The Fourth Industrial Revolution Is Here - Are You Ready?
That’s the question posed to more than 1,600 C-level executives by Deloitte Global in a survey recently conducted by Forbes Insights. The research was designed to gauge the readiness of business to address both the sizeable challenges and tremendous potential envisioned with the societal transformations being shaped by Industrie 4.0.
Industrie 4.0 is driving an unprecedented phase of interconnectivity, one where plants and equipment are not just fully automated but also controlled remotely over the Internet, from offsite locations or even via cloud computing. The potential incremental efficiencies, lower labor costs, and the competitive advantages are clear and obvious to all. Just like any other technological revolution though, Industrie 4.0 opens up a myriad of new challenges.
Are we ready? It’s an important question and one that impacts not only business, but global economies, the workforce and society as a whole. In gauging readiness, it is important to first understand the tremendous challenges that must be addressed in a digitized economy. Executive’s in Deloitte’s survey noted several common challenges they faced in the adoption of new technologies. For example, they cited lack of internal alignment about which strategies to follow; lack of collaboration with external partners; short termism; lack of adequate technologies, lack of rank-and-file adoption; and lack of vision by leaders, to name just a few. Only 3% of the executives expressed that they were not challenged by the adoption of the new technologies inherent with the IoT.
The digitization of virtually every facet of our society in the evolution of Industrie 4.0 has far reaching implications, none more important than cybersecurity. Cyberattacks are perceived globally as a major threat to success and safety in the new digital economy. Cyberthreats can take many forms, from counterfeiting and product piracy to malicious tampering of connected devices and life-threatening attacks on machines and critical infrastructure.
For example, according to VDMA, Europe’s largest mechanical engineering foundation, product piracy alone in the mechanical engineering sector causes loss of revenue and damages in the billions annually.
Furthermore, the Alliance for Cyber Security in Germany recently reported that nearly 70 percent of companies and institutions in Germany were victims of cyber attacks in 2016 and 2017. In many cases, the attackers were successful and able to gain access to IT systems, influence the functioning of IT systems or manipulate corporate websites. Half of the successful attacks led to production or operational failures. In addition, there were often costs for clarifying incidents and restoring IT systems, as well as reputational damage.
Fortunately, security technology leaders like Wibu-Systems are working in partnership with industry organizations and other technology leaders to develop innovative solutions that allow industry to stay a step ahead of the cyber criminals. For example, as a member of the Alliance for Cyber Security, Wibu-Systems documented its security technology in a white paper, “Integrity Protection for Embedded Systems,” which contributes substantially to the understanding of advanced technology for protecting the integrity of connected devices in embedded environments. The whitepaper outlines the necessary protections that can be deployed to protect Intellectual Property and machine code integrity using sophisticated encryption among other mechanisms.
Ongoing efforts to extend the global knowledge base of innovative technology advances pertaining to Industrie 4.0 will serve to ensure the safety of industry, governments and individuals who are all stakeholders in the new economy, as well as provide the foundation for powerful new business models. A good reference point is Deloitte’s white paper, Growing Internet of Things Platforms, which examines how companies can build a healthy business platform to make optimal use of available IoT technologies.
Vice President Sales USA
Terry Gaul is a sales and business development professional with extensive experience in the software and technology sectors. He has been involved with software protection and licensing technologies for more than 20 years and currently serves as Vice President of Sales at Wibu-Systems USA. When he is not helping customers with software licensing, Terry typically can be found coaching his daughters' soccer teams or camping with his family on the Maine coast.