Thursday, 25 April 2019

Vital to recognise different talent dimensions

It goes without saying that the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0) has reached our shores, demanding immediate adaptation and deployment to re-align the current and upcoming talent pool to fill positions within the industry that require quick access and capacity building to compete in the new era of connectivity.
The good news is – first, Industry 4.0 may be seen as an equaliser to global economy, as such disruptions to the way businesses of today are conducted will change, making the industrial revolution a problem not unique to any country, whether they are in advanced or developing stages.
Second and more importantly, our country has been responsive to adapting to changes – the National Policy for Industry 4.0 was a timely announcement and the applications and adoption of science and engineering within the society has been much debated in recent times.
At the core of any capacity building is the development of human talent. The underlying question, however, is the need to re-examine the way society perceives qualifications of talent to match one that is compliant and in line with Industry 4.0.
In a world where multi-disciplinary talent is ever more relevant, the recognition of different talent dimensions is important to ensure the workforce compositions are effective in implementing the appropriate Industry 4.0 strategies within businesses – be it management, creative, operational or administrative positions.
Furthermore, the emphasis of continuous learning – including opportunities to access it – becomes more and more pertinent. While in the olden days, new skills and learning were possible through raw experience alone, the rapid technology turnover rates seen today often create difficulty to acquire and adapt new skills, as access to technology infrastructure becomes scarce, due to budget or management constraints of individual businesses.
Herein, within the depths of hundreds of automotive and surrounding-sectors businesses, lie the strength of  thousands of talented Malaysians with strong foundations in science, engineering and technology that can be moulded further into the talent that will take Malaysia’s economic value to global heights.
The first step in this process is the MARii (Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute) Academy of Technology – previously called the MAI Resource Centre – located in Bukit Beruntung, Selangor.
It has been the central location for MARii’s Human Capital Development programmes – IPC (Industry Led Professional Certificate), AICE (Automotive Industry Certificate Engineering) and other plans developed specifically to enhance the capabilities of those entering and currently working within the entire breadth of the automotive sector.
To ate, more than forty thousand Malaysians have joined the workforce or enhanced their careers after graduating from human capital development programmes conducted through the MARii Academy – focusing on key aspects that allow them to possess the needed competencies to deliver in a competitive environment.
To accelerate the development of Industry 4.0 compliance within Malaysian talent, programmes specific to technology adoption within Industry 4.0 will be introduced soon.
New IPC (industrial PC) curricula in the Internet-of-things, and  smart Manufacturing and robotics will be introduced for those prone to take the skills career route.
At the same time, MARii is collaborating with Swinburne University of Technology to develop programmes for Advanced Diploma and Associate Degree in Industry 4.0.
Developed for university graduates and the current workforce, the programmes are structured within the working environment to deliver a continuous learning process based on real time experience, supplemented by practical training and solid concepts – based on learning principles in line withTechnical and Vocational Education and Training.
These programmes will equip graduates with strong and relevant technical knowledge and skills in additive manufacturing, smart manufacturing, process simulation, big data analytics and management, among others.
The MARii Academy of Technology will serve as an important centre in accelerating the adoption of technology from the human capital standpoint. Besides being a centre of knowlegde and skills, it is also be a place where learning is designed to be continous, relevant and in line with the current and future demands of the connected mobility sector.
The writer is the chief executive officer of Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii)

Thursday, 18 April 2019

A showcase of Malaysian firms’ capabilities

On Sunday, the Malaysia Autoshow 2019 closed it curtains for the fifth time – signalling its continued presence in promoting latest technologies for the last half decade since it was introduced in 2015.

Since its introduction, the autoshow has not only grown in size, but there has been new elements and concepts continuously infused into the show, adding a uniqueness and new angles that bring it closer to the high standards of global and regional autoshows.

Along with more than 100 latest models and variants from the origanal equipment manufacturer in Malaysia, for the first time at the show, the public was introduced to the Perodua X-Concept car.

We hope that more such displays will be added to future autoshows, allowing Malaysians a showcase that rivals the great motor shows of the world.

