|Richard R. C. Shih speaking at Taiwan Excellence 2018
With the experience of organising the international campaign Taiwan Excellence in Vietnam for eight times, Richard R. C. Shih, representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Vietnam, shared with Nguyen Huong what Vietnam needs to do to catch up to the trend of Industry 4.0.
In the 4.0 era, how important are smart technology applications in our day-to-day lives? Are these applications suitable for use in Vietnam?
We have various emerging technologies that impact our lives in different ways today.
Take smart technology for example, it makes use of artificial intelligence (AI) to enable a level of cognitive awareness. The technology employs machine learning and Big Data analysis to perform functions that have traditionally been done by humans. This boosts the efficiency, productivity, and functionality of almost anything it is applied to, hence creating a smarter and more comfortable life for us.
Vietnam is both qualified and motivated to take the lead in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Smart applications can be applied in various fields in Vietnam, ranging from manufacturing and healthcare to education or home appliances. It also attracts great attention from users in Vietnam.
In Vietnam, real estate developers are now more proactive in integrating smart home technology into their development projects. The adoption of smart home applications has received positive feedbacks from Vietnamese consumers about the economic benefits and efficiency that it brings. Although consumers are still familiarising themselves with smart home applications, we believe that they will embrace more advanced and specialised solutions in the near future.
Vietnam has been doing its utmost to make use of Industry 4.0. Could you share some of your or Taiwan’s experiences in catching up to this trend?
Taiwan is in a very good position to join the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Success in Industry 4.0 requires expertise in sophisticated machinery development and information and communications technology, two fields that are among Taiwan’s greatest strengths.
Apart from our strong supply chain, Taiwan is also one of the most important production hub for industrial computers, which can be a stepping stone to developing Industry 4.0.
Moreover, the manufacturing sector has always been at the centre of Taiwan’s economic development. Machine tool makers in Taiwan are ramping up efforts to utilise smart manufacturing technologies in their production processes and product development so as to boost their international competitiveness. We have also established a committee consisting of representatives from the industry, research institutes, and the academia to guide the development of intelligent machines. Through this hard work, our aim is to equip young talents with the skill sets and competencies required to succeed in the Industry 4.0 era.
TAMI (Taiwan Association of Machinery Industry) has been promoting Industry 4.0 as the main axis of the machinery industry by holding forums to keep manufacturers abreast of the latest technologies and trends, hence successfully attracting many companies to join and follow.
What investments did Taiwan make to prepare for Industry 4.0? How did Taiwanese firms receive and use government assistance?
Industry 4.0 has attracted enormous attention from governments and businesses around the world in recent years. The Taiwanese government has long been urging the industry to boost spending on research and development to create “an innovation-driven economy.”
Policymakers and business leaders are now pinning their hopes of industrial transformation on the emerging Internet of Things (IoT). As part of the government’s plan to stimulate the economy, one of the preeminent applications for IoT devices is “smart cities”—cities that are able to make use of big data to improve their living environment.
In addition, the Taiwanese government has also committed to invest a huge amount of resources in the so-called “5+2 Industrial Transformation Plan” to promote the development of several industrial 4.0 sectors, such as IoT, biomedicince, green energy, smart machinery, defence, high value-added agriculture, and circular economy.
However, the government has also realised that most Taiwanese firms are small and medium-sized enterprises and may lack the funds to adjust and follow this emerging trend of Industry 4.0. Take smart machinery for instance, most firms use machines that are rather traditional and outdated, not to mention lacking the capacity for more advanced functions like collecting Big Data.
In order to solve this problem, our Industrial Development Bureau under the Ministry of Economic Affairs works with industries to develop and provide Smart Machine Box (SMB) services to our firms. By connecting this device to existing machines, SMB can collect data from all the machines in the factory and produce useful information that are helpful for business owners, thereby helping firms to make a big leap towards achieving full-scale smart machinery. This year the government’s goal is to assist firms to install 1,000 SMB devices in total.
Therefore, Taiwanese firms are in a very good position to profit from this opportunity, particularly in the IT industry. Under this trend, a lot of Taiwanese firms can obtain new overseas orders, not to mention securing existing ones, thereby gradually gaining good reputation and recognition around the world.