The next phase of connected, smart technologies is already here. Digital lifestyle expert, Emmy Award-winning TV host, and motivational speaker Mario Armstrong offered his explanation for why the time to embrace the future is now.
Is there a piece of advice you’d give to a business struggling with their digital transformation?
I would probably start with pilots. There’s a buffet of options out there, but if you go to the buffet and eat a little bit of everything, then you really can’t deep dive into any one thing. With legacy systems or proprietary technologies, and trying to get things to talk across departments, organizations, or teams, it’s very challenging. So if you go to the buffet, just pick one appetizer that you are going to tear to pieces.
Is there anything people can do to prepare or teach the older generation about how to really transform their business?
It is a bad move in today’s economy to throw out wisdom. You need to figure out how to re-channel. I get it; sometimes we think just hiring someone new can do it better or faster than trying to teach an old dog new tricks. But old dogs learn new tricks all the time.
Mind shift matters. And what I mean by that is really embracing the fact that you have to get people to psychologically want to buy into where things are going with Industry 4.0. If you know that your job may be changing, then you really want to start understanding analytics. You really want to become an asset to your team as it relates to analyzing data and what that data can mean creatively.
Another tactical thing people can do is buy a toy robot. I know it sounds kind of trivial, but when you start to understand how you can program robots, how they respond to things, it makes you smarter in terms of “I actually see how this could make a difference in developing a product, or supporting it, or maintaining it, or the workflow on our supply chain.”
Does the consumer mindset have to change here as well?
I think the consumer is going to probably be the one we least have to worry about. With the mass customization that happens with Industry 4.0 — customers getting the features they want? That’s going to be the easiest mind shift out there.
You’re speaking at LiveWorx later this year, and that’s all about augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). Is there anything you think is a focal point for Industry 4.0 or even for consumers in the future?
Artificial intelligence (AI) is massive. But AR and VR are things that have proven they will be around. When I think about VR, I’m thinking of maintenance technicians on planes. They need their hands to be free to work in tight spaces. I think that between VR and AR, we’re just getting started on the potential.
But I will tell you this: It is essential for companies dealing with legacy systems and trying to understand Industry 4.0 to look at AI, AR, and VR as realistic possibilities. It’s not going away.
Any closing thoughts?
When it comes to trying new technologies, there’s typically a major investment involved, and a lot of scrutiny and pressure. Organizations need to give people permission to fail fast so they can learn quickly.
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