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University of Malaya Creating the smart campus of the future


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University of Malaya WRIT TEN BY

A trailblazing digital transformation

L AUR A MULL AN PRODUCED BY

MIK E SADR

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With over 24,000 students across various departments, faculties and centres, University of Malaya has established itself as a world-class institution. Now, it aims to take this one step further with its smart campus initiative

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here was a time when the education sector was a straight-forward profession: traditionally in a classroom there

might be a blackboard, a teacher, and rows of students sat at desks. Now, as cutting-edge technologies have entered the fray, there’s been a growing need to change the way students both live and learn and nowhere can this be seen better than in Asia. Take, for example, the University of Malaya: it may be Malaysia’s oldest university, but with its innovative ICT centre, Pusat Teknologi Maklumat (PTM), the institution has quickly earned its stripes as a thriving innovation hub. With almost 25 years’ experience working at the university, Asiah Abu Samah, Director of the IT Centre, has witnessed first-hand the way that PTM’s technology has transformed the institution’s campus operations, teaching and learning. “PTM is a partner to the university in terms of applying IT technology,” Abu Samah explains. “The centre


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PROUD PARTNER OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MALAYA and supplier of their market-leading Student Information System To find out more visit www.tribalgroup.com or email hello@tribalgroup.com


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘UNIVERSITY OF MALAYA LIBRARY’ 07 provides network services, ICT secu-

makes us more competitive. It helps

rity monitoring, application develop-

improve the user experience for

ment, data centre, IT support, and we

students and stakeholders. It helps

also help the university in terms of IT

us gear up towards Industry 4.0. As

governance, for example. Our aim is

a result, we are focusing on data-relat-

to provide an evolving IT platform

ed decision making and analytics.”

that supports the university’s overall

One such project that Abu Samah

continuous development, sustainabil-

highlights is the university’s efforts to

ity, optimisation and mitigation of

become a ‘smart campus’. A trailblazer

enterprise risks.

in IT, the university campus is quickly

“IT is a major priority for the organisa-

transitioning towards cashless

tion,” she adds. “The university has

payments and the use of QR codes.

quickly realised that it needs to

In doing so the University of Malaya

become leaner as an organisation and

hopes to encourage digitally-savvy

IT is the best tool to achieve this. It

students to feel more engaged in ht t p:/ /pt m.um. ed u . m y


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university life and to compete successfully in today’s digital economy. On top of this, it will also make transactions more seamless and boost revenues. “The object of this smart campus is to support process optimisation, financial sustainability and wealth creation,” Abu Samah says. “The cashless campus will help us check our revenue and income, and it will also help to improve the user experience because it’s faster, easier and more seamless. In the long-term, I

“Data analytics is very important to help us position ourselves as a leading university” — Asiah Abu Samah, Director of the IT Centre


C OMPA N Y FA C T S

• The University of Malaya has its roots in Singapore with the establishment of King Edward VII College of Medicine in 1905. • In 1949 University of Malaya was formed with the amalgamation of King Edward VII College of Medicine and Raffles College in Singapore. • University of Malaya Kuala Lumpur was established in 1962.

think smart campuses will soon become

and administration division. Each

the norm.”

division has a vital role that keeps the

With over 24,000 students passing

cogs going at this prestigious institution.

through the university’s doors daily,

Regardless of the department,

PTM’s operations are far reaching.

however, Abu Samah points out that

The ICT centre is comprised of:

two of the most crucial trends her team

a data centre management division,

need to be in tune with are data analytics

an information management system

and security. “In most cases, IT security

division, an innovation and commer-

is actually at the forefront of every

cialisation division, a network division,

organisation,” observes Abu Samah.

an ICT operations and support

“Any hiccup can impact negatively on

division, and a governance, security

our operation.” The role can be seen ht t p:/ /pt m.um. ed u . m y

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most clearly at the university’s data

other universities to see how we

centre and network gateway. With

compare. This makes us unique

mountains of data at their fingertips,

in the market.”

this group ensures that data and

This same conscientious approach

information are always easily within

is also visible in the way the university

reach whilst still remaining secure.

maintains its network. An internet

Uptime is a key concern for the

connection is the lifeblood of any

university so it is currently in the midst of

modern university campus, and so

implementing a new disaster recovery

PTM’s network division constantly

site to ensure that the data centre runs

monitors and maintains both the

consistently and smoothly, for instance.

