Lifelogging is the act of recording and analyzing your daily activities as a way of finding out more about yourself and your life. By doing this, you can discover hidden patterns in your behavior and life; you can identify your strengths and weaknesses, gain valuable insights into your goals, dreams, and aspirations, and much more. This process has increased your quality of life in many different ways.
There are many benefits to lifelogging. This is one of the most exciting times in the history of humankind. With today’s technology (digital camera and smartphone), you can live forever. The only limit to your health and happiness now is your own imagination! Lifelogging helps you keep a record of your life for you and your family after you are gone.
Lifelogging via Gyroscope App
I have been using Gyroscope as my Lifelogging app, and it has recorded my daily activities since 2018. Gyroscope helps you manage the many aspects of your life by giving you an easy-to-use interface to track everything that matters to you. It tracks your days, weeks, months, and years in precise detail. And depending on the apps you integrate with, Gyroscope can bring together your sleep patterns, productivity, fitness activities, and Apple Health data.
One particularly tracking pattern that’s worth looking at is the Number of hours online and whether its productive or not. We can easily observed that pre-Covid (2019), the average online hours is about 1,000 hours as compared during the travelling restrictions and work from home activities. The online activity has increased by 50% !
And if we see how the app tracked the number of places in 2020 and 2021, it was cut down by more than 60%. The physical meetings has now been compensated by the online meetings.
If we subscribed to it’s Premium subscription (Mine is RM 294.90 for Track Pro. There are many types of Subscription options), we have access to much more reports which are beautifully displayed. Although a great number of reports that can be shared in the form of Cards from its mobile app, lot more charts and analysis can be seen from the web portal.
When you are a thought leader, you can influence others in your industry. If you can influence other people, then this means that you can get their attention and even persuade them to adopt your ideas.
Who is a thought leader? A thought leader has significant influence and credibility in their field of expertise. They are often well known and admired by the people they influence. They may be the subject of books and articles, but more importantly, they impact other people’s lives. Think of people like Gary Vaynerchuk, Simon Sinek, or Tony Robbins. They are all thought leaders.
How to become a thought leader?
It’s simple. All you have to do is spend your time and effort reading the best thinkers in your field. As you read, you’ll notice that most of them have the same basic things in common. They are all well-educated, they’ve thought deeply about their subject matter, and they’re usually knowledgeable.
In addition, you’ll find that they’ve created an intellectual community around their ideas. They share their thoughts, which helps them understand themselves, their ideas, and their impact on others. Finally, they’re constantly pushing the boundaries of their thinking.
Why is it essential to be a thought leader?
In business, being a thought leader can be a potent tool. If you want to succeed in your business, you need to become one. You need to think out of the box and develop new ideas that others may not have considered. It is essential to become a thought leader because it will give you a competitive edge over others.
When you are a thought leader, you can influence others in your industry. If you can influence other people, then this means that you can get their attention and even persuade them to adopt your ideas. For this reason, being a thought leader can be a potent tool. But how do you become a thought leader? There are many ways to go about doing this, but there are also certain traits that you need to possess.
What makes a good thought leader?
I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about what makes a good thought leader. And I came up with some thoughts that are worth sharing in my humble opinion.
Here’s the list:
Know your audience and be yourself. This is so obvious. But I don’t know how many people take it seriously. The more you know your audience, the better you tailor your message to their needs.
And if you are not who you are, you might as well not exist. This is one of the reasons why I like to say that you should write your own book and be your own publisher.
If you want to get a book published, you need to have something valuable to share. So, be yourself. That is the only way to get it right. Know your audience and be yourself. Be the best at what you do. Have a clear vision for what you want to accomplish.
But don’t ever stop learning. And if you can’t find your niche, create one. One of my favorite quotes is, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” This means that you must first be the change you wish to see in yourself. So, be the change you want to see in yourself.
As a writer, there are many ways you can develop your thought leadership. Here’s a simple guide:
Find the most influential people in your niche. These people are often leaders in their industry. They write books, articles, and they’re active on social media. Find the most influential marketers in your niche if you’re a marketer.
