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Fast Tracking Malaysia’s Smart Cities with Advanced Technologies in 2021

June 30, 2021
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The growing population and urbanisation trend require local authorities to rethink how they serve the citizens. Digital technologies such as cloud, Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are the backbones for cities nationwide to implement solutions that make a city smart.

Industry experts are in accord that the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic has delivered many sharp lessons including the urgent need to fast track smart city initiatives.

Indeed, this Outlook 2021 special edition presents a mountain of insights that push the smart city concept firmly from the ‘nice to have’ to the ‘must implement today’ for Malaysia.

As the beating heart of a smart city is smart data, we will focus on some essential perspectives to accelerate smart city developments. The current crisis highlight, among others:

  • Two challenges that must be transformed immediately into opportunities – and centre on the flow and handling of data; and
  • The vital need to build cohesive connections between advanced technologies, relevant culture change, and administration processes in order to heighten Malaysia’s economic empowerment, environmental sustainability, and social re-engineering to meet the demands of the 4th Industrial Revolution era.

As envisaged by Malaysia’s Smart City Framework under the 12th Malaysia Plan 2021-2025, digital transformation is a vital catalyst to potentise Malaysia’s recovery efforts and enhance the quality and safety of life in a rapidly shifting world.

Immediate Steps

Today, governments around the world are playing catch up because most citizens are ahead of the digital curve. Malaysians are pioneer internet users as borne out by many regional and global studies.

Carried during the pandemic, MCMC’s Internet User Survey 2020 recently reconfirmed the uptick in Malaysia’s use of the internet, which is driven significantly by daily usage of mobile apps to carry out life tasks – such as parking (multiple parking apps including KL’s JomParking, E Smart Park, Flexi Park, etc), checking in for errands during the pandemic (MySejahtera), banking & digital payments (e.g.TouchnGo), work, social interaction, and eCommerce in all its forms. Currently, 88.7% of the population are internet users with smartphones reaching near-saturation usage level at 98.7% in 2020.

Currently, many apps overlap to carry out common tasks. Which is reflected in another major challenge – a stumbling block facing both public and private sectors globally.

Data silos are collections of information often accessible by only one group, which grossly hampers sharing and decision-making. Though centralisation is difficult due to concerns such as privacy, data sovereignty, and data existing in varying states of quality, a move to data lakes would help to start addressing this block – providing informed data and insights for better decision making.

The pandemic has prioritised unlocking digital potential especially arising from the phenomenal growth of devices (the Internet of Things, IoT) in our personal and business lives that are online, connected, and capable of collecting and sharing data, which is ubiquitously called the new oil – and regarded as a key asset in today’s world.

Technology Imperatives

Smart cities – also known as SCC or Smart and Connected Communities – can provide essential infrastructural support for the deployment of advanced analytics and connected solutions.

Digital technologies that help to collect, process and act on real time data include essential jigsaw pieces such as IoT and Artificial Intelligence (AI), all of which ride on cloud computing – a platform that has proved to be a lifeline during the current crisis, enabling us to connect through videoconferencing apps and remote access systems.

5G technology presents another avenue of hyper connectivity especially in areas previously difficult to serve. And the future holds capacity building for autonomous vehicles and the ‘next normal’.

At the beginning of 2020, the world saw a series of public-private collaborations in Malaysia with the sanction of the government included demonstrations of large-scale use cases.

A confluence of technologies demonstrated by real-time projects placed in parts of the island archipelago of Langkawi could easily be viewed from the TM ONE 5G Command Centre (5GCC) built on an open, sharing model to enable full collaboration into the future.

The use of AI smart cameras, community alert buttons, geolocation apps, My Smart City mobile app, smart helmets and other solutions – powered by real-time data analytics – demonstrated multiple use cases spanning smart city, smart tourism, smart traffic smart agriculture, as well as crime prevention and citizen safety.

