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We live in a connected society that makes the most out of technology. Industry 4.0, the fourth industrial revolution brings with it an ocean of possibilities fueled by technological advancements such as interconnectivity, automation, big data, machine learning, real-time data and more. Examples are a GPS system that helps you get to your destination, virtual assistants such as Siri or Alexa, or even Netflix recommendations.  

The concept of Industry 4.0 refers to machines and products fully connected and exchanging data to digitize the sales cycle and other business operations.  

In this digital era, disruptive technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) are changing the way businesses create products and internal solutions, which were hard to envision decades ago. It’s no longer a matter of when, but how quickly you are going to integrate this technology into the way you do business to remain competitive. 

A recent study shows that only 14% of executives are highly confident that their organizations are ready to fully harness the changes associated with Industry 4.0.

Every company is different, but they all have one need in common. With digital transformation, the sales cycle also changes. Every business faces the challenge for real-time insight across processes, product and client engagement. 

That’s why you should consider Industry 4.0 as your best ally. However, that alone won’t do the trick. At the end of the day, it’s about to revolutionize the way your entire business operates and it will result in the scrapping of some old habits within the workforce.

The key Industry 4.0 technologies that transform businesses 

The Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0 is in full swing. According to Salesforce, these are some technologies that you should be integrating into your business operation in order to be more valuable and transform the way you interact with customers:

Artificial Intelligence (AI): Forget about tedious workflows. AI is used in many ways, from obtgaining insights about your sales history, to predicting future customer behavior. Even more so if you understand the benefits of combining Artificial Intelligence with your current CRM software. With an AI-powered CRM such as Salesforce’s Einstein and Zoho CRM’s Zia, you will learn from past decisions and historical patterns to score the best leads for sales. You can also increase customer engagement as this technology helps you to get an emotional insight during the sales cycle. 

Virtual reality (VR): This technology offers unique experiences merging the physical and virtual worlds. Also, it will bring you closer to your customers. For example, an app that allows users to experiment with products before buying them will help to secure a sale. By offering them a personalized experience you can increase customer loyalty.

Robotics: This technology is changing traditional production relationships among suppliers, vendors, customers, and also between machines and humans. Automated robots increase business efficiency by learning from humans’ decisions. Machines are already transforming sectors such as healthcare and finance in which error-free activities are crucial. Machines are also great for taking care of some repetitive tasks, but automation won’t take away all jobs. This technology is making workers more efficient rather than replacing them. The human + machine is the winning combination that will make your business thrive.

Internet of Things (IoT): Nowadays it is imperative to have everyday devices connected to the internet and each other. A great advantage for companies is that they can collect customer data from these connected products. They allow businesses to learn how consumers use products or what they’re really looking for in order to launch more targeted marketing messages and shorten the sales cycle. IoT assisted production is already been used by companies such as Siemens, Airbus, and Cisco. 

Benefits of adopting an Industry 4.0 model for your business

The merging of technology and business is what can set you apart from your competitors. Benefits such as improved efficiency, lower costs, higher revenues, and innovation are significant. Therefore the importance of understanding how Industry 4.0 will help you seek new sales opportunities. 

Better supply chain management and optimization. Industry 4.0 gives you greater insight and data visibility across an entire supply chain. It also affects how products are customized, where they are made and how they get to us. For example, technologies like 3D-printing allow manufacturing companies to print their own parts, which can do wonders to improve product quality at a lower cost and faster than traditional processes. 

Reduce costs. Once automation and intelligence are built into products and sales processes, investments will pay off. Higher levels of automation results in less wasted materials and more efficient operation.

Become a consumer-centered business. Companies that monitor real-time data available with Industry 4.0 can give customers better service. It’s recommended that you also rely on a powerful ERP and CRM integration such as Commercient SYNC to be able to provide exactly what the customer wants and keep them happy.

Transform your business into a “smart factory”. According to Forbes, Industry 4.0 introduces what has been called the “smart factory.” In which cyber-physical systems (computers and networks) monitor the physical sales processes and make simple decisions on their own and become as autonomous as possible. This will make your company an evolved business that adapts to new demands. 

The positive impact of the above-mentioned technologies can have on your business is undeniable. Is your company ready to make the most out of those changes? Let’s talk about how connecting your ERP with your CRM can get your business into Revolution 4.0.

Formula E Racing takes off in New York City:  Formula E Racing, or ePrix, is a fairly new arrival to the racing circuit–the sport has only been around since 2014.  Formula E was introduced in an effort to show off the potential of “sustainable mobility”. Many of the best names in motorsports–McLaren and Williams–and some of the most storied drivers in racing, like Senna and Piquet–have made Formula E the newest darling of the racing scene. Unlike traditional auto racing, which takes places on specially designated tracks, ePrix is kind of like a real-life version of Metropolis Street Racer on steroids.The 2-day race takes place on city streets, which is ideal for these cars.  The cars are silent, so the noise and emissions associated with gas-powered auto racing are eliminated.  The short straights and myriad corners display the noted acceleration of these vehicles.  The speed and artistry of these drivers is enough to woo even the most hard-core traditional racing enthusiasts. Other races this season have been held in such diverse locales as Hong Kong, Marrakesh, Monaco, Berlin, and Buenos Aires. While Formula E racing is still in its infancy, New York has signed a 10-year contract to sponsor the race, so expect much more from this sport in the future.  For those of you that are already avowed fans, you can watch the final race of the season, held July 29-30, 2017 in Montreal, on Fox Sports.

Virtual Reality experiences are literally out of this world.  Virtual Reality (VR) headsets are wonderful–we love ours! The problem right now is that there is not much VR material to experience.  Enter the brilliant minds behind VRLO (Virtual Reality London). At this conference, VR companies show off the latest and greatest in VR tech.  While most of the tech at VRLO was great, the most mind-blowing, awe-inspiring experience was created by the developers at Rewind. Their “Spacewalk” VR has snagged almost every award in the genre and even won a Silver Lion at Cannes.  In this spectacular VR experience, you are an astronaut whose mission is to repair a piece of the International Space Station (ISS). Created on Unreal Engine 4 and engineered for the HTC Vive, this VRX project is inspired by NASA. My paltry words won’t do it justice, so here is a video of the VR.

Afghan girls’ robotics team takes second in competition. The magnitude of this win cannot be overstated. In the FIRST Global Challenge, robotics teams from all over the world were asked to come up with a robotics-based solution to access clean water. Sounds pretty straightforward, right? For this team of girls, every possible obstacle was thrown at them. First, they had issues getting their supplies due to officials being concerned about the supplies falling into the hands of extremists.  So when other teams got their items in March, the Afghan team didn’t receive theirs until June. Add that to the fact that Afghanistan isn’t known as being a nation that embraces women in STEM careers. The girls were then denied visas into the U.S. twice before President Trump finally interceded on their behalf.  In the end, the girls took home the silver medal in the competition and an award for courageous achievement.

Commercient hasn’t been lagging behind in new technology! We have a number of great new apps on the Salesforce App Exchange.  We have introduced SYNC for NetSuite and Salesforce,  SYNC for SAP and Salesforce, SYNC for Exact and Salesforce, and more. Contact us for more information.