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Caltech researchers are embarking on biohybrid robotic jellyfish to explore the ocean and gather crucial data on temperature, salinity, and oxygen levels. Led by Assoc Prof Dr Anusak Kijtawornrat, these jellyfish are equipped with electronics and a prosthetic “hat” for carrying payloads efficiently.

Image credits: caltech.edu

Their natural efficiency inspired the idea of using jellyfish in this way to swim through water. Previous attempts to mimic jellyfish’s swimming motion with mechanical robots proved challenging, leading researchers to collaborate with bioethicists to develop a more ethical approach by working directly with live jellyfish.

In previous studies, researchers implanted jellyfish with an electronic pacemaker to control their swimming speed, finding that faster swimming made them more efficient. Building on this work, the team added a “forebody” to the jellyfish, essentially a streamlined hat that improves their swimming performance and provides a platform for sensors and electronics.

To test these augmented jellyfish, the researchers constructed a massive vertical aquarium at Caltech, allowing them to study the animals’ swimming abilities in a controlled environment. The tank’s vertical design simulates jellyfish experience conditions in the deep ocean, where they can travel several thousand meters over a few days.

Preliminary tests show that these biohybrid jellyfish can swim up to 4.5 times faster than natural jellyfish while carrying a payload. Each jellyfish costs around US$20, making them a cost-effective alternative to expensive research vessels.

The researchers plan to further enhance the jellyfish’s abilities, making them steerable to navigate horizontally and vertically. This research represents a significant advancement in the field of robotics and has the potential to revolutionise the understanding of the ocean and its impact on the climate.

Jellyfish, despite their simple nature, are well-suited for underwater exploration. They can easily navigate the ocean depths, a task that has proven challenging for human-designed robots. By harnessing the natural abilities of jellyfish and enhancing them with electronic components, researchers envision creating a new class of robotic explorers that can provide valuable insights into the marine environment.

The key innovation behind the biohybrid robotic jellyfish is the addition of electronic components that augment the jellyfish’s natural swimming abilities. These components include a prosthetic “hat” that improves the jellyfish’s swimming performance and allows it to carry a small payload. By enhancing the jellyfish’s swimming capabilities, researchers can collect more data and explore a broader range of ocean environments.

One of the primary goals of the biohybrid robotic jellyfish project is to use these creatures as a tool for collecting data about the ocean environment. Jellyfish can travel to depths that are difficult for human-operated vehicles to reach, making them ideal for exploring areas of the ocean that need to be better understood. By equipping jellyfish with sensors and other electronic components, researchers can gather valuable data about temperature, salinity, and oxygen levels, helping to improve the understanding of the ocean and its role in the global climate system.

The development of biohybrid robotic jellyfish also has the potential to revolutionise marine research and conservation efforts. These mechanical creatures can be used to monitor the health of coral reefs, track the movements of marine animals, and study the effects of climate change on ocean ecosystems. By providing researchers with a new tool for studying the ocean, biohybrid, robotic jellyfish could help to advance the understanding of marine biology and ecology.

Additionally, to their scientific potential, biohybrid robotic jellyfish offer practical advantages over traditional research methods. Because they are relatively inexpensive to produce and operate, biohybrid robotic jellyfish could be deployed in large numbers, allowing researchers to collect data from various ocean environments. This could fill gaps in the understanding of the ocean and provide valuable insights into how marine ecosystems change over time.

The development of biohybrid robotic jellyfish represents a new frontier in marine exploration and research. By combining the natural abilities of jellyfish with advanced electronic technologies, researchers are opening up new possibilities for studying the ocean and understanding its role in the global environment.

In the ever-evolving landscape of technology, two innovations, Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), have emerged as transformative tools shaping our digital experiences. Originating from visionary concepts to revolutionise human-computer interaction, these technologies have since evolved into powerful platforms with diverse real-world applications.

AR and VR technologies are poised to become integral components of our increasingly interconnected digital world, with the concept of the metaverse gaining prominence in recent times. In the Asia Pacific region, the market for AR/VR headsets is forecasted to expand significantly in the next five years, driven by a multitude of use cases.

Ng Kaijie, Director of Innovation at Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), highlights key factors accelerating the growth of AR/VR, including the advent of 5G technology. The introduction of 5G enables greater bandwidth and lower latencies, laying the groundwork for more immersive AR/VR experiences and quicker feedback loops.

As early as 2017, immersive media was identified by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) Singapore, as one of four key frontier technology focus areas (the other three are artificial intelligence and data science; cybersecurity; and Internet of Things and future communications infrastructure) for the development of digital economy.