Build a Seamless Future

Smart city technology is enhancing safety, reducing costs, building resiliency, providing innovative new services, and generally improving living conditions, as evidence by analysts such as McKinsey Global Institute projects which shows that moving to the smart city concept is reducing fatalities by 8–10 percent, accelerating emergency response times by 20–35 percent, shaving average commutes by 15–20 percent, lowering disease burden by 8–15 percent, and cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 10–15 percent, among other positive outcomes.

With the aim of becoming a Vibrant City by 2030, Majlis Perbandaran Subang Jaya (MPSJ) is another Malaysian example of smart city initiative to enrich community life by utilising advanced technologies to deliver smart services to people in SS15 Subang Jaya.

Some would say that investment needed to develop a smart city would be hefty. On the contrary, a smart city is a city that intuitively adapts and responds to the needs of its Rakyat. The need of the Rakyat comes first as technology is merely the enabler to address that need.Its is not paramount that everything within the city be made smart, for the smart city technology to be sustainable,emphasis should be made on strategic touchpoints of everyday life. Sustainability of a smart city anchors on needs and inclusion of surrounding stakeholders.

Power of Partnerships

Given the prevailing high failure rate of projects – a PwC/Gallup study of more 10,640 projects found only 2.5% of companies met their original goals while failed IT projects cost the US$150 to 150B in lost revenue and productivity in the US – we must not forget that for every step of a project demands an integrated holistic approach.

The glue that connects and holds together transformational drivers – such as strategic vision, planning, communication, culture change, digital technologies – is the right array of talent and expertise in a highly collaborative partnership – often referred to as professional services.

In 2021, Malaysia’s public authorities are now ideally placed to refresh and fast track smart city initiatives with digital technologies to upscale service levels, citizen well-being, and especially important at this time – to forge the space for sustainable growth and development.

The growing population and urbanisation trend require local authorities to rethink how they serve the citizens. Everyone – private, public and the people, has a role to play. Digital technologies such as cloud, Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are the backbones for cities nationwide to implement solutions that make a city smart. Real time data collected from millions of devices and sensors can be computed and analysed at ultra fast speed to generate valuable insights. These insights can in turn be used to formulate policies and action plans to improve the citizen’s quality of lives.

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CELEBRATING SUCCESS
How Maybank is Leading Digital Transformation in Banking Sector

July 29, 2021
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Maybank, changing the face of traditional banking

Malayan Banking Berhad (“Maybank Group” or “the Group”) is the largest financial services and banking group in Malaysia. The Group serves its 22 million customers through a robust portfolio of financial products and services, including consumer and corporate banking, treasury activities, insurance, and asset management. These contributed to the Group’s annual revenue of MYR 51 billion in 2020. For the same year, Maybank Group had an operating income of MYR 6.48 billion and was the winner of the world’s best consumer digital bank in Malaysia and Indonesia. 

Despite topping local and international market charts with notable digital milestones like QRPay and Maybank Trade, the Group’s M25 plan persists on digitalisation as a key-value driver. The strategy is similar to its Digital Bank of Choice strategy set in 2020. With customers spoilt for choice in today’s market, it is a challenge to reach that pinnacle of customer experience and preserve customer relationships at the same time, especially if a brand doesn’t fully invest in digital roadmaps and collaborations.

“We must always have the user behaviour in mind when we are creating new digital services and/or products. Digital banking providers who provide the best user experience and can solve customers’ problems will continue to be relevant,” said Datuk John Chong, Group CEO of Maybank Community Financial Services.

In this article, you will see Maybank in its journey to improve service delivery capabilities in the era of hyper-digitisation and competition.

Improving the digital banking experience

Maybank takes inspiration from the rapid rise of digital banking and fintech startups in its pursuit to continue enhancing customer experience. The bank’s mission is to provide customers with simple and convenient access to its financial services using ubiquitous digital solutions.

In 2018, the Group revamped the Maybank2U mobile application and website to offer a seamless transacting experience. The mobile application, which now features enhanced payment capabilities and customer personalisation, boasts over 12 million mobile downloads with an impressive 7 million active users (excluding website users) in 2020. New upgrades have allowed customers to generate dynamic PayNow QR codes for on-demand transfers. The mobile app also features a display of remittance options for more transparent overseas fund transfers.  Apart from that, other Maybank2U experience-enhancing functions include Scan & Pay, a personal debit and credit spending tracker, and a customisable savings planner. 

