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March 12, 2022
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Given the fragility of global conditions and increasing emphasis on using digital innovation to build a safer, and more sustainable future for the betterment of people, we are seeing greater focus on actualising smart communities around the world.
Malaysia’s focus on smart cities and smart communities is also gaining momentum and reflects the wider trend. The global smart cities market size estimated to grow from US$457 billion last year to US$873.7 billion by 2026, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.8%, according to a Markets and Markets1 report,
Taking a few steps back, the unveiling in 1996 of Malaysia’s digital economy vision, started with Cyberjaya, which was seeded as the country’s smart city, within a national vision to become a digital economy hub starting with the MSC Supercorridor (MSC Malaysia) platform2.
As a smart city zone, Cyberjaya3, was tasked to become a test bed to nurture emerging technologies and to become a preferred tech investment location, according to Najib Ibrahim, managing director, Cyberview Sdn Bhd in an interview with Disruptive Asia last year4.
Jumping ahead a few years to last year, we saw two launches to spur Malaysia’s smart city aspirations: the Smart City Handbook: Malaysia5 on 22 June 2021 by Malaysia’s former housing and local government (KPKT) minister YB Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin and the UK’s high commissioner, H.E Charles Hay; closely followed by the soft launch on 29 June 2021 by technological partnership think tank MIGHT6 (Malaysia Industry-Government Group for High Technology) of its Smart City Outlook 2021/22 (MSCO) report7.
Continued major smart city developments include: the Smart Selangor8 initiative, aiming to make it the most liveable state within the region by 2025; Smart City Iskandar Malaysia9, and various digital programmes under DBKL (Kuala Lumpur City Hall) under its Kuala Lumpur Smart City Blueprint 2021-202510.
In the same week of MIGHT’s report, the government announce the appointment of Swedish ICT company Ericsson as 5G development partner to build an end-to-end rollout of a SWN (single wholesale network) in Malaysia at a total cost of RM11 billion ($2.65 billion), according to a statement by Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB) – which is the government entity overseeing the rollout of MyDigital11.
Interestingly, Malaysia’s announcement of its national 4IR policy, which was also in the first week of July, posited a smart city framework. As envisaged by Malaysia’s Smart City Framework under the 12th Malaysia Plan 2021-2025, of which MyDigital is a component12, the digitalisation of society and the economy is seen as vital to accelerate Malaysia’s recovery and to enhance the quality and safety life.
However, at the time of writing, the regulator Ministry of Communications and Multimedia (MCMC) and the Finance Ministry tabled a memorandum slated for 11 March 2022 to the Malaysian Cabinet for a decision on the possibility of opting for a dual wholesale network (DWP).
Regardless of the rollout approach, the 5th generation wireless technology is viewed by industry and governments as positing the potential to spur smart city growth and bring more communities into the digital arena.
Recently, the country’s housing and local government minister Dato’ Sri Reezal Merican said:, “At the top of the Ministry of Housing and Local Government’s agenda is to promote the philosophy of ‘Liveable Malaysia’ in line with the 12th Malaysia Plan. ‘Liveable Malaysia’ emphasises on ensuring that the rakyat’s [the people’s] wellbeing is safeguarded and defended within the purview of our ministry. Among the key focus of ‘Liveable Malaysia’ is mainstreaming digitalization in the service delivery of local authorities as well as adopting advanced technology in the development of cities within the Malaysia Smart City Framework.”
His comment came in late February of this year during the United Kingdom’ virtual Smart Cities Mission to Malaysia, which again served as the latest spur to review the smart cities and smart communities aspects of Malaysia’s digital transformation agenda.
Held 22-24 February, the three day mission’s objectives were two-fold: to increase collaborations to encourage smart city development in local government and housing and related fields; and to introduce offerings from about 40 UK smart city solutions providers.
Speakers at the panel discussion on capitalising technology to build a sustainable and smart digital economy13 included Asia Pacific Digital Trade Network regional director Christopher Bush (acting as the moderator, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) vice president Ir Dr Karl Ng, Tech London and Global Tech Advocates founder Russ Shaw CBE, and TM One executive vice president Shazurawati Binti Abd Karim.
