The outlook for Malaysia’s ICT industry

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Transformational technologies such as big data, cloud computing, mobility and social will have a huge impact on how IT is adopted this year and going forward (photo credit: freegreatpictures.com).

Transformational technologies such as big data, cloud computing, mobility and social will have a huge impact on how IT is adopted this year and going forward (photo credit: freegreatpictures.com).

By Sharmila Ganapathy

Big data. 4G. Cloud computing. These have been perhaps the most spoken about technologies in Malaysia within the past year, where these technologies (among others), have been implemented to varying degrees by the industry.

Commenting on technology trends in 2014, the National ICT Association of Malaysia (PIKOM) chairman Cheah Kok Hoong (pic) said that, within the business world, local organisations have been receptive and experimental in some cases towards ‘transformational technologies’ such as cloud computing and analytics to harness big data.

He also added that, on a more granular basis, there has been increased interest from both enterprises and small-to-medium enterprises for ICT business applications that have special focus to improve their customer relationship management to reflect the expanded business coverage into e-commerce, social and mobile.

“With the 4G spectrum roll-out, the interest in the adoption of smart devices such as smartphones and tablets shot up – demonstrating the dynamism of the consumer IT retail market in relation to the advancements in the local telecommunication and connectivity segments. The Government’s Youth Communication Package (YCP) also played a role in boosting smartphone demand since January 2013,” said Cheah.

Datuk Mohd. Badlisham Ghazali, Chief Executive Officer of Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC), also sees a bright future for 4G. “With the 4G spectrum rollout, devices such as smartphones and tablets will continue their grip on overall IT spending and drive the retail segment.  As a result, e-commerce providers will expand their capabilities for mobile shopping and, in 2014, many types of mobile application providers will incorporate commerce functions into communications, social networking and gaming apps”, he told Business Circle.

However, this year is not just about devices, he said. Transformational technologies such as big data, cloud computing, mobility and social will have a huge impact on how IT is adopted this year and going forward, he added.

“The initial hype around big data has settled and its commercial applicability has been demonstrated across all major industries. As big data and analytics, cloud, mobility and social come together in an unprecedented way and creating new business value solutions, we will see significant innovations that will drive change. The premise is simple, put all of the historical transactional and business knowledge in one place, and then use various methodologies and analytical tools to extract actionable inferences.  And 2014 will be the foundation year where these methodologies and tools will be introduced to redefine personalised marketing.”

According to Badlisham (pic), 2014 will also see the government play an active role in the ecosystem by driving the adoption of big data. “In fact, many businesses can benefit from the inclusion of additional data, such as real-time weather and transportation-related sensors, which is collected typically by the public sector, and which would be prohibitively expensive for a single company to replicate,” he said.

He added that the wide-spread BDA (big data analytics) adoption by the industry would create other multiplier benefits such as cost savings, productivity gain and competitiveness enhancements. “Malaysia has already started in its BDA journey and the potential revenue is estimated to be about RM0.72 billion by 2020. To date, a total of ninety-six (96) MSC Malaysia status companies are involved in various aspects of BDA,” he explained.

Another interesting development, he said, will be the increasing role of data mining and big data services on crowdfunding and crowdsourcing platforms and their potential to make business start-ups more responsive to local demand. “In 2014, we will see sophisticated social media graphing application programming interfaces (APIs) making it easier for potential investors to see who else is putting their money into particular crowdfunding campaigns.”

On MDeC’s role in driving these technology trends, Badlisham pointed out that, to further accelerate Malaysia’s shift into a digital economy, MDeC had announced the roll-out of Digital Malaysia DM354 Roadmap at the 25th MSC Malaysia Implementation Council Meeting (ICM) held in December 2012, and which was chaired by the Prime Minister.

“The DM354 Roadmap is a structured and data driven approach that is designed to game-change Malaysia’s digital landscape by addressing 3 key ICT focus areas across 5 digital economy sub-sectors, which will impact 4 Digital Malaysia communities. The 3 ICT focus areas and action plan to move the levers and stimulate growth in Malaysia’s digital landscape are in the areas of:

  • Access – Communities need to be given access to affordable, reliable and high-capacity digital infrastructure, which includes broadband, applications content and devices.
  • Adoption – Members of communities will begin to use digital technology to improve productivity and enhance their quality of life.
  • Usage – More members of communities will use digital technology to improve productivity and enhance not only their own quality of life but also the rest of Malaysia.”

He added that this will spur growth and change the digital landscape for five key digital economy sub-sectors namely; ICT services, e-commerce, ICT manufacturing, ICT trade as well as content and media. “These five sub-sectors are required to grow at a CAGR of 9.8% from 2010 to 2020 for the Malaysian Digital Economy to achieve the aspirational goal of 17% contribution to national GDP.” he said.

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