The negative impacts of IT based systems on Industry 4.0

The negative impacts of IT based systems on Industry 4.0; Every Change has Pros and Cons!

Industry 4.0 is one of the most trending topics nowadays in industry sector. The main concept of implementation of Industry 4.0 and IT systems in an environment is automation, smart manufacturing, and integrating the factory with whole working cycle. 

These integrations include vertical, horizontal, and end-to-end integration. This integration is made possible by advance technologies like IoT, AI, cloud computing, and big data etc. through cyber physical systems. 

It means that the whole industry 4.0 model relies on advanced IT based technologies to collect and analyze data and provide useful information and solutions to the owners. 

We have already learnt the benefits and the revolution that IT based systems are bringing in industry, yet there are some threats that are related to implementation of this system. Of course, companies are already enjoying the fruits of industry 4.0 systems, yet they are never ignored by the threats they can face while sitting in this advanced, online platform of business. 

Let’s discuss the possible threats that industry 4.0 may impose if not implemented following the standards of IT and cyber physical systems:

Data sharing in a competitive environment

Using vertical, horizontal, or end-to-end integration for digitally connecting machines and systems in order to implement industry 4.0 allows data sharing in a highly competitive environment. This makes online business environment transparent. 

This transparency offers two issues:

  1. Transparent business ecosystem means an environment that is vulnerable to cyber-attacks, spying, stealing data and illegal access to the important business files. 
  2. The big companies that are already using a certain online or IT based platform will drive the small companies out of the competition by hindering them with unique selling points.

 Incomplete implementation of industry 4.0 is dangerous

There are large firms and organizations who are running the most developed and secure IT based systems to implement the industry 4.0 and are successful in their businesses so far. But there are small companies as well who are trying to implement the industry 4.0 models on their existing machinery or equipment which is causing trouble more than the benefit. Such combination of existing equipment with advanced IT systems will result in complicated processes and bigger costs that small industries cannot handle easily. 

Low degree skills will be out of the job

Industry 4.0 model is based on the idea that the low degree skills are to be performed by machines and robots. Which means, the employees with low degree of skills would be ignored unless they acquire advanced skills that the machines or AI systems cannot perform. 

One more problem is that when the new technologies are implemented, the workers operating that machinery would have high anxiety levels. Thus, it makes the coordination between the man and the machine a bit difficult. 

Socio technical issues

The industry 4.0 is undoubtedly a socio-technical system. For successfully implementing industry 4.0 model in industry, the joint integration of socio-technical system is required. If such systems are not integrated, it may result in:

  1. Polarization of jobs will increase.
  2. The favor that the labor deserves would be shifted to the capital. 
  3. The monopolization will increase.
  4. Technical unemployment due to lack of skilled labor.
  5. Increase in ecological fears for population.

Cyber security

The implementation of industry 4.0 model means putting the important data on online and transparent platform where there is always risk of cyber-attack remains. 

Cyber security is the backbone for implementing the industry 4.0, otherwise, the lack of proper security system will eventually cause businesses to crash. 

High setup costs

It is for sure that implementing such an advanced system in an industry requires initial investment. The companies need to invest both time and money to establish an industry 4.0 based system. Another point to consider that this cost is not just the expenditure or IT systems, but also the companies will need highly skilled labor to operate the system especially when it is just a beginning. So, the companies also need to invest in the labor. 

But these costs are short term expense. In the long run, when the systems start running properly, the companies will need maximum 2 to 3 highly skilled workers and the remaining work would be done by the ordinary labor. 

Similarly, the development of industry’s environment to implement industry 4.0 model is a short-term expense. Because once implemented, the predictive nature of the system will allow you to fix issues easily without spending much time or money. Hence, on a long run, you are being benefited. Yet the issue cannot be ignored. 

Despite of these threats or cons of using IT based systems to implement industry 4.0, there is a huge room for improvements to make the system more secure and achievable. We are going to discuss the possible solutions for the issues imposed by IT on industry 4.0 in the next article. Stay tuned!

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