Industry 4.0 Technologies that will Influence Business in 2019

Global business leaders understand the need to leverage emerging technologies to get closer to their customers and identify new opportunities in the marketplace. But with technology moving at the speed of light and multiple competing priorities, it can be a challenge to keep up with the latest trends and tools, much less effectively utilize them to transform your organization.

Data in AESC’s latest report, Leading Transformation: Shaping the C-Suite for Business 4.0 Innovation, confirms business leaders are overwhelmed by the rapid rate of change but also that it must be C-suite leadership driving business transformation through culture change and innovation.

And it’s not just CTOs and CIOs who need to pay attention. Staying up to date on Industry 4.0 technologies is a company-wide effort, with CEOs increasingly playing a critical role in determining which digital transformation initiatives to undertake.

With that in mind, knowing what these potentially transformative technologies are is the first step towards figuring out how to use them to gain a competitive advantage. Here is a good place to start.


Business 4.0 is the global business environment created by the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Industry 4.0 technologies. Business 4.0 extends beyond the industrial and manufacturing sectors to encompass and influence all industries, from financial and professional services to healthcare and consumer goods.

Business 4.0 is influenced by the following key technologies:

3d printing

3D Printing, also known as Additive Manufacturing, enables the creation of physical 3D models of objects. It’s being used in product development to reduce time-to-market, shorten product development cycles, and create more flexible manufacturing and inventory systems with lower costs.


Analytics turns raw data into insight for making better business decisions. Companies continue to invest in analytics to get closer to their customers and identify market opportunities, but they grapple with scaling this practice into day-to-day use across the organization instead of just in a few functional areas.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an area of computer science the creates intelligent machines that work and react like humans, particularly in the areas of speech recognition, learning, planning, and problem solving. As AI becomes more common, applications that employ it must work seamlessly with others, so leaders must be ready to facilitate deeper integration with existing applications and IoT projects, and richer ecosystem interaction.

Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented Reality (AR) combined computer-generated display, sound, text and effects with a user’s real-world experience, delivering a unified but enhanced view of the world. AR and VR (Virtual Reality) is expected to grow into a $95 billion market by 2025, and while the strongest demand comes from the creative economy, there are also practical applications for industries like healthcare in areas such as training.

Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing is the use of services such as software development platforms, servers, storage, and software over the internet, often referred to as the “cloud.” The lower costs associated with serverless cloud adoption, which stem from vendors’ ability to pool resources between clients, has resulted in some companies shutting down proprietary data centers. There was a 667% rise in serverless adoption in the US in the fourth quarter of 2017, and this trend is only expected to grow.

Internet of Things (IoT)

Internet of Things (IoT) describes everyday physical objects being connected to the internet and able to identify themselves to other devices. Think smart home devices (eg Alexa), wearables (Fitbits), self-driving cars, and smart retail like AmazonGo. It’s estimated there will be more than 24 billion IoT devices on Earth by 2020 (approximately four devices for every human being on the planet) and that $6 billion will flow into IoT solutions.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is the process of automating routine business practices with AI-trained “software robots” that can perform tasks automatically. These robots could replace humans for common tasks like transaction processing, IT management and assistant work. According to Deloitte, 53% of companies have started their RPA journey and we could see near universal adoption within five years.


Strategic consideration and implementation of these technologies can lead to increased efficiency, improved customer experience, higher profits, and better ability to keep up with the competition.

Knowing what they are is only the first step. The next phases are identifying the barriers to achieving enterprise-wide digital transformation, transforming C-Suite roles to accommodate Business 4.0 needs, and building a company culture where innovation is the norm.

Building a strategy that attracts and retains the right talent is key to this. To glean insights from more than 600 executive talent advisors worldwide—across industry, function and geography—on how some organizations are successfully transforming and why others are not, download Leading Transformation: Shaping the C-Suite for Business 4.0 Innovation.


Download our Publication

Loading loading

Thank you for your request!

Here's your PDF