An Interview with Advantech Co. Malaysia Sdn. Bhd.


Elvin Ng

Title: Advantech Asean Industrial IoT Sector Head

Appointed as ASEAN Industrial IoT Sector Head with 22 years of experience in Industrial Automation and holds a Bachelor of Science from Missouri State University, USA.

Ivan Kong

Title: Advantech Malaysia Sales Manager

Has over 7 years’ experience in IoT industry. As Sales Manager for Advantech Malaysia with focus on Malaysia business development and create eco-system business.

1. Founded in 1983, Advantech Co. is a leading provider of trusted, innovative products, services, and solutions that provide complete solutions for a wide range of applications in diverse industries. What are Advantech Co. Malaysia Sdn. Bhd.’s key to success in the IR4.0, as it is not widely applied yet in Malaysia?

We have been promoting Industry 4.0 solutions and its awareness in Malaysia for the past 3 years. Our business model has transformed from hardware selling to solution selling business model to provide our technology, products, and solutions in AIoT Era (AI + IoT). One of our key strategies is we collaborate with domain focus partners enabling them to transform to Digital SI from traditional SI by providing our IoT solutions. Simply put, we are providing Solution Ready Package (SRP) which is a quick-to-market

solution.

There are 2 types of SRP

  • On premised SRP

  • Cloud-based SRP

With our SRP, we have helped our partners to shorten the solution development and enable them to focus on project implementation. Our SRP is flexible to customize to suits all the project requirements. In addition, we have established a core team, which called ASEAN WP. Sense focusing on IR4.0 and IoT solutions from business consulting to technical supports.


2. DF Automation & Robotics Sdn. Bhd. has deployed a smart medical robot that uses Advantech Co. technology since the outbreak of COVID-19. The smart medical robot is known as “Mak Cik Kiah19” is equipped with Advantech’s UNO-2484G edge gateway to support disease prevention and frontliners. Could you elaborate more on this product and how it helps in the pandemic?

Our embedded automation computer, UNO-2484G is a family of UNO-2000 series which is fan-less and highly ruggedized with an embedded OS. UNO-2000 series are modular designs that provide flexible and time-to-market support in a variety of applications. UNO- 2000 series also includes an iDOOR technology that supports automation feature extensions such as multiple I/O peripherals, Industrial Fieldbus, and smart I/O Communication. UNO-2484G is powered by Intel® Core™ i7/i5/i3/ Celeron Processor with 8GB DDR4 built-in memory.


Due to the PPE shortage, DF Automation has developed a food delivery robot to the hospital to assist them to fight COVID-19. UNO-2484G has chosen to become the “heart” and “brain” for DF Automation’s “Mak Cik Kiah19” robot because of its flexibility, size, and multiple I/O peripherals to control its movement, collecting the sensors’ information and command its path.



Group Photo with Special Guests during event From left: Mr. Vincent Chang (Advantech HQ), Ms. Vimala (Ministry of International Trade and Industry), Mr. Muhundhan (Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation) and Mr. Elvin Ng (Advantech Malaysia).

3. The pandemic has caused a catastrophe for most companies in Malaysia. How is Advantech affected by the recent pandemic? What are Advantech Co.’s objectives and strategies in dealing with the current situation?

Advantech manufacturing facilities have been resumed as normal and are running at the full capacity. For the sales and support, except China, Taiwan and Korea remain normal operation, most of Advantech office sales are in work from home or partial work from home status. Plus, to compliance with local enforcement, most of the region still appeal essential services for warehouse and CTOS operations, and customer services as well.


In Malaysia, during MCO, Advantech Malaysia also obtained the MITI approval to operate partially to provide the continuous supply chain and support to those in essential services and industry partners. From a business perspective, Advantech Malaysia also initiated some key actions during this pandemic which are as below:First Action- Employee WFH Practise Second Action - Business Sustain Plan Third Action-Business Continuity Plan.


4. How does Advantech Co. plan to create awareness amongst the industry player in Malaysia to implement and embrace the technologies in industry 4.0, such as IoT and robotization?

We are proud to say that we are one of the pioneers in Malaysia that promote Industry 4.0 and IoT in Smart Manufacturing. We have conducted various events/seminars & exhibitions with partners in these past years. In 2018, we also invited our partners & customers to our global IoT Co-Creation Summit in Suzhou. In this summit, we showcased our solutions & partners’ solutions in all sectors from Industry 4.0 to Smart City to Intelligent healthcare.


Similarly, in 2019, Advantech Malaysia conducted a Co-Creation Partner Conference mainly focusing on Industry 4.0. We also invited MITI, MDEC, and Intel to be the main speakers for the conference. Besides conducting events & collaborating with major industry players in Malaysia, we also strongly believe that we need to work with the local universities to promote young talents in creating awareness of Industry 4.0 and IoT. We have been working closely withTunku Abdul Rahman University College (TARUC) and be part of their Reference Architectural Model Industrie 4.0 (RAMI 4.0). Even with the recent pandemic, it did not stop us from promoting Industry 4.0. and together with our team’s efforts, we are constantly conducting online webinar with our partners.


5. Does Advantech Co. plan to expand thebusiness in the third world country? What are the potential countries that Advantech. Co envisages to venture into and the reason behind it?

Co-creation joint venture partnership at domain focused industry will be the key investment and focus from Advantech in coming two to three year time. We may explore the business collaboration across ASEAN countries to embrace the journey of Industry 4.0 with Advantech Wise- PaaS and SRP.


6. In your personal view, do you think that robots will stay post-COVID-19? How will emerging robot trends change the attitudes and perceptions of people toward robotics?

Robotics has been playing a big role in Industry 4.0. Robots and human both have their own strengths and limitations. Working together in a safe manner both will provide a better quality product with high accuracy in less time. The main aim of Robotics and Industry 4.0 is to improve productivity, produce a high-quality product at a low price, and meet customer expectations. I believe robotics are no longer optional but a necessity technology not only to improve productivity but also able to help to curb the spread of COVID-19 and necessity mean to avoid full production shut down in the future. Before COVID-19, there are few discussions about the usage of robotics that will replace certain workforce and thus, might result in mass unemployment.


In my personal opinion, it is only partly true, because routine tasks can be easily substituted by robotics. However, many education and vocation sector have remodeled their courses to help unskilled workers to become skilled workers in the Industry 4.0 era. The government and private manufacturing sector play an important role to upskill their workers in new technologies. Some unique jobs in which new technologies and creativity are extensively used can be promoted.

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