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Asia Pacific manufacturing companies champion digital transformation

MD Staff

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Asia Pacific manufacturing companies are championing the digitization and end-to-end integration of their operations, introducing digital products and services and connecting new technologies across their organizations at a much faster rate than their peers in the Americas and EMEA. This gap will continue to widen, as 32% of Asian companies plan to have established mature digital ecosystems in the next five years, compared to 24% in the Americas and 15% in EMEA.

For its report, Digital Champions: How industry leaders build integrated operations ecosystems to deliver end-to-end customer solutions, PwC’s Strategy& surveyed 1,155 executives at global manufacturing companies in 26 countries and asked them about their views on Industry 4.0. and digital operations. Based on the outcomes, PwC developed a digital maturity index to explore the role of frontrunners – the so-called ‘Digital Champions’ – and what distinguishes them to outpace their competitors.

Key findings

  • 10% of global manufacturing companies are Digital Champions, while almost two-thirds have barely or not yet begun on the digital journey
  • Asia Pacific is leading the way to digitization, where 19% of manufacturers have achieved Digital Champion status, compared to 11% in the Americas and 5% of companies in EMEA
  • Automotive (20%) and Electronics (14%) have the largest share of Digital Champions. Consumer goods (6%), Industrial manufacturing (6%) and Process industries (6%) are lagging significantly behind
  • Global manufacturing companies are applying new technologies to their operations at a large scale, but artificial intelligence is just kicking off
  • Two-thirds of all companies don’t have a clear digital vision and strategy to support digital transformation and culture

While Industry 4.0 is transforming manufacturing rapidly, only a small group of companies are in a position to gain real competitive advantages from this operations revolution. In PwC’s Strategy& Global Digital Operations Study 2018 only 10% of global manufacturing companies are dubbed as Digital Champions. These companies view digitization in ways that are far-reaching and aggressively innovative, well beyond mere automation and networking.

In the report, 19% of the manufacturers from Asia have achieved the Digital Champion status, compared to 11% in the Americas and 5% of companies in EMEA. It seems like the region’s young and tech-savvy corporate managers who are embracing digital technologies, as well as soaring compensation and production costs, have pushed manufacturing companies in Asia Pacific to digitize their key operations processes at a much faster rate than elsewhere in the world.

EMEA clearly lagging behind on path towards digitization

Digitization will lead to an increase in production in mature markets, as it reduces operations costs and enables companies to rely less on labor arbitrage. However, companies in the EMEA region mostly don’t get beyond a medium level of supply chain integration and are often lacking high automation and connectivity in their manufacturing operations. Compared to their Asia Pacific counterparts, EMEA companies also more often fail to connect their strategic, operational, technological and people-related capabilities, and less often incorporate partners in their business models to create customer value.

Consequently and while already being behind, EMEA companies only expect their investments in new technologies and digital ecosystems to result in 12.7% growth in digital revenue over the next five years, compared to 16.6% growth among Asian companies.

Dr. Reinhard Geissbauer, Partner at PwC’s Strategy& Germany, says:“Asian companies are far outmaneuvering their Western counterparts because they have the advantage of setting up robust digital operations from essentially a blank slate in terms of factory automation, workforce and even organization information technology networks. Therefore they don’t have numerous complex legacy systems and facilities to upgrade, integrate or discard. In addition, Asian companies appear to be keener to try new business models and develop innovative products and services.”

Most Digital Champions are in Automotive and Electronics

Two-thirds of global manufacturing companies have barely or not yet begun the digitization of their operations and especially in Process industries, Consumer goods and Industrial manufacturing only a few companies have emerged as Digital Champions. Industrial equipment companies are already more advanced, but Automotive (20% Digital Champions) and Electronics (14%) are clearly the most digitally mature. Operations in auto companies have been optimized, automated and connected for decades, while electronics manufacturers have been at the forefront of outsourced manufacturing, which requires connecting and managing disparate systems and partners across an extended value chain.

Stefan Schrauf, Partner at PwC Strategy& Germany, says:“One of the reasons why automotive and electronics companies are surpassing other industry competitors is because of their high level of supply chain integration and well integrated end-to-end planning. The auto industry’s decades-old push to gain efficiencies, accelerate output, reduce waste and recoup working capital through lean techniques means it’s always looking for better ways and new technologies that can fine-tune their already well-established supply chains. Electronics companies generally have long-standing close relationships with suppliers and make frequent use of outsourced contract manufacturers to meet high demand variation and short lifecycles.”

Higher cost savings by connecting essential technologies

New technologies are implemented across the board, but only Digital Champions are able to leverage these technologies to truly connect and collaborate along the end-to-end value chain. They take a holistic approach, connecting essential technologies across the organization and with strategic partners instead of isolated implementations. As a result, they expect to achieve high cost savings and efficiency gains from technology implementations: 16% anticipated cost savings in the next five years versus 10% for Digital Novices (the least digitally mature companies in the report).

