Innovation is a crucial determinant of industrial transformation, and today, its pace in developing new technologies is stirring the business world. This disruptive change is what everyone believes to be the 4th industrial revolution, also commonly known as Industry 4.0. With transformative technologies connecting the physical world to the digital world, the fourth IR is here, and it is here to stay! Adapting to this rapid pace of industrial transformation, quite efficiently, is Australia. Compared to businessmen across the globe, the Australian business leaders are more inclined towards financially backing new technologies, as stated by Deloitte’s Second Annual Global report. We will soon see how the fourth Industrial revolution Australia is shouldering, but let’s first know what exactly is Industry 4.0.
What is the Fourth Industrial Revolution?
The automation process wherein modern and smart technology is taking over traditional manufacturing and industrial practices is termed as the fourth industrial revolution. Some analysts also state that Industry 4.0 is the confluence of physical, digital, and biological innovations, many of which were developed in the third industrial revolution, that is the digital-industrial revolution. Technologies like Artificial Intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, and sensors, are the current trends running in the tech world. Increasing data volumes, virtual reality systems, emerging analytics, and improvements in the overall digital world are the driving forces behind these trends that are ruling the fourth IR.
Fourth Industrial Revolution in Australia
The creation of a center for the fourth industrial revolution in as many as 13 countries by the World Economic Forum has ensured that business leaders across the world are prepared for the fourth IR. The Australian business leaders are setting an example for their counterparts by being well-prepared for Industry 4.0. According to The 2020 Fourth Industrial Revolution Benchmark report by KPMG Digital Delta, Australian leaders who understand INdustry 4.0 are more ready to invest in the Research and Development of smart technologies, unlike other global business leaders. By embracing these modern tech developments, many Australian companies are effectively gaining a global competitive advantage.
Industry 4.0 Initiatives taken by Australia
Many Australian companies are prepared for the fourth industrial revolution through several initiatives that have been adopted by the country. Following are a few such initiatives that make it apparent how the country is riding the wave of the fourth IR.
- Establishing Industry 4.0 Taskforce – The Australia-Germany Advisory Group released a report in November 2015, recommending the industries and the government of both the countries to set global standards by collaborating on Industry 4.0. Following this report, the Prime Minister’s Industry 4.0 Taskforce was established in 2016 which standardized the sharing of information between Australia and Germany on the Industry 4.0 front. An agreement was signed by this taskforce in 2017 with Germany’s Platform Industry 4.0, making Australia one of the only five countries to have co-operative agreements with Germany.
This taskforce is today hosted by the Australian Industry Group and is called the Industry 4.0 Advanced Manufacturing Forum.
- Report on Industry 4.0 Australian Testlabs by Taskforce – The Prime Minister’s Industry 4.0 Taskforce published a report in 2017 which was titled – Industry 4.0 Testlabs in Australia. This report proposed the establishment of Industry 4.0 testlabs to set up a framework for embracing the 4th industrial revolution technology while also exploring its fundamentals.
- Launching Industry 4.0 Testlabs Program – The Industry 4.0 Testlabs pilot program was opened in September 2018 as a strategic initiative. Under this $5 million program, businesses in Australia will be prepared for a smooth transition to smart factories from the existing traditional ones. It will set up Industry 4.0 Testlabs at five Australian Universities. The primary goals of these testlabs will be
- Offering a physical space for businesses to explore, try, and showcase the trending technologies of the fourth industrial revolution.
- Enabling collaboration between educational institutes and small scale or medium scale enterprises.
- Developing necessary skills for making the most of the Industry 4.0 opportunities.
- Starting Industry 4.0 Higher Apprenticeship Program – The Australian Industry Group, or the Ai Group, launched the Industry 4.0 Higher Apprenticeship Program with Siemens Ltd and Swinburne University of Technology. This groundbreaking program aims to teach apprentices how to use the latest smart digital technologies while they learn to develop their skills at the workplace. The program is designed to suit a wide range of industries, but the manufacturing, mining, and construction industries would benefit the most from it.
- Initiation of Industry Growth Centers – Industry Growth Centers in Australia are non-profit organizations, aiming to drive innovation, productivity, and competitiveness. These Growth Centers are tasked to build the capability and collaborative network of certain industrial sectors with competitive strength and strategic priority. A few such sectors include medical technologies and pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, food and agribusiness, cybersecurity, oil, gas, and energy resources, and mining equipment, technology, and services (METS). Below are a few initiatives undertaken by the Industry Growth Centers:
- AustCyber, that is the Australian Cuber Security Growth Network, formed a partnership with La Trobe University, Cybermerc, deception.ai, and Optus for building the next-gen Intrusion Detection System.
- MTPConnect, Australia’s MedTech and Pharma Growth Center, offered funding to Hospital 4.0 which is a cloud-based AI digital health platform.
- AMGC, the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Center, collaborated with Robert Bosch Australia for developing an audit tool that recognizes technological capability gaps keeping small and medium scale enterprises from adapting to the fourth industrial revolution.
- METS Ignited, the Mining Equipment and Technology Services sector, collaborated with the Resolution Systems for creating a fleet management software that lets operational areas of mine sites to communicate with each other.
By embracing the rapidly changing industrial environment, the Australian business leaders are truly well-prepared for the fourth industrial revolution. Having a long term vision of technology will help the country’s sectors make data-driven decisions that are in conjunction with Industry 4.0. As the prospects of Australian Manufacturing are transforming with the fourth IR, the country is steadily being recognized as one of the innovative countries, setting a bar of global competitiveness.