The autoshow also hosted the International Auto Modified (IAM), a custom car display that signalled international participation of aftermarket showcases at the Malaysia Autoshow.

In line with the Autoshow’s theme – “Mobility for All” - the most significant twist to the show was in the MARii Mobility Hall.

Visitors were given a first-hand account of the entire value chain of the automotive industry at the MARii Mobility narrative, from automotive styling all the way to the aftermarket sector.

I was very happy to see that many, young and old, were able to see and touch a life size clay model for the very first time.

The Mobility narrative closed with a glimpse into the technology of the future, showcasing connectivity of the mobility sector that will be seen in our homes, schools, retail experience as well as law enforcement.

Most importantly, the narrative showcased the breadth and depth of the capabilities of Malaysian companies - not only throughout the current automotive value chain, but also the potentials in the evolving mobility sector.

This showcase was a culmination of the various talents and businesses within the Malaysian ecosystem - a showcase by the industry as an investment in the future.

While most businesses operate on a business-to-business (B2B) platform, their investment in a public display such as this serves to create interest of our society in science, engineering and technology.

This investment is long term and would hopefully come back to us through the generation of a critical mass of Malaysians with a passion to build the future mobility ecosystem on their own.

The best part was that many of these companies are local small and medium enterprises that took a great risk in plunging into the Internet of Things sector, seeing the potential of the future, but venturing head first into the unknown, purely based on passion.

I feel extremely proud and humbled that they were able opened the eyes of attendees to potential of the automotive sector to contribute to the country's economic future.

The MARii Activity Arena was a new experience for me, as much as it was for many of the visitors to the Autoshow.

It marked the first time we got to see robots - built by our own youth – face off in head-to head combat.

Visitors to the show were also able to experience robot programming, skills demonstrations, STEM playgrounds and e-sports competitions - adding a vocational angle to the learning process in line with the Technical and Vocational Education and Training initiatives.

Overall, I hope that the new dimensions brought to this year's autoshow would attract more interest into Malaysia's connected future.

I would like to take this opportunity to convey my gratitude to everyone that made this year's show a success. See you at Malaysia Autoshow 2020!

The writer is the chief executive officer of Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii).

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Chances to test-drive cars at Malaysia Autoshow

The 2019 edition of the Malaysia Autoshow starts today and once again is being hosted at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS) until Sunday.

The Malaysia Autoshow 2019 will continue to spur growth of the culture of energy efficiency through various programmes and activities.

This year, the government is aiming to attract 350,000 visitors, creating awareness of the vehicle technologies, especially in fuel efficiency, safety and security.

Most of all, the event will serve as a testament to the increase in choices available for consumers, signifying the government's commitment to bringing mobility technology experiences to the public at large, as Malaysia moves towards becoming a globally competitive overall mobility nation.

Over the years, the autoshow has kept its tradition of creating public awareness by allowing visitors to experience first-hand the technology available.

While the access to the latest technology developments can come with a premium for many, it is important to create awareness and demand for such technology.

For this reason, the autoshow provides visitors the opportunity to test-drive vehicles at its unique 3km test track located within the grounds of MAEPS.

The logic is simple - the more cars visitors tries out, the more the public are aware of what is available in the market and more demand can be created.

It is this same demand for continuous improvement that has led to the many safety advances we have seen over the last half decade.

Technologies and features such as Advanced Safety Assistance and ISOFIX brackets - previously available only in premium models or high-spec variants - are now available in entry-level models.

More importantly, they are designed and produced by local brands and engineers that pour their heart and soul into ensuring roads travels are safe for everyone.

Thus, it is only right for the government to showcase the faces that have delved into automotive technology, not only for themselves, but towards improvement of our mobile livelihood and the Malaysian economy.

This showcase will be located at the Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii) Mobility Hall (Hall D).

More than 25 exhibit areas comprising more than 100 automotive industry players, engineering services providers, institutions of higher learning and government agencies will showcase their technologies, processes and workflows, which include those in-line with Industry 4.0.

