How Malaysia’s Car Industry is Getting a Tech Turbo Boost
Mar 11, 2021
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Malaysia’s national car maker Proton recently shared its vision of the future of car manufacturing during the Smart Manufacturing Circuit 2020 virtual event, which was organised by TM ONE, tapped a new range of tech to enhance its manufacturing processes. Just one example is the use of cloud computing to run simulations for modelling new car designs.
One of Malaysia’s largest car makers is pivoting to new tech.
On New Year’s Eve 1879, German inventor Karl Benz rang in the new year on the world’s first modern automobile. The vehicle seated two, ran on three wire-spoked wheels, and proceeded to revolutionise the future of transport.
Since their invention, we have seen much progress in the safety, speed and production efficiency of automobiles. Today, the industry is about to drive into a new era of growth, driven by tech advances such as the Internet of Things (IoT), 5G and cloud computing.
Malaysia’s national car maker Proton recently shared its vision of the future of car manufacturing during the Smart Manufacturing Circuit 2020 virtual event, which was organised by TM ONE, the enterprise and public sector business arm of Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM).
PROTON tapped a new range of tech to enhance its manufacturing processes. Just one example is the use of cloud computing to run simulations for modelling new car designs.
By using the cloud’s high compute power, the time taken to generate simulations has dropped from three weeks to a mere three days, according to Hazrin Fazail Haroon, the company’s Director of Research & Development.
Engineers are now able to produce prototypes far more rapidly and accurately through 3D modelling. This approach enables car makers to confirm the exact dimensions of different parts before the cutting process begins. “This eliminates waste and extra costs that we have to pay if there are mistakes in the design,” Hazrin explained.
PROTON also uses computer aided engineering (CAE) to speed through the manufacturing journey. Engineers are able to create programmes to carry out repetitive processes, he said.
Tech companies such as Huawei are focusing their efforts on car manufacturers. Huawei is evaluating the use of 5G and IoT to improve vehicle safety. Future automobiles will be able to predict traffic congestions and remain connected with other similarly equipped vehicles and traffic systems, said Eng Chew Hian, Business Development Director at HUAWEI CLOUD Malaysia.
Huawei is also probing the possibility of preparing electric vehicles for Malaysia and the Southeast Asian market. Currently, electric cars may corrode more easily in the region’s humid climate, Eng pointed out. This will need to be fixed before they become a feasible mainstream option.
“Before you develop the products, you need to develop the people,” Hazrin said. PROTON has long collaborated with the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) and Malaysia Automotive, Robotics & IoT Institute (MARii) to build up tech talent for the automobile industry.
The first initiative in this partnership was a training centre launched last August in Cyberjaya. Engineers and suppliers receive training for computer aided engineering at the CAE Simulation & Analysis Centre (MARSAC), so they can bring the knowledge back to their companies, Hazrin noted.
This will help companies develop their own components and systems, and speed the process of producing high quality products. “We hope this centre will grow to become an institute that can also give certifications to not just our suppliers but the whole community of university students, lecturers, and PhD students,” he added.
The Centre will soon extend its training programmes to include 3D printing skills for the automobile sector. Instead of using calculations, car makers can more closely study their design physically with 3D-printed models. The programme, known as the MARii Additive Manufacturing Technology Centre (MAMTEC), will begin in April 2021, Hazrin said.
Policymakers have a big part to play in building tech talent, PROTON believes. The company engage constantly with the government to understand “the areas of emphasis that we need to work on, what will be the platform that can be made available, and how we are going to pursue all these initiatives together for the future,” said Yusri Yusuf, Senior Director of Corporate Strategy & Risk Management at Proton.
Tech companies can contribute their expertise as well. Huawei Academy is exploring the possibility of partnering with PROTON, and universities to better share cutting edge technologies with students, said Eng.
A tech revival
Embracing tech proved to be key to PROTON’s turnaround in sales, especially since the release of a talking smart car in 2018 which became the company’s turning point.
The Proton X70 model features voice command: drivers can ask the car to play a song, or check for weather updates. Customers are also able to lock the car from their smartphone, a promotional video shows.
The model’s tech upgrade “has enabled us to upscale in terms of competitive advantage, and we have received overwhelming feedback for X70 as well X50 compared to our anticipation,” said Yusri. The X70’s introduction has proved to be an “impetus for Proton’s brand turnaround”.
Following the success of X70 and X50, digital technology will continue to be one of key emphases for PROTON, as it sees the traction of advanced technologies on its business growth. The car maker will focus on improving five aspects: energy efficiency, safety, intelligent driving, intelligent connectivity and eco-friendliness, Yusri shared. This will cover the entire ecosystem: from sales, marketing and customer service, and all the way through to the broader supply chain.
