IT Enabling Industry 4.0 in Health Sector

IT Enabling Industry 4.0 in Health Sector

Health care sector has always been of the immense importance for human kind. IT based technologies such as IoT, block chain, cloud computing and AI are making health care sector more effective than ever before. These technologies are used for improving the IoT monitoring systems, measuring various quantities quickly, cloud-based record management, fast communication and fast transfer of data from one place to another. 

Nowadays, health care support is also provided by these advanced technologies. They are playing a notable role in the health care sector by reducing time, costs, and by providing better solutions. 

We have discussed in previous articles that how these technologies enabled industry 4.0 in manufacturing sector. Let’s have a look at how are these technologies enabling the industry 4.0 model in health care sector. 

IoT and Big Data Analytics in Health Care

In health care sector, IoT technology is used mainly as a bridge between the patient and medical facility. It allows patient to monitor themselves and then electronically transfer the collected data to physician. This is all done by the use of electronically and digitally connected devices and sensors. These sensors collect and transmit data, and then Big data analytics translate the data into actionable form and sends it to the physician. 

Moreover, this technique is also used as an alternative to the appointment system. Now patients don’t need to book appointments manually, the digital systems will autonomously book the appointment taking in account the availability from physician’s end. 

Another use of IoT is application of smart watches and smart glasses. Smart watches can measure heart rate, pulse rate, steps while walking; calories burnt while a certain exercise, and much more. These devices comprise of wireless sensors that send data to a central server where the patient can see the results. 

Another application is IoT based disposable patches.  These patches such as iRythm, BP monitor, Biostamp are generally worn for a couple of days or weeks under certain medical conditions. ACN (Australian Centre of Nano medicine) has created a similar patch that informs the wearer about their exposure to UV rays. 

This is just a rain drop; there is huge ocean of IoT and big data applications in the health care sector. 

Blockchain technology in Health care sector

The traditional security methods of securing Electronic Health Records (EHRs) made it difficult for the patient to access these reports. But now, the new blockchain-based methods are being introduced to keep EHRs secure and accessible at the same time. This allows patients, health service providers and third parties to access data using the blockchain framework. 

Blockchain has also been proven a viable solution in matters such as billing and claims where data leaks can cause a huge tension. It is used as a platform for sharing information related to the important matters and to hold their record. 

Blockchain also facilitates the patients to share their medical history with other service providers or organizations. Hence makes it easier to switch to some other health professional by just sharing a private key generated by the framework. 

This technology also helps in tracking and monitoring the medical supplies providing more security with full transparency. If connected with the IoT systems of a medical factory, blockchain can even be used for monitoring labor costs and carbon emissions during the manufacturing process. 

Another use of blockchain in health sector is raising nowadays i.e. the companies working on DNA sequencing. These companies are always at a threat of the important genomic data being theft. Blockchain is the best solution to them as it prevents data theft and makes it impossible to steal or replace the data. Also, the framework provides these companies an online marketplace where scientists and medical researchers can buy genomic information for experimentation purposes. 

AI in Health care sector

AI has always proven to be the backbone of the fourth industrial revolution ranging from manufacturing to the health care sector. Recently, AI based systems has been used during the pandemic for both doctors and patients. VR technology was used to reduce the risk for doctors to be infected. 

AI also helps in finding the problems that the patient is facing in any emergency situation by the use of smart interconnected sensors. In China, AI based video monitoring systems are still in use to observe the activities and behavior of the people affected by COVID-19 and to learn the ways to stop and cure this pandemic. 

Some other applications of AI in health care sectors are:

  • It is used for monitoring medical supplies across various facilities. 
  • It is used to perform CT scans during the pandemic reducing the risk of being infected by the virus.
  • During pandemic, AI systems are being used to monitor the gatherings and to make sure that people are following the safety protocols to avoid spread of virus. 
  • AI provides a platform for secure sharing of information related to patient’s medical history, billing, claims, insurance etc among different organizations. 

