Regardless of the segment in which companies operate, digital transformation is no longer new in the market. Still, it is important to highlight: with the increasing adoption of technologies such as cloud computing, augmented reality and Internet of Things (IoT) , innovation in the industry continues to advance .

If advances in technology have led to exponential increases in productivity since the 1st Industrial Revolution, this transition we are now experiencing towards the 4th revolution will combine sophisticated methods and activities with intelligent systems incorporated into machines, individuals, organizations and resources.

This is the revolution called Industry 4.0 , marked by the emergence of new solutions using the cloud , robotics, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and much more. In practice, if organizations do not understand the changes and opportunities that Industry 4.0 brings, they run the risk of losing market share .

The next step for companies that want to remain competitive is to define techniques and tools that best meet their needs and investment possibilities.

To contribute to this important process, we're going to list here the trends that will be on the rise for 2022! Follow until the end!

What is Industry 4.0?

Industry 4.0 is the new revolution generated in the industry , starting in 2010, with the integration of cloud data, artificial intelligence, machinery and communication to create an efficient industrial ecosystem, which is not only automated but also intelligent.

Although some believe that Industry 4.0 is just used as a buzzword, changes are taking place and deserve your attention .

As a result of this changing and evolving environment, machines are getting smarter as they are gaining access to more data. As a result, factories are more efficient and productive.

Therefore, it can be said that Industry 4.0 is more than just technology . It's about making fundamental changes to the way products are manufactured.

This revolution makes it possible to accumulate and evaluate all the richness of data through machines, making it possible to have faster processes. In this way, we introduced a new sequence of activities in the production chain, always with the aim of improving efficiency to generate superior quality products at a lower price .

For those who enter this universe of innovation in the industry for good, this revolution will be able to promote benefits such as:

  • It will increase productivity;
  • Promote the growth of industrial capacity;
  • Will bring cost savings in the medium term;
  • It will change the profile of the solutions used by companies.

The connected machines will interact, help visualize the entire production chain and contribute to decision-making automatically and autonomously.

Why is Industry 4.0 so important?

It is essential to understand the potential of this 4th industrial revolution because it will affect processes already known in the market. Its scope is much broader, involving all industries and sectors, which is why it is so fundamental and cannot be left out of the agenda of organizations .

Technologies coupled with Industry 4.0 can lead to the creation of completely new services and products. The use of cloud-connected devices , wearable sensors, robotics and data analytics will enable product improvements in a variety of ways, from creating tests and prototypes to integrating and connecting previously disconnected products.

4 industry innovation trends to embrace in 2022

Below are some important innovation trends in the industry and find out how to kick-start your business's digital transformation journey!

1. Migration to cloud computing

As we have seen, cloud computing offers an excellent platform to maintain industrial data, its history, inventory lists and use data on demand. In that case, the best option for 2022 is to look for a simple migration alternative .

According to the Infosys Cloud Radar 2021 , 4 out of 10 companies should migrate to the cloud storage system by 2022. The research also shows that the use of technology can yield US$ 414 billion in annual profit for companies, that the cloud brings performance speed and competitive advantage in the market.

This streamlined migration effort ensures that downtime on your machines is reduced, while reducing costs and wasted resources.

The cloud even lets you have:

  • Machine behavior monitoring and real-time responses;
  • Centralized, data-driven analytics for decision-making;
  • Process optimizations;
  • Instant response;
  • Optimization in resource consumption.

2. Cloud solutions to integrate systems

Cloud computing is currently driving growth in industrial manufacturing facilities, providing companies with a trusted computing ecosystem to work seamlessly together .

The advantages of cloud computing described above show that, alongside other integrated technologies, it will continue to play an important role in industrial environments that need this type of connection.

This focus on integration is anticipated as one of 12 strategic technology trends for 2022 announced by Gartner in November 2021 . In the ever-changing business context, the demand for adaptability drives organizations towards a technological architecture that supports fast, secure and efficient changes. Integrated application architecture provides this.