As the Group recognised the growing importance of digital products and services, it launched MAE (Maybank Anytime, Everyone) by Maybank2U in 2020. This complimentary mobile banking and e-wallet application seamlessly integrate online banking with one’s lifestyle needs. MAE not only allows customers to have full access to their savings accounts, pay bills and transfer funds. It also offers newer fintech solutions such as expenses monitoring, in-app virtual debit cards and ‘Tabung’, an individual and group-goal based saving feature. 

Maybank Group received numerous feedbacks from customers with negative experiences from self-service options, such as chatbots and FAQs. Looking to offer a better solution, the Group implemented E-CLEVA, an integrated live video chat solution. With this new capability, insurance claims teams could provide real-time assisted claims support for motor and fire insurances, allowing the bank to process claims digitally and within 15 minutes. 

Building operational efficiency with digitalisation

As customers stay at home during the movement control order, Maybank Group saw a significant surge in the number of digital transactions and users on its platforms — zakat payments before the festive period, for example, has increased by 227% year-on-year (Y-o-Y). At the same time, QRPay saw a transaction volume growth of over 650% Y-o-Y. With active mobile users expanding by 34%, Maybank Group had to deploy cutting-edge technologies to maintain its business outcomes at a rapid speed. 

The Group placed a heavy focus on automating its back offices, namely to streamline back-end processes by implementing machine learning for processing credit applications, branch operations, remittances and trade services. It reinvented the technology stack to support every layer of banking operation by adopting technologies like robotic process automation (RPA), ICR/OCR (Intelligent or Optical Character Recognition) and application integration for certain ‘open’ operations. 

Other digitalising efforts include migrating transactions from branches onto the online payments platform and implementing Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Anomalous Parts Detection for vehicle claims submission. The Group also launched a fully digital Know Your Customer (KYC) capability, enabling a customer to onboard through app-integrated video calls. 

Maybank Group measures the success of all digital initiatives through two (2) measures — straight-through processing (STP) rates and customer turnaround times. These measures allow the bank to track and analyse the efficiency of its services, enabling more productive service delivery capabilities across various operations.

Enabling convenient, safe and secure transactions

The rise of digital banking is analogous to a double edge sword — on one end, you have greater convenience at your fingertips. But on the other side, digital vulnerabilities and frauds can now affect us more than ever. Maybank Group mitigates these risks by internalising a robust cybersecurity infrastructure that covers internal governance, human knowledge and network capabilities. 

The Group employs a best-of-breed Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) technology that enables continuous real-time monitoring of any internal or external cyberattacks. Coupled with its Regional Security Operations Centre, which centrally manages the operational level of system security, the bank’s security specialists can quickly and continuously detect and respond to malicious activities using the Splunk Enterprise Security platform. 

Driven by the surge of digital transactions, Maybank announced in April 2021 that it is discontinuing the SMS TAC (transaction authorisation code) for approving online transactions on both its apps. The bank intends to protect its customers with improved online banking security. Customers will switch to Secure2U as the preferred authorisation method for most transactions, excluding Financial Process Exchange (FPX) and Direct Personnel Expense (DPE). This alternative feature adds an extra layer of protection. Transactions can only be approved within 50 seconds on a registered device using Secure Verification (one-tap authentication) or Secure TAC (a six-digit TAC number generated on the mobile app).  

This new ability creates a safer and more conducive way for customers to transact. At the same time, Maybank Group can build a digital ecosystem that enables safe and secure transactions continuously, fostering digital trust with its users.

Accelerating growth through key partnerships

As non-banking institutions with digital banking licenses flood the market, Maybank Group ensures business competitiveness by engaging in strategic partnerships to introduce new products while enhancing existing offerings. The bank focuses on creating close C-level collaborations with technology disruptors to foster customer stickiness by integrating lifestyle propositions with financial services.  

