• Ben Booysen

The 4th Industrial Revolution – Make the decision

I found a lot of inspiration in a very interesting book by Thomas L. Friedman called Thank You for being latean optimist’s guide to thriving in the age of accelerations, Penguin 2016.

This fascinating book starts by giving the reader a short history of how microships (Moore’s Law & computing power), accessibility (smartphones & networks), big data (cloud computing) all grew into this unbelievable thing called the internet, or as Thomas refers to it, the “Supernova”. The book further pursue information flows, innovation and the 4th Industrial Revolution (4th IR), which got my attention even more as the matter is so relevant, specifically now that the SA Government has at last cottoned on to the importance of making South Africans active participants in the 4th IR.

In the following three weeks, I’ll be blogging my views and opinions on how this can be achieved and off-course, how our company and franchisee network can assist businesses to start participating.

But first, back to the book and just a short flashback on how Airbnb was started, it is such a beautiful story to show how some creative thinking, the internet, accessibility and cloud computing is making things happen…for who knows, maybe (or most probably) the next big thing is coming alive as we read this. The short version is two friends decided to offer people accommodation in their flat but only had air-mattresses to offer as beds. Because of the big shortage of accommodation in San Francisco (due to some big tech conference), they got some poor folks paying to sleep on these air-mattresses in their living room and there, Airbnb is born …

I believe companies can start participating in the 4th IR by starting with the very basics, which is to digitize, i.e. work towards minimising paperwork. Numerous companies still run their operations by using manual job cards, paper-based audit checklists and recapturing all the information into Excel. Those systems are unproductive and inefficient and in an age of cloud-based software solutions like @MobiWork and @Acumatica, a dinosaur.

Next thing is to get connected onto the internet and I don’t mean that only the bosses have the privilege of internet access. Internet access is becoming a necessity for any business, same as fuel is for a car. So, if a business doesn’t want to spend the money on fuel (data) or are scared that their employees will abuse the internet, their days are numbered. Full blown internet access, uncapped fibre preferably, can’t be avoided and if a business owner/ manager tries to, the business will disappear. Imagine when we get 5G!!! Augmented reality, virtual reality…it’s coming.

Decide to participate

Wrapping this up, we believe companies need to prepare and if they take an ostrich approach, accept the inevitable demise of their business. Participating in the 4IR is not difficult and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, it is simply a decision that must be taken by business owners, a mark that must be made, a box to tick.

Happy Voting Day – make the right decision



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