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How Malaysia’s Car Industry is Getting a Tech Turbo Boost

March 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).

Automotive Tech

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.

Build talent

“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.

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: Tech Competition – Huawei Spark, Powered by TM ONE α Edge

May 27, 2021
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TM ONE’s α Edge Cloud platform, strive to work together towards crafting a more profound, digital future for Malaysia.

Powered by TM ONE α Edge is organized by Huawei in collaboration with Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and TusStar (Malaysia), The Huawei Spark Program competition was launched in November 2020. This hybrid accelerator program hopes to supercharge startup growth within the deep-tech segment by providing crucial resources and business development opportunities. The winners will receive access to TM ONE α Edge cloud platform, business matching opportunities, networking sessions, and one-on-one mentoring from industry experts.  

Through this competition, TM ONE hopes to help start-ups build greater capabilities with cloud technology in helping them achieve business resiliency and scalability. We aim to increase cloud adoption by startups, which currently contributes to 26% of the Malaysian cloud market according to GLG Consulting.  As a fully integrated digital enabler, this event strongly supports our vision to further develop Malaysia into a digital-first nation.  

In part one of our Tech Competition series, the stories below showcase the 10th to 4th place winners (excluding the top 3 winners) and the respective solutions that were pitched. The 10 winners were chosen among 140 entries that participated in the competition.

OrangeFIN, Providing Accessible and Sustainable Automation

OrangeFIN Asia equips companies with a highly accessible and sustainable approach to adopt Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Using software bots, RPA offers value by automating business processes based on specific sets of business logic. With its flagship product OrangeWorkforce, OrangeFIN allows companies to deploy these bots at a personalised level with specific solutions catered to the needs of their clients. Applications include accounting automation, sales process automation, regulatory reporting, and data quality assurance.  

Driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI), their bots come equipped with a peer-monitoring ability  that identifies glitches and acts by triggering self-recovery. Having this capability ensures that the bots are self-sustained and require minimal monitoring. The use of AI adds value by arming the bots with cognitive abilities to handle higher-order tasks. 

In the banking sector, OrangeFIN has been successful for one of the top Malaysian banks in automating its Cheque Clearing Process to clear an average of 135,000 cheques every day.  OrangeFIN is also a technology solution provider within UOB Jom Transform Program. It aims to digitalise local SME operations to increase productivity and revenue. Notably, its efforts also gained nationwide recognition, achieving the Malaysia Technology Excellence Award in 2020 within the Robotics and IT services segment.

SmartPeep, Improving Patient Care with Video Analytics

SmartPeep offers smart-care technology solutions to upgrade elderly patient care. Their founder, Lim Meng Hui developed these features after witnessing the injury of a family elder who fell and did not recover from the consequent trauma. Understanding the pain points of both the seniors and the caregivers, SmartPeep developed an AI-powered surveillance technology solution. Its mission is to assist caregivers in providing effective elderly care with AI.  

The main product, SmartPeep AI Elderly-Sitter System, is a smart assistant for caregivers to detect and prevent potential accidents. For example, the system can detect a patient trying to get out of bed that may cause them to fall. It would then instantly alert the caregiver to attend to the patient proactively.  Other situations include when patients are wandering around alone, away from the bed at odd hours, or in the toilet for an extended time. This offering significantly improves the caregivers’ ability to monitor patients and provide just-in-time assistance to prevent any accidents from occurring. 

The SmartPeep AI solution has shown to be effective, with adopters reporting over 50% reduction of in-patient falls and over 60% faster response time from nurses. The World Health Organization reported fall-related incidents as one of the major causes of premature death. Hence, SmartPeep is proving to be the crucial foresight for caregivers in preventing such incidents and ensuring the best care and safety for their elderly patients.

BookDoc, Connecting Patients to Digital Healthcare

Founded by two healthcare and e-commerce space leaders, BookDoc is a telehealth platform that aims to connect healthcare providers to patients conveniently. Its end-to-end telehealth solution comprises 40,000 healthcare professionals serving 900,000 users across five APAC countries.  In collaboration with Google Maps, Uber, and Agoda, BookDoc is fortifying the medical tourism industry while proving to be a key technology enabler for local health programs.   

Being a one-stop digital healthcare platform, BookDoc offers a range of services to reduce overall healthcare costs for consumers and corporates. The telemedicine ecosystem includes AI-integrated tele-consulting and chatbot services that allow patients to access healthcare remotely. BookDoc also offers next-gen healthcare services, such as IoT-integrated wellness programs, virtual clinics, a health-focused e-shop, and commercial data analytics.    The Ministry of Health (MoH) onboarded the BookDoc telehealth platform as its official partner for healthcare initiatives. This collaboration sees them offering the latest updates on the virus whilst enabling on-demand COVID-19 tests and virtual consultation from government clinics. Alongside industry partners such as the Ministry of Education and Petronas, BookDoc achieved global recognition for its innovative healthcare solutions, including spots on the CNBC Upstart 100 List and the ASEAN Business Awards in 2019.

