One step closer to IoT reality
New company Atilze Digital Sdn Bhd (“Atilze”) debuts with a big impression. It recently signed a collaboration agreement with Axiata Group Berhad (“Axiata”) to incubate, trial, explore, develop and deploy Internet of Things (IoT) opportunities in Southeast Asia.
Specifically, it states that its initial focus will be to jointly implement Proof-of-Concept (“POC”) pilots for connected car solutions (“Connected Car”) and commercialisation of city-wide LoRa network deployments (“LoRa Network”). With that, Atilze is believed to be an IoT company that has made the most headway in its offerings in the local ICT space today.
We already know that Axiata owns the Celcom telco brand in Malaysia. In addition, it is also considered one of Asia’s leading telco groups, with interests in ‘XL’ in Indonesia, ‘Dialog’ in Sri Lanka, ‘Robi’ in Bangladesh, ‘Smart’ in Cambodia, ‘Ncell’ in Nepal and ‘Multinet’ in Pakistan. Further to this, the Group also holds strategic interests in ‘Idea’ in India and ‘M1’ in Singapore.
Atilze’s background, on the other hand, may be a bit more shrouded. Its ‘mantra’, is to deliver “Massive Transformative Purpose”, where it will “connect all things in life from A to Z and impact the lives of 100 million people.” To achieve that, Atilze works with organisations, businesses and developers. No one man can move a mountain, as the saying goes.
Atilze is a wholly owned subsidiary of Yen Global Berhad, which in turn, counts Gemtek Technology Co Ltd. (“Gemtek”) of Taiwan, an established global wireless broadband product leader with annual revenues in excess of USD 1 billion, as a substantial 30% shareholder. Gemstek is a pioneer member of the LoRa Alliance. Green Packet Bhd, which needs no further introduction, is also an emerging shareholder, having recently announced its intention to acquire 22% stake in Yen Global.
Now that the stakeholders and the background of the players are clear, let’s get back to what the collaboration actually entails. It is to span a period of twelve months targeting IoT POC pilot deployments specifically in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. In this short span of 12 months, it is apt for Atilze to cherry pick. So it is that the collaboration will prioritise its effort in Connected Car and LoRa Network solutions.
The Connected Car solutions will have a range of applications that include advanced diagnostics, predictive maintenance, real-time fleet monitoring and management, driving pattern analysis, Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), in-car WiFi, in-car Infotainment, in-car e-Commerce, electronic gate-less toll payments and Usage Based Insurance (UBI).
This translates to a more personalized, safer and efficient vehicle usage environment. Most new cars sold today are IoT-capable from the factory and this can potentially drive the number of Connected Cars across Asia to quadruple by 2020!
LoRa, known as long range, low-power wide area network (LPWAN) technology provides a lower cost connectivity solution with broad coverage and lower energy consumption. Hence, it is an environmental friendly and advanced, standardised technology backed by several global telcos, designed to suit the demands of IoT applications and services today and into the future. Importantly, LoRa complements operators’ cellular 3G and 4G LTE networks.
Under the collaboration agreement, Atilze will supply the LoRa gateways, antenna systems, nodes and devices for use with existing and new sensor systems that form the basis of IoT applications. The initial IoT applications and services that will be implemented on the LoRa Network will focus on Asset Tracking, Smart Parking, Smart Metering and Security services. Atilze will also manage, operate and provide maintenance and support services for its city-wide LoRa Network.Mr Dominic Arena, Group Chief Strategy Officer of Axiata said, “As Axiata transforms itself into a new generation digital company, we intend to lead the digital revolution. IoT is one key pillar of our ‘Axiata 3.0’ strategy and is an emerging digital services sector estimated to be worth potentially US$30 billion by 2020 in Axiata’s current footprint alone, based on our own analysis of several independent forecasts.
Beyond the 2 billion people covered by our current footprint, there are several billion more prospective connected ‘things’, hence we foresee the IoT sector growing exponentially over the next 2-5 years with greatest economic potential in the B2B and B2B2C segments, through empowering enterprises and governments to digitize their own operations and also provide innovative, integrated connectivity and analytics-based solutions to their end customers and citizens.”
Commenting on the signing ceremony, Mr Gerard Lim, CEO of Atilze said, “We see huge opportunities for IoT applications and services across South and Southeast Asia, and this is why Axiata is the natural partner of choice for Atilze given the regional footprint and scale that Axiata has, as one of the leading telecommunications groups in the region. I trust that this partnership will deliver synergistic benefits to both Axiata and Atilze by leveraging on Axiata’s footprint across Asia as well as Atilze’s focus as an IoT services and solutions provider.”
In parallel, Atilze has recently partnered with Cyberview Sdn Bhd to build, operate and commercialise a LoRa Network in Cyberjaya. This positions Cyberjaya as the first smart city in Southeast Asia connected with a city-wide LoRa Network. Now that Cyberjaya has gone ‘live’, we look forward to the natural progression to Klang Valley – when consumers and businesses will enjoy this privilege of being able to connect and manage everything remotely via the internet. Nay, in the near future, IoT will surely find its way into other industries such as transportation, utilities and healthcare too.
While Atilze is shouting out the loudest, it is by no means the only player that plans to grasp this new growth opportunity. We, in Malaysia, can safely say that we are certainly looking one step closer to IoT reality!