Follow them on social media. Most of these people have a blog or a Twitter account to share great content. They’ll probably follow you back.
Read what they publish. The more time you spend reading their content, the more you’ll be able to incorporate it into your own.
Write something unique. Don’t just copy and paste what they write.
Write something that makes your audience think, “I need to read this.”
Get the attention of these influencers. You can do this by writing a guest post on their blog or sharing their social media content.
Once they start following you, ask them to review your book or article. The more people you get to review your work, the better.
Finally, ask them for some feedback. They’ll appreciate the opportunity to help a writer improve their craft.
How can I achieve being a thought leader?
Here are some tips to get started:
Be the person others want to follow. This might seem like a cop-out, but you have to think about this from the other person’s perspective. You want to be the person they look up to and admire.
It’s tough to be someone else’s role model.
Focus on the positive There are so many things in your life that are great, but you just need to focus on those. When I first started looking at my life this way, I was amazed by how better I felt.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Focus on what you can control.
Have a plan of action and stick to it. If you set yourself up to fail, you’ll fail.
One of the frustrating parts is when I Google the name “Mazlan Abbas Blog,” the website does not even appear in the Google Ranking!
Here’s where many Bloggers would start to get very frustrated and abandon their Blogging activities. In reality (as described by many professional bloggers), it’s very typical, that we will only see the impact after several months!
Below is my traffic stats that showed the ups and downs. The “ups” is because I mainly promoted the posts on my Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter – and Facebook seems to be the highest referrals.
Surprisingly my top 3 countries (other than my home country Malaysia) are the United States, India, and Ireland.
Types of Blog Posts
The idea of my Blog is for Personal Blogging – sharing my journey into the world of Entrepreneurship, which mainly referred back to my business Blog called IoT World.
By monitoring the article’s number of views, I will understand what content attracted the readers.
Top be fair, the Blog is still at its infancy stage. It requires constant update with high-quality contents. I will be revisiting this statistics monthly and monitor the progress.
I am now using All-In-One SEO (AISEO) plug-in to help increase the SEO. And I have also followed many tips given by many other veteran Bloggers.
Kindly leave your comments and share your thoughts. I love to hear them.
There’s no way to understand the challenges if we have not built and sold Favorsense. Facing the customers is the only to find out. Some of the challenges are:
Many Copycats – Unlike other IoT solutions that depend on custom-made IoT devices, many other IT companies can easily copy a complete software-based application unless it has a complex algorithm or some form of machine learning.
Challenging to Become a SaaS-based Solution – Many local councils have a long-existing process embedded into their everyday workflow. Thus, it requires many customizations based on their workflow unless they are willing to replace them with a new one. Or the SaaS must be complete with the flexibility to integrate with their legacy systems.
Red Ocean Market – There are many similar solutions – although incomplete or have different features, it seems to be more challenging for the customer to change to a new one.
Procurement Complexity – Introducing intelligent city solutions is a very complex process. Much unclear procurement process due to many stakeholders involved. And this includes budget issues.
Stand-Alone Solution Weakness – Just a citizen engagement solution might not be attractive enough in any tender or procurement process. It’s is typically part of the more extensive project roll-out.
Opening the Floodgate – Not many organizations prefer a very open or accessible channel for users to make complaints or reports. It’s like opening a floodgate of complaints. However, it’s between letting complaints go viral or making the channel more controllable – it’s the local council’s choice.
Legacy Systems – Older IT systems have existed in the current workflow and are thus difficult to integrate with new methods, especially when the data is no longer compatible. It requires massive upgrades and costs.
Citizen Engagement Fatigue – Once the mobile citizen engagement app is launched, it requires constant push and awareness regarding its usefulness. Many similar apps just died quietly after several months in public.
Unlike the first IoT solution, Raqib, these challenges are totally different. It’s not about technical challenges but understanding the users’ needs and current legacy workflow.
It’s easier to sell Favorsense when the customer does not have any complaint or trouble ticket system.
Do you think there are other ways to resolve the eight issues mentioned above? Kindly leave your comments or feedback below. I love to hear your thoughts. Thanks!