Cloud Computing in Health care sector

Cloud computing technology has solved the problem of the small organizations that did not have enough resources to afford super computers for storage and data sharing purposes. Cloud computing allows access to patient’s information, doctor’s information, information related to different hospitals, and health organizations at anytime and anywhere.   Due to cloud computing, hospitals and health organizations do not need to buy huge hardware systems and servers for storage purposes, they just need a cloud platform and it gives them a huge storage capacity. This also helps the organizations to avoid huge costs related to maintaining and operating the hardware. 

Some other benefits of cloud computing for health care sector are:

  • It is a flexible platform and the organizations do not need to worry about shifting or moving this system.
  • It also serves as a bridge to connect the smart systems in pharmaceutical factories by connecting the sensors and digital devices to the main server.
  • It is easier and quicker to add new servers to increase storage capacity and can be done instantly. 
  • Cloud computing is still in trials in most cases due to security risks. As it is an open-end source, so the threat of data stealing always remains. That’s why; many companies are ignoring cloud computing till now. Yet there is room for improvement. Now, private clouds are being developed for secret and sensitive information. Companies are investing in cloud computing to make it more secure and better. 

It is IT that is revolutionizing every sector of life by providing the advanced and smart technologies. Health car has always been a sensitive issue and IT has proven itself here as well. Yet, there is a lot to improve and let’s see how developers bring these improvements and lead us to the next industrial revolution.

How Current IT is enabling Industry 4.0

How IT is enabling Industry 4.0 

Manufacturing is continuously headed towards the advancements of the fourth industrial revolution aided by IT based technologies. The manufacturing units are being digitalized by using sensors, software, AI, big data and cloud computing connectivity. Hence we are having more efficient factories revolutionizing the manufacturing industry – thanks to IT!

This article is meant to discuss the means by which IT has and is enabling industry 4.0 models in manufacturing industry. 

The industry 4.0 applications are changing the ways in which the products were planned, designed, manufactured and repaired before the introduction of IT in the field. Let’s have a look at each application of IT that is enabling industry 4.0 in manufacturing industry.

Changing the Resource and Process Management 

Smart Energy Systems

IT techniques help factories build an IP backbone that connects sensors, actuators, controllers and machinery together which helps in monitoring the use of energy by different parts of the manufacturing unit. This helps in using the energy in more efficient and cost-effective manner by supplying energy where needed and turn it off where it is not needed. 

The Smart Factory 

The use of technologies like 3G, LoRa WAN, IoT, cloud computing, RFID tags and sensors makes the connectivity between equipment like containers, pallets and roll cages possible and makes in convenient to track and control them during the manufacturing, storage and delivery stages. This connectivity can also be used to collect information on temperature, location, and inventory and hence makes the manufacturing unit a smart factory. 

Real time Optimization of yield 

 The inter-connectivity of manufacturing unit’s equipment provides information about the performance of certain equipment at a certain time. By taking a bit more help from machine learning, this information gathered from the sensors can be converted into a real-time analysis of the yield in manufacturing unit. This helps in optimizing the yield by saving much of time and budget that could be spent on an unknown issue in a certain part of machinery if it was not industry 4.0 optimized.

Changing the Asset Management

Route-Flexible Manufacturing Systems

The use of IoT-enabled technologies is making companies more reactive. It helps the manufacturers to tackle the issues like, the mechanical break downs in equipment, to continue the production without any break. This is achieved by manufacturing a certain product through different routes or by continuing process on more than one machine. This increases the uptime and maximizes the asset utilization and hence makes the factory more flexible.

Monitoring and Control

In a manufacturing unit, there are hundreds and thousands of equipment and machinery working all together to manufacture an end product. To make this all work properly, the visibility of all the processes is necessary. 

IoT and AI technologies have made it possible. The manufacturers can have an eye on all the operations by connecting their tablet, mobile or laptop with the interconnected network of all factory’s equipment. IoT helps having a real-time visibility of all the operations taking place at a certain part of the factory. It also helps engineers to identify and cure any breakdown in the machinery by smart sensing technology. 