Gartner estimates that those who adopt a compositional approach will outperform the competition by 80% in the speed of implementing new features.

The great benefit of opting for this trend is that it offers an excellent ecosystem to collect historical data, including from legacy systems, and integrate it with current systems, which drive industrial automation.

Being able to react in real time to changes taking place on the factory floor, without having to shut down the entire operation or go from system to system to find an error, makes all the difference for industrial operation.

3. Cybersecurity

The integrated nature of operations conducted by Industry 4.0 means that cyberattacks can have very negative effects if they happen. In this case, cybersecurity strategies must be secure and fully integrated with organizational and information technology.

Choosing the right cybersecurity provider is essential to ensure that data is protected is on the list of innovation trends for 2022. One reason is that the trend of cybercriminals is the adoption of ransomware.

According to a research study by Deep Instinct , ransomware usage increased by 435% in 2020 compared to 2019. The reason is that ransomware has become hackers' weapon of choice in the digital landscape induced by Covid-19. The transformation of so many companies operating in a predominantly digital mode has created more targets for extortion.

The detail is that the average payout for ransomware has grown to around $234,000 per event, according to Coveware , a cybersecurity firm.

We will see the market looking for companies that focus on this type of protection work and that manage to encapsulate all the information that travels between machines and areas in a safe environment.

By connecting these services with cloud computing, which drives the entire operation of Industry 4.0, your organization ensures that it will have the highest level of security and on an ongoing basis .

Read also: Cybersecurity trends for 2022: get your business ready!

4. Automation of accounts payable

In addition to the importance of a good relationship with your business partners, supplier management is also essential to ensure the productivity of your financial department. After all, the accounts payable part must be aligned and connected with all other actions carried out in the company.

One of the major challenges faced by the accounts payable team when processes are uncertain or too manual is the constant demand from suppliers, who need to request information at all times. Therefore, the automation of this step is also considered a very relevant innovation in the industry.

The absence of automated processes, which allow access to up-to-date information such as, for example, an overview of all securities with expected payment dates and applied discounts , directly impacts business productivity, which ends up wasting a lot of time with excessive calls and email responses.

Learn more about supplier management by reading: Why is good supplier management so important?

Pillars of Industry 4.0

There are nine main pillars of Industry 4.0 . It is these pillars that indicate the new technologies that manufacturers are using to improve all areas of the production processes.

It is critical to familiarize yourself with these pillars, as the market expects them to have widespread impact across industries and society at large. See what they are:

1. Big Data

Today there are vast datasets, still untapped, in the industrial scene. That's what we call Big Data !

Analyzing them is one of the pillars of transforming the segment and one of the first steps towards improving services, optimizing production quality and saving energy.

This work also supports real-time decision-making. To that end, here are the key processes for analyzing and collecting data.

  • Data management : is a process to build standards and maintain data quality;
  • Data mining : responsible for discovering patterns, filters, noise and identifying useful information;
  • Predictive analytics : use of statistical algorithms and machine learning to identify future outcomes;
  • Exploratory Analysis : Analysis of system data to gain immediate insights.

2. Cloud computing

Cloud computing is the great enabler of digital transformation across the market. In the current industry scenario, cloud technology goes far beyond scalability, speed, cost efficiency and storage, which are the already known benefits of this solution.

It provides the foundation for the most advanced technologies – from artificial intelligence to IoT. The data that feed the technologies are in cloud systems, which become the core of industry 4.0 , counting on it to coordinate actions.

The industry 4.0 revolution also requires more data sharing between companies and production units, which is why the cloud solution is presented as an ideal model for allowing:

  • Cloud-based resource management to manage the industry globally;
  • Implementing cloud-managed inventory to provide real-time order status;
  • Building internal intelligence using analytics and improving the performance of technologies.

3. System integration

Today, most IT systems are not fully integrated. Data from organizations, customers and suppliers is rarely connected. 

In this context, in businesses that are moving along with the changes of Industry 4.0 a need for complete integration .

With Industry 4.0, organizations, functions, departments and resources will become much more connected as the data integration networks between them evolve and allow for truly automated information chains.

