The Rise of Location-Based Super Apps


It is obvious that app development is moving forward from simple to more complex super apps, in a trendier way the app owners like to refer to it as “building an ecosystem”. A super app, once downloaded, stuffs your little mobile screen with plentiful icons, scrollable and expandable with many sub-categories, for example TNG eWallet packed with over 40 main icons; Grab filled with 13 main icons and innumerable promotional and selectable items; and MAE, owned by Maybank, besides its core banking services, lined up with 22 non-banking services including food delivery. No matter how different their inception stories are and how lavish their owner’s background, eventually they have headed almost the same direction and competing in almost the same marketplace.

The Rise of the Super App


For example the Grab app, initially begins from a ride-hailing business, grew multiple tentacles to grab eWallet, food delivery, grocers, finance, insurance services and bill payment, etc.; the Shopee app, started as an eCommerce platform, selling millions of merchandises, marching into eWallet, food and goods delivery, bill payment, etc.; the AirAsia app, from low budget airlines, to food delivery, ride-hailing, hotels, etc.; Pyramid app, a physical shopping mall, extended its services as an eMall, and will soon link to its other township components, to provide a score of online to offline services within its ecosystem. All the super apps, set their primary objectives to enlarge the user base, collect more extensive data for analytics, and ultimately for better monetisation.

Regardless of their origin, whether they are created by a ride-hailing company, or banks, airliners, e-commerce platforms, oil and gas companies, an LRT operator, or a township developer, once the apps started to swell, the services will cross paths with one another. This is something unimaginable in the past, which all different industries set their own boundaries.

Two Camps: Location-Based & Non-Location Based

To ease the comprehension of the super app’s future trend, I divided the super apps into two camps, which are location-based and non-location based. How is it defined whether an App belongs to a location-based camp or a non-location-based camp? Very simple. If the super app centres around its real estate, be it residential, shopping centre, or business tower, it is categorised as a location-based app. The rest, is non-location based.

Most of the popular super apps like Grab, eWallet apps like TnG and Boost, WeChat etc. are non-location based, and Pals for Life for Sunway Shopping Mall, i-City app, 1Utama App etc. are location-based. You may find a huge gap in download rates for these two camps, non-location based easily hit 10 million plus for the download, whereas location-based super apps hardly achieve 100k.

This is not surprising because non-location-based super apps started much earlier and mushroomed in the 4G era, some out of nowhere pop-up as startups, and some are backed by their parent companies as an extension of their current businesses.

5G & IoT Boost Location-based Super App
In contrast to non-location-based, location-based super apps only emerged at a much later stage.

We expect more location-based super apps will surface in the era of 5G due to the booming of IoT. One of the criteria for location-based super apps, is to hook up the users via apps to interact with IoT devices. Why and how?

There are four major categories of IoT devices involved in a location-based app, namely smart parking systems, smart surveillance systems, access control systems and smart office/home systems. All these activities help to improve stickiness, enhance security, smoothen daily operation, and automate building management. For example, for tenant employees that purchase a monthly season pass to enjoy a lower parking fee and simplify the parking access or to get a reserved bay, the integration of the parking system with the location-based app is essential, and for shopping mall apps, besides season parking for merchants, it will extend to include casual parking as well. I foresee larger township development in the future, it is of utmost importance to include a location-based super app as default that carries its branding, and integrates with all types of IoT devices to enhance the connectivity among the users within its community.   

Platform vs Ecosystem
Other criteria to discern location- and non-location-based super apps are simply by their natural build. No matter how super a non-location-based super app is or indulges its users by a myriad of features and items offered to them, it is still a platform to connect merchants from one side, and customers on the other.

Unlike location-based super apps, different operational functions trigger one another for the same user even without any merchant onboard. For example, for a residential super app, a user might be blocked to book a facility slot if they have yet to pay their outstanding maintenance fee. Interactive operation modules within a non-location- based super app form an ecosystem to serve different user groups for its entire community. Different user groups have different rights to access the same or different features.



