When Germany launched a project under the name Industrie 4.0 to digitalize manufacturing at the Hannover Messe in 2011, the government officials, industry leaders and academics who were working on the project probably had no idea that Industry 4.0 and specifically that fourth industrial revolution would become such a widely used concept.
Moving beyond its roots, Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet are meeting in a global collaboration towards the digital transformation of manufacturing and other industries.
The question whether were at the brink of a fourth industrial revolution has been answered: we are. The questions that remain: how to create value, get prepared and address the many challenges in what could end up to be an evolution instead of a revolution in the current global context?
Following three decades of decline in the manufacturing sector of Western and other economies, governments and private companies are adopting technologies of the fourth industrial revolution to resuscitate manufacturing and create R&D and management jobs in their home countries.
Though the notion of this fourth industrial revolution isn't new and has been a core topic in many countries and territories across the globe, the inherent acceleration of Industry 4.0 as the fourth industrial revolution is often called, is moving beyond the sheer technological, human and societal dimension.
Since the second half of 2017 and the beginning of 2018 there is another acceleration that can't be overlooked concerning the fourth industrial revolution: countries and territories are stepping up their efforts in the global race which Industry 4.0 also is.
Let there be no mistake about this: even if the theme of the World Economic Forum 2018 was the creation of a shared future in a fractured world with getting ready, being prepared and skilling up for the fourth industrial revolution in this shared future view taking center stage, the notion of a fractured world is at least as important and the fourth industrial revolution is more than a race, it's a fierce global fight for a piece of the pie.