Blueair unveils revamped product range

Blueair unveils revamped product range

Blueair unveils revamped new classic product range, better performing, sleeker and with clean air intelligence inside.

First unveiled during the IFA Berlin2015 tech show the much anticipated revamped Classic range is now available in Malaysia since April 2017.

Complete with a new built-in intelligent air monitoring system called ‘Aware’, a more convenient user interface, improved clean air delivery rates, and new design features enabling improved airflow and quieter operation to ensure that your home is safe from pollutants.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that Europe’s air pollution cost in 2010 alone is a staggering 1.6 trillion US dollars, as a result of the approximately 600,000 deaths and diseases it caused.

“Blueair’s new technology puts people in control of the air they breathe and makes healthy living and improved well being as effortless as having a robot vacuum cleaner. The Blueair Classic minimizes triggers for people who suffer from allergies and asthma by cleaning indoor air from 99.97 percent of all pollutants, which is great news for our customers and those they care for,”

said Karin Kruse, Global Product Marketing Manager

In a report, the WHO estimated that about 7 million people worldwide died as a result of air pollution exposure in 2012 alone. South-East Asia and the Western Pacific areas are the regions in which health is most affected by air pollution, with approximately 3.3 million deaths linked to indoor air pollution and 2.6 million to outdoor air pollution.

Concentrations of many samples of air contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which are also consistently higher indoors than outdoors. An EPA study covering six communities in various parts of the US found indoor VOC levels up to 10 times higher than outdoors, even in locations with significant outdoor air pollution sources, such as petrochemical plants.

The Blueair Classic air purifier has been designed to protect you and your family from deadly pollutants inside your home.

The enhanced features of the new Classic also includes a more energy-efficient motor as well as a user-friendly interface under a top lid that flips open to reveal the electronic display indicating when a filter needs changing, a WiFi indicator, operating speed indicator and indicators showing levels of PM2.5 dust and VOCs (volatile organic chemicals) in the indoor air.

“The new edition of the Blueair Classic reflects our commitment in leveraging connected home opportunities to make it easier for homeowners and businesses alike to benefit from cleaner, healthier air as they move through their day,”

said Karin Kruse.

She said the enhancements and benefits offered by Blueair’s latest iteration of its Classic product line reflects customer insight that air purifiers should be mobile, non-intrusive and capable of working while a person sleeps, jogs, eats, works, prepares food or reads a magazine while commuting.

In a nutshell, Blueair’s Classic air purifiers are easy to configure, easy to maintain, and perform excellently. It is a no-brainer choice for air purifiers currently offered in the market. Blueair offers a literal plug and play solution that is essential for all homes and indoor spaces. The New Classic product line now comes with 6 different models to match all space requirements and easily available throughout nation via 43 different locations.

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Does moving home help or hurt your career? A returnee weighs in

Does moving home help or hurt your career? A returnee weighs in

Does moving home help or hurt your career?

A returnee weighs in

Leaving behind a career you have spent years building abroad in exchange for returning to your homeland is a hard decision to make. While many Malaysian professionals who return do so to be closer to their families, the prevalent misconception is that there are few opportunities for career advancement here in Malaysia.

Dr Helmy Haja Mydin, a consultant respiratory physician at Pantai Specialist Hospital in Kuala Lumpur chose to return during the height of his career in the United Kingdom (UK). “When it was time to make the decision, my wife and I looked at it from a number of perspectives, particularly that of our careers. We decided that the both of us were able to achieve more by returning home, considering the fields we are in are more matured in the UK,” he says.

Making full use of his experience gained abroad

Bringing positive change to people’s lives is Dr Helmy’s motivation to embrace the next stage of his career here in Malaysia. A firm believer of “giving back”, Dr Helmy is an associate of the Institute of Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS), a think-tank that performs research and is involved in advancing policy including in several areas such as Healthcare.

“The ability to be involved in non-clinical work was one of the key factors of my decision to return to Malaysia,” says Dr Helmy, who came home under the Government’s Returning Expert Programme (REP).

Apart from pursuing his professional life and raising a family, Dr Helmy is actively involved in social work and participates in various volunteer programmes.

“I have always wanted to have a more fulfilling life outside of medical work. Upon returning, I realised there are many ways I can contribute that go beyond the Healthcare spectrum. Being able to strike that balance here, and put my knowledge and experience gained from abroad in a more meaningful manner is very important to me,” he explains.

