KUALA LUMPUR: Tricubes Bhd has opened its MyEmail e-mail service to the public, touting more offerings in addition to its original proposition.
The service was launched via Facebook on Sept 14 and currently has more than 3,000 subscribers, the bulk of whom signed up during a beta trial of the service in August and September.
The original subscriber target set by the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) was 5.4 million MyEmail subscribers by year-end.
Speaking to members of the press, CEO Khairun Zainal Mokhtar admitted that it is “a stretched target,” given the project’s delayed start.
He said the company has had discussions with Pemandu and that the government unit is “well aware of the situation and realistic” about its expectations.
Pemandu is a unit under the Prime Minister’s Department. Its main role and objective is to oversee implementation and assess progress of the Economic Transformation Programme and Government Transformation Programme.
When asked what its new subscriber target is, Khairun said the company has an internal forecast of two million subscribers by next year and remains “optimistic” about achieving that target.
The MyEmail service is a free initiative intended to allow Malaysians direct and secure communication with government agencies.
It is based on the Microsoft Windows Live platform, with features such as unlimited e-mail storage space, 25GB cloud storage capacity, and access to online Microsoft tools which would enable the users to create, modify, share and store documents online.
Addressing the security of the service, Tricubes vice-president of software and services S. Vishnu Shankar said there are three layers to its security approach.
The first is user authentication via the MyKad identity card and biometric devices; the second is platform security that leverages on Microsoft’s cloud-based Windows Azure Platform; and lastly encryption of all data with password protection.
Documents are stored on the cloud, with no locally stored passwords and user verification conducted via security certificate-based authentication and dynamic tokens.
Core to the MyEmail platform offering is the eBilling service, which is slated to launch sometime this month.
The service pushes bills, notices and statements to customers rather than requiring them to pull their bills from billing departments or third party portals. Future features include in-Bill payments via interactive and encrypted PDF documents. As users are authenticated and verified using MyKad, billing departments are assured that the documents are sent to the right person.
However, only 50% of the subscriber-base has been authenticated via biometrics and MyKad via on-site booths set up by the company during its trial phase.
When asked how future users of the portal will be able to authenticate their account, Khairun said the company is now in discussions with partners and organisations to allow for the addition of MyEmail registration within partner branches.
Tricubes has an installed base of more than 50,000 biometric and smartcard devices to 200-plus organisations.
The company has already presented its proposals to four of its government agency clients: The Royal Malaysian Police, Kuala Lumpur City Hall, the Road Transport Department, and the Employees Provident Fund.
Two out of the four have agreed to start pilot programmes, slated to begin next month.
Khairun declined to reveal which agencies these are but said the value proposition offered by the eBilling service has received good response.
Billing departments will bear the cost of delivery and agencies are currently evaluating the proposal, which sets the cost of sending a single eBill at 50sen.
When asked if Tricubes intends to be a direct competitor to MYEG, a portal which provides online government transactional services, Khairun said he believes the market is big enough for a few players in the e-services business.
“There is a lot of potential in e-payment solutions, which is where our focus is,” he said.
No silver bullet
Khairun denied that the MyEmail service is in a chicken-and-egg situation, with regards to the volume of subscribers required for agencies to quickly move forward with the service and the number of agencies which need to be brought onboard to make it an attractive offering to the public.
“I don’t believe we are in such a situation. There is no silver bullet and there must be multiple initiatives in place to attract users,” he said, citing the partner programmes as one such initiative.
As part of its expanded offerings, the MyEmail portal will also provide subscribers with exclusive consumer promotions.
It now has four partners, namely group-buying site JackCow, wedding invitation service WeddingKami, online magazine portal Allscript, and online tutoring service Tutor.com.
On how the company plans to market its platform and convince the public to sign up for its services, Khairun said promotional campaigns are slated to begin next month.
“We wanted to make sure the product is up to mark before communicating with the public,” Khairun said.