The future of the digital economy that we have been dreaming of could be realised within months if non-essential regulations were moved
by HAJAR UMIRA MD ZAKI
NEW opportunities are springing up in areas like virtual events and metaverse building. Along with them are the emergence of new kids on the block.
One such player is Virtualtech Frontier Sdn Bhd (VTF), a technology company based in Puchong, Selangor. The individuals behind this company perceived an opportunity to assist businesses in overcoming physical limitations by creating virtual spaces for their clients.
VTF CEO Jason Low said the company has been catering to their clients with augmented reality, virtual reality, mixed reality and gamification solutions since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Established in 2021, VTF is a local business venture that provides virtual spaces to clients, virtual engagements, virtual exhibitions and many more.
Initially starting as a tech solution provider, Low said VTF is all geared up with the launch of Mitoworld — Malaysia’s first no-code metaverse platform.
“For the past three years, we have witnessed significant engagements from prominent brands that have greatly benefitted from our virtual technology for their activities and campaigns,” he told The Malaysian Reserve.
As they chugged along, one of the questions that they have been pondering is how to scale up and make the technology accessible to a wider audience. But they are cognizant of the fact that the industry has largely been dominated by big brands with substantial budgets. So, that’s another hurdle to cross.
Their answer, or so they hope, is Mitoworld. This is touted to be one of the world’s most user-friendly and cost-effective metaverse platforms. Its ambition is to make it available to businesses of all sizes.
As a digital economy industry player, VTF has been involved in numerous initiatives by governmental agencies.
“It is encouraging to see how they proactively engage with industry players like us to gain insights on the future of the digital economy and explore collaborative opportunities.
“However, it is also essential for them to ensure that private companies undertaking these plans are robust enough to ensure successful implementation and adoption,” he said.
Universiti Utara Malaysia economist Dr K Kuperan Viswanathan said Malaysia Digital Economy Corp Sdn Bhd (MDEC) should create more and continuous programmes as technologies change rapidly.
“Digital technological developments around the world should be closely monitored, and our local digital content creators should be regularly updated on new advancements in technology related to digital content creation.
“The developments in Web 3.0 and artificial intelligence (AI) should be watched closely and local content developers should be trained on the new developments,” he said.
Malaysian University of Science and Technology’s Institute of Postgraduate Studies dean Dr Geoffrey Williams said the customers, digital economy providers and users have the upper hand in determining the inclusivity of digital content production.
At the same time, the role of the government is to lift the barriers for innovation and industry-driven growth.
“So, we need to see the removal of all regulations other than cyber security, consumer protection and essential restrictions on illegal activities.
“Censorship, permits, licences or any other form of regulation will be futile in a global market where access to anything will be available online,” he said.
Risk and Mitigations
After coming this far, Low believes that businesses must always have strategies to adopt in order to overcome risks and challenges along the journey.
“Personally, I emphasise thoroughly understanding the data and demand of the industry we are targeting, and implementing various risk mitigation action plans in case certain strategies do not yield expected results.
“While start-up founders often have ambitious plans, managing cashflow is a crucial aspect that needs to be carefully considered from all angles before taking any actions,” he said.
On the other hand, economists believed that the main risks in the digital economy are cyber security and intellectual property (IP) protection.
Williams said that the digital economy is massive and covers potentially every aspect of the economy even if it is just through e-commerce.
“The companies and providers themselves have to deal with this as the law is too slow and ineffective,” he said.
Naturally, there is room for improvement for the growth of high-quality digital content. Kuperan said good value-adding digital content will attract advertisers and bring high returns to the content creators.
“This will help to increase earnings to content creators and increase the total value of the economy. Content creation in the areas of health, education and services can add value to the economy,” he said.
The digital economy industry expansion partly relies on how regulators choose to manage it.
Williams opined the future of the digital economy that was dreamed of could be realised within months if the non-essential regulations were removed.
“And if the market is completely liberalised then the future is without limit because almost all current activity can be touched by digital economy innovations, and new products and services that we have not even dreamed of today will be available within months,” he said.
He further suggested, any popular content production could be utilised into contents for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to grow their business.
As for Low, he said VTF is determined to enable the metaverse platform to be fully adopted by multiple industries and will continue seeking partners.
“I used to tell people that the world depicted in ‘Ready Player One’ might be something we would only see in the next decade or so.
“However, with the progress we are currently making, a world where an entire economy depends on metaverse commerce might become a reality sooner than expected, thus changing the way everyone interacts on the Internet, forever,” he said.
- This article first appeared in The Malaysian Reserve weekly print edition