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Can The Usage of Robotics in Schools Help Students With Special Needs?

July 04, 2019
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Robotics technology can help teachers in providing emotional assistance to students with special needs, as robots are non-judgmental and patient in their interaction.

Learning with robots is a relational experience, one that provides a very different approach than learning with the help of a computer or other electronic devices. The attention for body and movement through robotics stimulates development of basic skills and capacity for learning. Visuo-spatial, visuo-motory and social skills are essential for students with Special Educational Needs.

Robotics technology can help teachers in providing emotional assistance to students with special needs, as robots are non-judgmental and patient in their interaction. Such assistance will then motivate these students to learn and engage better. The usage of robotics is also in-line with the Ministry of Education’s Program Pendidikan Khas Integrasi (PPKI) philosophy, in supporting students with special needs to become competent, independent and productive individuals.

A research by the University of Birmingham showed that usage of humanoid robots improved children’s basic learning skills. Robots can be used in many activities. For example, in memory games, a robot that simulates a child’s behaviour can encourage students to imitate the robot’s movements.  Thus, helping them become engaged and motivated with learning. The research also noted that, students tend to find robots charming and non-threatening, making it an excellent therapy buddy and helping with the development of social skills.

Robotics Help Learning in Children With Autism

How Can Robotics Help Learning in Children With Autism?

Students with autism often experience social drawbacks as they do not make eye contact and have trouble noticing social cues such as a smile or a grimace. These cause them to struggle when expressing themselves. Generally, robots provide a safe and predictable playful environment for children with autism to enjoy and interact (Dautenhahn and Werry, 2004); moreover, the use of robots as therapy tools has shown positive impact in learning process.

There is a positive receptiveness from autistic students towards robots, as they know robots are non-judgmental. Students no longer worry about discriminated by their behavior or inadequacies. Studies have shown that humanoid robots can help autistic children develop the social skills they need. In studies done to help children with autism learn social skills, therapists have used robots and behavioral analysis that utilizes play to increase children’s desire to learn good social behaviour

Robotics in Special Needs Education

Robotics in Special Needs Education, Made Possible by TM ONE

TM ONE recently showcased the potential of robotics as an effective educational tool in special needs education, at an event for students with Special Educational Needs under the Program Pendidikan Khas Integrasi (PPKI) at SMK Batu Muda, Kuala Lumpur in Daerah Sentul on 30th April 2019. This event was part of Program Transformasi Minda Anak Muda by Malaysia’s Ministry of Education (MOE), aimed to encourage the involvement and interest of students by introducing various educational opportunities.

The 80 participating students under PPKI at SMK Batu Muda are diagnosed with autism and attention issues, students with special abilities, slow learners, Down Syndrome, blindness, deafness and others. The students had the opportunity to meet, touch and interact with the robots. They were excited to approach and even dance with the robots, and when asked if they would like the robots to teach them in class, all the students cheered and replied positively.

Dr Habibah Abdul Rahim, Deputy Director General of Education at the MOE together with Dr Ahmad Rafee Che Kassim, Director of Education Planning and Research Department (EPRD) were present along with TM ONE Education Solutions team, brought excitement to these special children. Joining them was Feilina Feisol, Chairman of The National Autism Society of Malaysia (NASOM), witnessing how students with autism and attention issues react to robotics. 

TM ONE presented three different types of robots during the event.

robot type

NAO is a humanoid robot normally used as an education-teaching tool and is especially helpful in assisting teachers dealing with special need students. During this event, we saw children with autism interacting with the NAO in a different way compared to their normal interactions with other people. Humanoid robots are especially effective at teaching socialization skills to autistic children, by acting as peers and aiding them with the necessary social skills. This type of humanoid robotics is suitable for special need students as they can move, dance, recognise, listen to and communicate with the students.

The students were also receptive to SANBOT, a smart mobile robot fitted with an ergonomic design blended with technology. The students were excited to explore SANBOT’s touch panel and to communicate with it. SANBOT is a brilliant tutor and assistant for these students, as its cloud-based services and information platform enable self-learning capability.

Also featured was the KINOVA Robotic Arm, which was mounted to a wheelchair to help students with physical disabilities achieve better movement. The KINOVA robotic arm demonstrated how robotics can help people with special abilities to participate productively in driving the digital economy.

