By Avanti Kumar
Advancing in tandem with the rest of the world, Malaysia is stepping through the endemic phase of COVID-19. Cloud computing (as the primary edge of digitalisation) is rapidly reshaping the world of work in the new hybrid normal.
One commenter (among many) opines that the post-pandemic era has boosted digitalisation to the extent that the region could be said to be in the Digital Decade.
We already know cloud computing services are endemic. According to the Cloud Computing Services, Platforms Infrastructure and Everything as a Service 2022 -2027 report, the global cloud computing revenue will reach US$519 million by 2027 at a 23.7% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). Other highlights include:
When the Pew Research Centre saw cloud computing back in 2008 as currency in the informational technology world, industry watchers foresaw cloud computing would begin to transform our behaviour online and how fast we work.
Pew Research's 2008 study noted more than 69% of all Internet users were using software programs, storing data online, and accessing webmail. At the time, most Internet users may not have much cloud computing awareness.
According to Gartner, spending on public cloud services will hit US$494.7 billion in 2022, a 20.4% year-on-year (YoY) increase, against the 2021 spending of US$410.9 billion.
Sid Nag, Research Vice-President at Gartner, commented that in addition to spending more money on public cloud services, CIOs and IT buyers are becoming savvier about how their IT budgets should be spent.
“The cloud is the powerhouse that drives today’s digital organisations,” commented Nag. “CIOs are beyond the era of irrational exuberance of procuring cloud services and are being thoughtful in their choice of public cloud providers to drive specific, desired business, and technology outcomes in their digital transformation journey.”
In Malaysia, the importance of the cloud to the nation's digitalisation aims is evident in its MyDIGITAL blueprint to digitally transform the public sector. One major element of this is the appointment of cloud service providers (such as Alibaba Cloud) to help national digitalisation efforts.
Let’s delve deeper into today's cloud computing outlook and take a quick tour of some recent concerns and advances.
Our current review of some perspectives of the cloud's impact on the Internet (and by implication) on Internet businesses takes in concerns and advances in amplifying the usefulness of the Internet to businesses in a post-pandemic world:
Cloud computing has now empowered the Internet with greater certainty and reliability. As detailed in the How Cloud Computing Changes the Internet article, previous concerns held by governments and financial sectors were summarised as:
Further advances enabled by the cloud include the edge computing concept. In a 2018 computing conference held in Hangzhou, Wang Guangfang, a Senior Technical Expert of Alibaba Cloud's Edge Computing Team, shared insights during the content delivery network and edge computing session, which centred on the benefits of edge computing.
Even the smallest Malaysian businesses tend to be complex and innovative scenarios. “Given the context of rapidly advancing technologies, such as IoT and 4G/5G, which enable a myriad of sensors and devices, Internet traffic has become heavily burdened with data. Edge computing enables a large-scale, distributed architecture that eases some of the load by allowing some processing on the edge,” said Wang, who detailed the maturity of CDN and Alibaba Cloud Edge Node Service (ENS).
For example, ENS addresses pain points and challenges that businesses may face when they are building edge infrastructure. ENS uses edge nodes close to terminals and users to deliver the computing distribution platform service to help customers seamlessly run business modules on the edge.
We must acknowledge wearables, AR/VR headsets, smart homes, drones, autonomous vehicles, and smart cities are rapidly becoming a part of daily life in many parts of the world.
As the building of smart cities embraces many of these technologies, Malaysia saw two more advances in 2021 (among several of its digital agenda) with the launch of its Smart City Handbook: Malaysia and the soft launch of its Smart City Outlook 2021/22 (MSCO) report by the technological partnership think tank, Malaysia Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT).
Alibaba Cloud has included addressing the somewhat fragmented Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem as one of its initiatives. Alibaba Cloud launched the Link IoT platform at the 2017 Cloud Habitat meeting, with the announcement of the tri-part strategy platform + market + standard. At this time, Alibaba also put forth its plan to reach the goal of connecting 10 billion devices over the next five years.
Somewhat similar to social distancing, companies need to think about network distancing – to heighten network security, especially with people accessing information from different locations.
Companies need to ensure remote working and remote access as part of the new normal in the post-pandemic era.
In many ways, the keywords for how Internet companies and businesses operate in the days ahead are remote control established on a foundation of compliance with international standards.
Larry Liu, Alibaba Cloud's Head of Security Compliance and Privacy, addressed the challenge of compliance, security, and protocols in his presentation during the Activate Conference in 2019.
"We are committed to our customers around the world," said Liu. "We understand the importance of international data protection standards and will help ensure security interests for countries globally are respected. We adopt industry standards and best practices to safeguard customer data and maintain their interoperability with our existing enterprise security controls."
Furthermore, Alibaba Cloud has attracted considerable industry recognition. In Gartner's 2021 Solution Scorecard for Alibaba Cloud International IaaS+PaaS, Alibaba Cloud achieved a score of 81 out of 100, receiving the highest scores in the compute, storage, and network sectors and the highest score in security in the required criteria.
Another testament to the company's heightened focus in this area is the establishment of a designated Security and Compliance Centre. Alibaba Cloud was recognised as a Challenger among global security providers for the first time in the 2021 edition of Gartner's Magic Quadrant for network firewalls.
In another move to promote wider security measures, Alibaba Cloud opened the source code of the XuanTie IP core series for a full-stack development platform for the IoT devices, dubbed Yun on Chip. This will help developers build their operating system for AI acceleration, audio processing, mesh networking, and motor control with the platform.
Alibaba Cloud Internet Day 2022 (31st May 2022) will highlight many of these benefits through the company's solutions, including:
Malaysia's Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi recently announced that e-wallet usage had increased by 131% in 2020 over the previous year. Citing data from the recently released PayNet 2022 report, Malaysians using cash payments dipped 11% to 78% from 89% before COVID-19 emerged.
This surge in cashless payments is in line with the e-commerce boom in Malaysia and within the region.
He also noted that the country's Malaysian Digital Economy Blueprint (MyDIGITAL) included encouraging the use of e-commerce by 875,000 micro, small, and medium enterprises, creating 500,000 business opportunities, and contributing 22.6% to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2025.
“According to the Department of Statistics Malaysia, e-commerce transaction income rose 30% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2021 to RM254.6 billion,” he noted.
Interestingly, RHB Investment Bank Bhd noted that infrastructure investments will strengthen the e-commerce segment’s growth, and Malaysia ranks third behind Singapore and Vietnam as the logistics hub of choice in Southeast Asia.
“A few notable multinational corporations (MNCs) have chosen Malaysia to be their regional distribution centres, including IKEA, Lazada Group, Nestle SA, and BMW AG. Logistic facilities with smart systems, such as automated storage and retrieval systems,” RHB Investment’s analyst Loong Kok Wen said recently.
In Malaysia, startups are competing with multinationals in different arenas in the booming e-commerce space. Alibaba Cloud's uptime and monitoring strategies via CloudMonitor help businesses stay on top of changes.
Such innovations have helped nurture many local success stories:
Malaysia needs to accelerate digital transformation to become a smarter nation. At a grassroots level, this makes it imperative for businesses of all sizes to recognise the advantages of cloud technology.
In conclusion, Alibaba Cloud has helped businesses unlock multiple benefits:
The cloud is taking over e-commerce and taking Malaysia's companies across multiple sectors to new heights. The five pillars of digital transformation deliver certain key benefits to Malaysia's businesses.
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