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What are some challenges under Industry 4.0?

What are some challenges under Industry 4.0?
Increasingly, manufacturers are turning to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to achieve further operational and management efficiency. However, there are still certain Industry 4.0 challenges that need to be overcome before further adoption.
That was the point raised by an Industry 4.0 Blog post, which summarized the challenges as follows.

OT and IT

According to the post, operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT) have different responsibilities and are typically strictly separated, with the former focusing on manufacturing execution system and automation and PLC administration, and the latter on computer and server administration and network security administration.
“The challenge is to reach consensus in the different inherent philosophies: OT is open to new technology which brings value to production and is easy to handle, while IT is open to XaaS pricing models but is very careful to avoid data leaks,” the post noted. “As the two departments are probably separated, build a cross departmental task force to collaborate on a use case in production.”


IIoT or Industry 4.0 is all about leveraging connected devices and the data they generate to achieve further efficiency. According to the post, the connection of assets and sensors leads to high data volume, but typically the legacy low bandwidth connections are not suited. “They most probably need to be enhanced to achieve stability and reliability, low cost of maintaining and administrating, and standards in m2m communication,” it said. “When getting started with basic use cases, select a supplier who can deliver the solution and competence to get or keep it running.”

Security concerns

Security concerns come in two fronts: leak of important or sensitive data regarding the company and its employees, and hackers intruding into systems or connected devices that are easy targets sitting on the network.
“The typical concerns regarding security are that, as data can be confidential, a misuse of data can lead to business damages, and that inbound connections have the risk of compromising production,” it said. “As manufacturer, keep your software and infrastructure up to date. You will also benefit from making cybersecurity high priority. This can be done by employing a dedicated data/cyber security officer.”

Low expertise

According to the post, with new technologies being used in Industry 4.0, new skills are suddenly needed in the organization. “Today, small and medium sized companies typically have experts in mechanics, electronics, and control software. But not in analytics and data and communication technology,” it said. “New skills are needed in communication technology and data science. Because talent is scarce, many companies look to build up internal resources.”

Data ownership

Due to the fluid nature of data, it is hard to determine who actually “owns” it. Therefore, the post cites the following things that need to be clarified:
  • Which data are we talking about?
  • Where is the data created and through which process or mechanism?
  • Which data should stay confidential to one of the parties?
  • Who has the right to handle and use the data to generate value?
  • What is the respective party allowed to do with the data or information?
  • How is the transportation and storage secured?
  • Who covers for damages from data leaks or misuse?

Change management

According to the post, the shift towards Industry 4.0 means changes for suppliers and manufacturers, and this “digital transformation” needs to be supported by change management. “Because many departments are covered, also many stakeholders are involved. This is a situation which requires tact, empathy and a visionary leader,” it said. “Otherwise the digitization is under the risk to fail, resulting in wasted money and lost time.”

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