The Ultimate Survival Guide on AI and Machine Learning in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Part I

In this five-part series on industrial AI, we will arm you with the knowledge you need to understand what AI, machine learning, data science and edge computing are, how they are already impacting industry, and how they can help your business save time and money.


We are at a significant turning point in history. The industrial world is being disrupted. At the epicenter of this change are three key elements: artificial intelligence (AI), big data and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Today, billions of people and countless machines are connected to each other. Through groundbreaking technology, unprecedented processing power and speed, and ubiquitous, mass-scale distributed computing, data can be collected and harnessed as a business asset at immense magnitude. New doors have been opened by connectivity, data science, automation and embedded computing. Predicting the future is no longer a futuristic concept — it is our reality.

AI and Machine Learning in Industry: AI and machine learning are at the heart of turning mountains of industrial data into actionable insights that improve decision-making and deliver measurable business outcomes.
AI and Machine Learning in Industry: AI and machine learning are at the heart of turning mountains of industrial data into actionable insights that improve decision-making and deliver measurable business outcomes.

What is driving digital disruption in industrial sectors?

Digital disruption is affecting nearly every industry — from music and entertainment to energy and transportation and everything in between.

But why is all of this change happening now? Recent advancements in technology — including more affordable sensors, an increasing amount of data being generated and collected, and drastically better computing capabilities — have pushed AI-based software past previous limitations and enabled it to reach new heights.

Connectivity and a New Generation of Machine Data

At the heart of the IoT is a connected infrastructure of sensor-based technology that brings with it the ability to bridge our physical and digital worlds. How? By collecting and interpreting data from machines to understand the stories they have long been trying to tell us.

With the number of internet-connected devices now exceeding the world’s population, not only is our globally connected network going to multiply at a faster rate — so is the amount of data we produce. This is a big part of the reason why IoT will contribute $11.1 trillion to the global economy by 2025.

Here are just a few of the factors driving the rapid expansion of sensor-based technology and data collection:

  • Power-efficient Silicon: The rise of smartphones continues to significantly reduce the cost of silicon, driving down costs for everything from components to sensors to central processing units and beyond.
  • Ubiquitous Wireless: Faster and more affordable wireless connections are readily available just about anywhere. Big Data: The ability to process large amounts of data — and do it quickly and accurately — cannot be overstated. Major Advancements in
  • Machine Learning: Breakthroughs in machine learning make it possible to deliver highly effective, actionable insights at a very large scale. Open Source Software and
  • Hardware: Publicly accessible source code means greater collaboration and more growth potential.

With global spending on digital transformation projected to reach $2.1 trillion by 2021, it is clear that we are in the midst of groundbreaking times where digitization is driving large-scale innovation across industrial sectors.

Welcome to the World of Industrial AI and IoT

By leveraging machine learning and data science to turn equipment data into meaningful, actionable insights, leading industrial companies are ushering in a new era of connected infrastructure and redefining what it means to be successful.

In the past few years, we have seen an explosion of consumer products that use cloud computing and AI to deliver superior service to customers. From Amazon’s in-home assistant Alexa to AI-enhanced toothbrushes that monitor oral health and brushing activity, smart devices are becoming more and more ingrained into the fabric of our everyday lives.

But in industry, we are on the verge of an even bigger transformation. There are about 6.4 billion connected things in existence today — not including smartphones, computers or tablets — all of which produce data. This number is expected to skyrocket to 20.8 billion by 2020. The value created from this network of connected machines is unprecedented across industrial sectors.

Implications for Today’s Industrial Businesses

New technologies like AI and IoT will transform entire value chains and enable completely new business models. Digital transformation is the competitive playing field where winners and losers will emerge, and your business is not an exception.

One of industry’s biggest challenges is also its most expensive: downtime. These periods of time — when industrial assets are unavailable to perform their primary functions — add up to a exorbitant problem that is continuing to grow larger, costlier and more complex to solve. Each year, around $647 billion is lost from downtime in individual industrial sectors. Zooming in on that number, the cost of downtime can reach as high as $540,000 for every hour systems and assets are unavailable.

But machines do not have to break — nor should they, given the data and technology we have at our disposal. Using the right tools, industry can make unplanned downtime a thing of the past.

In part two, we’ll discuss how AI and machine learning work when it comes to industrial assets.

Don’t want to wait? Download A Survival Guide to AI and Machine Learning in the Fourth Industrial Revolution today.