In her opening, Shazurawati pointed to AI as constituting a key driver today among emerging technologies, enabling new levels of efficiencies for businesses and organisations of any size as well as its use in daily lives through mobile apps for shopping, transport, banking, customer service through chat bots, cyber security detection and mitigation, and so on.
Citing a recent IDC report – IDC MaturityScape Benchmark: Artificial Intelligence in Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) 14 – that revealed 42% of Asia Pacific enterprises were deploying AI albeit in isolated projects, she affirmed that: “AI offers a core capability in digital transformation and maturity levels in the region; and another research study assessing Asean suggests that AI may add one trillion dollars to the region’s GDP by 2030 if we do this right.”
Russ Shaw concurred with her comments the importance of AI and added 5G, blockchain among others. “We need high speed connectivity to enable emerging technologies across enterprise and public sectors including smart cities.”
Indeed, founder chair of Outreach UN ITU Prize ACM for good Global Summit Stephen Ibaraki , writing from his pro bono work15 involving more than 100,000 CEOs, investors, experts and scientists, concludes that: “By 2030 AI will measurably influence and impact more than 8.5 billion people, across all sectors, and human & earth diverse ecosystems on an unprecedented scale.”
“Technological impact on Malaysia with technologies through smart city adoption is rightly balanced with sustainable – green technology – considerations. Malaysia is blessed with a lot of ongoing development from an infrastructure perspective,” commented Shazurawati, citing the use of technologies such as IoT sensors to detect, predict and mitigate local climate challenges such as haze, regular flooding, soil erosion, and traffic management.
Speaking to other societal aspects, she said: “Safety and convenience of the community is a high priority: For example, using AI and smart service solutions, we believe that integrated smart city surveillance such as using CCTV is only really useful with the use of analytics and AI through an integrated operations centre. Beyond public safety, we can use it as tool for cohesive disaster management, which will be enhanced with the coming of 5G. The volume and required speed of 5G will be part of the perfect recipe for smart city developments.”
Shazurawati added that Malaysia’s adoption would need to embrace solutions beyond CCTV such as drones to cover larger surveillance areas such as ports, platforms and refineries.
“During the pandemic, we learned to use drones to deliver medical supplies to remote areas. With regards to 5G, she said that Malaysia’s aim is to roll out 5G coverage to 80% of the population by 2024 in order to deliver impactful opportunities and benefits16 through services for smart city development.”
Malaysia’s smart digital economy testbed cases demonstrating the potential of 5G hark back to 2019/2020 when MCMC – together with various telecoms stakeholders such as Telekom Malaysia (TM) 17, Celcom Axiata, Digi Telecommunications, Edotco Malaysia, Maxis Broadband, U Mobile, Petroliam Nasional, and YTL Communications – held 5G Malaysia Demonstration Projects (5GDP) in six states involving an initial investment of RM143 million.
At the time, Malaysia envisioned 100 use cases embracing nine verticals – agriculture, education, entertainment/media, digital healthcare, manufacturing and processing, oil and gas, smart city, smart transportation and tourism. Some of these use case demonstrated some of the benefits that digital technologies with enhanced communications such as 5G would bring such as enhanced security, safety and economic opportunities to communities on the island of Langkawi, and its potential as a smart island18.
Shazurawati said, “[Since then] TM One has worked with several council municipalities with surveillance, smart traffic, smart lighting, smart building projects are part of the matrix to enhance the quality of life, to use technology to raise happiness levels of a city – to develop happy cities.”
This approach bodes well with sentiments from and other industry leaders. Closing the digital divide and benefitting humankind were two of the themes in a recent interview19 with UN agency ITU (Telecommunication Standardisation Bureau) 20 director Chaesub Lee. “There is a lot of talk about AI in emerging technical areas, but we want to find a practical approach,” Lee said. “We bring someone having problems they need to solve, and we bring someone who wishes to provide the solution, and then we have them meet to facilitate how to utilize AI and ML to help humankind.”
Similarly, Jouko Ahvenainen, pioneer in digital finance and data analytics, opined21 that smart city models often overlook one key component – the people in them that though ‘one main objective of smart cities is to collect data to improve and develop services’, the value of such developments to people and their privacy appears to have a lower priority’.
TM One’s stance is to offer building blocks to the private and public sectors – such as smart premises, smart agriculture, smart manufacturing, and so on22 – to develop smart happy cities, said Shazurawati.
