Somehow, we are in a very confusing Era. At one end, we have the vision and wish to move towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution, but 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 we are 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

The way we teach or learn can be converted from IR1.0 to IR4.0 by:

  • 1st Industrial Revolution – Using Blackboard or Whiteboard
  • 2nd  Industrial Revolution – Overhead Projector Using Transparency
  • 3rd Industrial Revolution – Online Webinars
  • 4th Industrial Revolution – Robots as teachers or using VR/AR as teaching aids

We have done an unofficial survey among our industry peers and asked, 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 jump 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 worldwide. And it’s a matter of time, before 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 – Take 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 had limitations to execute.
  4. Regulatory – It balances 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 evolution is incremental change. These two have different sets of the thinking process. Are we ready? Please share your thoughts.

The diagram above shows the current Malaysia IoT Ecosystem (check the 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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