IEEE

The Fourth Industrial Revolution: UCSI Forum

Event: UCSI 4th Industrial Revolution Smart City Forum
Date: 9 June 2018
Organised by: IEEE HKN, IEEE RAS Malaysia, IEEE UCSI Student branch.
Venue: UCSI University KL Campus, South Wing, GG08 Auditorium

 

We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before. We do not yet know just how it will unfold, but one thing is clear: the response to it must be integrated and comprehensive, involving all stakeholders of the global polity, from the public and private sectors to academia and civil society.

The First Industrial Revolution used water and steam power to mechanize production. The Second used electric power to create mass production. The Third used electronics and information technology to automate production. Now a Fourth Industrial Revolution is building on the Third, the digital revolution that has been occurring since the middle of the last century. It is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres. When compared with previous industrial revolutions, the Fourth is evolving at an exponential rather than a linear pace. Moreover, it is disrupting almost every industry in every country. And the breadth and depth of these changes herald the transformation of entire systems of production, management, and governance. The possibilities of billions of people connected by mobile devices, with unprecedented processing power, storage capacity, and access to knowledge, are unlimited. And these possibilities will be multiplied by emerging technology breakthroughs in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing. Like the revolutions that preceded it, the Fourth Industrial Revolution has the potential to raise global income levels and improve the quality of life for populations around the world. To date, those who have gained the most from it have been consumers able to afford and access the digital world; technology has made possible new products and services that increase the efficiency and pleasure of our personal lives. Ordering a cab, booking a flight, buying a product, making a payment, listening to music, watching a film, or playing a game—any of these can now be done remotely.
This forum is the first of a series of events revolving about the 4th Industrial Revolution theme co-organized by IEEE-HKN Mu Alpha Chapter, IEEE UCSI University Student Branch, IEEE RAS Malaysia Chapter, IET On-Campus UCSI University and Information Technology Student Association (ITSA), focusing on the scope of the implementation of smart cities in Malaysia this year.
The event showcased eminent Industrial scholars from different Industries and also from Professional Engineering bodies. Among them are Mr Ko Chuan Zhen, Founder and CEO of Plus Solar Systems Sdn. Bhd., acting as our energy industry expert in the forum; Mr Jacob Isaac, Senior Vice President of Fusionex International as our Information Technology Industry Expert; and Prof. Ir. Dr. Leong Wai Yie, Vice Chairperson of Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Malaysia, acting as professional engineering society expert. The event was a half a day seminar talk lasting from 9.00 am to 1.30 pm. A total of more than 90 participants, including students from various engineering disciplinarians, researchers and professionals attended the event.

The event started shortly after the preliminary announcements were made by the master of ceremony, Sry Khairudin. The President of IEEE-HKN Mu Alpha Chapter and Chairman of IEEE UCSI University Student Branch, Harry Hoon Jian Wen delivered an introductory and welcoming speech to kick start the event, whereas the emcee followed up by giving a general picture and covering the background for the theme of the event.
After all this is done, the spotlight shifted to the speakers to talk about the recent developments in line with the implementation of smart cities in their respective field during the individual sharing session.

Mr Ko from Plus Solar Systems Sdn. Bhd. talked about the importance of renewable energy sources and the vital roles they play in reducing the environmental footprint of conventional energy generation methods which focused mainly on fossil fuels. This is significant to the development of smart cities, which will definitely demand more energy to sustain its attractiveness, not to mention the effects of the increasing human population. After all, if the Earth were to be so polluted with the by-products of the energy generation sector, which is proven to be the main contributor of greenhouse gases today; there would be no point of having smart cities in the first place!

Mr Ko also discussed about the challenges and opportunities of incorporating the 4th Industrial Revolution into the renewable energy sector using the synergy of artificial intelligence, big data analysis and Internet of Things for bringing meaning to data collected from the sites to allow better predictions and control, thus leading to cost savings and higher energy efficiencies. This has enabled the formation of the smart grid which can then be decarbonized, decentralized and digitalized. Advances in the 4th Industrial Revolution also helped in overcoming the challenges in demand side management, with the utilization of smart metering, advanced metering infrastructure and smart devices that provide usage control. It is predicted that the zone of grid parity is already on the horizon, when the levelized cost of electricity generation from photovoltaic technologies (solar energy) is more affordable than that of fossil fuels.

