Tuesday, 1 Dec 2020
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DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION | Industry 4.0: Essential things to know

The global Covid-19 outbreak has accelerated digital transformation across all economic activities. The ensuing regime of quarantine and work from home arrangements contributed to people’s sudden dependence on digital platforms not only to get things done but also to communicate with others, grab food and presently, get an education.

Businesses have been at the forefront of using technology for efficient and effective delivery of goods and services. With heightened interest in digital transformation all over, recovery from Covid-19 will be digital. It is the right time to consider the advantages and benefits of Industry 4.0, one of the cornerstones of the coming Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR)
Tech Sabado now gives you a preview of what Industry 4.0 is all about.

1.0 Industry 4.0 can be described as a fusion or convergence of new technologies impacting the physical, digital and biological spheres. These high technologies include, but not limited to, Artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, 3-D printing, and neuro-technology.

The 4.0 refers to the next revolution in industrial development after three previous revolutions that have given rise to steam power, electricity, and automation.

2.0 Some of the innovations arising from Industry 4.0 are advanced materials such as nanomaterials, new systems in energy capture, storage and distribution, and upgrades in computing architectures like quantum computing, neural network processing and expanded cloud computing.

3.0 As a technological revolution, the scope, scale and complexity of 4IR will fundamentally alter the way we live, work and interact with one another. The global response to the Covid-19 pandemic has already placed the world at the early stages of Industry 4.0. Increasing dependence on digital platforms and the Internet today to save lives is a significant step in preparing humankind for Industry 4IR.

4.0 Like the previous industrial revolutions, the transformative innovations underlying Industry 4.0 will allow laggard economies to leapfrog previous phases of industrial development. There’s also the potential to increase the productivity of industrial activities around the world, boost international trade and consequently, raise global incomes.

In that sense, 4IR can help developing nations to catch up with their First World counterparts. It also becomes a technology-driven mechanism to alleviate poverty and bridge the gap between the very rich and the downtrodden poor.

5.0 However, Industry 4.0 has its risks and problems. It can initially trigger labor unrest following the massive displacement of ill-equipped workers from digitally enhanced workplaces.

The next revolution can also widen the technology gap between developed and developing nations such that the traditional colonial relationships among countries will persist.

6.0 The readiness of the Philippines to adopt Industry 4.0 can be seen from the following development drivers:

• Philippine Development Plan (2017-2022)
• e-Government Master Plan (EGMP 2.0)
• National Broadband Plan
• National ICT Ecosystem Framework (Country Digital Strategies)
• Inclusive Innovation-led Industrial policies with DOST, DTI and CHED in collaboration
• DTI programs to harness digital transformation for SMEs including microenterprises and to adopt Industry 4.0 to improve the country’s global competitiveness ranking.

7.0 There are, however, needed support to fill existing gaps that hinder the launch of IR4.0 in the country as early as possible, such as:

• Relevant and responsive regulatory framework
• Flexible, realistic labor policies
• Strengthened social protection policies
• Investment incentives for early technology adopters
• Assistance to educational institutions training skilled professionals for IR4.0

by Tony Maghirang, contributing editor
Contributing editor at | Website

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