Near Field Commerce
One thing is for sure, the huge lag in download rates doesn’t matter for location-based super apps because the app is mainly used to serve certain demographic of users around their properties, which are the people that are working, living, shopping, visiting, or adhering to the purposes of the buildings being built, added with extra commercial activities that improve the overall revenues generated by its real-estate related income. Due to the geographical and demographical constraints for the location-based super apps, hence they are hardly competing in the same marketplace with the non-location-based super apps, so there should be no rivalry between the two camps.

Even for commercial module, for location-based super apps, instead of going all out for commercial activities, they will be focused more on near field commerce to add extra sales activities through their apps.

Near Field Commerce represents a certain mix of online and offline operations just like O2O, to connect buyers and sellers but within the same geographical area, which promotes community values, reducing time and cost, cutting waste, and reducing carbon emissions to a minimum.
 
Unlike the non-location-based super apps that emphasise commercial transactions, location-based super apps should treat commercial activities as added value on top of the operational modules in the beginning; and gear up at a later stage for growth and monetisation. More near-field commerce modules can be developed and plugged into the location-based super apps if user-based reaches its critical mass. For examples:

i. Group buy
With multiple purchases and one delivery because the buyers work or live in the same geographical area. 

ii. Yard Sale
To connect sellers and buyers living and working in the same area to sell items to one another without transportation costs.  

iii. Enhanced home service
Plumbing, electrical work etc. can be enhanced with preventive maintenance system.

iv. Advertisement
With data analytics, the ad can be more targeted based on user trackable activities. For example, the loyalty point purchase record to prompt the targeted ad.

When incorporated with commercial modules, location-based super apps should avoid mimicking non-location-based super apps’ business model. Even for shopping mall super apps, the main objective is to lure customers to visit more frequently to their physical malls; selling the merchandise via an app is not a good idea and delivering them to customers miles away is even worse; because it is not worthy if  taking the ROI into account. Instead of going wide, location-based super apps should focus on going deep by tapping on their near field geographical advantage and concentration of users to generate more income from the repeating orders and recurring services. Always remember, as for consumer behavior, they normally tend to spend more around the places that they stay, or work, or frequently visit.

Extensions:
TimeTec Smart Township Ecosystem
The Trend of Malaysia’s Shopping Mall App
Can Housing Developer App Boost Property Sales?

TimeTec smart township ecosystem enriched with its 18 operation and commerce modules as illustrated in the diagram below:

 
 
About Author:
Teh Hon Seng, Group CEO of TimeTec Group of Companies. Prior to forming TimeTec, Teh led PUC Founder (MSC) Bhd to be listed on MESDAQ (ACE) market of Bursa Malaysia in 2002. Teh initiated the R&D in fingerprint technology in 2000, which later developed into a renowned global brand for commercial fingerprint product known as FingerTec. In 2008, he foresaw the trend of cloud computing and mobile technology, and over the years, he had strategically diversified and transformed its biometric-focused products into a suite of cloud solutions that aimed at workforce management and security industries including smart communities and digital building system that centered around the cloud ecosystem. Teh has more than 20 patents to his name, and he is also a columnist in a local newspaper and a writer of several books.

How to market TimeTec Smart Township Solution?


The SaaS model is part of our sustainable long-term plan to market the TimeTec Smart Building Ecosystem.  We listed a few approaches here from A to E below for our partners to adopt, which we think are quite flexible to ensure our solutions are reaching the market more effectively.

A. Bottom-Up Approach
There are some main components in building management - Parking Management, Tenant Management, CMMS Equipment Management & Staff Management. Among the four, Parking & Tenant management will be the cash cow for building management to generate revenue and the management will be willing to upgrade to a smarter system to optimize the revenue collection. Hence, we are using mainly Parking & Tenant solutions as the forefront system to entice the management to adopt our solutions, then all other modules like CMMS, Staff Workforce Management, Near Field Commerce etc will be upsold. If building management enquires other solutions like visitor management, Time Attendance for staff etc, we will surely pitch to them our total Smart Building Ecosystem. And this is called Bottom-Up Approach. Different buildings/townships have different needs, and clients can pick and choose from all our components (18 cloud solutions & IoT hardware) to fit their building/township needs. This will give the customers the flexibility to optimize their business processes with our solutions and IoT hardware. In short, we can market our solutions separately as standalone modules or more modules combined without a significant ecosystem, up another level to combine almost everything together for a larger building and further up another level to include multiple buildings (or multiple types of buildings) as a smart township ecosystem. Single module > multiple modules > Smart building ecosystem > Smart Township Ecosystem > Smart City Ecosystem.

