By Bernard Ash

Industry 5.0 will challenge the boundary constraint, remove physical limitations and build in virtual connectivity and capabilities. As a result, there will be a number of significant, powerful, needle moving outcomes

big data 1.0 LEADSo rapid is the progression of technology on planet Earth that Industry 4.0 is now considered old news. Most of the emerging technology that underpins Industry 4.0 has now fully emerged. In fact, we have been talking about I4.0 for so long that the concept for the next generation of industry evolution is now emerging.

Today’s world runs on rapid, exponential and, above all, perpetual change. At Accenture we have come to the realisation that the solution to this is not always just another industrial revolution, but more of a wholesale digital transformation in both the things we make and the way we make them. This is what we call the New or Industry X.0. There is, however, a significant and powerful industry shift emerging that could now be classified as the next industry evolution, 5.0.

Evidence suggests that this evolution is being driven by two evolving requirements: greater customer and supply chain interaction and ‘smart’ working. The latter is being driven by the desire to work from anywhere at any time as a part of the evident global shift towards flexible working.

Before we explore what Industry 5.0 might look like, let’s briefly recap on the previous four revolutions:

  • Industry 1.0 - Circa 1784, Mechanisation and the first industrial use of steam power
  • Industry 2.0 - Circa 1870, Production in mass using assembly line and electricity
  • Industry 3.0 - Circa 1969, Introduction of computing, electronics and automation
  • Industry 4.0 - Circa 2015, Cyber physical systems and connected devices (IoT)

The most recent revolution, 4.0, made a significant leap to bring together two powerful capabilities” Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) and The Internet of Things (IoT).

CPS merges physical and software components together and makes the end product highly connected to the internet and its users. Robots, autonomous vehicles, smart grids and other such complex systems are examples of CPS.

IoT is the collection of connected smart devices that require no human to human or human to computer interaction. These devices can range from watches to fridges to phones to weather sensors. They can communicate with each other, exchange information and work collaboratively to complete tasks and feed information back to human operators.

Outside of those two core capabilities, Industry 4.0 also encompassed a number of technologies considered ‘emerging’ that changed the way we could design, build and connect within a manufacturing environment. Technologies such as augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence and machine learning, digital twin, connected supply chain and others revolutionised the way we can bring products and platforms to market.

There has been, however, an artificial constraint placed upon this new way of manufacturing – one that has been there since the first industrial revolution: The notion that everything that interacts in that environment needs to be in that environment.

If a client wants to see the build progress of their product, they need to travel to the manufacturing site, put on some PPE and take a look. If the same client wants to change the design, they need to go and visit the engineering team and discuss the change. If an engineer wants to weld on a bracket, they need to be on the factory floor with a welder in hand. Prior to the invention of computers and networks such as within the first two revolutions, this constraint was very real.

What Industry 5.0 would look like

Modern manufacturing environments use a variety of what are considered Industry 4.0 technologies. The most prevalent of these technologies is connected devices. Devices that can interact with other devices, humans and infrastructure within the environment. A typical view of such a manufacturing environment could be represented like this, where the rectangle represents the boundary of the environment:

Industry 5.0 will challenge and ultimately remove the assumption that connections – therefore devices and humans interacting in this environment – need to be within it. That will ultimately result in the extension of connectivity well beyond the physical boundary of the manufacturing environment. With the boundary removed, the same environment above would look more like that below. In this view humans and devices can interact with the environment at a distance. In fact, an engineer could be interacting with a manufacturing environment from their home office in a different country.

It is also important to note that since the inception of Industry 4.0, the general view of what is considered ‘industry’ has changed. Traditionally it meant ‘manufacturing’ and was focused on environments such as factories and shipyards where things would be built.

This view has widened to include environments that ‘maintain’ products and platforms such as an automobile service centre, a hangar where aircraft are maintained or on a ship at sea.

Although removing the boundary of connectivity doesn’t sound like much in theory, it will result in the development of a number of technologies which in turn will open the door to some game changing capabilities. Before describing some of the technologies behind these advancements, let’s take a look at some of the game changing outcomes I am referring to.

