SMEs to start small on IR4.0 adoption


SMALL and medium enterprises (SMEs) should not look at huge investments as a hindrance for them to adopt Industry Revolution 4.0 (IR4.0) as they have the option of starting small.

Malaysia Digital Economy Corp Sdn Bhd (MDEC) data economy director Ir Dr Karl Ng (picture) said the SMEs could take the approach of prioritising which segment has the potential to be transformed first, towards helping to gene-rate better productivity and efficiency.

“However, companies must understand that before adopting IR4.0, they should first have data, not ‘big’ data, but quality data, which may come in different forms and volume.

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.

IR4.0 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 their 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 IR4.0.

“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 IR4.0 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 IR4.0 adoption,” he said. — Bernama