This article is the first part of our Raqib journey. The experience that we have learned building such a solution is priceless. We must always be prepared to overcome the technical challenges and go-to-market strategy.
RAQIB is the first IoT product we built when we launched our Startup in 2017. The initial target market was Senior Citizens. However, we pivoted (or expanded) our customer segment to cater to people going for their Hajj.
Target Hajj Market
Based on our market research, we saw Hajj market is very suitable for Raqib as per the following reasons:
More than 2.3 Million perform Hajj per year (about 30,000 pilgrims are from Malaysia)
Different languages and cultures make communication very difficult during an emergency.
Many pilgrims went missing because of the crowded nature and unfamiliar with foreign places.
People can easily fall sick or faint due to heat and dust. The need to call help immediately is a challenge.
Constant care and monitoring are required to have peace of mind when performing Hajj, especially when traveling with a spouse that is elderly.
The hajj peak period is between 5-6 days with crowded people in small areas. Thus, it’s a challenge to find a missing person, especially almost all wearing similar robes and clothes.
When staying at Mina, the tents are very similar, and thus finding a way home can be a significant challenge.
Crowded places include Mina, Arafat, Muzdalifah, and Tawaf at Kaaba.
Challenges of Building an IoT Solution (Raqib) for Hajj
We noticed that pivoting to a different market segment is not as straightforward as expected. The challenges are:
Device – What are the main parameters that we should monitor? Is it health vital signs or safety (tracking locations)? For some, measuring the blood pressure level is more important, whereas others want to know the whereabouts of their spouse.
Network and Roaming – The model we offered only supports 2G networks and voice capability. Not many M2M sim cards provided by telcos have the roaming capability, and the cost can be high too due to the data roaming charges. Since we are bundling Raqib only for simple monitoring, we only limit data usage for wearable purposes and not for web browsing (users can detach the sim card and misuse it for other purposes). Enabling the right APNs of the device for different network operators in Saudi is also a challenge.
Trial Period – Since Hajj is seasonal (once a year), we must find a way to trial at the Hajj site itself. The first option, we gave the device to our partners and customers who are performing their Umrah. We received a lot of issues during this trial, but we overcame it when we offered to our Saudi partner and our Malaysian trial customers to test during the 2018 Hajj. I also have personally tested Raqib during my Umrah in early 2019.
User Behavior – It is also one of the biggest challenges because a user must always wear the Raqib watch to work as expected. If a person leaves the Raqib watch at their hotel, then the data on the Raqib app will not be accurate or consistent. The device must also be robust enough to withstand water during wudhu or bath. The user needs to charge the battery consistently, which is very challenging when the source of power is scarce in places like Arafat and Mina.
Go-to-Market Strategy – Who will buy or subscribe to Raqib? Do we sell this to the Hajj authorities, or should we sell this to Hajj Travel Agencies? Or should we sell directly to the end-users? What’s the business model? It’s pretty challenging to sell as a CAPEX-based model because the Raqib requires sim cards, and the data need to be activated. Since this is a Hajj solution and it only happens once a year, what happens when a user returns home – do they want to continue using them. Or should it be a rental model for the travel agents – they can re-use the device for another group of Umrah pilgrims. Unfortunately, this rental doesn’t work because of the tedious logistics process – collecting the devices, cleaning them, and managing the stocks.
Going Beyond Malaysian Market – For Raqib to be successful, it must capture a global market because the Hajj market is small and seasonal. However, to do this, we need to test the roaming capability of the sim cards – and we have done it successfully in Saudi Arabia, India, Maldives, Egypt, Bangladesh, and Thailand.
This article is the first part of our Raqib journey. The experience that we have learned from building such a solution is priceless. We must always be prepared to overcome the technical challenges and go-to-market strategy.
Have you encountered any IoT solutions similar to Raqib? Please leave your comments below.
I am not sure, but maybe it’s always in my blood or DNA to share knowledge, build talent, or teach others. I started my journey in IoT as early as in the Year 2001. At that time, the telco was called M2M (or Machine-to-Machine). The data are kept in silos; systems are called Telemetry, and Scada is a common name. Applications are limited to remote meter reading and vehicle tracking.
