Wednesday, November 30

SMA taps IBM for AI and blockchain


Zaidi (front, left) and Lian (front, right) shake hands to signify the partnership between SMA and IBM Malaysia witnessed by Abang Johari (back row, third left) and other honoured guests.

KUCHING: The Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) yesterday entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with IBM Malaysia to promote and strengthen collaboration in digital sectors in the State of Sarawak with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Blockchain technologies.

Under the terms of the MOU, IBM will assist the state to manage efficiency and effectiveness of transformation to enable it to achieve its target to digitise its economy for its economic growth under the Digital Economy Strategy 2018-2022.

This includes a joint collaboration in the Centre of Excellence for Digital Economy to support research, research training, business development and commercialisation activities.

“Sarawak is leveraging on emerging yet practical technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain to help us in our journey to be a digital state.

“Working with partners that have a strong track record such as IBM would help us in our journey to be a digital savvy state,” said Dr Zaidi Razak, SMA general manager.

He added that the first step is for SMA and IBM to form a joint working group to ensure proper coordination, progressive implementation and monitoring of research projects identified for development and commercialisation.

The MOU was exchanged during the International Digital Economy Conference Sarawak 2019 (IDECS 2019) in the presence of Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg.

The two-day conference and exhibition also featured Mr Sachin Gupta, program director, Research BD, IBM Singapore and Freddy Lee, chief technology officer, IBM Malaysia who facilitated sessions on the application of AI and blockchain technologies in agriculture and food trust for more than 100 government and business stakeholders.

IBM Malaysia’s managing director Catherine Lian said that the collaboration with SMA underscored IBM’s corporate and citizenship commitment to support the State Government’s agenda to transform Sarawak into a digitally dynamic and economically sustainable community.

“The application of practical technologies from farm to table supply chain would create multiple benefits to improve the quality of life for the agriculture and related communities, in a cost-effective way,” she said.

Speaking to The Borneo Post, Lian said Sarawak was leading the pack in terms of technology-driven transformation.

“If you look at the pace of Sarawak compared to other states, you will find that Sarawak sets the tone for technology-driven transformation. Look at how the Sarawak ecosystem has been brought forward – the digital economy will be able to lead the way in making sure the transformation is being implemented,” she said in an interview yesterday.

“IBM is particularly very strong in driving the transformation especially in Industry 4.0, SMART City, smart farming and smart agriculture.

“Inline with IDECS 2019’s tagline, our perspective is to collaborate with Sarawak initiatives and how we want to envision the Sarawakian lives here – to make it a better place and more digitalised, transformed place to work in.

“Sarawak is actually one of IBM Malaysia’s strategy to drive the geographical expansion plan. We have identified East Malaysia as one of our growths area. Having said that, we want to ensure that our function and responsibility and also our adherence to the MOU will be managed as a knowledge transfer expertise, and depending on the criticality of the Sarawak govenrment to execute this in Sarawak.”

Lian hopes that IBM will continue to partner with the Sarawak government to drive the digital economy initiatives here and be part of the ecosystem here to build the businesses, the infrastructure and the technology transofrmation to the next level.

“We hope that through our parnterships with the state government and the privat enterprises, we canbe able to have a strong presence here and enabling tranformation to discover the full potential of technolgy.

“We believe Sarawak with all the initiatives, the state is ready to drive the technology transformation to the next level, leading the way in Malaysia.”