As Manager Business Consultancy Industry at ICT Group, Leendert Mijnders is concerned with (industrial) digital transformation on a daily basis. Technological developments in this field, ChatGPT, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), Mixed Reality (MR), go hand in hand with business developments at customers. The main question is who dares to make which steps when.

Leendert Mijnders

5.0: two worlds merging together

That things are moving fast in the market may be an understatement, but it is true. Between the 1st industrial revolution (18th century), the 2nd technological revolution (19th century) and the 3rd digital revolution (20th century), there were about 100 years each time. The 4th revolution came much faster (early 21st century) and the 5th has actually already started. What 5.0 adds to 4.0 is its focus on people and their environment. 4.0 focuses primarily on connectivity, artificial intelligence and machine learning: fully automated processes that make their own intelligent decisions based on data they collect themselves. With this, 'they' can, for example, increase product quality and reduce asset downtime.

Industry 5.0 looks at the world in which this takes place. A mixed environment in which the physical and digital worlds merge. The world you perceive and actively experience when you put on VR glasses. Industry 4.0 is still mainly about the software. 5.0 is about the interaction between people, technology and the environment, with sustainability being a central theme.

The value chain as a guiding principle

Understanding the chain of industrial processes, for example, helps us make those processes more efficient. With data and intelligent software, we make maintenance predictable, we can intervene before errors or downtime occur and limit energy consumption and waste flows, among other things. In doing so, we make a structural contribution to making those processes more sustainable. 4.0 is self-learning and can make smart products, but remains mainly machine-related.

At 5.0, we go a step further. We look at the entire value chain and react interactively and automatically to (anomalous) events in that chain. Think of a sudden scarcity of a certain raw material, causing its price to rise and the entire chain to face higher costs. As soon as data somewhere in the value chain signals this 'disruption', the process automatically starts looking for alternatives for that raw material and takes all factors into account. So also transport costs or CO2 emissions of the alternative. 5.0 is based on the significance for the entire value chain and for people's perception and environment.

How do we move from 4.0 to 5.0?

What matters most to our customers is what this means for their business and the world they operate in. We help them understand the impact and consequences, make the right choices and make the technological innovations available. A lot is already possible, often much more than we can apply now. We try to reduce that to choices of costs, returns, opportunities and what that means for the organisation as a whole and locally at a factory. A 'dark factory', a fully autonomously running factory, still needs maintenance people for the machines.

Recognising signals, analysing data, drawing conclusions and taking actions can be accommodated in self-learning models. What 5.0 adds is a strong focus on sustainability, the interaction, the collaboration between these models and what humans do themselves. VR, AR, MR, robots are not worlds in themselves. They are interactions with humans and their environment, and we are still there ourselves! There are incredible amounts of data available, the technological possibilities are enormous, but it is humans who choose, live and experience.

Best Digital Transformer of the Year

With this in mind, we at ICT Group try to use our knowledge and ambitions to make the world a little better, smarter and more sustainable every day. That is also why we are so pleased with our re-election as Best Digital Transformer of the Year, because this award in particular shows that we are not only ahead technologically, but also that we understand our clients' business and put the world we live in together first.

Our Smart Industry Summit on 21 June in Utrecht is all about these developments and the role digital transformation plays in them. For more information and to register, click the button below.


Smart Industry Summit

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Leendert Mijnders