AI-powered technology, ML models, automation, data visualization, big data analytics, and RPA bots enabled businesses to achieve efficiency, productivity, and time management breakthroughs. These technologies provided companies with the tools necessary for building resilience against the challenges of today—from tackling supply chain management issues to accommodating employees shifting to a hybrid workplace model.
At this point comes the logical question: what’s next? If there is a next industrial revolution, will it still be led by humans – or will it belong to machines and AI?
Indeed, this next industrial revolution is already happening—and humans are still in charge of the change. In this article, we will take a look at industry 5.0 and explain its role in the business and social landscape.
The term "industry 5.0" has been introduced and promoted by the European Commission to describe its vision for European industry. However, as countries' economies are interconnected, there is no point in limiting the term to the EU only—the shift in perspectives and approaches will impact all global exchange participants.
Also known as the fifth industrial revolution, industry 5.0 is still in the process of emerging and changing modern paradigms. It's still new to the business world, so its definition is relatively simple.
If industry 4.0. was made possible by the achievements in the IT sector, factors that shape industry 5.0 are less about technology and more about humanity. Instead of focusing on creating economic value, industry 5.0 motivates businesses to explore how they contribute to building a better and safer society through offering healthier working models, using innovative technologies for improving employee well-being, and influencing the factors that used to be out of reach—such as climate change, social equality, sustainable energy, and enhanced international cooperation.
Using the latest technological developments to improve working conditions and cover human needs is anything but new – it has been a long time goal for years. But within industry 5.0, the idea is finally gaining momentum, with numerous sectors acknowledging the need to review core strategies.
Such a shift in vision and behavior signifies that businesses have reached the peak of possible technological development. Having advanced from mass production to automation to digitization, they are now compelled to seek a competitive edge in other areas. From that point, their game-changer isn't tech alone but also human talent —a rare resource nurtured and encouraged rather than built or bought.
What makes an industry 5.0 business strategy different from a 4.0. one, are the following elements:
According to the Fifth Industrial Revolution philosophy, productivity and efficiency aren't everything, but human resources are. Through industry 5.0 lens, employees represent unique possibilities and hold potential for outstanding achievements when treated as a long-term investment and allowed to explore and enhance their skills in a healthy and safe environment.
Such a point of view stems from the fact that while the technology and framework can be built, a qualified employee takes years to train. Industry 5.0 also values the diversity of experiences and opinions, further encouraging businesses to enrich their personnel with workers with a large variety of skill sets and prioritize their learning capacity
The transition from industry 4.0. to industry 5.0 is happening because the vulnerabilities of the current business and economic models have been repeatedly exposed—first by the worldwide pandemic, then by the war in Ukraine. Used to operating in a peaceful age, businesses now realize their unpreparedness and vulnerability.
For this reason, the Fifth Industrial Revolution is dedicated not to pursuing profit and ROI but to equipping companies with tools, protocols, and guidelines for responding to crises and working out solutions for overcoming them. To achieve this, businesses must demonstrate sharper awareness of the events occurring in social and political areas and stay connected to their employees and the requirements for their well-being.
Multiple organizations have been urging companies and organizations to shift towards more eco-friendly practices and address the matter of sustainable energy. The fact that business leaders are now pondering on that issue and looking for ways to operate on cleaner energy sources has made the 5.0. industry a real revolution.
The need for sustainable energy comes from more than just respect for the planetary boundaries—it is also related to the need for better resilience and securing businesses' ability to sustain their performance. The switch to a more resource-efficient model would allow companies to achieve that goal, making them interested in taking more measures than reducing their carbon footprint.
While industry 5.0 and industry 4.0. seem like opposites of each other, they are closely connected. Industry 5.0 builds from industry 4.0, using its best elements and achievements while showing how to overcome limitations and get the most out of the synergy between human creativity and AI-powered resilience.
The most obvious distinction between industry 4.0. and 5.0. lies in the former's limited ability to drive change. Within industry 4.0, technology is designed to tackle specific performance matters and address technical issues to optimize the product development cycle, improve service delivery, and bring material value. Meanwhile, in industry 5.0, technology considers social factors and human experiences that enable it to build long-term value and participate in transformative social processes.