MDEC’s Dr Karl echoed these trends by detailing some of the projects MDEC has been encouraging. The availability of data, balanced with security & privacy concerns, remains one of the challenges. The need for policy and government direction coupled with skills and right awareness are other factors to use technology to enhance productivity and generate wealth.
Co-creation, partnerships are vital to move forward, Shazurawati said. She added that global spending on smart city solutions could reach USD 2.5 trillion dollars by 2026.
“To better unleash innovation, connectivity is fundamental and we cannot live without this. To deliver services, we need to build these on a strong digital foundation – formed by cloud, data centres, cybersecurity and smart services,” she said.
Shazurawati agreed with Dr Karl that data and the correct exchange of data is a powerful enabler of executing more citizen services, and applications.
“We need to be open to explore new business models with a human centred, integrated approach geared towards raising happiness levels. A strong, sustainable digital foundation with collaboration and new ways of working is the way forward,” she said.
“Citizens deserve a one stop service with single-sign through a digital ID on for services as part of an effective smart city model, Shazurawati added. “Public and private partnership platforms will certainly accelerate development.”
Russ Shaw echoed these statements and added that investment from both public and private capital is a critical element for smart economy and smart city development. “The importance of growth capital from both sectors is needed to enable the innovation and implementations discussed in the panel. How to encourage businesses of all sizes and Cale to measure their environmental impact. This is the importance of data as Shazurawati and Dr Karl have been speaking eloquently about.”
Smart cities operate through the collection of data to improve and develop services. Establishing smart cities relies on smart data – or in other words – cohesive connections between advanced technologies, a flow of data combined with relevant culture change, and administration processes will help to heighten Malaysia’s sustainable smart city development: a trajectory fit to meet the demands of the 4th Industrial Revolution era.
Speaking back in 2017, Hazmi Yusof, managing director, Malaysia and senior vice president at Frost & Sullivan said: “Communication service providers and network service partners play a key role in forming the technological backbone to roll-out smart cities. Singtel in Singapore and Telstra in Australia have laid out US$500 million and US$100 million, respectively, to enable smart city technology platforms and infrastructure. Telekom Malaysia in Malaysia plans to build a data centre and provide cloud computing and smart services in a technology park,” said Hazmi back in 2017.
He also said, “Connectivity will be a key enabler while designing an omni-channel experience platform across all touch points including online and mobile. Data from sensors will enable new technologies to integrate softer aspects, such as customer perception and citizen awareness.”
In the pre-pandemic era, Frost & Sullivan pointed to 10 cities in Asia Pacific that were posited to become smart cities by 202523.
Technology and governance will among key enablers for participants in the smart city ecosystem in Asia-Pacific, he said. “Several government agendas in this region are driving the building of smarter cities in Singapore, Japan, China, and South Korea. Investments are expected to grow from US$55.6 billion in 2013 to US$260 billion in 2020,” he said. “Eight emerging cities also have standalone smart city projects, which when scaled-up, can achieve the smart city status by 2030 and beyond.”
The analyst firm’s definition is that: ‘Smart cities are cities built on “smart” and “intelligent” solutions and technology that focuses on managing and improving its citizen lives in a responsible and sustainable manner.’
Together with critical importance of balancing the pace of urbanisation with the need to manage planetary sustainability, a smart journey will separate the winners from the laggards.”
As part of its smart cities and inclusive growth programme, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2020, released a paper, which24, acknowledges the timeliness of utilising the benefits of smart cities as “particularly critical to help cities and countries manage and rebound from this unprecedented global crisis.”
Moving forward, Najib, in his recent Disruptive Asia interview25, asserted that, “Cyberview is one key thread in Malaysia’s smart city story”, adding that the ‘new masterplan has been designed to provide dynamic synergies between companies from various industries and entire value chains, addressing one of the gaps faced by businesses today: working in silos. Its four distinctive zones will optimise productivity and amplify growth with the three tech clusters to enhance liveability, ultimately transforming Cyberjaya into the centre for global tech powerhouses and promising startups.’
During 2021, Covid-19 related challenges were added prompts to Malaysia’s public authorities to embark on a track to refresh smart city initiatives using digital smart services to upscale service levels, citizen well-being, and especially important at this time – to forge the space for sustainable economic growth and recovery.
