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DEMYSTIFY TECHNOLOGY: 5G – A Tech Revolution That Matters – Nor Hisham Md Nordin

December 27, 2021
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From 1G in 1979 up to the modern transition towards 5G, there is no question that wireless networks have formed the bedrock on which technology thrives.

In recent decades, a multigenerational evolution in mobile technology has taken place. From 1G in 1979 by NTT up to the modern transition towards 5G, there is no question that wireless networks have formed the bedrock on which technology thrives.

Both consumers and businesses must be ready for the global shift towards 5G to comprehend the wide scale opportunities it fully enables. With 5G in a prime position to upgrade the dynamics of digital transformation, we speak to Nor Hisham, General Manager for Enterprise Mobile at TM One to demystify 5G concepts and how it compares to its predecessors.

A fundamental understanding of this technology, will launch Malaysia into the heart of the digital ASEAN.

5G vs 4G

As 5G supersedes 4G LTE, it must not be confused with the 5GHz WiFi on our mobile devices. The latter is a short-range frequency used in modern WiFi systems, while 5G is an all-new cellular standard.

According to GSMA, the worldwide median download speed using 5G was 954% faster, and upload speeds were 311% faster than 4G as tested during Q3 2020.[i] Additionally, 5G supports over 100 times more traffic capacity while supporting up to 1,000 more devices per meter than 4G.[ii] The higher bandwidths also prevent patchy services, especially in hot zones, enabling more connected devices. In short, 5G is much, much faster than 4G.

Imagine downloading a two-hour HD movie in roughly 10 seconds or going shopping with augmented reality … simply unbelievable. Yet, all of it is possible with the promise of 5G, as seen in its speed. However, the catch is that gigabit-plus download speeds depend on location, operator spectrum range, and network traffic. 

5G also uses higher radio frequencies (>24 GHz) that are less occupied to supply more information at faster rates. These previously unused bands offer much lower latency (<1 ms) and greater flexibility at the cost of the coverage area. However, information sent over large distances are susceptible to line-of-sight and blockage such as building structure, vegetation, and rainfall as mmWave can only travel a few hundred meters. 

As many arguments have highlighted the safety of 5G, science has proven that the technology poses no danger; the World Health Organisation (WHO) even deems the effects of low-level electromagnetic fields on human health as ‘very minimal’.[iii]

What is needed to roll out 5G?

Industry participants, including governments, service providers, vendors, and manufacturers at large, must collaborate to release the full potential of 5G. New infrastructure requirements are mandatory to make up for the mid & high bands spectrum usage in 5G. Hence, we see 5G standalone (SA) and non-standalone alone (NSA) deployment models for 5G networks to operate with or without relying on 4G infrastructure.

Deployment strategies for 5G are fundamentally different from legacy networks in terms of existing infrastructure. First, it needs restructuring to create space for denser deployment of small cells in urban and rural areas, focusing on street levels and the insides of buildings rather than populating rooftops and tall structures.

In 5G, timing technology is as critical as the developments in processors and radio frequency filters. As mobile networks rely heavily on the synchronization between radios, maintaining the stability of radiofrequency timing will dictate the blueprint for 5G network components. The orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) has become the standard format for 5G radios to help modulate digital signals across various channels to reduce interference.[iv]

5G also use an air interface to create new ways of interconnectivity ― device-to-device and multi-hop mesh methods. While it natively supports all spectrum types (licensed, unlicensed, shared) and bands (low, mid, high), network operators must redesign testing and R&D to ensure widespread coverage and adoption in various industry use cases.

5G applications

The potential of 5G certainly excites many opportunists. As a result, businesses and governments are already reimagining existing models and accelerating impactful industrial applications.

