How long does it take for Malaysia to be fully “living” in the Era of IR 4.0? And what does it take for us to move from IR 2.7 to IR 4.0? I don’t believe we will be fully IR 4.0 if we can’t address several essential factors. And the most important of all is – bridging the digital divide.
I have mentioned in two articles, “Why Are We Still at Industrial Revolution 2.7 (IR2.7)?” and “Journey Towards IR 4.0.” the main reasons why we are still in IR 2.7.
It requires us to view how we adopt technology differently in our lives. We must embrace DNA (Devices, Networks, and Applications) more quickly.
If Malaysians can embrace these three things quickly, we might live in this era within the next 3-5 years.
Devices – How many of us are now using digital devices as a tool in our daily lives or while working? Are we using computers, tablets, or smartphones? Do we have assets that are now being monitored and managed by sensors?
Networks – The government is now pushing the agenda of 5G. But for most applications, the standard 4G is sufficient to cater to the bandwidth needs. However, with higher speeds, we might be able to introduce new and innovative applications. The question remained – how extensive is our cellular coverage? Do we still have areas without Internet access? Without the Internet, we live in the Era of IR 2.0 (just basic electricity).
Applications – How many use smartphone applications or HR, CRM, Financial, or ERP systems? Have we migrated all our “analog” content into digital? Or are we still using a mixture of analog and digital such as printing PDF documents, signing manually, scanning them, sending via email, and finally printing back the signed document?
What’s the pre-requisite for IR 4.0?
If we are to embrace new technologies of IR 4.0, such as ioT, Blockchain, AI, VR/AR, 3D printing, and many more – we have to “live” in the digital world.
There will be no more analog content (paper), and must digitize all the “pen and paper” contents. Even the teaching materials must be in a pdf document, online, or video.
Once digitization happens, we can start transforming how we work and play into the digital process (digitalization). We can exchange data quickly, and businesses can interact efficiently.
The moment contents are digitized, and the process has digitally transformed, we are ready to embed the IR 4.0 technologies mentioned earlier.
What Have We Done to Be in the Era of IR 4.0?
When Malaysia launched National IoT Strategic Framework (2015) and Industry 4WRD National Policy (2018), I wondered why the objectives had so many challenges. We think too far ahead but tend to neglect the fundamentals – which are not strong enough.
When Covid-19 happened in 2020 and for an extended period, we had very restricted movement. We realized that we are so dependent on manual ways of communication that all of a sudden, we began to understand the importance of the Internet and digitalization (which is precisely what IR 3.0 is all about!)
That’s when we started to see new initiatives such as Malaysia’s Digital Economy Policy, 4IR Policy, JENDELA, 5G, and recent MDEC’s PEMANGKIN. It stressed the importance of Malaysians having Internet access and using digital applications.
The main question remained – can we achieve IR 4.0? Maybe not fully IR 4.0, but at least all our business sectors and socio-economic should have embraced total digital and started to embed IR 4.0 technologies in their companies within the next 3-5 years.
We are seeing Generative AI applications such as ChatGPT, Midjourney, and others as the hottest topic for 2023. This IR 4.0 technology is now becoming easily accessible to almost anyone with the Internet.
I asked this question to ChatGPT, and the answer was, “Malaysia is on track to becoming a more advanced Industry 4.0 nation. However, the pace of adoption and the realization of Industry 4.0’s full potential will depend on various factors such as the government’s policies, private sector investments, and the availability of skilled workers.”
What do you think? Will it be within the next 3-5 years or earlier? I would love to hear your thoughts regarding this topic. Kindly comment on the below section.