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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

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, 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.

CELEBRATING SUCCESS : Delivering educational excellence through Cloud Services

April 28, 2021

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The restrictions imposed in 2020 on in-person classes resulted in a large-scale shift towards online-based classes. E-learning platforms existed long before the pandemic; however, recently, these platforms took centre stage in delivering educational content.

Every major service sector is under pressure to adapt to the current circumstances, and the education sector is no exception. Significant adjustments were needed across educational institutions to move onto the reality of having minimal face-to-face interaction. This case is especially true with the tertiary education sector, which has to provide its services across international borders.

The restrictions imposed in 2020 on in-person classes resulted in a large-scale shift towards online-based classes. E-learning platforms existed long before the pandemic; however, recently, these platforms took centre stage in delivering educational content. Consequently, it resulted in an upsurge in virtual classrooms, as well as a suite of remote services, including teaching, workshops and examinations.

These options provide support for students disrupted by the closure of universities. However, these e-learning platforms require a scalable yet flexible and reliable IT infrastructure. Hence, this situation requires institutions to re-evaluate the said infrastructure to manage the demands of their staff and students.

Here, we share some success stories from the education institues that have embraced digital transformation as an opportunity to bring better learning experiences for its students.

Universiti Sultan Azlan Shah (USAS), adapting to circumstances

USAS was granted full university status on 15 June 2016. The institution offers a variety of courses from foundational studies to PhDs. Its campus, located at Bukit Chandan, Kuala Kangsar,was completed in 2008. USAS currently offers 47 courses in Islamic Studies and multiple subjects under Management and Information Technology. Currently, USAS has the support of 198 lecturers and serves nearly 5600 students.While it still has traditional systems in place, USAS is a key example on how educational institutions can adapt to changing circumstances. The upgrades implemented by the university enables effective online leaning for students and lecturers too.

Breaking free from traditional systems and their limitations

To manage the demand for remote learning, USAS transformed to a cloud-based IT infrastructure from a traditional on-premise setting. The former on-premise system required high amounts of capital investments, labour, and maintenance. For example, on-premise systems typically require higher investments in hardware,including logistics and setup processes. During the lockdown periods, the response time to scale was severely affected by supply chain disruptions. Moreover, in terms of maintenance, IT teams must be on-site to respond to any system glitches encountered.

Such limitations often result in higher costs to support the IT infrastructure. These experiences limit the ability of USAS to scale efficiently and match the demand for remote learning.  Due to these limitations, USAS considered engaging TM One to adopt a cloud-based learning management system.

“The decision to engage TM One was due to its capabilities of providing end-to-end technological solutions inclusive of connectivity, cloud services and cybersecurity, catered specifically for the education sector,” said a USAS C-Level representative.

Reaping the benefits from cloud migration

  1. Tackling limited scalability with cloud-based solutions

The success of cloud and its effects on universities’ performance is spoken of widely in the education industry globally.The surge of users using online platforms, which posed a scalability challenge with on-premise servers, was addressed with cloud solutions. Using cloud platforms, educational institutions can scale depending on the activity and user base in a cost-efficient manner.

In this very manner, USAS could efficiently scale up or down based on its usage. This ability allowed USAS to tap into the readily available capacity from TM One on a scalable pay-as-you-go basis. USAS reported that it could have 800 students sit for exam sessions concurrently on the renewed cloud-based system, compared to 200 students on the legacy platform.

  1. Cost-benefits on upgrades and maintenance

Other than scalability, USAS was also able to capture significant cost-saving benefits by migrating onto cloud platforms. For example, leveraging cloud technology allows USAS to have lower hardware dependency. Therefore, USAS can focus more on operational expenses, resulting in higher flexibility on its expenses. Unlike on-premise systems where universities were responsible for upgrades and maintenance – cloud-based systems are primarily managed by the cloud provider. This shift in responsibility significantly reduces the financial burden on universities to manage their data storage systems and infrastructures.

These benefits also extend to the IT department, which can now focus on higher-value services rather than on maintenance work. Moreover, the IT Department has the added advantage of being able to conduct support work online safely. As a result, the IT team of USAS noted improvements in their Mean Time to Restore (MTR). In the case of upgrades, the USAS IT team can activate upgrades within 48-hours, allowing them to increase efficiency and reduce costs.

Improving user experience for both students and staff

Ultimately, these benefits aims towards enhancing the services for students and lecturers. By leveraging the power of the cloud, USAS can now provide higher-quality content to its students. This leverage is crucial to compensate for the difficulties faced by lecturers due to the loss of physical interaction.

