A GPS system that suggests the fastest route to a destination. A voice-activated virtual assistant, such as Siri by Apple. Personalized recommendations for Netflix by Netflix. And the ability of Facebook to recognize your face and tag you in a friend’s photo.
These types of technology now are so frequent in our daily lives that many don’t think twice about them. But here’s the true reality: These unprecedented advances in autonomous technology, sustainability, robotics and analytics are disrupting traditional business models.
These advances are part of what is now being called the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or 4IR, a period in which the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres are being blurred. It is a fusion of advances in artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, 3D printing, genetic engineering, quantum computing and other technologies.
All of this and more will be discussed in an upcoming panel discussion sponsored by Middlesex County.
“Leading Locally in the Fourth Industrial Revolution: The Future of Automation” will be presented from 8-11 a.m. Sept. 9 at Middlesex College in Edison.
Register for the event here.
The panel includes:
- Solomon Caviness, department head of transportation, Middlesex County (moderator);
- Balakrishnan Iyer, chief commercial officer, EOS Energy Storage, Edison;
- Brendan Kaplan, director of transformation, Metropolitan Transportation Authority;
- Jyoti Sharma, senior manager, networking planning, Verizon.
The panel, the second in the county’s three-part business series, will discuss how 4IR is behind the many products and services that are fast becoming indispensable to modern life.
Most specifically, the panel will discuss:
- What does it mean for the individual?
- How will it impact businesses?
- How will it impact the workforce?
- How has the county prepared for this Fourth Industrial Revolution — and how it can help?
- Where are the opportunities?
- What is the downside?
The 4IR figures to have important and lasting effects on the future of business. Embracing 4IR likely will help companies deliver results and hold greater resilience, especially during uncertain times.
- Investing in digital initiatives: Investing in robotics, automation, IoT and AI will allow for revenue growth and reduced costs. Returns on 4IR can also yield intangible forms of growth beyond the top and bottom lines, including improved workplace safety and overall employee experience.
- Supply chain: 4IR technology figures to enable businesses to make their operations and supply chains more transparent and efficient, in real time. These technologies, when applied and deployed, can help companies weather this and future crises — some by supporting remote work and others by enabling greater social distancing in the workplace or the warehouse.