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Chinese e-commerce colossus Alibaba Cloud has announced that it has deployed its cutting-edge smart city Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform in the Malaysian capital city of Kuala Lumpur. This represents the Chinese vendor’s first implementation of its AI platform outside its domestic market.

The smart city AI platform was officially launched by local ICT agency, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) in conjunction with city council body DBKL according to representatives of Alibaba.

The initiative has been entitled the ‘Malaysia City Brain’, and the AI-powered platform operated on Alibaba’s coveted and renowned cloud infrastructure was specifically developed to support and facilitate smart cities in their quest for digital transformation.

It has the capabilities to analyze large volumes of data that can be extracted from a diverse range of sources in an urban environment which include video, image and speech recognition. The platform can also incorporate machine learning in order to provide further information for city administrators to improve operational efficiencies and allow them to monitor or predict security risks.

In a statement issued to the press, Alibaba Cloud said the platform also has the ability to reduce urban congestion and alleviate the city’s traffic issues and improve efficiency. Alibaba said, “By combining insights from the transportation bureau, observatory, public transportation systems as well as mapping app, City Brain is capable of constructing a virtual digital city model and optimizing this through ongoing machine learning to make decisions in areas such as road planning, bus routes and frequency, and the length of time a particular red traffic light should be on, to increase traffic efficiency.”

Alibaba first launched its AI platform in Hangzhou, China in September 2016, and has been hailed as a phenomenal success since its inception. The initial objective of City Brain in Kuala z is to optimize traffic management as highlighted above. The goal is to improve mobility around the capital city. The AI system also would generate structured data summaries, such as traffic volume and speed in specific road lanes which then could be used to facilitate tasks such as incident detection.

In addition to this, it has been suggested that the smart city platform could connect with other urban management systems such as emergency dispatch, ambulance call and traffic light control which would allow city administrators to analyze real-time data. This integration of systems would enable the city to optimize traffic flow by identifying the quickest route for emergency personnel.

As the City Brain's functionality expands, enterprises, start-ups, entrepreneurs, universities, and research institutions will in the future have the opportunity to access and leverage its artificial intelligence tools to drive a wide range of innovation.

Alibaba also announced the Malaysia Tianchi Big Data Program, a big data crowd intelligence platform that aimed to gather global data experts to collaborate and compete in developing applications for real-world problems.