internet and bandwidth of the network

“Data analytics is very important to

to ensure it doesn’t falter. “Our campus

help us position ourselves as a leading

network is up 24/7, 365 days a year,”

university,” she adds. “There are so

notes Abu Samah. “We can’t even let

many universities in the world right now,

it down more than one hour. It’s very

so we need the data to be analysed

important to us. That’s why we set up

and to benchmark ourselves against

our ICT security monitoring to ensure


that the network is always a safe place

can be traced through the Student

to be.” Over 13,000 devices are connect-

Management System. Developed over

ed to the university’s wifi service daily

two decades ago, Abu Samah high-

and so Abu Samah points out how PTM

lights that this platform is slowly

has chosen Ruckus as a key network

becoming outdated and is no longer

partner because the technology they

aligned with the university’s forward-

offered “fit PTM’s continuous aim

thinking ethos. As such, PTM has

towards improved user experience.”

embarked on a major project known as

She added: “Ruckus enables stronger

PrInTis to transform this system

and wider coverage, as well as a reduced

root-and-branch.

rate of interference and an ability to cater for more concurrent users.” From academic records to tuition

“The student information system has been in operation since 1996,” she notes. “The old system was built in a very

payments, tuition enrolment to housing

customised manner and the process

information, data is present throughout

is no longer efficient. Therefore, we are

the whole student lifecycle and, at the

working to streamline and simplify the

University of Malaya, this information

process so it will support our movement

E X E C U T I V E P R OF IL E

Asiah Abu Samah Asiah Abu Samah has 25 years’ experience in leading creative and innovative IT teams, covering areas such as application development, ICT security, data centre management, network services and staff development. In doing so, she has successfully contributed to the University of Malaya’s continuous digital transformation. Asiah is adept in establishing IT-related operations and collaborative efforts across different functions, interest groups and focus areas.

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towards Industry 4.0.”

mobiles everywhere, including our staff

Teaming up with technology firm

management, so it is more accessible.

Tribal Group, PTM is setting up a new

We want it to be as simple as using

integrated student management

WhatsApp so that our students can

solution that aims to empower students

access their fees, their grades, and their

to engage more effectively with the

enrolment costs with a tap of their phone.”

university, anywhere, at any time. It also

With a keen ear to the ground, PTM

hopes to provide a more coherent

is also exploring the use of new, emerg-

online experience, one that digital

ing technologies like the Internet of

native students would expect on the web.

Things (IoT). “We are starting a small

Mobile technology has also been

project to trial IoT to control the lights

a key priority. “We are aiming to provide

and electrical usage, for example,” she

an improved user experience, with

says. “We are also looking into the

simplified access to information and

student e-profiling and mobile-based

a greater focus on mobile applications,”

student ID to cater for various purposes.”

she adds. “Everybody brings their

The University of Malaya is undoubt-


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“Most of the talent is inspired by the desire to develop something bigger than what is expected” — Asiah Abu Samah, Director of the IT Centre

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“We are hoping to create a very modern campus, in terms of how it operates. It should be easily accessible for everyone. It should be borderless” — Asiah Abu Samah, Director of the IT Centre

edly undergoing a digital revolution.

collaboration. In fact, in some of the

However, Abu Samah is keen to point

projects we involve our alumni too.”

out that the institution isn’t using

“We’ve grown and developed a lot

technology for technology’s sake.

since I first joined the university in

Rather, digitisation has been a key ena-

1993,” she continues. “At that point in

bler to foster a close-knit community.

time, implementing technology was

“Technology is only a tool we need

quite hard because people were quite

to reach our end goals,” observes Abu

afraid of technology. Now, people have

Samah. “If our university is to move

many ideas about how to use technol-

faster, then we need the technology.

ogy. We just have to convince them

We hope to promote more student

what is right and how to do it. We are

engagement, inter- and intra-function

hoping to create a very modern


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campus, in terms of how it operates. It

something bigger than what is

should be easily accessible for

expected,” Abu Samah concludes.

everyone. It should be borderless.”

“They’re interested in where the

Behind the scenes at PTM, there is

university is going. They want to be

a diligent team of 105 technical staff.

part of the team. They want to make

Driven by a desire to support the

the university better.”

university’s researching, teaching and learning, they are using state-of-theart technology to help put the University of Malaya on the map. “I can see that most of the talent is inspired by the desire to develop ht t p:/ /pt m.um. ed u . m y


Jalan Universiti, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia T +603-7967-4132 ptm.um.edu.my

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University of Malaya brochure - November 2018  

University of Malaya brochure - November 2018  

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