TM ONE will continue its efforts with innovative solutions to support the education sector and schools nationwide. Robotics is not intended to replace human teaching, but to assist and magnify the effectiveness of teaching and learning. The use of robotics in special education enables active learning, inclusiveness and sustainable development of the specially-abled community in supporting Industrial Revolution 4.0.

Learn with robot

Inside Malaysia’s engine for the digital economy

August 18, 2021
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Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM)‘s appointment as the sole Malaysian cloud service provider (CSP) by the Malaysian government last April opens the door for the establishment and reinforcement of public services with sustainable connected data cloud computing infrastructure that is secured with full data residency and sovereignty in Malaysia.

National cloud based education and healthcare platform, agile cloud based tax, transport and registry system, smart services with analytics, disaster warnings, and even solving traffic congestion. The application of cloud computing allows public services to provide data driven services and application to solve many public challenges with the flexibility, agility and speed to respond faster, efficiently and effectively during peak demands at lower operating cost. Many facets of society benefit from the invaluable adoption of the cloud by the public sector.

According to analysts, three of the typical hallmarks of a developed digital economy centre – capabilities, the level of ‘connectedness’, and competitiveness – are well served by the expert implementation and use of Cloud services. TM ONE, TM’s enterprise and public sector business solutions arm, shares how its expertise and comprehensive suite of digital solutions are making an impact on the lives of Malaysians.

Cloud as the key to unlocking innovation

The Cloud is unlocking big data, artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT) for governments, thereby opening the doors to improve citizens’ lives. In Malaysia, Cloud services have been used to stimulate economic and health recovery through the MySejahtera app. The Cloud enables the app’s system to handle large amounts of traffic at the same time, compared to on-premises capabilities.

The app allows citizens to record their visits to any business or even private premises by scanning QR codes. If they have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19, authorities can communicate directly with citizens and point them to the nearest healthcare provider.

Most other public services in Malaysia have shifted online thanks to the Cloud. Citizens can now register for vaccinations and check national exam results digitally. The Ministry of Finance (MOF) has also used Cloud-powered analytics to monitor the implementation of various assistance programmes.

“The possibilities are endless when talking about the innovative public services that can be deployed, powered by Cloud,” said Mohamad Rejab Sulaiman, Head of Product and Innovations at TM ONE. “Whether in public healthcare, digital education, public safety, digital Government, smart cities or empowering communities’ for social and economic wellbeing, countless smart solutions can be rolled out to enhance the lives of all Malaysians. This is one of the objectives of the Government’s MyDIGITAL, and TM ONE is always ready with our comprehensive suite of digital solutions to support this national agenda.”

Apart from being the sole Malaysian CSP, another edge for TM ONE lies in its multi-cloud offerings. Alongside Cloud Connect Sdn Bhd, which was appointed as the Managed Service Provider, the TM ONE-Cloud Connect tag team is able to support Government institutions in Malaysia regardless of their choice of Cloud infrastructure. In addition, its Cloud management platform allows Government agencies to manage their multi-Cloud deployments seamlessly and conveniently from a single console.

Ensuring cybersecurity

Malaysia lost RM490 million (US$119 million) to cybercrime in 2019, according to the Malaysia Computer Emergency Response Team. In mitigating this, TM ONE has set up the Cyber Defence Centre (CYDEC) to help strengthen the nation’s defences against malicious cyber-attacks.

“CYDEC can detect, respond, predict and prevent cyber threats originating from a range of platforms and channels including 5G, Cloud, IoT and more. The cybersecurity services offered under CYDEC provide users with added assurance knowing their data is kept secure,” he added.

The geographical location of where data is being stored constitutes an important aspect of the security of a government’s cloud systems. Data is subject to the legislation of the country in which it is hosted, which engenders complications, wrote TechRadar.

For example, in 2016, voter registration data of more than 93 million Mexican citizens were found to be accessible to the public. The country’s election institute held personal information about citizens on an unprotected Amazon cloud server hosted outside of Mexico.

TM ensures that Government data resides solely in Malaysia, said Rejab. This will help “serve and protect the data privacy of Malaysians”, he explained.

Widening broadband access

In the follow up to TM’s appointment as CSP, it will continue its work to enhance internet access across the country. As more citizens work and study remotely in the new normal and beyond, high speed and reliable connectivity have become a crucial utility and enabler of the economy. This was evidenced by the surge in Internet traffic arising largely from the emergence of COVID-19 related lockdowns – but throughflow speeds saw a reduction of up to 40 per cent, according to Jalinan Digital Negara (JENDELA).