Virtual manufacturing

One of the outcomes of Industry 4.0 that will be further integrated into manufacturing with the advent of Industry 5.0, is the interaction between humans and machines.

Neither industry 4.0 nor 5.0 intends to replace humans with machines. Instead, it intends to augment them. In turn, this increases task efficiency and reduces workplace injuries and fatigue. Industry 5.0 simply takes the value of this concept to the next level by removing the perceived boundary of a manufacturing environment, allowing humans to interact with machines such as COBOTs remotely.

If there is a specific task that a specialist needs to carry out, there would no longer be a requirement for them to be inside the manufacturing environment. They could simply connect in through a secure connection from wherever they are in the world and use ultra-high resolution immersion to control a COBOT to deliver the task outcome.

Immersive technology such as haptic suits could also be integrated for extra sensory and control. As scary as this may sound, these technologies will one day lead to remote surgery where a surgeon may operate on a patient remotely. I am fairly sure the list of volunteers willing to trial that technology would be short. In a manufacturing environment, however, that issue is a little more forgiving if things go wrong.

Greater customer interaction

The number of aftermarket parts and products in the automotive industry highlights the lack of customer interaction and choices when it comes to vehicle manufacturing. This is a huge market segment that vehicle manufacturers are missing out on. Sure, there are more options for new vehicles today than there was forty years ago, however, Industry 4.0 has introduced manufacturing modularity and can amplify that customisation proposition.

A number of manufacturing plants such as Audi’s facility in Europe are set up to enable a heightened level of customer configurability. Industry 5.0 will provide the ability to bring the customers directly into the environment through digital twin technology. The outcome is the customer’s ability to configure their vehicle exactly to their particular needs, online from their home and transacted within the manufacturing environment itself. No need for the car dealer to send those specifications to the manufacturing plant – the customer can do that directly, digitally.

The customer is not only delivered a highly configured vehicle, they also receive its digital twin. The vehicle can be permanently connected to that digital twin giving the owner the ability to view detailed diagnostics and provide predictive maintenance capabilities similar to what Mercedes Benz is looking to achieve with theirme connect platform.

When it comes to defence assets such as ships, aircraft and tanks, this customer interaction value proposition is amplified many times over. As it can take a number of months, sometimes years to build a ship, there are numerous changes and interactions made between the customer and the manufacturer. Industry 5.0 would suggest that those interactions do not always need to be made physically. Instead, the removal of the perceived boundary will allow seamless and secure connectivity into the manufacturer’s digital assets. Changes to the configuration can be made virtually by the customer by interacting with thedigital twin remotely. Some of those customer changes could be incorporated in as a little as a few hours before they are physically made by adding them into the digital workorders via the digital twin.

Virtual Maintenance

Maintaining assets such as cars and ships have as many if not more potential applications of Industry 5.0 than they do in their manufacturing. The idea of a platform such as a warship is to have it available to take to sea as often as possible. The longer the ship sits in dock being maintained the less it can be at sea operating. With limited space on a ship and the fact that at times it could be thousands of kilometres from the nearest port, providing the ability to bring SMEs into that environment virtually can be a game changer.

Through the use of digital twin, IoT and (X)R high fidelity immersion capabilities, SMEs can diagnose issues using sensory context and data analytics, remotely.

Predictive maintenance and supply chain

Predictive maintenance is a powerful capability that is already attracting a lot of attention. It uses two rapidly evolving capabilities: Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). In short, it learns what is happening to different parts of a vehicle and can predict if there is an imminent failure. For example, it will learn from previously collected data that when a sensor on a wheel detects higher than average vibration, the wheel bearing is at risk of failure.


Predictive maintenance is a powerful capability that is already attracting a lot of attention

To maximise the value of predictive maintenance, it should be integrated into the Digital Twin of the asset. With the Digital Twin at the core, any number of views can be configured to display valuable information required for different tasks. As an example, an automotive engineer can quickly determine which parts of a customer’s vehicle might be close to failure when they bring the vehicle in for a scheduled service. With that information, the engineer can discuss the option of replacing those parts during the scheduled service instead of running the risk of parts failing between services. Ultimately the objective of predictive maintenance is to maximise the up time of the vehicle.

