SUBSCRIBE NOW

Subscribe to Get the
Latest News And Updates. No Spam. We Promise.

IoT: Helping smart cities turn the corner

July 02, 2018
148

Of your peers have already read this article.

3:25

Minutes you'll spend on this story!

One area however where the future does actually seem to be coming more rapidly into focus is applications and use cases for the Internet of Things (IoT) in Asia’s cities.

At 2018’s Mobile World Congress Shanghai, IoT smart city innovations are setting the pace and path for regional telecommunications development.

At last week’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) Shanghai – the Asian edition of the world’s largest wireless industry symposium held in Barcelona each February – many of the next-generation concepts that seem to be just around the corner for years were on display. A casual tour of the exhibition halls still reveals scores of VR-helmeted visitors swatting and swiping at the air in front of them.

This image of a community groping towards intangible goals, provides a subtext for much of the communications industry, increasingly anxious that the corner will not be turned anytime soon. Uncertainty around the future of 5G is a root cause of this anxiety, which forks into many branches, ranging from the potential drag that the US-China technology industry trade war will have on the development of the technology’s standards, to the perceived lack of revenue-generating use cases that would justify the substantial investments that 5G will require.

One area however where the future does actually seem to be coming more rapidly into focus is applications and use cases for the Internet of Things (IoT) in Asia’s cities, underscored by continued innovations to produce lower cost, and lower-powered sensors, as well as the increased use of machine learning to optimise sensor networks. All of this has convened to start to create real scale in urban sensing networks, which is an end in itself.

Managing city street lighting more cost-efficiently is one quick win that the industry is turning to, enabled by technology developments such as the ‘ultra-low power’ NB-IoT lighting management solutions. Produced by Shanghai-based EigenCOMM Technology, it can increase coverage capabilities and reduce costs by using System on Chip (SoC) configurations and reducing the amount of silicon used. Connecting street lamps also turns lighting grids into platforms for other public security applications; vendors were demonstrating solutions that integrate facial recognition systems and security monitoring within the lighting management configuration.

Even more impactful for Asian urban sustainability efforts is a seeming raft of projects to monitor city air quality with greater granularity. A group from Finland’s University of Helsinki demonstrated its early stages of an intelligent air quality monitoring system, which employs machine learning to calibrate small sensors and create ‘virtual’ sensors to extend their coverage and accuracy. Currently, in active trials in Helsinki, the University team will soon be deploying 30 to 50 sensors in Beijing, in an effort that will ultimately need up to 100,000 such sensors for comprehensive coverage. Other Asian carriers looking to use air quality monitoring efforts as a tool for expanding IoT’s footprint in their smart city ecosystems include Korea Telecom for a project in Seoul.

Elsewhere, there are several efforts to bring location and navigation technology to bear on traffic management, autonomous driving and logistics. Astri, a Hong Kong government-run technology incubator, was showcasing the results of its V2X (vehicle-to-everything) networking architecture trials. Astri has long been active in ‘pre-autonomous’ smart parking navigation application development, and is now experimenting with self-driving cars navigating in Hong Kong, and communicating with various traffic and non-traffic IoT systems they encounter.

While promising, Astri’s trials have revealed the limitations of current GPS technology in a dense urban environment – high-powered GPS systems produce jitter and lack of definition in such close quarters. This challenge is one which 5G could be well-suited to solve.

Swedish mobile software firm Combain produces granular indoor maps generated by crowdsourced data from mobile devices and WiFi hotspots; the enthusiasm with which opt-in smartphone-wielding mall shoppers provide helps them comprehensively map out a mall or a hospital, accurate to within a meter, in a matter of hours. Combining user-generated views of urban spaces with GPS data will be a critical step in making IoT-based location services more capable and powerful.

Not all IoT efforts on display are geared at making Asia’s megacities more liveable. China Telecom has launched Small Vaquero, an IoT animal husbandry management solution that allows farms and agribusinesses to monitor individual cattle for location and health data, and analyse aggregate trend data. China Telecom currently claims some 200,000 head of cattle have been fitted with low-costs mobile sensors in Gansu, Inner Mongolia and other western provinces.

While perhaps not the most obvious revenue-generating IoT application, Small Vaquero demonstrates the growing will of Asian players to exploit the growing efficiencies of IoT devices and network infrastructure to build rich data sets, and set in motion a virtuous cycle for smarter cities.

Insightful reads brought to you in partnership with MIT Technology Review Insights.

Smoothing the Transition to Smart Manufacturing

October 03, 2021
186

Of your peers have already read this article.

0:00

Minutes time you’ll spend for this story!