We can rarely see any fancy IoT applications because technology is in infancy stage. Cloud services are not available, devices are still expensive, no smartwatches, no open API IoT applications and many other missing components.
The Early Days of IoT
LinkedIn is my main channel to communicate with friends from overseas. And when I fully embarked on IoT in 2014, I couldn’t even find enough friends to exchange ideas. You can barely see any jobs with the title “IoT” at that period (unlike today, “IoT” is ubiquitous in many job positions).
I was part of the team that developed the Malaysia National IoT Strategic Framework, and one of the missions was to create an IoT ecosystem. We don’t see this materialize a couple of years down the road. Very frustrating after the hard work.
The Beginning of Generation-IoT
Thus, we offered our FAVORIOT platform as an IoT ecosystem for Malaysia and created a Generation-IoT movement. And …oh boy! It was a lonely journey. And very tiring too. No one believed in the mission to become a ProducerNation by building our IoT products. Talents are lacking.
Luckily, I was invited by many local Universities to be part of many Industrial Advisory Panels. For four years, we re-look back at the University’s contents and syllabus to include IoT and make it more structured. We hoped to have more IoT talents in the market with this refreshed syllabus.
Now we are seeing the fruits of the labor; there are many courses in IoT, Masters in IoT (UTHM), Diploma in IoT (KKTMPJ), and even a Certificate in IoT (Kolej Komuniti Seberang Jaya).
But I also received many comments from people who mocked me, saying why am I helping the local Universities because they are not giving you any projects or becoming your primary revenue streams. Well, that’s another story for me to tell another day. Actually, as of today, education is my second highest revenue contributor.
I am happy to say that I have helped build a Generation-IoT that will become the future technology leaders of IoT.
When we introduced Raqib as a single device solution for tracking (instead of using a Bluetooth smartwatch and a smartphone), we received much feedback that they don’t need the features of monitoring vital health signs.
But in which market is tracking the best suit for this product? Why the need for monitoring an individual in the first place?
In our early customer development process, tracking an individual is critical for safety – especially during travel.
If a person travels in a tour group, he wants to have some freedom on his own. But he also needs to be constantly connected with the group or his tour bus.
In the case of a tour guide responsible for the group, he must ensure the group’s safety, and the travel itinerary must be adhered to and to ensure no one is late or left behind.
If that person is lost, the easiest way is to locate through the mobile app. The app should also have a travel planner feature to organize and share among the tour members.
How Big is the Market
Initially, we targeted the Travel and Tourism market, which was vast and active before the Covid-19 strikes in early 2020.
Below are the statistics of the world’s and Malaysia’s No. of arrivals.
However, when travel and tourism were severely affected in 2020 and 2021 by restricted movement orders and banned in traveling, we pivoted our market to a family and friends app.
The IoT Solution
We chose a mobile app as the solution because of the following reasons:
Cheaper because this “IoT” solution uses the individual’s device, i.e., smartphone. GPS is the only sensor needed. The user has paid their connectivity charges (mobile data). The user only needs to download the app and pay for premium features.
Easier to deploy and manage the users (only via the Google Store and App Store)
The biggest challenge for such a product is that it has become a B2C model whereby the channel to market can be very challenging.
The most accessible marketing channel to reach the users is via Social Media – Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
To conduct targeted ads, we need to identify the users’ demographics – in this case, the family members and friends.
Earlier, we named the product D’scover, but it is complicated for a user to search the app in the App Store because of the unique spelling. Finally, we decided to change the name to Dscover.
In the travel and tourism market earlier, we have a B2B model approaching Travel Agencies and Government, but unfortunately, Covid-19 has a significant impact in this sector.
We have even expanded the market segment to solve the issues of monitoring quarantined patients. However, for some unforeseen reasons, this solution did not get the buy-in from the authorities.
Time to Stop Developing New IoT Products
We asked ourselves, have we done enough marketing and sales before moving into another product? Building a new product can be long and tiring.
