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Will robots enhance or eliminate jobs? SA’s first humanoid robot at Sustainability Week 2018

Science fiction is a thing of the past. Augmented reality has outstripped the technological imagination. We have to learn to co-create with our own creations. This is the advance message of the forthcoming Industry 4.0 Workshop at Sustainability Week 2018, which will be held at the CSIR International Convention Centre from 05 to 07 June 2018.

“We are at the nexus of a human technological revolution that will be different from any prior era,” says Fuad Siddiqui, Senior Partner at Bell Labs Consulting, who will be speaking at Sustainability Week this year. “The digitization and connection of everything and everyone will allow us to effectively create time by augmenting human knowledge to drive the intelligent automation of everything,” he says.

Joining Siddiqui will be an emissary from the future: Pepper, the humanoid robot.

Pepper is South Africa’s first client-friendly humanoid robot, recently unveiled at Nedbank’s digital-branch, the NZone, at the Gautrain station in Sandton. Pepper is set to become Nedbank’s newest client service champion in the pursuit of enriching the client experience.

Part of Pepper’s role is to allay fears around robots. For example: an important concern of developing countries is that the conjunction of Artificial Intelligence and automation poses a threat to workers’ jobs. Quite simply, the fear is that workers will be automated out of existence.

Pepper explains how Industry 4.0, on the contrary, has the potential to upgrade workers’ lives by transforming jobs from mechanical functions to dynamic, problem-solving activities. Quoting a recent report by the Development Policy and Analysis Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the empathetic robot reassures:

“First off, artificial intelligence, 3D printers and other innovations are generally designed to excel at a very specific set of tasks.” To master an entire occupation takes considerable versatility and adaptability.

“Secondly, new technologies also create jobs.” Technological innovation has always enhanced productivity and created new products and markets, generating new jobs.

“Thirdly, just because it is technically feasible to substitute an entire profession with computers, does not mean it will happen. A variety of economic, legal, regulatory and socio-political factors will prevent many occupations from disappearing.”

A recent study found that by 2016, of the 270 occupations listed in the A 1950 US census, automation had eliminated only one – elevator operator.

All South African industrial stakeholders – companies, professionals, workers, and unions – with an interest in the future of human labour under Industry 4.0 are invited to meet Fuad Siddiqui, Pepper the robot, and many more at the Industry 4.0 Workshop. The Workshop takes place from 14:00 to 17:00 on 06 June at the CSIR ICC in Tshwane.

Pepper will also be interacting with delegates at the Sustainability Week 2018 Expo. Watch this video to whet your curiosity: https://youtu.be/XJbRn_R73Qw

To find out more about the event, visit http://sustainabilityweek.co.za/ and http://www.africancapitalcities.org/. Join the conversation on Facebook @SustainabilityWeekSA and on Twitter @SustainWeekSA.

Sustainability Week 2018 Newsflash: Robot to assuage labour concerns

All South African industrial stakeholders – companies, professionals, workers, and unions – with an interest in the future of human labour under Industry 4.0, otherwise known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, are invited to meet Pepper the robot at Sustainability Week 2018.

Pepper is South Africa’s first client-friendly humanoid robot, recently unveiled at Nedbank’s digital-branch, the NZone, at the Gautrain station in Sandton. Pepper is set to become Nedbank’s newest client service champion in the pursuit of enriching the client experience.

Now Pepper will be joining other top speakers at the Industry 4.0 Workshop on 6 June at the CSIR ICC in Tshwane.

One of the biggest concerns of developing countries is that the conjunction of Artificial Intelligence and automation poses a threat to workers’ jobs. Quite simply, the fear is that workers will be automated out of existence.

By way of reassurance, Pepper quotes a recent report by the UN:

“First off, artificial intelligence, 3D printers and other innovations are generally designed to excel at a very specific set of tasks.” To master an entire occupations takes considerable.

“Secondly, new technologies not only destroy, but also create jobs.” Technological innovation has always enhanced productivity and created new products and markets, generating new jobs.

“Thirdly, just because it is technically feasible to substitute an entire profession with computers, does not mean it will happen. A variety of economic, legal, regulatory and socio-political factors will prevent many occupations from disappearing.”

