The Role of Startups and Corporates in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Fourth Industrial Revolution Blockchain Babe

Also referred to as The Fourth Industrial Revolution, Industry 4.0 is a name for the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. It includes cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things, cloud computing, Big Data analysis, and cognitive computing. By 2022, the market value of Industry 4.0 will reach a valuation of €185 billion. To gather actionable insights, pioneering startups around the globe are setting industry standards to revolutionize outdated processes and technologies.

What role will startups and corporates play in the development of Industry 4.0?

Startups have been the undisputed backbone of innovation for the last decade, while corporations are notorious for taking ideas to scale. This article highlights startups poised to significantly influence the Fourth Industrial Revolution and explores corporates roles in the Industry 4.0.

Big Data & Predictive Analytics
Augury is an Israeli startup that allows machines to “talk.” Bringing predictive maintenance to the market, this company “listens” to machines to anticipate malfunction or future failure.

Agtech company Arable uses IoT sensors to gather data about plant health, density, light, and weather. Farmers use this smart farming metrics to make data-driven decisions about what needs attention in the field before it’s too late.

DataRobot’s cloud-based predictive analytics solution requires no data science expertise and is referred to as “world class machine learning as a service.” Deploying quickly and in just a few days, DataRobot solves real-world problems that would otherwise require staffing data scientists.

Cloud Computing
The cloud computing market continues to expand at a very rapid pace. According to the latest numbers from IDC, the public cloud market grew 28.6 percent in the first half of 2017, generating $63.2 billion in revenue.

Waylay is one example of a startup masterminding an intelligent SaaS decision-making platform (IFTTT). The Belgian-based company describes itself as the developer of “the ultimate rules engine for IoT,” as it generates a compact logic for easy maintenance – dynamic processes in the cloud, for the cloud.


Filecoin is a data storage network and electronic currency based on Bitcoin. With “exabytes” of digital storage space left unused, Filecoin is building an end-to-end encrypted, decentralized storage network and file hosting platform. The company hopes those with large amounts of unused storage will rent their space in exchange for its tokens.

3D Printing

3D printing has undergone an incredible transformation over the last three decades. Thanks to its continual development, other materials than plastics are being used to 3D print; including metal, ceramic, and biomaterials. These developments support constructive change. Taiwan, a heavy consumer of plastics, is now planning to enforce a blanket ban on single-use plastic items including straws, cups and shopping bags by 2030.

German startup Additive Works is on a mission to make 3D printing less costly. Their solution entails a four-step system called the ASAP Principle (Assessment, Simulation, Adaption, Process), on which their software solution “Amphyon” is built.

Carbon3D works at the intersection of hardware, software, and molecular science to deliver on the promise of 3D manufacturing. With the slogan, "stop prototyping, start producing," Carbon supports fast iteration and rapid production and testing. Look for custom-made 3D printed Adidas footwear powered by this pioneering company.

Cybersecurity
Alongside radical connectivity, Industry 4.0 brings with it also adds a layer of vulnerability. Increased exposure to APIs, IoT devices, edge computing hardware, and remote networks increases the risk of cyber attacks. Cybersecurity startups are emerging to help enterprises safely navigate through the uncertainty.

Protectbox is a search and comparison website for cyber protection. Businesses can sign-up, answer questions about their current cyber security and their future needs. Protectbox's algorithms will then match it with potential suppliers based on required standards and regulations, such as the upcoming GDPR. Meanwhile, cybersecurity vendors can sign-up to Protectbox to get their services recommended to potential customers.

Armis purports an IoT security platform that is designed to provide a complete view into activity and threats on all devices and networks, allowing users to see and control compromised and unmanaged devices and rogue networks accessing their systems. In early deployments, Armis demonstrated that companies were unaware of 40 percent of the devices in their environment.

Predictive Maintenance

Founded in the Netherlands, Semiotic Labs works with Artificial Intelligence (AI), specifically machine learning algorithms and sensors, to optimize the process of predictive maintenance in smart factories. Other respectable benefits of their solution include early warnings and the elimination of unplanned downtime.

KONUX is an IIoT company that integrates smart sensor systems and AI-based analytics to continuously monitor asset and infrastructure condition, and enable predictive maintenance. Through KONUX' sensors, end-users can assess their assets' health in real time and turn their data into quality increasing and cost-saving actions.

Augmented Reality (AR)

Startup Atmo was created to solve the problem of remote troubleshooting, using an AR-based platform that works on any device. Claiming to “turn anyone into an expert instantly,” the cutting-edge startup eliminates mistakes made through poor communication possibilities.

Ubimax supplies of wearable computing solutions which are deployed by organizations. Ubimax wearables can be used in all industries along the whole value chain covering logistics, production, quality assurance, service, and support. Ubimax wearables improve work efficiency and simplify processes for today's industrial workforce.

Corporates role in accelerating Industry 4.0:

Corporates are looking to inject artificial intelligence techniques into their applications to improve processes and scale quickly. While startups are directly innovating in key areas like Robotics, Simulation, Industrial IoT Platforms, corporates look to leverage blockchain, machine learning techniques, advanced analytics, and so forth to strengthen and oversee transactional, contractual, administrative, predictive, autonomous, and data. Corporates are poised to lead unseen levels of process automation and speed with a focus on outcomes.

As these emerging technologies develop further, challenge existing structures, and transform the fabric of the manufacturing industry, companies eager to rapidly identify relevant innovation areas and act on them will take the lead as industry trailblazers. Using the potential of evolving, disruptive, and innovative startups to collaborate and achieve a lasting competitive advantage in their respective area will contribute to enterprise success.

Industry 4.0 enables collaboration between disruptors by providing actionable intelligence on startup driven innovation. The right combination of breakthrough technologies can help dying companies achieve breakout performance.