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How fintech is disrupting agriculture in Indonesia

January 07, 2020
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Its aim is to build a better supply chain for farmers by connecting small and medium-sized agriculture enterprises directly with buyers.

Connecting farmers for a better supply chain.

Despite the productivity gains made in recent years, farming in Indonesia is still a tough line of business to be in. The sector is reportedly booming under Widodo’s leadership, with an increase in the production of staple crops such as rice and soy, and record numbers of employment (roughly a third of the population), but the Indonesian Farmers Association reports significant welfare challenges, including lack of access to working capital, high quality seeds, fertilizers, agricultural technology, and efficient distribution.

A new fintech start-up plans to turn things around, and is attracting investors. Tani Group raised $10m in a Series A funding round, just a year after winning the support of several angel investors. Its aim is to build a better supply chain for farmers by connecting small and medium-sized agriculture enterprises directly with buyers. Already, it has linked over 400 of these SMEs to markets, including Indonesia’s largest supermarket chains Lottemart, Giant, and HERO.

Not only does the group facilitate direct sales, but it also connects farmers directly with lenders through a crowd-financing platform, TaniFund, enabling food producers (including farms and fisheries) to invest in their businesses, becoming more responsive to market trends. The platform offers investors an annual return of up to 24% through a fair profit-sharing scheme, supported by experienced investment managers who select the best farms to ensure high yields. It won first prize in the 2017 national competition Finspire, powered by a Mandiri bank subsidiary to seek out the best opportunities in fintech.

Funders can choose to invest in particular crop harvests which are advertised with tenures stretching from one month to over two years, and detailed notes on the prospects and risks. For instance, you can now invest in Berastagi carrots, famous in North Sumatra and sought-after for vitamin A and antioxidants used in facial masks and other cosmetics, giving them broad market appeal and potential. The cultivators are Radhea Putra Farmer Group in Margamukti Village, Bandung, who have been selected by TaniFund for their good track record in carrots, and also potatoes and tomatoes.

While most of the Group’s focus is on the wholesale supply chain, it has also launched TaniHu—a farm-to-table app that allows consumers to source fresh produce directly, bypassing the country’s outdated, wasteful, and complex distribution systems. Early user reviews are encouraging. Dhiya Sholiha writes: “Tanihub gives me a chance to buy things from local farmers … In some markets, it gives more varieties than shopping in local markets. The vegetables are fresh and take only a few hours to deliver.” However, she adds, it’s slow to load. Other reviewers also praise the product quality, competitive pricing, and delivery times. One asks if they have plans to expand in Pakistan.

Is this the future of agricultural investment?


This article was originally published on MIT Insights

How APAC firms can unleash the power of creative disruption

November 17, 2019
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“You should all worry – healthcare, telco, entertainment, banking, agriculture, oil and gas will all be disrupted. The clear imperative is to disrupt or be disrupted”, says Dan Cobley.

In a room full of top industry executives who gathered in Kuala Lumpur for the Leap Summit in November 2019, a key question on the minds of business and IT leaders was: how can they implement a more coherent and cohesive digital transformation strategy rather than take a scattershot approach?

The answer could lie in tapping the power of creative disruption, a term coined by advertising professionals in the early 1990s to describe the changes in their industry arising from technological advancement and new ways of doing things.

A similar phenomenon is playing out across industries and cities today. In his keynote address on creative disruption at the event, Dan Cobley, managing partner at UK venture builder Blenheim Chalcot and former managing director of Google UK and Ireland, compared the cityscapes of Shanghai and Kuala Lumpur from 30 years ago to the present day.

“All of this amazing transformation is driven by a series of technology platforms evolving at an increasingly rapid pace. The adoption curve of new technologies by people is becoming steeper and we can see this by how long it takes for new technologies to reach a quarter of the population. Take the US as an example – it took 50 years for electricity to reach a quarter of the population – but the iPhone took just two years.”

The results are inevitable, he added. “If you believe, as I do, that disruption comes from the people who most effectively adopt new technology, then it is obvious that as technology adoption gets faster, the displacement of companies that are not adopting new technologies will also happen more quickly.”

Cobley underscored the increasing speed of displacement of companies by comparing their corporate lifespans. Noting that Fortune 500 companies held on to their status for about 60 years in the 1960s, their tenure in the elite group is just 20 years today and might be cut to 15 years in the next decade.

In a hard-hitting presentation, Cobley went on to emphasise that all sectors were affected.

“You should all worry – healthcare, telco, entertainment, banking and finance, agriculture, oil and gas will all be disrupted,” he said. “So, the clear imperative is to disrupt or be disrupted.”

But how should leaders kickstart the process of creative disruption and rapid transformation, and what should they be looking for?

Blueprint for creative disruption

To pave the way for creative disruption, Cobley called for businesses to first define the problem that they want to fix clearly. This could be a hugely inefficient process, or customers who have been badly served by a crisis, for example.

“Then develop an innovative solution, something enabled by some recent change. Lastly, we must have a motivated team, often with a crazy zeal and a mission to fix the problem.”

