When considering a topic for my letter this month, so many things came to mind. The SAIMC is growing at a dramatic pace. We see improvements and initiatives that our members are driving, which develop and improve continuously. It makes me so proud to be a part of it all.
But I find myself thinking about the bigger picture, that which lies beyond the scope of engineering – how the future will affect us all. Lately, I am much more involved in conversations surrounding digitalisation, Industry 4.0 and the IIoT. But not with other automation professionals: no, I consciously force myself to have these conversations with individuals that I encounter in my daily life who are in industries like HR, teaching, administration, sales, and the parents of the future employees of South Africa and the world.
Are you able to explain the concepts of the fourth industrial revolution to someone who is not an automation professional? Can you explain to them why Industry 4.0 will have a profound impact on how their children will experience the workplace one day? Are you able to engage in conversation with them on what they should consider when preparing the youth who will have to work in a different technological landscape in the future? Are you able to address the fears they have regarding these changes in order to point them in a positive direction to reskill or upskill themselves? As leaders, we have a moral obligation to reconcile advancements in technology with the contextual factors that exist in society. With this approach, we believe success is inevitable.
Personally, I think that we should be conversation-starters on this subject in all areas of life in order to help people make more informed decisions about future possibilities in the exciting age of digitalisation. Each individual you meet will most probably have questions and would love to engage with you in discussion. After all, most people want to know what the future holds regarding technology. You have the ability to positively influence the current decision makers in many areas of society through meaningful conversation about the benefits of automation.
At the SAIMC, we are taking huge strides to keep up with change, leading and guiding how it should materialise. We are sponsoring the first robotics initiative and also engaging with the academic fraternity to adapt the currently available degrees to align with industry needs. We are also meeting with students on a tertiary level.
I invite each one of you to start engaging the people around you on these topics. Fears of changing technology and the innovation and adaptation that is required for the future is best explained by informed professionals like you, who work in the industry and are intimately acquainted with its concepts. Let’s invite people to take this journey with us by having meaningful discussions with them on a topic that we are all passionate about.
Additionally, if you are not yet part of the SAIMC and would like to become more involved, please contact us to see which initiatives would be the best fit for you.
Yours in automation,
Annemarie van Coller.
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