Earlier this week, the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation
(MDEC), the lead agency for driving the digital economy in Malaysia, together
with Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL or Kuala Lumpur City Hall), and Alibaba
Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group, announced
a collaboration to develop Malaysia’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) ecosystem
through the introduction of Malaysia City Brain.
This announcement is in line with Malaysia’s commitment to
develop the National AI Framework, which was announced
by Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, in
2017. The National AI Framework is an expansion of the National Big Data
The key players involved in Malaysia City Brain are Alibaba Cloud, MDEC and DBKL.
DBKL is providing access to camera live feeds, traffic light information as well as information on any events and road work, while MDEC is leading the data analytics and project management for the City Brain. MDEC has issued a Call-for-Collaboration for selecting private sector partners to operate the Malaysia City Brain post pilot stage, and it will continue to facilitate the funnelling of relevant data sets from both the public and private sector into the platform.
Alibaba Cloud is the platform provider and subject matter expert. Alibaba’s City Brain was deployed in Hangzhou, China
in 2016, reducing traffic congestion and enabling faster response to illegal
parking and traffic accidents, which are automatically detected. According
the system produced reports of traffic violations with up to 92 percent
accuracy, emergency vehicles reaching their destinations in half the time and
overall increase in traffic speed by 15 percent.
Malaysia is the first country outside of China to adopt the
City Brain. Malaysia City Brain offers a comprehensive suite of acquisition,
integration, and analysis of big and heterogeneous data generated by a
diversity of sources in urban spaces, through video and image recognition, data
mining and machine learning technology. The City Brain is expected to enable
city council and urban planners to make better decisions for the community.
During the first phase of the implementation, Malaysia City
Brain will be used in traffic management to improve mobility in the city. A
three-fold outcome is expected including analysis of traffic conditions,
optimisation of traffic signals and detection of accidents or traffic
incidents. Malaysia City Brain will begin with a base of 382 cameras feeds and
input from 281 traffic light junctions, concentrated within central Kuala
Leveraging its massive cloud computing and data processing
capabilities, the City Brain can optimise the flow of vehicles and traffic
signals by calculating the time to reach intersections. It will also be able to
generate structured summaries of data, such as traffic volume and speed
according to lanes, which can be used to facilitate other tasks including
Phase one will cover 66.4 Km with 281 Intersections including areas such as Jalan Tun Razak, Jalan Sultan Ismail and KL Business Centre. It will also include surface streets, interstate highways, public transportation, and emergency vehicle response. In the second phase, there are plans to expanded the coverage reach to include the rest of Kuala Lumpur- inbound and outbound highways.Other than traffic related solutions, the platform could also be expanded to other areas such as safety, security & surveillance, Environment monitoring, Healthcare, Energy, Waste & cleaning management and Public infrastructure.
Datuk Yasmin Mahmood, CEO of MDEC said, “As a digital
economy nation, Malaysia should embrace AI revolution and make the most of the
data economy. The collaboration with DBKL and Alibaba Cloud is another leap
towards digitising Malaysia, where knowledge-sharing and the crossover of best
practices transpire. As we set our sights on the future, we are excited about
the prospects this partnership will bring to our community, benefiting millions
of Malaysians,” said
She added that the introduction of Malaysia City Brain is
just the beginning. MDEC will continue to work on selected high-profile AI
initiatives and simultaneously develop the National AI Framework.
“At DBKL, our main priorities have always been to
continuously provide improved services to our communities and businesses.
Without a doubt, traffic congestion is one of the major challenges for a
high-performing district like Kuala Lumpur. Through the advanced AI technology
of the Malaysia City Brain, we will be able to offer real-life information and
intelligent solutions to the people of Kuala Lumpur,” said Tan Sri Hj. Mhd.
Amin Nordin Abd. Aziz, the Kuala Lumpur Mayor.
“Cloud computing, data technology and AI has become
fundamental tools for all companies and organisations to operate effectively.
Building on this partnership, we are happy to see Malaysia become the first
country outside of China to adopt the City Brain. Through the program, we aim
to empower all Malaysian stakeholders in both the public and private sectors,
with the tools to enhance efficiency, advance in innovation and to succeed in
the digital age. For Alibaba Cloud, this is the true meaning of inclusive
technology,” said Simon Hu, President of Alibaba Cloud.
Developing an AI talent pool
The Malaysia City Brain initiative is also expected to attract
and nurture world-class AI talent, and also pave the way for co-creation among
other ASEAN nations. Malaysia City Brain is an open platform, which will give
businesses, startups, entrepreneurs, educational and research institutions the
opportunity to access and leverage on the AI tools, and ultimately drive innovations.
In August 2017, Malaysia embarked on a proof of concept for the
Malaysia City Brain, in partnership with ASEAN Data Analytics Exchange (ADAX).
As part of the partnership, four Malaysian students from ADAX’s
Data Star program received the opportunity to experience the implementation
of the Malaysia City Brain.
At the same event, Alibaba Cloud also announced the Malaysia
Tianchi Big Data Program, a big data crowd intelligence platform, which brings
together global data experts to collaborate and compete in developing solutions
for real world problems. Supported by MDEC, the initiative aims to incubate
1,000 data scientists and 300 start-ups in Malaysia by facilitating the use of
world class data intelligence technology through Alibaba Cloud’s cloud
computing infrastructure and artificial intelligence capabilities.
The Malaysia Tianchi Big Data Programme will be integrated
into Alibaba Cloud’s Tianchi
global community, which has over 120,000 developers and 2,700 academic
institutes and businesses from 77 countries and regions.
Alibaba has been working closely with the Malaysian Government. Last year, Malaysia’s Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) became operational with over 1,900 SMEs on board. It aims to facilitate seamless cross-border trade and enable local businesses to export their goods with a priority for eCommerce.