Karl Benz changed the world when he invented the first practical automobile that was powered by an internal combustion engine. Fast forward 130 years and self-driving cars are now a reality. With technology advancing at an exponential rate, we stand on the brink of the Fifth Industrial Revolution and if business leaders aren’t adapting how they work, they risk getting left behind.
To put it into perspective, the First Industrial Revolution occurred roughly between 1760 and 1850 – lasting 90 years, while the second took place between 1870 and 1914 – lasting 44 years. The third is somewhere between 1969 and 2000 – covering approximately 31 years, and the fourth is currently underway. What’s consistent in all of these is the impact on people’s way of life and that the evolution of technology is speeding up.
When it comes to Industry 5.0, there’s uncertainty about what it will bring and how it will disrupt business. What we do know is that it’s going to break down barriers between the real world and the virtual one. New technologies are going to be more sophisticated than anything we have experienced before, and they are going to be faster, more scalable and adopted globally.
Augmented and virtual reality, big data, artificial intelligence and the most revolutionary of Industry 5.0 technologies – cryptocurrency. In the not-so-distant future we can expect cashless economies where cryptocurrencies are accepted around the world, and where everything is sold through e-commerce transactions. The Internet of Things is on the rise, as is blockchain technology, and while artificial intelligence will cause job losses, more efficient processes will drastically increase productivity.
The changes that are coming with the Fifth Industrial Revolution will affect how organisations operate, which is why business leaders need to prepare for tomorrow. To remain competitive, they will have to move away from how they have traditionally operated and they must embrace fresh ideas, new thinking and, of course, unfamiliar technology.
“When new technology from the next revolution becomes entrenched, we’re going to be conducting business in different ways,” says Stuart Scanlon, managing director for epic ERP, the official Southern African distribution partner for Epicor Software Corporation, a global provider of industry-specific enterprise software to promote business growth. “Current systems won’t be able to handle the expected increase in productivity, which is why business leaders need to become early adopters of technology, to stay ahead of the changes.”
For an organisation to future-proof its business, it needs software that can support the unknown, together with agile infrastructure, so it’s better set up to adjust its services, products and procedures. To manage productivity and achieve success, the business will need to be flexible and run lean.
“People have different opinions when it comes to predicting the start of Industry 5.0 but, if you consider the speed of transformation in technology, I believe it’s going to be here far sooner than most people think. The future is happening now and we need to rise to the challenges if we are to thrive in the next revolution,” says Scanlon.