Malaysia’s promising Healthcare industry

Although Dr Helmy has fond memories of his 14 years in the UK, he ultimately felt there were many opportunities waiting to be tapped within Malaysia’s growing Healthcare industry. While the UK is well ahead in terms of Healthcare developments, Dr Helmy believes the industry there has matured to the point that there is little room left for career progression in his area of expertise.

“The Healthcare industry in the UK is more mature. For many practitioners, work involves maintaining the status quo without much room for change. Looking at the long-term perspective, I believe Malaysia possesses many opportunities for professional growth which are driven by the country’s dynamic economic landscape,” said Dr Helmy.

He added, “Developed countries possess advanced laboratories and facilities to conduct research and innovation to move forward in the Healthcare industry. There are many who have the desire to return and grow their career locally, but you cannot disregard those who are in medical fields that require the technology and infrastructure that are only available overseas.”

Dr Helmy says that in the Healthcare industry, the option to return to Malaysia is to a great extent determined by an individual’s professional specialisation. However, medical practitioners should practise knowledge transfer among their peers who are in the country and overseas.

Citing stem cell research practitioners as an example, Dr. Helmy explains, “Those involved in these areas may not have the right infrastructure to further their careers in Malaysia, but what we can do is to collaborate and engage them as consultants to develop the necessary infrastructure to conduct their research at home.”

On building a talent pipeline comprising Healthcare professionals from both within and outside of the country, Dr Helmy says, “The public sector needs to set up a more proactive strategy to keep medical practitioners – no matter local or those overseas – well informed on opportunities available in Malaysia, as well as provide up-to-date information on the current state of infrastructure and resources available in the country.”

Do professionals with overseas experience have an advantage over their local peers?

A significant issue that undermines locally trained practitioners is the passive learning culture practised here in Malaysia. This is in stark contrast to the learning process found in more developed countries, which gives students the means to question and be an active participant in the classroom.

Dr Helmy explains, “When I started working as a junior doctor in the UK, I was very quiet. In fact, I was told off for not being vocal enough. It gave my consultants the impression that I was disinterested. A consultant of mine made it a point to challenge and to question me, allowing me to present my views to the point where I built up enough confidence.”

“With confidence, I was able to tell my consultants if they were wrong. One thing I really appreciated from my experience in the UK was the autonomy. I was treated as an equal whose ideas were valued and not just a junior doctor. There was a culture of inclusion and space to speak out, and this really does give you an advantage in developing your medical and soft skills.

“Communication skills, confidence, critical thinking skills, and adaptability are all crucial aspects in growing your career. I don’t think that medical practitioners from the West or those who have been trained overseas are automatically better than locally trained practitioners, but some of these aspects are given more emphasis during training in developed countries,” he adds.

When asked if he had any advice for other Malaysian Healthcare professionals abroad contemplating moving back home, Dr Helmy says, “An expert who has the opportunity to work alongside medical professionals overseas is able to excel in the Healthcare industry here, as long as they are willing to put in the extra effort and they believe in creating a robust Healthcare community. The sense of career fulfilment you achieve here, especially if you are able to contribute your expertise and overseas experience to your industry is a chance that you should not miss in your lifetime.”

Banking on Malaysia’s dynamic finance industry: a returnee shares his story

Banking on Malaysia’s dynamic finance industry: a returnee shares his story

Banking on Malaysia's dynamic finance industry

A returnee shares his story

The finance industry has played an important role in facilitating the economic transformation and growth of Malaysia’s economy. In the face of rapid changes and uncertainty in the global economic and financial environment, the outlook for Malaysia’s financial and banking sector remains stable, driven by Malaysian banks’ strong capital, stable funding levels and continued high degree of Government support.

However, ensuring this sector is able to continue supporting the changing requirements of the Malaysian economy amid increased volatility in the global market calls for the availability of a pool of high-quality talent across various levels, from entry-level graduates to the leadership level for senior management and board of directors. In fact, it is anticipated that a workforce of about 200,000 financial sector talent will be required by 2020, particularly in high growth and niche areas such as risk capital financing, wealth management, Shariah advisory, corporate finance and investment advisory services.

Chief Operations Officer of Retail Banking at Standard Chartered Malaysia, Nantha Subramanian believes talent development is a crucial element of economic development. Addressing the challenges posed by the global environment on the sector’s talent attraction and retention activities, he explains, “When it comes to hiring talent within the financial and banking industry, it’s important to cultivate a sense of security and hope. And yes, the current economic landscape in Malaysia has caused some anxiety. I’ve seen a constant churn of workforce at niche segments – such as Financial Crime, Anti Money Laundering, Customer Due Diligence, Compliance and Operational Risk – where retaining talent appears to be difficult.