TM One, in accord with other industry players, sees the smart city concept pivot from the ‘nice to have’ to the ‘must implement today’ for Malaysia.
Furthermore, an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) paper in 2020, released as part of the organisation’s programme on smart cities and inclusive growth26, reinforces the timeliness of smart city development as “particularly critical to help cities and countries manage and rebound from this unprecedented global crisis.”
A consistent sentiment in most industry and public conversations is that the meaningful development of smart communities and cities to deliver real benefits to people and societies depends on highly collaborative public-private partnerships, supplemented by academia.
The year 2021’s Covid-19 related challenges also helped to encourage Malaysia’s public authorities to refresh and accelerate smart city initiatives to maintain as well as upscale service levels, citizen well-being, and especially important at this time – to forge the space for sustainable economic growth and recovery.
The original version of this article was first published on Disruptive Asia. (https://disruptive.asia/pushing-malaysias-smart-city-development-2022/)
November 29, 2022
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In the digital age and Industrial Revolution 4.0, the agriculture sector is undergoing a massive change by leveraging on digital technologies, especially the Internet of Things (IoT), to create a smarter agriculture.
With the help of robots, drones, remote sensors, and computer imaging combined with continuously progressing machine learning and analytical tools, farmers are monitoring crops, surveying and mapping the fields and using data-driven insights to enjoy higher productivity, saving time, and optimising resources and efforts.
One of the systems that is increasing in popularity and creating smarter agriculture is the Smart Farming system. Smart Farming makes extensive use of sensors (light, humidity, temperature, soil moisture, crop health, etc.) to monitor farm and crop conditions, and automating the irrigation and/or fertigation system. IoT enables devices embedded with sensors to connect and interact via the internet. These devices can be anything from pumps and tractors to weather stations and computers. Smart Farming allows farmers to monitor the field conditions from anywhere, at any time, in real time. Using the combined power of IoT with Big Data and Cloud, a successful communication, connection and transference of data between devices, are done most effectively and efficiently. Digital Connectivity and Cloud Computing are the essential enabler for Smart Farming. Digital connectivity is the foundation without which none of the Smart Agriculture solutions can take place. It is the necessary pre-condition that allows communication between devices and access by stakeholders. Meanwhile, cloud computing enables the hosting platform for IoT and Big Data as well as powers up the data analytics and visualisation.
The value of smart agriculture solutions lies in its promising ability to address some of the longstanding industry challenges – both at the macro and micro level:
With the use of IoT in agriculture, farmers are reaping the benefits from increased agility and data-driven farming. Thanks to real-time monitoring and prediction systems, farmers can quickly respond to any significant changes in weather, humidity, air quality as well as the health of each crop or soil in the field.
With TM One’s comprehensive and fit-for-purpose digital solutions, from connectivity right down to the digital and smart systems and applications, combined with the technical experts who are ready to guide our customers throughout their digitalisation journey, players in the agriculture sector can be assured of a smooth and seamless path to the Next Future of Agriculture.
To know more about TM One’s smart agriculture solution, visit https://www.tmone.com.my/solutions/smart-services/smart-agriculture/
August 30, 2022
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“TM One is the main agency pioneering the foundation of our nation’s digital infrastructure. Through this strategic collaboration, it greatly helps Ipoh City Council in managing the city more efficiently and in an orderly manner,” – Dato’ Rumaizi bin Baharin, Ipoh Mayor.
With the blend of heritage, food and great scenery, the Lonely Planet ranked Ipoh as one of the best cities in Asia to visit. As a hotspot for tourism, the bustling city provides abundant business opportunities. The city has harnessed this potential by increasing the readiness of its digital infrastructure for mobile and fixed broadband internet.
Keeping this in mind, Ipoh envisions becoming one of the first smart cities in Malaysia by 2030. The Smart City 2030 action plan targets seven domains – Smart Living, Smart Environment, Smart Governance, Smart People, Smart Digital Infrastructure, Smart Economy and Smart Mobility – to effectively address urbanisation challenges faced by the people of Ipoh and to realise Ipoh as a Green and Low Carbon City by 2030. We are embarking on a journey to prepare for a digital future, with TM One acting as the digital enabler and provider to assist the city in its transformation.