B. Top-Down Approach
This approach is the opposite of the Bottom-Up Approach. It focuses on a larger-scale property development project or mixed development project, The Property Management would like the idea of having all modules under one roof (Super App) to improve efficiency and productivity for internal operation, and also to engage users (shoppers, visitors, clients etc), hence more data will be accumulated and analyzed for better user experience and future monetization purpose. Smart City Ecosystem > Smart Township Ecosystem > Smart Building Ecosystem > Multiple Modules > Single Module

Opportunities & Approach
 

To enhance the sustainability of the ecosystem, we will encourage customers to strengthen Near Field Commerce, and the built-in Data Analytics module to engage users with further monetization of their own ecosystem. 
 
C.Product Bundling
Product bundling strategy is our strength and improves stickiness and reduces churn rate for our cloud subscription model. For example, building management integrates with the advertisement module, when the barrier gate is lifted up, the advertisement will be pushed to the designated shoppers (based on their history of shopping activities).  With this, if the clients change their parking equipment after 5 years of wear and tear, it is difficult to engage other vendors, as the commerce module is well connected with our parking module.

D. Data Analytics (Data Accumulation)
To improve user experience in the long term. Built-in with automation capabilities for data mining and crunching, furnished customers with 360-degree data visualization that allow customization of the dynamic dashboard. Data Analytics covers Descriptive Analytics, Diagnostic Analytics, Predictive Analytics, Prescriptive Analytics & Pre-emptive Analytics to achieve:

i. Optimize operation and near field commerce
ii. Maximize near-field commerce and parking revenue streams by right-sizing product offerings
iii. Identify dynamic pricing opportunities that enhance near-field commerce strategy
iv. Make period-over-period comparisons
v. Identify successes and pinpoint areas for improvement.

E. Near Field Commerce - Next Phase of Growth (B2C)
Near Field Commerce represents a certain mix of online and offline operations just like O2O, to connect buyers and sellers but within the same geographical area, which promotes community values, reducing time and cost, cutting waste and reducing carbon emissions to a minimum.
 
Smart Commerce is the next phase of growth. More near-field commerce modules can be invented and plugged into the super app if user-based reaches its critical mass. For examples:
i. Group buy - With multiple purchases and one delivery because the buyers work or live in the same geographical area. 
ii. Yard Sale - To connect sellers and buyers living and working in the same area to sell used items to one another without transportation costs.   
iii. Enhanced home service - Plumbing, electrical work etc can be enhanced with added value by our preventive maintenance module. 
iv. Advertisement -  With data analytics, the ad can be more targeted based on user trackable activities. For example, the loyalty point purchase record to prompt the targeted ad.

TimeTec can monetize the next phase of growth with the following charging models:
i. Extra subscription fee for different Near Field Commerce modules subscribed by the property owner.
ii. Profit sharing on transactions if payment via the super app.
iii. Charge a fixed price per transaction
iv. Self-operate and offer some Near Field Commerce services via our customers' Super App.
v. Others

The charging models vary depending on different requirements, modules and circumstances, all centred around the Near Field Commerce.  



About Author:
Teh Hon Seng, Group CEO of TimeTec Group of Companies. Prior to forming TimeTec, Teh led PUC Founder (MSC) Bhd to be listed on MESDAQ (ACE) market of Bursa Malaysia in 2002. Teh initiated the R&D in fingerprint technology in 2000, which later developed into a renowned global brand for commercial fingerprint product known as FingerTec. In 2008, he foresaw the trend of cloud computing and mobile technology, and over the years, he had strategically diversified and transformed its biometric-focused products into a suite of cloud solutions that aimed at workforce management and security industries including smart communities and digital building system that centered around the cloud ecosystem. Teh has more than 20 patents to his name, and he is also a columnist in a local newspaper and a writer of several books.

