Business 4.0 and the rise of the digital enterprise
Today, almost all businesses are using digital technology in one way or another. But the development of true “digital businesses”, where digital technology is at the heart of how business operates, generates revenue, captures competitive advantage and produces value, is now an increasingly pervasive and disruptive feature of Industry 4.0.
Advances in technology mean that information has become the most lucrative asset a business can own. To generate and leverage this information, digital businesses need to deploy new tools, communities, ecosystems, and technology platforms that enable rapid information sharing. Such a transformation can then be used to gain competitive advantage and increase productivity through automation, analytics, machine learning, and self-healing.
Paul Haimes, senior vice president of Boston-based software and IT services company PTC, believes companies are reaping the greatest benefits from digital transformation through improved analytics and responsiveness.
“Data may already be collected to enable better decision making, but the real value comes when you start driving an analytical model that allows the business to respond to situations in a more efficient and agile manner. “
For Dan Hushon, CTO of Virginia-based ITC services company DXC Technology,
“We are currently experiencing a second wave of digital disruption (the first being the Internet). Analytics, paired with the cloud and apps, will usher in unprecedented levels of productivity that could make or break businesses that choose to transform.
Digital twinning, the simulation of a physical asset on a digital platform, is one of the latest technologies from Industry 4.0. It uses data from sensors embedded in these assets to analyze efficiency, condition and condition in real time. According to a recent report by market research firm Orbis Research, up to 85% of all IoT platforms will have some form of digital twinning by 2022.
Computer gamers are used to creating avatars of themselves in video games, which then react to real-world inputs. A digital twin works much the same way, existing fully functional in its own virtual environment. By entering data, the twin can be tested, generating outputs that can then be used to guide decision making and refine or revolutionize processes.
For most businesses, using digital matchmaking begins with using metadata to help model time, flow, attendees, values, and other very complex dynamic variables. Digital twin simulations can help companies generate what-if scenarios to test new products and services, accelerate time to market and increase productivity, explains Hushon of DXC Technology:
“More often than not, this so-called ‘atom-to-bit’ replication connects important data with many more dimensions than people can imagine. Digital twinning enables hyperdimensional correlations of information that would not be possible otherwise, as there are simply too many factors for the human brain to consider.
In the future, artificial intelligence (AI) will play an increasingly important role in the functioning of the digital business. With AI technology still in its infancy, there are many areas of business where AI solutions are not yet applicable, or the information and knowledge required to take advantage of AI. are still not available. However, as companies progress digitally, the opportunities for increasingly sophisticated AI-based solutions to deliver value multiply.
Jim Newman is senior director of asset performance marketing programs at software development company Bentley Systems. For him,
“The applications of AI in the digital business environment are already numerous. These range from using advanced image and object recognition to automatically classify objects in a 3D model, to moving from responsive and proactive reliability to true projections of predictive resilience and reliability.
Digital businesses need to understand that AI-based solutions in their current form typically represent a very narrow intelligence, trained to perform a specific task. We are now seeing AI improving clinical advice and operations in healthcare; improve the management of manufacturing stocks; and improve regulatory compliance and risk assessment in the banking sector.
“When it comes to AI, think small and the little things will add up to increased productivity and human creativity,” Newman says. “Machine learning is only beginning to deliver real value, but over the next few years applications will quickly multiply as digital businesses find the right issues to tackle. “