August 11, 2025, 6 A.M. Your smart alarm clock wakes you up and you jump off the bed like a ninja as the new day starts. The bathroom light turns itself on, your smart music player plays your favorite music in the background and the shower is heating its water for you. After taking your shower, you head to the kitchen where your robot Ron has already served your breakfast. You click "remote start of my car" on your phone and your cars starts itself in your garage, ready to take you to work. A push notification informs you via your phone that one of the machines at your factory is not working properly. Most of the time the factory takes care of itself "Why on earth can;t machines get things right?" you whisper as your auto pilot pills your car out from your garage.
Welcome to life after the fourth Industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0, where all the devices you use are custom-made, interconnected and constantly working for your benefit. The fourth industrial revolution, more commonly know as "Industry 4.0", is initially defined as the integration of smart, internet-connected machines and human aiming to increase the competitiveness of manufacturing industries through a "completely new approach to production" according to a report released in 2013 by the Industrie 4.0 Working Group. As in many other areas of our everyday lives, the effects of Industry 4.0 are changing the world around us and making it a better place for all of us.
The number of Internet connected devices is growing rapidly and it is expected to increase from 15 billion devices in 2014 to 40 billion devices in 2020. Intelligent devices are expected to become accountable for almost half of all Internet traffic and almost every cloud-connected simple thing such in which everyday objects from cars to thermostats to toasters will be connected and remotely controlled via a smart phone. Going even further to the transformation of simple everyday things/tasks, toothbrushes collecting data from the cloud to combat plaque seems entirely tangible. Connectivity is playing a significant role in everyday life, and "smart: applications appeared enabling appliances to be controlled away from the home via a mobile device. Energy services are now offering smart remote heating giving owners more control over their heating. If you're leaving for home and it suddenly turns cold, you could switch on the heating using your smart phone. The new technology allows users to adjust the temperature in their homes simply by saying a voice command such as "hello, thermostat", "make it warmer".
Let's go back to you. You are driving towards your factory. You check your phone only to discover that its battery is about to die, but no worries a replacement is already waiting for you at the office. Your phone has already notified the factory machines to alter their production levels, in accordance with the malfunctioned machine (error), and retain production high degree of efficiency. You giggle as you realized that all objects you are using all day are made just for you and in a very real way. From the connected to all home machines alarm clock that rouses you from your sleep, to the shower that heats its water for you, from the time your robot Ron cooks you pancakes for breakfast, til the time your smart phone autonomously alter your factory production patterns to overcome the production error, everything can be done remotely over the internet.
One thing is for certain, however: Industry 4.0 is already upon us and changing the way we live our lives. Signs the transformation is happening already can be seen in every cloud-connected simple thing or our everyday tasks. It sounds like the future is going to be much noisier with the entire buzz around Industry 4.0. Let the machines speak their wireless protocols and create richer everyday experiences for us all.