Among many examples, Cobley pointed to Google’s two founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who gave up their PhDs to tackle the world’s information, the problem of a rapidly growing internet with sites numbering in the millions based on the old directory structure floundering under a basic keyword matching search engine.

“These two people set to work in a garage and tapped a new system to tackle the world’s information, made possible by powerful computers capable of analysing enormous datasets, and developed a site navigation search engine that looks at the authority of a site based on the sites linked to it.”

Cobley also shared recent examples of disruptive ideas from his own work, which include two financial technology companies he founded.

One of these companies, Salary Finance, sought to answer a widespread consumer finance problem in the UK, where about 70% of people applying for loans from a high street bank are declined due to fears of poor repayment.

“The solution was to work through the employer motivated by a growing awareness of employee well-being. There is a growing body of data linking mental well-being and financial stress. This startup offered an innovative structure, which reduced cost items such as customer acquisition, and so forth, borne by the bank,” said Cobley.

He said these examples demonstrate that a successful blueprint of creative disruption is driven by one or more of three factors: recent changes in regulation; a change in or a new technology; and a change in behaviour and expectations of customers.

“The reason is that most of what has been possible for centuries or decades has already been done,” he said. “But if there’s been a new change in regulation, technology or behaviour then that creates a new playing field. You have a chance to create something special.”

The next stage a company faces is the problem of scaling up, he said, noting that many companies have failed because of their inability to scale. However, scaling a disruptive idea needs to address three things: unit economics, the distribution challenge and execution.

“Distribution is key,” Cobley said. “Trusted partner collaboration underpins all of these three areas and accelerates growth.”

Cobley also shared the story of China’s Luckin Coffee, which has established 2,000 stores in eight months. With a new one opening every four hours, it has disrupted Starbucks in the country.

“Luckin’s business model delivers quality coffee which is 25% to 30% cheaper. The company uses mobile payments and has tapped new behaviour in China – the rising passion for coffee. It has made unit economics work by providing high-quality coffee through a take-and-go store.”

Nurturing a disruptive mindset

Cobley said to generate a disruptive business or enterprise unit, what is needed is something new and better (innovation), put in the hands of lots of people (distribution) and built on a platform.

Achieving all of that is a question of mindset, he added. While innovators seek change to solve a problem, achieve minimum price, take risks and have a long-term vision, he said incumbents prioritise stability to sell a product, maximise margins, avoid risks and look for short-term results.

“To shift to a disruptive mindset, you could reward people who dare, and not punish those who tried and failed. Incumbents are short term, and fixated on costs and shareholder pressure to maximise margins. As leaders, tackle the fear of failure, fail fast, make it very cheap and learn. Then, move on.

Disruptive technology

“If I am a leader in my organisation, am I removing the barriers to innovation and change? Do you have a percentage of your talent working on crazy stuff? Google, to avoid the incumbency trap, set up Google X to come up with radical new technologies to solve some of the biggest problems in the world,” Cobley said.

To remove innovation barriers, Cobley said organisations could set up an incubation unit like Google X, with non-financial metrics to encourage managed failure. He also stressed the importance of partnerships as most organisations don’t have the people to do the innovation.

Dan Cobley

What about people?

In her keynote, Nora A Manaf, group chief human capital officer at Maybank, Malaysia’s largest bank by market capitalisation, talked about the importance of transforming people policies to keep up with the digital era.

“People and jobs are being disrupted and our workforce, our society, must be reskilled and upskilled. The wonders of technological disruption need to be complemented by getting the people factor in tandem with this digital transformation journey.”

With 375 million workers expected to change their occupational categories and learn new skills by 2030 to adapt to automation and digital transformation, going by McKinsey estimates, Manaf said it is necessary for companies to create a people-centric environment for employees to thrive.

“Letting people go is done by mediocre management, not by real leaders,” she said. “Leaders are risk takers – we have reimagined policies in Maybank and our thrust is about humanising financial services.”

For example, she said Maybank’s flexible work arrangements have bolstered the productivity of its staff. “Other work in free time is encouraged, provided there is no conflict of interest. Making staff independent is part of making a future-ready workforce.”

Nora A Manaf

In his closing remarks, Ahmad Taufek Omar, executive vice-president and CEO of TM One, the digital arm of Telekom Malaysia and organiser of the Leap Summit, said while digital disruption is often perceived negatively, positive creative disruption is about reinventing continually.

“Every disruption pivots on creativity,” he said. “A new vision, a new insight of how technology can uplift people and their goals onto a more agile, faster path.”

Ahmad Taufek Omar

This article first appeared in ComputerWeekly.com

How A Hyperconnected Ecosystem POWERED BY 5G Enriches Lives

October 24, 2019
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We work with state and local governments in a long-term partnership, prioritising the right solutions based on the needs of the community.

Smart cities, made possible by TM ONE’s Hyperconnected Ecosystem, is set to revolutionise and positively change the lives of Malaysians. With TM ONE 5G, we are taking smart cities to the next level, accelerating the transformation of Malaysia into a digital nation, by emphasising the needs of businesses and communities in our smart city solutions.

TM ONE works with state and local governments in a long-term partnership, prioritising the right solutions based on the needs of the community. Progressively, we build upon the insights to roll out more smart solutions as we grow towards a fully integrated smart city.