Visitors Analysis for Residential Properties in Malaysia



The visitor management system is one of the core modules for the smart community system. It is at the forefront with the objective of welcoming friends and deterring strangers.

If compared with the rigid and normally standalone conventional visitor management system that mainly served administrators, today’s smart visitor management system with its cloud-based nature offers plenty more features than its old incumbents to benefit residents at large with its mobile App.   

Figure 1: iNeighbour Mobile app main UI for resident
 
iNeighbour, the leading smart resident community system, caters for some of the major features for visitor management:

⦁ A feature to send invitations to visitors, or visitors pre-register themselves, to achieve pre-informed visitation.
⦁ Incorporate an In-App intercom to allow security guards to call residents before allowing any visitor to enter the community. This feature could replace the need for a commercial intercom system thus potentially saving a huge sum of investment.
• For a community that has more than one guardhouse, all guardhouse accounts could be synchronized in one system, which means if a visitor enters a community via a different guardhouse, he or she can exit at any guardhouse, but the information is still intact within the system.
• A feature of alert to notify respective parties such as management office, guardhouse and owner when the time is up i.e for the contractor. In most communities, contractors are only allowed to carry out renovation work from 9 am to 5 pm.
• Integration with IoT, such as IP cameras, auto barrier gates and much more. During visitor registration, the IP camera could capture the photo or car plate number of the visitors; and the barrier gate will automatically open once registration is completed. The image captured also can be set to send to unit owners.
• IoT extendable to access control system for common doors and lifts to designated floors, which visitors received a QR code or selfie to register their face during registration for access control.
• Allow customizable settings. JMB can decide the type of information required from the visitors during registration.
• Embedded OCR (Optical Character Recognition) for guardhouse panel to fast read identity cards, driving licenses, and passports to identify and check-in visitors swiftly.  


 Figure 2: Guardhouse Android Tablet Panel with embedded OCR feature and barrier gate integration

The cloud-based system can provide strong in-depth data analytics for individual JMB (Joint Management Body) or, RA (Resident Association) to better understand the frequent types of visitors, peak hours on weekdays and weekends, so that the residential communities plan the guard routine, improve the access control, inflow and outflow of visitors, or to deal with any visitation incidents and different types of visitors more efficiently.

To provide the public with a big picture, in general, there are an average of 12 visitations per household in one month for gated guarded residential communities in Malaysia. If a community has 500 units in total, this means it will receive 6,000 visitors in a month, and 200 per day, mostly happening in 18 hours from 6 am to 12 midnight, based on iNeighbour’s past two months’ statistics (March & April 2022), extracted from 170 residential communities situated in Malaysia with 747,534 registered visitations in total.

Among the visitor registration types as shown in Figure 3, the majority or 86.41% of visitors are on-the-spot (walk-in) registrations; the other 13.59% of visitations are pre-registered, mostly by invitation (99.8%) from residents, rather than visitors self-registration which is merely 0.2%.  


 
Figure 3: Visitor Registration Types

We also broke down the purpose of visits into 10 different categories as shown in figure 4, namely family/friend, parcel/courier delivery, food delivery, drop-off/pickup, contractor, Grab/taxi, maid/cleaner, Airbnb/short-stay and others. Its percentage showed as follows:

The largest part of the visitations is contributed by friends/relatives/family members. Online ordering led to parcel delivery becoming more and more important nowadays during and after the Movement Control Order (MCO) due to the Pandemic.

 

Figure 4: Purpose of Visit

iNeighbour provides features for users to report wrong visitors if guards check in a stranger to their unit, to notify the management of the incident as the precaution records. In Figure 5, it showed there is an approximately 0.22% amounting to 1,970 wrong-visitor cases being reported in March & April 2022.
 

Figure 5: Wrong visitor

For weekly visitor analysis, our statistic in Figure 6 found quite a balance for the number of visitors throughout normal weekdays, with a lower visitation rate on Mondays (12.97%). For weekends, Saturdays registered the highest rate of visitors (15.52%), and Sundays showed the lowest (11.1%) throughout one week.

