Three Ways to Reinvent for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

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Three Ways to Reinvent for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Stephen Nigro, HP Inc.

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Three Ways to Reinvent for the Fourth #IndustrialRevolution http://bit.ly/2k7QNYr via @Forbes @HP @HPSustainable #IoT
Thursday, February 9, 2017 - 7:50am

CAMPAIGN: HP, Inc. | Integrity

CONTENT: Article

We are on the cusp of a new industrial revolution defined by the blending of our digital and physical worlds. At HP we call this Blended Reality, and we believe it will surpass the revolutions that came before in scale, scope and complexity. Connected factories, robotics, artificial intelligence, augmented reality and 3D printing have the potential to disrupt and reinvent virtually every aspect of the $12 trillion manufacturing industry, unlocking unprecedented economic potential.  We estimate 3D printing will expand at a 30% compound annual growth rate to an $18 billion industry in 2021, with plastics being the largest portion of the market accounting for an estimated $10.4 billion. Even at $18 billion, that is a small fraction of the $12 trillion manufacturing industry.

Reinventing the Workforce
As we go through the fourth industrial revolution the global economy will undergo a major transformation.  The type and location of jobs will dramatically change.  According to the World Economic Forum, 65 percent of children today will grow up to work in jobs that don’t exist yet, and almost 50 percent of the knowledge students acquire in the first year of a four-year technical degree will be outdated by the time they graduate. In past industrial revolutions we had the luxury of time to train and retrain workers. With the exponential rate of technological innovation, this is no longer the case.

Education institutions at all levels need to adopt an inclusive growth mindset that embraces change.  New curriculums are needed that teach technological literacy, equipping students with the skills needed to succeed in this new era of digitally computer assisted design and manufacturing. Programming, technology- and user-experience design, and equipment operation and management will be valued skills, along with cognitive abilities like creativity and logical reasoning.

This extends beyond the classroom. Needed skills will continue to evolve throughout a person’s career. As more jobs are automated, employers must commit to providing their employees the tools and on-the-job access to learning that are necessary for future success.

Reinventing Trade & the Taxation of Goods
The taxation of goods and services is rooted in the physical movement of products. 3D printing disrupts this model. Instead of shipping tangible goods, companies will ship digital designs and raw materials, increasing production efficiency. Many products will be transported via digital files as ones and zeros, taking shape in a 3D printer at the destination. This shortens and localizes the supply chain while greatly reducing cross-border trade of goods.

The shift from trading physical goods to digital files could render existing WTO goods-related agreements irrelevant, raising questions like: Does the transmission of these files need to be classified as an import or export? If so, which country should be taxed? As value shifts to the end of the supply chain, the potential for supply chain taxes decreases. Governments will have to make up for lost revenue in new ways, and businesses may need to think about maintaining the raw materials they need closer to the point of manufacture.

Reinventing the Global Supply Chain & Sustainability
Traditional supply chains involve shipping components and products back and forth across the globe, leaving a trail of carbon emissions in their wake. The on-demand nature of the fourth industrial revolution through new technologies like additive manufacturing and immersive computing makes supply chains more efficient. Digitizing the shipment of “goods” and producing finished products nearer the point of consumption promises to reduce carbon emissions.  On demand production eliminates production waste and saves energy. This works only if the 3D ecosystem agrees to use sustainable materials and methods along the entire supply chain.

Every industrial revolution has required governments, businesses, and institutions to re-evaluate existing policies and procedures. The fourth industrial revolution is both different and the same, because it is both physical and digital. The global community must act quickly to keep pace with the unprecedented rate of technological innovation. All sectors of society must come together to ensure that our workforce, our economy, and our products are built for the new Blended Reality at the heart of Industry 4.0.

Keywords: Responsible Business & Employee Engagement | Business Ethics | Environment | HP | Industrial Revolution | Innovation & Technology | Responsible Production & Consumption | global supply chain | sustainability

CAMPAIGN: HP, Inc. | Integrity

CONTENT: Article