5 mins read

Bits + Bytes: A Miscellany of Technology

November 14, 2022
The Edge Markets
5 mins read

SME Malaysia and Fusionex launch SME Business Facilitation Hub

The SME Association of Malaysia (SME Malaysia) and Fusionex have set up a data-driven business platform called the SME Business Facilitation Hub to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) conduct hybrid and networking events as well as engagement meetings.

Fusionex believes that the platform — which uses artificial intelligence-powered business matching tools and provides the space for virtual engagements, pitching sessions, webinars and conferences — will onboard at least 5,000 SMEs.

SME Business Facilitation Hub members can also link to and collaborate on Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation’s (Matrade) Digital Trade Platform, which connects with international buyers and partners as well as provides members with access to export opportunities via Matrade, the initiative’s strategic digital trade partner.

Phase one of the platform is available for use and interested SMEs may approach SME Malaysia or Fusionex to register.

Touch ’n Go eWallet expands cross-border payment capabilities to China

Touch ’n Go Group, owner and operator of the Touch ’n Go eWallet, has expanded its cross-border payment capabilities to mainland China, via its unit TNG Digital Sdn Bhd. This capability was made available through a collaboration with Alipay+, a suite of global cross-border digital payment and marketing solutions operated by Ant Group.

Mainland China has become the latest destination for users of the Touch ’n Go eWallet, in a drive to enhance a seamless and convenient payment experience for international visitors ahead of the Hangzhou Asian Games.

The global merchant coverage of Alipay+ by sector includes over 1,000 online platforms, more than 10 major airports, over 90,000 convenience stores, more than 360,000 restaurants, nearly 200,000 taxis, and major hotel brands, department stores, duty-free shops and tourist facilities in Asia and Europe.

Apart from mainland China, all Touch ’n Go eWallet users can make cross-border payments wherever the Alipay+ QR code is displayed in Japan, South Korea, Singapore, the UK, Italy, France and Germany.

Google to protect election websites and individuals against cyberattacks

Google will provide extra protection against online threats to at-risk organisations and individuals during the upcoming 2022 Malaysian general election. Google is inviting Malaysian human rights, election monitoring and media organisations, as well as individual journalists, to apply to Project Shield.

Project Shield — created by Jigsaw, a unit of Google that explores threats to open society — provides free unlimited protection against distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, or digital attacks that censor information by taking websites offline. It also filters out malicious traffic using Google’s infrastructure and DDoS tools. If a website is targeted by a DDoS attack, Google’s servers will block attacking traffic to keep the website up and running.

Google’s Advanced Protection Program (APP) is designed to help protect policymakers, candidates, campaign teams, journalists and activists from cyberattacks. Ahead of the 15th general election, Google is offering to enrol these individuals in the APP in order for them to be protected against a wide variety of online threats, including sophisticated phishing attacks, malware and other malicious downloads on Chrome and Android, and unauthorised access to their personal account data (such as Gmail, Drive or Photos). As new threats are discovered, APP evolves to provide the latest protections.

Strateq Group joins ServiceNow partner programme to drive digital growth

Strateq Group, an integrated enterprise and solutions provider, has joined the ServiceNow partner programme to empower the digital growth of local enterprises. As a registered segment partner of ServiceNow for Malaysia under the sales and service programme, Strateq is authorised to refer and resell ServiceNow products as well as provide platform customisation and implementation of solutions to ServiceNow customers.

With Malaysia’s cloud computing market valued at more than RM2.9 billion and set to rise, Strateq is poised to drive market growth by providing easier access to top-of-the line services and solutions. Through the collaboration, Strateq will provide innovative solutions and work towards valuable ideas.

Pantas presents a climate due diligence solution to greenwashing

Climate tech start-up Pantas Software Sdn Bhd has developed a climate due diligence solution for financial institutions and institutional investors to manage climate investment risks.

The solution is powered by Pantas’ Human Augmented Intelligence (HAI) technology which combines human expertise and algorithms to identify misreporting within a company’s climate report.

The sustainable finance market has grown a hundredfold globally in the last decade. However, there are growing concerns that green capital is being deployed based on misleading information.

The software analyses publicly disclosed climate data from companies’ annual or sustainability reports to identify inaccurate or incomplete reporting. Climate disclosures are often prone to errors due to a lack of technical knowledge and the manual processes used to conduct carbon accounting. These reporting errors can lead to serious allegations of greenwashing.

