How Langkawi is using 5G to bust crime

3 March 2020

Off the northwestern coast of Malaysia lies a cluster of islands renowned for pristine beaches and glistening waters. Langkawi, also known endearingly as the Jewel of Kedah, plans to bring five million tourists onto its shores in 2020.

The island paradise wants to create a safe haven – tourists shouldn’t have to worry about bringing their mirrorless cameras, smartphones and Fitbits along on vacation. “The most important and serious issue that we need to see beforehand is the possibility of crimes. We need to solve this issue first before it happens,” said Azrin Aris, Director of Products & Innovation at TM One, the enterprise and public sector business arm of Telekom Malaysia (TM).

TM One, along with TM’s innovation arm TM Research & Development (TM R&D), has pioneered several 5G-enabled solutions to make Langkawi safer for guests and locals alike. TM is testing these solutions in their 5G Langkawi trials, taking place from December 2019 until first half of 2020. Here is how Langkawi will improve the safety of its public spaces, tourist hotspots and construction sites.

Smart cameras

TM R&D has developed smart, AI-powered cameras that can identify the emotions of passers-by. “The camera can detect microexpressions, and it’s in this that we have many different use cases for security,” said Dr. Sharlene Thiagarajah, CEO of TM R&D in a media showcase in January.

The cameras can help to identify terrorists before they act, for instance. “If there’s somebody who has a very determined angry look on their face, it would probably suggest that they want to do something bad,” she said. TM R&D built the microexpression recognition algorithm in-house, so they were able to tailor it for Asian features, shared Dr Sharlene.

Thanks to the larger volume of data 5G networks can support, these cameras can record high-definition footage in real time – an important feature for identifying potential suspects. “You can zoom in and still have good clarity for facial recognition,” explained Azrin. The higher number of connections 5G can support in an area also means that more cameras can be installed, so authorities can cover more ground.

‘Panic’ buttons in downtown areas

TM One’s ‘panic’ buttons, mounted on lamp posts in crowded tourist hotspots, will make contacting authorities during emergencies much easier.

Once activated, these buttons send alerts and live footage of the area to authorities in the central 5G command centre. People can also communicate directly with the authorities through the cameras next to the buttons.

The command centre is conveniently located right in the heart of Langkawi’s Municipal Council office. This means that when somebody makes a distress call, authorities can immediately dispatch the relevant services, such as the ambulance or fire brigade, to help.

To complement this, TM R&D has built a geolocation app so users can identify where traveling family members are. The app alerts users whenever a ‘panic’ button is activated, and updates users of safe zones within Langkawi. “We wanted a tool for families to be able to register their loved ones and then identify safe zones so people know their family is in a safe area,” said Dr Sharlene.

Smart safety helmet

Safety isn’t just for tourists; just as important are the workers building the islands’ infrastructure. For the construction industry, TM R&D has developed a smart safety helmet that can make worksites safer. Its most salient feature is that it allows live communication between workers and supervisors. “There are a lot of cases of handphones dropping and crashing while people are calling to report incidents or ant nests at the site,” shared Dr Sharlene.

High-definition cameras on the helmet will allow supervisors to conduct live, wireless monitoring of on-site happenings. This comes in handy during staff training. Supervisors can provide detailed guidance while remaining in the operation centre, where they can have a better vantage point.

The smart helmet is also particularly useful in emergencies. Besides providing live footage of accidents, the helmet can inform supervisors of the exact location of a worker trapped under rubble, or of the severity of a fall. If it’s a high-impact fall, supervisors will know to send the worker to a hospital to check for a concussion.

As Langkawi prepares to usher in more visitors this year, safety has become a prime concern. With TM’s 5G networks and the array of smart solutions they have enabled in Langkawi, holidayers can be assured that help will always be just a button away; citizens can keep updated on their traveling family members’ safety; and the construction industry can better protect its workers.

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