Bridging eCommerce gap through conference

Front row, from left: Lau, Koh, Raja Segaran, Prof Ewe, Prof Choong and Then with participants during the opening ceremony

In line with the growing trend of digitalisation and automation, it has sparked the interest of many organisation locally and globally to be part of the trend. In view of this promising growing industry trend, UTAR organised the 2nd Industrial Business Conference 2019. The conference focused on eCommerce and the use of digital platform among industry players. It was jointly organised by Student Development and Alumni Relations (SDAR), UTAR Alumni Association of Malaysia and UTAR Centre for Computing and Intelligent Systems (CCIS) at Sungai Long Campus from 11 to 12 November 2019.

Themed ‘Social Commerce, O2O, AI, IoT, Big Data, Blockchain: The Next Wave of Digital Revolution’, the conference aimed to expand the knowledge of the participants to leverage on the impact from the advance of technology shaping the eCommerce platform through the insights from the talks presented by the industry experts as well as to seize the opportunity to build networks with the key players from various industries and organisations. The two-day conference featured various talks from the industry experts, forums, sharing session as well as “Single 11.11 Day Mega sale”.

Present at the opening ceremony were UTAR President Ir Prof Dr Ewe Hong Tat, UTAR Vice President for SDAR Prof Dr Choong Chee Keong, Malaysia Digital Economy (MDEC) Head of Strategy and Research Raja Sekaran, Bizporter Chief Financial Officer Lau Chai Yap, Alumni Association President Koh Fook Huat, speakers, participants, students and staff.

Prof Ewe emphasising on the changes of digital revolution

Prof Ewe said in his welcome speech, “It is good to hear what the industry experts have to say so that we are kept updated and are in the network loop for changing trends, challenges and future developments. The 4th Industrial Revolution is changing the world of trade and commerce at the local, national, regional and international front. The digital revolution has accelerated the global production of goods and services especially digital trade.”

He continued, “Riding on this eCommerce trend, UTAR has collaborated with on the Global eCommerce Talent (GET Programme) with the aim to enhance UTAR students and staff’s understanding on eCommerce and through the programme, our student incorporated the acquired skills and knowledge into our UTAR New Village programme which trains the new village SMEs to sell their products beyond the local community market. This eCommerce project conducted with the “We Care, We Act” project widens the scope for business expansion for the villages, brings education and hope for the community to receive equal opportunities.

Raja Segaran speaking about the evolvement of the global digital landscape

Raja Segaran said during his keynote address titled “Digital Economy: The Journey and Way Forward”, “eCommerce is something we should leverage upon in the current world. Whatever works today does not mean it will work tomorrow. Thus, the three critical skills for the future are technical skills, social and emotional skills and higher cognitive skills. It’s important for us to keep innovating, drive digital adoption and build skilled talents.” In his presentation, he also spoke about the digital evolution index, global digital landscape, digital free trade zone, government policies in shaping the digital nation with robust economic growth, regulations for companies in emerging technology, key investors and the global digital economy.

Group photography session: Prof Ewe (sixth from left) with guests and speakers

Clockwise from right: Stan Lee, Billy Liu and Then during their presentation

BizPorter, MCM eCom Global Venture Sdn Bhd Chief Executive Office Then Ikh Choo presented the first talk titled “Fulfilment with Intralogistics 4.0” where he focused on the impact of the fourth industrial revolution, case study of Malaysia largest fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) Intralogistics 4.0 adoption and the case study of new retails. He said, “With the technological advancement, jobs which are repetitive, based on rules and well-defined physicality qualities are most likely to be automated.” He also explained the definition of intralogistics, trends of the future and how big companies invest in themselves to sustain in the market.

The second talk titled “New Economy in the Data World” was presented by Adv Fusionex Sdn Bhd Director, Partnership and Alliance Stan Lee. He spoke about the global growth forecast according to the World Bank, valuable brands in the world and the world’s top ten start-ups. He said, “We need to think as a creator as that will help us all grow. Do it now, not later and remember to think big. The children of today are the business of tomorrow.”

J&T Express Marketing Director Billy Liu Tao spoke about the overview of the J&T Group, the development path of J&T along with its mission, the introduction of J&T Malaysia, growing trend of eCommerce, evolution curve of eCommerce, mobile trend marketing and the future planning of J&T. He said, “With the development of smart devices and raising of income levels, there has been an explosive growth of number of users and consumers. Consumption upgrades are an important driving force for future economic growth. Consumers are no longer concerned with the price and quantity of the goods but also the quality and the brand itself.”

Ongoing forum moderated by Dr Ng (far right)

The conference was followed by a forum titled “The Next Wave of Digital Revolution” featuring, Stan Lee, Then, UTAR Lee Kong Chian Faculty of Engineering and Science (LKC FES) Head of Big Data and Analysis Unit Dr Lai An Chow, LKC FES Head of Programme for Master of Information Systems Dr Wong Whee Yen and Ocean Light Global Sdn Bhd Chief Executive Office Eddie Tan. It was moderated by UTAR CCIS Chairperson Dr Ng Oon-Ee.

Clockwise from right: Wong, Dr Wong and Eddie Tan delivering their talk

The session continued with a talk by Eddie Tan, who possesses 14 years of marketing experiences. He explained the social commerce and its evolutionary patterns. “The growth of social commerce means plenty of changes to the industry. It is where people purchase through social commerce platforms,” he said. He explained the main characteristics of social commerce and its difference with traditional commerce and pointed out the increasing attention of brands to expand their marketing models on social commerce. “Business has its own rules and regulation. People are not changing rules, but optimising the costs to create greater profits,” he said.