At least 90% of Digital Champions have already implemented, piloted or planned some of the most current technologies, like IoT (97%) and advanced robotics (90%). Starkly different, only about one-third of Digital Novices have adopted the most common operational technologies, like predictive maintenance (39%) and integrated supply chain planning (32%).

One-third of Digital Champions have adopted artificial intelligence (AI) across major functions, primarily for automating manual and cognitive tasks. 98% of Digital Novices have no AI activities at all. Overall the study finds that AI is still at the beginning of its development. Most companies appreciate AI’s significant potential, but core use cases are just emerging. Even among Digital Champions, 52% say they lack people skills to broadly implement AI systems and many are hesitant about full-scale AI because they are uncertain about the maturity of the data produced by the AI systems themselves. Asian companies are also at the forefront with AI, with 15% implementing significant AI solutions, while EMEA is lagging behind (5%).

People at the center of digital transformation

Two-thirds of the survey respondents said they don’t have a clear digital vision and strategy to support digital transformation and culture, and only 27% believe their employees have the required qualifications to master the digital future. On the other hand, more than 70% of the Digital Champions say their leaders express a clear vision for the future and serve as role models for digital change in their organizations. Consequently, Digital Champions invest heavily in people development and training and cultivate multi-disciplinary teams to foster innovation across functional boundaries.

Dr. Reinhard Geissbauer says:“Ultimately people enable and support the efforts of a company’s strategic direction, solutions, performance and operations, thus influencing its evolution. To make this transformation, Digital Champions assess the status quo of their workforce; advance the best and brightest and most digitally-oriented existing talent while training others to also achieve this category, and inject new talent into the organization where gaps in people’s skill sets and capabilities are revealed.”

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Artificial Intelligence: Everyday Everywhere

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May 17 marks the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day with the theme of enabling the positive use of ‘Artificial Intelligence for All’.

The term artificial intelligence (AI) may conjure up science fiction stories or robots. However, you may be surprised if you find out that it is present in your everyday life.

Video games, online customer support, smart home appliances, promotional emails, as well as personalized and contextual digital advertising are some examples of AI.

In Iran, AI started to be taught as a university course 16 years ago. Iran is applying AI in mitigating traffic density, offering financial services and for military purposes.

Like all other parts of the world, Iran is developing AI as a necessary part of up-to-date technology and modern life.

Wherever you live, you are surrounded by AI whether you notice or not.

The smartphone in your hand, your bank credit card in your purse, and even appliances you use every day in your home, they are AI-based technology in your daily life. AI has a great impact on your life and without it, your life would be very different.

Like any other new types of technology, AI has positive and negative effects on our life and like other aspects of life, our awareness is the only way to benefit from facilities, which make our life easier if they are used in right way.

World Telecommunication and Information Society Day 

According to UN, the purpose of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) is to help raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICT) can bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide.

May 17 marks the anniversary of the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention and the creation of the International Telecommunication Union.

In recent years there has been significant progress in AI technology, made possible by tremendous advances in contributing fields, such as big data, machine learning, computing power, storage capacity and cloud computing, among others.

AI-based technologies are already emerging as a key component of proactive tools and applications being used to help people lead better lives by improving healthcare, education, finance, agriculture, transportation, and a wide range of other services.

The 2018 theme will focus on the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to accelerate the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

First published in our partner Tehran Times

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Use blockchain model to cut small firms’ costs and empower citizens

MD Staff

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Applying the “blockchain” model to areas like energy use, supply chains and governance would cut costs for firms and empower citizens, said the Industry Committee.

Blockchain transactions are recorded by multiple users, rather than by paid – and often costly – intermediaries. The model is currently best known for underpinning the functioning of digital currencies, such as Bitcoin.

The committee approved on Wednesday recommendations on how to apply the blockchain model elsewhere, so as to cut intermediation costs for small firms, empower citizens and enable the EU to become a global leader in this field.

It is not all about Bitcoin

Citizens could use blockchains to gain full control of their own data and decide what to share, and small firms and innovative start-ups could use them to cut intermediation costs and ensure that transactions are executed efficiently, the approved text says.

MEPs advocate applying the blockchain model to areas such as energy consumption, health care, supply chains, transport, finance and the creative industries.

For example, the model could help to:

  • monitor the origin of goods, offering greater certainty that, e.g., diamonds are ethically sourced, clothes are not made in sweatshops and a bottle of champagne comes from Champagne,
  • “democratize” the energy market, by enabling households that produce energy to exchange and consume it without the need to pay an intermediary agency, and
  • create records such as land registries, birth certificates and business licences with less dependence upon lawyers, notaries and government officials.

Getting blockchain rules right

Industry Committee MEPs call on the EU Commission to propose a regulatory approach designed to promote different uses of blockchains and other Distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) that is innovation-friendly and technology neutral.

To ensure the sector is competitive, MEPs also ask for the post-2020 EU long-term budget (Multiannual Financial Framework – MFF, currently under negotiation) to include funding for blockchain-based research and projects.

