4IR Workshop – Developer vs Consumer

6th March 2019

Sarah Haffenden

– by Noluthando Makhaza

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is disrupting almost every industry in every country and creating massive change in a non-linear way at unprecedented speed. It is best described as “the exponential changes to the way we live, work and relate to one another due to the adoption of cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things and the Internet of Systems” – (Bernard Marr: 2018). At our recent workshop, thought-provoking discussions on the topic – the Fourth Industrial Revolution were co-facilitated by the conversant Dr Sonny Anyetei Ako Nai (UKZN Lecturer and Business Management Consultant) and Mr Atul Padalkar (Entrepreneur and Founder of Bizfarm).

Discussions such as the key drivers of the 4IR, examples of 4IR technologies, the impacts and implications of the shifts, as well as the preparations and way forward were covered during the two-hour session. Dr Sonny stated that there are two types of participants – the developer and the consumers. As the African continent, we are involved mostly in the consumption stage whereas the first world countries are taking maximum advantage of this era as the key developers of these technologies. However, this can change if our education and training systems quickly adapt to better prepare people for the flexibility and critical thinking skills they will need in the future workplace.

The workshop was conducted in a very interactive manner between the facilitators and the attendees. As the presentation was taking place, delegates posed relevant questions which were not only answered by the facilitators but also by other fellow delegates. Our attendees described the workshop as productive and thought-provoking, and going forward, they will now look for ways to better equip themselves in order to fully partake in this 4IR. Skills development is one of the ways they can better prepare themselves while becoming more proactive in shaping this technology and disruption. This will require global cooperation and a shared view of how technology is reshaping our economic, social, cultural and individual lives.

We encourage companies to invest in their technical infrastructure and data analysing capabilities. All businesses must be making a move to be smart, connected organisations or they will soon fall behind the competition.

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