Paper-based maintenance, planning and quality acceptance plans are now bygone. The future belongs to sensors, integrated systems algorithms and cloud-based software solutions to define and optimise the Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE). In an idyllic factory situation, equipment would function 100 percent of the time at 100 percent capacity, with quality production of 100 percent. In the real world, however, this situation is rare. Therefore, calculating the overall OEE is a crucial process to improve processes, consistency, quality, and productivity.

CELEBRATING SUCCESS : How EPF Digitalising its Customer Journey

September 30, 2021
188

Of your peers have already read this article.

4:34

Minutes time you’ll spend for this story!

Employees’ Provident Fund of Malaysia (EPF) plays a central role in securing Malaysians’ retirement needs. As Malaysia’s public provident fund, EPF serves over 14.5 million members and manages a portfolio value of over RM1.0 trillion.

With digital channels becoming a norm in work and lifestyle needs, the importance of building these channels must be a priority. To that end, EPF has recognised these growing demands and initiated its Operations Transformation 2.0 back in 2017. Since then, the fund has engaged in several digitalisation initiatives. These initiatives serve to improve both the customer experience and internal operational efficiency.

Our article seeks answers to the following questions:

  1. How is EPF improving the digital experience of its members?
  2. How is EPF creating new channels & services to drive the participation of its members and widen its coverage?

Building a comprehensive omnichannel experience

1. Continuous enhancement to the i-Akaun platform on mobile and web applications

The i-Akaun platform is the primary digital channel for a customer’s interaction with EPF. It is accessible via the internet and more recent mobile applications – the i-Akaun app (for members) and the e-Caruman app (for employers). Some functions performed through these applications include checking account balances, monitoring transaction status, enabling payments, etc.

Since its launch, EPF has continuously introduced new updates/services onto its i-Akaun mobile application. In 2019, several updates included new PDF-format statements for downloads, targeted push notifications, a branch locator service, and fund performance monitoring for its i-Invest users.

With these improvements, the i-Akaun platform has gained commendable acceptance among its members in the past five (5) years. From 2017, the growth in i-Akaun membership grew by at least 70%, with 52.06% of their 14.5 million members registered on i-Akaun. On the employers’ side, 99.36% of 522,297 employers registered for i-Akaun.

To date, the i-Akaun application has nearly 1.5 million downloads with an average rating of 4.5. Both the growing user base and reviews reflect EPF’s focus on building these digital channels.

2. Enhancements to brick-and-mortar branches

To extend the digital experience onto its physical branches, EPF has continuously introduced new processes to improve customer interactions at the branch. The focus here is to provide effective self-service channels and superior customer service.

EPF designed its branches as a one-stop-centre approach. Apart from e-kiosks, EPF also introduced initiatives to provide advisory training for its staff. Nowadays, customers, tend to prefer self-service channels due to their efficiency and ease of use. Hence, EPF recognised that its staff could provide higher value as retirement advisors.

To execute this training plan, EPF introduced the Retirement Advisory Services (RAS) in July 2014, which is now available in 52 branches. The latest figures show that more than 82,000 members received advisory services that RAS provided.

3. E-payroll Services for SMEs

EPF also pays attention to services beyond its core functions. For example, in June 2021, EPF unveiled an e-Payroll service to assist small business owners and entrepreneurs with a digitalised payroll system. This service complements the i-Akaun platform for employers. It ensures that they meet and monitor statutory obligations and employee contributions.

The e-payroll service aims to ease the difficulties that small business owners face in terms of the financial constraints to adopt a digital payroll solution. Some features include the ability to store digital records, monitor account contributions, automate calculations, and many more.

The range of services provided by EPF is indeed commendable. The increase in customer interactions through electronic channels suggests that customers are strongly shifting towards digital channels provided by the fund. In 2019, self-service channels via kiosks and the i-Akaun platform recorded 104.88 million interactions, a 24.12% increase from 2018.

EPF’s Contact Management Centre (CMC), which handles customer inquiries mainly through telephone or email, recorded a 27.16% decrease from 2018. Customers are increasingly attuned to digital channels as opposed to traditional face-to-face interactions according to these statistics.

Launched new services to drive participation & increase coverage

1. Introduced i-Invest platform to drive participation from members

The introduction of this service was a new one for the industry. EPF was the first public retirement fund that allowed its members to invest their retirement savings directly into unit trust funds of their choice. Customers also enjoy significantly lower sales charges through this service. The sales charge ranges from 0%-0.5%compared to the standard range of 2%-3% often charged by intermediaries.

The i-Invest service also includes tools for its members to monitor all the relevant information on the unit trust funds they selected actively. Through these tools, EPF encourages higher participation from its members.