This year the hall will feature a mobility township – immersing visitors in emerging technology in the mobility sector - as well as elements of the future.

The MARii Mobility Hall will also host the MARii Activity Arena, with numerous experiential activities for the entire family, including robotics and coding classes, STEM (Sciente, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) playgrounds, skills demonstrations and e-sports competitions.

While the Arena is expected to brim with excitement from the activities, the most important aspect is the access for our youthful minds to begin their journey in advanced Robotics and Internet of Things.

Overall, I hope the additions to the autoshow this year will further elevate the awareness among the consumers of the latest developments within the automotive industry and the emerging mobility sector.

The experiential approach of Malaysia Autoshow 2019 continue to be enhanced and improved in the future, so that more access and opportunities can reach the Malaysians.

I highly recommend that everyone attend the Malaysia Autoshow 2019 this weekend. It is designed for the public - a fun-filled day for the entire family!

The writer is the chief executive officer of Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii) 

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Increasing focus on connected mobility

In exactly a week’s time, the Malaysia Autoshow will once again open its doors to the public at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang, from April 11 to 14.
The 2019 edition, themed “Mobility for All”, will continue to showcase automotive products with an increasing focus on Malaysia’s vision towards connected mobility.
As the government’s flagship event to bring the entire automotive, transportation and mobility experience to Malaysians, the Autoshow continues to bring in unique displays, exhibitions and immersive activities, such as the 3km test-drive route, vehicle performance experiences as well as experiential insights into the technology, talent and opportunities that lie hidden within the breadth, depth and diversity that make up the industry ecosystem.
As we approach the fifth edition of the autoshow, one of the key ingredients is the thought process, or inspiration, that has sustained the Malaysia Autoshow brand in the last half decade.
When the Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute, or MARii, (previously Malaysia Automotive Institute) decided to host the autoshow, we started with very little experience in hosting events at such as large scale.
More importantly, while sustaining and growing domestic sales has always been an important agenda to MARii since its establishment, we realised that people of great automotive nations not only had an affection for cars, but also had an affinity for safety, technology and a sense of attachment to the science, engineering and innovation that manifested itself through a thriving automotive industry.
Perhaps the key myth that requires detachment in this sense – is that technologically-innovative societies are imagined as being full of engineers and scientists.
While having a critical mass in the scientific community is very important, there is no specialisation that can claim to be the key driver of innovation. The automotive industry requires artists, accountants, logistics experts and other non-technical experts to take science and engineering to a level where it becomes an art.
Furthermore, the advent of Industry 4.0 and connected mobility will certainly add new dimensions to such technological artistry, merging previously unconnected sectors into a grand industry of mobility – a major subject of this column throughout the years.
It is for this reason, the team has extensively reviewed and added new innovations to the show, starting with a new concept for the MARii mobility hall. The artistry, design, innovation and technology that lies within the entire value chain will be demonstrated in a single linear flow, so Malaysians know exactly where to match their interests to specific talents or technology components along the mobility value chain.
The end of the mobility hall will feature an imagined future mobility town, showcasing new linkages to the world of future mobility. It serves as the final connection to the MARii Enablers booth – where the participation of Malaysians in this new future can be realised.
The next connection will be highly experiential. For the young ones, parents now have the opportunity to spark their interest in experiential activities such as robot combat, autonomous vehicle programming, e-sports and automotive skills demonstrations at the MARii Activity Arena.
This is a great opportunity to take their minds off their phones and let them experience a multitude of new technologies that will become relevant tomorrow.
To encourage a showcase by the entire ecosystem, the MARii mobility hall has been subsidised by the government to allow participation by all stakeholders, including government, academic and startups vying for new opportunities in the market.
With that said, we hope the Malaysia Autoshow will continue to evolve its exhibits year on year, continuously experimenting and innovating, to spark the interest of the Malaysian society of all backgrounds and fields.
It is not only a show by the government, or by MARii. It is a showcase by the entire mobility ecosystem.

The writer is the chief executive officer of the Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii).