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Malaysia is ready for Industry 4.0

January 16, 2020
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This is Malaysia’s first step in embracing IR4.0 that has transformed public and private sectors across the world, and it will focus on driving growth in manufacturing and related industries.

Malaysia has its eyes set on achieving the developed country status, and they are well on track for achieving it. The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth has been climbing steadily and the MIDF Amanah Investment Bank Bhd Research foresees higher GDP growth in the second half of 2019, according to Malay Mail.

But, as with many other countries before it, it needs to avoid the middle income trap and prepare for unprecedented disruption to global industries, including manufacturing. “Malaysia’s forte is in manufacturing-related angles,” noted Jeyasigan Nair, Director of Advanced Technology, Research and Development, Malaysian Investment Development Authority. “Manufacturing is one of the pillars to push for us to attain the status of a developed country,” he said at the TM ONE Smart Industry Showcase in Kuala Lumpur recently.

Enter Industry4WRD, Malaysia’s iteration of Industry 4.0. This is the country’s first step in embracing the digital revolution that has transformed public and private sectors across the world, and it will focus on driving growth in manufacturing and related industries. TM ONE, leading digital solutions provider and Telekom Malaysia’s enterprise and public sector business arm, has recently launched 10 Transformative Smart Solutions to support Industry4WRD during the Smart Industry Showcase. These solutions use big data, IoT sensors and smart technology to create smart systems across multiple industries.

TM ONE recently spoke to GovInsider on the practical ways to achieve Industry4WRD.

What Industry4WRD looks like

At the Smart Industry Showcase, Ir Ts Azizi A. Hadi, former EVP and CEO of TM ONE and currently Telekom Malaysia’s Chief Network Officer, shared some ways that TM ONE supports the development of Industry4WRD.

1. Smart buildings

TM ONE’s Smart Building Management Solution optimises energy usage with a three-pronged approach: integrated third party sensors, smart analytics and advanced visualization tools. Building managers can collect data and control devices within the building through a centralised monitoring platform. The data can provide insights on footfall, traffic and asset’s usage. It can also tell maintenance teams when would be the best time to carry out maintenance work, ensuring a safe and comfortable experience for tenants.

“Data from energy usage can provide insights on bigger things,” said Azizi. For example, when the electricity bill is higher than projected, it could be a sign of a mismanaged air conditioning system. Building managers can then choose to install a centralised and automated control system based on demand.

“Without these data systems, we cannot identify where the waste is coming from. And when you introduce energy savings equipment, we can easily measure the KPIs with these data,” he added.

This energy monitoring system is currently in trial in several government buildings across Malaysia.

2. Smart farming

The agriculture industry, in particular hydroponics, can benefit greatly from Industry 4.0 technologies. Sensors can detect the pH level and temperature of the plants’ environments using electrolytes in the water. This data can then be transmitted onto a central system accessible through mobile phone. Farmers can also control the plants’ environment in real time if anything is out of place. For example, they can turn on the air-conditioning if it becomes too warm or they can engage the system to automatically dispense fertiliser if fertiliser concentration is too low. Farmers can also glean insights on crop data and patterns from the data collected to optimise their yield all year round.

Smart systems like these can also be used beyond hydroponics on any type of farming – it can be used to check on soil acidity and water level, for instance. One of the premises in the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute has installed and started running this system.

3. Smart traffic

In cities like Kuala Lumpur, people spend almost a whole hour being stuck in traffic in their daily commute, according to the TomTom Traffic Index. This may be set to change, however, with the introduction of smart traffic lights from TM ONE.

These traffic lights reduce waiting time at junctions, effectively reducing both traffic congestion and carbon emissions. They can also monitor traffic in real-time and collect data about road usage. This data can then help in future road-building and town-planning.