In terms of collaboration in the tech ecosystem, PROTON will continue to work with tech companies to strengthen its tech for its key automotive value chain activities, in particular in product development, component sourcing and supply chain, manufacturing, and sales and services. It will focus on specific tech such as connectivity, new energy and electrical and electronics.
The session with PROTON was moderated by Maznan Deraman, Head of Innovative Solutions at TM ONE. He said, “In order to move forward and create a competitive edge in a challenging market, organisations need to have a clear strategy, a strong partnership ecosystem, and a deep belief in technology and innovation. By working together, we can bring our dreams and ambitions to reality.”
“At TM ONE, we always look forward to working with industry players such as PROTON – especially in elevating national brands towards becoming global champions. It is our role as the technology enabler – to support our partners with cutting-edge technology and complete digital infrastructure and help them take advantage of their digital opportunities,” Maznan concluded.
The pandemic has resulted in immense stress on global supply chains, while customer expectations are rising by the day. Digital technologies and strong partnerships, in tandem with government and tech companies, will help Malaysia’s automobile industry remain resilient.
Forging A New Future for Malaysia’s Manufacturers
Feb 24, 2021
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Digital technologies form a key component of generating recovery and building resiliency for the industry.
In the pre-digital era, manufacturing plants were deemed an unstoppable force in many economies. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has brought sharp lessons resulting in factory shutdowns and multiple supply chain disruptions. Even with the continuing battle against the pandemic, the manufacturing sector must intensify its efforts to survive and find new avenues of growth.
Digital technologies form a key component of generating recovery and building resiliency for the industry, a fact well-recognised by manufacturers across Malaysia and the Asia Pacific, said Sudev Bangah, Managing Director of IDC ASEAN, at the recent Smart Manufacturing Circuit 2020 virtual event organised by TM ONE. IDC analysis has also found that many companies are shifting towards targeted investments in machine learning, cloud, robotics, and internet of things (IoT) to drive a path through future crises as well as to secure growth.
Meanwhile, Maznan Deraman, Head of Innovative Solutions at TM ONE, the enterprise and public sector business arm of Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM) believes, “Digital adoption brings great potential for improving product quality, increasing productivity and creating more high-skilled jobs.” He shared how TM ONE will support the manufacturing industry’s digitalisation journey.
Data is deemed to be crucial for building a resilient manufacturing company. Understanding how well each part of the production line works will help managers minimise wastage, speed up production, and produce better products. Manufacturers need to think about what data they need and what tech they can use to collect it, shared Sudev.
Another crucial aspect is data analytics. Most manufacturers currently record data on paper and transfer it manually to a software for analysis, explained Nazman Fariz Mohd Noh from TM ONE’s Smart Manufacturing Solutions. “This is labour intensive and prone to human error.”
TM ONE has an analytics tool that helps companies gain deep visibility to their production processes. The Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) platform delivers an overview of all the processes within a factory using data collected from IoT devices. Supervisors can use this to optimise production hours, identify faulty machines, redistribute production, and monitor products for defects.
The platform consolidates real-time data for each machine, including its schedule, availability, and effectiveness. Managers can chart this on a graph to monitor individual performance over time, or zoom out to see how the overall production line is faring.
The OEE shares all data via online through TM ONE’s Cloud Alpha platform. Staff can monitor the status of each machine anytime and anywhere, said Nazman Faris.
Minimising Costs through Predictive Maintenance
Predictive maintenance is a key feature of the OEE. This will help cut time and costs substantially. Manufacturing companies report that more than a fifth of its costs are due to downtime, and that 90 per cent of maintenance work is eaten up by having to fix breakdowns, Maznan shared.
The OEE platform monitors levels of concern for each machine: low means it’s doing well; middle to high means it might need immediate attention. It also automatically compiles a list of machines with higher attention scores, arranged according to severity.
Once a machine has been identified for maintenance, the technician will take a look at its timeline, alerts, and any notes on the OEE to carry out the repair work more efficiently. Machine experts can also study this information to analyse causes and develop better fixes.
Other Must Have Solutions for Your Digital Operations
In addition to the OEE analytics platform, TM ONE also offers cloud and cybersecurity tools to protect companies’ data. “Nowadays, we can’t have all information or systems on premise, because we know for a fact that on premise solutions carry a certain level of risk,” Maznan said. For instance, businesses may not have the proper disaster recovery services to react to potential cyber-attacks, he explained.
