Flying into the future with drones

Flying into the future with drones

Written by Arisha Rozaidee

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it is a remote-controlled pilotless aircraft! In recent years, the drones, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) technology industry in Malaysia has really taken off. Many local companies and organizations are quickly catching up with other international bodies who have been pioneering the industry from the very beginning. However, there is a common misconception that drones are purely for aerial photography enthusiasts or that DroneTech is currently only at a conceptual level. In truth, drones as part of the new wave of technological innovation has many functions ranging from search-and-rescue operations to agricultural usage.

But drones as a piece of hardware alone and in itself can only do so much. In a recent roundtable between DroneTech firms in Malaysia and other industry stakeholders, Kamarul Muhamed, CEO and founder of Aerodyne group mentioned, “To us, AI is the holy grail. It’s not about the physical hardware. Drones are just a platform, it’s all about automating the process”. It is not only the application of the hardware usage of drones that will disrupt numerous industries, it is what the drone’s flying data can be analysed into that will bring a cataclysmic change to how other industries operate.

Based on a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the global market for drone-powered business solutions is currently valued at US$127.3 billion. In Rwanda and Switzerland, UAVs and drones have been used to transport healthcare supplies and specimens to hospitals that are a far distance away from their launch origin. Locally, the industry is getting attention and garnering interests from numerous different industries. In April 2019, the local national mail provider Pos Malaysia and Communications and Multimedia Commission Multimedia (MCMC) recently held two-day Parcel Drone Competition. Not wanting to lose out in the global race for drone adoption, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Minister, YB Gobind Singh Deo is aiming for the adoption of commercial use of drones in the postal and courier industry within five years.

One of the home-grown contributors to the future of Malaysian DroneTech is Jin Xi Cheong, founder and CEO of Poladrone in Malaysia. Poladrone is one of the first in Malaysia to specialise in building custom UAV solutions. They offer services such as training individuals towards licensing, repairing machinery and also providing other businesses access to DroneTech. Sharing insights from his company, Jin Xi Cheong says that Poladrone mainly focuses on serving the agricultural sector in Malaysia where drones help increase crop production and monitor crop growth while reducing labor and also occupational accidents.

Poladrone joins the ranks of many other Malaysian DroneTech firms such as Aerodayne, OFO TECH, Pulsar UAV, IR Technic, Average Drone, Tinjau Mahir, and Syarikat System Consultancy Services Sdn Bhd. Two of these companies have achieved commendable milestones both in Malaysia and abroad; Aerodayne is the only Malaysian company to have made it the top rankings in DRONEII’s 2018 Drone Operator Ranking report at 7th place and Syarikat System Consultancy Services Sdn Bhd won the main prize in the Parcel Drone Competition held locally here in Malaysia.

Working with these local DroneTech firms by helping them connect with a team of researchers, business owners, and policy makers is Futurise – a Malaysian agency whose mission is to develop an innovation platform that stimulates and accelerates capacity building, innovation and commercialisation of futuristic solutions. Mahadhir Aziz, Acting Chief Executive Officer of Futurise Centre in Cyberjaya, sees the potential in the local drone industry as he claims that the use of drones is prevalent and spreads out between many different fields such as oil and gas, construction and agriculture. Futurise works towards pushing our Malaysian pride in the drone industry into the right direction.

Although these parties are very optimistic about the future of drones in Malaysia, their biggest challenge to date is the lack of exposure and public knowledge of the drone industry. Currently, drone services are mostly exclusive to either big business owners and a handful of hobbyists who utilize drones for individual use such as for photography or racing. It is still a challenge for the Malaysian DroneTech industry to penetrate the public sector.

To overcome that, Futurise and Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) has joined forces to make sure information about DroneTech, its potential and opportunities, are accessible to the public. Supported by Cyberview and Malaysia Global Innovation and Creative Centre (MaGIC), Futurise and MDEC are organizing Malaysia Drone Expo, MyDroneX, a one-day event which focuses on everything drone related to deliver participants an opportunity to get up close and personal with drones and also the biggest names in DroneTech.

