our decisions can either make or break our future.

Whatever happens, it all comes down to people and their core values. We need to be united in our effort into creating a world where humans are at the forefront with technology as a supporting character. It is up to us on how to stop advanced technologies from making us “robots” or slaves to our devices, and instead, use them to empower each and every one of us.

At Artificial Intelligence Technology Solutions (AITS), we believe that advanced technology and humans can work together seamlessly. Our company has been constantly innovating new technologies using Artificial Intelligence to assist companies and individuals in finding the right solutions to improve their way of life.

From thermal scanning solutions to Safe Range Social Distancing devices, to SCAN2i, we are here to show you how advanced technologies can have a positive impact on your lives. With the Fourth Industrial Revolution practically at our doorstep, it is only fair that we take advantage of numerous possibilities that it is opening up for us. If you want to know more, you can reach us at sales@aitssg.com. We are ready to share our knowledge with you!

BMS, Smart Building Solutions