Industry 5.0 — How human-centered design & data-driven automation can spur economic resilience in 2021

Nikhil de Silva
Jan 11 · 4 min read

According to the International Society of Automation, “The human touch revolution is underway,” which sums up the intent of Industry 5.0. Greater assimilation and interconnectedness between humans and machines.

Industry 4.0 focused on connectivity (a.k.a #IoT) between devices and systems to achieve optimum performance and improve efficiencies and productivity. Industry 5.0 suggests if you are to achieve an optimal state of efficiency, humans need to lie at the intersection of technology, process, and design.

The events of 2020 have forced industrial sectors such as manufacturing, logistics, and energy to pay more attention to the potential impact of industrial revolutions because they advocate for:

— Reduced dependency on the human workforce

— Increased implementation of automation across the supply chain

— A bi-directional flow of information between human and robot to inform and improve real-time decision making

There’s no question, in such uncertain times, leaders need to combine both approaches to build next-generation industrial solutions. But it’s hardly a bullet point on the next ‘all-hands’ agenda, is it? It changes how a business builds for the future, how it operates day-to-day, and essentially requires a complete mindset shift starting from the top down.

So with such a monumental change, where do executives start?

One way is to combine the ultra-fast precision of automated technology with human-centered design and creativity at the core of your digital transformation journey. The trick is to laser focus on your customer base’s problems, what they’re trying to solve and apply this approach in small but incremental waves.

Can Industry 5.0 work?

AI assistance at scale

“Ok, Google” and “Hey Alexa” have mostly been taglines for lifestyle ads that help us avoid the dinner menu or remember to feed our pets. Voice assistants have become native decor on our kitchen countertops or bedside tables, to help us become more efficient in our lifestyle activities. We can improve our personal productivity using a combination of administrative prompts and insights we ask those devices to provide. Ironically, we can enhance industrial efficiency in the same vein.

Improving performance through prediction

Augury, a predictive maintenance market leader, uses smart wireless sensors to monitor machine health 24/7. For example, one of the top 20 pharmaceutical firms in the world wanted to decrease costly downtime events to prevent unplanned disruptions to their supply chain. Their site team believed a change in maintenance practices is all that would be needed, but without a 360 view into the health of their machine architecture, they didn’t have the full data story.

Some of the most critical outcomes of Augury’s partnership with the pharma giant included gaining access to actionable machine health diagnostics, informed change management practices that would drive adoption, and deployable technology with proven value. Augury’s machine learning algorithms identified bearing wear within two air handling unit (AHU) cleaning rooms. The big deal here? It saved the firm over $300K in repair and product loss.

So what does this have to do with Industry 5.0? It’s the perfect example of quantitative insights provided by mechanical competency, combined with human expertise, creating a value-centric impact resulting in increased efficiency across the operational chain.

Up in the cloud with climate change

A fundamental tenet of Industry 5.0 is that robots will support, not replace, humans. IBM Watson and Alpha Zero come close to showing how artificial intelligence can take decision-making to another level. Their outputs complement human intuition, something we haven’t cloned effectively just yet.

Telstra, Australia’s largest mobile network, has continued its partnership with Microsoft to build groundbreaking, nationally significant solutions that leverage the Telstra Data Hub to create innovative solutions in emissions reduction, among others.

The companies will partner on digital twins for Telstra customers, Telstra’s commercial buildings, and selected other infrastructure — which, when deployed, will be one of the largest Azure-based digital twins in Australia. It will map physical environments in an online virtual setting to create models that provide an at-a-glance understanding of what is happening in the real world and support improved what-if scenario planning. So where’s the bit about helping us all breathe cleaner air?

By transitioning from legacy and on-premises applications to modern cloud-based solutions, not only can companies like Telstra reduce their emissions but cut down their annual carbon footprint.

Digital twins are like the ‘backpacks’ of Industry 5.0 high school. They hold all the information you need to innately understand market landscapes, customer needs, environmental challenges, and so much more. Migrating operations and innovation to cloud-based solutions encourage new solutions in critical areas like asset tracking, supply-chain management, and smart spaces by harnessing the latest advances in AI, digital twins, and mixed reality.

Those are Satya Nadella’s words, not mine, but they effectively support this discussion in the most simple but profound way.

By influencing human intelligence with calculated predictive insights, the potential for efficient outcomes can be precisely what we need in a post-pandemic future.

American futurist and businessman Alvin Toffler’s message might be more poignant now than it’s ever been: ‘The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.’

A strong message but one we need to hear loud and clear, to keep moving forward.

Driving Economic Growth Through Future-Proof Impact

Prospect Park Collective
Nikhil de Silva

Written by

Partner at Sayers. Ex-VP @Salesforce. Ex-Partner @PwC. Chair @ProspectParkCo. Playing at the intersection of human-centered design, data & next-gen intelligence

Prospect Park Collective

Prospective Park Collective is a non-profit organization founded by a group of spirited friends who evolved a passion-project into a vehicle for economic stimulation and recovery. We are motivated by emerging technologies, innovation, and entrepreneurs hoping to change the world.