Bits + Bytes : A Miscellany of Technology

This article first appeared in Digital Edge, The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on June 7, 2021 - June 13, 2021.
Bits + Bytes : A Miscellany of Technology
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NEWS

Delivery service provider Delyva launches mobile app 

Delyva Sdn Bhd has launched DelyvaNow — a delivery services booking platform for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). The Android and iOS mobile app allows users to book, manage and get notified of all their delivery orders on the go.

Additionally, the company has partnered with Bungkusit, GrabExpress, Janio, J&T Express, Lalamove, MrSpeedy, Ninja Van Malaysia, pandago and Teleport. Services from these new partners are currently available on the DelyvaNow mobile app except for Janio, pandago and Teleport, which will be offered on the app starting July.

Currently, Aramex, AsiaXpress, CJ Logistics, DHL eCommerce, FGV Transport, Matdespatch, PosLaju and Pos FlexiPrepaid are on its delivery booking platform.

“Previously, our customers could only use a web application for bookings. We are excited that the DelyvaNow mobile app is finally here to give users better convenience and experience,” says Hanif Wahid, CEO and founder of Delyva.

“Users don’t just have options of domestic courier services, but also options of instant delivery services — five service providers now and two more in July. If they are in Ipoh, the Klang Valley, Johor Baru, Melaka or Penang, they can access more than one choice of instant delivery services via the DelyvaNow mobile app,” says Hanif.

With DelyvaNow’s online booking platform, users can compare service rates and select the ones that meet their needs and requirements, saving time and money for local and international courier services. DelyvaNow also offers PosMoto, a door-to-door motorcycle transport service within Peninsular Malaysia.

SKALE’s ‘all-in-one’ marketing tool to help retailers through MCO 3.0

Retail marketing technology company SKALE has launched an “all-in-one” marketing tool to help Malaysian retailers acquire new customers and grow trackable sales effectively.

Yuet Whey Siah, founder of SKALE, hopes that the platform helps the underserved offline retail community through economic conditions exacerbated by prolonged coronavirus-related restrictions. 

When the Movement Control Order (MCO) was first implemented last year, two weeks of strict lockdown caused retailers to lose a whopping RM3.4 billion in sales. “To make matters worse, more than half of Malaysian SMEs (58%) are not reaching their full potential when deploying digital technologies,” says Yuet.

SKALE allows small businesses to launch PushAds (digital ads), digital vouchers and personalised SMS and email campaigns. It also helps businesses reach their target audience with digital ads across major platforms (Instagram, Facebook and Google) in four easy steps.

These tools allow offline retailers to acquire new customers and grow their customer database instantly. One such local brand that has benefited from the marketing platform is modest fashion brand, UMMA, which saw a 36% revenue boost through SKALE during this festive period leading up to Hari Raya.

Funding Societies and foodpanda partner to provide MSMEs with digital financing solutions

Funding Societies has entered into a strategic partnership with foodpanda Malaysia to offer short-term digital financing solutions for merchants registered under the latter’s network.

To date, RM1 million in financing has been disbursed collectively, providing local micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) greater access to business financing opportunities to facilitate common business operation needs, business expansions as well as to help ensure the sustainability of the MSMEs.

As many as 20,000 to 30,000 merchants across multiple segments under the foodpanda network stand to benefit from tailored financing solutions offered by Funding Societies.

Eligible merchants under the foodpanda network will be able to enjoy the following financing benefits from Funding Societies: full online application experience; minimal documentation requirement; fast disbursement with approval as fast as within three working days; flexible repayment tenure up to 18 months; and no collateral requirement.

As part of the partnership, Funding Societies is also offering the Micro Credit Line to eligible foodpanda merchants. The Micro Credit Line facility enables MSMEs to draw a short credit period of between 30 to 90 days at any given time that can be used for a variety of business purposes such as inventory purchase, payment to suppliers or as an emergency fund.

Free data literacy resources to build essential life skills

SAS has made available a free data literacy course online. The Data Literacy Essentials teaches strategies for identifying useful data, interrogating data and communicating data.

It follows how a concerned parent, small business owner and public health expert use data to solve problems during the pandemic. This course can be accessed via curiosity.sas.com/en/courses/data-literacy-essentials.html.

SAS also has data literacy resources for K-12 (kindergarten to Form 5) students and teachers. This includes CodeSnaps, a collaborative coding programme, and DataFly, a tool that collects and explores data from students in real time.

