Much has been said about the current wave of industrialisation under the umbrella term of “Industry 4.0”.

Especially in emerging economies as that of South Africa, the advancements into the Internet of Things, Machine learning and artificial intelligence, have created hype and fear at the same time, as they present substantial challenges to the workforce that is threatened with rationalisation by the use of machines taking away much-needed jobs.

From time to time we have to ask ourselves, is the manner in which we have become accustomed to performing our daily task, the best way, is it still applicable, and are there not better ways in fulfilling the task in today’s age?

Science and technology have bought about Industry 4.0, but currently, the real lesson that we are learning is a rather harsh lesson from Mother Nature.

A viral outbreak has forced us to separate, isolate and cease mobility with immediate effect. This counters all the developments of social mobility over the past 70 years.

For example, one of the relatively recent trends of open-plan offices with hundreds of people in pursuit of a common task is now no longer viable.

We are seeing that this was not a naturally sustainable and optimal implementation of the workforce. There are many examples in today’s job market, that are sub-optimal, due to unnatural or dangerous conditions.

The flexible remote worker has a new purpose and meaning, underpinned by different technological advancements that we have developed over the past decades. Save to say that for many menial and manual tasks that we are fulfilling on a day to day basis, they are performed better and more reliably by technology that is not prone to the challenges currently presented through Mother Nature.

Remote Real-Time Temperature Monitoring

Simple tools such as remote real-time temperature monitoring, in an essential environment, such as the one required for the storage and transport of pharmaceuticals, is just one example where an essential function that had largely been performed manually, is better fulfilled by modern technology that is not prone to interruptions from Mother Nature. No longer do we have to assign and send people to the site, but we are now able to manage a process as well as the outcome remotely.

This is just one example of how a process can be modernised and changed to leverage many advantages. And as with any process change, it brings about the need for new skills and new jobs to be created. Incidentally, these jobs can be fulfilled anytime and anywhere, thus obliterating the need for more expensive office buildings with hundreds of people crammed in a room.

We need to embrace new technology and the opportunity for change, dispose of old processes, and spend our energy on the analysis and implementation of improved operating models. COVID 19 has successfully disrupted the human ecosystem, we need to learn from it and embrace the opportunities presented by Industry 4.0.

Since 2008 Ikhaya automation systems have focused their developments around remote data collection and device management. More than 8000 temperature monitoring devices have been deployed across Sub-Saharan Africa, and our solutions have been approved by the World Health Organisation. The solutions have been embraced by large blue-chip clients who have successfully implemented new processes and procedures and thus continue to innovate on their own services provided to their customers.