SEOUL-- South Korea has great potential for contributing to the advancement of the next industrial technology revolution if it cooperates with other countries to create networks for different technology solutions and smart services, a German expert said Wednesday.
Henning Kagermann, president of the National Academy of Science and Engineering of Germany, said South Korea has the ideal conditions to become a front-runner in innovative, Internet-based production technology and service provision, one of the key components for the fourth industrial revolution, dubbed "Industry 4.0" in Germany.
"Korea is very quick at making decisions and implementing new technologies. There's a chance for Korea to deliver significant and important components to solutions for industries across sectors," Kagermann said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency. "Korea is able to collect all resources. You can look around what experiences other countries have made and avoid mistakes we have made."
Kagermann visited Seoul to share his views on the fourth industrial revolution and discuss ways to cooperate between the two countries, including the standardization of information and communication technologies.
The former chief executive officer for SAP, a leading European IT company, is one of the main proponents of Germany's Industry 4.0 project, which applies increased digitization and the Internet of Things (IoT) to industrial production.
Kagermann said exchanges between officials and businessmen from the two countries about the recent technology development was a "good starting point," which can further boost discussions about developing coherent solutions.
"The challenge is the interoperability of the solutions, which is a headache for consumers. I believe all these smart solutions should be based on an open platform so that consumers feel it as a coherent solution," he said. "It's a very tough work to do and takes a long time."
Lively discussions have been taking place in South Korea as a state committee is set to kick off this month to overhaul the industrial sector through combining various cyber and physical systems, and fostering cutting-edge technologies.
For the initiative to bear fruit, Kagermann called for the government, business and academic circles to work together to build broad consensus across the sectors. Close consultations between employers and employees is also critical as the fourth industrial revolution will change production methods, how people work and the overall competitive environment down the road, he added.
"When we developed our concepts, we have included the unions to find out what's the indication for workplaces because it's a significant change for workplaces," the 70-year-old said. "Many things will be automated and different sets of skills are needed. It's also a question of a new type of flexibility."
As the South Korean economy is heavily dependent on large conglomerates, he recommended large enterprises to push forward innovative projects in accordance with the global standards and share the know-how with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to create an ecosystem for the new era.
"Large companies have more power internationally. They can hopefully use the experience and findings to train and educate SMEs to create an ecosystem," he said. "It would be beneficial for the economy as a whole."
When a working group led by Kagermann first proposed Industry 4.0 in 2012, views differed on its implications and impact on the German economy. But now, it has become a common concept, he said, which has been applied in workplaces and discussed in various sectors of Germany, Europe's leading manufacturing country.
"There's broad consensus in the society that it's something we should do and must do," Kagermann said. "You have to align all people across all parties. That's the key point."
Source: Yonhap News Agency