Connecting with the cloud, all these elements will become much more united. Additionally, as data integration networks grow, new benefits can emerge:

  • Allows communication between different systems;
  • All kinds of production line machinery can be connected;
  • Ensures that all areas run autonomously and smoothly.

Learn more about the importance of integrating systems by watching the video below: 

4. Cybersecurity

Yes, cyber threats are on the rise with increased connectivity and communications in the industry. Therefore, there is a great need to protect the data, the industrial system and the production lines.

In Industry 4.0, you can't do anything without secure connections. Companies need to be vigilant and attentive to any type of breach that threatens security.

In this case, whenever you opt for a solution geared towards Industry 4.0, observe the levels of attention to security that this structure has.

One option is to rely on cloud services that already have an advanced layer of security . You can access files and information no matter what happens to your machine and prevent them from falling into the wrong hands.

5. Augmented Reality

Augmented reality-based systems support a variety of services, such as sending repair instructions on mobile devices and picking parts from a virtual warehouse. Therefore, this technology has everything to optimize activities that previously took a long time to perform and even an extra effort from professionals.

These systems are currently being improved, but organizations will soon see much broader use to provide workers with real-time information to optimize decision-making and work procedures.

6. IoT – Internet of Things

More and more devices are integrated and interconnected with computing, formed by networks present in any place or environment. There are connected computers and sensors everywhere in the industry. This technique, the basis of IoT, is the one that generates greater intelligence for the organization due to the level of information it can bring .

According to data from McKinsey , predictive maintenance, enhanced by artificial intelligence, can generate a 40% reduction in maintenance costs, and also reduce machine downtime by up to 50% and increase useful life by 20% to 40 %.

As the internet of things makes it easy to add any item or tool to a company's information network, it is able to connect manufacturing, transportation, cloud systems, infrastructure, logistics and fulfillment services to share data together.

This technology also allows organizations to:

  • Perform more precise actions;
  • Modify and design products quickly;
  • Stay on top of consumer preferences;
  • Avoid equipment downtime;
  • Track products and inventory;
  • and much more.

7. 3D manufacturing

As manufacturers look to expand the use of technology in their processes, solutions such as 3D printing are already playing an important role in three key areas:

  • Design : Design teams can experiment with creating more complex geometric shapes and structures due to the flexibility of 3D printing technology.
  • Prototyping : 3D printing is often used for prototyping, speeding up design cycles and reducing costs. Companies are free to quickly fail in a controlled environment and explore various models before deciding on final designs;
  • Low-scale production : When only a small quantity of a product is needed, 3D printing is the fastest and most cost-effective production method.

8. Autonomous systems

While the industry has made great strides when it comes to automation in recent years, there are still many untapped opportunities. Robots are now designed to bridge the gaps between traditional machines and human workers, opening up new areas for automation.

These robots can already be designed to function autonomously, with the added ability to monitor and transmit data. Thus, a process can now obtain information about its environment, adapt and make decisions without the need for human intervention.

All this reduces the workload that companies face. These robots can be cheaper than old machines, even talking about maintenance, and have a vaster range of features than is needed in manufacturing today .

9. Simulation

Simulation is the key to cost control. Being able to run a simulation drives innovation in the industry, helps you make better decisions and forecasts .

These simulations will be widely used in factory operations to leverage real-time information and mirror the physical world into a virtual model, which can combine machines, products and humans.

This will allow operators to review and optimize machine settings for the product while also providing quality improvement at every step of the process.

Now is the time to innovate!

The objective so far is to show how we live in an era of digital transformation and innovation, considering the industry 4.0 environment. These examples, which are directly related to the industrial segment, are the main ones that can be followed with a view to business growth.  

Now is the time for companies in the area to embrace these disruptive changes and the best practices that Industry 4.0 can bring. To get started with this industry here's how to take the first step with Sky.One , your partner in digital transformation.

Written by

Sky.One Team

This content was produced by SkyOne's team of cloud and digital transformation experts.