AR (Augmented Reality) Technology 

This is the interesting part. Exploring the instruction manuals to find solution of a certain problem is the story of past. Today, workers just need an AR headset containing all the data needed for a certain task like graphs, diagrams, lines, and instructions to keep guiding the worker as he proceeds with the task. This makes all the work autonomous and continuous. The main concept behind this advanced thrill in the manufacturing industry is image recognition technology, wireless connectivity, computing power and IoT. 

Socio-Technical collaboration

Industry 4.0 models has introduced the lightweight, easy and safe to lift and operate robots to provide the new levels of flexibility to the manufacturing industry. These robots are fitted with positioning sensors and they can perform the most repeated tasks on their own giving the labor a room to do other important and complex tasks. 

3D Printing

Any part or component of a certain machine can be damaged at any time during the manufacturing process. This can lead to a breakdown until the part is repaired or replaced. 3D printers have solved this problem. Any part of the machinery that is needed to be replaced can now be made by 3D printers within the factory. The IoT and sensor system can convey the shape and structure of the damaged part to the wi0fi connected 3d printer. Thus the printer will make the part autonomously and then the work can be started again. 

3D printers are also being used in the research and experimentation stages of production. Before that, specific softwares were used to show illustration of an object in the computer screen but now, 3D printers have made it possible to hold that illustration in the hands to understand and conclude a certain problem easily and time effectively. 

This is just a fraction of data that is available on the benefits of IT to industry and how IT has enabled industry 4.0. There is a lot more yet we have discussed the important points. The industry is headed towards the 5threvolution and IT is acting as the back bone. Let’s see, what IT has to bring for us yet!

Challenges in Enabling Industry 4.0

The challenges towards enabling industry 4.0 and their possible solutions

IT is undoubtedly the backbone of industrial revolution. It is IT that will decide the future industrial revolutions starting from industry 4.0 and onwards. Some experts say that the IT systems have already enabled the industry 4.0 completely and now we are headed towards the next industrial revolution. Yet the others say that there is still room for improvements in existing model which means the industry 4.0 cannot be marked complete until it meets the security standards. 

Such deficiencies and improvements are worth discussing and that’s why we are here to discuss all these challenges that are a hurdle in the way of completing the vision industry 4.0 and the possible solutions to address these challenges. 

It is said,

“Any problem comes, but not without a solution”

Similar is the case with this advanced IT based system. 

So, without wasting time, let’s have a look at what can be done to tackle the challenges we already discussed in the previous article. 

Challenge # 1

Data sharing in a competitive environment

Integration of IT systems to enable industry 4.0 allows the data sharing in a highly competitive environment which makes online business environment transparent. This transparent business ecosystem means an environment that is vulnerable to cyber-attacks, spying, stealing data and illegal access to the important business files. 

Possible solution

Organizations need to recreate the existing business models and devise new business strategies to address this challenge. 

The possible solution to this transparent environment until this day is that the small organizations must consider the markets with low competition where they can allocate their maximum resources instead of placing their sources and data in an intense market competition where their data will be more vulnerable to cyber-attacks and the threat of being out of competition due to the presence of big companies in the intense market.  

Challenge # 2

Incomplete implementation of industry 4.0 is dangerous

Some small companies are trying to transition to industry 4.0 models on their existing machinery or equipment which results in complicated processes and bigger costs that small industries cannot handle easily. 

Possible Solution:

Total transition of industry 4.0 is necessary. The incomplete transition prevents companies from being successful in market. Thus, small companies must consider full transition if not possible today, they may wait and implement it later.

Challenge # 3

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. 

Possible Solution:

Finding the employees with advanced skills to implement industry 4.0 is a big challenge. To address this challenge, the companies must consider training their existing labor to acquire the needed advanced skills. 