Feedback from the students noted that the performances of past on-premise servers made it difficult for them to learn through digital platforms. The students claimed that they were affected by long loading times and lags. The alternative at that point was to use the platform during off-peak periods, which was inconvenient.

The scalability, efficiency and performance of the cloud provide the robust infrastructure for a conducive learning environment. For example, during crucial exam periods, the cloud reduces system glitches by providing the needed scale.  Students can now enjoy a smoother delivery of classes and have real-time responses with their lecturers, leading to an augmented learning experience.

Local counterpart leveraging cloud beyond the classroom

Apart from delivering in-classroom benefits, education institutions are also able to utilise the cloud to enhance customer servicing. A local counterpart, Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP), teamed up with TM One in 2018 by adopting a Unified Customer Service (UCS) powered by cloud. The service provided has a consumption-based business model to manage customer interactions for customer experience.

This solution offers an effective way of managing customers by having a one-stop-centre approach. Post-adoption, UTP had expanded its contact centre services from 5 departments in 2018 to 25 departments in 2020. TM assisted UTP by handling more than 1000 interactions monthly, achieving an average of 95% in performance levels. Along with other improvements, these efforts were recognised regionally, with UTP awarded the CXP Best Customer Experience Award in 2020.

The success UTP experienced with the power of cloud technology is not foreign to their peers. UTP was amongst the first educational institution in Malaysia to drive a cloud transformation strategy. After signing a three-year MOU with Microsoft back in 2017, UTP has been a transformative player by integrating tools such as Azure, Power BI, and Machine Learning to future-proof its students and staff. These initiatives were part of a wider goal of improving its capabilities for its educational services and drive operational efficiency.

Learning from global leaders in the education industry

Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, leading universities are using this period as an opportunity to further drive the adoption of cloud services. For example, The London School of Economics (LSE)  followed through with complementary changes to streamline its financial and business management systems. By engaging with a technology partner, LSE now uses a cloud SaaS solution to manage its finances, budgeting and procurements. This enhancement frees up the staff to focus on providing higher levels of service to their students.

On the other hand, Standford University (SU) shows that adequate training must supplement cloud adoption strategies. Observing its cloud transformation journey, the university made clear communication plans to prepare its staff for the upcoming changes.  SU deployed several training programs and communication channels to prepare its staff technically in handling the changes. These steps are crucial to provide confidence for lecturers and supporting staff to embrace the cloud’s capabilities.

As cloud technology continues to grow into a necessity in the education sector, adopters need to have the right information and expertise. Whilst the benefits are clear, misconfigurations can often lead to cybersecurity concerns. Hence,a technology partner is often regarded as a preferred option for institutions to integrate cloud-based solutions. Similar to USAS and UTP, cloud services work best with collaboration. This way, institutions can rest at ease knowing that their cloud strategy is backed by reputable expertise, bringing the full potential of the cloud to the forefront.

The Smart Farming Revolution: Leveraging Technology to Overcome Agricultural Challenges

April 06, 2023

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The agriculture industry faces a variety of challenges such as climate change, low agriculture productivity and yield, high operating cost, and health hazards to farmers. Leveraging digital technologies, TM One Smart Agriculture solutions are opening a promising ability to address the industry’s long challenges through the Smart Farming revolution.

TM One Smart Agriculture offers a diverse set of solutions to help farmers adapt to technological advancement. One of the features is a centralised monitoring dashboard that is integrated into the IoT-powered machines, which enables farmers a holistic view of their entire machinery performances and crop conditions.

Watch this video and know more about how TM One Smart Agriculture solutions can provide more efficient and sustainable farming practices.

To learn more about TM One Smart Agriculture, Contact us here.

Cybersecurity: Is your company doing enough to protect itself from cybercrime?

March 09, 2023

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Organisations are responsible to protect and safeguard their business and customer data from cybercriminals. They need to have the right tools, processes and above all the right people, a team of cyber-intelligence experts or security analysts, in place at all times

According to Technologist Dr. Saiyid Abdallah Syahir Al-Edrus, General Manager for Cybersecurity Services and Product & Innovation at TM One, every organisation has the responsibility to ensure that their cybersecurity strategies run in tandem with their business growth.

“Organisations are responsible to protect and safeguard their business and customer data from cybercriminals. They need to have the right tools, processes and above all the right people, a team of cyber-intelligence experts or security analysts, in place at all times.”

