[Based on a Panel Session “Careers in Emerging Technology” at MyDigitalMaker Fair 2018, Sept. 30, 2018, Axiata Arena]
Question (1): Overview of your organization and what it does
Answer: FAVORIOT is a Malaysian Internet of Things (Io) Company focusing on providing a peace of mind solution to the Pilgrims and their family member during their Hajj and Umrah. Currently, we have many issues whereby pilgrims went missing and also challenges in monitoring their health condition. We provide an end-to-end solution called RAQIB whereby a pilgrim will be monitored via a wearable device using a mobile application. Furthermore, we provide to the Mutawwif (Travel Agent in charge of the Pilgrims) a system to monitor them in case of emergencies.
Question (2): How do you view and embrace the ever-changing world of disruptive technologies in your operations?
Answer: As a technology and product company, we always to ensure what we build today will provide a better quality of lives to the people and provide a new revenue stream for the business community. The best part of technologies in the era of the fourth industrial revolution is that it comes at the right and same time which in effect provide many business opportunities that seem an impossible couple of years ago.
Question (3): Many parents or maybe even students may not have heard of the types of business or technologies you champion. What attracted you to embark on unconventional technologies that you are now involved in?
Answer: Internet of Things is not something new in the tech world. Kevin Ashton initially coined the term IoT in the year 1999. Personally, I have been involved in IoT (maybe that was called M2M or machine-to-machine) in the early 2000s when we introduced the first Ring-a-Coke or SMS-a-Coke whereby we can buy a Coke from vending machine either by calling or sending an SMS to a special number on that machine.
If you Google the word “IoT” using Google Trends in Malaysia, we see Malaysians only start to be aware of IoT since the last 5 years (2013) and keeps growing till today. In 2014, we set up a new subsidiary in one of the telcos to run an IoT business focusing in Smart City. When we exited the company, we co-found FAVORIOT which now caters for a different product and different market.
Question (4): Do you think robots will take over human jobs in Malaysia? How can we stay relevant as robots become more and more intelligent, and humanlike?
Answer: Simple, be more intelligent than the Robot itself! Of course, that’s a big challenge to many of the people. People who can create robots definitely will not be able to be replaced by the robots (the Terminator movie is a little bit far-fetched, although not impossible). What comprises of an intelligent robot? The great thing about a robot is because it comprised of many of the technologies in the Fourth Industrial Evolution such as IoT, Big Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence that brings the human sensors, the ability to “see” and “visualize” objects and the ability to think. People that have skills in these areas are still wanted and are relevant in many years to come.
How about the rest? Either they upgrade or reskill themselves with new technologies, or most likely they will together with the robots such as in logistics and factories.
Question (4): What skill sets do you look for in new hires?
Answer: Four things other than the technologies in the Fourth Industrial Revolution are (1) Passion (2) Problem solving (3) Communication Skills and (4), Knowledge Hunter
Question (5): What should we do to equip the next generation with these skill sets?
Answer: Start young as early as Kindergarten. We are seeing the Generation-Z that was born at the age of the Internet. When they are babies, their parents gave Tablets to make them either busy or teach new things. I was introduced to one new company today that impressed me with his project to educate 4-year-old kids with the concept of the Internet of Things (IoT).
FAVORIOT also have our IoT middleware which we offer to 15 local Universities that allow students to experiment and create their own innovative projects by connecting their sensors to our middleware and also use our Developer APIs to easily create their projects.
Question (6): Any advice or last words for students on what careers or studies to pursue?
Answer: If you want to pursue a career, please choose the one that you are really passionate about.
In my childhood days (40-50 years ago), I always want to become a Scientist that can create a Robot although, at that time, I don’t really know what is the job of a scientist. I am very passionate how a robot works. I graduated with a Bachelor in Electrical Engineerings, Masters in Telematics, Ph.D. in Telecommunications, became an Academician, work in a telco, Government R&D agency, returned to telco and now set up my own IoT business. And during that journey, I was recognized as an IoT Thought Leader.