IoT in Malaysia – 2017 In Review

As we end the year 2017, Malaysia’s National IoT Strategic Roadmap has reached 2.5 years old in maturity. Below are some of my personal opinions regarding the Malaysia’s journey towards building a new economy based on IoT:

  1. My Opinion – Malaysia’s National Strategic Roadmap (July 10, 2015)
  2. Malaysia’s National IoT Strategic Roadmap – 2016 In Review (Dec. 30, 2016)
  3. 2017 IoT Predictions in Malaysia (Dec. 31, 2016)
  4. IoT in Malaysia (May 8, 2017)

Let me review the 2017 crystal ball predictions which I made earlier what will happen in 2017.

  1. Big Market for IoT Certified Training and Consultancy – As predicted, IoT training seems to take off the ground. It ranges from basic awareness to hands-on training. Our company, Favoriot has been involved in providing the IoT platform to our training partners (UTM, MyInvent/MyDuino and Trity Technologies) for their hands-on training.
  2.  Sexy LoRa – In Malaysia, edotco, a unit of Axiata, has teamed up with Atilze Digital, a division of Yen Global, to launch a LoRaWAN network, initially covering the Klang Valley region with 25 LoRa gateways at edotco’s tower sites. Enterprises are being offered access to ready-made IoT applications for Smart City, Smart Building, Smart Home, Smart Agriculture and other services via the new LoRa network. However, Atilze seems not to limit their business with LoRa since they have other collaborations with other telcos such as U-Mobile when they signed a collaboration agreement with telco operator U Mobile Sdn Bhd for the provision of 3G and 4G LTE connectivity for the Atilze Connected Car devices. The Atilze on-board OBDII connected car devices are equipped with various sensors that collect a range of data that is sent to the Atilze Cloud Platform through the 3G and 4G LTE connectivity provided by U Mobile. It’s also interesting to note that Green Packet, through its IoT business, via a 22% equity interest in Atilze Digital Sdn Bhd, is expected to contribute positively next year. Similar to the e-services segment, Green Packet’s participation in the IoT business is still preliminary. On 8 May 2017, Cyberview and Atilze’s update confirmed that “Cyberjaya is now the first smart city in Southeast Asia to roll out a city-wide LoRa network to connect various IoT sensors.” However, it seems after such a big hype, NB-IoT and SigFox have yet to be launch in Malaysia. Maybe we will see them next year. Cytron has designed LoRaWAN Atilze shield which  connects to Atilze’s Fabrick platform. It gives the user free access to 28 industry grade outdoor gateways in Klang Valley area. Here is the coverage area.
  3. IOT Platform is Key – Surprisingly, many have yet to grasp the real understanding and the importance of an IoT platform for managing devices and developing IoT applications. We need to create more talents in the whole value-chain of IoT – beginning from sensors, connectivity, middleware, applications, and analytics. Favoriot play a part in this value-chain by providing IoT platform to 17 local universities and 1 overseas university in an attempt to create the new Generation-IoT.
  4. IOT Applications –  KATSANA launched DriveMark telematics app as means to collect driving behavior data. The data will help the user to become safer drivers on the road and offer them rewards for good behavior. Currently, three insurance companies Allianz Malaysia Bhd, Etiqa Insurance Bhd and Etiqa Takaful Bhd have paved its way to boost adoption of Usage-based Insurance (UBI) in Malaysia. REKA‘s CRETA (Conscious Reka Transport Apparatus) is powered by the Reka Innovation Gear (RIG), a proprietary IoT development board which the company had been developing since January 2016. RIG is the Ubiquitous Autonomous Car Gear, which is designed to convert an ordinary car into a self-driving vehicle that can communicate with other autonomous cars. It seems connected vehicle is going to be a big market in Malaysia soon.

What are the challenges that we faced in 2017?

  1. Uncoordinated Efforts – Honestly speaking, we failed in coordinating all the efforts as stated in the National IoT Strategic Roadmap. Although there are many attempts by various parties, nobody knows who are doing what and what is the impact. Many great initiatives are gone un-noticed by the Government Agencies (MIMOS, MDEC, CREST and MCMC). Too bad, many achievements have gone unrecognized too especially from the newly IoT Startups.
  2. Slow in Building IoT Ecosystem – Since there is no concerted effort at the National level to identify who’s who in the IoT industry, many of the industry players have to work in silos. As mentioned many times, we cannot achieve by working alone, no-one can become a hero single-handedly because to build a meaningful IoT solution,  we need a very conducive IoT ecosystem. Thus, some industry players have initiated their own community and agreed to join in an informal manner via WhatsApp IoT Discussion Groups (Group 1 comprised of 256 and Group 2 comprised of 114). Others can still join by clicking the links – WhatsApp IoT Discussion Group 2 and Telegram. The latest list of Malaysia IoT Ecosystem.
  3. Slow in Traction and Adoption – Blame on the “demand” side. If we attend IoT-related conferences or Exhibitions, we (the “supply” side) will bump into each other again and again. This is not a good sign. We need the “demand” or the end-user to join the band-wagon too. Without the right mindset, it’s going to take a longer time to adopt any smart solutions in the organizations. Otherwise, most of the “supply side” from Malaysia will have to go beyond our Malaysian shores to get their products in the market such as Promosys‘ LoRa, SigFox, and NB-IoT devices. Together with Singaporean Company ORIGIN Exterminators Pte Ltd, Promosys developed RATSENSE which help building owners and business managers track rodent real-time activity to implement effective controls. Furthermore, we also want to see our dream for our very own Malaysian autonomous vehicle from REKA to be a reality.

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