TM ONE is collaborating with technology companies such as Huawei to develop new tools for Malaysia’s manufacturing sector. Eng Chew Hian, Business Development Director at HUAWEI CLOUD Malaysia, shared details of how artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to improve manufacturing processes.
Huawei’s drone inspection tool uses high definition (HD) cameras, 5G connectivity and AI image processing to study the surfaces of planes. Aircraft technicians run on a tight schedule when conducting safety checks between flights, and manual inspections are time- and labour-intensive.
The drone flies through the plane to search for scratches, corrosions, and loose screws. It also cross-checks the model of the plane to ensure each part meets specific safety standards.
Huawei has also developed an AI image analysis tool for safer aircraft manufacturing. It uses thermal sensors to find gaps when wings are welded onto a plane. Planes have to withstand tremendous vibrations and wind speeds, and any gaps could be disastrous, Eng explained.
“Although the movement control order was gradually lifted, the overall impact on the whole supply chain has been dramatic!” said Maznan. Digital technologies such as IoT and data analytics are helping Malaysia’s manufacturing plants navigate the uncertainties in a recovering economy.
Next-Gen Tech Improving Emergency Preparedness and Response
Jan 07, 2021
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From drones to data, here are some ways that governments have harnessed technology to enhance emergency response strategies.
In an era of sudden terror attacks, pandemics, and natural disasters: countries must remain alert to counter any emergencies, which could bring devastating consequences. How are governments currently optimising their emergency management strategies to better protect the people and mitigate emergencies?
With each technological advance, governments are taking the opportunity to consider reviewing and adopting their response strategies. Data and the increasingly sophisticated analytics is proven to be one of the fundamental keys to support more effective and faster response tools to governments and support agencies.
Here are some examples of how tech is helping faster recovery for citizens in Asia.
Malaysia’s Covid-19 App
In March this year, just three (3) months after Covid-19 first reached Malaysia, the government released a mobile application to help check and control the spread of the disease. With MySejahtera app, citizens monitor their own health status, and receive latest updates on the pandemic status.
The app groups citizens into categories based on their risk level of contracting Covid-19, and will inform them of the next steps to action. For instance, those under surveillance will have to quarangtine themselves at home for 14 days, while those at high risk must get tested at designated hospitals.
MySejahtera also serves as a contact tracing app. Citizens scan a QR code before they enter a premise or any public places, and the system logs where they have visited in the last 14 days. Users can also register family members who don’t have a smartphone.
The app supports teleconsultations, so that patients can speak with a doctor without having to leave their home. This helps them to stay safe, and eases demands on healthcare services.
Citizens can also plan safer routes by using the app’s hotspot tracker. The system taps machine learning capabilities to identify a possible sources of infection for each confirmed case, and maps it geographically, Dr Mahesh Appannan, Senior Principal Assistant Director of the Disease Control Division at Malaysia’s Ministry of Health told GovInsider.
Disaster Alert Systems Keep Citizens Informed
Managing impact from natural disasters relies greatly on early warning systems and maintaining a continual flow of information.
In the Indian state of Odisha, geoclimatic conditions lead to frequent natural calamities such as droughts, floods, cyclones, and unseasonal rain. Odisha has faced 17 large natural disasters in the past 20 years.
In 2019, the Odisha State Disaster Mitigation Authority developed “SATARK” (System for Assessing, Tracking and Alerting Disaster Risk Information based on Dynamic Risk Knowledge) in collaboration with the Bangkok-based Regional Integrated Multi-hazard Early Warning System. This mobile application provides automated early warning and real-time information about hazards such as lightning, heatwaves, cyclones, drought, and floods.
SATARK integrates different forms of data from national and international agencies to provide location-specific alerts. Drawing upon historical patterns, SATARK provides users with easily understandable advisories for their specific scenarios, underlining the state government’s guidelines about what they need to do before, during, and after disasters. To enhance user understanding, information is provided in both Odia and English.
The SATARK system also allows users to provide feedback about forecast accuracy in their area, and uses machine learning algorithms to improve upon its advisory generation process. This information improves citizens’ disaster-preparedness, which could prove critical in their ability to minimise losses and injuries during calamities.
In Malaysia, TM ONE, the public sector and enterprise business solutions arm of Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM), collaborated with the Royal Malaysian Navy and ICT company, Acasia, to develop Kesedaran Keselamatan Komuniti Maritim (K3M) or Maritime Community Security and Safety Awareness, a web app and a mobile app to deliver early warning and real time maritime hazard alerts. The K3M appis connected to various maritime authorities, and available for widespread use including commercial shipping companies, tourism operators, fishermen, and maritime recreational users. Users can also make emergency SOS calls that are routed to a Naval Operation Centre, which will coordinate assistance.