For daily visitor analysis, 9 am – 3 pm would be highest on visitations and midnight 12 am till 7 am would be the lowest.
 

Figure 6: Day & Hour Visitor Analysis

iNeighbour provides a comprehensive dashboard for management to monitor their visitors in real-time, and 11 types of analytical reports to better manage their visitors as follows:

Visitor Checked In-Out Report
Pre-registered and Invited Visitor Report
Restricted Visitor Report
Visitor Profile Report
Total Visitor Report
Total Visitor Registration Report
Total Checked-in Visitor Report
Visitor Check-in Trend Report
Visitor Aging Report
Total Wrong Visitor Checked-in Report
Wrong Visitor Check-In Report
 

Figure 7: Web UI for visitor report module


For more information about iNeighbour, please log in to
 
https://www.timeteccloud.com/ineighbour/

A quick sneak peek for iNeighbour, check out our YouTube video: 
 
 
 
 
About Author:
Teh Hon Seng, Group CEO of TimeTec Group of Companies. Prior to forming TimeTec, Teh led PUC Founder (MSC) Bhd to be listed on MESDAQ (ACE) market of Bursa Malaysia in 2002. Teh initiated the R&D in fingerprint technology in 2000, which later developed into a renowned global brand for commercial fingerprint product known as FingerTec. In 2008, he foresaw the trend of cloud computing and mobile technology, and over the years, he had strategically diversified and transformed its biometric-focused products into a suite of cloud solutions that aimed at workforce management and security industries including smart communities and digital building system that centered around the cloud ecosystem. Teh has more than 20 patents to his name, and he is also a columnist in a local newspaper and a writer of several books.

From Computerization to Digitalization - The Road of Transformation for Enterprise


1.0 The purpose of Digitalization
Not only the Malaysian government but the world has been calling for Digitalization in the past two years. What is the difference between Digitalization and the phenomenon of calls for Computerization in the late 1980s and early 1990s?

In fact, Computerization is shifting of the manual work to be operated by a personal computer (PC). Then, we witnessed computers took over some jobs and deemed the jobs obsolete. For example, when a Chinese newspaper’s reporters started using computers to write their stories instead of using pen and paper, the newspaper office shut down its entire Typing Department. More manual tasks, particularly those involved calculation like accounting, improved efficiency and reduced staffing when shifted to computers. However, the Computerization of this period did not manage to break the walls between various professions. The data were still self-contained to individual system and departments, and departments were still doing things their way and communication was weak between departments.

The advent of Digitalization brings with it the primary purpose of breaking this wall. It releases data, allows them to flow freely from one department to another, even flow to multiple destinations, so the “suffocated” departments can inhale and consume fresh data, recharge their minds, be more inventive, and even trying to relate the separated to create more possibilities to revitalize the business.

2.0 Origins and Opportunities
Since Computerization is already a process of conversion from atoms to bits, a.k.a the origin of digital, why the opportunity of Digitalization only happening now? Not five or ten years earlier?

After the wave of Computerization, Malaysia was vastly introduced to Internet technology and the world in 1996. Since then, computers, from standalone systems, started to establish the connection between each other. The rise of web technology sparked the explosion of information, and the mushroomed websites and telecommunication technology connected the world. Even though personal computers were the medium to carry and transfer information, they have evolved into a smaller size, from desktops to laptops and the more portable notebooks; they are still separate entities from the human body. It was not until 2007 when Apple released its first generation of smartphones, computers and mobile phones act as a combined entity. Since it always tags along, the smartphone becomes our “new organ”, the human body’s extension, which brought another wave of upheaval.

