Malaysia is ready for Industry 4.0

16 January 2020
industry 4.0

Malaysia has its eyes set on achieving the developed country status, and they are well on track for achieving it. The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth has been climbing steadily and the MIDF Amanah Investment Bank Bhd Research foresees higher GDP growth in the second half of 2019, according to Malay Mail.

But, as with many other countries before it, it needs to avoid the middle income trap and prepare for unprecedented disruption to global industries, including manufacturing. “Malaysia’s forte is in manufacturing-related angles,” noted Jeyasigan Nair, Director of Advanced Technology, Research and Development, Malaysian Investment Development Authority. “Manufacturing is one of the pillars to push for us to attain the status of a developed country,” he said at the TM ONE Smart Industry Showcase in Kuala Lumpur recently.

Enter Industry4WRD, Malaysia’s iteration of Industry 4.0. This is the country’s first step in embracing the digital revolution that has transformed public and private sectors across the world, and it will focus on driving growth in manufacturing and related industries. TM ONE, leading digital solutions provider and Telekom Malaysia’s enterprise and public sector business arm, has recently launched 10 Transformative Smart Solutions to support Industry4WRD during the Smart Industry Showcase. These solutions use big data, IoT sensors and smart technology to create smart systems across multiple industries.

TM ONE recently spoke to GovInsider on the practical ways to achieve Industry4WRD.

What Industry4WRD looks like

At the Smart Industry Showcase, Ir Ts Azizi A. Hadi, former EVP and CEO of TM ONE and currently Telekom Malaysia’s Chief Network Officer, shared some ways that TM ONE supports the development of Industry4WRD.

1. Smart buildings

TM ONE’s Smart Building Management Solution optimises energy usage with a three-pronged approach: integrated third party sensors, smart analytics and advanced visualization tools. Building managers can collect data and control devices within the building through a centralised monitoring platform. The data can provide insights on footfall, traffic and asset’s usage. It can also tell maintenance teams when would be the best time to carry out maintenance work, ensuring a safe and comfortable experience for tenants.

“Data from energy usage can provide insights on bigger things,” said Azizi. For example, when the electricity bill is higher than projected, it could be a sign of a mismanaged air conditioning system. Building managers can then choose to install a centralised and automated control system based on demand.

“Without these data systems, we cannot identify where the waste is coming from. And when you introduce energy savings equipment, we can easily measure the KPIs with these data,” he added.

This energy monitoring system is currently in trial in several government buildings across Malaysia.

2. Smart farming

The agriculture industry, in particular hydroponics, can benefit greatly from Industry 4.0 technologies. Sensors can detect the pH level and temperature of the plants’ environments using electrolytes in the water. This data can then be transmitted onto a central system accessible through mobile phone. Farmers can also control the plants’ environment in real time if anything is out of place. For example, they can turn on the air-conditioning if it becomes too warm or they can engage the system to automatically dispense fertiliser if fertiliser concentration is too low. Farmers can also glean insights on crop data and patterns from the data collected to optimise their yield all year round.

Smart systems like these can also be used beyond hydroponics on any type of farming - it can be used to check on soil acidity and water level, for instance. One of the premises in the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute has installed and started running this system.

3. Smart traffic

In cities like Kuala Lumpur, people spend almost a whole hour being stuck in traffic in their daily commute, according to the TomTom Traffic Index. This may be set to change, however, with the introduction of smart traffic lights from TM ONE.

These traffic lights reduce waiting time at junctions, effectively reducing both traffic congestion and carbon emissions. They can also monitor traffic in real-time and collect data about road usage. This data can then help in future road-building and town-planning.

Sensors installed beneath roads, together with smart devices such as cameras, collect real time information which enable traffic lights to adapt their timings according to the volume of passing traffic. If the sensors identify that there are no cars, it will send data to the traffic light controllers, which will increase the amount of time for pedestrians to cross the road. The controllers will also adjust the time according to the demand of each lane - the longer the queue, the more time will be given to that particular lane. When a part of the system fails, it will automatically send a Telegram notification to maintenance teams. This smart system can also be upgraded to cater to other demands in the future, such as clearing road lanes for emergency vehicles.

TM ONE focuses on customer centricity in the implementation of these 10 solutions. “We find customers and work with them to test our solutions. That way, we can have two to three iterations of the product before it even hits the market,” said Azizi. The traditional business models required customers to mass purchase a smart device or a piece of infrastructure, which is costly. Now, customers can start with buying just one traffic light, or a hundred, making the barrier for upgrading to emerging technologies a lot lower for organisations.

In Malaysia’s journey to adopting Industry 4.0 technologies, people have to develop the appropriate skillsets to keep up with the advancement of emerging technologies. Jeyasigan and Hj Ghazali Juhari, Head of Business Development at UMW Equipments shared their thoughts on how this can be done.

“Industries and departments have been working separately, but the needs of industries are different today,” Jeyasigan said. “It’s not just about studying IT or mechanical engineering,” added Hj Ghazali. “People need to have an interdisciplinary skillset.” Some universities have already introduced modules about data and information technology for students of all degrees and disciplines.

Future steps

Governments around the world have implemented various emerging technologies - and Malaysia will not be left behind. This is why the Malaysian government has budgeted RM 210 million (USD 5 million) from 2019 to 2021 to support the country’s shift to Industry 4.0 technologies.

The Malaysian government is armed and ready to make changes with a collaborative mindset. “As a global economy, Malaysia is a nation that heavily depends on trade, investment and services,” noted Jeyasigan. “We will never survive alone.” Internationalisation is one focus for Malaysia in their Industry4WRD plans.

Digitalisation is another priority. “Industry 4.0 is all about digitalisation,” according to Ahmad Fairuz Bin Mohamed Noor, Principal Assistant Director from the National Cyber Security Agency (NACSA). The organisation has come on board to facilitate cybercrime awareness and protection in the country. Cyber technology is now the main enabler for every sector, according to Ahmad Fairuz. “It’s not limited to communication or information technology per se. Many services are highly dependent on digital technology,” he added. On top of cybersecurity boosts, 5G trials have already begun in several states in Malaysia beginning October 1, reports The Star.

TM ONE recently joined hands with Malaysia’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry to support the Readiness Assessment (RA) initiative for Industry4WRD. This initiative, which started in July 2019, helps manufacturing companies understand how eligible they are for adopting emerging technologies. Assessors will also recommend strategies and areas of improvement for adopting Industry 4.0.

Malaysia is taking bold steps to propel its economy forward with the deployment of emerging technologies through Industry4WRD. Internationalisation and digitalisation are the country’s key focuses for building a resilient economy and future.


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