Cyberjaya is looking at providing the relevant support to enable more smart city solutions
IN SUPPORT of its smart city ambition, Cyberjaya has rolled out several initiatives to build an ecosystem that will support and enable smart city solutions. This include building hard and soft infrastructure, says Cyberview Sdn Bhd technology hub development division head Mahadhir Aziz.
“We want to bring the ecosystem together and that means building talent and having the development programmes to incubate these solutions. Our accelerator programme, Living Lab, allows people to bring their ideation to product stage and we are moving some of them to the pilot stage, where we allow companies to come and test their products and solutions here in Cyberjaya. All this supports our smart city goal,” he says.
Getting the right testbed helps startups develop a credible track record for their products. After all, having a proven concept beats having a great idea.
“We are also evaluating and looking at ways to help these startups by matching them to other companies or creating opportunities for them to work with others,” he adds.
Mahadhir points out that some of the startups from Living Labs’ previous cohorts have successfully moved on to the pilot stage.
One of them is fintech company PrimeKeeper, which focuses on providing a true digital wallet experience. PrimeKeeper was part of Living Lab from November 2016 to March this year.
“We provide an aggregator platform where we aggregate a few banks together. In future, from one platform, you’ll be able to manage your bank accounts, virtualise debit and credit cards and even your digital identity. Our main objective is to enable micro-payments to reduce payment frictions. Our physical wallet will one day become irrelevant.
“The accelerator has brought us a lot of benefits. For example, we got a lot of market access from here,” says PrimeKeeper managing director Jeremy Chong.
Chong notes that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with shopping centre Dpulze Cyberjaya to use a cashless system at the mall. This also enables PrimeKeeper to tap onto the networks of the mall’s tenants to potentially use its digital wallet at other locations.
“The first-use case is important and the ecosystem here is fully supportive of what we are doing,” he says.
Another participant of Living Lab that offers smart city solutions is TrackerHero, a Internet of Things (IoT) startup specialising in smart city security. It offers a platform that enables security companies to be more efficient.
“We combine IoT and data analytics to enable more secure parameters within a city. Within Cyberjaya, we were part of Living Lab and that has actually helped us further mature our systems, then deploy it to private operators within Cyberjaya.
“Then we moved to the Cyberjaya pilot programme. We’re currently in the first phase and we’ve been able to penetrate a few physical assets in Cyberjaya and managed to get data to back up our entire operations. We are looking forward to our implementation all over Cyberjaya and we are looking at four states, including Johor, to deploy our solutions. We needed credibiliy and Cyberjaya helped us with providing proof of credibility,” says TrackerHero co-founder and chief operating officer M. Afiq Hazman.
Mahadhir says Cyberjaya is looking to further bridge the gaps between startup entrepreneurs and corporations as well as the Government by pushing for a more supportive procurement policy.
“Trying to build a track record requires an expensive investment. So we try to support the startups not just through funding but by providing relevant support like market access and networks,” says Mahadhir.
While the tech hub has been abuzz with new solutions and new players, Mahadhir acknowledges that the larger consumer market outside Cyberjaya is not as enthusiastic about the digital products that are being developed there.
“Our programmes are ongoing and we need to allow the programmes some time to grow for us to see some strong success stories. We are trying to reduce the rate of failures here. But we do also need to give the public time to catch on to what is happening here,” he says.
The disconnect between what’s happening among digitally-savvy communities and the larger consumer market can weigh on market acceptance for the products and solutions that are developed by the ecosystem in Cyberjaya.
Fantastic Moves International Inc special projects personnel Melanie Loh agree that there needs to be more education among the local consumer markets to accept digital products to grow the digital market here.
“Malaysia understands what IoT is but the level of understanding here is not really there yet. When we approach developers for our smart home automation system, for example, the acceptance from them is a little slow. But Cyberjaya has helped us connect with the right partners and with educating the public,” says Loh.
But Afiq says it is possible to win over a market by providing a good product fit.
“At the end of the day, it is up to the consumers to determine the product or solution that they want. But we are here to help the providers find that niche,” says Mahadhir.
Mahadhir hopes the initiatives at Cyberjaya will enlarge the pool of entrepreneurs and build quality startups in Malaysia to enhance its status as the country’s pioneer smart city and as a Global Tech Hub.