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According to Wikipedia – Industry 4.0 is a name given to the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. It includes cyber-physical systems, the Internet of things, cloud computing and cognitive computing. Industry 4.0 is commonly referred to as the fourth industrial revolution.

But what does this actually mean and how does it impact our lives you may ask?

In lay mans terms here’s a great article below by Bernard Marr and posted by Forbes Magazine which explains exactly that.

What is Industry 4.0? Here’s A Super Easy Explanation For Anyone

We’re in the midst of a significant transformation regarding the way we produce products thanks to the digitization of manufacturing. This transition is so compelling that it is being called Industry 4.0 to represent the fourth revolution that has occurred in manufacturing. From the first industrial revolution (mechanization through water and steam power) to the mass production and assembly lines using electricity in the second, the fourth industrial revolution will take what was started in the third with the adoption of computers and automation and enhance it with smart and autonomous systems fueled by data and machine learning.


Even though some dismiss Industry 4.0 as merely a marketing buzzword, shifts are happening in manufacturing that deserves our attention.

Industry 4.0 optimizes the computerization of Industry 3.0

When computers were introduced in Industry 3.0, it was disruptive thanks to the addition of an entirely new technology. Now, and into the future as Industry 4.0 unfolds, computers are connected and communicate with one another to ultimately make decisions without human involvement. A combination of cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things and the Internet of Systems make Industry 4.0 possible and the smart factory a reality. As a result of the support of smart machines that keep getting smarter as they get access to more data, our factories will become more efficient and productive and less wasteful. Ultimately, it’s the network of these machines that are digitally connected with one another and create and share information that results in the true power of Industry 4.0.

Industry 4.0 applications today

While many organizations might still be in denial about how Industry 4.0 could impact their business or struggling to find the talent or knowledge to know how to best adopt it for their unique use cases, several others are implementing changes today and preparing for a future where smart machines improve their business. Here are just a few of the possible applications:

Identify opportunities: Since connected machines collect a tremendous volume of data that can inform maintenance, performance and other issues, as well as analyze that data to identify patterns and insights that would be impossible for a human to do in a reasonable timeframe, Industry 4.0 offers the opportunity for manufacturers to optimize their operations quickly and efficiently by knowing what needs attention. By using the data from sensors in its equipment, an African gold mine identified a problem with the oxygen levels during leaching. Once fixed, they were able to increase their yield by 3.7%, which saved them $20 million annually.

In 2018, the west coast was on fire and the east coast was flooding. If it wasn’t clear before, it is abundantly clear now. The cost of ignoring climate change is only becoming worse. While the future may seem bleak on our ability to protect the environment, some entrepreneurs have been turning to the Internet of Things to counteract the effects of climate change and other environmental hazards.At Particle, we have seen this firsthand. We have witnessed a number of product creators using IoT technology to monitor the environment, prevent floods, battle toxic fumes, and more. As such, in this blog post, we’ll examine 5 primary ways product creators and businesses are using IoT technology to monitor the environment and combat climate change.


Phil Bresnahan, a research engineer, and his team of environmental scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography are using IoT technology to learn more about oceanographic phenomenons (i.e., things that are changing along coastlines).

How are they doing this you may ask? With Smartfin, an IoT-enabled surfboard fin that collects valuable oceanic data as surfers crush waves. It’s the perfect combination of research, data science, and gnarly fun.

Smartfin tracks board location, water temperature, the motion of break waves, the pH levels of water, and more. This data can often be tricky for scientists to gather because waters rescind and come in quickly. However, surfers are naturally out in the near-shore waters, which works out perfectly.

Phil Bresnahan and his team have started to work with other scientific and watersport communities to gather more data about the sea. With this data, they hope to provide policymakers with the insights they need to make informed decisions about the environment.


Kilauea, the most active volcano in Hawaii, erupted in May 2018. In a month’s time, Kilauea destroyed 700 homes, caused at least 21 fissures to emerge, and exposed residents to high levels of sulfur dioxide gas. Even today, these hazardous fumes are seething from the volcano with geologists warning that these eruptions could last for years to come.

With such high health risks, citizens were searching for data that could track volcanic vog (smog with volcanic gases) so they know what areas to avoid. However, citizens of the island are having trouble accessing this air quality information easily.

Environmental Monitoring, Environment, Envirotech, Particle, IoT

To give communities access to this data, a group of MIT scientists and the Khola Center used IoT sensors to create the Hawai’i Island Vog Network, a network that provides real-time measurements of hazardous fumes like sulfur dioxide in Hawaii. The network collects data using low-powered sensors that are stationed near eruption zones and are connected to the Internet via a Particle Electron.