Generally, three classes of features can be associated with 5G: enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), massive machine-type communication (mMTC) and ultra-reliable low latency communication (uRLLC). Each of these features is unique and instrumental to the development within the industry verticals adopting this digital revolution.

eMBB, a straightforward improvement of the 4G mobile network, providing more significant data and bandwidth capabilities alongside latency improvements. This use case category revolves around more data-reliant applications, such as AR/VR media, cloud UltraHD, 8K and 360-degree video streaming, and immersive gaming and event experience. Consumers and enterprises will most likely experience enhanced connectivity across all connected devices in the early phases of 5G rollouts before going beyond more transformational categories.

mMTC is one of them, focusing on enabling IoT applications that leverage the deployment of low data transmitting devices on a massive scale. Supporting a highly dense connection of connected equipment also open doors for plenty of new opportunities — more intelligent homes, cities, traffic lights, grids, meters, and factories.

The last category of use cases is arguably the most anticipated application of 5G. Being dubbed as the underlying feature for massive connectedness, ultra-reliable low latency communications (uRLLC) cater to latency-sensitive devices. Transmitting large amounts of data with minimal delay enables instantaneous wireless networks (1ms or less). This instantaneous level is a game-changer — fuelling futuristic fields of use, including autonomous driving, remote diagnosis & robotic surgery, industrial automation, and drone deliveries.

5G for the future

Malaysia intends to establish 5G as Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB) plans on implementing 5G on the tail-end of 2021, working towards a 40% coverage by the end of 2022 and above 80% by 2024.[v] Ernst & Young Consulting (EY) expects 5G to increase Malaysia’s GDP by 5% (RM 122 billion) by 2030 and create over 148,000 jobs.[vi]

Nonetheless, Malaysia will undoubtedly need to overcome several challenges before leveraging the full potential of 5G to build its regional competitiveness. Whether for consumers’ enhanced mobile broadband or industries/enterprises’ uRLLC applications, we at TM One will fully support the operators and users in our pursuit of levelling up digital experiences with 5G in Malaysia.

Sources:
[i] https://www.gsma.com/membership/resources/massive-expansions-and-huge-improvements-in-speed-the-worldwide-growth-of-5g-in-2020/
[ii] https://www.qualcomm.com/5g/what-is-5g
[iii] https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/radiation-electromagnetic-fields
[iv] https://www.5gtechnologyworld.com/the-basics-of-5gs-modulation-ofdm/
[v] https://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/cover-story-5g-debate
[vi] https://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/digital-nasionals-single-wholesale-5g-network-increase-gdp-5-or-rm122b-2030-—-report

myNEWS’ Journey towards Greatness, enabled by TM One SD-WAN

March 16, 2022
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With TM One SD-WAN, they can now leverage secure and seamless connectivity to their remote branches which also helps to optimise their productivity.

myNEWS is one of TM One’s many existing customers that has successfully integrated TM One SD-WAN services into their business.

With TM One SD-WAN, they can now leverage secure and seamless connectivity to their remote branches which also helps to optimise their IT team’s productivity. myNEWS is enjoying new features which enable cashless transactions and in return increase customer spending in its stores nationwide.

Watch this video and know more about myNEWS’ journey towards greatness, enabled by TM One SD-WAN.

To learn more about TM One’s connectivity services, Contact us here.

CELEBRATING SUCCESS: Autonomous Vehicle Ready – Singapore Driverless Taxi Made Possible With 5G

December 27, 2021
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Singapore has been an early supporter of automated driving due to its constraints in land and workforce, and is already one of the most AV-ready countries globally.

Most of us know Singapore for its advanced digital economy. The renowned digital hub is also home to one of the most vibrant technology ecosystems in the Asia Pacific region. Leading technology companies, including FAANG — Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google have established a significant presence in the island city-state.

And for a good reason. Singapore’s pro-tech government contributed heavily to their current global standings. The Smart Nation initiatives, among others, have been rolled out to leverage technology solutions to maintain global competitiveness as a developed nation and enhance the livelihood of Singapore citizensi.

