Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0, digitisation, digital disruption or artificial intelligence are terms that are omnipresent. What is the significance of these terms, how are they related and what effects can be expected?
Industry 4.0 refers to the dovetailing of industrial production with state-of-the-art information and communication technology. The key factor is Internet technology. It is through this technology that communication takes place between people, machines and products.


Digitisation generally refers to the changes (of processes, objects and events) that occur as the use of digital devices increases. Five core technologies form the basis of digitisation:
Cloud, Mobile, Social Media, Big Data
These four technologies are also known as the Nexus of four. The fifth technology networks people and things en masse. It is the Internet of Things (IoT).

Digital Disruption

Numerous studies, surveys and investigations show that digitisation has already arrived in the world of work for several years and is likely to continue indefinitely. Regular worldwide surveys are conducted to find out which industries will be affected, when and to what extent. One result of these surveys is that the speed of digitisation is increasing.
The impact of digitisation in the world of work can be significant. The new possibilities offered by the technologies create opportunities for start-ups to enter market segments and thus gradually take market share from the established companies or ultimately displace them completely – known as “digital disruption”.

Sustaining Innovation

On the other hand, there are also new opportunities for established companies. The challenge is to identify them early on and to use them to their own advantage (“sustaining innovation”). Agility plays a central role here – the ability to react quickly to changes. This ability is usually characteristic of start-ups and is often lost by the established companies.
Successful examples of sustaining innovation show, however, that established firms are quite capable of adapting and using agility for their own benefit.
This ability will be a key success factor for companies in the future, as the speed of technological developments is expected to increase even further.