The offset of the still ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has seen the world finance climate being decimated by an exponentially increasing number of companies — ranging from small-to-medium enterprises to mainstays in shopping malls — closing down due to a lack of business opportunities and lower spending power by its customers. However, there is a silver lining to this depressing state of affairs that most of us are facing right now as the pandemic has accelerated the growth of a new/not new kind of economy — the digital economy.
And the past two years or so of the pandemic has certainly proven that organisations with digital strategies and contingencies in place have thrived in the lockdown era while their peers languish in economic instability.
The latest, recurring spotlight on digitalisation is indeed good news, especially for Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP) which has heavily invested in the digitisation game.
UTP’s Forray Into Digitisation
The university’s headstart in the digitisation industry (which began circa three years ago) has finally begun to bear fruit as the pandemic has spurred increasing demand for digitalisation solutions. In fact, 80% of new deals sealed in the last 18 months with UTP was related to digital products and services. And in recent years, UTP’s metamorphosis from a research-driven institute to a commercialisation-based entity has allowed it to grow its products and consulting services from an average of RM30 million to RM65 million in 2019 and to RM51 million in 2020.
More impressively, the turnover for the first six months of 2021 alone for UTP is already at RM20 million despite Malaysia’s challenging economic climate.
Capitalising On Digitisation In All Areas of Life
As the digitalisation train picks up steam, UTP’s various digital innovations have made a positive impact in industries all throughout the country. For instance, the Advance Diagnostic and Prognostic Technology (ADaPT) and Poseidon have been gaining industry recognition of late.
The latter serves as an autonomous structural health monitoring system adapted for offshore facilities which allow oil companies to eliminate unnecessary labour costs while still being able to care for the well-being of their offshore employees.
But apart from the oil and gas sector, UTP is also collaborating with various industry leaders in varying sectors — one of which is the telecommunications sector. The intended goal is to come up with effective solutions based on the Internet of Things (IoT) concept. More encouragingly, UTP has been receiving plenty of enquiries from many organisations which has further cemented their position at the top of the Malaysian digitalisation movement. Much of those that have approached UTP is also not directly associated with technology or digital solutions.
For example, UTP is developing a Hajj Chatbot application to be used by pilgrims for Lembaga Tabung Haji. At the same time, the team is also looking at how to enhance their online presence in the future.
Apart from that, UTP has also dipped its toes into blockchain technology as a bookkeeping system — particularly for the halal food supply chain. And although the idea was met with lukewarm interest in the country, its neighbouring country, the Philippines more than welcomed the solution. It has since rolled out a blockchain project for the cocoa industry to much success.
This goes to show that UTP is not just offering exclusivity within the borders of Malaysia. There are even plans afoot to commercialise its digital solutions and innovations through a strategic Technology Transfer Office (TTO) Nexus in the neighbouring regions of Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.