Somehow, we are at a very confusing Era. At one end, we have the vision and wish to move towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution but in actual fact, we are still in a mixed era of IR1.0, IR 2.0 and IR3.0.

Last night I was invited to one of the prestigious events hosted by a tech organization. The first thing I noticed was the registration process is still manual i.e. using pen and paper to jot down hundreds of attendees! That’s what I called IR1.0 ! And you can imagine the queue and time to find the attendees names.

Basically, in a nutshell, we can easily identify which Era are we in by looking at these criteria:

  • 1st Industrial Revolution – Manual Labour or at least steam engine
  • 2nd  Industrial Revolution – Electrical
  • 3rd Industrial Revolution – Internet and Database
  • 4th Industrial Revolution – Intelligence

A simple form of registration process can also be converted from IR1.0 to IR4.0 by:

  • 1st Industrial Revolution – Pen and Paper
  • 2nd  Industrial Revolution – Computer with an Excel Spreadsheet
  • 3rd Industrial Revolution – Internet Registration
  • 4th Industrial Revolution – RFID or Barcode Tag or Biometrics Registration or Payment via Cryptocurrency!

We have made an unofficial survey among the industry peers and asked the question Where are we now? And the surprising answer is we are still at 2.7 ! We have not reached the full Era of IR3.0 yet. Thus, how do we jumped into this era?

Technology is not the main problem. Whether we like it or not, whether we design it in Malaysia or not, this technology will mature in other places around the world. And it’s a matter of time, it reaches the shores of Malaysia.

There are a couple of factors we need to consider:

  1. Talent – We are 3-5 years behind. Content, syllabus and new courses need to be introduced fast.
  2. Mindset Transformation – Taking the risk and plan early. Sometimes we feel too comfortable in our work and not willing to change.
  3. Generation Gap – Between the “old and traditional” management and the “young and techie” employees who wanted to change but have limitation to execute.
  4. Regulatory – It’s a balance between making equipment and citizens safe and ensuring innovation will not stifle.

There’s a difference between the word “Revolution” and “Evolution”.  Revolution is about transformational change and evolutionary is incremental change. These two have a different set of a thinking process. Are we ready? Please share your thoughts.

The diagram above shows the current Malaysia IoT Ecosystem (check updated version here) which is still few or we don’t have the right database. Building innovative IR4.0 solutions requires many parties to work together instead of competing. The opportunity is still huge and immature for everyone to have a piece of the cake.


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