With this network, not only do citizens have access to the data they need, but scientist are learning more about pollutants in Hawaii’s environment. One of the MIT scientists, David Hagan, has even deployed the same network infrastructure in Delhi, India (one of the world’s most polluted cities) to monitor pollution and take steps to reduce CO2 levels.


The world is racing towards renewable energy sources like wind and solar, but the lack of sufficient storage capacity limits the ability to integrate intermittent power generation. At the same time, renters can’t participate in utility sponsored renewable energy programs, because they don’t have access to rooftop solar.

In fact, many renters pay high electric bills, taxes, and other fees to help modernize the electric grid without any direct benefit. Renters represent one-third of the US population, but they lack pathways to engage in renewable energy programs that offer incentives to homeowners who can afford solar and electric vehicles.

However, Shifted Energy is changing this paradigm by retrofitting existing water heaters into grid interactive water heaters (GIWH). With Particle’s IoT platform, they convert water heaters into batteries that act as demand response assets that can shift loads to reduce peak demand and help utilities stabilize the grid while integrating more renewable energy.

By connecting these GIWH units to the Internet, utility companies can control the GIWH units to absorb solar power during the day to heat water. The hot water remains hot and can be used any time without consuming more electricity, thus lowering peak demand.


IoT-based environmental monitoring has even been proven to be helpful on the farm. For example, Greg Meandel loves to build and program IoT projects that remove the complexity from daily farm life.

For instance, one of his many IoT projects is an excavator that can be started remotely. By using an Electron, he can remotely heat up the excavator’s block heater, which helps start up the engine. In some cases, he had to wait hours for the internal block to heat up. Now, he can wake up and wirelessly send a command to the electron via his phone. By the time breakfast is finished, the excavator is heated and ready to go.

This is just one of many IoT projects Greg has implemented on his farm. He also built a self-measuring grain device to keep a better eye on his grain levels.

After corn is harvested, the grain is collected in large storage bins. For Greg, he had to climb a ladder just to see inside the bin and track how much corn grain had been harvested. This turns into a rather timely and painfully repetitive task when you have to check it multiple times a day.

However, with his self-measuring grain device, it automatically records and alerts him about how much grain is left. By proactively monitoring his crops, Greg Meandel is ensuring that thousands of crops don’t get wasted and are put to good use.


IoT technologies are even helping to decrease the emission impact that comes from burning wood and charcoal. Over 3 billion people around the world cook with biomass over open fires inside their home. That’s nearly half of the global population that must rely on antiquated, unsustainable harvested energy sources like wood and charcoal to warm their houses and cook their food.

And while cooking over an open fire might seem romantic to some, it comes with a heavy price to families and the environment. The use of wood-fired stoves releases large amounts of CO2 and other harmful emissions that actively contribute to climate change. In fact, open fires produce over 1 billion tons of CO2 per and are responsible for roughly 25% of all global black carbon emissions.

Environmental Monitoring, Environment, Envirotech, Particle, IoT

In an effort to decrease emissions and increase public health, the Honduran government partnered with Envirofit to deliver stoves to local communities in need. To ensure the stoves were being adopted Envirofit equipped 1,000 stoves with temperature sensors and Electrons to record exactly when and for how long the stoves are in use by the families who own them. With this system, they are also able to contact specific customers who aren’t using their stoves to understand why and help improve customer experience.


IoT technology plays a vital role in protecting the environment and combating climate change. The types of environmental challenges we face will only continue to grow as our population increases as well. However, IoT technology give us the opportunity to positively impact our environment by reducing our adverse effects on it. Eco-friendly, IoT technology is changing the way we approach conservation, pollution, and sustainability, allowing us to protect our environment more effectively.



The world is racing towards renewable energy sources like wind and solar, but the lack of sufficient storage capacity limits the ability to integrate intermittent power generation. At the same time, renters can’t participate in utility sponsored renewable energy programs, because they don’t have access to rooftop solar.

In fact, many renters pay high electric bills, taxes, and other fees to help modernize the electric grid without any direct benefit. Renters represent one-third of the US population, but they lack pathways to engage in renewable energy programs that offer incentives to homeowners who can afford solar and electric vehicles.


However, Shifted Energy is changing this paradigm by retrofitting existing water heaters into grid interactive water heaters (GIWH). With Particle’s IoT platform, they essentially convert water heaters intobatteries that act as demand response assets that can shift loads to reduce peak demand and help utilities stabilize the grid while integrating more renewable energy.