“Banks are faced with increasing pressure to review their talent management process whilst cultivating innovation along the entire value chain. And as the landscape of banking evolves into the digital and financial technology (FinTech) space, talent needs to be mapped accordingly to ensure people, technology and processes are in sync. So [misperceptions] about the country being unstable or stagnant can discourage talent, both local and foreign, from seeking or furthering their personal and professional ambitions here,” he added.

Malaysia’s finance industry as a talent destination

Despite the subdued growth expected as a result of lingering market volatility, Nantha feels the financial and banking industry here continues to remain attractive. Citing the sector’s past performance as one of the region’s most promising financial hubs as well as the presence of close to 30 commercial banking institutions currently in the country, he elaborates, “Malaysia still has the ‘wow’ factor, with growth resulting in high demand for talent within specific areas in banking like governance and regulation. And while there is a sizable demand for junior-level to mid-level talent, as the country looks upward and outward for a more experienced workforce to fill ‘expert’ segments, organisations will strive to recruit the best talent within their reach.

“There is potential for Malaysia to attract and retain home-grown talent and those from outside Malaysia,”

Who came home under the Returning Expert Programme (REP) following an extensive career in Europe, the United States (US) and Asia. “I was abroad for nearly 20 years, and the decision to return was influenced by an opportunity to work for a reputable organisation and for my family to experience Malaysia.”

That said, Nantha believes Malaysia’s banking and financial industry does face several challenges in attracting and retaining talent, with one being the poor visibility of challenging professional opportunities within the industry. “For local talents, and Gen Y’s in particular, banking is not seen as being ‘cool’ like the technology, media, or communications fields. There is also often a lack of opportunities for talents to ‘grow with the bank’, in the sense that they are given the chance to build a career as opposed to merely holding down a job.”

He adds that compensation is another significant factor, especially in situations where employers are either unwilling or unable to match a job-seeker’s remuneration expectations.

Easing the journey back home

Recalling his own transition from working overseas to returning to Malaysia, Nantha has some sound advice for other Malaysians abroad who are contemplating the same move. “The work life in Malaysia could be very different compared to what you experienced before, so it will take some getting used to. However, once you have settled in, you feel a sense of accomplishment when you truly change your work place for the better, for yourself and for the people who work with you.”

He adds, “Naturally, there is a tendency to compare everything you experience against the country you moved from, but this behaviour is quite normal. Take a balanced view and be flexible with your expectations. Also, be mindful that the laws of the land for both consumerism and legal matters are different, so brushing up on your knowledge and keeping abreast of developments would be wise. Lastly, be patient and focus on enjoying your return. Malaysia has much to offer you and your family in terms of culture, vibrancy, food, and travel. There is a lot of work and a lot of play!”

Driving Malaysia’s industrial development through E&E

Driving Malaysia’s industrial development through E&E

Driving Malaysia’s industrial development through E&E

As one of the major ecosystems in Malaysia’s electrical & electronics (E&E) sector, the semiconductor segment plays a significant role in Malaysia’s economy. Contributing more than 40 percent of Malaysia’s E&E export, Malaysia is currently the world’s leading location for semiconductor assembly and test operations and is home to six out of the 10 largest semiconductor companies in the world, alongside over 50 multinational companies including Texas Instruments, Freescale Semiconductor, Infineon and Intel.

The E&E sector is expected to create an incremental gross national income (GNI) impact of RM53.4 billion and create 157,000 new jobs by 2020. Not only that, connectivity of information – or the Internet of Things (IoT) – is poised to drive the growth of the semiconductor industry globally within the next few years.

Osram Opto Semiconductors (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd Operation Controlling and Finance director Sor Kok Chiang believes that Malaysia has the potential to be a leader in the global E&E manufacturing industry.

Having transitioned from a career in finance, Kok Chiang spent 18 years in semiconductor manufacturing where he had the opportunity to be stationed in Germany, China and Singapore.

“There was an opportunity for me to learn and utilise my skills differently. The transition [from finance to semiconductor manufacturing] took some time, but working in various semiconductor companies previously gave me the right exposure to be able to perform in my current position,” says Kok Chiang.

Kok Chiang oversees operations of Osram plants in Germany, China and Malaysia from his operational base in Penang. “Osram’s presence in Malaysia and in Asia as a whole, accounts for a high proportion of our global manufacturing sites,” said Kok Chiang. Moreover, Osram’s operations in Malaysia has progressed from manufacturing to research and development (R&D) activities, “We currently have hundreds of Research and Development specialists in our Penang plant, who are all Malaysians,” says Kok Chiang.

