Powering the fourth industrial revolution

This is a guest blog post by Luke Whitehead, head of European marketing, Couchbase

We’ve all heard about the digital economy: a modern economy supported by digital computing technologies. Talk of the digital economy and its endless possibilities have kept boardrooms alive with opportunity and promise. But what’s next? Recently, we’ve been talking about the snowball effect of the digital economy, now commonly known as the fourth industrial revolution.

Described as a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another, the fourth industrial revolution presents an avalanche of possibilities and challenges to businesses across the globe. In its scale, scope, and complexity, this transformation is anticipated to be unlike anything humankind has experienced before.

Much like the three industrial revolutions before it, the fourth has the potential to change almost every aspect of our daily lives. For businesses, this includes industrial scale automation that will improve both human and machine operations, not to mention overall performance. We’ve already started to see this in industrial settings with the increased integration of sensors and wireless communication capabilities within manufacturing – but just imagine the potential across an entire economy.

In order to ride this wave of change, everyone operating in the economy will need a modern infrastructure to support business processes. We need to be able to deal with the deluge of data produced by new and intelligent processes. In order to achieve a true revolution, businesses must be able to manage and analyse vast quantities of data from a variety of sources. What’s more, they need to be able to work with their data almost instantaneously.

Speed and compatibility will be key in this industrial revolution as it will enable greater efficiency, especially as the customer gains importance. From businesses to end-consumers, customer relationships and the customer experience is central to industry 4.0. Changing customer expectations mean that today we all expect to be served with consistent but personal, timely but relevant content, across every touchpoint. In order to achieve this and deliver improved customer experiences, companies will need dynamic processes in place to access and utilise diverse data sets.

With a complex data overload ahead, businesses need to start considering their adoption of technologies to ensure they are fit to meet the changing demands of IoT and mobile applications. You may think big data is big now, but in light of the fourth industrial revolution we are yet to scratch the surface. So companies must invest in future proof technologies that will support them during this period of intense change.

According to Allied Market Research, the global NoSQL market will reach $4.2 billion by the end of 2020. This equates to a growth rate of over 35% over the next five years. Why? NoSQL databases fill the gap between the online and offline world by instantly enabling the processing of information that would otherwise be lost to manual processing in relational data management systems. In fact, traditional databases cannot provide the same levels of flexibility or scalability and often get slower with time, as their data grows.

In light of these new challenges of big data and automation, companies need to prepare themselves. Choosing the right database will allow organisations operating in the fourth industrial revolution to embrace the new technologies and remain competitive. This revolution is gaining momentum, and companies need to get used to the idea of having to manage, store and analyse large amounts of data in order to be a part of it. Organisations need to support their growing data requirements with flexible and scalable data management solutions to maximise their potential. With the potential to adapt to changes in the market, NoSQL resolves the data management issues of the fourth industrial revolution and allows companies to embrace change.