When it comes to aerospace and defence assets, this value proposition is significantly amplified as the key objective for owners of these platforms to maximise availability. The more time an aircraft sits in a hangar or a ship is docked in a shipyard for repairs, the less time they can be in operation. Predictive maintenance across a platform the size of a ship can increase platform availability and reduce maintenance costs significantly. At this scale, supply chain rules can be added such that the AI layer is given discretion to automatically create maintenance orders and order parts based on the outcomes of predictive maintenance. The end result might be a generated and scheduled batch of maintenance work orders when a ship t docks next in order to replace parts predicted to fail within three months. Not only are the work orders scheduled, the parts are also automatically procured and delivered. The result is that unscheduled maintenance can largely be avoided, increasing platform availability.

Integrated program environments

One of the biggest issues with manufacturing from a data perspective is the centralisation and security of intellectual property. Large-scale programs like shipbuilding can have hundreds to thousands of organisations within their supply chain, potentially creating an inherent risk of data leaks.

Traditionally, data is shared through a number of methods: email, DVDs, portals, hard copy, USBs – some secure and some not. It is for this reason that data is often compromised. Depending on the type of data, this is not always a problem. It can become a significant issue, however, when the data is sensitive or defence classified.

A way to deal with this issue is to containerise that data into an integrated program environment. Data can be created in the environment and shared with individuals who are a part of that environment, but it does not leave the environment except under tightly governed circumstances. All the applications required to create, edit and manage that data also reside in the environment, with individuals only having access to the data they need. Entry to the environment is via virtualisation, so data does not need to cross physical or cyber boundaries. Hey presto, secure data! Not only is the data secure but it also resides in a single location providing the ability to easily control configuration changes and also stand up powerful capabilities such as digital twins and supply chain towers.

Technologies that would underpin Industry 5.0

Industry 4.0 has seen the emergence of a number of technologies that can digitally mature many facets of manufacturing and maintenance. From Augmented Reality to Artificial Intelligence to Additive Manufacturing (3D printing), these technologies have already played a significant part in the reduction of operational costs and time to market of products.

These technologies will continue to play a significant role as we progress into Industry 5.0, none more so than Digital Twin which will act as the data sink for plug and play capabilities inside and outside of the physical manufacturing or maintenance zone.

There will also be a requirement for a security layer needed to deal with the orchestration of access to these technologies. This security layer will see the first real introduction of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to this cyber gateway. It will not only help manage these connections but also detect and isolate threats to the Digital Twin without human intervention.

There are, however, new technologies that will emerge with Industry 5.0, primarily to provide a highly immersive experience for individuals connecting into the manufacturing or operational environment remotely. Without these new technologies, the experience of connecting in virtually will lack visual and haptic context and consequently be very poor. Let’s take a look at some of those technologies.

Ultra-Secure Connectivity

Cyber security has never been more important than now. That sentence will remain as applicable tomorrow as it is today, due to the fact that technology advancements expose new ways for threats to emerge.

As with Industry 4.0, Industry 5.0 will create new technologies that will require advancements in cyber security to mitigate these threats. Digital Twin brings with it an unprecedented number of ways to mature the way industry delivers and maintains products. In doing so, however, it centralises the Crown Jewels of an organisation, creating a pot of gold that hackers will do anything to get.

Artificial intelligence will bring the next wave of cyber security advances. AI will be able to detect threats, learn their behaviours and isolate before they get a chance to get in the door. It will also lead to new innovative approaches to decoying threats. For example, when it detects a threat, instead of just denying access it will lead it down a long and convoluted pathway to nowhere. Similar to when scammers call me at home suggesting they are from the “Windows Company” and have found an issue with my PC. Instead of hanging up on them, I talk to them for an hour, pretending to be computer illiterate to a) frustrate them b) consume their time that they would otherwise be spending with someone susceptible to their scam and c) run down their international phone credit. You see, hackers run on the principle of fail fast and move to the next attack. AI will be able to flip that paradigm by mimicking a successful hack leading them to dummy information. Of course, on the flip side of this, adversaries will also be able to use AI to launch advanced attacks.

