KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 15): Malaysia will take another step forward in creating a smarter environment through the deployment of the 5G technology digital cellular network which is now in the phase of demonstration projects.
The 5G technology will improve internet speed and reliability to enable faster data transfer compared to 3G and 4G networks, leading to a major transformation in the lifestyle and work culture of people in the country.
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Faculty of Information Science & Technology senior lecturer Prof Dr Abdullah Mohd Zin said the existing 4G technology was only capable of providing internet speeds of up to 100 megabits per second (Mbps) but 5G is said to be 10 times faster at 1,000 Mbps.
Abdullah said 5G is a potential game-changer in the way Malaysians live and work, for example in facilitating online learning and communication at work.
"We can visualise the system of working from home becoming the norm in the future as communication between staff could be done easily online. There will also be changes to the political system because a more reliable communication (network) will make it easier for the people to channel their views directly to the government.
"A more efficient system of communication will also enable robotic technology, drones and technology-based equipment to be deployed in place of manpower,” he told Bernama.
Abdullah said the use of 5G technology and low-level satellite would provide for more efficient wireless connection to increase the internet penetration rate.
Meanwhile, Mahyudi Md Yusof, the founder and chief executive officer of information technology provider Asia Techbiz, said the 5G technology could also strengthen the country’s security system.
"CCTV can be monitored real-time using 5G via high megapixel transmission. A more intelligent system will enable users to identify threats quickly and directly by getting information through email notifications and smartphone applications,” he added.
Mahyudi said the 5G technology is expected to reduce the use of manpower, including factory operators, and ease the job scope in several sectors.
The impending 5G roll-out is also seen as capable of expanding the country’s education sector, especially in meeting the needs of 21st-century learning (PAK21) and producing a generation that can take on the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4.0).
In this connection, National Union of the Teaching Profession secretary-general Harry Tan Huat Hock hoped that the 5G network would be extended to all educational institutions, including those in the rural areas.
Tan said the technology would allow teachers to widen their resources and teaching materials and give students faster and better access to the internet for research purposes.
"Teachers can use visual displays from the internet to enhance the IT skills of students and generate interest in the field of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics),” he said.
Ikhwan Nazri Mohd Asran, the chief executive officer of information technology portal Amanz Network, said 5G could also boost the digital healthcare sector, including through the use of remote monitoring and telehealth systems.
"The telehealth system is only effective with good internet speed to ensure the accuracy of prescription for a disease. When the internet is fast, what is seen on video will reflect the actual situation.
"With slow internet and unreliable connection, doctors would not have access to real-time data to make quick decisions on healthcare,” he said.
Ikhwan Nazri, who has more than 10 years experience in information technology, said 5G could also help farmers to optimise their output and increase the food supply stock.
"5G technology can provide farmers with real-time data on everything, from power and water consumption to the movements and behaviour of livestock,” he said.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will have a first-hand look at the 5G Demonstration Projects in Langkawi on Sunday, before visiting selected sites of utilisation cases at the 5G Command Centre in Kuah town, Hospital Sultanah Maliha and Langkawi International Airport the following day.
The planned commercial roll-out of the 5G technology in the third quarter of this year will not only redefine connectivity in the country but also give a positive impact on the economy and install Malaysia as one of the pioneers of 5G in the ASEAN region.