In this part, we continue our previous discussion on the roles of 4IR in halal industry looking at the potentials of big data analytics, artificial intelligence and mobile technology to improve activities in halal operation.
Big Data Analytics
There is no question that big data, through better predictive analytics, is already paying huge dividends for many professions, but does it apply to halal industry? IBM describes big data by four key aspects: 1) the volume of data, 2) the speed at which data is generated, 3) the aggregation of distinctly different data types, and 4) the validity and security of data. These aspects are known as the four Vs: volume, velocity, variety, and veracity (IBM, 2014). One aspect of big data application in halal industry is in halal audit and inspection. Historically, halal executives and auditors have relied on halal audits or inspections to determine if a food establishment was in compliance with halal standards and regulations. However, at best, halal audits are a snap-shot of an establishment’s condition at a single point in time. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., is leveraging big data for food safety purposes. Wal-Mart utilises handheld information technology, bluetooth communication, and state-of-the-art temperature measuring devices to check the internal temperatures of every batch of rotisserie chickens cooked, ensuring a safe internal temperature. Leveraging big data and the information it provides appears to be an innovative and effective way to enhance halal regulatory compliance and track compliance with desired halal standards.
Can artificial intelligence (AI) improves halal industry? One area of AI application in halal industry is object and pattern recognition where a researcher in Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) successfully develop a syariah-compliant automated chicken processing system (Sycut). This system is built to ensure the trachea and oesophagus of chicken is completely cut and halal to eat. The system uses high-speed cameras and was developed by the Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Center (CAIRO), UTM. This high-speed cameras will record the slabs of the chicken slaughtered before the pictures are processed by the software whether the chicken slaughtered or not. For the slaughtered chicken does not fit the syara, the alarm system will sound and it will be isolated. Following a trial at a slaughterhouse near Semenyih, SYCUT is 100 per cent ready for use. Another example of AI application in food safety compliance are the solution developed by KanKan, a subsidiary of Remark Holding, to provide Shanghai’s municipal health agency with facial and object recognition. Their AI technology is currently being used in 200 restaurants but will soon expand to 2,000 facilities. Cameras in the kitchen or food facility watch to make sure that individuals are wearing masks or hair protection when required by safety regulations. Violations can be caught and corrected in near real time.
Many of the benefits of using mobile technology for halal industry centre around improving organisation communication. Smartphones keep businesses and employees connected with each others and customers both at the office or on vacation. It gives individuals the ability to communicate instantly and respond quickly to business situations. One area of mobile application can benefits halal industry are audit compliance. Halal audit mobility, driven through smartphones or tablets, has become a game changer. Tablets with e-signature facilities can help collect and securely process voice data, images, videos, and even GPS coordinates as electronic evidence. Mobile halal auditing allows for pictures to be captured by halal auditors on the field with a camera-enabled tablet. Earlier, these cameras had to be synchronised with records in the database. However, today, audio recordings can be transcribed to text automatically. Thus, halal auditors can do away with the tedious task of entering additional information after returning from the field to the office. An example of mobile technology application for halal compliance is QuikHalal, a cloud-based mobile halal auditing application that assist the planning, auditing and reporting of halal audit compliance based on the Malaysian Halal Certification System.
IBM (2014) The Four V’s of Big Data. http://www.ibmbigdatahub.com/infographic/four-vs-big-data. Accessed: 14 January 2018.
Mohd Iskandar Illyas Tan, PhD, is the Head of Halal Informatics Research Laboratory, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) and co-founder and CEO of HOLISTICS Lab Sdn Bhd, a spin-off company of UTM. Reach him at email@example.com.