On a postal mission

Apr 29, 2019
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From automation to improving connectivity, the country’s postal delivery service is racing to adopt technology to keep ahead of the surge in parcel deliveries spurred by e-commerce.

POS Malaysia Berhad is on a mission. From automation to improving connectivity, the country’s postal delivery service is racing to adopt technology to keep ahead of the surge in parcel deliveries spurred by e-commerce. Head of operations, Rahman Abbas, says that the number of packages that POS Malaysia deals with on a daily basis has more than tripled from 200,000 five years ago to almost 600,000 a day at peak today.

Relative to the tedious process of manual sorting, the group has increased efficiency by 70-80% after adopting LG CNS technology to sort parcels autonomously. The subsidiary of South Korea’s LG Corporation supplies the company with machinery and software for sorting.

Mechanised sorting

The machines are fitted with optical character recognition (OCR) cameras that read parcel labels and determine where they are supposed to go, says Abbas. All that the mail staff need to do is correctly position items on the conveyor belt so that the labels can be read.

Despite this rapid digitalisation of postal processes, Abbas is upfront about “struggling” with parcel volumes in meeting service agreements. Not only are there a growing number of low-cost competitors, but inefficiencies such as frequent and numerous unsuccessful delivery attempts increase the load exponentially.

As Malaysia’s national postal service, the group’s remit and service expectations are mandated. “We can’t say no to deliveries if they’ve been requested, but other delivery services can work within whatever their capacity is,” says Abbas. We suffer penalties “from breaching service licence agreements with contract customers.”

The group’s most recent first quarter 2019 earnings results show operating profit plunging 74.4% to MYR 10 million from a year ago. Much of this loss can be attributed to postal services, the company’s second largest revenue generator, which made a loss of MYR 33 million for this quarter. POS Malaysia’s stock has fallen almost 50% in the past year.

New business models

While technology can be expensive to integrate, it also can create new business opportunities. According to a report by the U.S. Postal Service and IBM, the Internet of Postal Things could help protect postal companies by generating cost savings, operational efficiencies, and user value. Over time, it could also create new revenue opportunities and foster new business models. For example, a smart and sensor-connected mailbox that would allow larger parcels to be delivered securely, even without residents being home, and could notify recipients when a delivery is done. Postal services could generate revenue by renting the connected mailboxes to households. According to the report, France’s La Poste and mailbox manufacturer Renz have already successfully tested connected parcel buildings in a few buildings in Paris.

With the vast infrastructure that postal services have of both stationary and moving elements from post boxes to delivery vans, if these objects were able to “talk”, collect, and communicate data, this could create an information network to complement the physical network.

Robots, drones, and IoT

Malaysia’s Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo said recently that the commercial use of drones in the postal and courier industry will be implemented in the next five years. POS Malaysia’s longer-term ventures also include drones, says Abbas, but concerns about the short battery life remain.

“Most drones have less than one hour of air time,” says Abbas. “So, the proximity of the drone towards the warehouse is a factor, and security is another one; kids with just a slingshot could take down a drone easily.” Abbas is also on the fence about autonomous delivery robots, noting that the technology backing these robots is not yet mature.

More promising is the ‘Internet of Postal Things’ actually helping with one of POS Malaysia’s most basic challenges, which is standardising addresses. “Sometimes in rural areas, we receive addresses like ‘the house behind the yellow building’ and if you aren’t familiar with the area you wouldn’t know where to go,” says Abbas.

In circumstances such as those, familiarity combined with technology could go a long way, so that the next generation of post-workers, drones, or delivery robots know exactly where that yellow building is.

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-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

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 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.

A new frontier for Malaysia’s digital resources

Apr 07, 2020
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“It is crucial for businesses to take cybersecurity seriously. No organisations, whether they are small or large, are immune from cyberattacks.” says TM ONE VP of Sales, Roslan Rashidi.

Data as a resource is crucial for Malaysia’s development and growth, former Minister of Communications and Multimedia Gobind Singh Deo has said.

“I’m of the view that data as a resource is essential in realising visions of the smart digital future, consisting of smart cities, and even autonomous cars,” he said at a cybersecurity conference in Singapore recently.

However, data is more often becoming the target of cybercriminals across the region and Malaysia is no exception. “Over half of all reported cyber crimes have data theft as their goal”, he added.

The free and trusted flow of data and information is a “strategic asset” for economies. Gobind further said, “Failing to embed effective security measures will erode trust and thereby undermine the stability of our information society. Our digital economies, and the platforms on which they are built, cannot be more of a source of risk than a source of development.”

