Malaysia: App Innovation in Tough Times
Necessity is said to be the mother of invention. The digital economy, which has been on a winning streak over the last decade or so, is also not exempt. The result is that many techpreneurs are seeing their startups facing tough challenges, and techies are back at the drawing board, thinking up the next big thing.
Still, isn’t it possible that the world is at the crux of a renaissance in innovation?
As people adapt to spending more time indoors, creative solutions for real life problems will come from repurposed home tech laboratories. The Movement Control Order (MCO) has moved many folks online, including the younger tech-savvy entrepreneurs, who are quietly etching out their own, and likely the nation’s digital futures.
Malaysia Leveling Up
In February this year, a team of Malaysian researchers was officially recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for developing a website that provides accurate public information concerning the Covid-19 outbreak. The website, https://www.coronatracker.com, allows the public to keep track of the latest developments on COVID-19, while collecting data for further analysis.
Malaysian Made Apps To Tide Over the MCO
We can be sure that the CoronaTracker won’t be the only instance of innovation from Malaysia during this pandemic. Data presents a huge opportunity for businesses attempting to solve problems in customer experience, eCommerce and eBanking, and the need for urgent solutions will trigger demand-led innovations, even as the economy looks to all form of assistance to recuperate over the year.
There are more stories of innovativeness in the Malaysian app scene. And in challenging times like these, they may be our next favourite go-to app:
Health is everyone’s primary concern at present - and pilot programme, a Malaysian-developed app has been introduced to help monitor the spread of Covid-19; The app allows users to perform health self-assessment on themselves and their families. Launched on 6 April 2020, it enables the MOH to monitor users' health condition, and then take immediate action in providing required treatment to those in need. MySejahtera is available in the Galeri Aplikasi Mudah Alih Kerajaan Malaysia (GAMMA), Apple App Store, Google Play Store and the Huawei AppGallery. The MySejahtera app is free and everyone is encouraged to register.
Using digital technology to curtail and control the pandemic in Malaysia, the app is managed by administrators within the Ministry of Health (MOH), with the assistance of National Security Council (NSC) and Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (Mampu).
Hospitalisation expenses are on the mind of every household head now, and for good reason - Covid-19!
Rare indeed, has an event otherwise seen as force majeure, been covered by insurers. In AXA’s case however, the eMedic plan for hospitalisation has been tweaked so that customers do not have to wait for 30-120 days to use the plan for Covid-19. Purchasing this insurance on the Vsure.life app, the plan will now cover customers regardless of waiting time. The Vsure Malaysian app “brings insurance protection right into the hands of the people, especially to the masses in the M40 & B40 groups”, according to its Malaysian founders Eddy Wong and Jason Ho.
As we get used to life indoors, wouldn’t it be great to also get our health back on track? Naluri, which is co-founded by Dr. Jeremy Ting, Dr. Hariyati Shahrima Abdul Majid and Azran Osman-Rani, Naluri is a digital therapeutics solution. It provides professional health and life coaching services, connecting the app’s users to health professionals such as psychologists, dieticians, and fitness coaches. During the MCO period, it is important to keep your mental health as strong as your physical strength. Having access to professional medical support is an important consideration.
Just when the MCO was extended, out came Apple with the news that they are making several premium mobile games free to download during the MCO. This include’s Malaysian developer Kurechii’s brainchild! If knights and dragons can keep you occupied, this is your go-to.
And if not, there are other Malaysian made options; Perhaps Tiny Guardians or Kaigan Games’ SIMULACRA. Aside from these, Ejen Ali: Emergency or Mak Cun’s Adventure may be your pleasure, among many other Malaysian game app creations!
The number of users in the mobile games segment in Malaysia is expected to reach 7.3m by 2024. However, that statistic could increase significantly boosted by the current spike in home-bound customer base. With video games serving as a great motivation to ‘stay at home’, chances of both, demand and supply for games increasing, is pretty good!
Boost is a Malaysian homegrown lifestyle e-wallet app. While the QR scanning function is not going to be Boost’s most used function as people may have temporarily reduced visits to brick-and-mortar stores, “Malaysia’s award-winning homegrown e-wallet with an edge”, can still be used for settling bills and grocery-delivery! Meanwhile, ringing up those rewards and cashbacks as you pay, is a nice-to-have too.
The Future of Malaysian Apps
So exactly where are our youngsters starting their app creating journeys?
Malaysian teen, Lim Wern Jie confided a few years ago in a local news report, that he had learnt how to develop apps by watching tutorials on YouTube. With 50 app creations to boast of, his most successful application was the Phone Security Alarm, his first iOS-based app that was successfully published on the App Store. It tracks lost phones.
He subsequently caught the attention of MDEC’s #mydigitalmaker programme, which develops future digital makers by exposing Malaysian youths to the fun parts of digital technology – including coding, app development and data analytics. He was then able to be a part of the accelerator sessions held by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Malaysian app creators like Lim Wern Jie are testimony to Malaysia’s creativity “bug” making its way through Malaysia’s youngest minds.
One thing is for sure; regardless of how tough the times are, Malaysians like the team or researchers behind the CoronaTracker, are constantly working in digital spaces, bringing Malaysia the apps we need, when we need it the most.
by Raymond Siva, CMO of MDEC