In today’s current climate, businesses and professionals must be familiar with the latest industry and world developments. One such trend is 4IR—a term that refers to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, otherwise known as the digital revolution. The 4IR period is characterized by accelerated technological growth, which has led to the creation and use of advancements such as the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and other similar tech-driven solutions.
These smart solutions and their adoption across several industries have fundamentally changed the way business is conducted worldwide, and Southeast Asia is no exception.
Key Enablers of 4IR in ASEAN
In anticipation, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has collaborated with several partners, including professionals from YCP Solidiance, to create the Consolidated Strategy on the Fourth Industrial Revolution. To help prepare stakeholders for business in a digital environment, the Consolidated Strategy on 4IR covers several important aspects and nuances of the digital revolution, such as potential factors that will enable development. The following enablers for embracing 4IR in ASEAN are identified in the framework:
- Digital Infrastructure – There are varying levels of readiness in terms of digital adoption across several levels—thus, digital infrastructure, its availability, and the accessibility that it provides will serve as the backbone of 4IR in ASEAN.
- Capability Building – To take advantage of 4IR technology, the public and private sectors in ASEAN will need to invest in training and skill development. It is important to ensure that human resource pools in the region are well-equipped and ready to properly capitalize on the 4IR growth in ASEAN.
- Institutions & Governance – While private companies can transition to 4IR at their own pace, ASEAN governments will need to take responsibility for the general public and ensure that domestic institutions in place will help address potential gaps in 4IR implementation.
- Resource Mobilization – Continuous investment into the transition towards 4IR will be important and will likely entail collaborative partnerships that are mutually beneficial. This will help further the 4IR agenda across ASEAN.
- Cooperation & Collaboration – To ensure cohesive adoption of 4IR, there must be proper communication between several players across the public and private sectors. This also guarantees that the proper mechanisms and frameworks for 4IR adoption are being implemented.
- Effective Monitoring – Properly monitoring the progress of ASEAN in consideration of its goals is essential, as it will help stakeholders identify potential areas for improvement. Implementation of 4IR can be improved gradually via comprehensive tracking.
ASEAN 4IR Strategic Priorities
For stakeholders to thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, involved parties must understand the areas in which ASEAN will prioritize progress. To fully capitalize on 4IR and the development that it will bring, the Consolidated Strategy has outlined the following areas of priority:
- Technological Governance and Cybersecurity – Considering that 4IR entails digital activity, governments must learn how to adapt to the technological landscape. Specifically, four aspects will become especially prominent: (1) good governance through e-government, (2) technological governance, (3) data governance, and (4) cybercrime, cybersecurity legislation, and commitment – all of which will help minimize potential risks and damages that will help eliminate skepticism surrounding 4IR.
- Digital Economy – The digital economies of ASEAN have accelerated rapidly due to factors like internet penetration, thus presenting promising opportunities which can be maximized most especially by emerging tech-based sectors. Further, the digital economies will allow involved parties to create alternative avenues and opportunities across varying industries for 4IR entrants, which helps create diversified economies.
- Digital Transformation of Society – The smart integration of 4IR-related advancements into the social, cultural, and organizational aspects of society is a must so that societies can holistically transition into the digital age. While approaches of ASEAN governments and businesses may vary to a certain degree due to socio-cultural factors, the digital transformation of societies and 4IR growth will be guided by the consolidated strategy, thus ensuring harmonious development.
Overall, ASEAN is well positioned to take full advantage of 4IR as it has developed a comprehensive and collaborative framework that parties may refer to. While the transition to the digital revolution may initially be difficult for some, initiatives like ASEAN’s Consolidated Strategy will help guide holistic development for those involved within the Southeast Asian region.
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