MyDroneX also aims to bust all the misconceptions about DroneTech that the public may have and hopefully garner support from more people so the DroneTech industry in Malaysia could prosper. Speaking on behalf of the GAIN Programme by MDEC, Safuan Zairi says, “Having this event, MyDroneX, provides an opportunity for people to become more aware and from awareness comes adoption. You can expect to learn and unlearn a lot of things about Drone Tech”. The event which will take place on 17 June 2019 will feature forums, workshops, competitions and even a marketplace; welcoming people from all walks of life to see the future Malaysia is flying into with DroneTech.

The significance of Mandarin as the next global language?

The significance of Mandarin as the next global language?

By Kate Carden-Brown (Head of Higher Education and Careers)

Although English has traditionally been seen as the global language, ever increasing numbers of Chinese businesses are gaining prominence in industries all over the world. As a result, the capacity to speak Mandarin has become a valuable asset. Furthermore, with China showing no signs of slowing down its expansion, this linguistic skill will undoubtedly increase in demand. Whether or not Mandarin will overtake English as the primary global language is still up for debate, but to deny that it is a possible global language of the future is foolish at best.

It is clear that this fact is recognised by parents as a small, but growing, number of American parents are sending their children to bilingual Chinese immersion schools. They recognise that Mandarin could offer their children a competitive advantage in the future jobs market. To speak Chinese allows you to begin to understand how Mandarin speakers see the world, how they perceive things. This is a vital step towards becoming culturally competent and commercially strategic for those in global business.

As an exemplar, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg recently surprised his Chinese audience when he delivered a 30 minute speech in Mandarin. Furthermore, the head of the US – China Institute advocates that more western CEOs learn Mandarin to avoid being at a disadvantage given the booming Chinese business infrastructure and the massive purchasing power of Chinese citizens.

So will Mandarin replace English as the next global language? Answer: not yet. English rose to prominence through the British Empire and as a result there are native English speakers to be found across the globe. English is the language of shared popular culture – music, film, even sport. In addition, English undeniably remains the language of technology – note that most languages do not even have their own term for ‘Internet’, ‘text’ or ‘hashtag’.

Some argue that English is an inherently neutral language as there is no gender and it makes no class distinctions (for example there is only one form of ‘you’ with no deferential version for use with a boss or an elder). English is also politically neutral; it is not associated with one country and the most dominant English language countries have a tradition of free speech. English is egalitarian and its association with freedom, according to many, means that it will remain the global language.

Chinese is obviously a more difficult language to master; its tone and writing system render it more difficult for adults to learn. It is estimated that it takes 4 times longer for a native English speaker to become proficient in Chinese than it does to reach a similar level in French or Spanish.

Therefore, it would seem that, for the next generation at least, Mandarin will not replace English as the global language. That said, Mandarin is becoming increasingly important as China moves ever closer towards replacing the US as the world’s largest economy. Those who are fortunate enough to be bilingual in English and Mandarin will surely be sought after by future employers and will enjoy a significant advantage as they enter the job market.  It is for these reasons that we value the benefits of providing intensive Mandarin provision at Epsom College in Malaysia. English and Mathematics rightly dominate our academic spectrum from the Prep School to A-Level classes, but the advantages of Mandarin fluency are now apparent to all in education, from pupils to parents. At Epsom we embrace these linguistic initiatives and thrive on providing pupils with the very best opportunities for developing their language skill-set in both English and Mandarin.

Join us for an Info Day for prospective Sixth Form students on 15 June. All Year 11 students and SPM leavers are invited. Our Sixth Form specialists will be on hand to give advice and guidance about subject combinations, university applications and your future career options.

BMW’s triple XXX launch gets tongues a-waggin’!

BMW’s triple XXX launch gets tongues a-waggin’!

Harald Hoelzl (right), managing director of BMW Group Malaysia and Sashi Ambi, head of corporate communications, at the launch.

BMW Malaysia has introduced three new additions to the BMW X Series –  the all-new BMW X5, the X4 and the delicious BMW X2 M35i. The Sports Activity Vehicles (SAV) and SAC (Sports Activity Coupe) are equipped with more powerful engines and design language to the German marque apart.

Speaking at the launch held at Sungai Besi Royal Malaysian Air Force base in Kuala Lumpur in Friday, Harald Hoelzl, managing director of BMW Group Malaysia said, “The performance of the BMW X portfolio in Malaysia has been nothing short of remarkable. Last year, we successfully delivered more than 5,000 units of BMW X vehicles, resulting in significant double-digit growth of 19%.