These grid interactive water heaters are connected to the Internet via Particle’s E Series. By connecting these GIWH units to the Internet, utility companies can control the GIWH units to absorb solar power during the day to heat water. The hot water remains hot and can be used any time without consuming more electricity, thus lowering peak demand.


There are many challenges to building an IoT device that can retrofit water heaters into demand response assets. Companies like Shifted Energy have been trying to solve this problem for almost a decade – how do you shift the 600 million water heaters that are already present in most homes into assets that manage energy, balance the grid, and pass along savings to residents?

Shifted Energy learned that they would need to accomplish the following if they wanted to develop this integrated hardware and software solution:

  • Build a low-cost device that can retrofit existing and new electric resistance water heaters easily
  • Create an end-to-end device that can provide accurate temperature awareness for maximum efficiency of grid capacity services
  • Build a no-touch solution to minimize maintenance and liability from leaks, short-circuits, and other tank failures
  • The overall solution must be cost-effective for utilities and charge no costs to participants/residents
  • The end-to-end device must have low-connectivity costs (communications & data) matched by reliability of service

Building an end-to-end device that has low-connectivity costs (communications & data) was particularly important. Most water heater controls depend upon Wi-Fi connectivity, but this is not practical in large-scale deployments because it requires a constant and reliable data connection with resident’s home routers. They would need to build a cellular-connected IoT device so they could avoid the obstacles that come with often unreliable Wi-Fi connections.


Shifted Energy’s GIWH device is connected to the utility’s energy management systems through Particle’s E Series. The cost of maintaining these devices are low enough for companies to effectively engage millions of renters in grid modernization programs.

Shifted Energy’s Power Controller for GIWH

Shifted Energy’s Power Controller for GIWH

Shifted Energy’s no-touch solution is also designed around the benefits of IoT cellular communications. Shifted Energy learned that cellular-connected devices are easier to install because they require no onsite configuration. Mass installations can be arranged with property managers instead of interacting with each individual resident.


After installing and maintaining several GIWH pilots in Hawaii that used hardware from other providers, Shifted Energy found the operating and maintenance costs to be prohibitive for large-scale deployments of grid interactive water heaters. There were simply too many Wi-Fi glitches and failures of the underlying water heaters that required on-tank control systems to be removed, re-installed, and reconfigured. A scalable solution requires that the GIWH controller be removed from, and independent of, the underlying water heater maintenance cycle.

Shifted Energy’s Power Controller platform represents a new approach that integrates reliable, low-cost connectivity hardware with advanced software controls for cost-effective, rapidly scalable GIWH solutions. This is critically important for renters and other hard-to-reach communities like assisted living facilities.

In September 2018, Shifted Energy deployed the first fully-integrated GIWH retrofit solution in Hawaii at Manoa Gardens, and elderly assisted living facility. The five-year pilot program is backed by Hawaiian Electric and Hawaii Energy to demonstrate the economic viability of using GIWH devices as demand response assets to provide valuable grid services.

Through the ongoing pilot program, Shifted Energy demonstrates that its Power Controller platform responds to frequency deviations within fractions of a second. It also shifts loads to consume excess renewable energy and reduce peak demand.  Importantly, an aging water heater was replaced without any intervention by Shifted Energy, and its Power Controller was able to reconfigure and commission the new tank automatically.


Gartner has highlighted the top strategic technology trends that organisations need to explore in 2019.

Gartner, the research and advisory company, defines a strategic technology trend as one with substantial disruptive potential that is beginning to break out of an emerging state into broader impact and use, or which are rapidly growing trends with a high degree of volatility reaching tipping points over the next five years.

“The Intelligent Digital Mesh has been a consistent theme for the past two years and continues as a major driver through 2019.

“Trends under each of these three themes are a key ingredient in driving a continuous innovation process as part of a ContinuousNEXT strategy,” said David Cearley, vice president and Gartner fellow.

“For example, artificial intelligence (AI) in the form of automated things and augmented intelligence is being used together with the Internet of Things (IoT), edge computing and digital twins to deliver highly integrated smart spaces.

“This combinatorial effect of multiple trends coalescing to produce new opportunities and drive new disruption is a hallmark of the Gartner top 10 strategic technology trends for 2019.”

