Written by Barbara Matic

Welcome to the industry and economy 4.0, where machines will adopt human intelligence and industries will change their ways in responding to the needs of society.

We are gradually moving towards the period of economy 4.0, a new situation that will open opportunities, unlock value to empower businesses and individuals, and maximize the organization’s assets. Nevertheless, with the rapid development of technology, the frontier of tasks between humans and machines are gradually being blurred, leading to a transformation of the labor market. As a result, companies need to come up with sustainable and wise solutions in this disruptive process, which is the re-skilling and up-skilling of its workforces. To be more specific, in order to unlock the positive vision of economy 4.0, employees need to gain and improve appropriate skills that are required among industries under the impact of digitalization.

For ASEAN, the region has to face up with threats that lie beneath including stress in advanced economy and coherence of society. With the fourth industrial revolution, ASEAN is facing challenges and opportunities. Increasing wealth by increasing productivity is one of the key opportunities ASEAN faces. Furthermore, it will create new ways for citizen and countries such as Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia to connect and trade with each other and to access services that are currently not available more efficiently. Industry 4.0 can also empower small and medium enterprises by trading in new ways and connecting them to giant regional markets. New technologies such as blockchain will lower the payment costs and facilitate logistics. On the other hand, ASEAN will also be challenged by job losses and disruption due to digitalisation and artificial intelligence. Moreover, inequality and political instability between ASEAN’s developed and developing economies is also a challenge for the ASEAN economy.

India, with its 1.33 billion inhabitants, is the world’s largest democracy. India has the largest number of engineers and scientists worldwide. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), India will be at the forefront of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In October 2018, the WEF launched a Centre for Fourth Industrial Revolution in Delhi, India to foster the creation of digital technologies and engage in dialogue amongst business leaders. Digital transformation has become one of India’s most important political priorities. In fact, Focus India’s platinum partner Accenture has several innovation hubs in India to promote digital innovation. SWISS POST affirmed that India is the pioneer for the Internet of Things (IoT). Moreover, as the world’s best postal organization (as named by the Universal Postal Union), Swiss Post is investing in IoT by observing IoT progress in India to learn more about the technology.

China, on the other hand, is known as the world’s largest manufacturing country. However, there is a gap between China and other countries in Europe and America in terms of the capacity of independent innovation and supplying key materials and components, as well as product quality and reliability.  

Made in China 2025, a national strategy, is designed to shift focus from “quantity” to “quality”. Raising productivity is a key point of this strategy. China’s labor pool is currently shrinking because of the demographic trends in this country. Hence Chinese companies are facing the challenge of working more but with fewer workers, which means that China needs to invest in Technology. Questioning if the MIC 2025 represents a threat to Switzerland, Prof. Dr. Ruedi Nützi, Director of the School of Business at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts FHNW, argues that there will be no reason to fear this strategy, if Switzerland continues to invest in its excellent education system. 

While Switzerland is already preparing for industry 4.0, the United States, providing the second largest manufacturing sector, is ready for changes too. The birthplace of the first moving assembly line is keeping its head start when it comes to innovation. Also, the WEF’s 2018 report confirmed that the United States are at the forefront in several major developments surrounding the emerging technologies of the Industry 4.0. While the government is investing tremendously in the progress of Internet of Things also the need for policies in cyber security and data privacy is increasing within the new revolution.

We are looking forward to observing the changes and its progress in this new and exciting Era. Will the future international student projects already fly with their cars to the project destination?