Fuhla, Finding Your Perfect App

The mobile applications market has seen rapid developments across many categories, and this abundance has created a choice overload for consumers. Consequently, this has negatively reduced the visibility of newer developments in the market. To tackle this problem, YouthsToday.com developed Fuhla, an app-experience-enrichment service provider that aims to empower technology-based companies with faster go-to-market abilities. This platform enables users to browse and discover new applications that currently lack visibility on the mainstream digital marketplaces. As an added value, it allows app advertisers to share marketing costs and reach a clear target market. Notable successes include applications such as Raiz and Touch N Go eWallet that were initially listed on Fuhla to build a foundational user community.

Fuhla uses deep learning AI capabilities to profile users in their app tester community served by a proprietary app recommendation algorithm. They collect multipoint behavioural and location data for their machine learning capabilities. To ensure top-level security over personal and financial data, Fuhla uses a secured server hosted by SWREG. Additionally, with data analytics functions built into dashboard report features, early app developers (those with less than 10,000 downloads) can access valuable insights and obtain direct UX feedback from the Fuhla community.  

MSA, Meeting All Your Travel Companion Needs

Although it was in its nascent stage within the tourism industry, Fonebud IoT Berhad unveiled its Mobile Sharing Assistant (MSA) device at Consumer Electronics Show 2019. Developed as a perfect companion to business travellers, the MSA operates as a portable handheld WIFI hotspot with language translation and device-charging features, among others. MSA harnesses its unique sharing cross-border rental system. Its devices are available at retail outlets and vending machines to provide data to travellers across the Asian region. MSA helps travellers save costs and tackles concerns with foreign language communication and mobile device connectivity.

Being an integrated IoT device, the MSA uses eSIM technology and its extensive collaboration with telecom operators to offer international data roaming services.  The hotspot feature supports 21 bands of 4G LTE in over 120 traveller-friendly countries, giving travelers on-the-go connectivity. Advanced AI and NMT (Neural Machine Translation) technology form the core to the state-of-the-art language translation feature. The MSA instantaneously recognises and translates conversational semantics in its unique push-to-talk dialogue feature. Additionally, this ‘Good Design Award’ winner also aims to revolutionise pocket travel guides, as it offers image translation abilities to help as an AI tour guide.   

Boss Boleh, Digitalising Company Secretaries

Boss Boleh is a start-up that plans to disrupt the traditional company secretarial (CoSec) services landscape with a modern approach. Billy Lee, founder and CTO, developed the company after discovering the heavy secretarial expenses incurred by start-ups. Its solutions include affordable tiered packages and flexible on-demand secretarial services that cater to growing Malaysian companies.  

Driven by cloud technology, Boss Boleh operates on a multi-tenant SaaS system design. The said multi-tenant design allows a wide range of integrated secretarial solutions (including advisory, tracking,  and reporting) to be available on a single platform. Users have 24/7 access to statutory documents, cloud applications and storage, digital signature verification, and startup mentorship. With its end-to-end solution, Boss Boleh intends to replace in-house company secretaries, which will significantly reduce secretarial costs and compliance complexities for small companies.

Its smart services use several key digitisation technologies – cloud architecture, workflow automation, AI-enabled chatbots, e-KYC for on boarding, RPA, and accounting integration, to meet the evolving regulatory requirements. As validation of its industry value and innovation, Boss Boleh has won multiple awards, including MyHACKATHON 2020 and was among the Top 10 in the ASEAN Start-ups competition in 2021.

Orpheus Capital, Simplifying SME Financing

As businesses continue to struggle during the pandemic, one of the key pain points is the need for adequate cash flow to continue operations. Orpheus Capital aims to support the underserved community within the SME segment by providing fully digital seamless financing solutions. Positioning itself as a fully digital Shariah-compliant supply chain financing company, it provides services ranging from invoice financing, contract financing, and payday financing.  

Orpheus Capital has a purely digital application process for its financing solutions, done through its website. Customers only need to upload several invoice documents and are eligible to receive their funds within 48 hours. An advanced AI system runs the entire workflow, which includes a unique risk scoring system, automated debt collection and contract signing, as well as a tool for fraud mitigation. These technologies allow Orpheus Capital to differentiate itself by providing fast, simple, and secure financing solutions for SMEs.  

Embracing deep technology to drive future growth  

The average life span of an S&P 500 company has decreased from 60 years in the 1950s to under 20 years currently. This statistic indicates the disruptive nature of technology in shifting the nature of businesses. Hence, it is imperative for companies to understand the pivotal technologies that are driving these solutions. From large companies to small companies, the adoption of these technologies is key to building future-proof business models.

At TM ONE, we believe that providing strong infrastructure support for solution providers will help them scale their technology with speed and security. This support includes allowing companies to expand their business capacity with a reliable, cost-efficient IT infrastructure. Hence, with the support of TM ONE’s α Edge Cloud platform, we strive to work together towards crafting a more profound, digital future for Malaysia.   

Forging A New Future for Malaysia’s Manufacturers

February 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-driven Efficiency

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

January 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 app is 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.

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