Sensors installed beneath roads, together with smart devices such as cameras, collect real time information which enable traffic lights to adapt their timings according to the volume of passing traffic. If the sensors identify that there are no cars, it will send data to the traffic light controllers, which will increase the amount of time for pedestrians to cross the road. The controllers will also adjust the time according to the demand of each lane – the longer the queue, the more time will be given to that particular lane. When a part of the system fails, it will automatically send a Telegram notification to maintenance teams. This smart system can also be upgraded to cater to other demands in the future, such as clearing road lanes for emergency vehicles.

TM ONE focuses on customer centricity in the implementation of these 10 solutions. “We find customers and work with them to test our solutions. That way, we can have two to three iterations of the product before it even hits the market,” said Azizi. The traditional business models required customers to mass purchase a smart device or a piece of infrastructure, which is costly. Now, customers can start with buying just one traffic light, or a hundred, making the barrier for upgrading to emerging technologies a lot lower for organisations.

In Malaysia’s journey to adopting Industry 4.0 technologies, people have to develop the appropriate skillsets to keep up with the advancement of emerging technologies. Jeyasigan and Hj Ghazali Juhari, Head of Business Development at UMW Equipments shared their thoughts on how this can be done.

“Industries and departments have been working separately, but the needs of industries are different today,” Jeyasigan said. “It’s not just about studying IT or mechanical engineering,” added Hj Ghazali. “People need to have an interdisciplinary skillset.” Some universities have already introduced modules about data and information technology for students of all degrees and disciplines.

Future steps

Governments around the world have implemented various emerging technologies – and Malaysia will not be left behind. This is why the Malaysian government has budgeted RM 210 million (USD 5 million) from 2019 to 2021 to support the country’s shift to Industry 4.0 technologies.

The Malaysian government is armed and ready to make changes with a collaborative mindset. “As a global economy, Malaysia is a nation that heavily depends on trade, investment and services,” noted Jeyasigan. “We will never survive alone.” Internationalisation is one focus for Malaysia in their Industry4WRD plans.

Digitalisation is another priority. “Industry 4.0 is all about digitalisation,” according to Ahmad Fairuz Bin Mohamed Noor, Principal Assistant Director from the National Cyber Security Agency (NACSA). The organisation has come on board to facilitate cybercrime awareness and protection in the country. Cyber technology is now the main enabler for every sector, according to Ahmad Fairuz. “It’s not limited to communication or information technology per se. Many services are highly dependent on digital technology,” he added. On top of cybersecurity boosts, 5G trials have already begun in several states in Malaysia beginning October 1, reports The Star.

TM ONE recently joined hands with Malaysia’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry to support the Readiness Assessment (RA) initiative for Industry4WRD. This initiative, which started in July 2019, helps manufacturing companies understand how eligible they are for adopting emerging technologies. Assessors will also recommend strategies and areas of improvement for adopting Industry 4.0.

Malaysia is taking bold steps to propel its economy forward with the deployment of emerging technologies through Industry4WRD. Internationalisation and digitalisation are the country’s key focuses for building a resilient economy and future.

TRENDS & DIGITAL STRATEGY: How 5G is Driving Urbanisation

Shazurawati Abd Karim

Shazurawati Abd Karim Executive Vice President of TM ONE

December 27, 2021
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5G is not just another evolution of network infrastructure and higher speeds. It marks the beginning of a new era for the telecoms industry.

5G services have been introduced in more than one-third of the countries around the world. Operators, vendors, and enterprises have accelerated their investments in 5G technology in the last 24 months. 5G is not just another evolution of network infrastructure and higher speeds. It offers new opportunities to serve enterprises and governments with ultra-low latency and massive machine-type communications capabilities. The launch of 5G in Malaysia marks the beginning of a new era for the telecoms industry.

In particular, smart cities will be a key growth engine for 5G. Global spending on smart city solutions is expected to reach US$2.5 trillion by the year 2026.  Smart cities essentially involve using sensors based on IoT, which will generate large amounts of data. 5G will provide higher speeds and more capacity to handle data coming in from multiple devices such as sensors, cameras, cell phones and other sources.