The top 10 strategic technology trends for 2019 are:

Autonomous Things

Autonomous things, such as robots, drones and autonomous vehicles, use AI to automate functions previously performed by humans. Their automation goes beyond the automation provided by rigid programming models and they exploit AI to deliver advanced behaviours that interact more naturally with their surroundings and with people.

“As autonomous things proliferate, we expect a shift from stand-alone intelligent things to a swarm of collaborative intelligent things, with multiple devices working together, either independently of people or with human input,” said Cearley.

“For example, if a drone examined a large field and found that it was ready for harvesting, it could dispatch an “autonomous harvester.”

Or in the delivery market, the most effective solution may be to use an autonomous vehicle to move packages to the target area. Robots and drones on board the vehicle could then ensure final delivery of the package.”

Augmented Analytics

Augmented analytics focuses on a specific area of augmented intelligence, using machine learning (ML) to transform how analytics content is developed, consumed and shared.

Augmented analytics capabilities will advance rapidly to mainstream adoption, as a key feature of data preparation, data management, modern analytics, business process management, process mining and data science platforms.

Automated insights from augmented analytics will also be embedded in enterprise applications — for example, those of the HR, finance, sales, marketing, customer service, procurement and asset management departments — to optimise the decisions and actions of all employees within their context, not just those of analysts and data scientists.

Augmented analytics automates the process of data preparation, insight generation and insight visualisation, eliminating the need for professional data scientists in many situations.

“This will lead to citizen data science, an emerging set of capabilities and practices that enables users whose main job is outside the field of statistics and analytics to extract predictive and prescriptive insights from data,” said Cearley.

“Through 2020, the number of citizen data scientists will grow five times faster than the number of expert data scientists. Organisations can use citizen data scientists to fill the data science and machine learning talent gap caused by the shortage and high cost of data scientists.”

AI-Driven Development

The market is rapidly shifting from an approach in which professional data scientists must partner with application developers to create most AI-enhanced solutions to a model in which the professional developer can operate alone using predefined models delivered as a service.

This provides the developer with an ecosystem of AI algorithms and models, as well as development tools tailored to integrating AI capabilities and models into a solution.

Another level of opportunity for professional application development arises as AI is applied to the development process itself to automate various data science, application development and testing functions.

By 2022, at least 40% of new application development projects will have AI co-developers on their team.

Digital Twins

A digital twin refers to the digital representation of a real-world entity or system.

By 2020, Gartner estimates there will be more than 20 billion connected sensors and endpoints and digital twins will exist for potentially billions of things. Organisations will implement digital twins simply at first.

They will evolve them over time, improving their ability to collect and visualise the right data, apply the right analytics and rules, and respond effectively to business objectives.

“One aspect of the digital twin evolution that moves beyond IoT will be enterprises implementing digital twins of their organisations (DTOs).

“A DTO is a dynamic software model that relies on operational or other data to understand how an organisation operationalises its business model, connects with its current state, deploys resources and responds to changes to deliver expected customer value,” said Cearley.

Empowered Edge

The edge refers to endpoint devices used by people or embedded in the world around us. Edge computing describes a computing topology in which information processing, and content collection and delivery, are placed closer to these endpoints.

It tries to keep the traffic and processing local, with the goal being to reduce traffic and latency.

In the near term, edge is being driven by IoT and the need keep the processing close to the end rather than on a centralised cloud server.

However, rather than create a new architecture, cloud computing and edge computing will evolve as complementary models with cloud services being managed as a centralised service executing, not only on centralised servers, but in distributed servers on-premises and on the edge devices themselves.

Over the next five years, specialised AI chips, along with greater processing power, storage and other advanced capabilities, will be added to a wider array of edge devices.

Longer term, as 5G matures, the expanding edge computing environment will have more robust communication back to centralized services. 5G provides lower latency, higher bandwidth, and (very importantly for edge) a dramatic increase in the number of nodes (edge endpoints) per square km.

Immersive Experience

Conversational platforms are changing the way in which people interact with the digital world. Virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) are changing the way in which people perceive the digital world.

This combined shift in perception and interaction models leads to the future immersive user experience.

“Over time, we will shift from thinking about individual devices and fragmented user interface technologies to a multichannel and multimodal experience.

“The multimodal experience will connect people with the digital world across hundreds of edge devices that surround them, including traditional computing devices, wearables, automobiles, environmental sensors and consumer appliances,” said Cearley.


Blockchain, a type of distributed ledger, promises to reshape industries by enabling trust, providing transparency and reducing friction across business ecosystems potentially lowering costs, reducing transaction settlement times and improving cash flow.

