PETALING JAYA: Wordlabs Business Network (WBN), a leading regional business platform, held its inaugural Fourth Leap Conference at One World Hotel, Petaling Jaya.

The event also served as the launch of The Fourth Leap Magazine, which was officiated by Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) Deputy Minister Dr Ong Kian Ming.

The conference series serves to connect the dots between fundamental digital quake of technological change and the opportunities available to businesses – those that can adapt to the disruptive agents of the 4th Industrial Revolution.

“One of the greatest promises of the 4th IR’s potential is to improve the quality of life for the world’s population and raise income levels,“ WBN CEO and Founder, Sritharan Vellasamy said.

“Besides workplaces and organisations becoming ‘smarter’, the technologies of the 4th IR might even help us better prepare for natural disasters and potentially undo some of the damage wrought by previous industrial revolutions.”

However, he also believes that technologies can have negative results if people don’t think about how they can change them.

“We need to remember our values as we gaze into the future. All great advancements in our lives, not just tech, brings along a slippery slope for us to grapple. It needs awareness and perspective too,“ he added.

Featuring the theme of ‘Clarity Not Confusion Leading Business Direction’, the conference was attended by over 200 guests ranging from C-level executives to local SME’s. Guests also formed a diverse crowd from various sectors and industries.

Highly recognised speakers and panelists from companies such as Bosch Rexroth, Alibaba Cloud, Monash University, Sydney Cake House, UiTM, Fomca, MDEC, Miti, InvestKL and more, took to the stage in the form of engaging discussions and enlightening sessions.

Accompanying the conference series was the Fourth Leap Magazine, a publication dedicated towards the fourth industrial revolution. It’s cover story featured an exclusive interview with Nicholas David, Head of Society and Innovation of the World Economic Forum, who, besides sharing key insights into the changing business ecosystem, also gave his views on the recently launched Industry4WRD National Policy on Industry 4.0.

In his keynote speech, Ong spoke on the Fourth IR from the government’s perspective, the 11 components of Industry4WRD, Miti’s role in terms of Industry 4.0 and touched on upcoming programmes and discussions in relation to the recently tabled budget 2019.

“Looking at the budget that was announced by Minister Lim Guan Eng on Nov 2, it had many elements of Industry 4.0 wherein he mentioned a readiness assessment provided for companies in the manufacturing sector especially the SMEs so that they can identify what are their shortcomings in terms of Industry 4.0 readiness and ways to scale up,“ Ong said.

“We don’t want them to enter a situation whereby they think adopting industry 4.0 means having to spend millions of Ringgit to purchase new machines in order to automate. We want them to understand their business and determine what is the best business model in order to adopt aspects of industry 4.0 that are relevant to them in the most cost-effective way.”

The deputy minister also stressed that the private sector may also play a role by coming up with readiness assessment tools and working together with government agencies.

“There are over 900,000 SMEs in Malaysia and over 50,000 of which are in the manufacturing sector. Our readiness assessment model will be rolled out for 500 SMEs only, in order to help them to move up the value chain. We can’t reach out to 50,000 SMEs, but this is where the private sector could help these other SMEs adopt and understand Industry 4.0 standards.”

Besides the readiness assessment model, a dual training programme will be placed under the Ministry of Human Resources, whereby Miti would coordinate the funding pertaining to Industry 4.0 training processes as well as the grants and automation loans that are to be rolled out by the different agencies.

Ending his speech, the deputy minister extended his well wishes and hopes for the conference series.

“I hope that the Fourth Leap by WBN will play an important role in terms of educating and advancing the knowledge of Industry 4.0 and the Fourth Industrial Revolution literature and important inputs from various players, so that it can be translated into outputs that are usable by the industry – not just the manufacturing industry, but many of the other sectors represented.”

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