Category Archives: Cloud South East Asia

BT discusses its interests in South East Asia

Cloud SEANothing better reflects the way the Cloud is changing the traditional parameters of telecom operators than BT’s presence at this morning’s Cloud South East Asia keynotes in Kuala Lumpur.

Thanaraj Kanagalingam, BT’s regional solutions director, joined the likes of SingTel, Telekom Malaysia and MDeC in presenting at the well-attended conference, where he set out BT’s strategic presence in the region, itself a microcosm of the UK’s most recognisable telco’s increasingly global strategy and reach.

In South East Asia specifically, BT has been active in the networked IT business for a number of years, via acquisitions of local players such as Frontline (Singapore-based IT consulting and services company), which has driven them towards an ICT and telecommunications convergence play.

Subsequently BT has extended itself into the contact centre line business – with very strong links to the airline industries – and is  now moving into what it is called ‘the Cloud of Clouds’ – positioning itself through partnerships with existing Cloud service providers, and providing a new array of digital services to enterprise customers.

“It’s all about network connectivity,” explained Kanagalingam, answering questions after his keynote. “A lot of enterprises here want to go out to a global market, so when they establish themselves in China, in India, and so forth, they need to have that connectivity. BT provides this from a network perspective, from a telco perspective. We partner with local partners in each of these regions but at the same time leverage our traditional framework.”

A focal point of BT’s global appeal is security (a topic that has predictably dominated numerous discussions at Cloud South East Asia). Specifically, the telco looks to draw on its strengths to provide a more secure connectivity to enterprise customers. “For us,” explains Kanagalingam, “service is encompassing hybrid intelligent network, world class leading security coupled with PAYG cloud computing solution.”

AWS: examine fine print in data transfer legislation

In a week that has seen the European Court of Justice rule that the Safe Harbour agreement on data transfer as invalid, the significance of data transfer legislation in South East Asia has been under discussion at Cloud South East Asia.

Answering audience questions following his Cloud South East Asia keynote this morning, Blair Layton, Head of Database Services for Amazon Web Services, argued that some of the legislation against data transfer was not always as cast-iron as they appear.

Acknowledging that such legal concerns were indeed “very legitimate,” and that there were certainly countries with stringent legal provisions that formed an obvious barrier to the adoption of cloud services such as Amazon Web Services, Layton none the less stressed that it was always worth examining the relevant legislation “in more detail.”

“What we’ve found in some countries is that, even though the high level statement might be that data has to reside in one country, what you find in the fine print is that it actually says, ‘if you inform users then it is fine to move the data,”’ he told delegates. “Also, that for sensitive data you think you may not be able to move – because of company controls, board level concerns etc. – we can have many discussions about that. For instance, if you just want to move data for back-up and recovery, you can encrypt that on the premise, maintain the keys on premise, and shift that into the cloud for storage.”

In the same session, Layton, when not extolling the impressive scope and effectiveness of Amazon Web Services in the South East Asian region and beyond, discussed other reasons for the arguable disparity between the evident regional interest in cloud services, and the actual uptake of them.

“There are in different cultures in different countries, and they have different levels of interest in technology. For example, you’ll see that…. people in Singapore are very conservative compared to the Taiwanese In other countries their IT is not as mature and they’re not as willing to try new things and that’s simply cultural.”

Advancing the cloud in South East Asia

Mike_MuddToday is the first day of Cloud South East Asia in Kuala Lumpur, and the attendance alone testifies to the enthusiasm and curiosity around cloud development in the region in general and in Malaysia in particular.

One great authority on the topic is the chair of today’s event, Mike Mudd (pictured), MD at Asian Policy Partners LLC. Following keynotes from the likes of Amazon Web Services and the Asia Cloud Computing Association, Business Cloud News sat down with Mudd to discuss the significance of cloud computing standards in the region, something touched upon by a number of speakers.

BCN: Hi Mike. It was pointed out today that there is a slight disparity between the enthusiasm for the cloud in South East Asia, and the pace of actual adoption in the region. What would you say the big impediments are?

Michael Mudd: Well there’s the general one which is what I’ve described as the ‘trusted cloud’. This encompasses two things. One is security, and the other is privacy. The other issue however is that, only really half of the region here has adequate data protection rules. Some have them on the books but they’re either not enforced, they’re enforced laxly, or they are only applicable to the private sector, and not applicable to government. This is quite distinct to privacy laws in say Europe, where it goes across all sectors.

In addition, in certain countries, they’re trying to say that you cannot send any personally identifiable information across borders. This is important when it comes to financial information: banks, insurance, stock exchange, this type of thing, as well as healthcare.

And are regional governments taking up the cloud in general?

Forward looking governments are. Singapore, Hong Kong to a certain degree – but there’s not an idea of a ‘cloud first’ policy yet. It’s still very much ‘hug my server, build my data centre etc..’