This data will be useful for improving the efficiency of various economic and social activities of the city. For the citizen of smart cities, 5G and IoT will broadly deliver smart digital infrastructure, smart mobility, smart environment, smart healthcare and smart government facilities.

Adressing local challenges

We expect smart city solutions to address some of the big challenges that we face today in Malaysia. Traffic congestion is often rated as the number one challenge by most residents of large cities in the country. 5G can enable intelligent traffic management systems such as Smart Traffic Analitics and Response System (STARS) by TM ONE at a much larger scale. This further will streamline riders towards less occupied and safer routes while also assisting road and safety authorities in taking proactive and prompt action.

Data from the Ministry of Transport Malaysia show that road accidents have continued to increase in the past decade. While fatality rates have gone down, there is an opportunity to reduce it even further. In emergencies, responders can quickly download real-time, high-quality HD images of the accident scene using a fast 5G network and share it with the healthcare staff or a doctor before they actually reach the hospital. This will enable them to be better prepared and make informed decisions.

In addition, the sensor devices attached to the vehicles can send alerts to first responders in case of its collision or accident. The travelling of data in such situations is time critical, requires low latency, and needs to be fast as promised by 5G. Such alerts can also come from bodysuits worn by emergency personnel. 

Another important application of 5G will be in the area of public safety. Although tougher regulation and action by authorities in the country have led to a decline in crime rates, it is still relatively higher when compared to our regional peers. Ensuring a safe and secure environment for citizens would be one of the top priorities for smart cities in Malaysia.

Remotely controlled drones fitted with cameras is possible for surveillance in various areas to protect people from theft and crime. Furthermore, connected drones integrated with AI technologies will be able to identify unusual events, help public safety authorities gain situational awareness of crowded places, and proactively manage security.   

Stepping up to the new normal

Covid-19 has brought to the fore the opportunity to transform healthcare services delivery. Telemedicine has emerged as a very viable option to enable patients around the country to have access to the best possible care, without the need to travel to meet the doctor physically in the big cities. This will drive better efficiency all around for hospitals and patients alike. 

We also envisage that IoT devices will assess real-time information about patient’s vitals, triggering alarm signals and also developing a log of the lifestyle habits of the patient. This will enable an era of personalised care. Population health management is emerging as another important theme as preparation for future pandemics will now become a requirement for every nation. 

The past 18 months have also exposed the fragility of healthcare systems around the world, both in terms of the availability of medical equipment and hospital beds. The lack of tracking systems for the inventories led to fragmented information, causing ambiguity amongst hospital personnel. The integration of IoT technologies can enable real-time tracking systems for hospital inventories. The sensors will also provide the intelligence to predict any anomalies or defects in medical equipment and aid proactive maintenance. By the end of the decade, we will have transitioned from a hospital centred care system to a patient-centred care system.

As consumers, we are experiencing a rapid transformation of how digital technologies enable a new era of banking, shopping and entertainment.  In banking, physical branches give way to virtual branches and personalised experiences. Citizens expect the same level of experience from governments now. It is possible to envisage a future in which every citizen will be able to virtually visit various government agencies for citizen services using a combination of augmented and virtual reality tools. The SUPER-APP for citizen services will integrate capabilities such as video calling, real-time consultation and a one-stop window across all government agencies.  The possibilities for innovation are limitless.  The technology is now ready and available. Making it work will need us to invest considerably in understanding consumers and taking the human-centred approach towards innovation. It will need extensive collaboration between a multitude of partners to make this future a reality. I look forward to collaborating with many of you in making this vision a reality.

Smoothing the Transition to Smart Manufacturing

October 03, 2021
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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.

