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The power of modern analytics in Smart and Safe Cities: interview

AvantiKumar | Oct. 29, 2015
Against the backdrop of the signing with MIMOS, CyberSecurity Malaysia and Cyberview, SAS' Satyajit Dwivedi discusses using advanced analytics in IoT in developing Smart and Safe cities.

During a visit to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, SAS Institute's ​​Satyajit Dwivedi, responsible for Global Practice - Process Sensor and SmartCenter of Excellence, spoke to Computerworld Malaysia on the role of advanced analytics in IoT (Internet of Things) in developing Smart and Safe cities.

While Satyajit was recently in Kuala Lumpur, he also delivered a keynote at the ASEAN IoT Innovation Forum organised by national applied research agency MIMOS.

SAS has also signed a MOU with MIMOS recently together with Cyberview and CyberSecurity Malaysia to develop Cyberjaya into a model 'Smart and Safe City' through IoT.

He said of AoT (advanced analytics of things) was made possible by:
a)     Interconnected sensing objects (IoT) generating Big Data and
b)    Real time analytics or streaming analytics that can make "sense" of the data (AoT) for agile and right event response.


Satyajit Dwivedi - SAS Institute

Photo - ​​Satyajit Dwivedi - SAS Institute, Global Practice - Process Sensor and SmartCenter of Excellence, SAS

As an introduction, could you speak about some of the key points of your presentation at the MIMOS IoT seminar?
Changing economic situations, growing citizen / customer expectations, complex engagement models and needs of sustainability makes it necessary that decisions are taken on facts. Searching for answers we face the three V's of volume, velocity and variety of data.

When we drew up the data lifecycle it was evident that data does not itself gives any return. Searching for answers we face the three V's of data volume, velocity and variety. Deriving insights from the data to respond positively to any event needs the application of advanced analytics. 

Advanced analytics needs to be delivered to a specific context. When we discuss IoT within the realm of Smart & Safe Cities we need to "add the context". This context would provide us the direction to adopt and utilize analytics platform that deliver the 4th V - value.

Also to get success stories we need to understand that neither generated data nor analytics in isolation is the end, it is the embedding the two in the government decision making process or the consumer choice making which will generate value for the society across energy, environment, mobility and service lifecycle contexts.

From what you have seen during your visit, what is your assessment of IoT preparations in Malaysia?
I firmly believe where there is a will there is way! Hype cycle and fashion of IoT has passed us. We now need to deliver serious stuff. Like in the other countries in Asia Pacific, in Malaysia I see lot of effort being put by the Government and Industry, to define the right use cases, in collaboration with citizen community and Institute of Higher Learnings. Malaysia has high mobile penetration, high users of 3G/4G internet and high social media penetration. These are good societal indicators of success rate of IoT applications.

Malaysia is in a phase where many pilot programs needs to be designed and rolled out across the country around energy, environment, mobility, lifecycle including safety. These pilot programs should provide the variety across the context for the states, cities, cyber cities and cyber centres. And in turn would provide comprehensive learning in the areas of changing "decision" landscape, governmental process adjustment requirement, citizen engagement and acceptance, technology evaluation and also innovation needs.

We are in the exciting phase now in Malaysia with large domestic ICT spent and allowances in this area and look forward to more collaboration with the industry members, MIMOS and departments of the government in creating the blueprints of the use cases for the pilot programs.

What are the steps that Malaysia has to focus on in getting the most returns from advanced analytics in building smart cities?
Today, the quality of air and water, the movement of people and objects, the changes in weather, the road traffic, the production and consumption of energy, can be measured by sensors, and tracked and interconnected through networks in real time. 

The concept of smart cities will be made possible by two technological breakthroughs, a) interconnected sensing objects (IoT) generate big data and b) Real time analytics or streaming analytics that can make "sense" of the data (AoT) for agile and right event response.

Application of analytics in interconnecting world of assets, operations and customers brings in immense possibilities of system efficiencies and design / delivery of innovative services.  And applying analytics is not a one time work. One needs to master the art of the analytics lifecycle. It was emphasized during the event that Analytics is one of the key levers of making our cities smart.

Some of the key steps that needs to be taken, to achieve the fullest potential of advanced analytics are:-
1. Across the "context" of Energy, Environment, Mobility and Lifecycle - evaluate the possibilities with Government, Global industry collaboration, MIMOS and Institute of Higher Learnings.
2. With the help of working groups blueprint pilot use cases for the various cities across the country with the right value propositions to citizens and state keeping the principle of Think Big - Start Small - Scale Fast
3. Setup Smart Cities Pilot Program Management Task Force with cross-department government representation, ICT, MIMOS, Industry Members from Consulting and Technology Service Providers and IHL to facilitate the execution of the pilots and capture the learnings. This governance structure is critical to ensure participation, realisation of key performance indicators and ensure the corrections in the budgetary supports of these pilots.
4. Address the supply side of IoT needs with large scale capacity building program around advance analytics across Government, IHL and Schools. This would not only enable creation of regional development hub for IoT but also enable Malaysia to leverage the global markets.
What pitfalls and cul-de-sacs should Malaysia be aware of in developing smart cities?
Firstly, Smart Cities are not about technology but about effectively utilisation the data generated or integrated for actionable intelligence. Actionable Intelligence driven by advanced analytics, considered to be 60-70% of any IoT program" should become the 'Mantra' of any smart city program. 

Realisation of the fourth V - the value is extremely critical and no amount of the balance three V's of Volume, Velocity and Variety can give the returns. Creating a "living list" of analytics use cases and replication plan of already successful initiatives would be a good starting point. This will inspire new working practices and business processes.

We need to Start Small. When selecting pilot use cases which should be replicable if successful, emphasis should be given to solution functions that "provide immediate benefits" to the citizens or to the government or that provides inputs to the decision making body to respond positively to an event.

Third, successful execution of pilots would fuel the open data initiative and develop a comprehensive eco-system in Malaysia that would provide a new source of economic growth. SME's are a critical constituent that needs to be nurtured to capitalize on the "data monetization" potential and innovations on product/services. Therefore these programs should have proper governance and funding structure and not limited to and driven marketing investments of industry members.

Fourth, sufficient funding program / grants under science and technology should be earmarked to fuel research, innovation projects, advanced training and re-skilling in the areas of Sensors, Networks, Advanced Analytics and Streaming Analytics, and Machine Learning with the collaboration of MIMOS and Institute of Higher Learnings


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