Unixus Solutions Sdn Bhd Chief Technology Officer Wong Chan Wing gave an overall idea of artificial intelligence (AI). According to him, AI has been identified as one of the frontiers of technology. He said, “AI is important as it is the next frontier for innovation, competition and productivity. An industry that embraces AI will outpace industry peer performance up to three times. Failure to adapt could lead to being irrelevant.” In his presentation, he also spoke about cybersecurity, immersive media and Internet of Thing, AI applications in different industries and self-learning profiling engine.

Dr Wong presented her talk titled “O2O Digital Trend Revolution”. She spoke about the overall concept of O2O, O2O components, trending statistics, e-wallet and its uses, the benefits of O2O and Alibaba’s offline retail store known as Hema. She said, “O2O is a common abbreviation known for ‘Online-to-Offline’ or ‘Offline-to-Online’. O2O is a term used to describe a variety of eCommerce services that provide online information, services, or discounts to consumers that enhance their offline shopping experience. It’s a business strategy that draws potential customers from online channels to make purchases in physical stores. In China, O2O is not just an innovative business model but it’s a new norm in the digital economy where nearly all giants are investing heavily in O2O business which offers a profusion of services to customers.”

Chin (left) and Dr Poo during the second day of the conference

The second day of the conference started with a talk by Loka Travel Sdn Bhd Founder Chin Yoon Khen titled “The Changing Face of Tours and Activities”. In his presentation, he spoke about the background of LokaLocal, market overview on the online travel market size and trend in Asian millennial traveller behaviour. He said, “LokaLocal is the largest experienced-based platform in Malaysia where we connect travellers to local experiences, at the same time empowering the community to share a culture, place or tradition and earn from it. We focus on unlocking the exclusive experience in Malaysia and expose it to travellers. Experience is difficult to be articulated as different people have different feelings.” He added, “Being a start-up is not easy, we have to believe in ourselves and prove it through outcome. People are relying on technology to make decision when travelling in the current world. Mobile bookings continue to increase due to convenience and ease of searching. That is why we choose to promote Malaysia with its values and share its beauty to different parts of the world.”

“Harnessing the Power of AI to improve E-commerce system in Malaysia”, presented by ADA (Analytics.Data.Advertising) Principal Machine Learning Engineer, Data Science and Engineering Dr Poo Kuan Hoong focused on the hype of AI, the importance of AI, the concept of machine learning, and the benefits of AI in eCommerce. Dr Poo said, “The rise of AI presents an opportunity for executives in every industry to differentiate and defend their businesses. However, implementing a company-wide AI strategy is challenging especially for legacy enterprise.” He added, “It is crucial to identify the importance of relevant AI/ML technologies and the impact toward their business. Technology adoption is necessary to remain competitive and companies need to put more emphasis on the investment into AI/ML and choose the right project to kick off.”

Dr Timothy Law and Suzanne Ling (right) sharing their thoughts to the participants

Protempt Group of Companies Senior Director Dr Timothy Law presented on “How prepared are you to face the wave of digital revolution?”. He spoke about the impact of AI, future ready skills paradox, the impact of technology advancement towards higher education, industry 4.0 environment and gaps between graduates and future workforce as well as the university of the future. He said, “Materialise what you’ve learnt and work out the plan for yourself. Otherwise, knowledge is just knowledge if it’s not applied. The future of education, particularly in future skills, is often viewed through the lens of dawning and emerging technologies known as AI, Big Data, coding curriculum, Learning Analytics and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC).”

PichaEats Co-Founder Suzanne Ling in her presentation titled “Social Commerce – PitchaEats” shared the story on how PitchaEats was conceptualised and the stories of the stakeholders of the company. She said, “If you are going to start a business, be sure to know why you’re doing it. For us, it’s the people behind it. It’s about how you can be you and make a change for the society. When we won the award, it gave us the opportunity to tell people around us that a business like this could work and that they could do something for the society too. A business, regardless of eCommerce or not, can change the way people live. At the end of the day, it’s not just about making money, it is also about changing people’s lives to become better.”

Daphne Choong (left) and Francis Hor explaining the concepts of blockchain technology

Unixus Solutions Sdn Bhd Chief Innovation Officer Daphne Choong and Whizzl Sdn Bhd Chief Technology Officer Francis Hor presented their talks titled, “Blockchain in Logistics and Supply Chain” and “Blockchain, Cryptocurrency and Decentralisation” respectively which focused on Blockchain technology and its impact on businesses. Daphne said, “The characteristics of Blockchain technology are decentralised, secured, encrypted, transparent and accountable. It is mostly used in Fintech, healthcare, supply chain and logistics; energy and citizen service. The challenges for wide-spread adoption on blockchain are mostly due to the lack of understanding of the organisation and less support from the government to lead the standardisation of the processes.” Francis presented the concept and history of blockchain, cryptocurrency, blockchain sequence diagram, types of consensus, blockchain 2.0 and blockchain architecture components. He said, “The pros of blockchain are immutable, improving accuracy by removing human involvement in verification, cost reduction, transparent technology, transactions secured, and decentralisation which makes it harder to tamper. However, the cons behind blockchain are the significant technology cost, low transaction per second, vague regulatory status and difficulty in understanding.”

The conference was followed by a Unovate sharing session featuring PRINTcess Printing, Techsifu and CringeWorthy Clothing which focused on start-ups, the challenges and the way forward in business.  

Unovate sharing session

The conference was made possible with the generosity from the sponsors such as Bizporter, Whizzl Sdn Bhd, Danevin Sdn Bhd and M3EC Millenium Sdn Bhd, ASK Education and Training Sdn Bhd, SSG Strategic Sdn Bhd, Ocean Light Global Sdn Bhd, Protemp Academy, MAGskinz, Pharmonique, Vincent Hoh Chong Seng and ADS Pacific Sdn Bhd.

Participants during Q&A session

Various booths at Single 11.11 Day Mega sale

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