 

COMPETITION

Selangor appeals for green tech solutions to deal with mounting river waste

Selangor Maritime Gateway, a Selangor government project to rejuvenate Sungai Klang, is looking into solutions to repurpose the waste extracted from the river instead of transferring it to landfills.

Under the Upcycling River Waste to Wealth challenge, the state government together with the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC) are looking for green technology or mechanisms to deconstruct the waste into a useful functional product that is environmentally friendly.

Among other requirements, the solution has to be adaptable to the volume of waste collected in any given area and even adaptable to handle municipal waste.

Selected winners will gain access to a research and development cash pool worth up to RM50,000 to refine their technology. They will also receive an exclusive invite to participate in an impact-focused accelerator for three months of capacity building, network and funding opportunities under MaGIC’s Social Impact Challenge Accelerator (Sica).

Upon completion of the accelerator under Sica, the technology and products that best demonstrate the solution to the challenge, with the strongest business potential, may be offered a grant of up to RM100,000 and/or collaboration with Landasan Lumayan Sdn Bhd or its appointed partner(s) for further development of the winning concept.

They may also win mentorship programmes at any one (or more) of the organisations under Menteri Besar Incorporated Selangor or other suitable organisations, and access market opportunities together with Landasan Lumayan in Selangor and beyond.

The challenge closes on June 23, 2021. For more details of the competition, visit www.selangormaritimegateway.com/innovation-challenge-2.

Me.reka opens registration for four-week digital entrepreneurship programme

The Digital Entrepreneur, a four-week training programme, by Me.reka, the education arm of Biji-biji Initiative, is accepting applications.

The programme offers technical and empathetic skills to prepare the future workforce for employment in the 21st century.

The social enterprise is also offering applicants 500 fully-funded scholarships, through the MaGIC and Penjana Social Impact Matching Grant.

“Through this scholarship, we hope to make digital entrepreneurship more accessible for our grassroots communities. Funded by our impact partners, scholarships empower deserving individuals in our community to build a career through digital gig work,” says Me.reka.

For more information, visit www.mereka.my/digital-entrepreneur.

Scale-up with Endeavor

Endeavor Malaysia is on the lookout for entrepreneurs to join the second edition of its ScaleUp Programme. ScaleUp Endeavor is a 6 + 18-month structured programme aimed at supercharging the growth of late-stage start-ups.

To qualify, entrepreneurs should be leading scalable and innovative Malaysian-based businesses with more than US$486,027 (RM2 million) in revenue and at least an average of 20% year-on-year revenue growth.

Applications are open until June 18, 2021. To find out more about the programme, visit  www.endeavormalaysia.org.

 

PEOPLE MOVES

Preqin appoints CTO to accelerate technology transformation

Preqin, a provider of alternative assets data, tools and insights, has appointed Tom Hunt as its new chief technology officer (CTO).

According to a press release, in addition to scaling up Preqin’s cutting-edge technology efforts, Hunt will focus on further developing the company’s solutions and data services to continue to provide the alternatives industry with market-leading data and insights.

Hunt was formerly a technology leader at Kantar and GlobalWebIndex, both market research and data analytics companies. He joins Preqin at a time when the company is rapidly growing its solutions and technology partnerships. 

Amanda Woo is the new CEO of airasia super app

AirAsia Group Bhd has appointed Amanda Woo as the CEO of airasia super app — previously known as airasia.com. She succeeds Karen Chan, who will be assuming a board position with the super app business.

Woo previously served as the business’ chief commercial officer and she was a founding team member of the airasia super app.

Woo, who joined the budget carrier in 2012, has spearheaded commercial initiatives across various entities under the AirAsia ecosystem, including BigPay and Tune Hotels. 

 

A PORTAL — which resembles a virtual circular door with a large screen and cameras — has been set up in Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius, and the Polish city of Lublin. Live images of the two cities are shared on the screen via the internet in real time. The organisers plan to set up more PORTALs around Europe and other countries in the future.

“Humanity is facing many potentially deadly challenges — be it social polarisation, climate change or economic issues. However, if we look closely, it’s not a lack of brilliant scientists, activists, leaders, knowledge or technology causing these challenges. It’s tribalism, a lack of empathy and a narrow perception of the world, which is often limited to our national borders. That’s why we’ve decided to bring the PORTAL idea to life — it’s a bridge that unifies and an invitation to rise above prejudices and disagreements that belong to the past. It’s an invitation to rise above the us and them illusion.”