To help address this, TM ONE will serve as “an active and major contributor” to expand Malaysia’s fibre broadband network. It plans to connect public mobile towers to the network, and not just private homes and businesses.

The Cloud has demonstrated its massive potential to positively impact the lives of citizens, not only in Malaysia but across the world. Governments are now better positioned with greater awareness of how digital innovation can unlock real-world improvements for its citizens.

This article was first published on GovInsider.Asia

Envisioning MyDIGITAL for the Rakyat
A Digital Government Blueprint for Malaysia

August 02, 2021
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One of the aims of MyDIGITAL is to create a digitally-enabled government that will provide end-to-end digitalised public services which are more efficient, effective and transparent. Through TM ONE’s Digital Services, powered by our comprehensive Digital Connectivity and Digital Infrastructure, we are set to take the government’s digital transformation forward, supporting MyDIGITAL and enhancing the lives of all Malaysians.

How our digital solutions can enhance and transform various public services.

These digital solutions are supported by communication collaboration, big data and artificial intelligence, powered by a scalable cloud platform, hosted on secure data centres within Malaysia, and connected by a robust nationwide digital connectivity.

Click here to learn more about TM ONE Cloud α

Why Malaysian enterprises of all sizes need cybersecurity

June 25, 2021
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Growing in digitalisation comes to a new challenge: Interpol’s ASEAN Cyberthreat Assessment 2020 reported that the first half of 2019 saw a rise in botnet infections, phishing scams, ransomware, and other types of attacks.

As more of the Malaysian economy moves online, digital protection is as important as revenue growth

In partnership with TM ONE

Over the past 15 months, digitalisation has seen a big spike around the world including in Malaysia. Enterprises of all sizes invested in moving their services, touchpoints and business operations online and set up work-from-home networks for their employees.

With this growing digitalisation comes a new challenge: Interpol’s ASEAN Cyberthreat Assessment 2020 reported that the first half of 2019 saw a rise in botnet infections, phishing scams, ransomware and other types of attacks. In fact, Malaysia ranked among the top three countries in ASEAN for mobile banking malware detection. In the US, growing ransomware attacks and their ransom value have had serious implications for critical industries and their impacted customers.

These facts suggest that digitalisation must go hand-in-hand with a transformation of attitudes and resourcing around cybersecurity. Even for small businesses and e-commerce platforms, these measures are not only necessary but within reach. Here are some key points for decision-makers to note.

Discover how TM ONE CYDEC can implement affordable cybersecurity measures at your organisation

More digitalisation means increased threat exposure

Digitalisation doesn’t just mean working from home and moving important files into the cloud. Restaurants have had to adopt digital ordering and delivery platforms; clinics have had to set up telemedicine services; retailers have rushed to transition to e-commerce, to name just a few examples. There are now 25 million social media users in Malaysia, and last year MDEC forecasted the value of e-commerce at RM170 billion. Even prior to 2020, the use of e-wallets has seen a 42% compound annual growth rate in the country, according to IDC Financial Insights.

While widespread digitalisation is great for the economy and has brought positive changes to people’s lives, it means more personal data and important operational frameworks, without sufficient and continuous cybersecurity protections, are vulnerable to cyberattacks. These have the potential to grind business to a standstill.

Cyberattacks are more regular and sophisticated than ever

Most of us have encountered some form of cyberattack, be it a fraudulent charge on our credit card or an email from someone in a faraway country asking for money. These daily scams are only a miniscule representation of the scale and sophistication of cyberattacks out there today.

Cyberattacks can range from phishing emails asking for sensitive personal information about your bank account and business email compromises resulting in fraudulent payments, all the way to huge-scale data breaches at some of the largest companies in the world. Ransomware can prevent enterprises from accessing their own networks, and cryptojacking allows cybercriminals to steal computing resources.

The increased sophistication and frequency of cyberattacks mean that cybersecurity professionals have to be proactive as well as reactive, constantly on the lookout for new threats and potential vulnerabilities. In fact, running vulnerability scans every couple of months is no longer sufficient.

Statistics from PwC’s recent 24th Global CEO Survey, says that nearly half of the CEOs globally — and 56% of CEOs in Malaysia — plan to increase their investment in digital transformation by 10%. However, only 38% of CEOs in Malaysia plan to increase their investment in cybersecurity by 10%.