Enhanced Training Systems for Effective Crime Engagement
The Singapore Police Force (SPF) is increasingly adopting technology-driven systems to help officers optimise their training and to maximise success when engaging with suspects.
In 2019, the SPF adopted the Range Enhanced Liver Firing Range System, a training aid that provides detailed information to officers during marksmanship practice. This system analyses each shooter’s posture, breathing, gaze fixation and weapons-handling and supplies real-time suggestions, helping officers improve the accuracy of subsequent shots.
The SPF also introduced the Impact Measurement Trainer, a training system to improve the self-defence skills of police trainees. The training system make use of force sensors in mannequins to precisely measure the location and strength of users’ strikes, then provide instant feedback for trainees to improve their techniques.
Such smart systems turn specific data into actionable insights for officers, improving training efficiency to ensure that police officers are able to effectively respond to conflicts.
Leveraging on cloud to support search and rescue operations
Meanwhile, Malaysian emergency response authorities are leveraging cloud computing platforms to improve search and rescue (SAR) operations. Working together with TM ONE, the emergency response agencies utilise the Search and Rescue Operation Coordination System (SAROCS) to support the planning, execution, management and coordination of SAR activities during an emergency.
In SAR operations, comprehensive and timely information is critical. The cloud-based SAROCS enables the data from multiple devices and systems to be integrated onto a single platform, allowing multiple SAR agencies to access crucial data to facilitate an operation remotely. The solution is equipped with a mobile application, which allows users connect to a secure Internet connection and access the main system database, providing on-the-go information to the users. For example, it can provide tracking information to the Rescue Coordination Centre to facilitate the deployment monitoring of search and rescue units by SAR coordinator.
When SAROCS is hosted in the cloud, the search and rescue units can benefit from advanced analytics and artificial intelligence-assisted capabilities powered by cloud to successfully facilitate an operation. For example, they can simulate or forecast oceanography and meteorological data to improve their understanding of search area conditions, which are essential in SAR operations.
The cloud in particular is playing a fundamental role in managing emergency response strategies at scale. While no government can guarantee to stop an emergency, the harnessing of technologies including cloud to gather and analyse massive amounts of information in real-time is equipping citizens and professionals to improve preparedness towards crises, respond more effectively and rapidly during emergency situations, minimise the impact of disasters, as well as improve recovery results.
Connecting People with Available Parking Space
Mar 10, 2020
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For both drivers and municipalities, the root cause of their parking problems is a lack of real-time data, specifically on empty parking spaces and parking payment status.
Streamlining Parking for Citizens and Municipalities
Drivers can waste a lot of time looking for somewhere to park, making it hard to plan their journey and contributing to congestion. At the same time,municipalities can find it hard to collect payments: a parking attendant may have to scan number plates one-by-one to check each vehicle’s payment status. This method consumes a lot of time and manpower. For both drivers and municipalities, the root cause of their parking problems is a lack of real-time data, drivers don’t know where the empty spaces are and the authorities don’t know the payment status of vehicles parked in ticketed bays.
To give drivers and authorities real-time information, mobile operator TM ONE has developed a smart parking solution, which can show drivers where spaces are via a smartphone app and a dashboard accessible through any device connected to the Internet. It also provides parking authorities with a single platform through which they can monitor all the spaces under their purview.
The solution combines cameras and sensors, connectivity, artificial intelligence (AI), data visualisation and analytics on a single platform. The data captured by sensors and cameras are processed by an AI system at the edge of the network, which then transmits the metadata via TM ONE’s 4G network to the cloud to be analysed and displayed on the smart parking dashboard. As a result, drivers and municipalities can see all the information they need, including real-time availability and payment status. Drivers can even use the smartphone app to book a vacant parking space before they arrive.
For parking attendants, the solution can pinpoint vehicles with unpaid or expired parking fees, making enforcement fast and accurate. It can also be used to vary prices according to demand. TM ONE says that will translate into higher revenues and lower operation costs for the local councils or parking operators that run the outdoor parking spaces.
Real World Deployment – Smart Parking in Subang Jaya City in Malaysia
TM ONE has deployed its smart parking solution for Majlis Perbandaran Subang Jaya, the local authority that manages the infrastructure and municipal services in Subang Jaya city in Malaysia. The end-to-end service includes the smart parking solution, a mobile app drivers can use to pay for a space, a round-the-clock service helpdesk and a monitoring and management centre.