DEMYSTIFY TECHNOLOGY : 3 Technologies Powering CX Transformation – Mohamed Rejab Sulaiman

September 30, 2021
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Mohamed Rejab Sulaiman
Head of Products & Innovation, TM ONE

Welcome to the experience economy – where value is created based on who curates the best experience. The winner? Enterprises that put consumers at the heart of every interaction. There are a lot of fundamental technologies that enable the delivery of a great customer experience (CX). Since contact centre applications are one of the most impressionable aspects for most consumers, it makes sense to focus your technological investments there. So, stop thinking about your contact centre as a cost centre. Instead, visualise it as a profit centre. We see three (3) fundamental technologies that will greatly improve your contact centre and – levelling up your CX.

1. Cloud

Traditionally, most contact centres and other channels delivering CX are on-premise. This is because enterprises were concerned about high reliability, data security, and compliance. But over the last 18 months, businesses are rapidly migrating their customer support services to the Cloud – and for good reason.

Cloud services enable business continuity – one of the highest priorities in 2020. Agents get to work from anywhere and maintain service levels with the Cloud. Nelson Hall reported that from 2021 onwards, 25-30% of the total market would apply a work-from-home model. Also, the Cloud solutions of today have enterprise-grade security and are compliant with the required standards and regulations. A Cloud-based solution will most likely ensure your customers get stable, seamless and efficient CX – regardless of the COVID-19 effects.

A key differentiator for today’s enterprises is eliminating CX siloes by integrating different customer touchpoints. With the Cloud, you get to orchestrate a single customer journey from your brick-and-mortar store, your online site, social media channels, and mobile apps to your customer support centre. This means your customers will be able to have an experience that is cohesive – regardless of whether they choose to walk into your store, visit your app, or talk to your customer service representatives. You will get to know their histories, what they are interested in, and serve them accordingly. Aberdeen Group showed that companies with a robust omnichannel customer engagement retain 89% of their customers on average, compared to 33% of companies with weaker omnichannel customer engagement.

The Cloud, being a scalable, flexible solution, allows you to access the latest technologies rapidly in response to your changing customer needs. With “click-and-enable” plug-ins, you no longer need to go through building, testing, and integration cycles. This frees your IT team to focus on other pressing goals while exceeding your customers’ expectations.

2. Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

Leverage RPA and significantly transform your CX. RPA helps you to automate repetitive tasks so your team can focus on what matters – building lasting relationships with your customers. Furthermore, it speeds up efficiency, reduces errors, and ensures consistency. RPA works for both client-facing tasks and internal tasks. However, a bigger opportunity for automation shines in integrating the back-end with the front-end to help make quick decisions, when and where it matters.

Take automation in the insurance sector, for example. When a client calls to file a claim, the agent must search for the client’s policy. On occasions when the client has a few different policies, the agent has to differentiate and identify the right one – all the while conversing with the client. Not only is this inefficient, but there are also possibilities for errors. However, by automating this process, the system can immediately identify the correct customer policy — either based on customer’s phone numbers or other identifying factors. Not only does this reduce errors, but your agent will also be free to give your clients the attention and focus that they deserve.

Some other areas that can benefit from automation are the fulfilment and refund process, sorting customer enquiries and answering frequently asked questions through web chat or messaging. Do it well, and not only your CX will improve, but your bottom line will too. In 2020, McKinsey reported that successful operation centres at automating manual and repetitive tasks witnessed cost reduction by 30% to 60% while increasing delivery quality.

3. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

In the context of CX, AI helps us to simplify complex information, find patterns, learn from different contexts, and predict customer intent. More importantly, this capability helps you to really understand your customers and provide them with personalised services – the secret to customer loyalty. Forrester showed that enterprises that utilise AI alongside human employees witnessed improved customer satisfaction (CSAT) by 61%, operational efficiency by 68%, and agent productivity by 66%.

The customer journey starts when your customers search for your business. Therefore, you should aim to follow their activities leading up to that first contact. With AI, you get to learn what your customers search for, click on, and the time spent on a certain page. This information helps you predict the best time to engage with your customers. For example, AI notices when a customer is stuck on a specific action page for longer than usual, and it will trigger a human agent to intervene and provide support – leading to enhanced customer satisfaction.