“In the first four months of this year alone, the delivery of over 1,500 BMW X vehicles demonstrates the demand for our SACs and SAVs. We are committed to fulfilling that increasing demand with the all-new BMW X models and once again set a new benchmark for the premium SAV & SAC segment.”

Onto the machines themselves. BMW says a powerful, fuel-efficient three-litre six-cylinder petrol engine powers the new X5, generating a top speed of 243km/h with a maximum output of 250kW/340hp and a peak torque of 450Nm. The X5 sprints from 0-100km/h in only 5.5 seconds. Its fuel-efficiency is demonstrated by its significantly lowered fuel-consumption of 9.2 l/100km of travel with a carbon emission of 211/km (manufacturer’s figures).

The engine is complemented by a revised eight-speed Steptronic transmission with enhanced shift dynamics. Power is transmitted to all four wheels via the xDrive. Equipped with a double-wishbone front suspension, five-link rear suspension and Adaptive M Suspension, the chassis of the X5 can be specifically configured to maximise its dynamic ability or comfort provided by the Sports mode and performance personalisation by the ‘Driving Experience Control’.

The interior bears the M Sport DNA. A striking characteristic of the X5’s design language is the special electroplated finishing that adds an electrifying touch of luxury to the interior. This new SAV has four-zone air conditioning, the ‘Rear Seat Entertainment Professional’ and a panorama glass roof which makes for a brighter interior. 

For the new BMW X2 M35i, the numerous M Performance elements stamp their mark distinctively. At first glance, the sporty SAV immediately astounds with a sleek double kidney grille in Cerium Grey. In addition to that are the newly redesigned side air inlets positioned at the front for maximum brakes and engine cooling efficiency.

At the rear, it flaunts an M Sport exhaust system with two 100mm-diameter tailpipes. Thanks to the adapted silencer system, the M Performance exhaust system produces a particularly sporty sound spectrum courtesy of the 2.0-litre TwinPower Turbo engine. 

BMW says the first-ever M Performance 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine sets a new benchmark as it generates a maximum power output of 225kW/306hp and a maximum torque of 450Nm. The top speed is 250km/h, consuming 7.4 litres of fuel for every 100km of travel.

This model comes with the intelligent four-wheel drive technology, xDrive in conjunction with the 8-speed Steptronic Sport transmission including ‘Launch Control’, an acceleration aide for optimal traction and grip when accelerating upon start-up. 

Standard equipment for this SAC includes xDrive all-wheel drive, Adaptive Suspension, Variable Sport Steering, electronic differential lock, Hill-Start Assistant, Hill Descent Control along with ‘Performance Control’ that distributes engine and braking control to the individual wheels when turning.

Inside, the X4 comes with electroplated trim details for the controls and a larger free-standing 10.25-inch ‘Navigation System Professional’ with Touch Sensitive Control Display, complete with BMW ‘ConnectedDrive’. The all-new SAC is also equipped with a full-colour Heads-Up Display. In addition to that is a high-resolution 12.3-inch Multifunctional Instrument Display with Black-Panel Technology. The advanced Voice Control system has also been improved to follow instructions phrased in natural language.

The 4+1-seater’s cockpit is oriented towards the driver; the slightly raised seating position and low instrument panel enable clear visibility of the road. The newly designed sports seats with pronounced side bolsters create a sporty ambience for the front occupants, as do the knee pads on the centre console. 

The price tags? Here you go:

The All-New BMW X5 xDrive40i M Sport goes for RM640,000 while 
X2 M35i retails for RM400,000. The X4 xDrive30i M Sport rings the cash register at RM380,000. All prices without insurance. 

Catch the all-new X5 and X2 at the BMW X Crew event taking place at Plaza Arkadia, Desa Park City in the capital from June 21 to 23. Chequebooks optional.

Stylish living in a resort-inspired sanctuary

Stylish living in a resort-inspired sanctuary

Incorporating nature-inspired landscapes and bold architectural touches for a striking modern aesthetic, The Clio 2 Residences presents the latest collection of freehold high-rise homes in the serene 788-acre resort-style township of IOI Resort City.