To distinguish the major change of the development of information technology before 1996 and 1996-2020, we can conclude that the former was to serve enterprises or socalled B2B (Business to Business). From the IBM Mainframe in the 1950s to serve very large enterprises; Mini Computers in the 1960s and 1970s, serving medium-sized enterprises; and Personal Computers (PCs) in the 1980s serving small and medium-sized enterprises. Personal or individual never exist in the eyes of the computer world before that, even in the era of Personal Computers. Only after 1996, with the advent of the Internet, and then in the era of smartphones and 4G communications, INDIVIDUALs outgrew enterprises. During this period, information technology serves more individuals than enterprises, and it marked the arrival of the B2C (Business to Consumers) era, and enterprise-led technology was no longer a favourite child. We watched those enterprise-served tech giants like SAP, Oracle, IBM and even Microsoft at one time, shunned from the limelight, swapped by the rapidly emerging companies such as Facebook, Amazon, Uber, Netflix, Alibaba, etc., that mainly using their technologies serving individuals, but not by selling the technologies.

What about the development after 2020? My opinion is, with the introduction of 5G technology, the information technology will switch its attention back to enterprise or B2B rather than B2C. There is a popular saying that 4G changes life and 5G changes society, which implies the shifting of B2C to B2B.

Why is there such a saying? First, 3G to 4G, from image to audio and video and streaming services, have almost reached the ceiling of satisfying personal needs. Faster in speed and better VR bring not much excitement to individuals. But in reverse, the advent of 5G liberates enterprise technology that has been slow-paced for the past 25 years. Since the future lies ahead for B2B technology development, companies should not miss this golden opportunity to make a dent in the universe in the next two decades.
 
Digitization term is meant for enterprises; Cloud Computing too. Cloud Computing is as natural as breathing air for individuals because as long as it is a technology that serves individuals, cloud computing is the foundation. But for many enterprises, the concept of an on-premise server should be minimized or entirely removed, and data hosted on the cloud should be a new attempt.

I emphasize Cloud Computing here because, without Cloud Computing, there is no Digitalization. The arrival of 5G is also an era in which the Internet of Things (IoT) takes off. The Internet of Things (IoT) means that “things” are mainly sensors, which collect various data on the ground and connect to the Internet for further analysis, processing, and transformation into useful results or next actions in the cloud. Because we can now move 95% of the work to the cloud for processing, manufacturers can design the “things” with less computing power, reducing hardware cost. Then, why didn’t IoT take off in the B2C era? The answer is simple. With one smartphone in hand, personal consumption has fulfilled more than 90% of personal needs, which left wearable, as the remaining IoT devices for personal use. Unlike industrial or corporate usage, myriad in variety and constantly changing in demand, the advent of the Internet of Things and 5G will accelerate Industry 4.0.
 
3.0 Examples of Social Reorganization
We mention that the upcoming 5G would allow the B2B model to soar. It would also be the explosive period for the Internet of Everything, changing the business models of all walks of life, turning the previously separated things or companies into related, and giving birth to various new Ecosystems (B2C focuses on the establishment of the Platform, while B2B focuses on the establishment of the Ecosystem), and causing the social structure reorganization.

Let’s just take driverless driving as an example. When the era of driverless driving arrives, people neither need to learn how to drive nor need to own a car, which will cause a declining in car sales, and automakers have to reduce production, lose weight, and operate their online car-hailing services.

Since human negligence no longer causes car accidents, it will change the insurance industry because policyholders are no longer individual car owners, but the e-hailing companies or automakers are. Shopping malls, office buildings and residential areas can also free up more space when people do not need to own and park their cars on-premises. Overall, it changes the construction and real property industry and finally produces a new breed of cities. We can also expect the amendment of traffic rules, which will change the social structure.

This example illustrates only the automotive industry. By just removing drivers from cars, it could lead to a string of social changes. What about other industries?
 
4.0 The Future Development Model of Industry
From the Industrial Age to the Information Technology Age, and towards the future of 5G, Internet of Things, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, and AIoT (Artificial Intelligence of Things), the major changes are quite obvious. Industrial Age has created an era of mass production, whereas the Information Technology Age has emphasized on personalization production. But in the era of Artificial Intelligence, it can quickly and effectively meet the mass personalization production needs.