One area of national interest is robotics and how it has enabled the country’s vision for driverless vehicles in transportation. Singapore has been an early supporter of automated driving due to its constraints in land and workforce, and is already one of the most autonomous vehicles (AV)-ready countries globally, according to the KPMGii. In its pursuit to improve urban mobility, the government set up the Committee on Autonomous Road Transport for Singapore (CARTS). The committee, in charge of spearheading local AV-enabled land transport concepts, went on to sign an MoU with R&D agency A*STAR to set up the Singapore Autonomous Vehicle Initiative.

The government even established the first AV test center in 2017 to support the Center of Excellence for AV testing and research. In 2019, Singapore expanded its AV testing area to almost 1,000 km to cover all public roads in the west region. It also started a program to retrain 100 bus drivers as AV safety operators to serve three new towns with driverless buses.

With the third-highest population density in the world that will grow by 30% within 20 years, Singapore can’t keep up by buying more buses or creating more subway lines. In addition, Singapore has an ageing taxi driver population. Data from Southeast Asia’s Grab shows that Singaporean taxi drivers are unlikely to accept a passenger booking request that originates from or leads them to remote locations. The need for more public buses also highlights the labour gap as not many people fancy driving buses at night.

Automated vehicles for a brighter future

Therefore, Singapore turns to AVs to potentially fill the transportation need while freeing up road space, narrowing down the number of private vehicles and combating the issue of congestion and air pollution. AVs have also become a part of the nation’s land transport master plan to make Singapore a “45-minute city”. They will prove helpful in connecting the last mile journey. There are even plans to design roads in Singapore specifically for driverless cars. Plus, amendments to the Road Traffic Act and the TR68 draft national AV standards’ publishing cements the fact that Singapore is more than serious about this.[iii]

The first trial for self-driving buses occurred back in 2015, and since then, several other attempts have been conducted, including driverless taxis developed by nuTonomy. The MIT spin-off technology startup conducted the world’s first public trial for self-driving taxi services in a partnership with Grab several days ahead of Uber in Pittsburgh. The company gave out several no-cost rides on a by-invitation-only basis within a 2.5 square mile radius in Singapore’s ‘one-north’ business district. The ‘robo-taxi’ services used six modified Renault Zoe and Mitsubishi i-MiEV equipped with proprietary self-driving software, integrated high-performance sensing, six sets of LIDAR devices – including one that constantly spins on the roof, and two dashboard cameras to measure changes in traffic lights and provide a 360-degree object detection view.

nuTonomy works closely with the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART), which focuses on improving quality of life with technology. According to nuTonomy, Singapore is the perfect place for the technology, iterating that the regulatory environment, infrastructure, driving habits, traffic rules obeyance, and the weather could help the country reduce the number of on-road cars from 900,000 to 300,000iv. This would replace almost 780,000 traditional taxis while ensuring waiting times of below 15 minutes.

Other similar trials in Singapore involve driverless buggies in the Jurong Lake District and the autonomous shuttle bus from the NTU campus to Cleantech Park, among others. More recently, ST Engineering, SMRT and SBS Transit operated a three-month trial for their self-driving bus service that takes passengers around Singapore’s Science Park and Jurong Island during off-peak hours for only SGD 0.20 (USD 0.15).

5G as the critical enabler

There is no questioning that fast and reliable communication networks build the foundation for driverless vehicles to operate on. AVs regularly collect and capture environmental data from built-in cameras and sensors before making a fully independent decision on navigation, especially in unexpected traffic conditions.

5G is a core facilitator to this autonomous feature, especially its holy trinity of speed, latency, and reliability. High-speed connectivity is essential to build awareness of traffic information and enables AVs to chase the city’s ‘green-wave’. Here, quick data processing and pre-emptive decision-making are paramount, especially when AVs move at higher speeds. Ultra-reliable low latency communication (uRLLC) unlocks the ability for AVs to receive, process and convert data into prompt decisions, all within a fraction of seconds.

Rapid data processing is crucial in both short and long-distance vehicle-to-everything (V2X), as it helps amplify key safety AV features. AVs often use onboard connectivity solutions to link their computers to the manufacturer’s network. It is critical that AVs do not send all the data back to central data centres for processing as this consumes valuable seconds needed in making quick, autonomous decisions.