From the point of view of the regulators, particularly the financial services, to do their job they’ve got to be able to audit. And one of the things they consider important to that is being able to physically enter premises if required. Certain jurisdictions want to see servers. If the data is in the cloud, then that too is an issue, and something that has to be addressed.

Do you think that the new Trans-Pacific Partnership could provide a way out of this impasse?

What has been drafted to my understanding (though we’ve still got to see the details) in the TPP, is wording which will enable or should enable cross border data flows to work far more easily. Again it was only signed two days ago so we don’t know exact words. (Like all trade negotiations they’re done in confidence – people complain they’re done in secrecy but all are done in the same way.)

Why is this so important?

From the point of view of cloud computing, this is new. Most trade agreements deal with traditional things. Agriculture being the first trading product, manufacturing the second, the third being services, but the fourth one is the new one: trading data, trading information, flowing across borders.

It actually goes right back to the very beginning. Information’s always been important for trade: being able to have a free flow of information. I’m not talking about security or government: that kind of thing is always sensitive and will always be treated separately as it should be, but commercial information is very important. It’s the reason your ATM card works here as well as in London. That’s a cross border data flow of information!

Standards are only just emerging. We obviously have technical standards – their objective is to enable interoperability between disparate machines. Those kinds of standards have been around a long time – they’re based on industry protocols etc. What have starting to come up now are management standards, standards coming out now very specifically for cloud.

How the cloud enables the Bistip social marketplace to scale efficiently

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABCN has partnered with the Cloud South East Asia event to interview some of its speakers. In this interview we speak to Rohit Kanwar, CEO of Indonesian social marketplace service Bistip.

Cloud South East Asia: Who are Bistip and how are you shaking up the Indonesian market?

Rohit Kanwar:  Bistip is Peer to Peer market place for social delivery through which item seekers and travellers are connected. Bistip travellers can post their trips in the platform visible to everyone and item seekers offer them extra money for bringing them their desired items. Currently Bistip has close to 35,000 customers and more than 100,000 web visits per month.

We are analogous in the logistics industry, like Uber or AirBnB.  Social couriers existed in most of the Asian countries before, but they were limited to close friends and families. However, with the adoption of smartphone and cloud based technologies it’s faster and easier to scale and roll out services to more people now.

Indonesians love buying high value goods, which are often expensive to purchase locally; with the help of Bistip they are now accustomed to getting “Anything from anywhere globally ” within Indonesia, at affordable prices.  Our mission is reduce overseas travel cost by providing travellers with extra money. We are adding 1000 customers per month, with a revenue over 250K USD and plan to achieve 1 million registered customers by 2017.

How is technology helping you grow and reach new customers?

Our customer acquisition strategy is 100% digitally focussed; we are also using online advertising tools to reach out to new customers. We are actively using digital technology and analytics to reach our target audience and demography based on respective products. We also use social media listening technology to understand the sentiments of customers about our product and services. Modification of products based on customer insight helps us to reach new customers and better serves existing members.

What role does cloud computing play in your business?

All our web and app based platforms are on cloud based technology. Its subscription based model (Pay as you go) helps to scale up capacity in a cost effective way. Our Cloud vendors provide us with features such as managed services, Web Performance dashboards and analytics integrated platforms, which enable us to focus on our Business KPIs instead of day to day network operations. Cloud base technology is a boom to start-ups as it reduces high capex spending on IT infrastructure.

How do you think established, global technology vendors are supporting start-up companies in Indonesia?

Indonesia currently has 70 million smartphones and more than 100 million Internet users.  Jakarta generates more tweets than any other city in the world. There is huge paradigm shift among technology vendors towards Indonesia due to the growing, successful start-up ecosystem in the country. Global technology vendors such as Google, Cloudera, IBM, Microsoft, etc. are showing a keen interest in understanding business requirement for start-ups.

Tech Vendors have dedicated support teams assisting start-up companies with solving their problems. Global technology vendors regularly arrange boot camps, Hackathons and networking seminars in the country in order to support start-ups with fund raising and other mentorship activities.   A few technology vendors have venture funds to support start-ups as well.  Overall the atmosphere and ecosystem is developing faster than ever before in Indonesia.

What is next for Bistip?

Bistip is coming up with a mobile application, along with new features and services, to reduce the shipping time and provide more security to our customers. It will also have an integrated payment system. Bistip aims to achieve 1 million customers by end of 2017.

Bistip is also exploring the opportunity to start operations in other countries. We have signed two partnerships with Uber in Indonesia, Aramex and are likely to sign a few more with online travel portal and retail stores in the near future. We are also in final level talks with a VC for raising further funds. Hopefully our execution plans will follow our strategy and we can provide our travellers with more benefits and our buyers with a better service.


Learn more about how the cloud is developing in South East Asia by attending Cloud South East Asia on 7th & 8th October 2015 at Connexion @ Nexus, KL, Malaysia.

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