In conjunction with the City Leap Summit 2022, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was established between The Ipoh City Council and TM One. The strategic collaboration includes several initiatives that are planned and will be implemented:
One of the most remarkable achievements is the implementation of smart traffic lights. TM One’s STARS leverages AI-enabled sensors at intersections to measure the average waiting time and identify vehicle motions, thereby adjusting green light duration based on real-time congestion, and improve the journey time. This solution also help to reduce the carbon emitted by the vehicle that is using the junction and this is in line with Ipoh Green City Vision to achieve low carbon city. Additional to the benefits, STARS is a single monitoring platform that provides relevant personnel with a centralised viewing of road conditions and equipped with real-time fault notification that triggers alarms through the Telegram chat application. This will allow the relevant personnel to take swift actions and dispatching manpower on-site when needed.
As a result, the smart traffic light solution has improved traffic flow in one of the busiest streets, Jalan Sultan Idris, by 51%. This solution also has led to a 7,500 kg decrease in carbon dioxide emissions in a month – in line with Ipoh’s goal to be a Low Carbon City by 2030.
FORCE satisfies the need for a fluid system to connect the call centre agents, dispatchers and service technicians to attend to citizens’ complaints and inquiries for better communication and coordination. It allows the teams to promptly respond to public complaints and emergencies by accessing real-time ticket statuses. Also, the all-in-one platform automates task scheduling and team management, tracks real-time progress of on-site maintenance and provides access to customer profiles on the go – modernizing the city’s field service solution. FORCE is envisioned to be the system support for MBI’s existing myAduan@MBI citizen app to improve its customer experience, better cost management, and internal resource management.
The Ipoh City Council aspires to establish its first digital call centre via outsourcing. The digital call centre aims to solve the challenges of handling multilingual support requests and reduce abandoned call rates, while elevating critical issues to relevant parties when necessary. Consequently, the city can free up resources and optimise costs, while ensuring the best customer service for the people of Ipoh.
TM One Business Services (BPO) with more than 15 years of contact centre experience in Malaysia, leveraging on our Center of Expertise will be sharing the best practice; which aligned to the Industry Standards and Best Practices to help Ipoh City Council to establish the citizen engagement centre and ultimately elevate the citizen experience to the higher level.
Ipoh aims to be one of the first cities in Malaysia to enable 5G, and TM One plans to support this vision with the provision of free 5G wifi in selected areas. Additionally, a digital fibre connectivity superhighway and smart surveillance systems is being planned for Ipoh citizens.
Smart technologies help Ipoh save cost, shorten commutes, reduce carbon emission rates, and most importantly boost the quality of life for the people of Ipoh. In the long term, smart cities will spur higher citizen and government engagement as they begin to remove the communication barriers and increase the trust between citizens and officials. With the great synergy between both parties, Dato’ Rumaizi aspires to achieve more milestones in collaboration with TM One.
“My hope is that together with TM One, we will explore even more opportunities and smart technologies towards enhancing lives for the people of Ipoh.” – Dato’ Rumaizi bin Baharin, Ipoh Mayor.
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Smart cities are like the humans who live in them, behaving like complex creatures, constantly collecting and transporting information to make better sense of the world. In other words, they are alive.
And like all living things, smart cities possess DNA. In its conventional definition, DNA is biological, but in this context, the DNA of a smart city is entirely different. The engine that drives the ideal smart city lies in its’ usage of technology, designed to support and enhance the lives of the human beings living in them. Each city requires a unique arsenal of technological solutions, chosen to fulfil the specific needs of its citizens, economy and environment that contributes to the success of each smart city
While certain cities thrive on an abundance of Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices, intelligent kiosks and computers, others may prefer more minimalistic, hardware-lite designs. For devices to deliver life-improving benefits for their citizens, smart cities must have high-speed connectivity and IoT networks with sufficient coverage to penetrate all parts of the cities, including in-building areas. Also, successful smart cities usually have a platform and application layer that can conduct analytics to transform data into meaningful information, viewed in a command centre.
Similar to how human abilities can be enhanced through natural growth, self-actualisation or technological aids, smart cities have ways to boost their capabilities as well. Here are a few good places to start:
A hyper connected systems need to be in place for a smart city to meet efficiency, sustainability, productivity, and safety objectives. Reliable, high coverage, high speed and low latency connectivity networks form the foundation for almost all smart city systems and are things all smart cities need.
