Kuala Lumpur to build ‘City Brain’ with Alibaba Cloud

By Barbara Szewcow and Jonathan Andrews

Kuala Lumpur has become the first non-Chinese city to implement Chinese internet giant Alibaba’s cloud computing infrastructure to improve its data and traffic management.

The City Brain project is a collaboration between Alibaba, the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and the Kuala Lumpur City Hall. It will integrate and analyse big and heterogeneous data generated by video and image recognition, data mining and machine learning technology. The project aims to support Malaysia’s digital transformation with cloud technology and artificial intelligence.

“Building on this partnership, we are happy to see Malaysia become the first country outside of China to adopt the City Brain” – Simon Hu, Senior Vice President of Alibaba Group and President of Alibaba Cloud

“Through the programme, we aim to empower all Malaysian stakeholders in both the public and private sectors with the tools to enhance efficiency, advance innovation and succeed in the digital age,” said Mr. Hu.

The project aims to assist Malaysian urban planners and city officials to perform real-time city analysis, better forecasting and effective decision-making. A further goal is to provide the intelligence tools to enterprises, start-ups, entrepreneurs, universities, and research institutions to drive innovation.

An MDEC spokesperson said that expected outcomes of the programme include analysis of traffic conditions, optimisation of traffic signals and detection of accidents or traffic incidents. Malaysia City Brain will begin with a base of 382 cameras feeds and input from 281 traffic light junctions, concentrated within central Kuala Lumpur.

RELATED: Why building a ‘city brain’ is key to becoming a world-class Smart City: OPINION

In its first phase, City Brain instruments will be used to optimise the flow of vehicles and traffic signals by calculating the time taken to reach intersections. It will also generate structured summaries of data, such as traffic volume and speed lanes, which can be used to facilitate other tasks including incident detection.

In addition, the company says that the project will connect various urban management systems including emergency dispatch, ambulance call, traffic command, and traffic light control. By integrating and analysing real-time data generated from these systems, the project aims to optimise urban traffic flow such as identifying the quickest route for emergency vehicles to arrive at the scene.

The launch of City Brain is a sign of increasing cooperation between Malaysia and Alibaba following the opening of its cloud data centre in Malaysia last year, becoming the first global public cloud platform in the country.

The original version of this article first appeared on Cities Today. Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of ITU.

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