Where are we in 2016?

Let’s review what has progressed since we launched our IoT journey in 2015. The quote below are my initial thoughts when the Roadmap was announced in July 2015.

“Yesterday (July 9, 2015) marked the beginning of the IoT journey in Malaysia when Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) Dr. Ewon Ebin unveiled Malaysia’s National IoT Strategic Roadmap in Cyberjaya.

IoT implementation in Malaysia is expected to contribute RM9.5 bn to the country’s Gross National Income (GNI) by the year 2020 and RM42.5 bn by 2025,” Dr Ewon said. “In addition, IoT is projected to generate a total of 14,270 high-skilled employment opportunities by 2020,” he said.

Among the contents of the Strategic Roadmap are summarised below:


  • Malaysia to be the Regional IoT Development Hub


  • To create a national ecosystem to enable the proliferation of use and industrialisation of IoT as a new source of economic growth


  • Create a conducive IoT industry ecosystem
  • Strengthen technopreneur capabilities in Apps and Sevices layer
  • Malaysia as the Regional Hub for IoT

Short Term Strategies

  • Transformation of SMEs
  • Alignment with existing initiatives

Long-Term Strategies

  • IoT Malaysia
  • Open Innovation Framework
  • Open Community Data Framework

Although the contribution of the GNI looks quite big RM 42.5 Billion (USD 11.2 Billion) in 10 years time, but in global perspectives it is still considered small. There are many successful startups that are worth more than a Billion Dollar each. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Waze and NEST are examples of unicorns that are valued more than a Billion after several years of business. Today we are seeing new startups such as Uber and Snapchat are following the trend too. We hope to see similar trends of successful IoT startups in Malaysia too. Their success is a proof and testament that the Roadmap is more worthy than just a 90-pages document. It will remained on paper if the plans are not well executed and committed.

I’m happy to be part of the team that worked on that Roadmap when I was with my previous company. When I left the company in October 2014, I decided to join one of the leading telco in Malaysia (REDtone) to setup a new business on IoT. We will be launching our first IoT product very soon. And the unveiling of the National IoT Strategic Roadmap seems to be very timely for us although it was initially planned to launch 4th Quarter last year.

In my personal opinion, there are 4 factors that can give big impact to the IoT in Malaysia. These transitions are critical indicators whether we are moving in the right direction or not:-

  1. From Market Research Prediction to Deployment. Move beyond the hype that has been created by the research analysts to technical conferences to business conferences, seminars to exhibitions/expo to pilot trials and finally to commercial deployments.
  2. From Research Funding to Commercial Funding – The phase of IoT research need to move from Fundamental Research grant to Science Fund to Techno-fund to Inno-fund to Venture Capital Fund.
  3. From Management Buy-In to All Company Wide Buy-In. Buy-ins from the top management (CEOs, CFOs, CTOs, CMOs, CIOs) to the rest of the companies. We need to remove any barriers, deadwoods and the skeptics that feels IOT will show too much transparency and extra work for them.
  4. From Silo to Conducive Ecosystem – We need continuous activities, momentum that pushes the limits, the right business models (win-win) and end-user participation.

Looking back at the Roadmap and the status of the current industry, I have high hopes that if all of the plans are well executed and on schedule, we will be seeing the fruits of our labor much earlier than 2025. What do you think?”

As we end the year 2016, the IOT Strategic Roadmap has reached 1.5 years old including the opinions I have set in the above article. Here’re some of the developments in 2016:

  1. Year of Events – 2016 has seen a lot of IoT activities including numerous IOT and Smart City conferences, exhibitions, and hackathons.
  2. IoT in University’s’ Syllabus – We should have this content in the syllabus 3-5 years ago. We are late in incorporating the awareness at the grass-root level. The new “IoT-awareness” generations are just workers while the non-IoT engineers are still holding the management positions.
  3. Another Year of Blueprint – Selangor State launched a Blueprint of its plan to become a “Smart State” by 2025
  4. Disappointing Budget for IoT – With all the hype surrounding IoT, we did not see a specific budget allocation for IoT that might help to expedite all the action items laid forth in the Roadmap.
  5. Big Data with No IoT Data – Big Data Analytics have the same hype cycle as IoT but they lacked the Use Cases. Nearly everyone talked and wanted to take a bite of BDA but not many are able to provide enough IoT data to them. Not mentioning the challenges in making Open Data.
  6. Smart City that’s missing the “smartness” – We are still missing the “smartness” in executing smart city projects. Many cities are still clueless where to start even though we have several blueprints already in placed.

Check out my next article regarding 2017 IoT Prediction in Malaysia. Will Smart Cities still be another hype or will it become a reality? Will another industry take the leading role in IoT deployment? What’s the fate of IoT startups in Malaysia?


  1. Malaysia National IOT Strategic Roadmap
  2. Smart Selangor Blueprint

About the Author

Dr. Mazlan Abbas is an IOT Evangelist, Thought Leader and CEO of REDtone IOT. You can reach him on LinkedIn at or Twitter at . You can find MOST of the presentation slides HERE.
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