“Cutting-edge technologies and institutions can empower manufacturers to customize their products and services to their customers’ needs; as ‘smart’ ecosystems are being established, e-commerce connects smart factories with smart societies,” said Frank van Rompaey, Representative of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in Geneva, at a thematic session on “Industry 4.0 and E-commerce” held during UNCTAD’s eCommerce Week 2019.
Organized by UNIDO, the thematic session explored how Industry 4.0 can enhance e-commerce services and benefits. The panelists touched upon the potential economic and social transformations arising from the Fourth Industrial Revolution; identified applications of Industry 4.0 technologies in e-commerce; and shared best practices, experiences and solutions to enhance consumer experience when engaging with e-commerce.
“E-commerce will be a key driver for both the Fourth Industrial Revolution and seizing the opportunities of the African Free Trade Area,” said Alastair Tempest, CEO at Ecommerce Forum Africa. “The union of e-commerce with Industry 4.0 technologies can address the logistical flow of goods in Africa, promote financial technology solutions, enhance customer service and facilitate the growth of digital businesses.”
Taking the example of Brazil, the CEO of ENEXT Gabriel Lima, said: “Only 2 per cent of Brazil’s industrial sector is prepared for Industry 4.0, but this sector is gaining traction,” pointing to the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on the iFood platform to provide customers with customized restaurant recommendations and increase the efficiency of order approvals. “E-commerce is asset light and cheap, and therefore a very good starting point to drive Industry 4.0 development in Brazil as well as globally,” added Lima.
Speaking from a consumer’s perspective, Julien Grollier from CUTS International discussed the risks brought by the Internet of Things for consumers related to personal data protection, digital rights management, competition effects, and liability and responsibility chains. “Consumers must play an active role in policy dialogue formulation, increase awareness of their rights; improve their digital literacy,” said Grollier.
Experiences and lessons learned from the private sector relevant to standardization, digital manufacturing, transparent logistics and information interconnection were also discussed during the session.
The Vice President of Sinopec Europa GmbH, Suoyu Zhang, presented the example of China: “Early adoption of e-commerce has now resulted in inclusive development in most sectors within the country. E-commerce has supported the digitization of enterprises and consumers and led to the implementation of efficient and effective digital supply chains.”
Under the theme “From Digitalization to Development”, UNCTAD’s eCommerce Week emphasized the necessity to break down silos among institutions, government representatives and policy makers for an effective contribution of e-commerce towards sustainable development.
What is the Difference between a Sensor and Transducer?
What Do We Understand by a Transducer?
A transducer is an electrical gadget or device that can convert energy from one of its forms into another through the process known as transduction. In most cases and general scenarios, the appliance or instrument can transform a signal from one state into another. The conversion of electrical energy into its mechanical variation is an example of the kind or type of work a transducer can perform.
The most common places where a transducer finds application are the boundaries and margins of control systems, measurements, and automation. The electrical gadget can perform its actions and functions for a few specific conditions and circumstances. Let us choose an example to understand it. A transducer works when a given electrical energy or signal experiences transformation from any form or state of a physical quantity to another. The latter variable or parameter can include force position, motion, light, torque, etc.
What Do We Understand by a Sensor?
A sensor is a unique type of transducer. It receives a signal or a stimulus from a specified physical system and sends a response for it. The device generates and produces a return signal that depicts and represents the data and information of the entire arrangement. Such an approach can get used in different and distinct kinds or sorts of control, statistical, or telemetric systems.
A sensor comes with the ability and capability to detect distinct alterations and changes in its surroundings and environment. After locating the variations, it sends the collected and interpreted material and information to some other form or version of electronics. In general instances, it entails a computer processor. In other cases, manual and human deciphering can also get chosen.
What are the Various Types or Categories of Transducer?
Based on several factors, a transducer can get divided into different types or categories. The first basis of classification can comprise the manner or fashion in which the electrical instrument functions and operates. The kind of work it performs can also get included. In such a case, a transducer can be of the following two varieties or types:
- Mechanical Transducer
A mechanical transducer can change any physical quantity. It can transform it into its mechanical counterpart and form.