While both AR and VR immerse users in digital experiences, they differ in their approaches. VR transports users to entirely virtual environments, enveloping them in immersive simulations, whereas AR overlays digital content onto the real world, enhancing users’ perception of their surroundings. This distinction enables VR to excel in gaming and simulation, while AR finds utility in education, navigation, and enhancing real-world interactions.

The real-world impact of VR and AR extends across various industries. VR has revolutionised gaming, healthcare, training and education, enabling immersive experiences and enhanced learning opportunities. AR, on the other hand, has transformed museums, tourism, and education, enriching cultural experiences and facilitating interactive learning.

Tan Tock Seng Hospital has launched MyCareVR, a virtual reality training platform designed to revolutionise medical staff education. Developed by the Center for Healthcare Innovation, this tool offers immersive learning experiences, initially focusing on 6S precision management training to optimise workflows and enhance patient care.

With MyCareVR, medical professionals can practice procedures in virtual environments, eliminating the need for traditional classroom setups and logistical challenges. The platform’s versatility extends beyond clinics, with plans to expand into scenarios like intensive care units and pharmacies, promising a comprehensive approach to medical training and skill development.

Airlines too have introduced VR-based training modules for flight students. The immersive VR experience helps students grasp airspace structures and landmark recognition, resulting in a performance improvement in real flight missions while reducing stress levels. This success highlights the potential of VR in pilot training, paving the way for future applications in flight, simulator, safety, and service training.

Immersive technologies are expected to be used across various industries, such as retail, architecture, construction, education, healthcare, and defence to improve processes, reduce costs and enhance outcomes.

As VR and AR technologies continue to advance, the future holds boundless possibilities. Innovations such as AR laptops and virtual keyboards demonstrate the evolving integration of these technologies into everyday life. With ongoing developments and investments from tech giants, VR and AR are poised to become integral components of our digital ecosystem, shaping the way we work, learn, and interact in the years to come.

Such cutting-edge developments represent not just technological innovations but gateways to new realities. As these technologies continue to evolve, their impact on society will be profound, ushering in an era of unprecedented digital experiences and opportunities for innovation.

In a forward-looking move, Singapore is set to invest significantly in its Nationwide Broadband Network (NBN), propelling it into the 10G era. With an earmarked investment of up to S$100 million by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), this initiative aims to future-proof Singapore’s digital infrastructure, paving the way for transformative technologies and unparalleled connectivity experiences.

The impetus behind this investment stems from the exponential growth and diversification of digital technologies. From artificial intelligence to immersive digital experiences and autonomous devices, the demand for high-speed, reliable connectivity has never been greater. By upgrading the NBN to support speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second (Gbps), Singapore is positioning itself at the forefront of the digital revolution.

Anticipating the needs of over half a million households, the upgraded NBN promises to deliver lightning-fast speeds and unparalleled reliability by 2028. This strategic investment underscores Singapore’s commitment to staying ahead of the curve in an increasingly digital world.

Reflecting on Singapore’s past investments in digital infrastructure, the significance of this upgrade becomes even more apparent. The initial establishment of the NBN in 2006 laid the groundwork for Singapore’s digital transformation, enabling seamless connectivity and fostering innovation across various sectors. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the resilience of the NBN became evident as it facilitated remote work and learning, underscoring its role as a critical national asset.

The ambitious goal of upgrading to a 10G Nationwide Broadband Network eclipses earlier government broadband and connectivity plans, marking a significant leap forward in Singapore’s digital infrastructure journey.

OpenGov Asia earlier reported on the critical role of technology in today’s society, highlighting the necessity of a secure and reliable digital environment shared by Singapore’s Minister for Communications and Information and Second Minister for Home Affairs, Josephine Teo.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Minister Josephine Teo highlighted the global acceleration of digital transformation, acknowledging both its opportunities and challenges. She emphasised Singapore’s resilient digital infrastructure, attributing its success during the crisis to investments in a nationwide fibre network, enabling seamless remote work and education.

Teo also outlined Singapore’s dedication to advancing 5G standalone networks, recognising their potential to drive innovation in AR, VR, and autonomous technologies. With ambitious targets for 5G coverage and plans to explore 6G technologies, Singapore aims to maintain its position as a digital leader.

She underscored Singapore’s collaboration with industry bodies and its role as a living laboratory for 5G innovation, promoting inclusivity and pioneering new applications for smarter cities and industries. Overall, Singapore is committed to technological progress and collaboration on a global scale, paving the way for a connected and prosperous future.