All four IoT products have their strengths and weaknesses – which I will be able to share in other Blog articles. It is only the beginning of my IoT Adventure – you may subscribe to the newsletter or the RSS feed.
“IoTise” or “IoTising” can be a new term coined by FAVORIOT, and it’s the process of transforming organization operations or business using IoT technology.
Digital transformation doesn’t happen overnight, but it will start with the organization’s leaders that can Champion the initiatives. If an organization is “old,” it will have more internal challenges because of the different cultures and Era.
Technology is not the main stumbling block, but it has to plan early to ensure no wastage and have better buy-ins.
Below is the interview taken from Exeleon Magazine recently.
What, according to you, makes one a dynamic leader? How do you integrate the same thought into your leadership?
Answer: In the era of the fourth industrial revolution, whereby digital disruption is happening all the time, a dynamic leader should be able to be agile enough to respond to the technological and business landscape. A person that willing to unlearn and relearn new things.
What led to the formation of FAVORIOT? What role do you play in the day-to-day proceedings of the company?
Answer: In the year 2016, I visited Silicon Valley on a business trip with several Malaysian business delegations. The exposure and the meetings with several big companies and Startups open the mindset that “anything is possible if we have a great vision.” FAVORIOT was officially formed in 2017 with the vision to help Senior Citizens who are aging at home to be monitored closely using wearable devices (IoT) and mobile applications.
What has the journey been like for Mazlan Abbas over the years? Looking back, what would you have done differently when starting?
Answer: Most of the time, technology is not the main obstacle to adopting the solution. It takes time for people to understand how technology like IoT can transform how they conduct business or run their operations. FAVORIOT is one of the earliest IoT Startups in the country. We have tried building several solutions internally, but the effort is huge to cater for different customer needs. Finally, we realized that our strength is the IoT platform we built which we have now offered to other ecosystem players. We could have captured the education market sector much earlier before moving up the value chain to business or corporate customers.
What is the process followed by the company when offering its services? How do we ensure optimal client satisfaction?
Answer: Education through training and webinars will open the eyes and minds of the customers. We encouraged the customers to think big but start small to get the buy-in from their C-suite levels. Understanding their business case and pain problems is critical in the early stage to ensure no wastage of effort later. It will be followed up with integration to their legacy systems before scaling up the deployment. In the final step, they will collect enough data to create new revenue streams, save costs, create new business models, or gather better insights regarding their business.
What would be your advice for young and aspiring leaders or entrepreneurs?
Test your ideas early.
Get feedback regarding your product and iterate until you get the product-market fit.
Don’t be ashamed if the original ideas failed or were not accepted.
What has been the biggest roadblock during your journey? What has been your most significant learning?
Answer: The biggest roadblock is getting the first few customers that trust your product and solutions. What we feel about our product might not be the same as what the customer sees. The most significant learning is getting the product-market fit as fast as possible.
Moving forward, what does the future look like for you and FAVORIOT?
Answer: The users of FAVORIOT IoT platform started from less than three countries in 2017 and now have grown to 115 countries in 2021. We see the market for IoT has begun to grow faster in the last three years due to the awareness and fusion of many technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality, Blockchain, Big Data Analytics, Robotics, and Drones. In all IoT deployments, it will require some form of an IoT platform, and this is where FAVORIOT would like to excel – To IoTise all Businesses.
Favoriot IoT Platform is the third IoT product that we developed. This is the turning point of our business – To IoTise Every Business.
It took us nearly two years to build our first IoT product – Raqib. Mainly because we have so many things to do, and we are very new to this kind of IoT entrepreneurship.
Since Raqib is an end-to-end solution, we need to identify the partner for the hardware since we can’t build the wearable in-house. Furthermore, the devices need to send data and connect to our IoT platform, create a mobile app, and develop a CRM system.
In 2018, we started with a simple trial, and later in 2019, we were able to have our first few customers using the solution during their trip to Hajj.
As per the second IoT product, Favorsense, we built it within a year and quickly introduced it to the market. We received a lot of feedback which we used to improve the solution.
But then, we also realized that we already had our third IoT product, i.e., the IoT middleware itself, while building the rest of the ioT products. Still, we never thought of offering this solution to others. We have begun to get user feedback by allowing users to use it for free until we started charging them in March 2019.
