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What Is Economy 4.0? - Digitalization And Industry 4.0

The words digitization and Economy 4.0 are on everyone's lips. Due to the increasing networking of machine, producer, service provider and customer, the expectations of small and medium-sized enterprises are changing. To help you get started with digitization, we have already created a guide to digitization for SMEs. In this article, you will get an introduction to the topic of Economy 4.0 and learn what opportunities can arise for your company.

What is Economy 4.0 ?

Digitization and Economy 4.0 go hand in hand and shape the way we live and work every day. 

In simple terms, digitization means that analog values and data are converted into usable digital formats. The "digitized data" can then be analyzed in terms of information technology. Digitization is often also understood as digital transformation. Digital transformation refers to the changes that digitalization is bringing about in society, politics and the economy.

Economy 4.0 is the result of precisely these digital changes. Economy 4.0 is understood to mean internal and external networking along the value chain. At the heart of networking are platforms and technologies that connect employees, customers, cooperation partners and machines.

Employees can collaborate globally via the cloud and communication tools such as Slack or Yammer. 

Companies connect on social channels and apps, directly with their customers and collaboration partners to provide individual solutions for their needs. The data and information collected in the process is then used to improve the company's performance and adapt it to customer needs.

But production has also changed. Machine parts are now produced by 3D printers and assembled by robots that communicate with each other. The networking of machines with each other enables fully automated production. 

Our lives and our everyday working lives are becoming increasingly digital as a result of the economy. Your company must adapt to these changed market structures, because your customers are increasingly digital and want to be addressed on digital channels. 

What is Industry 4.0?

Industry 4.0 refers to the process of comprehensive digitization of industrial production for the future. Industrial production is to be interlinked with the help of modern information and communication technology. It is about the intelligent networking of machines and processes in industry. This is intended to make self-organized production possible.

What is the difference between Economy 4.0 and Industry 4.0?

Although Industry 4.0 is only a subsection of Economy 4.0, Economy 4.0 and Industry 4.0 are commonly used as synonyms. Economy 4.0, in contrast to Industry 4.0, encompasses all industries (healthcare, legal, retail, trades). Industry 4.0, on the other hand, refers exclusively to the manufacturing sector. Nevertheless, an examination of the various stages of industrialization helps to understand the development up to Industry 4.0. 

The development toward Economy 4.0

Our economic system is constantly changing. It has been a long road from mass production to Economy 4.0, passing through various technological development stages.  The numbers one to four describe this development process. 

Industry 1.0

The first major step in the economy occurred around 1800, with the development of the first steam engines revolutionizing production.

This mechanical novelty acted as a driver of mobility and the economy by accelerating the expansion of the railroad network through more effective production equipment, thus shortening transportation routes and times. 

Industry 2.0

The use of electricity ushered in the second industrial revolution (Industry 2.0) at the end of the 19th century.

As a result of the industrial use of electricity, new production possibilities opened up. The piecework and assembly line work established by Henry Ford are characteristic of Industry 2.0. In addition, the telegram and telephone accelerated work processes. The resulting efficiency gains ensured wealth growth and made automobiles accessible to the masses.

Furthermore, the first globalization trends emerged in the 20th century through cross-continental trade. 

Industry 3.0

Industry 3.0 is characterized by automation through electronics and information technology. Starting in 1970, the personal computer (PC) and the Internet conquered offices, as well as private households. Increasing networking, innovative business fields and facilitated communication were made possible by this pioneering achievement.

Industry 4.0

The Internet is the catalyst of the fourth industrial revolution - Industry 4.0. The networking trends that originated at the end of the 20th century culminate in Industry 4.0. In the meantime, people and machines are completely connected via the Internet and communicate with each other in a completely flexible and location-independent manner. The data generated in the process is used to make production even more effective and to design products and services that are more tailored to specific target groups.

What does Economy 4.0 change for SMEs?

Digitalization is advancing inexorably, changing market conditions and the needs of your customers. For your company, it is now indispensable to be found on the web. Did you know that 89% of all purchase processes start with a search query? Companies that cannot be found on the Internet are therefore virtually non-existent. 

In addition to digital marketplaces, the Internet of Things (IoT), online marketing and Big Data, the economy is also changing working methods and business models. Employees are increasingly being deployed more flexibly, working in teams and dealing with problems that extend beyond the boundaries of their own department. The basis for these modern ways of working is a solid digital infrastructure.

Many companies are put off by the changes of Economy 4.0, but digitization offers your company many opportunities for improvement.

Why Economy 4.0 is an opportunity for SMEs? 

In the course of digitalization and Economy 4.0, a multitude of opportunities are opening up for your company. The Internet and its various channels offer you many new sales channels. You can acquire potential new customers via social media and meet your existing customers at eye level. In addition, you can use Instagram, Facebook & Co. and always have a direct line to your target group. 

Using the chat functions of social media, your customers have the opportunity to contact your company directly in order to exchange ideas with you. The fast and direct exchange not only saves time, but also improves customer satisfaction.

Cloud-based technologies and platforms accelerate your business processes by making data centrally accessible to all team members and facilitating communication. This saves time and money, which you can invest in the further development of your company.  

According to a study by techsonsult, 38% of respondents said that the benefits already exceed the costs of digitization.  



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REVOMENTAL: What Is Economy 4.0? - Digitalization And Industry 4.0
What Is Economy 4.0? - Digitalization And Industry 4.0
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