2. Building programmes for gig economy workers

EPF continues to face the challenge to cover a broader range of Malaysian workers. The growing size of the gig economy is one of the leading causes of this. Estimates indicate that gig workers would represent more than a third of Malaysia’s labour force in the next five (5) years. With the pandemic’s impact on job losses, this situation may worsen as Malaysians continue to find alternative income sources.

To counter this, EPF introduced the i-Saraan programme in mid-2020. Through this programme, self-employed workers can voluntarily contribute to their EPF accounts. This programme was designed to encourage gig economy workers to save up for retirement. The pickup has been encouraging, with recent registrations increasing by 22.11% in 2019 with 120,738 registrations.

The government has also championed this initiative by introducing an RM50 million matching grant for i-Saraan investors in June 2020.  In addition, EPF has engaged with the private sector, most notably collaborating with Grab Malaysia by extending their Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was signed back in 2018. Like the government’s matching grant, this MOU commits Grab to match contributions by up to 5% with a ceiling of RM80 annually for those below 55 years old. Those above 55 years old are guaranteed matching contributions of 10% with a ceiling of RM120 annually.

How you can emulate EPF

  • The customer satisfaction levels are a reflection of the customer-focused culture that is present in EPF. Merely digitalising is not the answer. Businesses need to understand the specific customer journey pain points to build solutions effectively.
  • Observing EPF, the fund placed a strong emphasis on creating a comprehensive omnichannel experience, one that could meet the demands of different types of customers. This is crucial to ensure consistent customer satisfaction and provide a seamless onboarding process onto digital channels.

Rehabilitation of Nation’s Healthcare – Transforming Healthcare through the Post Pandemic Era

September 13, 2021
185

Of your peers have already read this article.

3:15

Minutes time you’ll spend for this story!

The COVID-19 outbreak has placed a massive strain on the global healthcare sector’s workforce, infrastructure, and supply chain. Medical practitioners are exhausted, and healthcare systems are forced beyond limits to the brink of breaking down. Despite the many challenges, a decrease in revenues and rising operational costs, healthcare players continue to push forward, committed in providing high quality healthcare services to patients. Nonetheless, the pandemic has exposed the shortcomings of healthcare systems worldwide. Striking at the nation-building heart of many countries, the pandemic has significantly disrupted social, political, economic and healthcare systems around the world.

However, we have also seen the emergence of foundational shifts arising from COVID-19. Needle mover initiatives are being made globally by both public and private sectors, recognising the need to relook healthcare ecosystem modernisation towards a comprehensive, integrated digitisation and digitalisation. New coping strategies, involving the accelerated adoption of telemedicine, smart health and other technologies, are considered as imperatives. Amid these dynamics, public sectors, healthcare providers, players, and other stakeholders around the globe are being challenged to pivot, adapt, and innovate at speed to amplify the reach and effectiveness of healthcare.

The Digital Front Door 

A smart health approach typically makes use of interconnected technologies to embrace the entire spectrum of healthcare providers, consumers and researchers to ensure the delivery of cutting-edge care that is comprehensive, collaborative, efficient – recognising the needs of patients and their families as well as healthcare practitioners and administrators. The use of telemedicine, complemented by analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), data protection and scalable cloud ecosystem is gaining traction. The pandemic has opened doors for AI and other digital technologies to solve complex clinical and non-clinical problems.

A recent report published by McKinsey & Company highlights that telehealth utilisation has stabilised at levels 38X higher than before the pandemic. Similarly, consumer and provider attitudes toward telehealth have also improved. Investment in virtual care and digital health have broadly skyrocketed. Additionally, virtual healthcare models and business models are continuing to evolve.

However, some hurdles, such as concerns around technology security, need to be addressed. TM ONE has innovated a complete ecosystem of healthcare solutions, which is modular and interoperable with external systems connected via TM ONE Cloud α (pronounced as Cloud Alpha) and TM ONE Cybersecurity (CYDEC) to ensure world class security. McKinsey points out that, the ‘digital front door’ will not be closing as patients and providers have appreciated and embraced the convenience and flexibility of this type of care especially during the healthcare crisis. As we gradually move through and onwards into recovery, a key concern for any health system will be scaling and sustaining these digital interactions.

Driven by Human Experience

Consumers expect industry leaders to leverage on the momentum created in the pandemic to continue to propel healthcare forward, especially as good healthcare services is a key hallmark of sustainable future ready nation building. According to Deloitte, collaborations and the human experience are two (2) of six (6) pressing sector issues that are expected to shape and navigate the healthcare industry into and through the evolving ‘next normal’.

