According to the 2018 Adobe Digital Trends report, 47% of digitally mature enterprises have a defined Artificial Intelligence (AI) strategy, emphasizing the need for adoption in Malaysia. AI and Data Week 2019, an initiative driven by Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), is a week-long event with activities such as conferences, workshops, side events, and exhibitions where industry experts share their knowledge and experience in AI & Big Data adoption.

With AI rapidly transforming the way we live, work and play today, it is imperative that Malaysia takes the lead to enable and support the local ecosystem as the hub for the region’s AI and Big Data adoption.

“With increasing digitalization of the global economy, Malaysia recognises the potential and opportunities data and artificial intelligence has to offer. According to a recent study by the International Data Corporation (IDC), the Big Data and analytics software market in Malaysia is forecasted to reach RM595 million by 2021. This is a huge market opportunity for Malaysia, and it is important that we collectively build our own AI and Big Data capabilities. As such, to develop a strategic & practical approach to enhancing our AI potential, we will be focusing on AI and data technology talent development by working closely with industry partners alongside building infrastructure that enables a trusted AI ecosystem,” commented YB Gobind Singh Deo during the launch.

With incredibly fast-paced development and progress, the used-to-be privilege for businesses may soon become an essential asset. Today, AI has successfully gained adoption in various industries globally. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) reported that AI technology will contribute to 45% of the total global economy, with high-growth potential in education, healthcare, construction, and manufacturing sectors.

Surina Shukri, CEO of MDEC said, “We must take this opportunity to understand AI better, making full use of what it can offer to improve the output of local organizations. AI is not something we should fear but rather embrace as it will eventually be at the core of digitization in everything we do. This technology has now become a necessity in many businesses. Hence, it is imperative that we learn to work with AI to accelerate its adoption and drive Malaysia’s digital economy forward.”

At Next Big Tech Asia 2019, the anchor event of AI and Data Week 2019—YB Gobind also introduced the MYINDUSTRY AI Scholarship Programme, an AI-focused Masters by research certification jointly funded by the industry, universities, and MDEC. The pilot scholarship programme will provide a minimum monthly stipend of RM2,500 up to 24 months as well as tuition fees. Participating universities include University of Malaya, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, and Multimedia University. The pioneer companies supporting this scholarship are Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd, CIMB, Green Packet Bhd, G3 Global Bhd, Intel Microelectronics Sdn Bhd, Iris Corporation Bhd, and Poladrone Solutions Sdn Bhd.

To develop more industry-ready talent, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) acknowledged the support from 7 industry partners, including 1-year placements for their pioneer batch of students under the 2u2i mode programme for Bachelor of Computer Science (Data Engineering). For this programme, MDEC facilitated the industry review of its curriculum and internship placement. The objective of this programme is to provide students with greater exposure to real work experience through more learning time in the industry. The industry partners are Datamicron Systems Sdn Bhd, DHL Asia Pacific Shared Services Sdn Bhd, IJM Corporation Bhd, Petronas, PPG, TM ONE, and Top Glove.

To ease the adoption of data technology (i.e. data analytics and AI) amongst business enterprises, MDEC has introduced the Data-Driven Decision (DDD) Enterprise Adoption Programme. The objective of this programme is to provide a structured and accelerated approach to assist business enterprises in making data-driven decision to enhance business outcomes and drive new business growth.

To support the DDD Enterprise Adoption Program, MDEC has also established a data technology ecosystem initiative, known as Data Technology Partnership Programme. This data technology ecosystem will support the data technology adoption journey of business enterprises, providing access to data technology solutions, expert advisory, talent development, and use-case sharing.

To date, 16 Technology Partners and 12 Training Partners have been appointed under this programme. The 16 Technology Partners are ABeam Consulting (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, Aerodyne Group, Altair, Concorde Technology Sdn Bhd, Dataicons Solutions Sdn Bhd, Datamicron Systems Sdn Bhd, Fusionex International, IBM Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Just BI Sdn Bhd, KewMann Sdn Bhd, Microsoft (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, Numa Solution Sdn Bhd, Priority Dynamics Sdn Bhd, Quandatics (M) Sdn Bhd, SAS Institute Sdn Bhd, and Speedminer Sdn Bhd. The 12 Training Partners include ABeam Consulting (M) Sdn Bhd, Coqnitics, Databyte Academy, Fusionex Academy, Genashtim, iTrain, Iverson Associates, OR Technologies Sdn Bhd, Quandatics Academy, SAS Institute Sdn Bhd, Trainocate, and UCAN Technologies.

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