When asked about his reasons for returning to Malaysia after almost two decades abroad, Kok Chiang smiles broadly. “Osram has a big presence in Malaysia, with a large manufacturing base that utilizes cutting edge technology which is continuously enhanced,” he explains. “There was an opportunity for me to come back, and Osram offered me a position which allowed me to manage global operations right here in Malaysia. The question in my head at the time was:

How can I innovate to contribute to a growing global business?”

Demand driving growth in the Malaysian E&E industry

Based on data published by IHS Global Insight earlier this year, the positive performance shown by Malaysia’s E&E export sector last year is expected to continue in 2017 on the back of strong growth in global demand for both consumer-oriented devices (e.g. smartphones, tablets, and wearables) as well as commercial-oriented technologies (e.g. industrial machinery and oil-drilling rigs). Moreover, with the establishment of the Electrical and Electronics Strategic Council (EESC) in place, the E&E sector is set to grow to the next level. Established in 2015, the EESC will facilitate local companies with strategic development plans that will spark the local E&E sector’s potential to compete globally. E&E is anticipated to continue generating high-skilled jobs for talents interested in pursuing global career opportunities from within the country.

While he feels more can be done in the public–private partnership space to ensure the E&E sector benefits from the right infrastructure, Kok Chiang believes the sector has set a benchmark for research and development (R&D) activities in Malaysia. “E&E manufacturing companies invest a lot in technology. Typically, 7 to 10 percent of their annual revenue is spent on R&D.” In December 2016, Osram Opto Semiconductors launched their LED chip production plant at the Kulim Hi-Tech Park in Kedah. The plant is the largest and most modern LED chip production site in the world, and will further enhance the LED market in Malaysia and the company’s leading position in the global LED market.

Osram’s new light emitting diode (LED) plant is slated for completion in the second quarter of 2017 and will create over 1,500 skilled jobs in Malaysia. Given this, Kok Chiang hopes to see more interest in the semiconductor sector from young Malaysians, particularly those from and around Kedah. “The chance to have global careers is present here in Malaysia, but do we have enough people interested in the semiconductor sector?” says Kok Chiang, who is of the opinion that talent would benefit from exploring career pathways outside of their academic or professional qualifications. He also feels that international exposure plays a key role in career progression within E&E. “In my opinion, mobility and exposure is important. This means that if you have international exposure and you are mobile, you will definitely have an opportunity for career advancements.”

For Malaysian talents at home and abroad who are interested in E&E but are uncertain of the sector’s career prospects in Malaysia, Kok Chiang has this to say. “The grass is often perceived as being ‘greener’ overseas, but if we are able to highlight opportunities here which are competitive and match a jobseeker’s [criteria] in terms of professional growth, I think it’s possible to have an enriching career here in Malaysia.”

He adds, “Always have a macro view of the world, regardless of where you’re based. Also, always keep yourself updated on what’s going on and what sectors have potential for growth.”

The Malaysian Education Dilemma

The Malaysian Education Dilemma

The Malaysian Education Dilemma

Malaysian teaching methods have changed little since the establishment of the Penang Free school in 1816, with students still sitting in classrooms with pencils and pads of paper, writing what teachers tell them to.

The stagnation of our teaching methods has led to the lack of innovation amongst students and teachers in the country.

The turn of the millennium has led to countless technological innovations. In the past 10 years, social, transportational, industrial, and administrative technologies have grown by leaps and bounds.

But for some reason, there has been no significant technological change in the teaching methods of Malaysian education in the past century. Education, seen to be one of the most important foundations of a developing country, has effectively been put on hold.

Studies have shown that technology and media can enhance early childhood practice when integrated into the environment, curriculum, and daily routines.

This is because the use of technology contributes to the stimulation of the brain during early childhood, making information easily understandable and entertaining.

The same study also found that technology is an effective tool for dual language learners because it provides features that allow students to practice secondary languages which they would otherwise not be able to do outside their classrooms. Useful in a bi-lingual society such as Malaysia.

The lack of development of the local education system becomes apparent when we compare ourselves to the advanced teaching technology that some Western European and Asian countries have been using for years.

Countries such as the Netherlands, have incorporated technology into their education system and since been ranked one of the top ten performing countries in science, math and reading scores.

South Korea, another country that topped the lists, incorporates projectors and electronic flashcards into all their public schools. Singapore, our neighbour and the country that took first place in the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) rankings, provides laptops for public school students.

Malaysia on the other hand, came in at a dismal 52 out of 76 ranked countries on the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development’s education quality list.