This is the most budget and time friendly solution to this challenge. It will also allow companies to have a disciplined training system that they can use to train labor of other small companies and charge them a good amount instead.  

Challenge # 4

Socio technical challenges

The implementation of IT to enable industry 4.0 may result in:

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

Possible Solution:

The industry 4.0 is undoubtedly a socio-technical system. To address the above-mentioned challenges, the joint integration of socio-technical system is required. This can be made possible by training the labor to develop tolerance for machines and design and operate the IT systems in labor friendly way. This can be done in the same way as we talked earlier i.e., training programs should be held to optimize the socio-technical environment within the industry. 

A socio-technical system must have following characteristics for successful implementation of industry 4.0:

  • System must contain interdependent parts.
  • System must have an internal environment consisting of separate but interdependent social and technical subsystems.
  • Joint optimization of social and technical subsystems decides the performance of this system. If one subsystem is favored and is given more resources, it means the other is ignores thus the system will crash. Hence it must be designed in a way that both get equal opportunities. 

Challenge # 5

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. 

Possible Solution:

The companies can consider following points to prevent themselves from cyber-attacks:

  • Companies must use operating systems that offer automatic updates. Keeping software UpToDate and installing them in patches will cause cyber attackers to not take any advantage of system’s established problems or vulnerabilities. 
  • Companies must have strong passwords and keys to access their systems. It is estimated that 63% of cyber-attacks are successful because of weak passwords. So, creating a strong password and changing it constantly within specific intervals can help companies prevent cyber-attacks. 
  • Companies must consider MFA tool. MFA (Multifactor authentication) uses two identity components to allow access to a system. This makes the system more secure even if the attacker knows the password. 

Industry 4.0, the Digitisation of Industries with IT

Industry 4.0, the Digitization of Industries with IT  

The industries have been through numerous revolutionary phases and transformations since beginning.

From hammering the wood to make a cart out of it to the huge automatic automobiles industries, the industry has evolved through numerous phases- thanks to IT. 

Industry 4.0 refers to further development of growth and production using IT techniques and technologies. IT plays the key role in this fourth industrial revolution.  

This is the fourth industrial revolution that is transforming the industry from traditional mode to the ‘High Tech’ smart digital mode aided by smart softwares, data or IOT (Internet of Things).

Want to learn more about Industry 4.0 and the role IT plays in this revolutionary phase? Here is what we’ve for you in this article:

  • How it started?
  • What is achieved so far?
  • What more has to be done yet?

 How and Why It Started?

The industry has evolved through many phases from physical and mechanical to digital and high-tech since the 1800s.

To make these transformations understandable, experts have categorized these revolutions into First, Second, Third and Fourth industrial revolutions. 

The industrial revolutions were based on the idea of efficient production. Which meant to reduce manual labor and working hours while maintaining the production capacity the same.

With passage of time, technological advancements helped in achieving this target and the industry evolved from the First Industrial Revolution to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.  

The age from 1700 to 1800s is considered as the age of the First Industrial Revolution.

During this time industries evolved from relying on human labor aided by animals to operate certain machines of that time to a more efficient and optimized labor aided by water and steam operating systems to perform heavy tasks.

IT concepts and technologies were not introduced to industries during this age. The industries relied on mechanical and physical systems for production and value addition purposes.

The second industrial revolution started in early 20th century when electricity was introduced in industries. It was the time when the concept of mass production in an assembly line took birth with the introduction of IT in the field.

Small electronic systems were introduced. Although these systems were not smart or high tech, yet they helped in increasing the efficiency of the work and service. 

Third industrial revolution in late 20th century introduced more electronic and digital systems to the industry. It was the time when the smart use of computers transformed analog industry into a digital industry enhancing its efficiency.

Then came the Fourth Industrial Revolution or the Industry 4.0. 

It started a few decades ago when the manual systems were transformed with the high tech, automatic and IT based systems. This all started when IT techniques made the communication among computer systems possible. 

