AI4S Program Highlights AI’s Relevance to SMEs

Article By : Malaysian Investment Development Authority

The AI4S Booklet is a testament of the relevance of AI applications for business processes, including SME companies.

As part of the Artificial Intelligence for SMEs (AI4S) Program, the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA), Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC), and Intel Malaysia have collaborated to launch the “Productivity Through Digitalization – AI4S Program Proof-of-Concept Projects Compilation” booklet.

The launch was officiated by Datuk Hanafi Sakri, Senior Director of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) in the presence of YAB Chow Kon Yeow, Chief Minister of Penang; Datuk Arham Abdul Rahman, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MIDA; Ajit Manocha, President and CEO of SEMI; and Dato’ Seri Wong Siew Hai, President of Malaysia Semiconductor Industry Association (MSIA) and Champion of Electrical & Electronics Productivity Nexus (EEPN). Also in attendance were A.K. Chong, Vice President of Manufacturing, Supply Chain and Operations at Intel Corp. and MD of Intel Malaysia; Dr. Mohamad Norjayadi Tamam, Director of MPC; and Sarojini Ganesan, Deputy Director of the Advanced Technology and R&D of MIDA.

“Companies that adopt and adapt Industry 4.0-related technologies such as AI can optimize productivity and grow in the face of rapid changes in technology cycles. Hence, MIDA is committed to building a resilient and sustainable Malaysian electrical and electronics (E&E) supply chain through the development and enhancement of our very own SMEs through this AI4S Program. This perfectly aligns with our National Investment Aspirations (NIA) in encouraging the innovative transformation of our industries through proactive and guided measures. We are undoubtedly excited to witness the future success of our SMEs in the year to come through this program,” said Datuk Arham, CEO of MIDA.

Last year, a total of 100 SME companies were selected to participate in the AI4S Program, where each company was awarded with an Artificial Intelligence (AI) kit. These SMEs underwent comprehensive technology enabling process and training to empower them to implement personalized pilot projects for their businesses to jump-start their AI technology adoption journey. Upon the completion of AI4S Program that began in the first quarter of 2021, 31 successfully completed pilot projects have been selected to be featured in the AI4S Booklet.

The AI4S Booklet is a testament of the relevance of AI applications for business processes, including SME companies. Notably, the AI4S Program saw 63% of the participants utilized the AI kit for detection for quality assurance (QA); approximately 13% integrating AI into their system for detection for traffic; another 10% of the participants utilized the AI kit for on-site monitoring; another 10% utilized the AI kit for detection for counting, where else the remaining 4% used the kit for entry control and recognition.

MPC’s Dr. Tamam is confident that the Proof-of-Concept projects featured in this booklet can serve as lessons learned in charting the transformation of their own Industry 4.0 journey. As the operation partner for this AI4S program, MPC is in-charge of the training and implementation delivery program management for all the five training batches of the 100 companies.

“Innovation in technology has never been more important to our present and our future. For our nation to advance its global competitiveness, businesses across all sectors need to embrace technology and innovate continuously. Through this partnership with MIDA and MPC, Intel is pleased to be able to equip SMEs with skills in AI and help them create solutions for their businesses. We are confident that this experience will catalyse innovation and growth for many of the participants, and we look forward to seeing what they achieve next,” said Intel Malaysia’s Chong.

MIDA is actively urging industry leaders and players to take the opportunity and leverage the numerous facilitations offered by the Government to embrace Industry 4.0. These include encouraging companies to undertake Readiness Assessment (RA) program to assess their capabilities and readiness to adopt Industry 4.0 technology under the Industry4WRD initiative.

This augurs well with the Government’s push for the development of AI technology and ecosystem in Malaysia through relevant ministries and agencies in line with the National Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy (NSTIP) 2021-2030. The policy is targeting to increase gross expenditure on R&D (GERD) per gross domestic product (GDP) to 3.5%, with 50% of the GERD to GDP to be contributed by experimental development. This is in addition to promoting development and adoption of local technology.

Towards this goal, the National Science Council was formed and mandated to discuss various government efforts including technology roadmaps to popularize the field of science, technology and innovation (STI) as an enabler for socio-economic stabilization of the country in line with the Twelfth Malaysia Plan (12MP).


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