Industry 4.0 is a name for the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. It includes cyber-physical systems, the Internet of things, cloud computing and cognitive computing. Industry 4.0 creates what has been called a "smart factory". Within the modular structured smart factories, cyber-physical systems monitor physical processes, create a virtual copy of the physical world and make decentralized decisions.
Over the Internet of Things, cyber-physical systems communicate and cooperate with each other and with humans in real time, and via the Internet of Services, both internal and cross-organizational services are offered and used by participants of the value chain.
It all started with the Industrial Revolution, when the world was first introduced to steam power, mechanization and factories that marked the new era of modernization. The enablers were no other than the world’s powerful imperialists, the British that cultivated their growing interest in scientific investigation and invention – creating endless opportunities and jobs for their people.
As time progressed, the rapid growth of technology sparked the Second Industrial Revolution, taking mankind to the age of electricity. As demand grew, many new products were invented and significant developments were made in the structure of mass production.
The third epoch of the Industrial Revolution – better known as the Digital Revolution – began decades after World War II, welcoming the advent of computers and the initial stages of automation – subtly substituting manpower in assembly lines with robots and machineries.