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Malaysia’s Cyberjaya to get smart city boost

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

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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.

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