The deployment of 5G-enabled edge computing significantly minimises the response times in AVs, as edge servers can process time-sensitive data using 5G’s lower latency and high computing capabilities. The rest travels back to remote servers. This allows for new uses cases such as sending hazard alerts in car-to-car communication and enhanced battery efficiency as car analytics occur off-the-vehicle.

The challenge, however, is coverage. By nature, 5G frequencies struggle to reach areas previously in the scope of network generation, which means that more infrastructure is needed, especially on busy roads. Operators will need a mere 10x denser infrastructure to provide adequate coveragev. Hence, the mmWave frequency for 5G will be strongest in large cities over the next 5 to 10 years as telecom service providers install small cells at scale. Expect AVs to provide better experiences in urban areas as governments invest in smart city initiatives.

Singapore, the land of driverless vehicles

Automation of vehicles doesn’t happen overnight. Reliable and fully automated driving is the final stage of a rather lengthy process. Innovations such as intelligent assistance and autonomous steering will come and go, while many new features come online. But one thing is certain; 5G will be the piece that completes the puzzle.

That is exactly what Singapore is building on. GovTech has begun around ten trials under the 5G@Sentosa project, including those to operate autonomous vehicles using high-speed 5G links. The government body will look to increase the number of tests on 5G uses cases to 30 by the first half of 2023. As APAC 5G investments pick up (~78% of companies are investing or planning to invest within the next two to three years), the technology will continue to play a significant role for autonomous vehicles to become a reality, not only for Singapore, but globallyvi.

Sources:
https://www.digitaltrends.com/cars/nutonomy-driverless-taxi-singapore/
https://www.techrepublic.com/article/singapore-launches-driverless-taxis-ahead-of-uber-and-the-us/
https://www.smartcitiesworld.net/news/worlds-first-public-trial-of-robo-taxi-service-in-singapore-869
https://gadgets.ndtv.com/others/news/worlds-first-self-driving-taxis-debut-in-singapore-1450096
https://pacetoday.com.au/first-self-driving-taxis-singapore/
https://www.theverge.com/2016/8/25/12637822/self-driving-taxi-first-public-trial-singapore-nutonomy
https://www.theverge.com/2016/8/1/12337516/delphi-self-driving-car-service-singapore
https://soyacincau.com/2021/02/02/singapore-tests-its-first-commercial-self-driving-bus-service-it-costs-less-than-rm1-per-ride/
https://www.mot.gov.sg/Transport-Matters/motoring/detail/driverless-vehicles-a-vision-for-singapore-s-transport
https://disruptive.asia/grab-launches-driverless-car-booking-service-singapore/
https://www.dsf.my/2020/07/singapore-tops-malaysia-in-self-driving-cars-acceptance/
https://www.cio.com/article/3294207/how-singapore-is-driving-the-development-of-autonomous-vehicles.html
https://www.eeworldonline.com/startup-bringing-driverless-taxi-service-to-singapore/
https://car.harman.com/insights/articles/5g-must-have-autonomous-vehicles
https://www.alcansystems.com/satellite-and-5g-an-essential-partnership-for-the-future-of-connected-cars/
https://www.rantcell.com/do-autonomous-vehicles-need-5g.html
https://www.telekom.com/en/company/details/5g-network-as-foundation-for-autonomous-driving-561986


[i] https://www.csc.gov.sg/articles/digital-government-smart-nation-pursuing-singapore%27s-tech-imperative
[ii] https://home.kpmg/xx/en/home/insights/2018/01/2018-autonomous-vehicles-readiness-index.html
[iii] https://www.globalmasstransit.net/archive.php?id=43417
[iv] https://gadgets.ndtv.com/others/news/worlds-first-self-driving-taxis-debut-in-singapore-1450096
[v] https://www.alcansystems.com/satellite-and-5g-an-essential-partnership-for-the-future-of-connected-cars/
[vi] https://www.computerweekly.com/news/252508259/Singapore-pulls-ahead-with-public-sector-5G-trials

DEMYSTIFY TECHNOLOGY : 5 Stories of How Video is Transforming Customer Experience in Malaysia

June 30, 2021
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Video consumption has skyrocketed in the last 18 months. This feature is now embedded across many aspects of our daily lives, from online streaming to video calls with our colleagues.