Rapidly emerging as the latest hotspot for those who crave a conducive lifestyle surrounded by attractions and amenities, IOI Resort City boasts luxury hotels like Le Méridien Putrajaya and the Putrajaya Marriott Hotel, the championship-grade Palm Garden Golf Course and the thriving 1.5 million square foot IOI City Mall, which forms the pulse of this self-contained eco-city.

Poised to delight visitors with an even wider selection of outlets and lifestyle offerings, Phase 2 of IOI City Mall is currently underway and progressing smoothly, on track for its scheduled completion by Q4 2021.


A Chic Urban Haven

With multiple options of layout types featuring practical and well-planned interior spaces, homes at Clio 2 are ideal for the needs of first-time home owners and young families. At the same time, units here are perfectly designed for spaciousness and comfortable living, with three bedrooms for each layout type.

Those who own a home at Clio 2 will also enjoy low density living, with only eight units per floor. Furthermore, all units offer a semi-D layout for greater privacy.

To complement an active lifestyle, Clio 2 is equipped with over 10 recreational facilities including a lap pool, gymnasium, BBQ area, multiple Sky Gardens and more. There is also a 4-tier security system in place for added peace of mind.

Speaking to the media during the preview of Clio 2 at IOI Galleria @ IOI Resort City, IOI Properties Group Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Jason Tie said “Clio 2 is an ideal first home for young working adults and first-time home buyers with a highly affordable price tag. A comfortable 3-bedroom unit starts from only RM492,000,” he said, adding “Clio 2 is located a mere 700 metres from the upcoming IOI City Mall Phase 2, and less than 30 kilometres from KL city centre.”

The best time is now to own your dream home! IOI Properties has recently unveiled a host of home ownership incentives under an unprecedented ‘IOI F.R.E.E. Ownership’ campaign. Encapsulating the program’s benefits, the name ‘IOI F.R.E.E.’ is an abbreviation for Flexible financing options, Rebates, Extra rebates and Exemptions on stamp duties. In addition to the government’s waiver of stamp duties for both MOT & loan documents, IOI Properties is covering all SPA & loan legal fees. Collectively, flexible financing with extra cash in hand, rebates and free legal fees add up to a hefty and neat savings for homebuyers. Stamp duty exemptions are applicable to all buyers and not just first-time home buyers.

The Clio 2 Residences is expected to be launched in May 2019. Early birds will enjoy an attractive rebate, low down payment and loan interest subsidy throughout the construction period, making it a nearly zero entry purchase. In conjunction with the official opening of the Clio 2 show unit on 14 April, there will be fun activities to enjoy at IOI Galleria @ IOI Resort City.

For more information, call 03-8947 8899
or visit IOI Galleria @ IOI Resort City.

