Maintenance 4.0 hype of game changer?



De massale belangstelling en de erg positieve vibe die er heerste, bevestigt dat onderhoud 4.0 momenteel in het centrum van de belangstelling staat. Maar is dit wel terecht? Is het hele gedoe rond het Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) niet gewoon een hype die over een jaar zal overgewaaid zijn?


Een hype is een verschijnsel dat tijdelijk bovenmatige aandacht krijgt en daardoor belangrijker lijkt dan het in werkelijkheid is. Het kan een reclamestunt zijn of in gang worden gezet door bovenmatige media-aandacht. We kunnen in elk geval niet ontkennen dat de media aandacht voor IIoT en industrie 4.0 erg hoog is. Ondergetekende pleit met deze editorial mee schuldig.  


De hype cyclus

Onderzoeks- en adviesbureau Gartner, toonde echter aan dat we in de informatietechnologie-sector beter kunnen spreken van een hype cyclus.  When a potential technology breakthrough kicks off, early publicity produces a number of success stories. After a while the new technology is at its top of visibility, resulting in a peak of inflated expectations. In its 2018 emerging technologies hype cycle, Gartner put the IoT just over top, ready do slide down to the depts of disillusionment. And yes, this surely does reaffirms the sceptical nature of our rather conservative maintenance & reliability community, doesn’t it?  And yes of course, certain maintenance 4.0 implementations will fail to deliver. But don’t be mistaken: behind the horizon lurks the rising Plateau of Productivity. Those adopting the new technology, learn from the earlier mistakes and build out a significant competitive advantage over the ones that are lagging behind.  And then of course, Mainstream adoption starts to take off. 


Surfen op de golf van de hype

Talking about mainstream, what do you think jumps in mind when the general public hears the word ‘technology’? Do they think of electrical motors, compressors or any other industrial assets? Or do the latest smartphones and game consoles pop up before their eyes? When economists announce that ‘technology stocks are down’, we all know it is about Apple, Microsoft, Facebook or Apple. So, with our limited scope of attention, technology has in the past decades been implicitly restricted to software and objects with pixels and a backlight. And, being new and exciting, these things got the complete attention of the general public. However, despite of the efforts of the marketing departments, the nextgen smartphone adding an additional megapixel to its camera, doesn’t make customers queuing for 1 week anymore. Technology eventually  fades into the patterns of everyday life. In the long run, it’s the destiny of all technology. And for many years this has been the unfortunate case for the industrial assets.

With the arrival of IIoT and the industry 4.0 hype, industrial assets are put in the technology spotlights again. Working in the world of “industrial things” used to be unnoticed and uninteresting, but – thanks to digitization – it has become “cool” again. 

Thanks to predictive analytics and IoT we are currently living in an unprecedented era of renewed interest in maintenance and reliability. Suddenly business leaders can appreciate again the benefits to be gained by investing in reliability.  And that, dear reader, is only one of many reasons why we need to embrace this digital transformation and grab the opportunities it creates in our profession. 


Wim Vancauwenberghe
Maintenance Evangelist


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