Healthcare technologies, which especially appeal to the digital first generation, has inspired deeper levels of activity, engagement and enhanced patient experience. A visit to the doctor is already a worrying experience for some without having to deal with the paperwork, hours of waiting time and patient care. On a wider front, consumers are using technology to monitor their health, measure fitness, order prescriptions and schedule doctor’s appointments. Eighty percent (80%) of consumers report that they are most likely to have another virtual visit even post pandemic. Pandemic experience has shown that the best path to effectively enabling digital solutions requires various levels of smart collaboration moving away from siloed record systems. Providing a comprehensive end-to-end integrated patients experience management platform with insights, one which is truly beneficial for consumers and patients — calls for collaborative arrangements, which embrace data platforms, disruptive entrants, public/private partnerships, and health system platforms integration.

TM ONE Healthcare understands the complexities of the healthcare industry. It will simplify the electronic medical records platform, and channel patients, healthcare providers and funders into a single, secured, standardised and cost-effective solution. With extensive experience in rolling out clinic management systems and electronic medical records, together with a dedicated team to maintain and provide adequate support to end users and partners, TM ONE Healthcare will ensure the best experience for all stakeholders.

Smart Services Key Towards IR4.0 For Your Business

August 24, 2021
209

Of your peers have already read this article.

2:47

Minutes time you’ll spend for this story!

Maznan Bin Deraman

Maznan is the Head of Innovative Solutions at TM ONE and is an experienced digital transformation practitioner with 26 years of demonstrated knowledge in Telco and ICT business which include research and development, network operation, Go-to-Market strategy, sales planning, product and partnership development. Now embarking to propel the innovation of state-of-the-art IoT, AI-driven smart services, 5G commercial use cases and cybersecurity services.

Q Many Malaysian enterprises are predicted to adopt Industry Revolution 4.0 (IR4.0) in the next few years, and smart services can have massive implications to the core elements of a company’s business model. How can smart services integration propel enterprises to the next frontier of the IR4.0 ecosystem?

For enterprises, incorporating IR4.0 means expanding their value-creation capabilities and business models by implementing smart services technologies such as advanced sensors, big data analytics, intelligent robotics, machine learning and Cloud computing, not forgetting cybersecurity and Internet of Things (IoT). With connected and intelligent ecosystems, transmitting data in near real-time, smart services transform the experience for enterprises and the lifestyle of consumers with smarter living, smarter workplace, smarter business operation and smarter community, by embedding intelligence into critical infrastructure and everyday objects.

At the end of the day, organisations can unleash greater innovation, enhance customer experience, and improve visibility, profitability, and resilience. This in turn enables them to unlock a new generation of revenue streams, efficiency measures, and people-empowering strategies.

Q Some organisations may view smart services as something that is ‘good to have’, especially in this challenging pandemic-laden business environment. Is there a real return to investing in smart services?

Since the pandemic, enterprises must find ways to become more efficient and transform if not all, most of their business operations to digital. Smart services convert manual processes to digitalised and automated processes powered by analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning. This helps to optimise performance, minimise disruptions, and reduce downtime; in real-time and accurately.

There are countless use cases for smart services across all verticals, and have proven that the investments brought positive returns. A critical success factor lies in a good execution plan. Unfortunately, many organisations failed to extract value from smart services due to lack of expertise and haphazard implementation. When the solutions involve different types of technologies, implementation complexity and operational expertise, you need to have well experienced strategic digital solutions partner(s) with the know-how and proven track record to guide you through the journey, especially during the early stage of adoption.

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

As an enabler for the smart service ecosystem, TM ONE focuses on the platform strategy that has been designed to be technology-agnostic. This essentially enables multiple service providers to come on board our smart services ecosystem. Regardless of your vertical – manufacturing, retail, services, healthcare, education, government, or agriculture – TM ONE’s team of experts, ecosystem of service providers and end-to-end digital infrastructure make up comprehensive offerings to facilitate your journey towards IR4.0 more efficiently and easily.

In addition, TM ONE’s Integrated Operations Centre (IOC), part of our smart services offerings, continuously monitors and manages connected solutions to ensure adherence to service level agreements (SLAs), ease management, and lower cost of maintaining a smart services deployment. This is also supported by TM ONE Cloud α and Cyber Defence Centre (CYDEC) as its digital foundation, providing it with infrastructure, software platforms, industry solutions and ecosystems, and services to create and manage connected implementations securely and effectively. As the sole Malaysian Cloud Service Provider (CSP) for the Government, TM ONE through its Smart Services is the most visible ambassador of digital transformation, taking Malaysia a step closer to Digital Malaysia and taking transformation forward for Malaysian organisations.

This article was written in collaboration with The Edge.

Together, Let’s Create Success Stories

Help us know you better.

Which industry are you from?

One more quick question.

What solution are you looking for?

Our Experts Will Connect With You Soon.

Don't worry, we hate spam too.

If you agree to continue browsing, you accept the use of cookies on this site and have the option to disable them if you wish.

Accept & Continue