Cyberjaya to be ‘living lab’ for Internet of Things

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The MoU Exchange between MIMOS and Cyberview - From left, front - YBhg Datuk Abdul Wahab Abdullah, President and CEO of MIMOS Berhad; Faris Yahaya, Managing Director of Cyberview Sdn Bhd (Back, from left) YBhg Dato' Sri Dr. Mohd Azhar Hj Yahaya, Deputy Secretary General (Policy), Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation; YB Datuk Dr Ewon Ebin, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation. The MoU Exchange between MIMOS and Cyberview – From left, front – YBhg Datuk Abdul Wahab Abdullah, President and CEO of MIMOS Berhad; Faris Yahaya, Managing Director of Cyberview Sdn Bhd (Back, from left) YBhg Dato’ Sri Dr. Mohd Azhar Hj Yahaya, Deputy Secretary General (Policy), Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation; YB Datuk Dr Ewon Ebin, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation.

Faris Yahaya, Managing Director of Cyberview Sdn. Bhd. (the master developer and Cybercity Manager of Cyberjaya), has stated his intention of making Cyberjaya live up to its tagline of being a ‘global technology hub’ by making the hi-tech city available as a testbed/’living lab’ for Internet of Things (IoT) products and systems.

He also said that IoT meshes very well with Cyberjaya’s 9 technology focus areas, cutting across and connecting all of them. Further, since Cyberjaya is a city with a substantial residential population, IoT pioneers will be able to both directly benefit the residents with their projects, as well as gain insights into the realities and challenges of wide-scale implementation.

“The embracing of IoT is a timely one, because that’s how we’re going to life our lives subsequent to now,” he elaborated, pointing to his use of a Suunto smart watch (where once he had a normal wristwatch) as an example of how it would be possible to have 50 billion Internet-connected devices by 2020.

Faris stressed that Cyberjaya will not be used as a testbed for everything. “Where there are for-real significant implications on the end-users, like traffic management or security systems, we will work with TM and our other partners to get tried-and-tested proven solutions used in other model cities where possible. The ‘living lab’ will be more for those other companies – startups and so on – that are going to develop their apps, products, services etc. We have the environment for them to do that.”

When asked what the tangible benefits of IoT-related technologies would be to the ordinary person, Faris said that the end result would be that people would be able to live better. “For example, one of the major complaints we get via comments on social media are the traffic lights – it comes up tops in terms of the number of grouses from people living and working in Cyberjaya.

“Hence, we are working on systems that will enable optimisation of traffic light changes, especially during peak times, so that (for instance) it will not take the better part of half an hour to cross the Boulevard, which has 8 traffic light junctions over a 2.5km length. This will entail the use of visual sensors and better prioritising algorithms,” he elaborated.

Image 1 - The Launch of National IoT Strategic Roadmap

The selection of Cyberjaya as a ‘living lab’ for IoT technologies is part of the National IoT Strategic Roadmap that was recently launched by the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) Datuk Dr. Ewon Ebin at Cyberjaya (pic).

During his opening remarks at the launching, Dato’ Dr. Mohd Azhar Hj. Yahaya, MOSTI Deputy Secretary-General (Policy), said that development of the roadmap, which was spearheaded by MIMOS, started back in May 2014, involving representatives from the government, regional IT and telecommunications giants, and researchers from academia. The next step from this launch would then be to develop a more detailed action plan.

In his launch speech, Datuk Dr. Ewon said that the IoT industry in Malaysia is expected to contribute approximately RM9.5bn to the country’s GNI by 2020 and up to RM42.5bn by 2025. “IoT is projected to generate a total of 14,270 high-skilled employment opportunities by 2020,” he continued, adding that the roadmap envisions Malaysia to become a premier IoT hub in the region.

Datuk Dr. Ewon, accompanied by Dato’ Dr. Azhar and MIMOS president and CEO Datuk Abdul Wahab Abdullah, subsequently officially launched the roadmap. Following the triggering of the launch gambit, there were several exchanges of MoUs between Datuk Abdul Wahab and Cyberview’s Faris, Dr. Amiruddin Abdul Wahab, CEO of CyberSecurity Malaysia, and Sheikh Manzoor Ghani, Executive Director of SAS Institute Sdn. Bhd.

At the press conference held immediately after the launch, Datuk Abdul Wahab pointed out that the roadmap would be the key reference tool for use by businesses as well as researchers when formulating products and technologies related to the implementation of IoT in Malaysia. He also reiterated that Cyberjaya has been chosen to be the ‘living lab’ for testing IoT systems. “Last time, people liked to do their own (testing) at their COEs (centres of excellence); now, we are bringing the COEs to the live testbed. So that is going to be here.”

CyberSecurity Malaysia’s Amiruddin was happy that it was involved with the implementation of IoT in Malaysia. “It is important – now that we will have devices talking to each other, which is what IoT is all about – that security is baked into the design and the framework of IoT implementations, rather than considering the security aspects after primary development of whatever product, which is not in accordance with best practices,” he elaborated. He also noted that CyberSecurity Malaysia’s involvement meant that the IoT’s security design could be aligned with the nation’s cybersecurity policy.

In addition, Amiruddin highlighted the fact that CyberSecurity Malaysia was the only certifying authority in Southeast Asia under the Common Criteria Recognition Arrangement (CCRA), an international agreement on the mutual recognition of secure IT products. This means that Malaysian products that have passed its security certification or validation tests can be exported to other countries that are part of the CCRA (including the US, UK and other European nations).

In response to a question on the challenges of IoT implementation, Datuk Abdul Wahab highlighted the existence of multiple, potentially incompatible protocols and APIs, caused by the proliferation of smart devices, each with their own control systems. “What MIMOS is trying to achieve here is establish an open innovation framework, with open APIs to which vendors can plug in their own devices and with which university researchers can engage to provide additional value to the services the industry is providing. That is today the key challenge.”

The National IoT Strategic Roadmap can be downloaded from here.

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