By Mohd Najib Ibrahim | Smart cities are the world’s way of addressing the issue of urbanization. Malaysia particularly is recognized as among the more urbanized countries of East Asia after Japan, The Republic of Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan.
A recent report by the Martin Prosperity Institute states that by 2030, Malaysia is projected to have an urban share of more than 80 percent, similar to the current level of urbanization in Canada and the United States.
With a growing population and cities getting denser – the study also says that Malaysia’s capital city, Kuala Lumpur will have a population of almost 10 million by 2030 – the effort to develop cities equipped with technological infrastructure for the benefit of residents and businesses living in them are gaining more attention.
In Malaysia, one city that has embodied the transformation that technology presents is Cyberjaya, which started off as an IT-centric city aimed at housing multinational tech companies. Fast forward 20 years, and now Cyberjaya is being transformed into a global technology hub.
Cyberview Sdn Bhd, the organization tasked with Cyberjaya’s transformation, has put in place two core pillars in meeting this agenda: Smart City and Living Lab.
The objectives of the Smart City initiative are to:
- a) Increase efficiency of public services and city living.
- b) Improve the quality of life and create a safe city.
- c) Improve the standards of environmental sustainability.
On the other hand, the Living Lab initiative positions Cyberjaya as a testbed where new technologies, hypotheses, products and services can be tested in the real world. In fact, the Living Lab proposition strengthens the Smart City initiative by way of embracing both mature companies’ and startups’ outputs to be commercialized through rigorous testing and piloting activities.
Last year, Cyberview also formed the City Innovation Council (CIC) to guide the implementation of smart city pilot projects, and evaluate innovations proposed by startups. Led by Cyberview, the CIC consists of MaGIC, Sepang Municipal Council, MDEC, Setia Haruman, and MCMC, key players and stakeholders of Cyberjaya.
Cyberjaya was launched as a smart city by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak in May 2017. Coupled with business expansion and investment announcements reflect the kind of confidence that the government and businesses have towards Cyberjaya, this makes it a model for smart cities development in delivering national and socioeconomic goals.
The development of Cyberjaya as a smart city is guided by a 5-year framework that began in 2015, across four phases that encompasses city living in its entirety – Environment, Infrastructure, Economy, and Social. Through this framework, Cyberview as a tech hub enabler has taken the position to lead and, most importantly, to catalyze collaborative endeavors to ensure that Cyberjaya continues its upward trend towards becoming a model smart city.
Under the Cyberjaya Living Lab initiative, Cyberview aims for Cyberjaya to be a successful testbed under four programmes: Living Lab Talent, Living Lab Accelerator, Living Lab Pilot, and Living Lab Enterprise.
These initiatives underscore Cyberjaya’s journey as part and parcel of Malaysia’s aspirations towards becoming a high income economy rooted in digital innovation. Under the Living Lab Talent initiative, Cyberview grooms talent from the young and impressionable to aspiring university students. The Lab works with academia on the supply and quality of talents to meet the requirements of the ecosystem.
Cyberview Living Lab Accelerator aims to provide the necessary guidance and facilitation to entrepreneurs at the tipping point of commercialization so that ideas will not merely stay as ideas, but will live up to their potential in making an impact on society.
Shortlisted startups from each cohort of the accelerator programme go through a gruelling five-month programme working out of Cyberview’s collaborative working space dedicated to smart city solutions, CoInnov8.
Living Lab Pilot and Living Lab Enterprise programmes are set up so that entrepreneurs and companies of various maturity levels are able to thrive. With a receptive population of which 20 percent are early tech adopters, entrepreneurs and companies have a captive audience for which to test and tweak their ideas and solutions before deploying them to other parts of the country and towards commercialization.
The massive task of elevating Cyberjaya into a global tech hub requires the implementation of a sound tech ecosystem that can only be achieved through collaborative efforts from other stakeholders and strategic partners. Cyberview offering Cyberjaya as a testbed for piloting solutions is unique as it allows entrepreneurs and their design as well as development teams to gather real-time insights that can be used to shape and refine the product(s) while preparing it for commercialisation.
Through the ecosystem enabled by Cyberview, Cyberjaya is a city that offers a receptive community for innovations, making it an ideal platform for piloting.
With a population of over 100,000 and 40,000 knowledge workers in the hub, what Cyberview is doing is a reflection of the tech hub enabler wanting to do more to enhance the innovation ecosystem in Cyberjaya rather than merely positioning the city as an IT hub that attracts multinationals.
On top of collaborating with mature corporations to lay out the necessary infrastructure features within the city, Cyberview is also attracting more startups to create a vibrant ecosystem for entrepreneurs to flourish and drive economic growth.
Cyberjaya’s elevation into a smart city is further reinforced with the Futurise Centre – an Innovation and IP Commercialisation Hub with labs, programmes and facilities designed to stimulate and accelerate capacity building, innovations, and commercialisation of future innovations.
The Futurise Centre, to be launched in Q1 2018, was also highlighted by the Prime Minister during his Budget 2018 speech as a centre to be strengthened for corporate companies and universities to develop prototype products and elevate innovation.
Positioning this tech hub as a Living Lab is one of the elements that separate Cyberjaya from other technological hubs. Cyberview aims to set up a dynamic Cyberjaya, a model smart city in Malaysia that is in tune with the rapid changes of the fast-paced digital world.
About The Author
Mohd Najib Ibrahim started his journey with Cyberview Sdn Bhd in 2013 as Head of Property Management Division and in June was named Acting Managing Director of the company.
He has 18 years of experience from Manufacturing, Engineering, Project & Property Development, Operations of Transportation Hubs i.e. Air and Rail Hubs, and Property & Facilities Management.
He specialises in Engineering, Maintenance, Project Development, Building Refurbishment, Energy/Green Technology, and Facilities Management; both technical and operations.