During the world’s largest technology fair Hannover Messe, the term Industrie 4.0 was introduced in 2011 and formalised by industrial superpower Germany 2 years later. The fourth industrial revolution was born. Artificial intelligence, connectivity and computerisation provide connections between resources, information, objects and people.
An example. You are sitting at your breakfast table and wonder why no multimedia has been integrated. File information or news directly at hand or open your garage door remotely would be useful. You make some sketches and send them to a virtual network of designers and manufacturers. Advanced algorithms find an available and specialized designer in this field. You get augmented reality models from different designs sent, nice by the way to see the translation of your sketches to a real design. Meanwhile, the delivery time is calculated on the basis of data from the entire chain of interested parties. When you press the order button you know that the next morning you will be sitting at your new “connected” table.
What does this new revolution mean for the design process and the designer? It is still too early to give good answers to these questions. However, it is certain that industry 4.0 is only successful if there are good designers, who must be well acquainted with all new technologies, workflow and processes.
A serious challenge which requires innovation in the education of the designers. But also a creative opportunity since industry 4.0 can also lead to more personal product design.
Where mass production technology made universal industrial designs available to the masses, Industry 4.0 can lead to personalised desigs for each individual. Not only a blessing to reduce the excess of unused stuff on our Earth, also a tailored interpretation of the user’s needs!
And the term for the new way of working for industrial design?
Industrial Design 4.0