The solution allows investors to obtain a detailed picture of their investment emissions by analysing a company’s climate disclosure. The solution identifies incomplete and misleading reporting by highlighting data omissions or the use of incorrect emission factors. It also recognises reporting that doesn’t adhere to carbon accounting standards and runs year-on-year analyses on the reports to conduct more comprehensive checks into a company’s emissions and reduction strategies.


Kofax appoints senior VP for Asia-Pacific and Japan

Kofax recently announced the appointment of Matthew Thomson as senior vice-president of its Asia-Pacific and Japan business. He will focus on helping customers in new and existing markets across the region achieve their business goals through the company’s offerings in intelligent automation.


ScaleUp Malaysia, Proficeo, MDEC and Penjana Kapital kick-start 100 Soonicorns programme

Penjana Kapital Sdn Bhd, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), ScaleUp Accelerator Sdn Bhd (ScaleUp Malaysia) and Proficeo Consultants Sdn Bhd have joined forces to launch 100 Soonicorns (soon-to-be-unicorns), a programme designed to groom the next US$1 billion (RM4.7 billion) company in Malaysia.

Soonicorns are defined as technology-based start-ups with the growth potential to become unicorns. To participate, start-ups need to have raised at least US$1 million from a venture capital firm or institutional investor, or have generated US$2 million in revenue over the last 12 months.

The programme will be executed in three phases, during which 20 start-ups will be selected to receive tailored learning, mentoring, regulatory assistance and funding from investors, government agencies and other ecosystem players.

Two cohorts of the 100 Soonicorns programme will kick off in 1Q2023, with 16 start-up CEOs in each cohort. By the end of 2023, the programme will have run six cohorts and supported 100 CEOs.

Registration opens on Oct 25 and will run until Nov 30. Cohorts will be finalised in December and orientation will start in January next year. All participating start-ups are required to pay a monthly participation fee of RM800, with MDEC granting sponsorship of RM500 per company.

Meraque’s Drone EduKit to encourage programming skills among children

Meraque has launched its Drone EduKit, which allows children in Malaysia to assemble, code and fly their drones within 15 minutes. The kit offers the opportunity to learn about simple and complex circuits, coding and programming in a safe environment.

The kit includes a complimentary three-hour session, designed and customised to engage children of various ages through fun learning activities that provide a little bit of a challenge. Learning modules include drone rules, safety, components and control, technologies in a variety of drones, and application in industry.

The learning sessions will be conducted at Malaysian Research Accelerator for Technology & Innovation (MRANTI) Park’s Makerslab in Bukit Jalil and EduCity in Iskandar Malaysia, Johor. Sessions are tailored for children aged seven to 18 and conducted by Meraque’s certified trainers in Bahasa Malaysia and English.

This programme can be conducted at schools, colleges and community clubs, with 15 to 20 people per group. For enquiries and bookings, please contact Farah (farah@meraque.com) or Suria (suria@meraque.com).


Beware of job scams, says JobStreet Malaysia

Against the backdrop of a growing number of job scams in recent months, JobStreet Malaysia advises jobseekers to be on their guard and spot the differences between a scam and a legitimate advertisement. If a job offer sounds too good to be true, then it probably really is.

More people are looking for supplementary income, owing to the rising cost of living, which feeds into the fraudster’s agenda of scamming unsuspecting victims. In recent months, there have been reports of many young Malaysians being lured with high-paying jobs overseas, only to find that what they were offered did not match what was advertised.

The tell-tale signs of job scams include getting paid much more money for doing elementary tasks. Ashwin Jeyapalasingam, JobStreet Malaysia’s operations director, reminds job seekers that high-paying jobs are usually given to people with more experience or higher levels of expertise.

Another tell-tale sign is that the job hirer communicates entirely through social media or sends suspicious emails, such as asking for personal banking details, instantly offering the job without an interview or asking applicants to send money first, with the promise of more money once the job is secured.


University e-League kicks off its collegiate eSports competition

The University e-League (UEL) recently held its first of four game titles — FIFA 22 — which saw 50 students representing their universities compete in the qualifiers and playoff rounds to earn a spot in the grand finals on Dec 11.

In the coming weeks, UEL is set to bring more excitement and entertainment with more than 200 university teams going head-to-head in games such as Valorant, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang and PUBG Mobile (Nov 19 and 20).

Students, eSports enthusiasts and fans are welcome to tune in as games will be live streamed every Saturday and Sunday from now until Nov 20, while the grand finals will take place on Dec 10 and 11 via the UEL Facebook page.


