The 9 Pillars of Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is about integrating digital technologies into a business to create value. Nine different technologies and concepts form the foundation of digital transformation. 

1. Big Data and Artificial Intelligence

As you binge watch your favourite show on Netflix, the platform collects hundreds of data points on your personal viewing habits. Across all 200 million subscribers, the company generates billions of data points. That is what we call “big data.” Using that data, Netflix has a computer software to analyze and recommend shows for you to watch next. That is known as “artificial intelligence.”

Learn how Big Data and Artificial intelligence are applied to industry

2. Cloud Computing

Part of what makes Gmail special is that it is hosted in “the cloud.” It requires no hardware systems in order to store data, access the server, or send/receive emails. Every action it performs is done over the internet rather than physical equipment. We call this “cloud computing.”

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3. Horizontal and Vertical System Integration

Domino’s Pizza has deployed a robot to deliver pizza to customers. The robot collects data when customers interact with it and then sends that data from the customer level upwards to the IT systems used by management — an example of vertical integration. For horizontal integration, Domino’s rolled out a software system to streamline its various supply chain and logistics departments across the company. 

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4. Augmented Reality

Gucci lets you try on a virtual pair of shoes with your phone. You choose the shoes you want to try, point your phone camera at your feet, and just like that it displays how they will look on you. Enhancing reality with digital images or components is known as “augmented reality.” 

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5. Industrial IoT

A smart fridge is simply an internet connected refrigerator with an abundance of features, like alerts for expiring food, or the ability to browse the internet for recipes. It is what we call an “Internet of Things” (IoT) device — in other words, a physical device that connects to the internet. Industrial IoT simply applies that concept to the industrial sector, like an internet enabled flow meter. 

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6. Additive Manufacturing & 3D Printing

A Texas company, named ICON, is able to print you a new home. Similar to your printer at home, which drops ink to create 2D images, ICON’s printer layers strips of concrete to build a 3D house from ground up. Printing 3D objects and structures is commonly referred to as “additive manufacturing.”

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7. Autonomous Robots

When you order from Amazon, an “autonomous robot” picks your package from the warehouse floor. It knows exactly where your product is located and navigates itself through the 100,000+ square feet of warehouse to grab it. It then drives the product to a worker where it can be prepared to ship. 

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8. Digital Twins

In preparation for a Formula One race, the Mercedes team uses a digital replica of its car to run simulations. The replica is built from sensors on the actual car that collect real world data. The digital clone allows them to better optimize components and strategy before a big race. This digital replica built from real world parameters is known as a “digital twin.”

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9. Cybersecurity

To protect your confidential information, like credit cards, emails, and addresses, your iPhone requires user authentication to unlock it. Whether that be Face ID, Touch ID, or a passcode, the barrier is there to prevent unauthorized access to your data. User authentication is one of the basic forms of “cybersecurity.” 

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Digital transformation is at the core of every A4 Systems project. We develop innovative cyber physical systems for our customers to achieve breakthrough performance. Each project involves one or more of the 9 pillars, designed in a way to meet the customer’s exact industry needs. From big data to cybersecurity, we have the tools to drive any company’s digital transformation.