Guest blog: Connectivity Editor says – You can’t miss what you don’t know…

Author : Gordon Wong | Editor | Connectivity

02 June 2022

Gordon Wong, Connectivity Editor
Gordon Wong, Connectivity Editor

As smart devices & functionality – powered by electronics – continue to proliferate, bringing sensing, connectivity & intelligence to virtually all ‘things’, they are accelerating innovation across consumer & industrial products, systems & infrastructure.

This guest editorial intro was originally featured in EPDT's H1 2022 IoT & Industry 4.0 supplement in the June 2022 issue of EPDT magazine [read the digital issue]. And sign up to receive your own copy each month.

So, as IoT & Industry 4.0 remain hot topics for our sector, EPDT covers them in its biannual IoT & Industry 4.0 supplement, as well as threaded throughout other features. And for everything you need to know about how to get the best out of the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), check out EPDT’s sister title, Connectivity. Meanwhile, we’ve asked new Connectivity Editor, Gordon Wong to write this guest editorial intro to EPDT's biannual IoT & Industry 4.0 supplement…

This author’s dear mum makes a regular point of asking her son “please, please” don’t even think about installing internet in her home, as it’s just too much hassle for her. While any perceived upheaval would be mostly, if not entirely, mine and not hers, I do occasionally question why she’s so reluctant to entertain moving forward with the times.

Gently explaining to her the vast world of (mostly) factual information and entertainment out there to enjoy generally falls on deaf ears. Instead, I continue to fulfil the role of personal encyclopedia for her when she needs to find something out. For the record, I don’t know the answers to all of her questions, but look them up via the internet!

So, is this a case of: what you don’t know, you can’t miss? Since I haven’t dared to mention the wonders of IoT to her, she certainly has no concept of how the internet could make her life easier by controlling light switches in her house, ordering milk or goodies if her fridge sensors detect low supplies, or any of the other seemingly magical tasks that could happen without her knowledge or input. Granted, she’s almost always overly-well stocked in that department, but the point remains.

Extending this to IIoT or Industry 4.0 (4IR), the fact remains that this seemingly wondrous connected future is a work in progress, dependant as it is on evolving and developing technologies, as well as attitudes. While telecommunications, 5G and other facilitating technologies gain traction and sophistication, a fully automated and connected 4IR remains, for many, a world of possibilities and what might be.

Yes, many companies have invested heavily in a 4IR future for their operations, gradually making manufacturing transformation a reality, but many (or most!) still have not.

Making use of available tools is not easy, and the reality is that barriers exist for those looking to implement digital transformation. Budget constraints in tough times are a major factor, while concerns over cybersecurity hold many back. Furthermore, there remains a general lack of knowledge about digitalisation and how it can help a business, alongside a lack of skills to manage complex Industry 4.0 concepts and practicalities.

HR, ironically, is also key to an automated 4IR future. But for many, the thought of a complete change of mentality and internal alignment in order to adopt 4IR is just too daunting still to entertain. As a result, many companies are adopting a ‘wait and see what others do first’ stance.

Yet, despite all of this, a 4IR future is one that’s full of promise and benefits for those ready and bold enough to implement the required measures.

In the meantime, this author’s mum hasn’t even heard of Industry 4.0, let alone IoT – and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon. In terms of basic domestic internet, she will continue to view it as ‘black magic’, and remain content to watch old episodes of Judge Judy, and (I genuinely walked in recently to see her enjoying this) 1980s-vintage Family Fortunes re-runs, hosted by Max Bygraves. You see, some habits just can’t be changed…

Gordon Wong

Editor, Connectivity

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