TechFest Live 2020 is a 3-day digital festival held in Georgetown, Penang from 18-19th November 2020. Held both physically and virtually, the event celebrates technology and its promise to bring good to humanity. This year, Alpha Catalyst’s Founder and Innovation Strategist Azim Pawanchik, along with former CEO of General Electric Malaysia, Datuk Mark Rozario were invited to speak at a forum titled “Proactive Intelligence for Industrial Transformation”. The session was moderated by Ng Sai Kit, the Chief Executive of Captii Ventures. Captii Ventures is a venture capital firm with portfolios spanning industries including IT and finance across Southeast Asia.
Proactive Intelligence refers to Artificial Intelligence (AI) that proactively acts once a certain input is received. Users of Google’s Gmail will rightly recognise the Smart Compose function (which offers suggestions as you type) as an application of Proactive Intelligence. Mark shared that at AirAsia, utilising AI for performance-based navigation made it possible to predict optimal take-off and landing patterns. This yielded a cost saving of MYR 50 million over 5 years.
There is undoubtedly much value to be captured by harnessing the power of Predictive Intelligence. When asked about what is holding Malaysian industries back from fully embracing AI, the progress of national policy making was brought up. “The readiness of the government is still at a stage of infancy,” said Azim. Comprehensive policies and regulations need to be developed, especially in terms of data sharing and accountability to enable a full-blown adoption of AI in the nation.
The benefits of embracing Proactive Intelligence were driven home by one of Datuk Mark’s successful transformation efforts at General Electric. The company currently houses 2 remote monitoring centres in Kuala Lumpur. One of which monitors over 90 power stations in Asia Pacific. Utilising a range of sensors, GE was able to collect data to build a digital twin for each of its turbines, which is a replica of its physical counterpart, allowing accurate, real-time simulations to be made. Leveraging this wealth of data, Proactive Intelligence is then utilised to predict the need for any human intervention. As a result, The centre only requires 3 operators to run. The next step is for Actionable Intelligence to intervene and avoid breakdowns, removing the need for any human response altogether.
A swift transformation into digitisation is no easy feat. In a separate survey conducted by Alpha Catalyst Consulting, the main barriers to innovation in Malaysia can be attributed to the roles of top management. Lack of trust and clear innovation direction were found to be the largest challenges impeding innovation. Clearly, a paradigm shift is required for companies to fully embrace innovation. Leaders must learn to adopt new mindsets and learn to embrace uncertainty in order to topple the walls surrounding corporate creativity.
Drawing an example of a large local company, Azim warned about changes in how organisations will be run in the future. As more roles become automated, managers will need to address employees’ fears of being displaced by technology. Real-time data will become widely available, creating transparency to employees performance. “We are moving from having middle managers to measure performance, to having this done by algorithms,” added Azim. New management approaches will need to be developed to deal with this zero latency, data-driven environment.
Despite fears of disruption, companies will need to embrace digitisation by breaking down traditional organisational structures. As opposed to the layers of hierarchy we have today, companies of the future will implement a flatter, cross-functional platform approach, allowing collaboration and agility within the organisation. Combining this with a data-driven mindset, corporations will find more success in adopting Proactive Intelligence within their business.
In the final segment, the panel explored a few industries that can be revolutionised by Proactive Intelligence. These include the media industry, where it can be used by local companies to redefine its revenue model to better compete against disruptors like Netflix. The risk-averse insurance industry will also have much to gain if it uses of AI to develop more efficient ways of pricing insurance premiums.
In industry with the most to benefit from, perhaps, is the healthcare industry, especially in terms of preventive healthcare. In fact, the use of AI and online health services is already prevalent abroad. For example, Chinese regulators have already approved formed regulations to allow the use of AI to perform diagnosis for both conventional and traditional medicine. As policymakers work to develop policies regarding the use of AI and Proactive Intelligence, there will be much to look forward to as industries continue to grow and transform.
Alpha Catalyst Consulting would like to thank TechFest 2020 for this opportunity to share our views at this forum. We would also like to thank Sai Kit and Datuk Mark for their thoughts and insights.
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