Industry 4.0: Are SMEs ready?

The Internet of Things is on the rise – How are SMEs preparing for this?

At the world’s biggest industrial fair in Hannover in April, 2015 the term was on everybody’s lips: Industry 4.0 or the Internet of Things. According to an estimation from industry and trade association, as well as experts in business, economics, science and politics, this is nothing less than the 4th industrial revolution.

This means that in the near future, Internet-based machines will no longer be operated by humans, but will mainly interact with one another.

That ongoing communication at all levels of the value chain is the promise of huge potential for businesses.  It is expected that productivity will increase massively with a simultaneous reduction in costs. Businesses hope to gain faster and improved production cycles, to be able to meet client requests and specifications more effectively, and to be able to react to diversification and entry opportunities in new markets.  

Before it comes to applying scenarios like these, important questions need to be answered – starting with the existing infrastructure. With the further digitalisation of the economy, vast amounts of data are produced. These need to be processed, sent and stored. When sending – the communication between machines during the production process – interfaces must be adapted and standards must be developed. Additionally, the bandwidth must be able to withstand the huge amount of data. Here both government and businesses are needed. 

Financing Industry 4.0

In a Europe-wide study, the market research institute Feedbaxx and Expense Reduction Analysts investigate how medium-sized businesses have prepared for the subject of Industry 4.0 i.e. digitalisation and what are the pressing issues for corporate decision-makers.

The aim of the study is to determine whether the subject feature within the agenda of SMEs, what decision-makers expect from that for their businesses, and where the greatest opportunities, threats, risks and obstacles are to be seen.

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