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The fourth industrial revolution

In this video, we explore the history of industrial revolution.
In order to fully appreciate the future opportunities of the digital business landscape, we must first go back in time to consider the history of industry and how it has continuously been revolutionised. Over a quarter of a millennium ago, the first industrial revolution began. From the 18th century to the beginning of the 19th century, industry saw a rise in the steam engine. Utilising the potential power of water and steam sped up the manufacturing of railroads. As a result, the economy began to accelerate. Almost a century later, the second industrial revolution began. By the end of the 19th century, the industry witnessed massive technological advancement leading to mass production.
New energy sources of electricity, gas and oil advanced new inventions like electric lighting and radio. Communication was made easier through innovations like the telegraph and telephones. Social interactions were being transformed. Another century on and the third industrial revolution started. The 1950s saw a move from analog and mechanical devices to digital technology and automated production. Semiconductors, mainframe computing, personal computing and robots. High levels of automation enabled global supply chain networks. All of these advancements rapidly transformed global communication.
Less than a century later, we are now already in the fourth industrial revolution or industry 4.0. Today we see disruptive innovations influence production processes technology and devices autonomously communicating with each other resulting in significantly higher productivity. Where the third industrial revolution saw the rise of digitally connected products and services to emerging smart cities and factories, the fourth industrial revolution relates to advances in the increasingly common automation of tasks and services in society and homes. The fourth industrial revolution is evolving with high velocity, influencing every aspect of modern life.

Technological advancement in robotics, sensors, big data, automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) together constitute a new industrial revolution, known as the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ (4IR) or Industry 4.0 (Inform, 2020).

In this video, we explore the history of industrial revolution from the end of the eighteenth century to the current day and find out how the technologies involved were applied in diverse businesses.

Your task

What do you think the fifth industrial revolution would look like? Share your thoughts with your peers.


TM Forum Inform. (2020, March). The fourth industrial revolution – manufacturing and beyond. Web link

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