Haptic Suits


Immersive technology such as haptic suits could also be integrated for extra sensory and control

Industry 5.0 will elevate the level of virtual interactions with the physical environment. To make that possible, visual context is extremely important. To make that experience even more immersive, haptic suits will be used to provide touch feedback. This will be especially valuable when an individual is undertaking tasks such as installing specialised parts to a product virtually (remotely). The haptic feedback will provide the remote engineer with the touch fidelity required to undertake those tasks.

Low Earth Orbit Nano Satellites

Communication is clearly fundamental in supporting the significant shift from intensive onsite interaction to a hybrid onsite and remote model. Although there are a number of options for secure, high-bandwidth, low-latency connectivity to support that model for land-based manufacturing sites, the same can not necessarily be said for operational environments. For example, a ship that is sitting in port will most likely have access to good connectivity. When it is in operations, thousands of kilometres at sea, that connectivity is limited. Not only is it limited from a bandwidth and latency perspective which is required to support immersive connectivity, but also from the perspective of cyber security.

Conventional satellite communication usually means sharing an expensive car sized satellite with a number of other organisations. With the introduction of nano satellites such as those fromFleet Space Technologies, organisations and agencies can own their own capability for a fraction of the price and with improved security.

Ultra-High Definition Video Streaming

Similar to haptic suits, UHD video aims to create deeper immersion with virtual interactions. 8k resolution is now emerging and creates colours with such intensity that it evokes stronger sensory experiences almost like the individual was physically in the environment. At 8k resolution, each pixel is indistinguishable to the human eye which helps to effectively blend virtual with physical.

Holographic Collabo-Presence

Collaboration is key for any organisation and when you remove people from the physical environment such that they are working from disparate geographical locations, it is even more important.

Skype revolutionised the way we achieved workplace collaboration and telepresence evolved video conferencing even further through immersive technology. It almost felt like you were in the same room, had it not have been for the fact a screen is still two dimensional.

AR and VR have certainly helped make 3D immersion real, but it is still limited when it comes to human to human interaction.

Hologrpahic Collabo-Presence will make that final shift to virtual 3D collaboration without the need for a headset. 3D Holograms seen on Sci-Fi flicks like Star Wars are now emerging with companies such asVoxonwho have figured out how to write light to a point in space. The end result is a real 3D hologram that you can walk around and will result in being able to talk to each other remotely as if they were right there in front of you.

Industry evolves fast

The last twenty years has seen a lot of changes to the technology we use to manufacture products and platforms. The last five years alone has seen the number of connected devices increase from around 4 billion to 20 billion. In fact, industry evolves so fast that at Accenture we refer to it as Industry X.0 for that very reason. However only a small percentage of manufacturing organisations are taking full advantage of Industry 4.0 let alone 5.0. There are three reasons I typically observe as to why this is so:

  • The culture of the organisation is not ready
  • Industry X.0 technologies are seen as nice add-ons but potentially expensive and not essential
  • Organisations don’t get past the “Where do I start?” question

Point one is the subject of thousands of other articles out on the world wide web, so I will leave that one alone.

Point two had some merit five years ago, however, organisations are now struggling to compete against others who have competently integrated industry 4.0 into their business capability model. If ever there was a time to address Industry 4.0, it is now.

Point three is often the most important in addressing points one and two. Define the top ten capabilities that your organisation uses to build their products. For example: Engineering Design, Production Engineering, Safety and Environment, Quality Control, et cetera. For each of those capabilities specify a maturity rating – let’s say out of ten. Then, specify where the maturity rating the organisation would want to be for each of those capabilities. If there are gaps between those two numbers, then you have a business case for Industry 4.0.

I may have made that sound simpler than it is. Nonetheless, it is a really good starting point for an organisation’s Industry X.0 journey. I look forward to seeing yours.

Bernard Ash is the Director of Innovation – Aerospace and Defence at Accenture

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