“Industry 4.0” is a classic buzzword frequently paired with grandiose statements and trillion dollar prognostications. The term is meant to describe the increasing digitalization of manufacturing, driving increased connectivity between machines, devices, sensors, and people to enable even greater levels of productivity. But mention any of this to a grizzled industry veteran and be prepared to be met with a grunt and an eye roll, and potentially an abrupt end to your conversation.
This is not to say that there isn’t an enormous opportunity for new “Industry 4.0” ventures – quite the opposite! In fact, the environment for startups in industrial software has rarely been as attractive as it is today, with a series of beneficial macro industrial trends coinciding with a proliferation of new, low-cost technology. Successful new companies in the space have already learned to move away from the buzzwords and speak the language of their customers: selling clear, measurable ROI with a focus on tangible solutions that drive improved productivity or reduced cost.