- Electrical Transducer
An electrical transducer can change any physical quantity. It can transform it into its electrical counterpart and form.
Besides the mentioned basis of categorization, a transducer can be of two more types. It depends on the style of job that the instrument performs.
- Input Transducer
An input transducer utilizes a specific state or particular form of a physical quantity or variable. It converts it into a readable and interpretable signal. An example that falls under this category includes a microphone. It accepts the produced and created sound waves and works to change them into an electrical form of signal. After that, the parameter or element can get moved or transported to the amplifier. It is feasible with the help of a wire connection system.
- Output Transducer
An output transducer operates in a manner that is the exact opposite of an input transducer. It utilizes the received electrical signals and changes them into some other state or form of energy. An example that falls under this category includes a lamp. It accepts electricity and alters into light energy.
What are the Various Types or Categories of Sensors?
A sensor can be of several types, a few of which entails:
- Position Sensor
A position sensor computes the distance traveled by a body from its reference or starting point. It measures the angular or the linear position. The device does so by comparing the acquired value with a specified location. Furthermore, it can determine the presence and location of an object.
- Strain Gauge
A strain gauge works to compute strain or force. Its resistance changes with the degree of applied force, leading to various electrical outputs. This method helps assess pressure, weight, and tension.
- Flow and Level Switch
A flow and level switch computes liquid or dry substances using a relay, millivolt, or current outputs.
- Vibration Sensor
A vibration sensor computes a machine, system, or equipment’s vibration frequency. The obtained results help to find and determine imbalances and other issues. It also works to correct them.
- Photo Optic Sensor
A photo optic sensor determines the distance and presence of an object. It does so using a photoelectric receiver as well as a light transmitter.
- Humidity Sensor
A humidity sensor computes air humidity conditions at any time and place.
- Force Sensor
A force sensor computes the magnitudes of load, strain, compression, and force.
- Pressure Sensor
A pressure sensor regulates various electrical gadgets and appliances. It also measures a fluid or a gas’ flow and speeds indirectly.
- Fluid Property Sensor
A fluid property sensor checks the dynamic and proportionate relationship between different physical properties. It helps assess the quality, contaminant load, and condition of the fluid.
- Piezo Sensor
A piezo sensor converts a physical variable like acceleration or pressure into an electrical signal. In addition, it can gauge the change in strain, acceleration, and pressure.
- Temperature Sensor
A temperature sensor computes the change in temperature of a gaseous, liquid, or solid matter.
How Does a Sensor Differ From a Transducer?
A sensor is a type of transducer. Nevertheless, each of the electrical instruments has significant points of difference between themselves. A few of their distinctions comprise:
A transducer resembles a translator. On the other hand, a sensor is more like a detector.
A transducer comprises a signal conditioning component and a sensor. A sensor has no additional parts.
- Performance Complexity
The working and operation of a transducer are more complicated than that of a sensor.
- Feedback System
A transducer delivers feedback to a specified system with the help of an output device. It happens after the processing steps end in the signal conditioning component. However, a sensor cannot do so.
- Output Signal Form
A transducer converts the output signal into an electrical form, while a sensor makes no changes.
Industrial innovation to accelerate transitions towards greener and digital economies
In the context of the 8th European Conference on Corporate R&D and Innovation (CONCORDI), 2021 – Industrial innovation for competitive sustainability, held online between 22-25 November 2021, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) convened two plenary sessions to discuss the greening of the economy and digitalization as two megatrends shaping the future of industrialization. These megatrends will influence developing countries’ efforts towards the achievement of inclusive and sustainable industrial development and the global sustainability agenda. The ongoing pandemic introduces resilience as an additional driver for policy, capacity development and strengthened coordination and collaboration around industrial innovation and industrial policy issues at different levels.
By leveraging its vast field experiences, technical cooperation activities and research work, UNIDO introduced developing country and sustainability perspectives to inform policy recommendations stemming from CONCORDI 2021, while also proposing novel policy- and action-orientated research agendas.