Learn more about cybersecurity measures that are affordable and easy to outsource.

Increased digitalisation means more vulnerability to cyberattacks. Photo: Shutterstock

Breaches hurt customer trust – and revenue

While short-sighted leadership may see increased cybersecurity spending as an unnecessary expense, the investment is closely tied to revenue and delivers strong returns. For starters, inadequate cybersecurity measures may lead to inadvertent non-compliance with Malaysia’s existing regulatory requirements, such as the Personal Data Protection Act 2010, National Security Council’s Directive 24 and Bank Negara’s Risk Management in Technology – that can lead to hefty fines for enterprises who can ill-afford such expenses.

According to a report, a quarter of Malaysian enterprises reported that cyberattacks cost them a total of RM4.1 billion in 2019, as well as downtime of 24 hours. Another study, by Allianz, placed cyberattacks as the number one risk for enterprises, followed by business interruption.

Money aside, breaches significantly erode customer trust which quickly leads to diminished revenue. And far from a soft, unquantifiable concern, customer trust is a top priority among business owners. In IDC’s CxO View of the Future Enterprise in the Digital Economy Study 2020, 73.7% of C-suite leaders said “engendering trust with customers” was their top priority.

In-house IT teams can’t do it all

Though more and more enterprises recognise the need for full-time cybersecurity measures, the fact still remains that few are resourced to keep these roles in-house. In most companies, there is a shortage of in-house digital security skills, and in 80% of organisations, cybersecurity is merely an add-on role for the IT director.

The good news is that companies don’t actually have to increase their in-house cybersecurity capacity. IDC advises that enterprises should only operate tech that is critical to giving them competitive distinction – this would only be the case for actual cybersecurity firms. For the rest of us, outsourcing the heavy lifting to organisations that specialises in cybersecurity makes sound business sense.

Cybersecurity is easy, affordable to outsource

TM ONE, the enterprise and public sector business solutions arm of Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM), with its TM ONE CYDEC, is the leading cybersecurity partner in Malaysia and protects data, identity, networks and devices. Working closely with private enterprises and government institutions, the company provides continuous, real-time and predictive security. Its key services include Digital Risk Protection, Managed Security Services (MSSP), Managed Detection and Response (MDR) and Managed Unified Threat Management (MUTM).

Not only does TM ONE CYDEC stay ahead of the curve when it comes to new cyber threats, it can ensure organisations are compliant with the latest regulations. For larger companies with in-house IT teams, TM ONE CYDEC integrates with existing IT frameworks, leaving staff to focus on daily business-critical issues. For enterprises new to these concerns, the company covers everything from design and planning to implementation and optimisation.

Ask TM ONE CYDEC about what a cybersecurity partnership might look like

Connecting the dots in Malaysia’s edutech sector

June 24, 2021
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Today, Perak, which takes its name from silver, is investing in another treasure: tech for education. One prominent example is the Universiti Sultan Azlan Shah (USAS), a relatively young institution based in Perak, which has turned to the cloud as a strategic step to ensure that students can continue learning during pandemic-related disruptions.

Cloud computing, Virtual Reality and other emerging technologies are positively disrupting the country’s schools.

Powered by the rapid adoption of cloud computing, emerging technologies are poised to transform Malaysia’s edutech sector. Exemplifying the potential of digital transformation, the state of Perak, tucked away in the northwestern region of Malaysia, was once home to some of the richest tin deposits in the world, making it the wealthiest state in the Federated States of Malaya (FMS) during pre-Independence times.

Today, Perak, which takes its name from silver, is investing in another treasure: tech for education. One prominent example is the Universiti Sultan Azlan Shah (USAS), a relatively young institution based in Perak, which has turned to the cloud as a strategic step to ensure that students can continue learning during pandemic-related disruptions.

TM ONE, the enterprise and public sector business solutions arm of Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM), shares insights into how cloud computing, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and other technologies are enabling Malaysian education institutions to carry on the all-essential practice of teaching.

Covid’s ‘silver’ lining

Pandemic restrictions highlighted the efficacy of digital technologies and connectivity in delivering education, says Prof Dato’ Dr Wan Sabri Wan Yusof, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic and Student Affairs) at USAS. The university chose TM, the country’s leading cloud provider to help upscale the digital delivery of their teaching.