At a time where customers are increasingly adopting digital products in their lifestyle, Maybank Group joined hands with the ride-hailing company, Grab, to drive the acceptance and ubiquity of cashless payments further. By integrating the two payment systems, customers of Maybank and Grab can choose between using their GrabPay or Maybank QRPay mobile wallets at the merchants they support. Direct cash top-ups on the GrabPay mobile wallet via Maybank2U enrich the online experience between these two digital apps.

The partnership with Grab doesn’t stop there. Maybank Group unveiled a new dual-faced credit card that enables customers to seamlessly collect GrabRewards points that they can then use to redeem vouchers and other rewards. Aiming to serve younger consumers further, the Group also teamed up with an e-commerce powerhouse, Shopee, to offer a lifestyle and e-commerce credit card. Similarly, users obtain rewards – Shopee Coins which they can spend on future online or offline purchases.

The Group also partnered with various property leaders including, UDA Holdings, Tropicana Corp. and i-City to offer “HouzeKEY”, an alternative home financing solution for first-time home buyers. Another partnership with Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) saw the launch of ASNB e-channels on the bank’s platform.  The collaboration enables cross-system transactions and the viewing of account balances via Maybank ATMs or the Maybank2U app. 

Maybank is poised to conquer the fast-growing digital banking space with its wide range of digital products and services, seamlessly integrated into a customer’s everyday life. The Group continues to defend and grow key customer markets in the era of digitalisation without losing sight of its core principle; humanising banking.

TRENDS AND DIGITAL STRATEGY
The Bank of Tomorrow – Hizam Ghazali

July 28, 2021
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Banks have been at the forefront of digital transformation. They have always been the leading adopters of technology and have led the way to show how customer journeys can be digitalised.

As consumers, we seldom have to go to banks now and the banks have come to the consumer’s smartphone. Add to this the plethora of new innovative financial services made available by start-ups and tech giants alike. Consumers are besieged with choices.

Despite all the progress, this is still Day One for the banking industry. The per-capita consumption of financial services in our country and globally is still at low single (3 to 4 services) digits. Financial services are the backbone of every personal life, and every business and industry.

“There are huge opportunities to improve this consumption by taking away points of friction and improving accessibility. TM as a digital enabler to the banking industry, we see there are four (4) distinct innovation opportunities as we look into the next decade”, says Hizam Ghazali, Head of Digital Services, Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM). 

Some of the potential innovative services opportunities are:

#1 Invisible banking
Most of us are not excited about making a trip down to the bank. It is often considered a waste of precious time. Bill Gates famously quoted way back in 1994, “Banking is essential, but banks are not.” The vision is to help us consume banking and financial services without visiting the bank or even transacting over the banking app. Akin to the famous “Intel Inside” campaign, can banks enable us to live better lives but still be invisible, make it so easy to consume that we are not even aware of its existence? The key is to embed the services seamlessly into the existing customer journeys, be it shopping or furthering your education. The more the invisibility, the greater the ease of consumption. It has taken us over two and a half decades to understand the vision that Bill Gates espoused.

#2 Ecosystems
Ecosystems are a way of organising the business to enable a high degree of collaboration between various stakeholders (customers, partners, employees, investors, government). It is a new business model which harnesses the idea of co-creation by the various industry stakeholders. Almost all digital-native businesses that we know such as Google, Amazon and GRAB are examples of the ecosystem in action. Banks have this incredible opportunity to build their own ecosystems as well as become part of others to drive growth. Through the use of Open Banking Application Programmable Interface’s (API’s), banks can now enable third-party fintech companies to access their core banking capabilities and develop innovative products to serve customers. The biggest benefit is the ability to innovate and take new services faster to market. The ecosystem owner focuses on the user experience and relies on the stakeholders to help drive innovation, market outreach and other capabilities. While GRAB started with the Mobility Ecosystem, they saw incredible growth during the pandemic in their Delivery Ecosystem and their future growth agenda is with the Financial Services Ecosystem.

