Day 1 at Asia IoT Business Platform Malaysia: IoT is not a technology, it’s an ecosystem

At the 21st edition of Asia IoT Business Platform held at Hotel Istana Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, IoT thought leaders and key stakeholders from the public and private sectors gathered to understand and discuss more of the country’s digital transformation journey.

In the keynote address given by Mdm Nordina Idris, Deputy Under Secretary of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), she stated that “IoT is one of the strategic pillars in driving the existing and upcoming digital initiatives”, “more than 150 Malaysian IoT-based industry players had actively ventured into IoT business last year” and the ASEAN Enterprise Survey Report was also quoted, citing that 86% of Malaysian enterprises were exploring or implementing IoT solutions in 2017.

The main takeaway from today’s experience is that there is a common theme – IoT is not about a particular technology, but an ecosystem.


Claire Featherstone of Maxis, Mohamad Sukeri Abdullah of Celcom, Robert Tai of MIGHT, and Thillai Raj Ramanathan of MIMOS were the panelists in the IoT leaders’ keynote panel discussion. Claire emphasized that creating an inclusive and conducive ecosystem in the IoT space is important. Personally, I can’t agree more, especially when there are still many areas waiting for the Malaysian IoT community to explore in depth. There are so many areas for improvement that it almost feels like there are too much exciting things to do, to a point where you feel like you do not where to start. Some of these areas include security, policy, cost and talent. Other than IoT, we are also hearing words like machine learning, artificial intelligence and robotics being mentioned frequently. The world is moving so fast, and it gives the feeling that all we do is to play catch-up.

Interesting enough, there are more Malaysian companies expressing that they are willing to go with digital transformation/IoT adoption, but they still do not know the way to go about doing it. The answers were suggested by technology solution providers during the trends & outlook session, where they recommended a 3-step approach to enable organizational IoT adoption. The immediate after-thought I had, after listening to these speeches, was that it is often easy for organizations to follow a trend and to think big, but at the end of the day, it is really about starting small and building up levels of understanding as integration progresses.

Dr. Jean Liu, Chairman of Future Manufacturing Committee of Taiwan IoT Technology and Industry Association (TwIoTA) mentioned “there is not one provider in the market now that is able to provide a perfect solution with everything included” and this is where she thought more partnership and collaboration should take place, to create a stronger ecosystem. Sharing what one speaker mentioned on stage, “IoT has to be end-to-end, with every step of the way interconnected.”

Apart from creating a closely-knit ecosystem in Malaysia, Mr. Ngan Cheng Hwa, Deputy Managing Director (Education & Training) of German Malaysian Institute shared some truthful insights to digital transformation and Industry 4.0 in the Malaysian industrial arena. While he questioned the validity of Industry 3.0 (let alone Industry 4.0), he also urged the country to take a more practical approach in terms of talent development, in order to see results solving existing talent/manpower challenges. And I agree with him on this, too. It’s not about following the trend of the world, but more about laying a solid foundation for the good of the country, in a long run.

Key areas discussed in the transport & logistics session revolved around real-time monitoring, having heard several examples of how real time monitoring, machine learning and robots being deployed in operation processes in these land transport and aviation enterprises, I do think that the Malaysian transport industry seems to be more mature in terms of digital transformation. But these deployments are not without obstacles and the challenge that resonated among the panelists was data privacy.

From what I have learned from Day 1, quoting MOSTI’s remarks, “IoT will not be a single-player game nor will it be dominated by a single technology”, and I guess I am not the only person who agrees with this.

Here’s a few takeaways from delegates who have attended Day 1 with me,

“Embrace change with IoT! IoT is vital in providing innovative business opportunities,
and growth and development prospects! Together we bring Asia to the next level!”
Guat Ting Ong, Manager at Prudential Assurance Malaysia Berhad

“Internet of things (IoT) is all about a smart “ecosystem” connected to physical objects
through internet at anytime and anywhere.”
Senior Executive IT, IT Strategy & Information Management at Malaysia Airports

“66% of companies surveyed said their Digital Transformation (DX) is impossible without IoT.
Confirming IoT as one of the key foundation for DX.”
Fauzan Mohamad, General Manager (Digital) at Tenaga Nasional Berhad 

Last but not least, this year’s Malaysia Enterprise Innovation Award recipients are Felda Global Ventures and Fraser & Neave. This is definitely an encouraging and promising move we are seeing – for more local SMEs and large enterprises to digitize and innovate!

If you’re interested to learn more details about both panel discussions or other topics presented at the conference, please leave a comment below or email me at [email protected]

Lynne Yang

24 April 2018

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