The Bureau of Business Research (BBR), Faculty of Business Administration (FBA), University of Chittagong (CU) organised a two-day virtual national conference starting on 17 September titled 'The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR): Reshaping Business for Sustainable Development in Bangladesh'.
The conference was divided into three sessions -- inaugural, business and valedictory, reads a press release.
In the inaugural session CU Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Shireen Akhter was present as the chief guest.
UGC member Prof Dr Md Abu Taher attended as the guest of honor. CU Pro-Vice-Chancellor Prof Benu Kumar Dey, Business Administration Dean Prof SM Salamatullah Bhuiyan, and Ex-Chairman of Department of Banking and Insurance Prof Dr Sultan Ahmed attended the conference as special guests.
Mahtab Uddin Ahmed, MD & CEO of Robi Axiata Limited, attended the conference as the keynote speaker.
Prof Dr Mohammad Ayub Islam, Convener of Conference Committee, delivered welcome speech. The conference was anchored by Prof. Dr. Md. Salim Uddin, FCA, FCMA, the Chairman of BBR and also the Chairman of Bangladesh House Building Finance Corporation (BHBFC). The Programe was moderated by Prof Dr SM Sohrab Uddin, Director, BBR. The chairman and faculty of different public and private universities participated in this conference. The conference was sponsored by the CU Center for Business Administration and Heidelberg Cement Bangladesh Ltd.
In the welcome speech, Prof Dr Mohammad Ayub Islam, thanked all for attending the conference. He briefly discussed the background of industrial revolutions and said that the conference on the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) would help us to know the impact of 4IR on the business and job market. This conference would facilitate the required changes in the academic curriculum to cope up with the ongoing changes in the different industries due to 4IR, he added. Mr. Mahtab Uddin Ahmed presented on the digital age –How to reshape business for sustainable development. Mr. Ahmed said, the digital era is characterized by technology, which increases the speed and breadth of knowledge turnover within the economy and society. In this regard, he discussed how digital technology works in the context of entertainment, transportation, communication, etc. and argued that the future depends on how we use this blessing. He also added that the fourth industrial revolution is able to reduce the social inequality and disruption cycle. He also focused on transformation, top global perceived risks, and how single innovation changes the industry landscape. Based on the fact-based, informative and constructive evidence, Mr. Ahmed suggested reshaping the business landscape, reimagining operations, the roadmap for business reshaping through innovation, and top human resource skills that we need to focus on for Bangladesh.Mr. Ahmed finally stressed the adaptive mindset rather than debating further.
Prof. Dr. Sultan Ahmed, focused on sustainable development and said, how sustainable development can be ensured through social, economic and environmental development. He introduced the future prospects of Bangladesh by highlighting the backward and forward linkages. Prof. S. M. Salamatullah Bhuiyan said, the fourth industrial revolution is characterized by the diffusion of technology and evolving at an exponential rather than linear phase. Although the fourth industrial revolution is disrupting almost every industry, it has the potential to enhance the quality of life through different applications, reduction of transportation and communication costs, the effectiveness of logistics and supply chain, and diminishing the cost of trade, he added.
Prof. Benu Kumar Dey, mentioned this conference as a very timely one. He said, recently all the electronics have been produced by silicon chips, and very soon, these will be replaced by nano-particles. He added that the concept of the 5th industrial revolution may appear soon and will be driven by DNA materials. He also said that such conferences will be helpful to exchange knowledge and how to prepare and adopt radical changes. Prof. Dr. Md. Abu Taher said, technological changes are inevitable and it has an impact on human capital transformation. Dr. Taher added that the fourth industrial revolution would bring diverse changes in business, and few changes have already been visible, such as the transition from labor to machine. He also added that developing countries like us would face the challenges of global business more due to the shortage of skilled human resources, and hence university curriculum should be reformed in light of the challenges due to the fourth industrial revolution.
The CU-VC said that this national conference on the fourth industrial revolution is a timely and demanding topic that will be helpful for the successful transformation of the local and national business organizations. She also added that although the fourth industrial revolution will replace few jobs and routine tasks, it will create new job opportunities. Keeping this in mind, the Bangladesh Government is also implementing digital Bangladesh and focusing on ICT based entrepreneurship, training and vocational education, launching 5G, and updating industrial policies. She hoped that arranging such a conference would provide useful insights into the successful adoption of the fourth industrial revolution.Finally, Dr. Md. Salim Uddin, as the Chairman of BBR & BHBFC, concluded the inaugural session of the conference by thanking all the guests and participants.
On September 18, faculties and students of different public and private universities of Bangladesh presented 47 research papers in the 10 business sessions. The business session covered Sustainable Development Goal and 4IR, Financial Technology, Digitalization in Business, Behavioral Management in 4IR, Inclusive Growth, Role of Social Media, Corporate Social Responsibility, Impact of COVID-19, Accounting & Finance, and Management & Marketing. In every session, the session chair, participants and discussants exchanged their knowledge and shared their views and opinions. The conference concluded by a valedictory session, where Prof. Dr. S. M. Sohrab Uddin, presented the conference report and Prof. Dr. Md. Salim Uddin, gave a concluding speech at the conference.