Industry 4.0, Promise and Reality
I have concepts about Industry 4.0 for quite a while, but did not know there was a term for it. Thanks for pointing it out, which causes me to look up Industry 2.0 to 4.0. Although the promise of 4.0 is quite alluring, I doubt we will have a sea of change to 4.0 within 20 decades.
It's no surprise to me that the companies that are on 4.0 tends to be smaller and newer. GE can't be really counted on as knocking 4.0. The promise of 3D printing for GE is significant fabrication cost saving and the removal of design constraints because of manufacturing limitations, not necessarily a step toward 4.0. As for IT and manufacturing actually getting closer to one another, it will take a while since old habits die hard. Within IT, there are plenty of inherent problems that IT needs to resolve within itself before the data spills over to the manufacturing side (without considering Big Data's own problems). On manufacturing side, I've seen plenty of production machines that are still stuck on Industry 2.0. Until Industry 4.0 provides significant advantages, 2.0 machines will likely stay where they are. Wringing more productivity out of existing 3.0 machines & processes is also a good pre-condition for 4.0.
Although I am hopeful for Industry 4.0 and IT/manufacturing working side by side, it would likely happen a lot later than we would like.