AI can support your agents during customer interactions by providing relevant resources. It processes an ongoing call in real-time and provides contextualised, timely recommendations after taking the customer’s history into account. Agents can choose to either read the suggested content to the customers or share it through a preferred channel. This capability helps your agents to avoid digging for information across multiple channels and focus solely on the conversations instead.

Another prime opportunity for your AI to shine is with your interactive voice response (IVR) system. IVR carries a misunderstood reputation for being clunky and awkward to use. However, consider a conversational AI voice bot with natural language processing (NLP) capabilities integrated into your IVR. Customers can now avoid going through a slow and confusing menu and receive service through natural conversations instead. It is seamless and efficient, contributing to an overall elevated experience.

Designing a great CX will give your company a differentiating edge. With the help of the Cloud, RPA, and AI, you get to improve how customers experience your business and how employees interact with your customers. It is now critical for your company to work towards adopting these technologies, so your contact centre sees long-term success.

Designing future citizen services – Inspirations from our youth

September 16, 2021
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On the eve of Malaysia’s 64th National Day, I had the opportunity to engage with a few of our youth on their expectations for future citizen services. It was inspiring to see the passion, energy, and ideas flowing as they aspire to build a better tomorrow. The conversation helped me gain useful perspectives on what is important and possible next steps for us to build the next generation of citizen services. Here are my five (5) key takeaways from the session:

  1. A high benchmark in term of expectations – This generation has grown in a digital-first world and are the recipients of great customer experience (CX) from some of the world’s best brands. In the case of these six youngsters, it is best exemplified by Grab, Revolut, Etiqa, BigPay, AirAsia and Foxtons. Each of these companies has established incredible benchmarks in delivering intuitive, frictionless, personalised, efficient, and completely digital services. This is now the minimum benchmark for the delivery of next-generation citizen experience. Anything lower will only result in an unhappy citizen.
  2. A customer-centric view – The service delivery must be designed from the lens of the citizen and his or her life journey – from womb to tomb – all integrated into one place. The user or a citizen should be the centre and focus of service delivery. As the citizen traverses through the various stages of life, he or she should be able to access the services through a unified channel. This is in stark contrast to the way citizen services are delivered by individual agencies, requiring us to engage with each of them separately.
  3. Build the foundational layer – The first step would be to build and integrate some very essential components that are fundamental to digital experiences as we know them. Some of these include:
    1. Mobile-first and digital-first approach
    2. Single Sign-On for all services
    3. Consistent user interface/user experience (UI/UX) across all federal, state and municipal agency services
    4. Data-once – citizens need to enter data only once; it is shared subsequently by the various agencies
    5. Predictive – anticipate and pre-empt citizen needs
    6. Omni-channel and One-stop customer service
  4. Develop a digital coalition – Further sustained innovation in citizen services can be achieved only through open innovation and co-creation among government agencies, technology partners, citizens and the start-up ecosystem. Human needs and behaviour are extremely complex and unpredictable. Co-creation enables the delivery of better services in a dynamic manner by leveraging the capacity to use resources of a wider ecosystem. It should be treated as a fundamental requirement for the delivery of next-generation citizen services.
  5. Driving industry transformation – It was interesting to hear the youth pointed out that the biggest impact of digital on the country will reside in our ability to transform some of the essential citizen services, such as education and healthcare services. This proves that digital can help improve access to every section of the society. They also discussed about the urgent need to modernise our core infrastructure (such as ports) so that we can be competitive in the region.
Imri Mokhtar, Group Chief Executive Officer, Telekom Malaysia Berhad

I was immensely inspired – every youth on the panel was part of a social initiative. Beyond just sharing ideas, they involved themselves actively and contributed to help build a better Malaysia. The onus is now on us in the government and institutions to channel that same energy into driving collaborative projects and creating world-class citizen services.

Looking forward to this exciting future. Selamat Hari Malaysia!!

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