This trend also indicates that it will continue to shorten the distance between factory and consumers to zero-distance to embrace each other. For a factory to shorten this distance, it does not only need to overhaul the production line (transition from automated production to intelligent production), but it also needs to overhaul Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Resource Planning, Workforce Asset Management, and all other fields. The composition of AI in a factory should get higher with time, and also highly integrated. At the end of its development, it is foreseeable that by then, the factory will most likely no longer be a mere factory, but by all means an IT company. This is the ultimate goal of Industry 4.0.
 
 
5.0 Roadmap of Enterprise Digitalization
Several thought points:
1. The backend must be based on Cloud Computing to facilitate the establishment of various enterprise ecosystems;

2. When cloud is involved, make sure the cloud solutions and vendors comply to some international standards like cloud and data security certifications such as ISO27001;

3. Since 5G can change the social structure; companies will inevitably change their internal structure in response to social changes. Therefore, various professional systems or subsystems must be open and provide integrable Application Programming Interface (API);

4. Any adoption of a new system should not be just enough; it must be able to keep up with the pace of technology advancement;

5. Digitization planning must be foresighted, adhere to the possibility of future development, historical facts are just for reference;

6. Smart companies need to constantly move closer to AI.

6.0 Main Modules of Enterprise Digitization
According to the views of digital expert Anup Maheshwari in his book “Digital Transformation- Building Intelligent Enterprises”, the basic main modules of enterprise digitalization are shown in the figure:

 
Anup said in the very beginning, the cloud is the most basic platform to run successful digital transformation for enterprise, as the cloud provides a scalable, flexible, elastic, and easily accessible, and cost-efficient platform to run the business. Without the cloud layer, the enterprise would not achieve the required automation and orchestration for the next layer, known as the data layer, that comprises bid data and analytics.

The above modules of enterprise digitalization are planned and implemented according to the enterprise’s characteristics and requirements. For example, the blockchain may not be urgently needed for common enterprises and can be temporarily omitted until there are suitable applications being introduced and can be integrated into the enterprise’s operation.

For example, social media will never be an internal self-operated system for enterprise. Since it requires a massive traffic flow as a base to exert influence; enterprise just needs to adopt social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn to establish communication with the outside world. Since it involves the company’s public relation policy, and if a company is a B2B enterprise or focuses on industrial products rather than consumer goods, the application of social media is less so important, or it only needs to make good use of some specific social media such as LinkedIn, as the search and supplement of its talent pool.

Of course, some of the modules in the Diagram are sequential. For example, the cloud is the starting point, and Big Data should precede Artificial Intelligence.

In the process of enterprise digitization, it does not necessarily need to start with a specific department. It can be the Production department, the HR department, the Warehouse or the Logistics. The system needs to more or less incorporate some technological modules mentioned above, for example, some mobile Apps, as real-time communication, approval process, notification and claim platform between departments, subordinates and superiors; and even extended to customers and suppliers.

Since there are so many possibilities and flexibility, how to proceed? I suggest that from now onwards, any new systems to be installed can use the above eight technological modules as a reference point but not necessary a system to contain all the above main modules. It is more important for the management to review any new systems to ensure that they meet the Six Thought Points mentioned in Clause 5.0 as the key guideline.

 
Conclusion
Sometimes it’s hard for business owners to keep up the pace with the rapid development of ICT. They realized the necessity to adopt technologies; but have difficulty to kick-start. In fact, for business owners, knowing technology in details is least important; what is more important is to grasp the concept and development context of information technology, and what changes it can bring to the company, and to compare the needs of the company to the right technologies.

For example, in the past, the Computer Department of an enterprise was the maintenance department of the system, responsible for ensuring the normal operation of computer software, hardware, databases, and networks; but in the new era, the major functionality of Computer Department is no longer handling the system maintenance. Today, Computer Department must be able to participate in company operations, such as how to digitally market company products, how to make the company’s products smarter, and spread the digitalization traits to everywhere in the company for better efficiency and productivity. One thing for sure, when the system moves to the cloud, the hardware, network, database, etc. no longer need to be maintained by internal computer technicians and free the department for operation participation, but with smarter people in order to prepare for the future of intelligent enterprise.