Enriching lives in SS15 Subang Jaya

In SS15 Subang Jaya, TM ONE works with Majlis Perbandaran Subang Jaya (MPSJ) to enrich the community’s lives with TM ONE 5G and Smart Services, by bringing the 5G experience through smart services to the people there, enabling MPSJ to realise its vision for the area to become a Vibrant City by 2030.

Top Community Challenges

Uncontrolled parking issues within commercial area causing congestion and uncollected parking fees.

Traffic congestion resulting from heavy flow and inefficient traffic management.

Safety and security problems due to lack of monitoring abilities.

Highly discerning customers in a tough and competitive retail environment posing challenges to business owners.

Wastage due to inaccurate water meter reading and inability to track pipe leakages

Actionable insights. Elevated experience. Made Possible by TM ONE 5G

Smart Parking

  • Make searching and paying for open parking space more convenient to reduce the hours wasted and to ease congestion in busy areas.
  • Eases enforcement officers with real time overview of parking conditions

Smart Shoppers

  • Understand customer’s movement and emotions with the retail footfall analytics tool.
  • Use real-time customer data for better advertising strategy, brand loyalty programs and counters/space optimisation.

Smart Traffic Lights

Alleviate traffic congestion with a smart traffic light system powered by IoT, AI, and 5G that automatically adapts to traffic conditions for smoother commuting journey

Smart Surveillance

Ensure safety of the people especially at crime-prone area with high-definition security cameras, powered by IoT, AI, and 5G.

Smart Water Management

Collect and analyse data from water meters to monitor usage and water quality, leading to reduction in water leakage and wastage

These smart solutions are expected to benefit

  • Majlis Perbandaran Subang Jaya as the City Manager and Enforcer
  • Business owners in the commercial area
  • Residents and communities in Subang Jaya

Digital Nation Agenda, Hyperconnected Ecosystem: Unlocking Potentials of Cities and Industries

August 19, 2019
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Cloud Services, hosted at TM ONE’s Twin Core Data Centre collect, store, process and analyse data real-time and seamlessly, powered with AI to produce valuable insights in various industries.

The world is at the advent of Industrial Revolution 4.0. Internet of Things, robotics, artificial intelligence and machine learning are all revolutionising the way businesses and cities operate. Whether in communities or industries, real time data collected from devices, machines and wearables produce important insights to solve many business and societal challenges.

IMPROVING QUALITY OF LIVES

With Connected City and Living Solutions

Reduce hours in traffic with Smart Traffic Lights, save electricity consumption with Smart Street Lights, know parking availability with Smart Parking.  

Today’s city planners, township developers, and communities are working together to build better and connected cities using advanced technologies.  

ADDRESSING INDUSTRIAL CHALLENGES

With Connected Utilities Solutions

Capture water data with Smart Water Management, featuring near-real time pipeline monitoring, water quality and water level sensing, to optimise and safeguard water supply.  

With Connected Agriculture Solutions

Collect, analyse and automate real-time data on soil acidity, water level and other farming parameters to produce quality agricultural products with Smart Agriculture.    

With Connected Manufacturing Solutions

Produce better output and improve delivery time with Fleet Management and Connected Workforce. Reduce maintenance cost with Smart Forklift and Smart Genset.  

INTEGRATE SEAMLESSLY, FOR A DIGITAL MALAYSIA

With TM ONE,

Integrated Operations Centre offers managed services from monitoring, tracking and alerting any incidents. 

Cloud Services, hosted at TM ONE’s Twin Core Data Centre collect, store, process and analyse data real-time and seamlessly, powered with Artificial Intelligence to produce valuable insights in various industries, such as agriculture, manufacturing, real estate, utilities and healthcare.

How a Hyperconnected Ecosystem safeguards water supply

August 08, 2019
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We help the industry in addressing Non-Revenue Water (NRW) challenge, and subsequently increasing accessibility of clean water to the public with its end-to-end Internet of Water solution.

As the enterprise and public sector business solutions arm of Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM), TM ONE’s Hyperconnected Ecosystem is capable of digitising the utility sector in the most cost efficient and effective way, to address business challenges and achieve sustainable growth.

One of the major challenges in the water sector is non-revenue water (NRW), the impact of which is colossal. TM ONE helps the industry in addressing this challenge, and subsequently increasing accessibility of clean water to the public with its end-to-end Internet of Water solution.  

What is NRW?

NRW = Volume of water put into distribution system – volume billed to customers

How can NRW be addressed through Smart Water Solutions?

water solution

Benefits from TM ONE’s Internet of Water Solution

  • Active leakage control
  • Pipeline and asset management
  • Speed and quality of repairs
  • Pressure management
  • Improving customer meter accuracy
  • Improving meter reading and billing
  • Detection of illegal connections and water pilferage  

Sensors, connectivity and big data analytics are common technologies and means less when M2M (machine-to-machine) does not talk to one another and operates seamlessly. With TM ONE’s Hyperconnected Ecosystem, businesses are ready for digital transformation, enhancing user experience while growing profits and reducing costs.

water solution infographic

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