During his remarks at the plenary session titled: “The future of industrialization in a post pandemic world: Focus on developing countries”, Hiroshi Kuniyoshi, UNIDO’s Deputy to the Director General, advocated novel approaches to industrial policies as crucial for seizing the windows of opportunities stemming from digitalization and the greening of manufacturing. The threat of growing divides, he said, implies that industrialization requires commitment to foster industrial innovation as the basis for catching up and leapfrogging in a post-pandemic world.
Kuniyoshi suggested that successful endorsement of the fourth industrial revolution would depend on each country’s responses and readiness, including through industrial capability building, domestic market size and upgrading in global value chains. He said policymakers need to pay attention to both framework conditions and specific policies to support development of production capabilities by firms.
The plenary session titled: “Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Recovery through Digital Transformation”, addressed different factors that can determine success in endorsing the twin transition towards the green and the digital economy. These include digital planning and innovation strategies, focusing on trade facilitation, investing in infrastructure and enhancing policy coherence as well as addressing issues of finance from both public and private sources.
Speakers said capacity building, particularly for women and youth, remains a fundamental challenge, including the promotion of digital and green skills, and science, technology engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. Addressing cultural biases preventing gender inclusivity, and solving skills gaps between men and women, should supplement efforts to facilitate access of women to better jobs.
There was agreement that in all these processes, priority setting would help focus on fewer challenges, while partnership building between governments, private sector, research organizations and multilateral organizations will be fundamental to securing an enabling environment for developing countries to leverage on the digital and the green economy towards meeting the sustainability targets associated with the 2030 and 2050 agendas. UNIDO stands ready to broker collaboration between its Members States and development partners in ways that reduce fragmentation of development assistance, and by bringing development assistance with impact to the field level.
The Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (EC-JRC) convenes the CONCORDI biannually. For this year’s edition, UNIDO, the European Association for Research and Technology Organisations (EARTO), and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) joined the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) as co-organizers.
UNIDO’s contribution to CONCORDI2021 marks a progressive strengthening of the collaboration with the JRC on science, technology and innovation (STI) matters, beyond ongoing work in context of the UN Inter-Agency Task Team on STI for the SDGs.
193 countries adopt the first global agreement on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence
All the nations members of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) adopted on Thursday a historical text that defines the common values and principles needed to ensure the healthy development of AI.
Artificial intelligence is present in everyday life, from booking flights and applying for loans to steering driverless cars. It is also used in specialized fields such as cancer screening or to help create inclusive environments for the disabled.
According to UNESCO, AI is also supporting the decision-making of governments and the private sector, as well as helping combat global problems such as climate change and world hunger.
However, the agency warns that the technology ‘is bringing unprecedented challenges’.
“We see increased gender and ethnic bias, significant threats to privacy, dignity and agency, dangers of mass surveillance, and increased use of unreliable AI technologies in law enforcement, to name a few. Until now, there were no universal standards to provide an answer to these issues”, UNESCO explained in a statement.
Considering this, the adopted text aims to guide the construction of the necessary legal infrastructure to ensure the ethical development of this technology.
“The world needs rules for artificial intelligence to benefit humanity. The Recommendation on the ethics of AI is a major answer. It sets the first global normative framework while giving States the responsibility to apply it at their level. UNESCO will support its 193 Member States in its implementation and ask them to report regularly on their progress and practices”, said Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO chief.
AI as a positive contribution to humanity
The text aims to highlight the advantages of AI, while reducing the risks it also entails. According to the agency, it provides a guide to ensure that digital transformations promote human rights and contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, addressing issues around transparency, accountability and privacy, with action-oriented policy chapters on data governance, education, culture, labour, healthcare and the economy.
One of its main calls is to protect data, going beyond what tech firms and governments are doing to guarantee individuals more protection by ensuring transparency, agency and control over their personal data. The Recommendation also explicitly bans the use of AI systems for social scoring and mass surveillance.
The text also emphasises that AI actors should favour data, energy and resource-efficient methods that will help ensure that AI becomes a more prominent tool in the fight against climate change and in tackling environmental issues.
“Decisions impacting millions of people should be fair, transparent and contestable. These new technologies must help us address the major challenges in our world today, such as increased inequalities and the environmental crisis, and not deepening them.” said Gabriela Ramos, UNESCO’s Assistant Director General for Social and Human Sciences.
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