For example, a smart city should have a tech-based delivery infrastructure for public utilities such as water, electricity, waste, sanitation, sewerage and government services built on real-time connectivity. Connected technologies and IoT solutions that can constantly match the changing supply-demand gaps can rapidly improve living standards when integrated with existing infrastructure.
Local councils need to identify and prioritise the fundamental locations, facilities and infrastructure where they would deploy the millions of sensors and IoT devices and solutions in phases towards developing and building an action focused infrastructure framework masterplan or blueprint that would yield meaningful life impacting living and social environment to the towns and cities.
As digital and physical infrastructures increasingly converge, integrate, and interoperate, smart cities must embed the proper cybersecurity and privacy measures in each stage of development. Local councils must also sync cybersecurity strategies across smart city networks and design appropriate security and governance structures to protect their citizens.
The thousands of smart devices are double-edged swords. While they collect and feed helpful information into smart applications, they open up vulnerabilities in the more extensive IoT network. Physical tampering with smart devices can lead to backdoors and malicious implants that can potentially give unauthorised access to black-hat hackers and cyber terrorists.
In short, smart cities that thrive on the abundance of data collected by the network of sensors need to be mindful of data security. While it helps authorities monitor the health of its city, the possibility of a data breach needs mitigation to avoid crippling of city operations. Therefore, robust security policies and management is needed to ensure that governance over sensitive and personal data is practised and automatically managed across the digital, smart services and IoT solutions and systems deployed.
Even though data can be tough to handle, smart cities are valuable reservoirs of data. Effective data sharing and access to this data can unleash new opportunities to innovate and generate social and economic benefits. This practice is estimated to create the above benefits worth between 0.1% to 4.0% of GDP.
All data from devices, people, systems, and the environment go through a transformation process involving data management, integration, machine learning, and advanced analytics to become information that addresses real-time incidents and assists city planning.
One key area that benefits data analytics is the smart government component. For example, conventional government censuses are expensive to implement and often collect inaccurate data, leading to the low effectiveness of newly designed policies and initiatives. With accurate and reliable data, governments can better understand the problems, and improve policy-making abilities by solving the root causes.
Other areas of benefit include financial health, improved outcomes, operational efficiency, public engagement, crisis management and others.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is the piece of the puzzle that puts the word ‘smart’ into smart cities. By combining modern machine-learning, natural language processing (NLP), and computer vision with huge data lakes, AI is primed to drive efficiency and solve most problems local councils face.
As AI systems are fed with tons of data, the technology can identify areas of improvement and recommend an effective solution. For instance, AI-intelligent surveillance systems can provide continuous protection for citizens and effective system operations of the cities. This system uses facial and object recognition, behavioural and movement analysis algorithms and objective-detection programs to analyse live video feeds and identify potential risks or threats.
Therefore, gaining extra insights into niche aspects of a city by using AI is the natural step in the evolution of modern-day smart cities.
In Malaysia, many States have already started implementing smart city projects with the federal guidelines of Malaysia Smart City Framework, MSCF. These plans mainly revolve around transportation and cashless payments – two crucial focus in society.
Moving forward, smart city planners must adopt a systems approach, meaning that authorities need to compartmentalise the goals of adopting a smart city.
At TM One we applaud the commitments and efforts of various local smart city initiatives and we understands the enormous tasks and planning required. Our talents, partners and solutions are ready to help local governments turn their blueprints into citizen-focused action plans that will move the needle in terms of turning Malaysia into a digital-first, smart-city nation.
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Five years ago, the conversation surrounding smart cities was in its infancy, with most topics revolving around demystifying the technology behind them. Today, cities around the world have moved past demystification and are taking great strides in implementation. Globally, there are several shining examples we can turn to for inspiration;
While we are witnessing the transformation of several cities worldwide, what are the required factors that make a city ‘smart’?
Developing a smart city is not a task that can be sustained with an ad-hoc approach. Instead, a holistic vision is required to steer decision-making and guide action plans toward implementing realistic solutions that deliver tangible results that can enhance the lifestyles and living quality of all citizens within the city.