About Author:
Teh Hon Seng, Group CEO of TimeTec Group of Companies. Prior to forming TimeTec, Teh led PUC Founder (MSC) Bhd to be listed on MESDAQ (ACE) market of Bursa Malaysia in 2002. Teh initiated the R&D in fingerprint technology in 2000, which later developed into a renowned global brand for commercial fingerprint product known as FingerTec. In 2008, he foresaw the trend of cloud computing and mobile technology, and over the years, he had strategically diversified and transformed its biometric-focused products into a suite of cloud solutions that aimed at workforce management and security industries including smart communities and digital building system that centered around the cloud ecosystem. Teh has more than 20 patents to his name, and he is also a columnist in a local newspaper and a writer of several books.

Managing All Building Activities in One App

 
There was an incident that happened recently worth mentioning. While implementing a cloud season parking system, one of our parking customers received a complaint email from its tenant. 
 
 
 
 
The tenant refused to download the TimeTec parking app to automate season pass's booking and renewal, commented it is "uneconomical" for one app to just be doing one thing, and preferred to remain with the existing and inefficient old system.    

The comment is valid. I'm happy that the tenant brought up his main concern about the digital building system, which was supposed to be an ecosystem to consolidate all activities into one app.    

 
 
 
 
I quoted the building owner's reply in this article with his permission. "You are right by pointing out the uneconomical to download one app for just performing one task. Our management is well aware of the importance of the ecosystem when deciding on a new system. In fact, it is in our pipeline to continue with the digital transformation journey by adopting the Super App concept, which eventually will have only one app for Smart Parking, Smart Access, Smart Commerce, Smart CCTV, Smart Tenant, Smart Workforce Management, Smart Visitor Management, Smart Facility Booking, Smart Event Management, Smart Maintenance; and even extended to our future development to have Smart Residents and Smart Medical. Imagine our tenants like you and your employees, just need to register once and enjoy all the facilities in this Smart Building. This long-term plan and the privacy concern increased our vendor selection process's strictness."  

Before I elaborate on the one app concept, I will explain the core changes for digital technology to disrupt the property management industry. I list down the comparison in the following table:
 
 
The differences are pretty straightforward. Due to the constraints of the old system, it is hard for building owners to figure out the big picture from the fragmented, isolated activities around the building. There is always a linkage between activities, but activities without connectivity always obstruct building owners from establishing their relationship, resulting in inefficiency in management.

I further explain the concept of modern building management in one app platform in the following chart:


Building management usually splits into two major categories, managing people and managing equipment. People and equipment are no separate entities; they often interact to form various activities in a building.

We have witnessed the smart resident app play a vital role in residential property management for the past three years. Our product, iNeighbour, is a multi-tasking super app for residential communities. It is achieving a one-app-solves-it-all goal, helping managements handle the growing complexity of the daily operation. Soon, we will launch iTower for building owners to manage their multi-tenanted office buildings. 

 
For easier comprehension, I turned the chart above to a building image that illustrates the four major types of activities groups: tenant management, building automation, security, and near field commerce.


Most businesses, especially property management companies, face crucial moments during the recent pandemic. The blow from a pandemic perhaps temporary, but the impact could be permanent.

For example, the call for a work-from-home or hybrid working environment tampered with the office rental and sales market; this is immediate with the prolonged effect caused by the outbreak of Covid-19. At the same time, it also accelerates the path for building owners to embrace digital transformation to have a leaner team to run better building management.

A digital era for office building management is about to begin. 
 
About Author:
Teh Hon Seng, Group CEO of TimeTec Group of Companies. Prior to forming TimeTec, Teh led PUC Founder (MSC) Bhd to be listed on MESDAQ (ACE) market of Bursa Malaysia in 2002. Teh initiated the R&D in fingerprint technology in 2000, which later developed into a renowned global brand for commercial fingerprint product known as FingerTec. In 2008, he foresaw the trend of cloud computing and mobile technology, and over the years, he had strategically diversified and transformed its biometric-focused products into a suite of cloud solutions that aimed at workforce management and security industries including smart communities and digital building system that centered around the cloud ecosystem. Teh has more than 20 patents to his name, and he is also a columnist in a local newspaper and a writer of several books.