Another study focusing on mathematics and science showed Malaysia scoring 465 in mathematics and 471 in science. Other nations worldwide have scored an average of 500 points.

There have, of course, been attempts by the Malaysian government to bring local public schools into the 21st century, such as 1Bestari Net which aimed to provide 4G connectivity to 10,000 schools. However, the government contract, slated to run up a cost of RM4.077 billion over the course of 15 years, has since been described by the Public Accounts Committee to be “failed”.

Since then, private companies have been taking matters into their own hands and crafted their own education models designed for early childhood development. One of these companies is Eduspec.

In an age where digital literacy has become a mandatory job skill, Eduspec emphasizes on guiding early childhood educators and students in the use, integration, and evaluation of technology.

Eduspec has launched three main courses in Malaysia so far, computational thinking, robotics and coding for primary schoolers. The programs have been crafted with the consultation of experts on early childhood education from Carnegie Mellon University.

Has the Malaysian education system come to a point where we must rely on private companies to bring it into the future?

Huawei improves on the perfect with the P10

Huawei improves on the perfect with the P10

Huawei improves on the perfect with the P10

The P10 defies the odds by improving on what was already great in the P9

Huawei’s P10 has managed to surpass its predecessor by improving on what was already one of the best smartphones on the market.

Huawei’s trademark spin in their smartphone designs comes by adding their own touch to the technology that already exists in mobile engineering landscape, for example, Huawei does not only implement android technology like some other smartphone makers do, but incorporates their EMUI 5.1 software that features machine learning. Huawei also makes their own chipsets from scratch and was the first smartphone maker to seriously consider incorporating dual lens photography at a high-performance level.

The new P10 now builds on that existing technology by upgrading the monochrome sensor on the rear camera from the original 12MP to the current 20MP on the P10. Huawei’s newest flagship product will also be the first smartphone to feature the company’s lossless zoom, a technology developed by Huawei that enables digital zoom without loss of quality.

A huge advancement for the device is Huawei’s implementation of optical image stabilisation (OIS) which will prevent blurry pictures caused by shakiness by compensating for the movement of the device.

The P9’s Leica engineered dual lens was a pioneering idea that has since been mimicked by the likes of its competitors such as Apple in its iPhone 7 plus and Samsung, who has also reportedly experimented with implementing the technology into their new S8 model during its prototyping stages, but opted not to install it in its final design.

The front camera has also undergone an upgrade and now features a Leica co-engineered 8 MP front facing lens. The device also features “portrait mode” which automatically adjusts the lighting to ensure high quality selfies. The P10’s new “adaptive selfie” feature on the front camera also automatically detects when there is more than one person in the shot. It will then change the camera’s settings to take a wide angled picture if the phone feels that it needs to.

Despite the main selling point of the P10 being its camera, the device does not lose out to its competitors in other departments. The P10 plus packs a large 3750 mAh battery while the P10 packs a 3200 mAh batter, both support supercharge that enables fast charging. Compared to another similar device on the market, the S8 only measures to 3000mAh, the same size as Huawei’s 2016 P9.

Battery Capacity (mAH), Higher is batter

Android 7.0 Nougat

The Android 7.0 Nougat runs alongside Huawei’s EMUI 5.1 which has implemented machine learning into the smartphone’s software. According to Huawei, EMUI 5.1 will be able to gauge how its user operates the device and adapt to him or her, increasing its overall operating efficiency. Because of this, Huawei says that the P10 will run faster a year after purchase than if it were fresh out of the box.  

New Processor

The P10 also packs Huawei’s newest processor, the octa-core Kirin 960 CPU. The Huawei made chipset slaps around its competitors in multi-core efficiency tests scoring above the likes of Samsung, Qualcomm and the iPhone’s A10 chip.

Huawei’s P10 has also improved its display and increased the pixel density of the device, measuring at 432 PPto 424 PPI on the Huawei P9. It’s also improved on its screen’s durability with its Gorilla Glass 5 screeI compared n instead of the old third generation Gorilla screens on the P9.

Putting another cherry on top of this device is the hyper diamond cut finishing that’s anti- fingerprint, anti-scratch and anti- slip.

The Huawei P10 is currently available in black and gold. Two new coloured models, blue and green, will be released on the 5th of May

*Pantone coloured P10, blue and green are available on 5th May.
Pantone coloured P10 Plus will be available within this month.

The newest generation of Huawei’s flagship line has surpassed all expectations of the company and if this is the benchmark with which we can set as an outlook to the company’s future products, the world of mobile phones looks brighter than ever.

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