Today we see fully automated huge industries like Apple where almost the whole manufacturing process is done by smart, high-tech robotic systems aided by IOT, Big data and artificial intelligence.  

The IT technologies have provided Industries a more interlinked, efficient and holistic approach. It ties physical mechanism and digital mechanism together with the string of data and internet and offers a better hold and a boost in productivity and growth. 

This is just beginning of this revolution; a lot has to take place yet.

What is achieved so far?

Industry 4.0 has benefited small and large scale business with IT techniques up to so much extent that it is difficult to cover each and every benefit of it in a single article. 

However, we will discuss some most important achievements of this physico-digital concept.

Value Chain (Supply Chain Management)

Industry 4.0 has made it lenient for industries to keep an eye on their supply chain by providing them data visibility across the entire supply chain. Industries are using this system to deliver their product’s supply faster, cheaper and with better quality to the market.

Analytical solutions

Industry 4.0 systems allow the industries to see the virtual future of their business. It means, the companies can detect the potential crisis or problems they are going to face in future before the crisis actually take place using the industry 4.0 systems. These systems sense the problems in machinery and tell what should be fixed to avoid bigger crisis in the future. In simple words, the Industry 4.0 has transformed the preventive approach of businesses to the predictive approach. 

Smart Factories

In Smart Factory, all the machines, logistic chains and engineering works communicate with each other in the production process to ensure the double efficiency using the available resources.

This is done by the use of IT (big data, cloud computing, cyber physical systems and IoT) which lays the base for value chains and offers standard and secure connection among the systems involved in the production process. 

The industries are converting their manufacturing lines to smart factories to ensure the best production efficiency – Thanks to the Fourth Industrial Revolution

What more has to be done yet? 

No doubt, the industry 4.0 has transformed the way of production and growth for companies up to a huge extent.

But still, there is a lot to be done yet on the larger canvas. Let’s have a look on the future perspective of the Industry 4.0 and how it can change the present laws of production and growth. 

Changing SMEs into Industry 4.0 

Irrespective of industrial revolution, there are still the small and medium enterprises that are facing deficiencies in financial resources, organizational culture and technology. This lack of industrial revolution is keeping these SMEs out of the competition while the large enterprises are boosting their production using 4.0 maturity model or Industry 4.0 concepts. 

These SMEs need to migrate from traditional working model to the industry 4.0 models to ensure larger production to benefit the local and international market. But the systems are often expensive to an extent that the SMEs cannot afford it. This puts a responsibility on governments as well as the system developers to produce such systems that SMEs can afford and make their companies smart and tech based. 

Transforming Industry 4.0 to Industry 5.0

The world is now focusing on transforming the industry 4.0 to industry 5.0 with the aim of combining humans and machines in a way that the two complement each other in the working environment without replacing the one with the other. 

The model is based on the idea that the machines (cobots or robots) are allocated the tasks that involve danger or risks and the humans are used as intellectuals in the process to create and control the programs that run those robots and machines. This will create an environment with the fusion of human intelligence and the artificial intelligence. 

This approach will enhance the production and benefit the end consumer as well as the manufacturer. This will also allow people to develop new skills in the process of growth and production. 

To achieve this, the most important change needed is the change in “Organizational Culture”. The traditional forms, skills, tools, softwares and hardwares must be fused with robots, cobots and high tech systems. 

One more thing to achieve industry 5.0 is to control the production. Due to industry 4.0, the production has increased to a huge level that if the SMEs also migrate to 4.0 model of industry, the production will be more than the market’s requirement. Industry 5.0 relies on IT to calculate the actual market’s requirement and then produce the products to an extent that is needed. This will save both the resources and the time in the process of production and supply. 

Summary:

Industry 4.0 is a concept powered by IT applications to enhance the production and growth of companies at the same time reducing the manual labor, cost of production, risks and working hours. IT is the main aspect of this model by providing big data, cloud computing and IoT applications to the industry.