Mr Jacob reminded us that the World Health Organization (WHO) predicts 60 % of the population will live in cities by 2030. This clearly strengthen the rationale behind the development of smart cities. Mr Jacob is very much convinced that we are ready for this change in how we live, and believes that the rise of smart cities is not a matter of choice, but rather it is just a matter of time before they sweep across urbanized areas, whether we like it or not, like many other technologies in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. As sensors get smaller and cheaper by the day, data acquisition becomes more widespread and practical for various types of applications previously deemed inappropriate. Smarter machines with better data processing capabilities will be implemented to bring deep insights into this load of information like never before, yielding predictions that can detect abnormalities and prevent unwanted events before they happen. The “pillars” of Industry 4.0, like cloud computing, augmented reality, big data, internet of things and cyber-security, will stand firm to support the rise of smart cities, and we must invest our resources into these fields today or we will be left behind. Fortunately, Malaysia is doing well in this perspective, according to Mr Jacob, and so we should continue to contribute to this advancement by getting involved and even get specialized in any one of the “pillars”.
Dr Leong from IET started her speech by bringing the audience back to the history of the industrial revolutions prior to the current Industry 4.0. From the rise of steam engines to the utilization of electricity and information technology, the past has paved the road and laid the foundation of the 4th Industrial Revolution, when the boundaries between technology and humankind start to blur out. The pace of technological advancement has been observed to accelerate through the timeline of the four industrial revolutions. According to her, it took the telephone 75 years to reach its first 100 million customers, while Pokemon Go only needed 1 month to do the same! Big data analysts nowadays talk about volume, velocity and variety to support the ever-increasing capacities and the demand of real-time data analytics by the latest technologies.

Dr Leong urged us to observe our surroundings to be aware of the amount of data that is traversing the air today: there are more than 2 billion people connected to the Internet by the end of 2011, 200 million smart meters by 2014 and today we have 4.6 billion camera phones worldwide; Twitter has received over 12 TB of tweet data every day while Facebook logs 25 TB of data daily. Dr Leong also gave the example of an application in indoor GPS services for robot navigation, which she has shown us a video submission from one of the winners of the Industry 4.0 Exhibition and Competition organized by IET Malaysia a few years back. It is no surprise that the ASEAN Community has come up with the ASEAN ICT Master Plan 2020. She believes that universities must take the first step promptly to equip their graduates with skills needed by Industry 4.0.
A forum discussion soon followed after the individual sharing session, involving all our three prominent speakers to discuss the prospect of building a smart city in Malaysia. Asst. Prof. Dr. Nurhidayah Bahar, a lecturer from UCSI University, has taken the role of moderator for the forum session. Students were allowed to ask their questions through the Sli.do online platform, where their enquiries would be filtered by the organizing committee to remove any irrelevant or distracting questions before sending them to the moderator.

Among the questions asked were the concern for cyber-security and data privacy, the imminent change of lifestyles and the readiness of Malaysians to embrace this trend. Mr Ko agreed that the technologies brought by Industry 4.0 will act like a knife, the results will be dependent on how we use it and what our intentions are. Mr Jacob was of the opinion that Malaysians have the technological capabilities needed but have restrained themselves with the mind set of “letting someone else take the first step first” instead of pioneering in the field to be “on the safe side”. He also believed that the most important skill one must acquire in this era is the skill to constantly adapt and learn. Dr Leong urged that the academia and industry should have better initiatives to narrow the gap in terms of resources and knowledge from research and development to accelerate advancement in this area.
The event was wrapped up with the presentation of tokens of appreciation to the speakers and a group photo with all of the audience.

Photo 1: Opening Speech By the Organising Chairperson of this event, President of IEEE-HKN Mu Alpha Chapter, Chairman of IEEE UCSI University Student Branch)

Photo 2: The Panel of Speakers (From left: Prof. If. Dr. Leong Wai Yie, Mr Jacob Isaac, Mr Ko Chuan Zhen and Asst. Prof. Dr. Nurhidayah Bahar as moderator)

Photo 3: Group Photo with our speakers and moderator

 

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