#3 Hyper-personalisation
A critical pillar of differentiation for banks moving forward will be their ability to personalise services for the customers. Open Banking is an enabler for hyper-personalisation. This allows customers to opt-in and allows the bank have oversight of their financial investments across all providers. Then, through the use of big data and Artificial Intelligence (AI), they can be in a good position to generate customer-specific insights and offer very personalised solutions. These personalised solutions can be an aggregation of the bank’s products as well as third-party providers. Enabling this frictionless, personalised user experience has been the strategy adopted by several of today’s banking leaders in response to the competition from big-tech. Offering this at a large scale requires tight integration of technologies and partnerships.

#4 Security
While we saw a massive uptake of digital banking in the last 18 months, it has brought about a huge spike in cybercrime. Banking related phishing attacks have seen a twenty-fold increase in the same period of time. The situation is aggravated as the less digital-savvy population, which is the most vulnerable, starts adopting digital banking services. Banks are responding to this challenge with increased measures to authenticate users and add additional layers of security. These additional security measures are impediments to the greater use of digital banking. We believe there is an opportunity for banks to use some of the latest technologies including biometrics and AI to enable a secure yet frictionless experience.

Research firm, twimbit has estimated that the per capita consumption of financial services is set to explode and reach about 15 to 20 services by the end of the decade. While the competition is intense, there is enough opportunity for all market participants, simply because of the growth in innovation.

“I am excited about how the financial services industry is going to evolve in the coming decade. The convergence between these four (4) innovation opportunities will open a plethora of new possibilities. We are seeing more banks, e-commerce businesses and other financial institutions adopting digital components such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to enhance its daily operations, processes and of course, customer experience. We look forward to partnering with the industry to enable this new vision of possibilities,” Hizam added.

Enterprises Taking Transformation Forward

July 27, 2021
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Q The Government’s initiatives under JENDELA, Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB) and MyDIGITAL, are imperative building blocks to drive digital transformation in the country. However, 70% of digital transformations fall short of their objectives. What makes digital transformation challenging for enterprises?

According to IDC, 55% of Malaysian organisations do not have an integrated enterprise-wide digital transformation strategy, and 91% of Malaysian enterprises are either on stage one or two, of a five-stage IDC maturity curve. Many of the challenges faced broadly falls under access and complexity.

The lack of access to the required skills is a large challenge, especially talent steeped in what IDC terms as third and fourth platform technologies and technology delivery models. These include cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT) and mobility (underpinned by 5G), and big data analytics and machine learning, all of which need to operate in a secure environment. Implementing digital transformation requires multi-domain expertise spanning business and technology, which is hard for enterprises to acquire. Emphasis is often placed on processes and not outcomes. Employees often need to be retrained. Business continuity takes precedence over targeted investments.

Q How are enterprises creating    more    value   by leveraging on technologies to ensure successful transformation?

In the journey towards establishing a Digital Nation, the private-public and people are embracing technologies hence accelerating digital transformation efforts.

BFSI: Techwire Asia found that more than 70% of Malaysians are looking forward to a digital banking revolution. Malaysian banks are transforming digitally to align to customer needs, improve operations, meet compliance, enable open ecosystems by leveraging emerging technologies to address new opportunities.

Healthcare: The healthcare sector is turning to digital solutions to realise the promise of connected digital healthcare. Enhancing patient experience, increasing diagnostic accuracy, and improving patient care are some of the goals that the healthcare sector is hoping to achieve as a result of digital change.

Q Why  TM  ONE   is  the  right partner in supporting your transformation journey?

Emerging technologies are shaping the industries from continuous remote diagnostics, conversational Artificial Intelligence (AI), distributed cybersecurity, industrial robotics and automation and more.

To facilitate and accelerate digital adoption, TM ONE has built its offerings along four (4) technology pillars of digital transformation – Cloud, cybersecurity, smart services and professional services. Cloud carries the weight of digital change squarely on its shoulders. TM ONE Cloud α empowers enterprises with a comprehensive, customised, end-to-end, cloud solutions that deliver agility, innovation and growth. It is complemented by TM ONE cybersecurity solution, known as CYDEC (Cyber Defence Centre), which offers the best continuous, real-time and predictive protection spanning private and public networks, data, identity, and devices and infrastructure–to mitigate attacks on brand and reputation, online fraud, and mobile channels. Smart services are the most visible ambassadors of digital transformation, taking Malaysia a step closer to the Digital Malaysia aspiration. Whereas TM ONE Professional services help leaders create vision and roadmaps, enabling predictable, business-aligned digital transformation.