The Problem Statement
When we built our first IoT product, we learned that it is such a massive effort and takes a lot of resources – time and money. The same goes for our second product.
We decided if somehow we could collaborate with others to develop other IoT solutions by using our platform. We thought that the country had many IoT talents ready to build its IoT solutions, and we were wrong!
There are not many takers who can jump straight into the IoT world and build their IoT products. That’s when I realized the country is lacking this kind of talent? Where are they?
I am fortunate to be in many local Universities as their Industrial Advisory Panel or Adjunct Professors. That’s when we realized many of the current syllabi did not cover structured content about IoT. However, many universities are excited to get their students to select the IoT as their Final Year Projects (FYP). Still, unfortunately, many of the students have to learn on their own.
In the industry, they have started to get more interested in how IoT impacts their business but are unsure how to build or deploy their innovative solutions using IoT.
Even the whole ecosystem of IoT in Malaysia is not very strong because there are not many players as yet.
For Favoriot, we see this as an opportunity because our IoT platform can become the enabler to learn IoT and be used in commercial IoT deployment.
How Big is the Market
According to Mordor Intelligence, the IoT market reached $761.4 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $1.39 trillion by 2026.
There are four (4) components in building end-to-end IoT solutions – Sensors, Connectivity, IoT platforms, and Applications. We have touched a sweet spot, i.e., to become a preferred IoT platform for any IoT deployments.
In 2020, the world was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, and many industries were affected by the lockdown—the idea of using emerging technologies to solve social distancing issues. Thus, the time for the IoT market to grow is about to begin.
The IoT Solution
The reasons why we want to offer our IoT platform as the third IoT product are as follows:
In every IoT deployment or project, there will be an IoT platform component. The idea is to deploy IoT solutions without involving high cost by using a Cloud-based IoT platform.
We are not able to build and customize to all user requirements.
We want to create a platform where the students can also use in their IoT projects.
This platform also can be used for Laboratory experiments.
Thus, the platform needs to be open and easily used with user-friendly APIs
The middleware comprises security, business rules, and notification engine and supports various protocols such as MQTT, CoAP, and REST.
Offer this as Platform-as-a-Service to allow as many users to subscribe to the platform and create their own innovative IoT applications easily while maintaining the ownership of their data.
Have the ability to charge the user in various subscription Plans such as Free, Beginner, and Developer Plans. Furthermore, we can also have a customized package and make it available on-premise.
Build a Generation-IoT (Favoriot) community that can share and learn each other’s projects and success stories.
Complete documentation, tutorials, GitHub, and forums are made available.
Initially, we started offering the free package to the Universities in early 2019; we noticed not many active users. Many of them use other competitive platforms such as ThingSpeak, ThingsBoard, or Blynk.
We realized that due to the unfamiliarity of the Favoriot platform and not many tutorials regarding the usage, we decided to compile as many use-cases, step-by=step tutorials made by some community members and upload them to our Favoriot YouTube channel.
I take the opportunity to introduce the Favoriot IoT platform in many of the invited talks, conferences, or webinars. Coupled with contests and special offers and bundled with training packages, we have reached more than 115 countries worldwide and more than 5300 users.
We started with users subscribing to the platform themselves, but now we have begun engaging with corporate users by having customized solutions.
The Growth Point
We have reached a stage whereby talents who graduated from the Universities are equipped with the knowledge of building IoT projects (and using the Favoriot IoT platform) more structured.
These new talents will become the catalyst for the growth of IoT in Malaysia and other countries around the world.
Here’s how we build our second IoT product targeted at Smart Cities.
In my previous article, our team set out to build our first IoT product called Raqib (formerly named Favorwatch). We also make another IoT product that is not so “IoT” in the proper definition because it involves humans to trigger the process.
It is a mobile application that uses the GPS and camera, the phone’s sensors, and sends the data to a platform. We build this because, in our previous company, we have the in-depth experience of building a similar solution. Still, now we take this opportunity to develop a new version.