Background

Blockchain-based transactions create fast, cheap and secure public records and can be also used for many non-financial tasks, such as casting votes in elections or proving that a document existed at a specific time. Blockchains are particularly well suited to situations where it is necessary to know ownership histories.

They also present opportunities in all kinds of public services such as health and welfare payments and, at the frontier of blockchain development, are self-executing contracts paving the way for companies that run themselves without human intervention.

Blockchain – How does it work? 

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The Cyber Harassment of Women in Pakistan

Venita Christopher

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Technology has gained remarkable success in the global world, today everyone have an access to the modern technology and are addicted to its use especially the social media websites like face book, twitter, Imo, Skype, hangouts and too many other websites like this have caught too many people in its web that not only young generation but adults are also trapped in its spindle.  Both men and women are not safe of Cyber harassment today but women are the more prominent victims of being exploited sexually and mentally. Invasion of privacy, extortion, cyber bully and blackmailing are at the top rank for spoiling women lives.

According to the report of Digital Rights Foundation 40 percent of the women faces different forms of online harassment on internet. These social websites are useful on one way but on the other hand there are too many vulnerable effects of these websites. Cyber world has excelled in its tricks today and there are many ways either to secure or ruin human lives in seconds through cyber world. Keeping a blind eye and trust on known or unknown people a lot of lives in Pakistan has been lost due to their ignorance, innocence and lack of awareness about using social websites.

According to the study of Online Violence 72 percent of women in Pakistan are unaware of the Cyber Laws and Cyber Hygiene. From the last few years researches have shown that women in Pakistan are facing insecurity and threat to their lives because of these social and dating websites. Women are being cyber bullied, harassed, blackmail and tortured online on these websites which has spread a frightening roars in the world. Today the main concern is why women are not secure either online or offline? Why there is no any way developed yet to stop this horrifying trend in Pakistan and to secure the lives of women in future?

We all have addiction of using social websites, no doubt they are useful but on the other hand lack of awareness and tricks of cyber world have led us to an insecure world that we don’t find a way to escape from the trap. Despite of the Cyber bill passed by Pakistan in 2015 this vulnerable problem has not been stopped yet and the victims are increasing day by day. In our patriarchal society women are being considered as socially, morally, spiritually and physically weak living beings created by God and our society treat them in the same way. The thinking of society have made too many women psychologically weak that they keep their mouths closed after being raped, bullied, harassed and blackmailed online or offline. The conservative thinking of our societies that women are the respect of  the family and they have to close their mouths or keep the thing as secret  if any horrifying thing happened to them because if they speak out they may disrespect their families status in societies.

The government of Pakistan passed  Punjab Protection of Women against Violence Act  last year that only worked a bit but till now no act or bill have been passed yet to stop online violence against women at bigger level. The lack of awareness and education is one of the biggest concerns about the deaths of women who were sexually exploited online. Few powerful women of our society if ever took a step to get themselves help and caught the hidden culprit behind computer , our families and police investigators added fuel to fire and cause psychological fear in them despite of helping them. The investigators both male and females ask such an abusive and shameless questions to females that it hit the nerves of victims and they left the case in between instead of fighting for their rights. The question arise here that why the authorities are sometimes quiet on this issue from too many years? What is the purpose of passing cyber bill when there is no implementation of it practically all across the country? Why male police officers are being used for investigation of women who are being harassed online? These are all the reasons that women are facing insecurity in Pakistan and in other Asian countries not only offline but online as well because not proper measures ,rules ,laws, bills and acts has been passed yet to stop cyber stalking, trolling and extortion of women.

Recommendations to Check Cyber Crimes:

There should be female cyber experts in Pakistan who would only deal with the issues of women being exploited online because victims sometimes feel hesitation in showing or revealing personal data or pictures to male cyber experts.

There should be a separate department of cyber experts who would only deal with these issues personally despite of involving whole family in case and women should be given contacts of those experts so whenever they would face problem or are being scam they would immediately seek help to those experts.

Women should go straight forward to these types of departments and meet with experts without any hesitation. Moreover there should be one female police investigator all time available in cyber section for investigation of women cases so they would not feel ashamed or disrespect rather than going to police stations.

It is impossible to stop cyber threats in today’s world but awareness ,campaigns ,seminars conducted by cyber experts and surveys of women NGO’s and organizations in Pakistan can somehow  play a decisive role in saving  the lives of women.

There should be male and female counselors available in cyber departments for the counseling of harassed women who are being victimize and mentally effected and had fear to express truth or reality  in order to seek help and to caught the culprit behind computer.

A software should be developed and would be provided to all women either educated or uneducated  in their cell phones, laptops and computes that will detect any harmful act done to their devices or the social sites used to that devices .

Proper seminars should be conducted regularly in remote areas by women organizations and NGO, s where women are being taught the use and awareness of these social sites and those ways to protect their lives online.

Government should introduce a subject of cyber hygiene for safe use of social websites for all the students in every education institute from junior classes.

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