What is your definition of “Innovation”?

In my personal view, innovation simply means any creation, new product, services, or as simple as the new idea/approach to solve problems faced by society.

Innovation does not necessarily have to come out with a product. An innovative idea to improve a certain process is fantastic enough. From there, other people/party could make true your innovative idea. So, the first part of innovation is anything new. The second part of innovation is that anything new idea or creation that we propose must be beneficial to society. And society here includes human beings as well as our nature.

What inspired you to be a researcher and inventor?

It is simply the joy of seeing happy faces from good things we did to people around us. When you become a researcher or inventor you have in front of you the biggest and widest opportunities to help people with their needs. People share with you their problems or issues that could be solved by your invention. People are getting more relying on technologies these days compared to before. The recent Covid-19 pandemic forced everyone to go online although before this most of us i.e., Malaysians are skeptical about online transactions. Businesses require helps to ensure their products/services reach online users. Our SMEs need help on this and helping them with their needs through research and invention is our responsibility.

How would you bridge the gap from your research to research users?

What creates a gap between research and research users is the lack of communication. We cannot simply come out with innovation without understanding what our society needs. In academia, the main beneficiaries from our research works are government agencies, industries, and communities. We need to engage with these 3 parties from the very beginning of our research. In UTM for instance we have the AIMS4STAR research consortium. Through this platform, all researches conducted in UTM is ensured to be aligned with UTM niche areas as well as is designed to include quadruple helix academia – government – industry – society collaborations.

Tell us more about your product. Aligned with an academician role at UTM, I could categorize my research products/services in 3 categories. The first one is of course related to information dissemination. I am happy to announce that very soon UTM will have our own Security Operation Centre and Cyber Range to train not just our UTM graduates but also public on how to safeguard themselves from cyber threat. This is indeed a recognition by MDEC (government agency) and Tecforte (industry partner) that trust our researchers from the Information and Assurance Security Research Group to fulfill this national agenda.

The second category of my research product is mobile and responsive web applications. I have developed several mobiles and responsive web applications for several companies and government agencies. Compared to other software developers, most of the products that I have developed for my clients are based on research findings before translated them into final products. The last category of product/service offered to society is consultation services, and my consultation services are not limited to matters related to my research expertise but also related to research management. I have been involved in research management at RMC for more than 7 years now and it is a pleasure to share my experiences with anyone interested.

What is your aspiration for the future?

In Malaysia for instance, innovation is still consider something expensive. Of course, we could innovate without the need for a single cent. However, we must admit that most innovations require investments. To ensure everyone, get the benefits from innovations we need more funds to support RnD. We cannot forever depend on government budgets and initiatives. We need more active participation from industries and societies. In most developed countries, industry sectors are very active contributing to RnD. Their citizens also play an active part in funding research activities through crowdfunding platforms. I hope our industries and citizens also will soon play their active roles together with our government in ensuring sustainable innovation and research ecosystem for the benefit of our country as a whole.