Industry 4.0 Coming To An App Near You

By Mairead Quigley

23 Jan 2018

xDesign is excited to be attending this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC18) - the major global event for the whole mobile ecosystem, hosted in Barcelona. It’s an absolutely huge event, and covers an equally vast array of changing social, technological and economic trends. In the run up to the event, we'll be providing a brief perspective on each of these trends in turn and discussing what we think it means for mobile apps and digital.

Whether you’re going to MWC or not, we’d love to hear from you and your thoughts on the upcoming series.

The moniker ‘Industry 4.0’ refers to the idea that ubiquitous connectivity of things (aka Internet of Things) will usher in a new industrial revolution, and will be more impactful than the three versions that have gone before it. There is some credence to this claim, when you consider the potential of such a scenario - where machines and components are discovering and communicating with one another, making predictions and autonomous interventions in all sorts of industrial environments. It also characterises a world that will be hugely complex to design and maintain, and one that is quite different from the one we live in today.

In spite of the hype, we are currently experiencing the rapid introduction of many

Networks of Things, where single silo’s of logical industrial components are being connected which make that system smarter and more responsive - think of it as

*Industry 3.5

*, if you will. Most of these


*may be using the internet, and at the edge using IoT-type radio standards such as LoRA etc - in the main what we’re talking about are largely private networks.

For me, Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things - to be truly revolutionary, and deserving of that 4.0 version number - needs to behave much more like the internet does today. That is, assets on the network being as discoverable (and interactive, where appropriate) as a web-page is today. An example, might be that a human (or another network asset) may discover the features of a building by searching the network - discovering information and with some ability to interact. Sounds exciting and scary in equal measure, given the opportunities to gain unwarranted access and control of physical assets. I think we have only just begun to grapple with some of the technological, ethical and regulatory complexities that such an Internet would bring.

So what does it all mean for apps and users? On the face of it, probably very little. The good news is that both drive the need for greater sophistication and trust in how humans interact with these increasingly integrated systems. Among other things apps can bring structure, utility, trust and (hopefully) beauty to what is often a disorganised web of complex relationships and data. Where the biggest impact is likely to come is in the volume and complexity of data that may require processing. Combinations of data that drive predictive and/or algorithmic decision making - in the background or foreground - will necessarily demand more sophisticated design and logical processing behind the scenes. These will be major drivers of cost and time as we move towards the world of Industry 4.0.

Going to MWC 2018 (Barcelona, from Monday 26th February to Thursday 1st March) and want to talk mobile, digital and industry 4.0? We’d love to hear from you. Click below to arrange a meeting with us! We'll be based on the SDI Scotland stand. Alternatively, you can connect with either myself (Andrew Doyle) or Ben Hutton on LinkedIn or through the MWC app and we can arrange a time.

Scottish Development International are also hosting a Scotch Whisky reception on Tuesday 27th from 17.00-19.0o on the Scotland SDI stand (Hall 7 B31). Fancy yourself a bit of a connoisseur? Come and join us there!

Make sure you subscribe to the blog to ensure you don't miss out on our MWC18 series. We'll be covering a whole range of topics from IoT and innovation to technology in society, networking technologies and applied AI.

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Author- Andrew Doyle, Strategy & Commercial Director- xDesign 

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