Warning signs

Malaysia has seen a series of data breaches across industries in the last two months, which should serve as serious warnings to what’s possible in the future. In October, hackers targeted the country’s oldest university, and defaced its payments website. They went on to leak 24,000 login IDs and passwords online, according to reports.

And the month before that, attackers claimed a TV network as a victim, accessing customers’ IC data – including names, ID numbers, dates of birth, and address. The network, that serves 23 million people and  77% of households in Malaysia, said 0.2% of its customers were affected.

Also in September 2019, a Malaysian airline subsidiary had its passenger data stolen and put up for sale on the dark web. The data was stolen by two former employees of a contractor in India, the company found.

CyberSecurity Malaysia has said that there were 178 data breaches as of September this year, compared to 63 and 19 in 2018 and 2017, respectively. Meanwhile, a survey by insurer Chubb showed that 84 percent of local SMEs were attacked last year.

A call to arms

In response, the government has proposed stricter penalties and stronger data regulations. “We should impose a heavier penalty for data breach offenders, including companies that neglected security aspects when it comes to safeguarding customers’ data,” the CEO of CyberSecurity Malaysia, Datuk Dr Amirudin Abdul Wahab, has said.

Gobind said that the country’s data protection laws need to be updated. “We have laws that have been in place since 2010, and I think we have reached a point where we need to improve on it,” he said.

While regulations are catching up, hackers are getting more ambitious and resourceful. For instance, the attack on Singapore’s healthcare system last year “was a deliberate, targeted and well-planned cyber attack” and that “it was not the work of casual hackers or criminal gangs”, the CEO of the Singapore’s Cyber Security Agency said.

Gobind also warned that Malaysia is at risk as long as security remains an “afterthought”. He called on businesses to do more to protect customers. “By working together, we ensure that we not only anticipate, but also protect ourselves against cyber threats and cyber attacks”.

Our vision

TM ONE, recognising that cybersecurity is most crucial in today’s Hyperconnected Ecosystem, continuously strengthens its security offering for customers. In November 2019, we launched three new products during the Cybersecurity Day which was held at TM ONE Experience Centre recently.

The three new products are: a Next Generation Firewall, a Managed Security Operations Centre, and Intelligent Threat Defence. These tools will provide comprehensive coverage for the critical industries that we serve every day, while allowing them to focus on their customers.

The Next Generation Firewall is powered by artificial intelligence to continuously analyse weaknesses in networks and applications, detect malwares and botnets, and protect against DDOS attacks, amongst other sophisticated attacks.

It is the world’s first AI-enabled application firewall and powered by Engine Zero and Neural-X. Engine Zero is a AI-enabled gateway anti virus provide both signature and behavior based malware detection. And Neural X, is a AI enabled cloud-based intelligence and analytic platform against unknown cyber threats. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has powered and expands security detection capabilities for TM ONE’s network, endpoint, and security-as-a-service offerings.

The Managed Security Operations Centre helps centrally manage user access and provides real-time dashboard for vital security insights on network, data and application, incident reports and analysis. Customers have the option to deploy this for on-premise data or to monitor activities in their cloud.

It uses SIEM, an Intelligent tool that predict and alert customer on the attacks by using data collected from customer logs on security devices such Firewall & IPS, Network, Server and End-Point. It also notifies customer when incidents, threats and anomalies occur, to help organization ensure that their network is secure. 

TM ONE’s Intelligent Threat Defence system provides an automated solution to secure the entire network, without having to deploy additional systems. It stops the loss of confidential data and uses machine learning to block data exfiltration attacks.

It is a cybersecurity solution that utilises analytics and machine learning technology. Through real-time streaming analytics of live DNS queries and machine learning to accurately detect presence of data in DNS queries, it detects and automatically blocks attempts to steal intellectual property via DNS without the need for endpoint agents or additional network infrastructure.

“For businesses, where IT network and data are extremely valuable assets, it is crucial for all to take cybersecurity seriously. No organisations, whether they are small or large, are immune from cyberattacks.” Mohd Roslan Mohd Rashidi, Vice President of Sales at TM ONE, said during the launch. “These new products are evidence of TM ONE’s continuous readiness and commitment to provide the latest solutions, working together with our partners and cybersecurity experts, to ensure that our customers are able to protect their most critical assets, so that they can conduct their business with peace of mind,” he added.

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.

This article was first published on GSMA

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