August 10, 2020

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EXCLUSIVE: How MIMOS is leveraging Big Data in the public sector

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MIMOS is Malaysia’s national applied research and development agency that, in addition to helping the local ICT industry to grow, also assists the government in providing better public services. Their R&D focus is on cutting-edge applied frontier technologies in microelectronics and ICT, in line with the changing models and key trends in global business, lifestyle, health and wellbeing.

Currently, MIMOS focuses on disruptive trends such as Big Data, AI and Internet of Things (IoT), apart from pursuing advanced Electrical and Electronics engineering technologies such as graphene.

MIMOS’ Chief Technology Officer, Thillai Raj once more, leads all aspects of MIMOS’ R&D strategies. He spearheads company-wide research, technology and product development and oversees the roll-out of proof-of-concept solutions to key economic sectors in Malaysia.

OpenGov Asia had the privilege of speaking with Raj to discuss Big Data Analytics and its use in Malaysia’s public sector.

Big Data in Healthcare, Public Safety and Public Transportation

For a country like Malaysia, with a population of about 35 million people spread over a vast geographical area, Big Data Analytics is critical to the delivery of efficient citizen services.

Raj said while Big Data Analytics is used in Malaysia in many ways, MIMOS is focusing on three key areas: Healthcare, Public Safety and Public Transportation.

Healthcare

Across the globe, there are significant changes in demographics, lifestyles and health patterns as well as in the accompanying costs. Malaysia is no different. As the cost of healthcare escalates rapidly, it is imperative that better healthcare solutions are made available in a more accessible and cost-effective way.

Malaysia is strategically working to move from a culture of cure to a culture of wellness. Big Data helps generate information on what policies and programmes can be designed to enable this shift.

MIMOS is working with the Ministry of Health to use Big Data Analytics to determine specific disease prevalence, their causes and their spread. It is also used to identify different health patterns across the country.

MIMOS has developed the Malaysian Health Data Warehouse (MyHDW), which provides analytics on health data from public and private healthcare service providers.  The dedicated electronic medical record system received the OpenGov Asia Recognition of Excellence Award in 2017.

The MyHDW data is being used to identify trends in disease patterns and socio-demography. Fresh data and analysis are also being mapped against existing patterns to alert the government on any sudden change or worrying trend.

Public Safety

Big Data Analytics has tremendous usage in Malaysia in the area of public safety. Primarily the data used is in the form of video (as opposed to text data).

An example of this is in Malaysia’s police lockups, where safety is a priority.

To prevent in-cell incidents such as violent fights and custodial deaths, MIMOS helped install video analytics cameras within the lockup premises. First installed about four years ago, the intelligent surveillance system helps address the issue of manpower, attention capacity and real-time surveillance.

Acknowledging the limited nature of the human attention span, Raj stated, “Humans have their own span of attention. By installing the intelligent cameras, we eliminate span-of-attention issues.”

Installing the cameras also eliminates the need for multiple manpower.

Autonomous, real-time monitoring and analysis of the feed allows for better management of the facilities. The combination of technology and human capabilities ensures the safety of detainees in the cells.

Work is ongoing with the police force in enhancing and upgrading the system.

Public Transportation

For healthcare and public safety, it is much easier to be proactive and reduce incidences. In the case of traffic, Data Analytics is used more reactively.

Raj noted that the use of Big Data in the realm of public transportation is still in its early phase due to the reactive nature of the datasets.

He noted, “Currently, the best we can do is update people on where traffic is. We can pass this information on to those in charge of city planning so that they can, for example, widen the roads or have better public transport schedules.”

MIMOS analyses traffic data in two forms.

The first form is text data; for example, the data provided by map applications. By looking at the different data points on the maps, predictions and patterns about traffic can be developed.

The second form is video data obtained via cameras installed on roads. This provides information regarding the number of cars, buses, bikes, and trucks that are on the road.

Text data does not provide the full picture, but when complemented by video feed, a more accurate visual understanding of what is happening in real-time could be obtained.

Both sets of data can be analysed to determine the type of traffic, flow patterns and other factors; for example, to determine if buses are the main cause of congestion.

Using this data and the analyses, solutions for traffic management can be developed more effectively. Solutions may involve creating dedicated bus lanes, having specific schedules for heavy vehicles, and establishing commercial-versus-passenger routes and timings.

Future plans

By analysing and harnessing vast amounts of data generated by people’s daily activities, MIMOS has been able to map public health patterns, enhance safety and smoothen travellers’ journeys.

Big Data is transforming the Malaysian government’s service delivery in new and powerful ways.

MIMOS has been assessing the current government service landscape and progressively providing Big Data platforms such as for enhancement of business processes and data visualisation for better decision making.

As a strategic agency under the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, MIMOS stays true to its vision to be a premier applied R&D centre towards contributing to Malaysia’s economic transformation and growth.

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