A recent study found that by 2016, only one out of 270 occupations listed in the A 1950 US census found out of 270 occupations, automation had eliminated only one – elevator operator.

Meet Pepper at Sustainability Week 2018.

Register today at www.sustainabilityweek.co.za

Watch this video for a sneak preview:

Schneider Electric innovations shine in Germany

In an ever-changing digital world, for everything from new business models and new consumer technologies to new infrastructure, energy and power systems – the digital transformation is inescapable. The fourth industrial revolution, or smart manufacturing, has accelerated the move to digital technologies that offer a competitive advantage to every company and every geographical zone that adopts them.

Augmented reality, IoT, IIoT, machine learning and predictive maintenance are making companies more efficient and innovative, boosting their competitive advantage. Schneider Electric, the global leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation, recently took to Hannover Messe 2018, the world’s leading trade show or industrial technology, in Germany to showcase its latest innovations for industrial companies.

As energy and automation develop into a more digitally connected environment, these new technologies are capable of ensuring that power-sensitive automation equipment remains operational, boosting power reliability and cost savings by improving the speed and accuracy of the processes they are tasked with.

Bridging the divide between complexity and human capabilities by using control devices and technology for automated operation and control, digitisation allows for better support and faster decision making by providing operational insight, encouraging efficient use of resources to maximise assets and production output, simplifying tasks, and integrating the implementation of plant strategies.

“At Schneider Electric, we believe that integrating power and automation systems through IoT has the potential to bring together the best features of both systems, enhancing processes while introducing safer, more reliable, efficient, sustainable, and connected power,” Marc Ramsay, Vice President for the Industry Business Unit, Schneider Electric South Africa.

As the leader in powering and digitising industry, Schneider Electric is uniquely positioned to drive the digital transformation of today’s growing industrial automation markets and assist industrial customers in their conversions. Significant changes are fundamentally accelerating this movement in the industrial space.

“With EcoStruxure for Industry, Schneider Electric offers a truly unified engineering approach that can be deployed across multiple industrial segments. Leveraging our unique partnership with AVEVA, we can offer an unmatched set of solutions covering all aspects of digital asset management from process simulation to design, construction and manufacturing operations management and optimisation,” Ramsay said.

Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure for Industry offers open, interoperable, IoT-enabled system architecture and platform, where users benefit from enhanced value around safety, reliability, efficiency, sustainability, and connectivity.

Leveraging all advancements in IoT, including mobility, sensing, cloud, analytics, and cyber security through connected products – Edge Control, Apps, Analytics and Services, EcoStruxure has been deployed in over 480,000 sites worldwide.

“With the support of 20,000 system integrators and developers, EcoStruxure currently has 1.6 million assets under management, and that figure is expected to grow by 25% year-on-year for the foreseeable future. This figure ties in with Accenture’s recent report, citing that at present, 64% of executives believe that a failure to leverage digital will cause their companies to struggle for survival,” says Marc Ramsay, Vice President for the Industry Business Unit, Schneider Electric South Africa.

Strengthening their commitment to digitising industry, Schneider Electric also unveiled EcoStruxure Machine Advisor during a presentation at Hannover Messe, 2018.

EcoStruxure Machine Advisor now make it possible to track, monitor and fix machines in the field while reducing support costs by 30 to 50%.

“Where managers struggle to track the history of the many machines that fall under their scope of responsibility, or when parts need replacing, production is interrupted, and the downtimes are much too long. Maintenance technicians often spend far too much time attempting to locate different sets of documentation before they can begin productive work on fixing the machine. Schneider Electric’s recent breakthrough with this new technology is now directly addressing these challenges by providing new ways of both gathering, centralising and displaying machine-generated data.”

About Schneider Electric 

Schneider Electric is leading the Digital Transformation of Energy Management and Automation in Homes, Buildings, Data Centers, Infrastructure and Industries.

With global presence in over 100 countries, Schneider is the undisputable leader in Power Management – Medium Voltage, Low Voltage and Secure Power, and in Automation Systems. We provide integrated efficiency solutions, combining energy, automation and software.

In our global Ecosystem, we collaborate with the largest Partner, Integrator and Developer Community on our Open Platform to deliver real-time control and operational efficiency.