Building virtual copies of physical objects equipped with sensors for running simulations and scenarios, and receiving realistic and accurate results
Improved testing and more accurate remote control options for workers and employees
New AI-powered robots for working side-by-side with humans employees and following their instructions
Accurate prediction of potential outcomes and testing of different behavior models or responses
Improved testing and more accurate remote control options for workers and employees
When it comes to industry 5.0 examples, the word "would" is used more often than "is" because the model is yet to set in. However, as personalization and digital workplaces become more and more prevalent in nearly every organization's workflow, these concepts are on their way to becoming a new reality, providing:
Contrary to the popular "AI will replace humans" myth, AI-powered platforms enabled human employers to take on more responsibilities and become more involved in critical processes within the enterprise. With AI handling the most routine and superficial tasks, the companies discovered that they needed to apply their employees' skills to areas requiring human touch and a more in-depth approach. In perspective, the industry 5.0 market is expected to offer jobs that require and encourage diverse skill sets and are more rewarding due to employees handling the matters that machines can’t.
The personalization observed today is merely the beginning of industry 5.0 technologies. As the Fifth Industrial Revolution is driven by both customer and employee expectations, it would take customization to the next level seeking to deliver a unique and personalized experience to every client. To make it possible, we can expect more investments in intelligent technologies capable of gathering real-time data and organizing it in a way that would allow creating more detailed customer profiles and addressing the issue or request of each customer as precisely as possible.
AI-powered networks and machines can create, but they can only work from the templates and information given. Human creativity is essential to producing something unique and empathizing with the needs of another human. So, within hyper customization, the demand for manual labor is quite likely to soar, which will lead to a reinvention of manufacturing models and new types of cooperation between humans and machines. For example, machine manufacturing takes care of creating templates, while human workers customize those templates to make a unique product.
Applying innovative technology won't be enough to solve supply chain problems in the long run. Industry 5.0 supply chains are expected to be driven by the power of AI bots, intelligent technologies, and human workers of diverse backgrounds working together, applying their perspectives to fix the most peculiar issues, and exchanging insights via responsive digital systems. The new supply chain strategies also encourage putting supply chain workers with the best understanding of how supply chains work into positions of mentors who educate new employees and communicate the company's mission.
Aside from building more effective business models and increasing productivity, industry 4.0. let businesses envision their future and start mapping out their next milestones. In their planning, companies realized that their potential business growth was strongly intertwined with social expectations and needs.
Industry 5.0 is the product of that vision and its message is clear: the future is defined by humans, and it's up to humans to decide what future they want to see. Therefore, the next industrial revolution addresses human aspirations and concerns and uses the technological potential to rebuild business strategies, create new markets, and make way for organizations that serve people instead of continuing the trend of people serving organizations.
The growing interest in industry 5.0 and its increasing influence will certainly be accompanied by organizational and technological jet lag as it is a radical change for many companies and sectors. And yet, the readiness of businesses to move on from industry 4.0. to the new levels signifies their readiness to go from profit-makers to problem-solvers contributing to a safer, more stable world.
If you are ready to join the Fifth Industrial Revolution, let’s chat! With visionary designers, experienced RPA developers, and skilled ML engineers, you can empower your business with resilience and boost employee management through a personalized digital workplace.
Industry 5.0 is an industrialization model that recognizes the organization's social role and makes human perspective the foundation of its operations. Industry 5.0 is characterized by pursuing resilience over profit, encouraging sustainability, and nurturing human talent as well as delivering exclusive customer experiences (which imply the re-introduction of manual labor).
Technically, industry 5.0 has started since the moment businesses started prioritizing personalization over appealing to the mass market. The arrival of industry 5.0 was also accelerated after 2020, when employees began prioritizing their well-being and choosing employers capable of providing them with safe working conditions, necessary health support, and more flexible schedules. We expect to see more demonstrative examples of industry 5.0 in the next 2-3 years.