Data: The Foundation of Industry 4.0

There are more than 7 billion people living around the world today. Of those 7 billion, about 2.5 billion are online and more than 6.5 billion use cell phones. There exist around 10 billion connected devices in total. Take a moment to try to imagine the amount of data that needs to be stored up in the cloud. Data surrounds us, it is everywhere, and the same goes for factories! Anchored in a data-driven universe, factories have started to process all the available factory data and are using it to increase their productivity. Data is the foundation of the Fourth Industrial Revolution – a revolution that is well underway.

What is Big Data?

Big Data refers to all of the data produced by modern technologies and their users. The concept was popularized in 2012 with the explosion of technology usage. Big Data also refers to companies that issue data with sensors or any connected device.

In managing the outpour of data from these devices, Big Data companies respond to a great number of issues such as those that come along with managing high volumes of data, a wide range of different types of data as well as the collection and sharing of data.

What are the opportunities for manufacturing enterprises?

« The analysis of data is a very vast territory for a company to cover and they can easily fail at it,” affirmed Gilles Savard, general director of IVADO (the Institute for Data Valorization), at a conference in Montreal on Industry 4.0 in January of 2018. Inevitably though, Big Data is coming, and, much like artificial intelligence, it will significantly disrupt the existing factory models.

Even today certain factories are victims of instability and harmful dysfunction. The manufacturing sector intakes a growing volume of both structured and unstructured data. To create the necessary value-added and to satisfy client expectations, factories must know how to collect the right data and manage it adequately.

By attaching connected devices to their machines (interfaces, sensors, etc.), manufacturers have been able to take advantage of Industry 4.0 technologies and all of their factory data. Connected devices allow them to continually receive massive amounts of already-analyzed information on machine performance and machine-users in real-time. Smart sensors are opening up a world of possibilities for them.

That being said, Big Data is difficult to handle and even harder to master. To get a sense of the data, Intelligence Industrielle, for example, applies the pertinent algorithms to the mass amounts of information, collected from each factory with our smart sensors, to output a factory’s requested statistics.  Simultaneously though, Intelligence Industrielle allows for a swift and sudden adaptation of statistics and features that need measuring – and all with visual results.


So, data is changing the manufacturing world and it is at the foundation of Industry 4.0. The massive dematerialism of activities and the overall interconnection of machines, and of machines and workers, have created a great opportunity to analyze data from factories. Thanks to the digitization of machines, information from sources that are habitually ignored can now be analyzed with the objective to optimize the production line, minimize stop times and adeptly manage risks.


Translation of article: Les données : La base de l’Industrie 4.0 Juliette Martinez

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