We believe that great people and partners make Schneider a great company and that our commitment to Innovation, Diversity and Sustainability ensures that Life Is On everywhere, for everyone and at every moment.

For more information, go to www.schneider-electric.co.za.

Load shedding highly likely this winter – energy expert

The possibility of load shedding by Eskom in South Africa this winter is larger than the Day Zero water crisis that engulfed Cape Town until last month, independent energy expert Ted Blom told Fin24 on Wednesday.

Eskom, however, told Parliament in April that South Africa’s electricity grid is “stable” as the country heads into the winter months when electricity usage rises.

Eskom told Fin24 on Wednesday that load shedding this winter is not likely, as it implemented plans to manage a shift in plant performance and coal-stock levels.

Blom, however, said Cape Town’s Day Zero was avoided by people starting to save water ahead of time. Eskom, on the other hand, only sent out tenders for emergency coal supplies last week after permission was obtained from National Treasury.

Although Eskom’s new board is trying to follow compliance in the process, Blom claims the power utility’s management should have foreseen six months ago already that there would be a problem with enough coal supplies for the winter electricity spike.

Apart from his own knowledge of the industry, said Blom, his claims are substantiated by reliable sources at Eskom.

“Chances are more than 50% that there will be load shedding this winter. Where is Eskom going to find coal? Coal does not just fall out of heaven. You have to mine it. You need skilled miners and equipment for that,” he said.

He suspects Eskom has a coal shortfall of about a million tonnes per month and is of the view that, even when all is in place to obtain more coal supplies, it will take three to five months to catch up on the backlog – in other words, during the winter period.

Eskom issued a statement in April indicating that seven of its power stations’ coal stockpile levels stood at 20 days, below the required target.

Eskom told Parliament’s portfolio committee on public enterprises that the coal supply issues are made worse by the fact that Tegeta is in business rescue.

It also told Parliament in April that it has plans in place to manage its primary energy resources and achieve healthy stockpiles across its power stations.

“Eskom has already admitted that it is between 3 and 5 million tonnes of coal short. That is more than half of its stockpiles,” said Blom.

“Eskom’s board now consists of a lovely bunch of new guys, but they don’t know anything about the electricity industry. At least half of Eskom’s board should consist of people with knowledge of electricity generation and coal mining.

“Electricity is crucial for South Africa’s economy and diesel has already been used for generation since January at a rate of more than R1bn per month.”

In Blom’s view, South Africa’s energy sector needs a major revamp in which regulation loopholes are closed.

“If Cyril (Ramaphosa) is serious, he should upgrade energy generation regulations and avoid rogue behaviour in the industry,” said Blom.

In his view, energy needs to be declared a basic industrial input factor and every measure taken to keep it as cheap as possible.

“Sensible energy policy is probably the most relevant topic in Africa at this time, and the South African policy is clearly not the one to emulate. We need to start our thinking from the ground up, rather than continue with the patchwork efforts of the past. Without affordable cheap energy, economic growth is not possible,” he cautioned.

Blom will be a speaker at the upcoming African Utility Week taking place in Cape Town from May 15 to 17, during which over 7 000 decision makers from more than 80 countries will discuss energy and water issues faced on the continent.

Fin24 reported last week that Eskom said it is not bailing out Gupta-linked Optimum Coal Mine, which is in business rescue. This was in response to a report by City Press, claiming the proposed business rescue plan for Optimum would see Eskom pay twice as much for half the coal it can get from the mine.

Eskom has said it is in discussions with the mine’s business rescue practitioners and no agreement has been reached.

Source: fin24

2nd Call for Papers: 2018SAEEC Conference

The President of the board of the Southern African Energy Efficiency Confederation (SAEEC), Ms. Lisa Reynolds, cordially invites you to submit an abstract for consideration to speak at the 2018 Southern African Energy Efficiency Conference to be held on 13-14 November 2018 at Emperors Palace, Ekurhuleni, Gauteng, South Africa. All potential speakers’ abstracts will be reviewed by the Conference Technical Programme Committee based on this submission.
2018SAEEC Conference Abstracts due May 31, 2018.

