Monday, November 29

SAS, Swinburne University Sarawak to power smart city plans with local analytics talent


Representatives of SAS and Swinburne University Sarawak seal the deal between the two parties.

KUCHING: SAS, a key player in the global analytics market, announced its partnership with Swinburne University Sarawak to jointly form a Centre of Excellence (COE) for collaborative advanced analytics.

This marks the first university partnership for SAS in Sarawak and will support the development of talent in digital transformation and analytics. Slated to be operational in March 2020, the COE also aims to collaborate with local businesses on state and national levels to bring analytics to the core of business innovation.

The COE aims to be a leading institution in research and development for data analytics and management, as well as a key education provider for Sarawak. Graduates from the programme will serve the state’s smart city goals, and support Malaysia’s overall national digital plan.

“At the heart of a smart city is data, and our ability to successfully analyse and leverage its insights to improve the quality of life for citizens. With Sarawak’s exciting plans to pilot the Smart City, beginning with Miri and followed by Kuching by 2030, data skillsets are set to become the new ‘oil’ for Sarawakians in the future,” said SAS Malaysia manaing director Cheam Tat Inn.

“SAS is proud to partner with Swinburne University to provide local talent with the necessary skills to thrive in Sarawak’s future. Expertise in data analytics will be an edge for Sarawak professionals as graduates will have much in-demand skillsets that can serve in critical job functions — not just here in Sarawak but also throughout peninsula Malaysia and around the world.”

The development of the COE will utilise SAS’ latest technologies, which serves as a platform for Swinburne University and SAS to jointly offer educational, consultancy and research products and services.

Selected faculty members from the university will also be trained, certified and accredited in SAS Training and Certification to become an SAS Accredited Training Providers.

To aid students in their understanding of the real-world use cases for analytics, SAS will also provide advisory support for projects as part of the programme.

These advanced capabilities will also allow Swinburne University to offer courses for working adults, in addition to its undergraduate degree offerings. In total, the programme will see about 200 data graduates being trained in 2020.

“Swinburne University has already been successfully integrating various big data tools across our programmes.

To further ensure that our graduates are well-equipped with the skillsets needed by the workforce, we have partnered SAS, one of the most widely used, industry-leading platforms in analytics,” said Professor Dr Wallace Wong, CEO of Swinburne Innovation Malaysia Sdn Bhd and director of Future Projects.

“With Swinburne’s experience in state-wide smart solutions implementation, combined with SAS’s deep expertise in analytics, we are confident that Swinburne can lead the way to power Sarawak’s, and eventually Malaysia’s, next phase of growth.”

Students in the programme can immediately apply the knowledge that they learn to solve problems in the competitive working environment.

The university has already worked on various data analytics projects in the real-world such as health analytics for Sarawak General Hospital’s Clinical Research Centre, Internet of Things for Sarawak’s Department of Irrigation and Drainage, smart home applications for RJ Realty, as well as waste management for Trienekens Sarawak.

In October 2019, the university’s researchers developed a technology to provide early detection of heart disease through the use of AI and machine learning — which can now hone into heart abnormalities in stress echocardiograms.

Moving forward, Swinburne and SAS have also identified three key areas that the COE can support — healthcare, industry 4.0, as well as business and social innovation, with the potential to expand into many others as Sarawak moves towards its Smart City model.

Since 1986, SAS has been supporting customers in Malaysia for industries including financial services, government and manufacturing, amongst others. It has also played an active role in developing Malaysia’s big data and analytics talent pool through collaborations with Universiti Teknologi MARA to support the next generation of data scientists.

Worldwide, SAS education has been a primary philanthropic focus for SAS for more than 25 years and was a key pillar of US$1 billion AI investment announced earlier this year.