Benediktas Gylys, president of the Benediktas Gylys Foundation and initiator of the PORTAL idea

 

EDITOR’S MUST-HAVES

ThePhotoStick

Social media may have reshaped how users store and share memories, but photos and videos dear to the heart are generally stored privately on hard disks. However, hard drive malfunctions are a common occurrence, and in a blink, decades’ worth of memories could be lost.

Thankfully, ThePhotoStick can help users back up their photos and videos easily. It is a small USB flash drive that automatically backs up the files instantly, without the hassle of searching for and organising them. 

Users only need to plug in ThePhotoStick to their computer device, click “GO” when the file backup program pops up, and the files are safely backed up. The software will sift through the computer hard drive, search for photos and videos and compare them for duplicates, and save them to ThePhotoStick.

ThePhotoStick is great for users who do not wish to delve into the sophisticated aspects of backing up files. There are no cloud services involved, passwords to remember, nor the need to comprehend the various filenames and file formats. 

ThePhotoStick currently comes in three different sizes — 128GB, 256GB and 1TB. Users do not need to install any additional software onto the computer, and the file backup software is run directly from ThePhotoStick itself. The device is compatible with both Mac and Windows computer, and users can leave ThePhotoStick plugged into the computer to continually back up files weekly. 

 

DIGITIONARY

Ratioed

Ratioed, sometimes spelt “ratio’d”, is when a tweet gets more replies or quote tweets than it does likes or retweets.

“Ratioed is only used when the replies are overwhelmingly critical of the original tweet; replies that are positive responses, or replies that are long, derivative threads don’t count as ratioing,” says Merriam-Webster.

For example, if your tweet gets 10 likes but a reply got 10,000 likes, you have regrettably been “ratioed”.

 

TECH BOOKS

The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity by Amy Webb

We like to think that we are in control of the future of artificial intelligence (AI). The reality, though, is that we — the everyday people whose data powers AI — are not actually in control of anything. When, for example, we speak to Alexa, we contribute that data to a system we cannot see and have no input into — one largely free from regulation or oversight. The big nine corporations — Amazon, Google, Facebook, Tencent, Baidu, Alibaba, Microsoft, IBM and Apple — are the new gods of AI and are short-changing our futures to reap immediate financial gain. 

In this book, Amy Webb reveals the pervasive, invisible ways in which the foundations of AI — the people working on the system, their motivations, the technology itself — are broken. Within our lifetimes, AI will, by design, begin to behave unpredictably, thinking and acting in ways that defy human logic. The big nine corporations may be inadvertently building and enabling vast arrays of intelligent systems that do not share our motivations, desires or hopes for the future of humanity.

Much more than a passionate, human-centred call-to-arms, this book delivers a strategy for changing course, and provides a path for liberating us from algorithmic decision-makers and powerful corporations. — Amazon

 

WHILE YOU WERE WORKING 
(FROM HOME)

Poly Studio P Series to enhance the work-from-anywhere experience

Poly released the Poly Studio P Series, the industry’s first professional-grade personal video conferencing equipment, designed to assist today’s remote worker.

The series includes the Poly Studio P5 webcam, Poly Studio P15 personal video Bar and Poly Studio P21 personal meeting display. For collaboration confidence, Poly Studio P5 Kits bundles the new Studio P5 camera with select headsets or the portable Poly Sync intelligent speakerphone to optimise a work-from-anywhere setup.

These personal solutions combined with Poly Lens Desktop App and Poly+ paid subscription service bring hardware and software together under one roof to simplify device management and solve work from anywhere.

Fine-tuned camera optics and microphones ensure you are seen and heard with exceptional clarity while brilliant colours and automatic low-light compensation deliver broadcast-quality video from personal and shared spaces. The entire Poly Studio P Series comes with access to the Poly Lens device management service through the new Poly Lens Desktop App. With the Poly Lens Desktop App, you will be able to easily gain insights and manage a remote workforce from the cloud.

The Poly Lens Desktop App also empowers users with tips on device setup, troubleshooting for the best possible lighting and camera placement, and ergonomics for the optimal workspace setup. You also have the option to receive personal health and wellness tips throughout the day, such as suggested movement and hydration to keep your energy flowing.