ABSTRACTS COVERING THE FOLLOWING POSSIBLE THEMES ARE WELCOME FOR SUBMISSION:

  • Alternative & Renewable Energy
  • CHP / Power Generation
  • End-Use Technologies
  • Energy Management
  • Energy Policy
  • Energy Services
  • Government Energy Management
  • High Performance & Green Buildings
  • Industrial Energy Management
  • Sustainable Development
  • Transportation Systems

View More Topics

SUBMISSION SCHEDULE:

01 March 2018: Abstract applications open
31 May 2018:
Closing date
02 July 2018: Notice of abstract acceptance
01 August 2018: First-draft papers submission
03 September 2018: Feedback and recommendations…………………………………………….
17 September 2018: Final paper submission
28 September 2018: Letter of acceptance
Abstracts submitted will be selected on the basis of significance, relevance, correctness, originality and clarity by a panel of reviewers.

Abstract Registration

Abstract Guidelines

For more information please contact us:
Ms Nikki Nel
Project Manager
Timzama Event Imagineers
Tel:  +27 18 290 5130
Email:  support@saee.org.za

The Southern African Energy Efficiency Confederation Conference (2018SAEEC) is presented by the Southern African Energy Efficiency Confederation (SAEEC) and organized by Timzama Event Imagineers.

Start planning your 3 days at African Utility Week now!

With 6 conference tracks, 5 co-located events, 1 breakfast, 4 technical workshops areas, matchmaking and 300 exhibitors – there is a lot going on at #AUW2018. Make sure your 3 days at Africa’s leading trade expo and conference are well-planned in advance by downloading the full conference programme and registering for your all access pass.

DOWNLOAD THE FULL PROGRAMME

Your conference pass will give you additional access to:

Upgrade your conference pass:

BOOK YOUR SEAT

Rub shoulders with Africa’s power, energy and water achievers at the African Utility Week Industry Awards. These awards bring together 850 of Africa’s most renowned power and
water industry professionals at a glamorous black tie event. Contact us today to book your seat

BOOK YOUR SITE VISIT PASS

Did you know that African Utility Week offers a third dimension to the information gathered during the event through our tailormade Site Visit led by an industry ex pert? See more information about this years site visits by downloading the full conference programme

For more information on African Utility Week passes please contact Gary Meyer +27 21 001 3808 | gary.meyer@spintelligent.com

Don’t forget African Utility Week also offers free visitor passes which gives you access to the expo floor, networking functions and technicla workshops. If you would like to activate your free pass click here

 

Key issues to be discussed at the upcoming Manufacturing Indaba 2018 conference

The 5th annual Manufacturing Indaba, taking place on 19-20 June 2018, will comprise a two-day conference and exhibition and is hosted in partnership with the Department of Trade & Industry
(the dti) and the Manufacturing Circle. The event is designed specifically for private and public company representatives to hear from industry experts as they unpack challenges and find solutions for growth across the manufacturing sectors, as well as find out about the latest global manufacturing trends and what impacts manufacturers. Register today to participate in the discussion, covering a range of relevant manufacturing topics.

Conference Topics:

INTERNATIONAL SPEAKER TOPICS

  • Disrupting existing business models
  • IoT Brings Potential Opportunity to Africa – Leading Africa into the 4th Industrial Revolution
  • The way forward for Africa’s Industrialisation

PANEL DISCUSSION TOPICS

FOCUS ON AFRICA:

  • Investment led trade and regional economic industrial integration. Value added exports as a key driver of growth.
  • Understanding what Africa needs? Lessons from African manufacturers
  • Building an industrial financing and incentives ecosystem
  • How beneficial is the Chinese-Africa partnership and how can African manufacturers benefit from this relationship? (China is the world’s largest consumer market)

FOCUS ON INDUSTRY 4.0:

  • Skills for the future
  • Future of production and Cyber Physical systems
  • Smart Future Business Strategies and Engineering innovation
  • Global value chains and future maintenance Services

FOCUS ON SECTORS:

  • The growth and transformation of the Mining Sector and the value addition for manufacturers
  • Building the value chain for the Agro-Processing Sector and the how this impacts manufacturers
  • The impact of the 4th industrial revolution in the Automotive Sector and the downstream application for suppliers to the OEMs
  • Industrial development in the energy sector

Register to attend the conference