Now, as the nation stands on the cusp of a new era of digital innovation, the time is ripe to bolster Singapore’s connectivity infrastructure. The investment will encompass upgrades to both the backend network and front-end user equipment, ensuring that Singaporeans have access to cutting-edge technology at competitive prices. With more than 85% of residential homes already enjoying 1 Gbps services, the transition to 10G represents a natural evolution in Singapore’s digital journey.

Scheduled to take place between mid-2024 and 2026, the upgrade of the NBN will coincide with the rollout of 5G mobile services and faster Wi-Fi networks. Together, these advancements will herald a new era of symmetric end-to-end connectivity, positioning Singapore as a global leader in digital innovation. By maintaining its competitive edge and unlocking new economic opportunities, Singapore is poised to thrive in an increasingly interconnected world.

Singapore’s investment in the 10G Nationwide Broadband Network signals a bold step towards a future defined by connectivity and innovation. By staying ahead of the curve and embracing emerging technologies, Singapore reaffirms its status as a digital pioneer, poised to shape the future of the digital landscape.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has embarked on a pioneering journey with the introduction of the ‘Sangam: Digital Twin‘ initiative, poised to revolutionise infrastructure planning and design in India. This visionary undertaking invites expressions of interest from a diverse array of stakeholders, ranging from industry leaders and startups to academia and innovators.

Image adapted from: sangam.sancharsaathi.gov.in

Anchored in Digital Twin technology, Sangam represents a paradigm shift in infrastructure development, harnessing the power of virtual replicas to optimise planning processes and drive transformative outcomes.

At its core, Sangam: Digital Twin represents a convergence of technology, collaboration, and innovation, aimed at reshaping the infrastructure landscape in India. The initiative is structured in two distinct stages, each designed to unlock creative potential and pave the way for practical implementation.

The exploratory phase sets the stage for visionary thinking and ideation, while the subsequent demonstration phase focuses on tangible use cases, laying the groundwork for scalable solutions.

Sangam draws upon a rich tapestry of technological advancements, spanning 5G, IoT, AI, AR/VR, AI native 6G, Digital Twin, and next-gen computational technologies. This comprehensive suite of tools empowers stakeholders to navigate complexities and uncertainties with precision, leveraging real-time data and simulations to inform decision-making and drive innovation. By integrating cutting-edge technologies, Sangam establishes a solid foundation for future-ready infrastructure planning and design.

At its essence, Sangam embodies a spirit of collaboration and inclusivity, transcending traditional boundaries to engage stakeholders across sectors. Public entities, infrastructure planners, tech titans, startups, and academic institutions converge on a unified platform, pooling their collective intelligence to tackle shared challenges and seize emerging opportunities. This holistic approach not only fosters innovation but also nurtures a culture of knowledge-sharing and cross-pollination, propelling the nation towards sustainable development.

Beyond theoretical frameworks, Sangam prioritises practical implementation and scalability, with a keen eye on delivering tangible outcomes. Through targeted use cases and pilot projects, stakeholders gain valuable insights into the application of Digital Twin technology across diverse domains, from transportation and urban planning to healthcare and education.

By developing scalable models and best practices, Sangam sets the stage for widespread adoption, catalysing a ripple effect of innovation across the infrastructure ecosystem.

As Sangam gains momentum, it presents a myriad of opportunities for stakeholders to actively participate in shaping the future of infrastructure in India. Pre-registration and engagement with Sangam’s outreach programs offer avenues for collaboration, networking, and knowledge exchange, fostering a vibrant ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship. However, realising the full potential of Sangam requires concerted efforts to address challenges such as data privacy, interoperability, and regulatory frameworks, ensuring that innovation is balanced with accountability and ethical considerations.

The unveiling of the ‘Sangam: Digital Twin’ initiative marks a transformative moment in India’s journey towards sustainable development and technological leadership. By harnessing the power of Digital Twin technology and fostering collaboration across sectors, Sangam paves the way for a future where infrastructure is not only efficient and resilient but also inclusive and equitable. As stakeholders unite behind the shared vision of Sangam, they embark on a collective endeavour to shape a brighter, more prosperous future for generations to come.

In 2023, Vietnam witnessed a series of transformative developments in its technological landscape, driven by a steadfast commitment to innovation and strategic initiatives aimed at bolstering its intellectual and industrial capacities.

Among the notable milestones was the issuance of Resolution No.27-NQ/TW during the eighth session of the 13th Party Central Committee, which outlined ambitious targets for cultivating a robust contingent of intellectuals by 2030.

With an emphasis on both quantity and quality, the resolution set the stage for Vietnam to nurture leading experts and scientists in key and emerging areas, vital for steering the nation towards modernisation and industrialisation.

