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UJ’s Prof Babu Paul to discuss Africa’s role in Industry 4.0 at BRICS Energy Summit

Experts from different sectors will be proposing innovative solutions to the developing world’s most pressing problems when they meet in Johannesburg, South Africa, under SA’s role of chair for hosting the BRICS Business Council.

The BRICS Business Council’s Energy and Green Economy Working Group in partnership with the South African National Energy Association (SANEA) will be hosting the BRICS Energy Event on Tuesday, 24 July 2018 in Johannesburg. The event will provide a platform for debate and innovation and be an opportunity for investors and project developers to network and move energy projects forward.

South Africa, which holds the BRICS chairship in 2018, has set the agenda for this year’s forum, choosing to focus on the theme “Energy Transition 4.0.”

“We are moving towards a more shared and on demand economy. For instance in the energy sector there is a transition towards prosumers, where a customer is proactively managing production and consumption. This paradigm shift in the behavior of the customer is enabled by the new technologies offered by Industry 4.0,” commented Prof Babu Sena Paul, UJ’s Director of the Institute for Intelligent Systems (IIS), and panelist to the annual BRICS Energy Event.

Prof Paul will present the first draft of the report he has been preparing to elaborate on “What is Africa’s 4th Industrial Revolution and who is the customer of the future?”

Prof Paul emphasises that customers are likely to become part of the peer-to-peer market platforms. “The new generation grid is likely to see significant changes, transitioning from a centralised structure to a more distributed structure. New technologies like blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT) are likely to form part of the future grid. The accessibility of renewable energy will also assist in mitigating the Water-Energy-Food nexus.”

The BRICS Energy Event 2018 is aimed at bringing together 500 energy leaders, experts, energy companies, investors, government officials, academics and NGOs from BRICS countries, and other African countries.

Prof Paul points out that in order to promote socio-economic upliftment and inequality in Africa, we need to be an active participant and one of the main drivers of the fourth industrial revolution. “This will also mean contributing and adapting to the fast-changing technologies that will eventually affect our society and economy. The Fourth Industrial revolution is not only about Industry – but will also positively influence every citizen in his or her daily life.”

Prof Paul has served as the Head of the Department at the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technology, University of Johannesburg from 2015 to March 2018. He is the currently serving as the Director of the Institute for Intelligent Systems (IIS), University of Johannesburg.

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