It’s always encouraging and exciting to see legacy companies embracing change and taking the necessary steps to enter the digital economy. Yesterday, PLUS Malaysia Berhad (PLUS) announced a partnership with Microsoft, as the largest expressway service provider in Malaysia embarks on its digital transformation journey.
The partnership means PLUS will be integrating the Microsoft Azure cloud system into its highway toll network to transform and modernise the highway experience to provide a safer, smoother and comfortable journey for its highway customers. PLUS will also become the first highway operator in Malaysia to leverage future-ready technologies such as AI, big data analytics and cloud computing to improve its operations.
The Azure platform will provide a framework for PLUS to be able to use these technologies to improve congestion predictions and provide better journey planning for customers as the company aims to drive efficiency and lower costs on its highway network.
Speaking at the official launch event. Datuk Azman Ismail, Managing Director of PLUS, said that the partnership marks the start of the company’s shift from being a highway operator to a service provider, focusing on providing a more personalised and tailored highway service which suits the customers’ needs.
PLUS was built based on a 30-year old technology, expertise and design. But with the current average traffic volume reaching up to 2 million vehicles per day today, PLUS saw it fit to update its systems to meet today’s customer demands and expectations – essentially taking disruption head-on before it has to face the risk being disrupted by the growing number of competitors.
Datuk Azman acknowledged that PLUS needed “to not just digitally transform, but to also embrace a new organisation culture.” He continued, “By collaborating with industry leaders like Microsoft, we aim to bring our businesses to the frontier of innovation, locally and regionally, whilst addressing all the challenges brought forth by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
As part of the partnership, PLUS will be adopting the various services afforded by Microsoft Azure to overcome challenges that include server capacity, flexibility and security. The cloud-based platform will enable PLUS to cost-effectively build and expand on its on-premises resources to improve operational performance.
For example, by leveraging Azure Key Vault to safeguard data on the cloud through the use of cryptographic keys, PLUS can reduce data discrepancy, enhance its operations and electronic toll collection reconciliation and ultimately improve efficiency by 40%, or 600 man-hours, each month. The cloud will also be utilised to store tremendous amounts of traffic data, which can be analysed and used to provide real-time insights, both for PLUS and its customers.
PLUS is aiming to roll out a series of future improvements in its operations including integrated video analytics, which is expected to reduce staff requirements and capture approximately RM2.7 million in lost revenue due to financial leakage each year.
K Raman, Microsoft Malaysia’s Managing Director, commented the following with regards to the partnership. “Since establishing ourselves in Malaysia over 25 years ago, Microsoft has helped move the digital transformation needle for businesses and organisations across the nation. Our partnership with PLUS today is a testament to our vision to empower every person and every organisation on this planet to achieve more. We would like to congratulate PLUS for being the first expressway service provider in Malaysia and the region to successfully integrate Azure into its highways. To this end, we hope to continue collaborating with PLUS to enable them to achieve more than ever before.”