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Malaysia primed for technology advancements in 2020
January 14, 2020 News


2020 promises to be a decade of technology supremacy as organisations continue with their digital transformation. From large enterprises to SMEs, the if they still have not started or had plans for a digital transformation, they’re pretty much out of the race. The new decade promises faster speed and connection, lower latency and of course, more data, especially with the growing number of connected devices.

In light of this, IBM Malaysia shared with us some of their predictions for the country in 2020 as well as how Malaysia can benefit from the improvements in technology in the region. Be it the public sector, government agencies, the private sector or even individuals, and the next decade is going to be a decade of change.

Catherine Lian, Country Manager for IBM Malaysia, highlighted five sectors in which IBM feels Malaysia will see the most changes throughout the year and the future. The five sectors include the drive towards IR4.0, the growth of AI, the increasing demand for Hybrid Cloud, increased use cases for Blockchain and the emergence of Quantum Computing.


Driving IR4.0, AI, Hybrid Cloud and Blockchain

According to Catherine, for IR4.0, IBM has signed a strategic agreement with Smart Modular Technologies Malaysia (SMART), a manufacturing company, to accelerate the digital transformation of its entire manufacturing operations and customer supply chain with IBM AI technologies. SMART will tap on IBM’s PowerAI Vision and Robotics technology to help transform every aspect of its business from product development, through manufacturing and its supply chain, sales and after-sales service to be IR4.0 ready.

Through this, SMART will also upskill and reskill its employees to deal with the changes for IR4.0. The company will be setting an example for how manufacturing companies in Malaysia, be it Enterprises or SMEs can emulate their journey into IR4.0. IBM will be partnering with the Ministry of Trade Malaysia to help SMEs in their automation journey, especially for those having challenges in capital expenditure.

With IR4.0 comes AI. For AI, Catherine explained that although the global AI adoption is increasing, there is no concrete data of AI usage in Malaysia. The main reason for this is due to the limited knowledge of AI and what exactly it can do for organisations. Most companies want to have AI but are not sure exactly where they can deploy AI.

“Change management is going to be an uphill battle for AI. Everyone has to be on the same level of understanding from corporate to government to build an ecosystem in Malaysia to drive technology to the next level. IBM predicts that by 2025, AI will be pervasive across all industries with governments and the financial sector leading the way.”

Catherine added that IBM Malaysia is currently consulting two state government bodies on the adoption of AI, the Penang state municipal council and the Sarawak Multimedia Authority. In Penang, AI is being adopted for traffic management systems while in Sarawak, AI is being used in agriculture. Catherine hopes the presence and use cases of AI in these two states will impact and shape the way government institutional adoption of AI, which can also be a replication to the corporate industry.

Next up is the hybrid cloud. Catherine pointed out the hybrid cloud approach has become more viable as public cloud services within a hybrid environment have proven the ability to support security, data protection and compliance requirements in the business demand. Analysts say the hybrid cloud industry promises a US$1.2 trillion opportunity and 80% of IT decision-makers see hybrid cloud as the future. IBM is working with Red Hat on this.

“We know that this technology adoption will have an impact in Malaysia in the next couple of years. From my observation, in Malaysia, the on-premise cloud has a higher adoption compared to a public or hybrid cloud. It’s probably due to ease of management, adoption in change management and for easier deployment utilisation. We will continue to have the battle on the ground as the market is huge.”

Moving on to blockchain, Catherine felt that 5G would be key to blockchain adoption as it’s all about processing bounce. In Malaysia, IBM’s blockchain initiative is working with University Tunku Abdul Rahman on the agriculture of improving livestock productivity as well as bringing down electricity consumption in factories.


Quantum Computing

Lastly, for Quantum Computing, IBM believes the new decade will see more use cases and demand for technology.

“In 2020, Quantum will move beyond the realm of theory to the world of practical, experimental and applications. Quantum Computers have the potential to greatly improve financial forecasting and chemical compound discovery to solve the complexity today.”

Catherine highlighted that IBM’s Quantum Computation Centre is the world’s single largest unified Quantum system. Larger organisations like Mercedes have use cases for Quantum which was also showcased at CES Las Vegas recently. In Malaysia, Catherine said that Quantum would be introduced via IBM’s P-Tech program, which is being offered in two schools locally. The plan is to start the education on Quantum first here.

“Quantum is a very high industrial computing strategy of utilisation. Not every country or company will have the technology to observe, adapt and appreciate Quantum. The worldwide data explosion will eventually lead to data storage so sizeable that Quantum computing will have to be the next phase of the technology era.”

At the end of the day, Catherine believes it all goes down to how well the tech is shaped and developed to capture the interest in Malaysia. The adoption of any transformation journey has to be in line with what the client needs, and IBM Malaysia hopes to achieve this to drive tech and strive for better capitalisation of ROI.

“Having an ecosystem is key. If there is no ecosystem, there will not be any adoption. The desire must come from the people who are willing to change.”