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SMEs told to start small on Industry 4.0 adoption

Last update: 10/09/2019
By Rosemarie Khoo Mohd Sani

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 10 -- Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) should not look at huge investments as a hindrance for them to adopt Industry 4.0 (I4.0) as they had the option of starting small.

Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation Sdn Bhd (MDEC) data economy director Ir Dr Karl Ng Kah Hou said the SMEs could take the approach of prioritising which segment had the potential to be transformed first, towards helping to generate better productivity and efficiency.

"However, companies must understand that before adopting I4.0, they should first have data, not 'big' data, but quality data, which may come in different forms and volume, because without it, we cannot process any information, be it text, visual, voice, figures and so forth.

"This is also important because the reason for using data is to extract certain information, which is then processed to make a valued prediction and secure the intended results," Ng told Bernama.

I4.0 is the concept, whereby, machines are augmented with wireless connectivity and sensors, connected to a system that can visualise the entire production line and make decisions on its own.

Ng said companies need to know what they want to achieve and must be willing to invest in time, money and expertise for gathering quality data, build the infrastructure system and acquire the right tools to enable the data to be processed.

"For example, if you want to sort certain items in your manufacturing process, you may want to use automatic sensors to identify the size, weight, content and packaging of the correct item.

“This would require you to gather precious information (data) pertaining to the item prior to programming it and before the sorting process can happen according to your preference," he added.

On a related matter, he said MDEC had always been collaborating with local technology providers to help businesses move into I4.0.

"Most of the information and technology (IT) players we work with, develop their own systems on big data analytics, cloud computing solutions and data engineering. However, as this I4.0 adoption trend is growing at a faster pace, there will be more demand for data analysts, data scientist and data engineers by companies.

"Thus, as more services will be offered to companies, we expect the cost of digital transformation to gradually be reduced, making it affordable for more companies to embark on," he said.

As the agency under the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia Malaysia entrusted to lead the nation's digital economy forward, Ng said companies are welcome to seek knowledge, training, participate in various programmes and get advise on the Industrial Revolution 4.0

In line with its objective, he said MDEC is organising the AI & Data Week (AIDW) 2019 (previously called Big Data Week) from Sept 9-15.

The event, which is in its sixth year, has numerous events lined up with MDEC acting as facilitator, while the arrangement of the activities will be carried out by 4,000 independent organisers, for SMEs and students.

"As we aim to position Malaysia as the regional digital hub for AI and data, the events organised will reiterate this importance and the concept of data as the base for I4.0.

“At the same time, it will also be introducing the application of machine learning in artificial intelligence (AI) which requires data analysis that automates analytical model building," Ng added.


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