The pervasiveness of high-speed broadband and the ease of consumption is fuelling its use in many applications.

With these five (5) high-growth use cases of video, we hope to inspire you to integrate one or many of these new video-powered features in your businesses:

  1. Video E-KYC

To minimise the challenges associated with fraud, telecommunication and financial service institutions require consumers to visit physical branches when opening a mobile or banking account. Video-based e-Know Your Customer (e-KYC) can now address the need for potential customers to be present at a physical branch while remaining compliant with visual confirmation regulations.

Developed by Malaysian start-up OkayDoc, telecommunication companies utilising e-KYC registered a 280% increase in monthly pre-paid SIM activation in April 2020. In addition, following the approval by Bank Negara on the use of e-KYC in mid-2020, this feature will likely be an exciting capability made available by all banks in the coming months.

  1. Remote consultation

A typical visit to the doctor meant considerable time spent on driving or commuting to the clinic or the hospital.  Add to these are other inconveniences such as finding a parking spot, waiting for your turn and the risk of infections.

DoctorOnCall, a tele-health provider has built a healthcare system that offers video consultation to its 250,000 subscribers. This platform combines video and voice technologies with Artificial Intelligence (AI) to accurately diagnose non-communicable diseases based on patient symptoms. Similar applications that integrate live video with technologies such as AI are set to enhance business processes in other industries as well. 

  1. Virtual and Augmented Reality

Global technology giants have been investing heavily to develop the Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) ecosystem. Pre-pandemic, the adoption of AR and VR in the local industry was largely limited to entertainment applications. During the pandemic, the real-estate industry adopted AR and VR technologies to transform customer journeys right from virtual galleries for property display to digital contracts and even online loan approvals.

Local company, VR Lab Bhd. provides a property-tech solution to developers, providing consumers with a complete 360-degree experience of owning their unit. Consumers can familiarise themselves with not just the internal unit layout and design, they can also get a view from their unit. Developers have greatly benefited from this tech as customers can now remotely purchase and complete the entire contract process to owning their homes virtually.  

  1. Customer service

We are beginning to see the first few initiatives in providing video calls for customer service. Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia is the first to introduce a video banking service

Available via its website, this feature allows customers the full range of banking services, akin to visiting the physical branch. In addition to video, clients can share screen and collaborate to complete any of their banking transactions. In the future, this will likely become the norm for wealth management services across all banks focusing on high net-worth individuals.  

  1. Live streaming

This feature gained popularity as companies looked to reach out to consumers when launching their new products as well as increasing engagement on their digital sites. Social media platforms and e-commerce sites such as Shopee are now providing live features to encourage streaming.

Small and medium business owners such as Sambal Nyet by Khairul Aming have been at the forefront of using live streaming on social media platforms with great success. Moving forward, we will see brands partner with social media influencers and use live streaming to drive demand and increase engagement on their websites and mobile applications.

The availability of 5G will further accelerate the many use cases of video. By the end of this decade, the low latency and high-speed networks will enable applications such as remote surgery, virtual reality, augmented manufacturing and countless other new applications. The time is ripe for businesses to start experimenting with a video towards enhancing their operations.

How 5G is transforming Malaysia’s roads

February 25, 2020
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These solutions have the potential to transform Langkawi’s roads and its city planning. All data collected by these systems are consolidated on a dashboard to understand the city’s needs better.

Noisy roads choked with cars and never-ending stretches of beautiful beaches don’t really go hand-in-hand. But they co-exist uneasily in Langkawi, one of Malaysia’s popular island getaways, especially during peak holiday periods.

