Industry 5.0
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For many, Industry 4.0 represents the last great industrial revolution. However, although the concept of Industry 5.0 is relatively new, the European Union has highlighted it on several occasions because of its importance. It sees it as a key driver that transcends the sole objectives of efficiency and productivity.

The so-called Fifth Industrial Revolution marks a shift in the economic paradigm towards a focus on the social value and welfare of the worker, placing the worker at the heart of the production process and improving the relationship between the worker and the machines.

Society 5.0

The concepts of Industry 5.0 and Society 5.0 are closely related, as Society 5.0 seeks to balance economic development with the resolution of social and environmental problems.

This concept was launched by the Government of Japan and the Keindanren business federation in 2015, with the aim of ensuring that no one is left behind in a society affected by an ageing population, low birth rate and depopulation of rural areas, problems that are also beginning to affect European societies.

This idea is based on the fundamental premise that technology should be geared towards improving people’s quality of life. A historical example is the invention of the wheel more than 5000 years ago, which transformed the world by facilitating the transport of people and objects.

However, technological advances have not always benefited society as a whole, but have often served individual interests. This is where the term Society 5.0 comes in, representing a new form of society in which technological development is human-centred.

In short, Society 5.0 uses the technologies created by Industry 4.0 to act in favour of people, such as Big Data, autonomous robots, the Internet of Things… And Extended Reality.

Industry 5.0

In the Fourth Industrial Revolution, business survival became synonymous with efficiency and productivity. This has led to extensive automation of industrial processes, with human resources being replaced by state-of-the-art technology.

Industry 5.0

However, Industry 5.0 takes a different approach by emphasising the reintegration of the human factor into this equation. It is about using technology to foster the relationship between people and machines rather than simply replacing one with the other. In this new scenario, the human being becomes the protagonist, with technology at his or her service.

According to Forbes, companies such as Whirlpool, Mercedes Benz and BMW have embraced the Industry 5.0 vision to such an extent that they have conducted extensive research not only to understand the potential of the technology, but also to assess the cost-effectiveness of the human-robot combination. BMW, for example, has found that teams combining human and robotic labour can improve productivity by up to 80%.

The role of Extended Reality in Industry 5.0

As previously mentioned, the emergence of Extended Reality took place during the Fourth Industrial Revolution. However, its application aligns more closely with the goals of Industry 5.0, serving as a powerful tool to improve efficiency and worker safety.

Mixed Reality

Mixed Reality acts as a bridge between machine capabilities, which offer accuracy, speed and scalability, and human skills, which bring creativity and judgement. Its ability to overlay digital data on the real world facilitates smooth, efficient and innovative collaboration between the two, ensuring optimal synergy.

Industry 5.0

Through Mixed Reality glasses or displays, workers can interact more intuitively with machinery, receiving real-time information and feedback.

In situations where accuracy is crucial, this technology can guide workers by overlaying step-by-step instructions, ensuring precision while maintaining the flexibility and adaptability of human intervention.

In addition, in the event of machine breakdowns or malfunctions, Mixed Reality can provide quick guidance to technicians through diagnostic procedures, highlighting problem areas and offering solutions. By reducing downtime and improving troubleshooting, this technology ensures that human-machine collaboration in Industry 5.0 is productive and frictionless.

Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality is used in Industry 5.0 to ensure the training and safety of employees. Workers can be trained on new machines or industrial systems in a virtual environment, which reduces the risk of accidents and injuries, while improving the future relationship between humans and machines.

Industry 5.0

A further example of the use of Virtual Reality is its application in team collaboration. In this context, it is less about executing individual tasks and more about encouraging interaction between all those involved, such as engineers, operators and customers. Virtual Reality allows these groups to exchange views and make joint modifications, which promotes more effective collaboration.

Convergence between XR and other technologies

While Extended Reality is transformative in itself, its convergence with other cutting-edge technologies amplifies its impact significantly. By integrating with the Internet of Things (IoT), it enables real-time data collection and analysis, facilitating more accurate and faster decision-making.

Imagine a technician wearing Mixed Reality glasses while inspecting machinery. With IoT sensors embedded in the machinery, these glasses can display instant data such as temperature, pressure and operating efficiency, providing a complete view of the machine’s condition.

When Extended Reality is combined with Big Data, industries can visualise large sets of information in understandable formats. This allows them to overlay complex data on real-world scenarios, facilitating strategic planning and forecasting future scenarios. This synergy ensures that industries can react to today’s challenges, but also be strategically prepared to face the future.

On the other hand, the convergence of Mixed Reality with technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Computer Vision enables the implementation of intelligent verification tasks in industrial procedures. This is especially useful in activities such as inspection, audits, quality control, assembly and assembly verification, thus maximising process efficiency.

In short, we are at a time when Industry 5.0 is here to stay and Extended Reality technologies, developed during the Fourth Industrial Revolution, have become the best alternatives to put workers at the centre and to build bridges between workers and machines.