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UTM holds water solutions hackathon

Image Credits: New Strait Times, Press Release

A solar-powered product that measures several parameters of water to compute its quality index won the Hack for Good 2.0: Connected Mangroves Hackathon at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur campus recently.

Named Hydro Health On-Demand, the project involved a real-time monitoring system deploying Narrowband-Internet of Things (NB-IOT) technology in measuring temperature, pH, turbidity, dissolved oxygen and heavy metal levels across various geographical areas.

NB-IoT is a low-power wide-area network radio technology standard developed by the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) to link up cellular devices and services.

This technology allows correlations to be made between the water source and its topology, community boundaries and population. It also allows for real-time monitoring of water sources.

The project was developed by Team H20, comprising four mechatronics engineering students from UTM. The team’s leader said that they participated in the IoT in Water Quality Management category. It took them about one week to refine and finalise their idea.

The team came out with the idea to help have effective water quality monitoring to retain the same quality of water sources. They believe their product is scalable and sustainable for smart cities.

It is hoped that the awareness being created by these teams and via this event will protect nature from pollution, and thus, provide an ideal environment for the growth of mangroves.

The hackathon’s concept was to stimulate innovation in IoT to support the mangrove ecosystem and create cases to accelerate cellular IoT adoption by universities and industries.

It was jointly organised by UTM, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Ericsson Malaysia, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, Celcom Axiata, XPAND and the Higher Education Department.

A Swedish telecommunications firm deployed an NB-IoT network within UTM’s Kuala Lumpur campus in conjunction with the hackathon, which will be used for research and development in the future.

For the hackathon, teams could choose to join any of the four themes — IoT in Water Quality Management, IoT in Fisheries Production, IoT in Mangrove Ecology and Diversity, and IoT in Climate Change.

The second place and third place went to Team Hummingbird 4.0 from Swinburne University of Technology, Sarawak campus, and Smart Krabb from International Islamic University Malaysia.

More than 40 entries were received with prizes totalling RM40,000 given out. The top 14 ideas were shortlisted and a Pre-Hack Workshop was carried out to prepare the participants for prototype development.

The participants were taken to Sabak Bernam, Selangor, to experience planting mangroves and identify its environmental issues.

Green Technology has found significant support and backing in Malaysia.

For example, the Green Technology Financing Scheme 2.0 (GTFS 2.0) by the Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Ministry (MESTECC) has reportedly received an overwhelming response.

After the scheme was launched in March 2019, about 50 applications have been received, said ministry secretary-general.

So far, 21 companies have completed their online submissions and another 27 applications are pending the completion of their documents. Most of the RM2 billion allocation for the scheme has been taken up.

The GTFS was introduced in 2010 to encourage local companies and entrepreneurs to be involved in green technology-based projects, and support the growth of green technology in the country.

In his 2019 Budget speech, Malaysia’s Finance Minister announced the extension of the GTFS scheme for a period of two years – from 2019 to 2020 – with a total allocation of up to RM2 billion.

The GTFS 2.0 includes a rebate of two per cent per annum on interest or profit rates charged by financial institutions for the first seven years and a government guarantee of 60 per cent on green technology components.

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