MIRI: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg yesterday launched the SMA-Tegas Digital Innovation Hub at Miri Times Square in Marina Parkcity here.
The hub serves as an inclusive platform to support and empower early-stage start-ups and social enterprises in Sarawak.
Abang Johari called upon young Sarawakians to make good use of the hub, which would promote the culture of nurturing talents and create innovation to ultimately move the state forward.
“To our young people, big data is the data, and you have a very good future.
“Our young people can really create new products and they can go into what the market wants, and because of this, we have to have a place for them to innovate.
“With this sort of resource we have among the young, it is the intention of Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) and Tabung Ekonomi Gagasan Anak Sarawak (Tegas) to create innovators among young Sarawakians in order to create new products based on what we call real platforms.
“This will enable them to progress and transform our economy,” he added.
He congratulated Tegas and SMA for having successfully launched another approach for Sarawakians to adopt whatever devices they have in place to transform the state economy from conventional to digital economy by establishing an innovation hub in Miri.
The hub’s facilities and benefits include a co-working space, high speed internet, discussion rooms, knowledge sharing and capacity development programmes as well as access to Sarawak Digital Village Ecosystem Network.
Abang Johari said another area that he would like Sarawakians, particularly the young, to know is the importance of artificial intelligence.
He said robots operate based on artificial intelligence and these artificial intelligences are also connected with signal transfer, coding and decoding, and are linked to augmented and virtual reality.
“Those who study cyberspace should know there are two separate worlds, physical and virtual. To link them is what we call interaction through artificial intelligence.
“Artificial intelligences are based on cyber big data.”
Abang Johari said artificial intelligence and augmented reality were being used in many fields including medical.
“I found out in Malaysia there is no focus on virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). We are now working to train our people how to manage augmented and virtual reality.
“We are now doing that which is driven by the private sector and because of that SMA has to focus on it.
“We want to work together with the private sector to guide young start-ups and produce new products,” he added.
He also suggested that Mirians sell ‘bubuk’ (krills) and its by-products online, among other products.
“Today, I have just launched the Nature Discovery Centre at Piasau Nature Reserve, which also has an information centre and kiosk. What young Mirians can do is to start creating an app on tourism attraction in Miri and the northern part of Sarawak and connect them to the centre which has an IT centre.
“You can then show through augmented reality your attraction such as Luconia Shoals Marine Park, Niah Cave and all other attractions in the city.
“These are some of the products which you can sell online.
“Miri City Council is also going to have a smart interactive between citizens. Miri is going to be a smart city and I believe Mirians are smart people who can transform Miri into a smart city.
“As long as GPS is in charge, we will go for smart cities throughout Sarawak,” he added.
The launching of the hub also coincided with the exchange of memorandum of understanding (MoU) between SMA and Malaysian Technology Development Corporation, and Yayasan Pesona.
Tegas also signed five new strategic partners, namely Grab, Curtin University Malaysia, pitchIN, FutureLab and CentaCube. These partners support the #InnovateSarawak campaign that focuses on promoting digital innovation and entrepreneurship in Sarawak.
A member of SMA Board of Directors Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr George Chan, Transport Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin, State Secretary Datu Jaul Samion, Tegas chairman Datu Len Talif Saleh, and Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) general manager Dr Zaidi Razak were also present at the event.