BMW’s 7th-Gen 3 series set to rock

BMW’s 7th-Gen 3 series set to rock

BMW Malaysia has unveiled the seventh generation of its iconic 3 Series, which has sold more than 15 million units globally.
At its launch in Kuala Lumpur recently, Harald Hoelzl, managing director of BMW Group Malaysia said the new 3 Series took the signature characteristics of a BMW “to another level”.
“The BMW 3 Series is the model that established the premium sports sedan segment. For over 45 years, the 3 Series has continuously raised the benchmark for Sheer Driving Pleasure in the premium automotive industry. 
“Today, the All-New BMW 3 Series in its seventh generation, with a new dynamic design, superior driving dynamics, as well as technology and innovation, never seen before in the Malaysian automotive industry,” he said.
The sports sedan is introduced in the “M Sport package” exclusively for Malaysia and features a dynamic sporty design with new dimensions. Its precise lines and contoured surfaces lend to a new chapter in its design language, while classic elements such as its kidney grille, headlights and Hofmeister kink are reinterpreted for what BMW says is “a stronger athletic look”.
Innovative functions such as the “BMW Digital Key” is now also available enabling owners to unlock their vehicles and start its engine all with Android smartphones with Near Field Communications (NFC) technology. 
when placed at the door handles. The sports sedan is also equipped with the “Parking Assistant” which also features the new “Reversing Assist” which records the car’s journey every 50 metres enabling it to semi-autonomously reverse at low speeds through narrow corners. 
A 2.0-litre TwinPower Turbo petrol engine sits at the heart of the new 3 Series – the most powerful of its kind to ever be fitted in a BMW vehicle – shooting the vehicle from 0 to 100km in just 5.8 seconds helped by a drag coefficient of just 0.23. Even so, the manufacturer says the revamped engine guarantees lower fuel consumption and carbon emission, thanks to the further developed 8-speed Steptronic Sport transmission.
The new model is 76mm longer (4,709mm), 16mm wider (1,827mm) and just 6mm taller (1,435mm) than its predecessor thus improving the comfort of passengers in the rear seat. The wheelbase is also longer by 41mm (2,851mm).
For the exterior, one stylish characteristic is the aerodynamic spoiler lip affixed to the rear along with two distinct 90-millimetre tailpipes that give the 3 Series a sporting edge.
BMW says the interior “offers an instant promise of unadulterated driving pleasure” with the M Sport leather steering wheel with multifunction and shift paddles along with the ambient interior lighting. The BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant enters a new era in which drivers will increasingly be able to operate their car and access its functions and information simply by speaking. 
For example, the driver can control various vehicle functions such as navigation and air-conditioning simply by interacting with them. It can also explain vehicle functions, provide status updates on things like the oil level and help detect warnings. The intelligent system will pick up on the driver’s habits and preferences and will then adjust the vehicle to suit the driver. Seamless updates performed via Remote Software Upgrade will continuously add new capabilities to the All-New BMW 3 Series.
When activated, the new BMW 3 Series can easily manoeuvre in and out of tight parking spots. Plus, the new “Reversing Assist” provides support when operating in narrow spaces. The intuitive system remembers the last 50 metres of the drive to the parking space and will use that knowledge to assist the driver in exiting the spot by taking over the wheel.
For the dash, the highlight is the “Live Cockpit Professional”. It combines customisable and situation-linked displays on a fully-digital 12.3-inch instrument cluster and 10.25-inch control display. An intuitive operation can be chosen from the control display’s touch control, the “iDrive Controller”, the steering wheel buttons and voice control.
Livery for the new 3 Series comes on Portimao Blue, Black Sapphire, Alpine White, Mineral Grey and Sunset Orange paired with black or cognac leather Vernasca upholstery and interior trim finished in Aluminium Tetragon. 
The BMW 330i M Sport’s on-the-road price without insurance is RM328,800.

Passionation App Launch

Passionation App Launch

Kuala Lumpur, 1 April 2019 – Innity, APAC’s leading digital media solutions and marketing technology company has ventured into the influencer marketing space with the launch of Passionation, an influencer marketing platform that aims to connect influencers and micro-influencers with leading brands at scale. 

Influencer marketing is a growing industry and more marketers seem ready to invest in it. It is estimated that the industry will reach $10 billion by 2020. About 8% of marketers worldwide said that they planned to grow their influencer marketing spend in 2019. (eMarketer, July 2018).

However, some of the biggest pain points marketing managers have is finding the right social influencers, and ensuring the authenticity and transparency of the influencer to avoid spending on fake followers.

Passionation aims to help marketers find their particular niche from their directory of over 2,000 influencers in more than 11 niches and categories. The platform uses an AI-driven analytics platform to drive influencer relationship management, reporting, fraud detection, and ultimately get the best matches for brands to deliver the maximum degree of affinity between a brand and a content creator. The result is more engaging and authentic content to produce more relatable and impactful campaigns.

Marketers can also repurpose influencer campaigns into Innity’s display and mobile ads and programmatically amplify them across its vast network of publishers to reach an even wider audience.

Phang Chee Leong, CEO and Co-founder of Innity said: “To date, Passionation connects over 2000 influencers with more than 500 businesses, including KFC, AirAsia, INTI, Milo, Laneige, and many more. We are also happy to have established close and direct relationships with our influencers since we started. Content creators are often approached by brands and agencies to participate in marketing campaigns, but they are typically full of logistical challenges. Our plan with Passionation is to make the process effortless and transparent for both marketers and influencers.”

Passionation is currently available to clients and influencers across the APAC region, in countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, VIetnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

Innity is a leading digital media solutions and marketing technology company in Asia that helps publishers monetize content, while connecting brands to the right audience by offering best in-class data-driven mar tech solutions that combines creative programmatic, ad-serving, data management, audience targeting, and high-quality user engagement. Innity has presence in Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Korea, with more than 300 staff to-date.