How 5G can help us build the urban future

Sunway Group is leading the way to create smart and sustainable cities with great potential

As centres of commerce, culture and where great ideas are conceived, cities today generate more than 80 percent of the global gross domestic product.  By 2050, nearly 70 percent of people worldwide will reside in metropolises, where human development involves innovation, culture and prosperity.

Yet, cities – especially those poorly planned – face major issues such as congestion, pollution, crime, disease and resource scarcity.  It gets worse as more people relocate to these urban spaces that emit more than 70 percent of the world’s carbon emissions, affecting humankind’s well-being.

Hence, an urgent need to transform the way we build, live and operate in cities for our well-being.

Sunway’s charge towards sustainable urban future

In Malaysia, Sunway Group is leading the way to transform cities of possible peril into those with great potential.  Sunway’s unique history and business model are among the reasons it can lead the charge.  In fact, the Group was founded on the sustainable development concept, beginning with Sunway City Kuala Lumpur. Some four decades ago, it was an abandoned land with disused mining pools caused by destructive mining activities.

In the 1970s, Sunway Group founder and chairman, Jeffrey Cheah – determined in turning a wasteland into a wonderland – rehabilitated this abandoned tin-mining land into a thriving smart and sustainable city.

Now, the seven-million-sq-ft Sunway City Kuala Lumpur is the centre of education, healthcare, hospitality, retail and leisure. More than 25,000 trees have been transplanted, and a complete eco-system restored Sunway City Kuala Lumpur, with lush greenery, is home to more than 200,000 people  living, working and playing in a safe, healthy and connected environment.  Apart from the edifices he built over the years, Cheah has put together a top-notch team to manage the city and create unique urban spaces for the future.

The team comprises architects, engineers, academics, doctors, scientists, entrepreneurs, researchers and security specialists housed within Sunway’s businesses. Through the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation, alliances were formed with top institutions worldwide including Cambridge, Harvard and Oxford universities, and a partnership with renowned economist Professor Jeffrey Sachs.

Sachs leads the United Nations sustainable development goals, to not only bring quality education and research to Malaysia, but also work together with Sunway towards solving urgent issues facing humankind. With almost half a century of experiences in developing urban centres of growth, Cheah now leads Sunway’s 16,000 employees across diversified businesses to produce pragmatic and sustainable solutions that will bring out the best in cities.

From Internet of Things to Internet of Everything

The fifth-generation (5G) technology is key for Sunway’s transformation.  At 100 times faster than 4G’s speed, Sunway can make leapfrogs in advancing urban spaces for the future. Sunway Group president, Chew Chee Kin cited intelligent solutions are already powering the company’s endeavours in Sunway City Kuala Lumpur.

“We are currently managing energy consumption, powering safety and security in our township with IoT (Internet of Things) devices,” said Chew.

“We are utilising smart devices such as facial recognition in Sunway University’s library, smart parking in Sunway Pyramid and tele-health in Sunway Medical Centre.”

Chew also said 5G offers great speeds required for Sunway’s next-generation ideas to materialise and test them in its townships. Our innovators will be able to better reduce the consumption of resources and energy, enhance education and healthcare, produce security enforcements and improve traffic systems,” he said

“By doing this, we can produce meaningful solutions that will drive low-carbon cities which are economic and innovation powerhouses, and ultimately empower citizens to thrive.”

To harness 5G, Sunway has teamed up with one of the largest mobile operators in Malaysia, Celcom Axiata, and Huawei, the largest telecommunications equipment and smartphone manufacturers in the world.  This makes Sunway City Kuala Lumpur, where Sunway built its flagship businesses, a “living lab” where the said three parties will test-bed next-generation urban solutions.

In the pipeline is an enhanced remote education tapping into facial recognition and artificial intelligence. The blockchain technology will be used for transparency and authenticity of academic certificates delivered to university students.

To improve internal processes in the township, robotic process automation technologies such as software robots will automate mundane and repeatable tasks.  Tele-health capabilities will be expanded to include the delivery of medicines using drones.

“We hope our journey to build smart and sustainable cities will create a ripple effect that encourages people to participate in creating a better future for all,” said Chew.

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