Alibaba Cloud platform to make its presence felt on KL traffic
According to the Minister of Federal Territories, Tengku Adnan bin Tengku Mansor, KL’s population of 1.8 million, is spending 250 million hours a year, stuck in traffic. He said this during an Alibaba Cloud event, where the global cloud player announced its collaboration with the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), to ease traffic management woes in Kuala Lumpur’s heaviest traffic areas.
By no means, is this just the application of Alibaba Cloud’s artificial intelligence (AI) solution by KL’s City Hall to overcome traffic congestion in the city.
The solution called the ET City Brain, has been localised to become the Malaysia City Brain project, and will encompass big data analytics (BDA), as well as Internet of Things (IoT) technologies like sensors. It is expected to increase in scope, as well as expand beyond KL’s central business district area, to the Klang Valley, and other states.
The pilot phase of the project which is slated to end in May, will involve 300 traffic lights and nearly 500 CCTV cameras. Data such as live visual feeds from these cameras, as well as data from other sources like sensors, would be processed and analysed by Alibaba Cloud’s massive compute and AI capabilities. All this is done, so that traffic flow can be optimised, incidents or road ‘events’ can be detected more rapidly, and emergency services can respond more quickly.
In parts of China like Hangzhou and Xiaoshan, where ET City Brain is implemented, the average time for ambulances to reach destinations, have reduced to half, and traffic speed has improved by 15-percent.
MDEC’s CEO, Yasmin Mahmood, had expressed her hope that there would be more public-private collaborations by the end of the pilot phase, so that the Malaysia City Brain project would be able to scale to include other smart city applications like urban planning, safe city management, and even use more big data analytics in other verticals like financial services, education and manufacturing.
Malaysia City Brain is powered by Alibaba’s Apsara engine, and is meant to be an open platform with APIs and SDKs for other relevant parties to be able to mine, analyse data sets, and create value out of data.
Yasmin further described the initiative as ideally being a collaboration between public and private sectors. “This is a long-term investment with working effort with the Alibaba team headed by VP of Machine Learning and Chief Scientist, Dr. Min Wanli, data scientists at ADAX, and data scientists in Hangzhou.”
ADAX or the ASEAN Data Analytics Exchange, is an MDEC initiative.
Fusionex CEO, Ivan Teh commented, “We applaud MDEC, KL City and the Government’s vision for a smarter city and nation through digital transformation. The Malaysia City Brain Initiative, in collaboration with Alibaba Cloud, is an initiative poised to spur Malaysia, beginning with KL, towards becoming more data-driven and to be one of the most liveable cities in the world.”
Fusionex is a local BDA brand, that has made a global name for itself, and entered into a long-term strategic partnership with Alibaba Cloud last year.
Beyond KL CBD, beyond traffic management
At the same event, Alibaba Cloud also announced the Malaysia Tianchi Big Data program, a big data crowd intelligence platform that brings together data experts from around the world to collaborate and compete in finding answers to real world problems.
Alibaba Cloud President, Simon Hu, said that the Malaysia big data platform would be integrated into Alibaba Cloud’s community of big data professionals, which comprises of over 120, 000 developers ad 2700 academic institutes and businesses from over 77 countries.
“By participating in big data competitions, we can learn from our counterparts around the globe!” he pointed out, adding that Alibaba Cloud has started plans on a second data centre in Malaysia to “…support Malaysia’s digital transformation.”
“Alibaba Cloud is compliant with local laws and requirements regarding data security,” he also said.
Yasmin commented that Tianchi is aligned with MDEC’s initiative to develop data talents.
“We have placed focus on the data economy over the last few year, particularly when it comes to building talent. Now, we have the opportunity to fully tap on the potential of AI to bring about significant change.
“The AI ecosystem in Malaysia is poised to receive a significant boost with this collaboration.”
Of note, Yasmin also pointed out, was the ability to collaborate with other data talents around the world, and also work on samples of live business/government data (on the Tianchi platform).
MDEC would be spearheading the development of a National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Framework, following our Prime Minister’s announcements of initiatives last October, to increase usage of digital technologies and to boost the local digital economy,