Monday, March 13, 2017

3 Methods to Read MyKad

MyKad, or sometime mis-spelled as "my card", is the Malaysian identity card issued to citizens aged 12 and above. The permanent residents, Malaysian Arm Forces personnel and Malaysian Police personnel are also issued identity card of similar features, known respectively as MyPR, MyTentera and MyPolis.

Method 1: Read Data from MyKad Chip

This is the most reliable method in digital process. To read MyKad data from the chip or smart card, you will need the following components:


  1. The reader hardware. Some commercially available options are listed at mobilemykad.com
  2. A software specially programmed to support MyKad reading on an identified operating system - such as Windows, Android, iOS. 


Pros:
  • Reliable and accurate data retrieval, as long as the chip, reader and software are working correctly.
  • Less susceptible to fraud. It's easy to print a fraudulent card that looks similar to the genuine copy, but it is technically more challenging to produce a fraudulent smart card.
  • Quick. It only take a few seconds to retrieve personal identification details from a MyKad.
  • You can retrieve more demographic data than those printed on the card, such as religion, place of birth.
Cons:
  • A hardware reader is required. This may introduce further considerations such as hardware wear-and-tear.
  • When a chip is worn-out or broken, it will not be readable.


Method 2: Scan Data from Card Surface

This method is technically known as OCR (optical character recognition). You can read up more about how OCR works, from our previous post. In a nutshell, OCR involves an image processing process, to recognise and extract printed text from a photo/image of the card surface.

Pros:

  • Can be very portable. If you are using mobile device camera as the input for OCR, you can complete the whole scanning operation within a mobile device (e.g. Android, iOS) without requiring another hardware. Click here to find out a commercially available technology that supports MyKad OCR on mobile.
  • Supports pre-filling. By scanning the details printed on card surface, you can save the data entry time by a few minutes. User only needs to check the pre-filled details and make necessary correction, instead of 100% data entry.
Cons:
  • Do not expect it to be always-accurate. OCR is to support pre-filling of a form, not to be expected as the ultimate data for submission. Some noises such as lighting reflection, can affect accuracy of the recognition process.
  • No authenticity check. With technology today, it is entirely possible for a fraudulent card to be printed at the same, or very similar quality to the genuine card. OCR scanning is not able to differentiate between a genuine or a fraudulent card. 


Method 3: Read with Human Eyes!

Good old method? :)) LOL

Pros:
  • No additional technology cost to be invested. 
  • Human eyes are good at recognising and differentiating watermarks.
Cons:
  • Susceptible to human data entry errors.
  • Many times slower than machine (e.g. chip reading and OCR scanning).


Method 4: NFC/Mifare Scanning?

Even though MyKad has an embedded Mifare chip, but it is meant for Touch 'n Go use case - not as the medium to store the personal identification details. So, there isn't a feasible method 4 ;)

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Mobile SFA (Sales Force Automation) for FMCG

FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) sector is probably the next industry after banking and financial, which can benefit tremendously from optimised sales processes using modern mobile technologies. Following are some examples of optimisation which are ultimately driving cost saving and increased revenues.
  • Submit an order from sales staff to HQ to trigger invoicing and fulfilment 8 hours sooner than before; 
  • Collect invoice payment more effectively, by 1 week sooner; and
  • Process a fulfilment 2 working days sooner than before.

EMAS Verticalised for FMCG 

In late 2015, we have inked a partnership with Asoft Digital - a software company that developed IP (Intellectual Property) in ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system and commands a customer base among the Malaysia's FMCG distributors, to verticalise EMAS (Enterprise Mobility Application Software) as mobile SFA for Asoft's clients.

With a mature platform base, it didn't take us long to complete the first version of this partnership product, named as Asoft SFA.

Soon after sealing our partnership, Asoft has secured an order from the 1st customer - a FMCG distributor with nationwide sales network. Beginning from 2016 Q1, we have started rolling out Asoft SFA to a pilot user group. And in less than a year, the mobile SFA product is now rolled-out to sales staffs of two major FMCG distributors, helping businesses to shorten sales turnaround time and ageing of accounts receivable while saving tens of thousands of pieces paper. Some highlights of Asoft SFA features are:

  • Sales summary: Presenting to salesmen a quick overview of sales performance they have achieved, for the month and for the year so that they can keep track against their sales forecast.
  • Sales order: Allowing salesmen to submit their orders to HQ directly from mobile app in the most natural way that most salesmen are trained and accustomed to.
  • Sales return: Allows returns to be keyed in in a similar manner with sales order.
  • Ageing report: Ageing retrieved from the backend system is presented directly on the SFA app to allow salesmen to view an updated version of their customer’s ageing. Eliminates the need for paper ageing report as per with traditional practices.
  • Stock report: Allows salesmen to get a feel of what are the inventory levels back in the warehouse, without the need to make that telephone call to an office clerk.
  • Customer receipt: Payment collection receipts can be printed via a paired portable Bluetooth printer and synchronised into ERP backend.

Lessons Learnt

Rome is not built overnight, and not every journey is constantly rosy. Following are some lessons we have learnt through this strategic partnership that is working out very well.
  1. Domain knowledge is always important: Never under-estimate the importance of domain knowledge, no matter how similar a use case is to another industry. At a quick glimpse, how much difference could a FMCG sales ordering form be, from a consumer e-commerce catalog? Well, a thought process that is applicable to consumer's usage pattern, is not entirely applicable to a B2B process. The partnership with Asoft is continuously a reliable source of domain expertise, as they are dealing with the actual users.
  2. Handling of offline mode: The user experience of offline mode that we have designed for financial institution and telecommunication company, is also not entirely applicable to FMCG sales ordering. In the use case of customer acquisition for financial/credit products, a relatively high degree of realtime-ness is expected. But for FMCG sales ordering, batch processing is proven to be more practical.
  3. Sales ordering form: A FMCG salesman is accustomed to traditional paper-based order form that helps "get the job done" quickly - especially to a person who is using the same form, repetitively, day in and day out. Often, if little thought is put into the design of an electronic form, user will find him/herself spending more time than the traditional method, and it creates resistance in change. The only way to mitigate change management challenge, is to convince and proof to the the users that, the mobile form is not only helping the company, but the users too.
  4. Fraud management: What's stopping a user from printing a payment collection receipt multiple times, with varying amount in the copy issued to customer, and the copy generated for the Company? Interesting, and a real-world issue that we have mitigated.
A business partnership is only, and will only be sustainable, when it is a win-win partnership for the long term.