The Malaysia Smart City Framework (MSCF) has offered several initiatives such as MyDigital, GTMP and JENDELA as official ‘textbook approaches’ or suggested priorities. Local councils or Pihak Berkuasa Tempatan (PBTs) can refer to these initiatives in developing the smart city vision that best fits their cities.
Behind the development of a successful smart city, lies an excellent core vision that is developed based on the citizens’ real-life experiences. The application of technology is moot if it does not bring tangible benefit to its end users.
The common occurrence of pilot projects being abandoned, with selected technologies being seriously under-utilised, is a result of decision-making without a clear understanding of the real-life pain points experienced by the end-user, the citizens themselves. For a smart city to truly elevate our lifestyles and quality of living, the solutions we choose must be people-centric and based on actual needs.
Critically, PBTs will require sufficient funding to set the ‘smart city’ ball rolling smoothly. However, based on a survey conducted during the previous TM One City Leap Summit 2020, only 2.6% of PBTs surveyed indicated that they have sufficient funds, while 42% of them responded that they required funding assistance.
While procuring sufficient funds may be an issue, we can look to Indonesia to overcome the same challenge. Under West Java’s Digital Villages Theme, the West Java Provincial Government started their digital transformation of rural fisheries by installing basic smart auto-feeders in 4289 ponds across West Java. Instead of immediately using high-end tech solutions, the deployment of basic technology allowed the fishermen to empower their own productivity, resulting in a 30 to 100% increase in earnings and effectively generating their own initial capital for more cutting-edge solutions. On top of that, there was the added benefit of increasing digital literacy among the fishermen to be more receptive to newer technological solutions.
With a vision outlined and action plans identified against the available funding, the next key factor in creating a successful smart city lies in the capabilities of the project management office to turn the vision into reality. Key traits of a great project management office are:
It takes more than a day and more than just a single person to build a smart city. In fact, stakeholder management is critical in garnering support and alignment toward the outlined vision of smart city development. Effective stakeholder management requires a deep understanding of all parties who will benefit from implementing smart cities. These benefits include more efficient public services for citizens, data-driven disaster mitigation strategies for local governments, and more diverse revenue streams for investors.
Communication and outreach are vital in building the required understanding among stakeholders. Examples of campaigns designed to encourage stakeholder involvement include PLANMalaysia’s Libat Urus Pemegang Taruh involving government agencies, stakeholders and research teams for cities such as Ipoh, Johor Bahru and the Federal Territories.
Learning from our Indonesian neighbours again, the West Java Provincial Government has taken on a ‘Pentahelix Collaboration’ model, with initiatives geared towards encouraging collaboration and participation from authoritative bodies, media bodies, businesses, academics and local communities.
Good governance is the final thread capable of tying all of the above factors together. Implementing strong top-down leadership and transparent policies can crystallise each PBTs smart city vision. Good governance can also help develop sustainable funding schemes according to each PBTs needs while delivering the talent required to project management offices. It will also support communications campaigns to encourage the stakeholder buy-in needed for successful execution.
After several years of conversation, the time is ripe for Malaysia to transform its cities. The rakyat already stands to gain much more from a smart city transformation. With the effects of climate change already rearing its ugly head at our mobility, agricultural production and air quality, Malaysia is ready to accept solutions that promise to solve day-to-day difficulties. However, the advancement of smart city technologies stands to take us even further beyond problem-fixing – smart city technology now can elevate Malaysia towards a cleaner, safer, more sustainable, higher-quality way of living.
Thinking from the customer’s perspective is key. We must focus on what matters more to customers instead, put the customer at the centre, and design the right data architecture around the customer to build a 360-degree view.
Read more about how Malaysian banks are incorporating environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) factors into their governance, business strategy, operations, and risk management to move toward more sustainable financing and operating practises.
With 3 key principles (People, Process, Technology) of its smart city development, the West Java Provincial Government has elevated a largely rural population to one of the region’s fastest smart city adopters.
Highlights discussion during a Smart Manufacturing event, featuring TM One Rejab Sulaiman, on where Malaysia today towards Industry 4.0 maturation.
Ketahui bagaimanakah kerajaan Malaysia boleh bersiap siaga dalam mendepani ancaman dan risiko siber di era transformasi digital.
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