Prof Dato’ Dr Wan Sabri Wan Yusof
Prof Dato’ Dr Wan Sabri Wan Yusof, D’eputy Vice Chancellor (Academic and Student Affairs) at USAS

Indeed, the potential of digitalisation to maintain educational momentum during the current crisis is reflected in various studies such as OECD’s Impact of Covid-19 on Education – and the World Economic Forum, which suggested that online learning has been seen to increase retention of information, and take less time.

Prof Dato’ Dr Wan noted that some benefits manifested almost immediately. The university could now support videos and streaming, which are essential to remote learning but require high data capacity.

Before this, lecturers had to advise students to access the system outside of peak hours. Since the shift to cloud services, students no longer complained of ‘sluggish access and loading times’, according to USAS leaders.

Other benefits from the shift to the cloud include the ability for greater interactivity, which is an invaluable additional layer to virtual lessons. More students are now able to interact with lecturers, who can also provide feedback in real-time. Additionally, they could now access the content at their convenience.

Cloud computing has transformed another crucial part of the schooling experience: examinations, where the stakes are higher than for the standard lessons. The system must have the capacity to accommodate a larger number of students, and any disruption will result in less time to complete the examination papers.

USAS’s cloud-based examination platform has increased the number of concurrent users from 200 to 800, noted Prof Dato’ Dr Wan Sabri.

In addition to improving the learning experience, the cloud has streamlined university operations significantly. IT teams can now restore any access disruptions in a much shorter period and perform them remotely. Traditional on-premise scenarios required on-site maintenance – a non-viable option during a pandemic lockdown.

The cloud also allows USAS to downscale or upscale consumption capacities according to demand, which saves operating costs, says Prof Dato’ Dr Wan Sabri. The efficiency resulting from the cloud adoption will also enable the university to increase its students’ intake by 15 per cent a year.

Virtual education

VR and AR are two (2) of the digital technologies that are “expected to bring the greatest impact in the education sector in the near future,” says Iskandar Iskak, Head Education Vertical at TM ONE. Both of these have already started to make a difference in schools.

For instance, Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP) has started using VR goggles and 3D modelling content to enliven and enrich the classroom experience. TM ONE has partnered with the university to provide virtual content. An Experience Centre has been established to bring a rich, immersive learning experience to students through virtual simulations.

“Through VR, it is possible for students not only to get into virtual spaces, but machines, or even travel through time into the past or the future,” says Iskandar. “By doing this, we are not only stimulating interest among students but also accommodating different styles of learning to maximise learning potentials.”

Making connections

Digital adoption will also help bring education to regions that are currently under-connected. TM ONE has helped to link students in rural areas of Pahang to their teachers in Kuantan town with its e-Tutor system.

The system leverages two (2) tools – a unified communication tool and a cloud-hosted content platform. The content platform focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, where learners and teachers can access various learning materials, and education providers can also explore and subscribe to STEM education services/products.

The platform runs on an internet centre in remote Pahang, powered by TM ONE’s high-speed connectivity services. Similar internet centres can be found throughout Malaysia, which provides free Wi-Fi and devices for online access.

The regulator for Malaysia’s communications industry, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) intends to increase the number of internet centres to 1,100, chairman Dr Fadhlullah Suhaimi Abdul Malek told GovInsider. This will enhance access to education in less connected parts of the country.

The foundational power of cloud

The cloud serves as the foundational font for multiple forms of edutech and onward development. USAS continues to find TM ONE’s services especially supportive throughout the journey to cloud computing and indeed to unlock the benefits of digital transformation.

TM ONE looks after connectivity, which is the first step to digitalisation and also manages cybersecurity support: the entire chain from cloud services, data centre, to customers is protected.

TM through TM ONE has recently been appointed by the government as one of the key cloud service providers under the Malaysian Digital Economy Blueprint (MyDIGITAL). This is another testament to TM ONE’s position as a leading public sector cloud provider.

The examples in this article suggest the emerging wave of active potential in Malaysia’s edutech aspirations. TM ONE has affirmed its role to continue sharing its digital expertise and tools with academic institutions as a vital aspect in nurturing a future-fit workforce, which itself is a key component of Malaysia’s journey to digital nationhood in today’s world of the 4th Industrial Revolution.

This article was first published in GovInsider.Asia.

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