18°C / 3°C
  • Sun
  • 18°C
  • 3°C
  • Mon
  • 18°C
  • 3°C
  • Tue
  • 17°C
  • 4°C
  • Wed
  • 19°C
  • 3°C
  • Thu
  • 19°C
  • 3°C
  • Fri
  • 18°C
  • 2°C
  • Sun
  • 17°C
  • 8°C
  • Mon
  • 15°C
  • 9°C
  • Tue
  • 13°C
  • 6°C
  • Wed
  • 15°C
  • 6°C
  • Thu
  • 15°C
  • 8°C
  • Fri
  • 13°C
  • 8°C
  • Sun
  • 23°C
  • 13°C
  • Mon
  • 24°C
  • 14°C
  • Tue
  • 19°C
  • 15°C
  • Wed
  • 22°C
  • 15°C
  • Thu
  • 23°C
  • 13°C
  • Fri
  • 27°C
  • 16°C
  • Sun
  • 21°C
  • 10°C
  • Mon
  • 19°C
  • 9°C
  • Tue
  • 13°C
  • 6°C
  • Wed
  • 15°C
  • 5°C
  • Thu
  • 17°C
  • 8°C
  • Fri
  • 14°C
  • 7°C
  • Sun
  • 18°C
  • 4°C
  • Mon
  • 18°C
  • 4°C
  • Tue
  • 19°C
  • 5°C
  • Wed
  • 18°C
  • 4°C
  • Thu
  • 18°C
  • 5°C
  • Fri
  • 20°C
  • 4°C
  • Sun
  • 21°C
  • 5°C
  • Mon
  • 24°C
  • 5°C
  • Tue
  • 22°C
  • 6°C
  • Wed
  • 21°C
  • 8°C
  • Thu
  • 23°C
  • 6°C
  • Fri
  • 26°C
  • 6°C
  • Sun
  • 19°C
  • 7°C
  • Mon
  • 11°C
  • 6°C
  • Tue
  • 12°C
  • 3°C
  • Wed
  • 13°C
  • 3°C
  • Thu
  • 13°C
  • 4°C
  • Fri
  • 10°C
  • 4°C
  • Sun
  • 21°C
  • 11°C
  • Mon
  • 20°C
  • 11°C
  • Tue
  • 14°C
  • 9°C
  • Wed
  • 15°C
  • 9°C
  • Thu
  • 16°C
  • 9°C
  • Fri
  • 15°C
  • 9°C
  • Sun
  • 20°C
  • 5°C
  • Mon
  • 21°C
  • 6°C
  • Tue
  • 22°C
  • 7°C
  • Wed
  • 20°C
  • 5°C
  • Thu
  • 20°C
  • 8°C
  • Fri
  • 21°C
  • 7°C
  • Sun
  • 20°C
  • 5°C
  • Mon
  • 22°C
  • 5°C
  • Tue
  • 23°C
  • 6°C
  • Wed
  • 20°C
  • 6°C
  • Thu
  • 21°C
  • 7°C
  • Fri
  • 23°C
  • 6°C
  • Sun
  • 18°C
  • 10°C
  • Mon
  • 13°C
  • 8°C
  • Tue
  • 12°C
  • 6°C
  • Wed
  • 14°C
  • 7°C
  • Thu
  • 15°C
  • 9°C
  • Fri
  • 12°C
  • 8°C
  • Sun
  • 18°C
  • 3°C
  • Mon
  • 19°C
  • 3°C
  • Tue
  • 20°C
  • 2°C
  • Wed
  • 20°C
  • 2°C
  • Thu
  • 21°C
  • 2°C
  • Fri
  • 22°C
  • 5°C

#WEF2016: Next industry revolution won't be televised

Gary Coleman says it may be hard to recognise elements of the digital revolution as it rapidly progresses.

A man walks through the registration hall of the 2016 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.
World Economic Forum,World Economic Forum 2016,global economy,Davos 2016,WEF
World

If you’re still just talking about the fourth industrial revolution, you can stop theorising, because it’s here and making an impact that matters on business and society.

With the digital transformation of manufacturing well underway, the only thing needed to launch the next industrial revolution is wider access to exponential technologies - robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), sensors, 3D printing, nanotechnology, quantum computing. And now that these technologies are more affordable and their size more manageable, the fourth industrial revolution is up and running.

The World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting at Davos this year focused on this industrial revolution for good reason. Consider these statistics. The 4.9 billion items connected via the Internet of Things (IoT) in 2015 will reach 25 billion by 2020. Advanced manufacturing technologies are expected to double in value to $85 billion-plus globally by 2019. Venture capital investment in robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) has grown more than 70 percent per year since 2011.

But to the naked eye, it may be hard to discern this revolution.

For example, take innovation. The design and testing of ideas is now much easier with exponential technologies, enabling an accelerated innovation cycle. One major car company is using virtual reality to test out new designs in near real-time instead of waiting for physical prototypes. The data that is now gathered via ever-proliferating sensors can be analyzed using machine learning and predictive analytics - allowing innovators to better assess the potential impact of their ideas.

This industrial revolution is also prompting new business models. Data and analyses generated by sensors and super-computers are now becoming business offerings in their own right. A real estate listing site may use its data to analyse and predict housing prices. Or a seed company can use its research paired with predictive modeling to provide specialised planting recommendations. This exponential ability may even transform physical producers into information providers and enable still others to enter a field with little capital investment.

And while we’ve all heard that technologies like AI will eliminate jobs, what we don’t hear about is the current lack of people who can design, build, and maintain exponential technologies. AI talent is already being fought over by the largest tech companies, with some enterprises funding academic centers and professorships to cultivate talent. This kind of thinking will be critical given predicted shortages just in the United States alone, it is estimated there will be 1.4 million computer specialist job openings by 2020 and only enough graduates to fill about 30 percent.

To be sure, the fourth industrial revolution is still in its nascent state. But with the pace of change and disruption to business and society so swift these days, the time to join in is now.

Gary Coleman is the global industry and senior client advisor for Deloitte Consulting and lead partner in Deloitte’s strategic relationship with the World Economic Forum.


Comments

EWN welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

- Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
- Sexism
- Homophobia
- Religious intolerance
- Cyber bullying
- Hate speech
- Derogatory language
- Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the EWN community a safe and welcoming space for all.

EWN reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

EWN reserves the right to close comments on selected content pages.

EWN is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.