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Eyeing a role in global IoT, Malaysia opens CREST centre in Penang

AvantiKumar | Feb. 2, 2015
Cisco, Dell, IBM, Intel, and Kontron help in this first industry-led IoT, big data lab, which will benefit Malaysia's national economy, said CREST.

CREST ICDC Research Lab in Penang

Photo - (From left) Jaffri Ibrahim (CEO-CREST); Tengku Dato' Sri Azmil Zaharuddin (Executive Director - Khazanah Nasional); Dr Khoh Soo Beng (Research & Program Director - CREST); Thomas Ooi (Marketing Manager - Intel); Au Yong Ken Leong (Systems Engineer, Cisco); and Chris Kelly (General Manager - Malaysia Design Centre, Intel).


Malaysian electrical and electronic (E&E) industry agency CREST (Collaborative Research in Engineering, Science and Technology) has opened the first industry-led IoT and cloud data research centre in Malaysia in a bid to play a significant role in the global IOT industry, it said.

"The establishment [located at University Sains Malaysia in Penang] of CREST IoT Cloud Data Centre and Research Lab [ICDC Research Lab] is in-line with CREST's Phase II strategy to focus on cluster development in targeted technology area such as the Internet of Things (IoT)," said Jaffri Ibrahim, CREST's chief executive officer, who added that the facility will focus on the objectives of the National IoT Strategic Roadmap.

Jaffri said the centre was "a significant milestone and the result of an academia-industry collaboration involving such players as Cisco, Dell, IBM, Intel, Kontron and Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM)."

"I am very excited and honoured to have earned the support and commitment from these leading IoT industry players. The Research Lab not only provides Malaysian companies and academia with the opportunity to research and develop IoT solutions that have tremendous economic potentials, it also demonstrates the industry's commitment in laying the foundation for Malaysia to be a key player in the world's IoT community," he said.

The ICDC Research Lab's work will include the integration of enabling technologies such as mobile devices, cloud computing, embedded software, connectivity, communications and information services, said Jaffri. The centre will also offer Malaysian companies, the government and academia with opportunities to design, develop and commercialise innovative, market-driven IoT products and solutions.

The centre acts as a hub to support commercialising potential state-of-the-art solutions resulting from R&D for both the local and global markets, he said. "It will also catalyse efforts to develop leading-edge skills and talent that are needed in the local IoT space."

  Products, solutions, startups

Jaffri said the objectives included developing commercial IoT products and solutions through research and integration of Big Data sciences, embedded systems, advanced wireless, sensors and energy efficient systems.

New projects in the queue to use the new facility includes a telematics pilot project undertaken by CREST, Intel and USM involving 50 USM fleet cars and buses to derive behaviour analytics and safety, and will also test the centre's resources.

Other upcoming initiatives at the ICDC Research Lab include hackathons and invention challenges, such as the Telemedicine Innovation Challenge to be held in conjunction with the 1st Malaysia Telemedicine Conference in August 2015, and other R&D projects on IoT.

Research outcomes and intellectual property (IPs) that have the commercial potential will be incubated towards successful commercialisation.  Malaysian industries that should benefit from the facility's operations are Healthcare and Transportation while the iTransport IoT Cluster with more than 24 organisations and led by Motorola Solutions, works to develop innovative end-to-end solutions to support the creation of next-generation, green and cost-effective transportation systems.

One priority will be to support local startups and technopreneurs to forge places in the IoT and Big Data industry, said Jaffri, adding that CREST was in discussion with MaGIC to help build up the Malaysian startup ecosystem.

 Industry interest

Albert Chai, Cisco Malaysia country manager, said: "Since 2013, Cisco has been focused on driving the value proposition of the Internet of Everything (IoE), which brings together people, process, data, and 'things' to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before. This turns information into actions that create new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented economic opportunities for businesses, individuals, and countries."

"The Internet of Things (IoT) will have a major impact on our ability and power to do more through technology. With intelligent devices being able to 'talk' to each other, we are gradually moving toward an era of hyper-connectedness - an era where people and organisations will be even more empowered, connected, and well-informed than ever before," said Chai.
Meanwhile, Dell Malaysia general manager of Consumer & Commercial Business, KT Ong, said: "Dell is excited to be a partner in Malaysia's first industry-led IoT cloud data centre & research laboratory. Powered by our industry-leading storage arrays and servers, local businesses and academia will be able to explore, test and deploy IoT solutions that help drive research and innovation in the local economy."

IBM Malaysia chief technology officer, Lee Yu Kit, said: "IBM is very supportive of initiatives that promote a culture of research and development among Malaysian entrepreneurs and we are proud to extend access to IBM's technologies such as SPSS. The user friendly interface of SPSS makes it easy for entrepreneurs to build models of real world events from sensors and social media."

"Each entrepreneur is also invited to be a part of IBM's Global Entrepreneur Program, which brings together entrepreneurs, accelerators, IBMers, as well as technology and business experts for mentorship and development. To date, the Global Entrepreneur Program has signed up more than 100 startups in Malaysia," said Lee.

"Intel and our counterparts from Cisco, Dell, IBM, Kontron and USM are excited to be part of the CREST Internet of Things Cloud Data Centre and Research Laboratory and we believe that it will be a success in establishing the country as a key player in the world's Internet of Things community. With this new facility, we aim to help businesses grow and develop ground-breaking ideas, particularly in the Internet of Things," said Eric Chan, director Internet of Things Group at Intel Malaysia.
Chan added, "The Internet of Things is a rapidly growing market, but faces scalability hurdles. By simplifying the development process and making it easier to deploy new solutions that address market needs, with our Internet of Things Platform, we can help accelerate innovation."

Shanmuganathan, managing director, Kontron Malaysia and head of R&D APAC, said, "Kontron collaborates closely with CREST and its cluster partners to create a robust and sustainable ecosystem for IoT exploration that will help position Malaysia as an investment destination for IoT development and deployments. The sharing of knowledge and ideas within the new CREST facility is also a catalyst for faster adoption of IoT that can positively impact economic and social development, as well as setting the stage for additional IoT research, technology implementations and commercialisation."

"Kontron plans to nurture a healthy R&D ecosystem for the development of world-class IoT solutions by bringing a wealth of IoT healthcare development tools and evaluation kits that allow CREST partners to more easily develop solutions and connectivity to an open platform. Our knowledge and resources can also help jump-start and initiate the prototype and product development activities for local companies," said Shanmuganathan. This knowledge allows us to more quickly establish a relevant use case result at the new CREST IoT Lab. Cluster partners and other relevant IoT interest group will be able to witness how IoT connected solutions are developed and rolled out as well."

"The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of our Iconic Research projects in partnership with the industry to create a platform for us to explore research opportunities and applications within the IoT industry. It is also an opportunity for deeper collaboration with the industry to support the IoT initiative for the country," said Professor Dato' Dr Omar Osman, vice-chancellor, Universiti Sains Malaysia.

CREST Place, a three-party initiative by CREST, the Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA), and USM, provides support for startups and medium Malaysian E&E companies to incubate, innovative products and solutions within the R&D ecosystem. With an initial 10,000 sq ft floor space provided by University Sains Malaysia (USM), CREST Place functions as technology incubator, shared workspace, and start-up offices.


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