It started in England in the late 18th century when the first factories and mills drew agricultural workers to the towns and cities. Mechanisation demanded efficient transport of goods so waterways and canals, and later railways, were constructed.
A hundred years later electricity, gas and oil replaced steam and the horse and cart and new inventions, from the telephone to cars and planes, transformed daily lives.
The third industrial revolution of the late 1960s and 70s was driven by electronics, the silicon chip and telecommunications. Together, they helped to globalise the world and deliver a standard of living our ancestors could barely imagine.
Now the fourth industrial revolution is underway, a fusion of existing technologies that are less visible than in the past but no less consequential.
Instead of physical goods, it is ones and zeros travelling across networks of optical fibre, data centres and mobile phone towers, again transforming our lives.
There are two structural shifts driving this transformation; e-commerce and digitisation (see Welcome to the new roaring 20s). Both are driving mobile data usage, a growing that will receive a massive boost by the roll-out of 5G.
Mobile data limits were once measly and expensive when breached. Now data has become a commodity. As data prices have fallen and new use cases have risen, data consumption has surged, as the chart below shows.