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Jun
22
Malaysia’s Cyberjaya to get smart city boost
Posted by Thang Le Toan on 22 June 2017 07:32 AM

Tipped as Malaysia's Silicon Valley, the Cyberjaya township will pilot a slew of smart city projects, including e-payments and mobile bus ticketing

A pilot programme slated to commence in the third quarter of 2017 will give Malaysia’s Cyberjaya the needed boost to realise its ambitions of becoming a smart city.

Led by payments technology supplier Mastercard, the programme will test several applications, including e-payments, mobile ticketing in public transportation, bike-sharing and the use of chatbots in the food and beverage industry.

 

Specifically in cashless payments, Mastercard will be rolling out Masterpass QR that lets consumers pay for goods and services from their smartphones using a QR code, without the need for a point-of-sale terminal.

Participating merchants, such as food stalls and coffee shops in Cyberjaya and nearby Putrajaya, Malaysia’s administrative capital, are only required to display a Masterpass QR code at the point of sale to accept e-payments.

At restaurants, consumers can build their orders through artificial intelligence-based chatbots, which will learn about user preferences and personalities, and facilitate one-click checkout of takeaway orders using Masterpass.

“E-payments are at the centre of a city’s economic vitality and its integration is crucial to promote a smarter, more sustainable and inclusive space for residents, commuters and local businesses,” said Perry Ong, Mastercard’s country manager for Malaysia and Brunei.

“By leveraging in-depth industry insights and technology expertise, we will work towards enhancing Cyberjaya’s payment ecosystem with a comprehensive suite of simple, safe and smart digital solutions,” he added.

Through a partnership between Mastercard and Masabi, a supplier of mobile ticketing systems, commuters in Cyberjaya will also get a chance to use Masabi’s JustRide app to buy bus tickets, eliminating the need to wait in line for a physical paper ticket when taking a bus.

Gerald Wang, head for government and education at IDC Asia-Pacific, told Computer Weekly that by working with different players in the smart city ecosystem, Malaysia has effectively pulled together various parties that could have been working in silos.

He said this will enable Cyberjaya to jumpstart smart city projects while avoiding the red tape that has plagued some smart city developments in other countries.

Read more about smart cities in ASEAN

The next step for Cyberjaya, he said, would be to develop the infrastructure and connectivity needed to power smart city projects.

Although a new 1Gbps fibre broadband service for homes and businesses has just been rolled out by Cyberjaya developer Setia Haruman, Wang said the government needs to put in place policies to ensure a high quality of service.

“As Malaysia deploys more sensors, there might even be a need to build a separate network for internet of things devices, like what Singapore has done, to ensure data security and privacy,” he added.

As more countries in the Asia-Pacific region roll out smart city projects, Wang said the ones that have a higher chance of succeeding are likely to be those with fewer legacy systems to deal with.

“Malaysia, Cambodia and Myanmar may even leapfrog Singapore, Australia and New Zealand – countries with legacies and challenges in data management that have hindered innovation,” he said.

 

Aaron Tan


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Oct
11
How Cloud Computing Works
Posted by Thang Le Toan on 11 October 2016 03:08 AM

Let's say you're an executive at a large corporation. Your particular responsibilities include making sure that all of your employees have the right hardware and software they need to do their jobs. Buying computers for everyone isn't enough -- you also have to purchase software or software licenses to give employees the tools they require. Whenever you have a new hire, you have to buy more software or make sure your current software license allows another user. It's so stressful that you find it difficult to go to sleep on your huge pile of money every night.

Soon, there may be an alternative for executives like you. Instead of installing a suite of software for each computer, you'd only have to load one application. That application would allow workers to log into a Web-based service which hosts all the programs the user would need for his or her job. Remote machines owned by another company would run everything from e-mail to word processing to complex data analysis programs. It's called cloud computing, and it could change the entire computer industry.

 

In a cloud computing system, there's a significant workload shift. Local computers no longer have to do all the heavy lifting when it comes to running applications. The network of computers that make up the cloud handles them instead. Hardware and software demands on the user's side decrease. The only thing the user's computer needs to be able to run is the cloud computing system's interface software, which can be as simple as a Web browser, and the cloud's network takes care of the rest.

There's a good chance you've already used some form of cloud computing. If you have an e-mail account with a Web-based e-mail service like Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail or Gmail, then you've had some experience with cloud computing. Instead of running an e-mail program on your computer, you log in to a Web e-mail account remotely. The software and storage for your account doesn't exist on your computer -- it's on the service's computer cloud.

What makes up a cloud computing system? Find out in the next section.

Cloud Computing Architecture
 

When talking about a cloud computing system, it's helpful to divide it into two sections: the front end and the back end. They connect to each other through a network, usually the Internet. The front end is the side the computer user, or client, sees. The back end is the "cloud" section of the system.

The front end includes the client's computer (or computer network) and the application required to access the cloud computing system. Not all cloud computing systems have the same user interface. Services like Web-based e-mail programs leverage existing Web browsers like Internet Explorer or Firefox. Other systems have unique applications that provide network access to clients.

On the back end of the system are the various computers, servers and data storage systems that create the "cloud" of computing services. In theory, a cloud computing system could include practically any computer program you can imagine, from data processing to video games. Usually, each application will have its own dedicated server.

A central server administers the system, monitoring traffic and client demands to ensure everything runs smoothly. It follows a set of rules called protocols and uses a special kind of software called middleware. Middleware allows networked computers to communicate with each other. Most of the time, servers don't run at full capacity. That means there's unused processing power going to waste. It's possible to fool a physical server into thinking it's actually multiple servers, each running with its own independent operating system. The technique is called server virtualization. By maximizing the output of individual servers, server virtualization reduces the need for more physical machines.

If a cloud computing company has a lot of clients, there's likely to be a high demand for a lot of storage space. Some companies require hundreds of digital storage devices. Cloud computing systems need at least twice the number of storage devices it requires to keep all its clients' information stored. That's because these devices, like all computers, occasionally break down. A cloud computing system must make a copy of all its clients' information and store it on other devices. The copies enable the central server to access backup machines to retrieve data that otherwise would be unreachable. Making copies of data as a backup is called redundancy.

What are some of the applications of cloud computing? Keep reading to find out.


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