“We hope our lab-grown red blood cells will last longer than those that come from blood donors. If our trial, the first such in the world, is successful, it will mean that patients who currently require regular long-term blood transfusions will need fewer transfusions in future, helping transform their care.”

— Cedric Ghevaert, chief investigator and professor in transfusion medicine and consultant haematologist at the University of Cambridge and at the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) Blood and Transplant.

Blood that has been grown in a laboratory has been put into people in a world-first clinical trial, say UK researchers. A couple of spoonfuls of blood are being tested to see how it performs inside the body.

The bulk of blood transfusions will always rely on people regularly rolling up their sleeves to donate, but the ultimate goal is to manufacture vital but ultra-rare blood groups that are hard to get hold of. The research project combines teams in Bristol, Cambridge, London and at NHS Blood and Transplant.


Synthetic identity

A synthetic identity is when a combination of fabricated credentials is put together and the implied identity is not associated with a real person. Fraudsters tend to create synthetic identities using convincingly valid social security numbers accompanied by false personally identifiable information.


Play your cards right — a game for the reform-curious Malaysian

To aid newly registered and first-time voters, the Center to Combat Corruption & Cronyism (C4 Center) has created a new card game called Build My Town to help players learn about governance and anti-corruption.

In this game, players take on the role of a member of parliament (MP) in charge of a constituency. The goal is for each player to improve the constituency with infrastructure development, ranging from small amenities like public toilets to mega-projects such as solar farms. The projects are purchased using the in-game currency, “Money Cards”, and players have the choice to use money obtained transparently and legally (clean money) or unethically sourced funds (dirty money).

There are also “Reform Cards”, which allows a player to table a reform that other players can vote on, much like real parliamentary voting. These reforms have significant impact on gameplay and mirror real bills and policies, such as the Political Funding Bill and Repealing the Official Secrets Act 1972.

The creators of the game hope that by playing the role of MPs, it will evoke the players’ curiosity about the many reforms needed for Malaysia to prosper. They also hope players will develop an understanding of the important role of MPs and use that knowledge when speaking to their MPs about pushing for reforms.

Build My Town retails for RM38 on C4 Center’s website, https://c4center.org/c4center-build-my-town/.


Take the stress away with PRISM+ Soundbars

Do you find working from home stressful? Try listening to background sounds on PRISM+ Malaysia’s new Flow and Symphony Bluetooth soundbars.

Created for entry-level audio, the Flow soundbar is a 2.1 speaker with 240W peak power output powered by Dolby Audio Technology. It is measured at a length of 890mm x 82mm x 58mm, making it practical for intimate gatherings or personal usage. The Flow soundbar supports both Dolby Digital and Dolby Digital Plus.

The Symphony soundbar features Dolby Atmos and a HDMI-eARC port that allows users to play high-fidelity audio. With a peak power output of 760 watts, users can enjoy higher-quality audio performance with deeper, fuller bass without distortions, even at higher volumes. The Symphony soundbar supports Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus and Dolby TrueHD audio.

Both the Flow and Symphony soundbars have wireless subwoofers that can be placed in an optimum position.

PRISM+’s Flow is priced at RM799 while the Symphony soundbar goes for RM1,999. Both are available for pre-order on PRISM+ Malaysia’s website, Shopee and Lazada. The soundbars are expected to be launched in mid-November.


How the World Really Works: The Science Behind How We Got Here and Where We’re Going by Vaclav Smil

We have never had so much information at our fingertips and yet most of us don’t know how the world really works. This book explains seven of the most fundamental realities governing our survival and prosperity. From energy and food production, through our material world and its globalisation, to risks, our environment and its future, How the World Really Works offers a much-needed reality check — because before we can tackle problems effectively, we must understand the facts.

In this ambitious and thought-provoking book we see, for example, that globalisation isn’t inevitable — the foolishness of allowing 70% of the world’s rubber gloves to be made in just one factory became glaringly obvious in 2020 — and that society has been steadily increasing its dependence on fossil fuels, such that any promise of decarbonisation by 2050 is a fairy tale.

Ultimately, Smil answers the most profound question of our age: Are we irrevocably doomed or is a brighter utopia ahead? Compelling, data-rich and revisionist, this wonderfully broad, interdisciplinary guide finds fault with both extremes. Looking at the world through this quantitative lens reveals hidden truths that change the way we see our past, present and uncertain future.

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