Telekom Malaysia (TM)’s enterprise and public sector business arm, TM ONE, has created several 5G-powered solutions to tackle this issue and ensure visitors enjoy a smooth journey throughout their holiday. “When you talk about smart tech, it’s not about the technology, but your experience when you touch down in Langkawi,” Maznan Deraman, TM ONE’s innovative solutions head, recently told GovInsider.

TM is testing 11 5G applications in Langkawi in the first half of 2020. Here is how three of them can help transform Langkawi’s roads.

Smart parking

Malaysia already has a series of options for parking apps that make fee payments easier. But TM ONE’s latest smart parking endeavour sets itself apart from the rest. “For the normal parking app we’re used to today, users have to select a parking bay and tell the system how long they’ll be parking for,” explained Azrin Aris, Director of Products & Innovation at TM ONE at a recent media showcase. But this can be inaccurate, and TM ONE is trialling a new feature to reduce human error so the correct fee can be charged.

TM ONE’s parking app shows users live footage of the parking lots, captured by high-definition cameras in the area. Instead of manually keying in the parking lot number, “users just need to tap on the phone to record the exact location of their parking spot,” he said.

The app will create a seamless experience for drivers – they can start looking for parking spaces and book it through the app even before setting off in their car. Drivers also don’t have to specify how long they will be parking for. Sensors in the parking lots will detect when the car has driven off, and the app will charge the appropriate fees automatically.

The app also helps traffic wardens work more efficiently. They can identify cases of illegal parking through the footage captured on the app, without manually checking up on parked cars. Officials can also find out how long a car has been illegally parked in a spot, so they can issue the appropriate fines.

“We can also look out for traffic violations with the camera,” said Maznan. Traffic wardens can study the footage to look for wayward drivers going the wrong direction in a one-way street, or rogue motorcyclists riding on the pedestrians’ path.

Smart traffic light

Langkawi’s roads can get quite busy, especially during peak traveling seasons. TM ONE has devised a smart traffic light that regulates traffic flow to shorten wait times.

IoT sensors installed in traffic lights measure patterns such as the average waiting time and how many cars are turning right or going straight. “Previously we didn’t have this information [about traffic conditions]. If we wanted to do this, we had to send people to the roadside to count,” said Maznan.

“The traffic light then uses this data to adjust the green time period. For instance, the traffic light would flash green for a longer time when there are more vehicles passing through. This would mean less congestion, quicker journeys, less fuel consumption, and a smaller carbon footprint,” explained Maznan.

The traffic light also comes with a built-in contingency plan, just in case the IoT sensors malfunction. “We use the predicted values to change the default setting, so it gives time for authorities to fix the sensors while not heavily impacting user experience,” shared Azrin.

Smart vehicle management

Telekom Research & Development (TM R&D), TM ONE’s sister company and TM’s innovation arm, has developed a system for car rental companies to manage their fleet. “Langkawi is a tourist Island and car rentals are the most used mode of transport,” explained Dr. Sharlene Thiagarajah, CEO of TM R&D.

The new tech allows car rental companies to track each vehicle’s usage pattern in real time, using GPS that runs on 5G networks. The system also grades each employee’s driving behaviour by giving a score for each drive.

“Car rentals will know who’s driving your car, where they are going, if there has been harsh braking or harsh cornering, or if there is excessive idling,” said Dr Sharlene. “Car rental operators will then understand the usage pattern and maybe create new business models with the customers.”.

This can change the way insurance companies charge for car rentals as well. “Today, most of us who drive are paying for insurance 24/7. Imagine if we have data to show insurance companies that we are only driving two or three hours a day,” Dr Sharlene said. “Insurance companies could perhaps use this information to offer more tailored packages to customers,” she explained.

These three solutions have the potential to transform Langkawi’s roads and ultimately, its city planning. All the data collected by these systems can be consolidated on a dashboard so officials can understand the city’s needs better. “We want to see where vehicles are going and where people are congregating,” said Dr Sharlene. These are the insights that will help us plan better and safer cities.

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