This article was written in collaboration with The Edge.

How TM ONE’s CYDEC Cybersecurity Solution Turns Cybersecurity Challenges Into Cyber Resiliency and Digital Trust

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Raja Azrina Raja Othman
Raja Azrina is the Information Security Advisor at TM ONE and a renowned expert with over 25 years of experience in information security and computer crime, as well as advising the Malaysian government and various large corporations in devising their cybersecurity strategies. She has led in design, development and implementation of innovative solutions, which includes cyber crisis command system and endpoint solution for critical infrastructure

Q Why is cybersecurity imperative in realising Malaysia’s Digital Nation vision?

The Malaysia Cyber Security Strategy 2020-2024 (MCSS) outlines the key objectives and five strategic pillars that will govern all aspects of cybersecurity planning and implementation in the country. One of the focus areas is to improve national cyber resilience against cyber threats.

In line with the 10-year Malaysia blueprint road map of MyDIGITAL as announced by the Government, we will see a transformation of Malaysia into a digitally-driven, and regional leader in the digital economy and cybersecurity will be at the forefront. Organisations will need to build stronger digital trust and cyber resiliency resulting in a better-protected digital infrastructure and cleaner data in the cloud, through every endpoint.

“In the distant past, Incident Response and Forensics were an option. However, today the ability to detect, respond and mitigate in a prompt manner are essential services. Detection capability depends on level of threat visibility. Response capability is dependent on the level of rotection measures in place. We cannot perform effective response, without proper control measures in place. Reality is off-the-shelf systems, be it IT, IoT, IIoT and OT systems are vulnerable, in their default state. Thus, at TM ONE, designing security into the solution is inevitable,” says Raja Azrina.

Q To sustain during the lockdown, organisations migrated their services and operations online. As more are moving to the cloud, it is important to remain aware of the lingering security risks. Where should you start?

Managing security incidents that affect your business in real-time can be confusing particularly to any organisation that is in the early period of its digital transformation.

Many businesses need real-time protection from cyber threats, as delays in determining attacks can have significant financial implications. Having limited and detached equipment, tools, and system hinder organisations to own effective and efficient end-to-end cybersecurity services. Finding out trusted well experience digital solutions providers are daunting while sorting it internally with a lack of trained and qualified in-house professionals and immature recovery planning is also a challenge.

For holistic cyber defense protection, your cybersecurity solutions need to be able to detect, respond, predict and protect your systems and data from the breach in real-time, 24/7.

Q Your company’s data represents your most critical assets and protecting them should be high on your list of priorities. How does a trusted partner ensures your digital assets are protected in real-time?

Your partner is your first line of defense in ensuring the safety of your cyber ecosystem. Having the right experts who can manage your cybersecurity portfolio, with the ability to reach your data house digitally and also physically closer to your location is crucial. It offers a worry-free convenience, so you can focus on your core business operations without compromising on security.

TM ONE Cyber Defense Centre (CYDEC) offers fully-managed security services that detect, respond, predict and prevent cyberattacks. It protects a wide range of digital assets and services including those powered by the cloud and 5G, such as IoT applications, information technology and operational technology systems, primarily within Critical National & Information Infrastructure (CNII).

TM ONE’s recent partnership with Telefonica Global Solutions, combined with our own cybersecurity experts with extensive experience, CYDEC’s capability and capacity offers you a business value approach, enabling you to achieve faster identification of potential risks, addressing the gaps in security implementation, and providing you with the right recommendations based on information security strategy. These will ensure that organisations can quickly, accurately and strategically build their cybersecurity resilience in this new wave of digitalisation.

The EDGE Vertical Column: CYDEC

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