Manufacturing the Future in this Digital Age

The ‘Innovation in Manufacturing (IM) 3.0’ is expected to boost South Korean manufacturing industry especially, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). It (IM) is key to converge manufacturing sector and Internet of Things (IoT) in order to check competition from other countries by improving sector’s production efficiency.

The economic crisis in past few years compelled South Korean government to prioritize IM 3.0 because it is likely to reduce country’s economic dependency from large conglomerates and promote SMEs by deploying Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

Role of South Korean government in promoting IIoT in manufacturing sector:

Focus on smart factories: The government of this North East Asian nation plans to connect factories with technology based integrated system. It estimates that over 10,000 factories in the country will be digitized with modern technology by 2020. The initiation will also envelop SMEs at local level because exports from such SMEs are continually increasing in comparison to large established firms.

Research and Development (R&D): Considering manufacturing sector as growth engine of the nation, the government is incessantly injecting funds for R&D, too. There are 17 innovation centers across the country to support R&D in different prime areas of technology like cyber physical systems, big data, sensors, collaboration robots, etc.

Funding: The country stepped up to invest more than US $170 million each year to build around 1,500 smart factories in next three years. The government also plans to fund SMEs through Voluntary Participation Principle initiative and venture capital funding and venture capital investments.

In addition, smart factories funded by government have improved their productivity by 25% and the defects lowered by 27%.

Developing Skilled manpower: The fourth industrial revolution is likely to create plenty of job opportunities in the country. The government estimates to create 500,000 jobs per year in the private sector of which 40,000 will be skilled manpower who will be operating in smart factories.

The extensive automation of manufacturing sector is preparing South Korea for fourth industrial revolution. And Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Economy are strongly contributing in this regard. The installation of IoT and Artificial Intelligence in the manufacturing sector estimates to create plenty of opportunities in commercial sector generating almost US $470 billion profit by 2030.


Subarna Poudel is a researcher with Frost & Sullivan. He can be reached at subarna.poudel@frost.com


Sapan Agarwal drives content and marketing for Frost & Sullivan. Sapan is based out of Kuala Lumpur Malaysia and can be reached at sapan.agarwal@frost.com | +603 6204 5830

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