Digital transformation on full throttle amid crisis

For Sunway, the digital transformation will include an enhanced remote education that taps into facial recognition as well as AI


AS MUCH as the Covid-19 pandemic has caused chaos around the world, it has also accelerated digital transformation in almost everything that we do from school to business.

For Sunway Bhd, the transformation will include an enhanced remote education that taps into facial recognition as well as artificial intelligence (AI).

Sunway Group president Tan Sri Dr Chew Chee Kin said while the group has made tremendous progress over the last 20 years, it strives to pursue continuous development in the field, allowing it to enhance its position as Malaysia’s model smart sustainable city.

“Thus, we have identified several projects to augment this growth,” he told The Malaysian Reserve recently.

Sunway is planning to utilise the blockchain technology for transparency and authenticity of academic certificates delivered to its Sunway University students.

To improve and accelerate internal processes within the township, robotic process automation technologies such as software robots will be used to automate mundane and repeatable tasks.

While in terms of healthcare, the group will expand telehealth capabilities, which will include the delivery of medicines using drones.

“Autonomous vehicles are one such field which we have been eyeing and considering for a long time now,” Chew said.

Autonomous vehicles are one such field which we have been eyeing and considering for a long time now, Chew says

Since 2018, the group has been working on a system which will allow its environmentally friendly electric BRT (bus rapid transit) buses to be self-driven and automated.

This technology is aimed to increase the travel distance of BRT buses, while simultaneously reducing the risk of accidents.

Meanwhile, Sunway is also looking to expand its business processing side, which includes automating office tasks.

“We not only look at implementing automation within the offices, but also at expanding our application out on the field.

“In one instance, we are in the middle of exploring the use of robots in our warehouses, making it modern, efficient and safe for our employees,” Chew noted.

Nevertheless, Sunway is no stranger to digital innovation.

Since 2000, Sunway has invested RM200 million in digitalisation, improving its internal processes, enhancing customer-facing initiatives and business ventures.

Today, the group has geared further with a host of improvements to make Sunway City Kuala Lumpur a township which is smart, sustainable, as well as innovative and digital, to improve our agility and dynamism in a rapidly changing landscape.

Meanwhile, Sunway also has a “virtual” workforce of 27 robots across the group, ranging from roles in Finance Shared Services all the way to the Theme Parks, freeing up valuable time and energy for its personnel to tackle higher valued-added tasks.

One of its key revolutionary digital transformations also includes the implementation of the fifth-generation (5G) technology.

With a speed of 100 times faster than 4G, the group is capable of making leapfrogs in terms of advancing urban spaces for the future.

Chew said intelligent solutions are already powering the company’s endeavours with its Sunway City Kuala Lumpur development.

“We are currently managing energy consumption, powering safety and security in our township with Internet of Things devices.

“We are utilising smart devices such as facial recognition in Sunway University’s library, smart parking in Sunway Pyramid and telehealth in Sunway Medical Centre,” he noted.

Chew also highlighted that the implementation of 5G offers great speed required for Sunway’s next-generation ideas to materialise and test them in its townships.

He added that the group’s innovators will be able to better reduce the consumption of resources and energy, enhance education and healthcare, produce security enforcements and improve traffic systems.

42KL, a tuition-free computer programming school with a peer-to-peer learning environment is among the first such schools in South-East Asia housed in Sunway FutureX, a space that promotes creative collaboration between consumers, startups, investors, researchers, as well as industry

“By doing this, we can produce meaningful solutions that will drive low-carbon cities which are economic and innovation powerhouses, and ultimately empower citizens to thrive,” he said.

To harness 5G, Sunway has teamed up with Celcom Axiata Bhd and Huawei Technologies Co Ltd.

This makes Sunway City Kuala Lumpur, where Sunway built its flagship businesses, a “living lab” in which the said three parties will testbed next-generation urban solutions.

While Sunway Innovation Labs (iLabs) is not a technological hub per se, it does however, provide a platform for aspiring individuals and start-ups to bring about technological discoveries.

Through Sunway’s initiatives, iLabs aims to generate ideas that further develop areas such as commercialisation, healthcare, education, city development and agriculture, which ultimately give rise to Sunway Living Lab and its five verticals.

Some of these modernisations have also been implemented in various forms of robotics and automation that have overhauled the way operations work in its business units.

For instance, one start-up has developed an automated zoo management system at Sunway Lagoon which feeds the animals at designated times, as well as the Sunway FutureX Farm, a sustainable smart farming solution in collaboration with Sunway Property, an e-commerce enabler that can support merchants in its malls.

Additionally, it also launched 42KL, the sister campus of the prominent French coding school, as well as the Ecole 42, to further produce a stream of digital talents to meet the requirements of the 21st century and beyond.

Despite its groundbreaking initiatives to further the digitalisation agenda, Sunway’s odyssey towards technological brilliance will continue beyond 2021.

“We hope to expand our reach to not only all of Sunway’s 13 business facets, but beyond Sunway to offer our expertise in robotics to external clients.

“This is our bid to lead digital transformation in this part of the world,” the group said.