The Week That Was: Making progress on the digital front

  • TECH
  • Monday, 02 Sep 2019

The Footbraille is connected wirelessly to a device with custom software that inputs the ball's movements. — S.S KANESAN/The Star

They say time and tide wait for no one, and now we can add technology to that list as well.

In keeping with the onward march of modernisation, the Communications and Multimedia Ministry made two major announcements last week.

First, it introduced the RM21.6bil National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan (NFCP), which its minister Gobind Singh Deo said will ensure high quality digital connectivity nationwide.

The five-year plan slated to begin this year will reportedly benefit various communities and sectors such as education, the Felda community, indigenous groups, small and medium enterprises, state capitals and more.

Gobind assured that the NFCP projects will bridge the urban and rural divide, and bring opportunities to those who have yet to participate in the digital economy.

Also on a progressive note, the ministry introduced the National Digital Identity (National Digital ID) initiative, described as an advanced method of authenticating a user's identity online.

However, the Ministry said that it is not a replacement for the existing MyKad nor will it be compulsory for all Malaysians. It is catered towards convenience and security, whereby the Ministry believes that users will "no longer have to remember different usernames and passwords for various services", or carry multiple tokens for digital transactions.

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has been tasked to conduct a detailed nine-month study of the implementation model, as well as identify a holistic National Digital ID framework, starting this month.

On the international front, Google finally bucked tradition with the naming convention for its Android operating system.

Instead of the fun and quirky dessert-themed names like Jelly Bean, KitKat, Lollipop, Oreo or the most recent Pie, Google decided to go the numerical way. Say hello to Android 10 that will make its way real soon to Android devices, starting with smartphones from Google's own Pixel range. It reportedly will come with several new and exciting features such as dark mode, and transcription tools for videos and podcasts.

Speaking of sweet, that is how victory must have tasted for team OG which won The International 2019 (TI9) Dota 2 world championship in Shanghai, China. Dota 2 is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) videogame in which two teams of five players battle to annihilate the opponent's homebase.

OG triumphed at TI9 for the second year in a row, winning about US$15.6mil (RM65.61mil), with team captain Johan "N0tail" Sundstein, 25, becoming the top prize-winning eSports player of all time, according to statistics site Esports Earnings, with an estimated US$6.9mil (RM29mil) in winings to date.

Speaking of games, Digi's new Footbraille device aims to bring the thrills and spills of a football match to the visually impaired, allowing them to follow the action in real time.

Resembling a football pitch, the device features a miniature ball under the carpet "grass" that tracks the football played in the real-world game and rolls in sync.

Users have to place their hands on the carpet and follow the ball with their fingers, and as the grass on Footbraille is made up of different materials, they can guesstimate which part of the field is seeing the action. This will be accompanied by a verbal description by a commentator, giving users a complete experience of the game.

The Footbraille is connected wirelessly to a device with custom software that inputs the ball's movements, and Digi Digital IT head Anwar Ishak hopes that football stadiums in Malaysia can soon be equipped with cameras that track the ball during game time, allowing visually impaired fans to follow the match as well.

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