Terms like IIoT, digitization, augmented reality, blockchain and artificial intelligence are widely heard in the recent times. This indicates the start of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The opportunities in this space are worth $10 trillion dollars. Though the opportunity is huge, the take-off is slow. On boarding to industry 4.0 is not an easy task. “Interoperability” is the biggest challenge organizations face when exploring new business models.

What is “The Interoperability Challenge”?

Let’s fast forward 10 years into the future. In the new industrialized world, there may no longer be a kitchen in homes. Food will be prepared in large industrial kitchens and delivered to the individuals’ home via driver less cars. A personal drone will pick the food from the door step and serve it. Humans will still have to make the effort to do the last mile though. Food will be specially prepared, catering to each and every individuals’ tastes and healthcare needs. But, as a consumer, people get to retain their choices in terms of the companies that operate these industrialized kitchens and connected cars.

But leading automation suppliers believe that a solution to the interoperability challenge is around the corner. This is because:

1. There is a customer pull. People are used to the smartphones and the just-in-time services. They expect the same from every aspect of their life.

2. Large industrial consortiums are coming together to find a solution to this problem.

3. The technology is mature enough for all this to happen.

What is slowing things down?

1. The infrastructure and systems that we are using for delivering our food, utilities and oil & gas have been developed over the last 100 years. In the last 30 years, these systems have been semi-automated to deliver the services that they are delivering today. These systems cannot be replaced in one day.

2. As we move forward, the IT and OT teams in these companies will have to work together a lot more, and at some point, the boundaries between them will merge.

3. Lack of cross functional engineers who can work in this merged IT-OT departments

The only threat concern is SECURITY.

People are generally concerned about their Privacy, Confidentiality and Safety. In a fully connected world, a rogue robot or hackers can wreak havoc.

As always, humankind will find a solution to all these challenges and unlock the gates to the fourth industrial revolution where technologies like AI, AR and Blockchain will deliver the full “connected world” experience.

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