Urban citizens of smart cities psyched up for Malaysia-UK partnership

Urban citizens of smart cities psyched up for Malaysia-UK partnership
Malaysia-UK Future Cities Partnership Inked. FCC chief executive Peter Madden and MDEC chief executive officer, Datuk Yasmin Mahmood signing the MOU. - Photo Astro AWANI/KAMARUL BAHRIN HARON
LONDON: The prospect of Malaysia forming a strategic partnering with the United Kingdom aimed to innovate the best solutions in solving problems plaguing the daily lives of urban dwellers in both countries is a laudable move which will make future smart cities happy. 

Why? The answer is simple, said Future Cities Catapult (FCC) chief executive, Peter Madden.
“Start with the citizens. Start with the people who inhabit the city. We try not to start with the technology solution but to start with the problems felt by the cities and citizens in their cities and then bring the technology to solve it.

"You can be sure that if technology is making people’s lives better – they can travel more easily on public transport or breathe cleaner air and access education more simply, they will be happier,” said Madden at the signing of next level partnership between Malaysia and UK at Urban Innovation Centre in Islington here on Tuesday.
Peter is understandably upbeat. After all, the two initial projects with Melaka and Iskandar Malaysia on future cities will not only be successful in innovating for happy cities but also as lucrative income generator in the projected GBP 200 billion global integrated cities solution market by 2030.

Prior to the MOU signing, Madden held a closed-door meeting with Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) team led by its chief executive officer, Datuk Yasmin Mahmood,

“We started a project and it went well, the collaboration prospered and then we did another project and it went well and on the basis of partnering and good experience we want to continue and grow that. There’s an enormous economic opportunity in Malaysia and between our two countries and the appetite in the two countries to collaborate and do things together,” said Peter.

The MOU between MDEC and Future Cities Catapult will see the UK government supported organisation sharing 40 of their future cities integrated urban solution companies for collaborative projects with the companies in Malaysia.

“So this is the platform that MDEC and FCC will get into this collaboration where the 40 companies will be facilitated to set up their operations as well as to test bed even market their solutions. Working in partnership with our own companies to solve the problems in our cities,” explained Yasmin.

The pull factor for UK companies is also the groundbreaking digital economy infrastructure and talent initiatives of Malaysia like the ASEAN Data Exchange or ADAX, an MDEC envisioned big data analytics regional platform operational second quarter 2017, where basically organisations and enterprises can bring their own data to a lab where they can use a sandbox to get insights out of that data at a lower cost with the help of data scientists.

“As you know smart cities and future cities rely on the availability of data. As we put in more sensors and more beacons in the cities to collect data the value that can be optimised when this data is being analysed, being modelled, in as effective manner that it can be," said Yasmin to Astro AWANI when met after the MOU signing ceremony.

"So we have invited FCC to actually participate in ADAX because in ADAX although we are looking at data sandbox, sandboxing of data in general, within ADAX also we will have vertical tracks around manufacturing, around urban city planning, one of them and in this particular track that we are hoping to have FCC coming with your expertise.

"And as we gather our data in the ADAX sandbox then we hope to have your expertise in how to turn this data into solutions and to solve problems of our own cities,” she added.

With Greater Klang Valley as the nation's digital economy hub and already proven future cities projects in Iskandar Malaysia and Melaka, the future well-being of urban folks in Malaysia looks to be data and solutions driven indeed.

The 40 UK companies will begin to collaborate in stages with their Malaysian counterparts within six months.

This is the second high value partnership MDEC has inked with the UK digital economy top institutions this week. Cyber security expert Protection Group International formalised their venture with Malaysia in Bristol on Monday.

Pic Caption 1: Malaysia-UK Future Cities Partnership Inked. FCC chief executive Peter Madden and MDEC chief executive officer Dato’ Yasmin Mahmood signing the MOU.