TM ONE is now enhancing the smart parking solution further. For example, it is integrating parking space availability alerts with a navigation system to guide drivers to the nearest empty parking spot. The operator also plans to provide parking attendants with a smartphone app and a compound ticket printer, which can be integrated with other parking systems.
As 5G connectivity becomes available in Malaysia, TM ONE has also piloted the solution over 5G in Subang Jaya as part of the field trial organised by the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC). The 5G-enabled smart parking supports real-time video streaming from AI-based cameras to enable the detection of irregular behaviour, thereby providing safety and surveillance capabilities.
The most important and serious issue that we need to see beforehand is the possibility of crimes. We need to solve this issue first before it happens.
Off the northwestern coast of Malaysia lies a cluster of islands renowned for pristine beaches and glistening waters. Langkawi, also known endearingly as the Jewel of Kedah, plans to bring five million tourists onto its shores in 2020.
The island paradise wants to create a safe haven – tourists shouldn’t have to worry about bringing their mirrorless cameras, smartphones and Fitbits along on vacation. “The most important and serious issue that we need to see beforehand is the possibility of crimes. We need to solve this issue first before it happens,” said Azrin Aris, Director of Products & Innovation at TM ONE, the enterprise and public sector business arm of Telekom Malaysia (TM).
TM ONE, along with TM’s innovation arm TM Research & Development (TM R&D), has pioneered several 5G-enabled solutions to make Langkawi safer for guests and locals alike. TM is testing these solutions in their 5G Langkawi trials, taking place from December 2019 until first half of 2020. Here is how Langkawi will improve the safety of its public spaces, tourist hotspots and construction sites.
TM R&D has developed smart, AI-powered cameras that can identify the emotions of passers-by. “The camera can detect microexpressions, and it’s in this that we have many different use cases for security,” said Dr. Sharlene Thiagarajah, CEO of TM R&D in a media showcase in January.
The cameras can help to identify terrorists before they act, for instance. “If there’s somebody who has a very determined angry look on their face, it would probably suggest that they want to do something bad,” she said. TM R&D built the microexpression recognition algorithm in-house, so they were able to tailor it for Asian features, shared Dr Sharlene.
Thanks to the larger volume of data 5G networks can support, these cameras can record high-definition footage in real time – an important feature for identifying potential suspects. “You can zoom in and still have good clarity for facial recognition,” explained Azrin. The higher number of connections 5G can support in an area also means that more cameras can be installed, so authorities can cover more ground.
‘Panic’ buttons in downtown areas
TM ONE’s ‘panic’ buttons, mounted on lamp posts in crowded tourist hotspots, will make contacting authorities during emergencies much easier.
Once activated, these buttons send alerts and live footage of the area to authorities in the central 5G command centre. People can also communicate directly with the authorities through the cameras next to the buttons.
The command centre is conveniently located right in the heart of Langkawi’s Municipal Council office. This means that when somebody makes a distress call, authorities can immediately dispatch the relevant services, such as the ambulance or fire brigade, to help.
To complement this, TM R&D has built a geolocation app so users can identify where traveling family members are. The app alerts users whenever a ‘panic’ button is activated, and updates users of safe zones within Langkawi. “We wanted a tool for families to be able to register their loved ones and then identify safe zones so people know their family is in a safe area,” said Dr Sharlene.
Smart safety helmet
Safety isn’t just for tourists; just as important are the workers building the islands’ infrastructure. For the construction industry, TM R&D has developed a smart safety helmet that can make worksites safer. Its most salient feature is that it allows live communication between workers and supervisors. “There are a lot of cases of handphones dropping and crashing while people are calling to report incidents or ant nests at the site,” shared Dr Sharlene.
High-definition cameras on the helmet will allow supervisors to conduct live, wireless monitoring of on-site happenings. This comes in handy during staff training. Supervisors can provide detailed guidance while remaining in the operation centre, where they can have a better vantage point.
The smart helmet is also particularly useful in emergencies. Besides providing live footage of accidents, the helmet can inform supervisors of the exact location of a worker trapped under rubble, or of the severity of a fall. If it’s a high-impact fall, supervisors will know to send the worker to a hospital to check for a concussion.
As Langkawi prepares to usher in more visitors this year, safety has become a prime concern. With TM’s 5G networks and the array of smart solutions they have enabled in Langkawi, holidayers can be assured that help will always be just a button away; citizens can keep updated on their traveling family members’ safety; and the construction industry can better protect its workers.