Celcom Axiata allocates RM100m for IoT

by LYDIA NATHAN / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

Celcom Axiata Bhd will be investing RM100 million for the next five years to develop its Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure in the country.

The investment marks the telecommunication firm’s commitment to keep up with the transforming industry, in line with the Industry 4.0, said CEO Mohamad Idham Nawawi.

“Among Celcom’s new IoT venture is a centre of excellence (CoE),” he told reporters after the launch of Celcom’s new headquarters in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

“The new headquarters, named @celcom, will house an academy, a new virtual academy and the CoE, and we are very proud of it. We have come a long way since our first base station in 1988,” he said.

He said Celcom’s IoT initiatives will include smart cars, smart cities and homes, as well as smart metering and sensors.

Proton Holdings Bhd’s new X70 SUV — dubbed as the country’s first Internet car — is powered by Celcom, Mohamad Idham revealed.

“The recently launched Proton X70 is a testament to our efforts of integrating technology into what we use every day. The car is powered by our Celcom network.

“We are also going to use robotics and artificial intelligence to improve and automate our daily work processes, including customer service, marketing and even human capital,” he said.

Meanwhile, Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo, who launched the new headquarters, has pledged to resolve all issues pertaining to connectivity in the near term.

He said since the new government took over in May 2018, the ministry is committed to upgrade the infrastructure, aimed to provide Malaysians with world-class broadband.

“I intend to solve the problem of a lack of connectivity in certain areas in the next 12 months, both in Peninsular Malaysia as well as Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.

“More needs to be done in terms of sending the message to the public. For instance, helping business owners understand how the Internet can boost their business strategies and facilitate banking, how it can assist hospitals to run more efficiently, and how farmers and fishermen can use the Internet to benefit them.”

According to Gobind, the ministry will continue to review policies which will lead to infrastructure upgrades in the country. One of them is to remove the entire focus on purely fiberised Internet.

“The former National Fiberisation Plan was good, but it did not encourage other methods of connectivity. Fibre, of course, is very good, but we cannot rule out other modes of providing broadband, it is all about the last-mile connectivity,” Gobind said.

He said the new plan, the National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan will strive to provide people across the country with broadband, including in rural areas.

“For rural areas, we are looking at satellite facilities to allow small communities, hospitals and schools to benefit from the technology provided,” he said, adding that the government has had a more open attitude in talking to players to mend the current ecosystem.