Sunday, July 23, 2017

Malaysia using drone technology on its way to Industry 4.0

Disruptive technology: Changing the way business work

New forms of technology are changing the way businesses work as few, if any, sectors remain immune from the impact of advanced technology.
The use of new technologies will reshape systems, operations and employment prospects as technology eliminates the need for manpower in repetitive jobs, dangerous tasks or even to heighten productivity.
And with Sarawak looking to boost itself with digital economy – featured in last week’s edition of BizHive Weekly – it highlights the pertinence of keeping up with the times as technological needs of companies adapt and change based on demands and advancements made today.
Technological advancements are quickly revolutionising areas with high need for accuracy, such as automotive and healthcare services,
Certain kinds of technology aims to aid with one’s senses, such as virtual reality. Using headsets, VR is often used to generate realistic images and sounds to stimulate the sensation of being in another environment.
Broader forms of advancements include artificial intelligence – a field with exponential growth potential pegged to revolutionise industries such as automotive and healthcare. It has great diagnostic abilities thanks to this flexibility.
In fact, Malaysian enterprises are urged to educate themselves and get on the Industry 4.0 train to remain competitive in the digital world.
Communications and Multimedia Ministry Secretary-General Datuk Seri Dr Sharifah Zarah Syed Ahmad said Malaysians, especially the business community, must fully embrace digitalisation and enhance industry skills in order to stay abreast of the new revolution.
The government has placed much emphasis on Industry 4.0 as it was critical to boost industrial and economic growth.
“I hope the skills set in all sectors including the property sector could be expanded further,” she told reporters after launching Malaysia’s Virtual Property Expo, dubbed as the first virtual property expo in Malaysia on Friday.
With this in mind, BizHive Weekly looks at three types of tech – drones, virtual reality and artificial intelligence – and how they are disrupting the worlds of auditing, property and automotive respectively:

Taking audit to the skies with drones

It comes as no surprise that drones are one of the pioneering gadgets disrupting business — specifically the auditing industry.

“It’s now time to scale our testing globally across multiple sectors, as we know that many audits can benefit from the use of this innovative technology.”
Hermann Sidhu, EY Global Assurance Digital Leader
As a tool to scan large plots of land, sky and sea with ease, drones are set to change the way certified professional accountants (CPAs) audit, particularly for calculatively intense industries such as mining, oil and gas, lumber and palm oil.
Drones came about some 15 years ago as sources cite the US’ Central Intelligence Agency utilising drones for military purposes. Since then, it quickly gained traction worldwide as a tool for gathering data or even as a mode of transporting lightweight goods.
Following this, EY has launched a global proof of concept (POC) to expand the use of drones in inventory observations, as part of its digital audit capabilities.
In order to enhance audit quality, this extensive pilot project will use pioneering industry technology to improve the accuracy and frequency of inventory count data collection.
The cloud-based asset tracking platform, powered by an Internet of Things (IoT) sensor network, will analyze inventory quantities in real-time by reading Quick Response (QR)/barcode/rack labels and feeding this information directly into EY Canvas — the EY Assurance global audit digital platform that seamlessly connects more than 80,000 auditors.
The POC will initially be used in both the manufacturing and retail sectors.
Audits for automotive manufacturers, for example, can use drones to conduct an automated count of vehicles at manufacturing plants.
In the retail sector, auditing a warehouse stock count will see drones working autonomously while using variable image and object recognition tools such as optical character recognition and labels to collect inventory information to improve efficiency. Drones can also be used day or night, thus eliminating the

Testing drones’ extent of abilities
Hermann Sidhu, EY Global Assurance Digital Leader said EY has been testing the use of drones in the audit process for several months and the findings have been compelling.
“It’s now time to scale our testing globally across multiple sectors, as we know that many audits can benefit from the use of this innovative technology,” he said in a statement last month.
“It’s just one of many ways that we are working to embed the very latest technologies into our audit processes to further improve audit quality.”
The use of drones in the inventory count allows for more data to be captured, and for audit teams to focus on identifying areas of risk, rather than manually capturing stock counts.
Innovating the stock count process using ground breaking drone technology, AI and machine learning, will create a capability that can further benefit EY audit stakeholders.
Meanwhile, Felice Persico, EY Global vice chair for Assurance said the firm globally is investing heavily in the development of new technologies that can enhance the quality of its audit process.
“Our primary function is to build trust and confidence in the capital markets, and digitalising these types of tasks in our audits means that we can improve not only audit quality, but also provide deeper business insights that further benefit our stakeholders.”

Progress in US legislation
In the US, drones are emerging as a new issue for CPA firms, according to the American Institute of CPAs’ (AICPA) State Regulation and Legislation Team which is collaborating with state CPA societies to monitor trends in legislating drones.
Unmanned aircraft systems, commonly referred to as drones, have a wide range of commercial applications, including law enforcement and rescue operations.
“However, for the past several years, commercial drone usage for CPAs has been mostly limited to larger firms due to the strict regulatory structure surrounding drone operations in the United States,” added EY’s Felice.
“But on August 29, 2016, a new FAA rule took effect that broadly authorizes commercial drone operations in the United States, vastly opening up the potential for drone operations and lowering the cost of entry for CPA firms looking to adapt their audit and inspection processes.
“For example, it is now easier for firms to use drones to aid in monitoring infrastructure for defects and assessing large geographical areas.
“There are many commercial applications for drones, but inspections of large scale physical assets are one of the biggest market opportunities.
“PwC, for example, estimates the global market for infrastructure inspection and agricultural surveys alone to exceed US$77 billion, and the firm has already set up a global drone headquarters in Poland with the intention to bring the services around the world.
The commercial drone industry continues to grow, and CPA firms will likely see expanded use of drones in commercial operations, as well as state-level legislation, in 2017.

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