Today, trust is placed in banks, clearinghouses, governments and many other institutions as central authorities with the “single version of the truth” maintained securely in their databases.

The centralised trust model adds delays and friction costs (commissions, fees and the time value of money) to transactions. Blockchain provides an alternative trust mode and removes the need for central authorities in arbitrating transactions.

“Current blockchain technologies and concepts are immature, poorly understood and unproven in mission-critical, at-scale business operations. This is particularly so with the complex elements that support more sophisticated scenarios,” said Cearley.

“Despite the challenges, the significant potential for disruption means CIOs and IT leaders should begin evaluating blockchain, even if they don’t aggressively adopt the technologies in the next few years.”

Smart Spaces

A smart space is a physical or digital environment in which humans and technology-enabled systems interact in increasingly open, connected, coordinated and intelligent ecosystems.

Multiple elements — including people, processes, services and things — come together in a smart space to create a more immersive, interactive and automated experience for a target set of people and industry scenarios.

“We believe the market is entering a period of accelerated delivery of robust smart spaces with technology becoming an integral part of our daily lives, whether as employees, customers, consumers, community members or citizens,” said Cearley.

Digital Ethics and Privacy

Digital ethics and privacy is a growing concern for individuals, organisations and governments.

People are increasingly concerned about how their personal information is being used by organisations in both the public and private sector, and the backlash will only increase for organisations that are not proactively addressing these concerns.

“Any discussion on privacy must be grounded in the broader topic of digital ethics and the trust of your customers, constituents and employees. While privacy and security are foundational components in building trust, trust is actually about more than just these components,” said Cearley.

“Trust is the acceptance of the truth of a statement without evidence or investigation. Ultimately an organisation’s position on privacy must be driven by its broader position on ethics and trust. Shifting from privacy to ethics moves the conversation beyond ‘are we compliant’ toward ‘are we doing the right thing.”

Quantum Computing

Quantum computing (QC) is a type of nonclassical computing that operates on the quantum state of subatomic particles (for example, electrons and ions) that represent information as elements denoted as quantum bits (qubits).

The parallel execution and exponential scalability of quantum computers means they excel with problems too complex for a traditional approach or where a traditional algorithms would take too long to find a solution.

Industries such as automotive, financial, insurance, pharmaceuticals, military and research organisations have the most to gain from the advancements in QC.

In the pharmaceutical industry, for example, QC could be used to model molecular interactions at atomic levels to accelerate time to market for new cancer-treating drugs or QC could accelerate and more accurately predict the interaction of proteins leading to new pharmaceutical methodologies.

“CIOs and IT leaders should start planning for QC by increasing understanding and how it can apply to real-world business problems. Learn while the technology is still in the emerging state. Identify real-world problems where QC has potential and consider the possible impact on security,” said Cearley.

“But don’t believe the hype that it will revolutionise things in the next few years. Most organisations should learn about and monitor QC through 2022 and perhaps exploit it from 2023 or 2025.”


When you install a solar energy system on your property, you save money on your electricity bills and protect yourself against rising electricity rates in the future. How much you can save depends on the utility rates and solar policies in your area, but going solar is a smart investment regardless of where you live.


The easiest way to find out how much you pay for electricity (and how much electricity you use per month) is to take a look at your utility electricity bill.


Studies have shown that homes with solar energy systems sell for more than homes without them. However, your property value will only increase if you own, rather than lease, your solar panel system. In most parts of the country, going solar will actually increase your property value more than a kitchen renovation.


Solar panels absorb the sun’s energy throughout the day and convert it into direct current (DC) electricity. Most homes and businesses run on alternating current (AC) electricity, so the DC electricity is then passed through an inverter to convert it to usable AC electricity. At that point, you either use the electricity in your house or send it back to the electric grid.


There are 2 key things to know when selecting a UPS:

the amount of power you want to draw from the UPS system i.e. the load AND any additional capacity you may want for future expansion.
the battery back-up time required in the event of a power failure

If you’re not sure about the amount of power the load takes, make a list of all equipment to be supplied with UPS power and send it to us. You may have some equipment whose power consumption is stated in amps, other equipment in watts etc. just send us the information and we will work it out.


Lead-acid batteries cost less up front, but they have a shorter lifespan and require regular maintenance to keep them running properly. Lithium batteries are much more expensive up front, but they are maintenance-free and have a longer lifespan to match their higher price tag. The extra efficiency of Lithium means you can potentially spend less per kilowatt-hour of capacity over the lifespan of the battery.

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