The Problem Statement
As city dwellers, we will always see problems in our city infrastructure and services daily – either potholes, garbage unattended, faulty lights or traffic lights, vandalism, pipe bursts, fallen trees, and many others.
Usually, we will either make the usual complaint via phone or email the local councils. Sometimes, the reports are left unattended, or you might not be aware of the status of the information. Either you call again, or you might get too angry and rant on social media.
The moment it goes viral unnecessarily on radio, tv, or social media, the harm to the local council’s image is not reversible. Sometimes, a minor issue can become a piece of massive news on national media.
Thus, how do we avoid this problem from happening? How do we get a proper channel for the citizens to make complaints easily and have simple means to monitor the status of their complaints.
How do we assist the local authorities to be more efficient in responding to the citizen’s complaints and be more transparent in their work?
How do we portray the local council and the local politicians to be more responsible in managing their cities or areas? Can we use the app to build better intelligent cities?
How Big is the Market
In Malaysia, 21 City Councils, 42 Municipal Councils, and 91 District Councils manage their areas. Malaysia’s population is around 32.37 Million, and the big cities in Malaysia have more than 500,000 people each.
A couple of big cities in Malaysia have started to utilize mobile apps to allow citizens to make complaints directly to them, but many cities still don’t have that facility.
Many of them still depend on phone calls, emails, or websites to receive complaints from their citizens.
Globally, there a more than 10,000 cities worldwide. Thus, the market is still vast and untapped.
The IoT Solution
The idea is to use the citizens to become part of the “sensors” to report issues of the cities. How do we capture and locate the report quickly? How do you make the invisible visible? If we are to deploy sensors everywhere, it can be very costly; thus, the idea of using the concept of “crowdsensing” intrigues us.
We choose to build a smartphone app because of the following reasons:
Almost all users have smartphones. It will become the device to help them capture the data.
A smartphone has a camera (the eye) and a GPS (location). It has built-in connectivity to send data to the cloud or platform.
Cheap to deploy and install.
When a user sees a problem, he will open the app and capture the photo. The app will automatically geotag the photo and time-stamp to indicate the location and time of the actual report. We want to avoid a user uploading from his phone photo album because it will cause the issue of fake complaints (taking photos from a different place and reporting at another location)
It’s also easier to send the status of reports back to the person who makes that complaint.
However, the smartphone phone app is just one of the main components of the total solution. There are three more components:
(i) Crowdsensing Management Platform (CMP)
The authorities appointed an Admin that will be responsible for handling all the complaints.
A trouble-ticket ID can be generated from every complaint received, and the Admin is responsible for escalating it to the relevant field force or contractor.
Once the contractor has resolved the issue, the Admin will be responsible for either accepting or rejecting the work.
The status of the report will be tracked and shown on a Timeline.
The contractor or the internal field force of the local authorities will receive all the jobs assigned to them.
The report will show the location and photo, and it can easily trace it back for resolution.
Once the job is completed, another image can upload as proof.
A simple dashboard shows the KPI of the Division that handles the cases, such as the status of the reports, closed, pending, rejected cases, among others.
Such reports are made in real-time and accessible anywhere. The management needs to have instant access to these insights.
This IoT solution is called Favorsense – a crowdsensing platform that allows a user to make reports regarding any issues of the cities. It will automatically collect the actual “pain points” of the cities. Favorsense will be an excellent tool for city authorities to identify these problems and turn them into innovative city applications. Thus, the app can become an official way for the local councils to engage with the citizens.
But how do we reach out to our target market i.e., local councils? We started with a direct engagement with the local councils themselves, making presentations and proposals. Talking at Smart Cities conferences also helped us in reaching out to them. Events like conferences are the best place to meet and have first introductions.
However, we didn’t anticipate the long sales cycle and tedious procurement process by this council. Nowadays, we take a different approach whereby we work via MSCA (Malaysia Smart City Alliance). We have an earlier opportunity to share our proposal for any Smart Cities initiatives.
Similar to our first IoT product, the second IoT product also have its own set of challenges especially going to the market. This will be shared in a different blog post as our IoT Adventure continues!