BusinessToday spoke to the industry expert who has over 15 years of experience in consulting, network security, endpoint security, cloud security, application & data security, and cybersecurity risk management, and who has leveraged his expertise to help organisations protect their businesses from the increasing challenge of cyber-attacks and threats.

He pointed out that many Malaysian organisations of all sizes and across all industries faced gaps between their perceived capabilities and their actual performance when it came to ensuring their cybersecurity strategies addressed the needs of their business.

“Organisations may believe that they have taken all the necessary steps to protect their data and systems, when they have not. This false sense of security has resulted in major global corporations and regional government agencies falling victim to massive security breaches.”

Dr. Saiyid also noted that organisations tended to become complacent. “Organisations often take for granted that they will not be the target for cyber-attacks, because they feel that they are not managing critical infrastructure and sensitive data. However, attackers will target any organisation that can provide them with a lucrative payoff.”

Lack of resources was a third factor, he added.

“Most organisations may not have the budget to invest in robust cybersecurity measures or the necessary expertise/personnel. Instead they often rely on general IT support. Unfortunately, cybersecurity itself encompasses a very huge spectrum and domain, for which you need specific skills, experience and knowledge.”

“Having an external partner that can provide professional and advisory services will help enterprises navigate and manage their cybersecurity strategy.”

Dr. Saiyid noted that while TM One, the enterprise and government sector arm of Telekom Malaysia Berhad is fully capable of providing a complete outsourced cybersecurity service to its customers, his preferred approach involved a hybrid solution between organisations and their cybersecurity partner.

“Cybersecurity strategies must be based on the organisation’s needs and priorities. My recommendation would be that policies are governed in-house, where the client dictates and determines which security services are needed and cybersecurity framework the organisation should adopt.”

Shifting Resources Purposefully

Responding to an IDC Enterprise Services Sourcing Survey, which stated that over 70% of Malaysian organisations recognised that security is not their core expertise, Dr. Saiyid pointed out that this view stems from understandable reasons – cybersecurity is generally underfunded and under-resourced.

“Businesses are often challenged to find and retain the right talents to manage digitalisation, cybersecurity, and innovation within their organisations. IT departments are now expected to support new revenue streams, on top of managing operational efficiency and reducing cost. Business leaders find it difficult to understand the ROI of IT security, and are more focused on growing their digital revenue – especially in the wake of COVID-19.”

As a result, meeting the need to secure these digital platforms can weigh on businesses’ priorities, requiring them to divert limited budgets and resources from opportunities to risk avoidance, Dr. Saiyid highlighted.

“In large organisations, managing cybersecurity efficiently requires a significant amount of resources and effort. Aside from the need to secure a well-equipped and complex IT environment, setting up a dedicated team means organisations need to invest in the technology and put together the security controls for the entirety of their IT environment. This can prove difficult as there is a marked scarcity of cybersecurity professionals, not only in Malaysia but internationally.”

With these realities, individual organisations should decide whether they want to outsource a certain portion of their cybersecurity responsibility or outsource the whole function.

“For instance, they can choose to retain identity management, which is the heart of IT operations and sits with Active Directory and domain controllers, while the rest, such as perimeter security, firewalls, intrusion prevention systems, or the 24/7 monitoring of the overall environment can be outsourced to the experts, like TM One.”

Service providers such as TM One can also provide organisations with round-the-clock protection, ensuring that their systems are always safe and secure. Furthermore, outsourcing cybersecurity can help organisations free up their internal resources so that they can focus on other areas of business.

TM One’s Professional Services supports organisations to assess their cybersecurity capabilities, and provides consulting and advisory services to help them strengthen their capabilities to respond to potential threats.

Specifically, TM One’s Cyber Defence Centre (CYDEC) is an end-to-end cybersecurity service which includes cybersecurity consulting or professional services to guide organisations carve out the best cybersecurity solutions that fit their needs and budget.

Through continuous support from TM One’s Security Operations Centre (SOC) and CyberAssurance services, organisations can benefit from managed security services to discover and address potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities, leverage solutions that help strengthen the readiness of in-house security teams, test systems to identify exploitable gaps, and monitor their broader business ecosystem to detect attacks or indicators of compromised systems and data more efficiently.

This includes Security Posture Assessment (SPA), Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing (VAPT) services and Digital Attack Simulation either as a one-time engagement or a retainer programme.

Organisations who are interested to learn more about how TM One can help enhance their cybersecurity profile can visit its website at

This article was first published in Business Today

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