This visionary roadmap outlined a trajectory where by 2045, Vietnam’s intellectual pool is envisioned to be not only robust but also positioned among the leading groups in the region, approaching standards seen in developed countries.

Concurrently, the transfer of management authority of Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Park to the People’s Committee of Hanoi signals its growing importance as a hub for innovation and investment, with 15 foreign ventures and over 111.5 trillion VND (4.59 billion USD) invested, reflecting the government’s commitment to technological advancement and economic growth.

Vietnam demonstrated its innovation in information technology and social sciences with significant achievements. The Information Technology Institute introduced a high-quality Vietnamese-centric translation system for Southeast Asian languages, positioning Vietnam as a leader in linguistic technology. Additionally, scientists from the Institute of Imperial Citadel Studies reconstructed Kinh Thien Palace using advanced 3D technology, showcasing Vietnam’s expertise in historical preservation and research.

Advancements in sustainable energy and healthcare further underscored Vietnam’s technological progress. The successful development of solar thermal reflective paint technology, utilising domestically produced nanomaterials, addressed critical challenges in harnessing solar energy efficiently. This innovation, pioneered by the Institute of Tropical Technology under the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, showcased Vietnam’s commitment to environmental sustainability and energy independence.

Moreover, medical breakthroughs, such as the first heart-kidney transplant performed at Viet Duc Hospital in Hanoi, positioned Vietnam as a beacon of excellence in organ transplantation within the Asian region, marking a significant milestone in the nation’s healthcare landscape.

Collaborative efforts with international partners yielded remarkable results in addressing pressing environmental and public health concerns. Through joint research initiatives between the Vietnam-Korea Institute of Science and Technology (VKIST) and the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), a groundbreaking water treatment system capable of purifying alum and saline-contaminated water sources was developed.

This technology, validated through rigorous testing in the Mekong Delta region, showcased Vietnam’s commitment to addressing critical environmental challenges and improving access to clean water for its citizens.

Telecommunications also witnessed groundbreaking advancements, with Viettel’s successful deployment of the world’s first 5G transceiver station meeting Open RAN standards. This achievement, accomplished in collaboration with Qualcomm, underscored Vietnam’s leadership in next-generation telecommunications infrastructure and its commitment to driving innovation in the global telecommunications landscape.

Furthermore, Vietnam’s scientific community received international acclaim, with five Vietnamese scientists named among the world’s top rising stars of science by Research.com, affirming the nation’s growing influence in global scientific research and innovation.

Meanwhile, the inauguration of the National Innovation Centre (NIC) in Hanoi’s Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Park marked a significant milestone in Vietnam’s semiconductor industry. Through collaborative efforts with domestic and international partners, the NIC focused on enhancing the quality of human resources in microchip design, positioning Vietnam as a key player in semiconductor research and development.

These transformative developments underscore Vietnam’s emergence as a dynamic hub of innovation and technological progress, driven by a steadfast commitment to advancing its intellectual and industrial capabilities. As the nation continues on its trajectory of growth and development, these achievements serve as a testament to Vietnam’s resilience, ingenuity, and unwavering dedication to shaping a prosperous future in the digital age.

In the fast-evolving digital age, Malaysia’s Communications Minister, Fahmi Fadzil, advocates a vigilant attitude toward digital literacy and cybersecurity. He said this while issuing a comprehensive cautionary statement in response to the increasing prevalence of online investment fraud and social media slander.

Image credits: Bernama

Speaking at the Jiwa MADANI Drociramme event in Dewan Semai Bakti Felda Bukit Goh, Fahmi urged the public to exercise caution, emphasising the need to be wary of deceptive practices that could lead to financial losses and reputational harm.

Highlighting specific examples of scams, including misleading links promising financial aid, Fahmi underscored the simplicity of these schemes, advising individuals not to easily fall prey to such tactics. The minister urged the public to verify suspicious calls and messages, cautioning against responding to unknown numbers.

Recognising the challenges posed by the rapid spread of misinformation in the era of high-speed internet, Fahmi recommended tuning in to RTM’s ‘Biar Betul’ segment, broadcast daily at 7.59 pm, or its TikTok version for reliable and accurate information.

Fahmi acknowledged the broader concerns related to the dissemination of false information and slander and the potential impact on public perception. While acknowledging the benefits of improved internet speed, he stressed the need for responsible online behaviour to mitigate the adverse effects of misinformation. The minister’s call for caution extends beyond individuals, recognising the broader implications of misinformation on societal discourse.

In tandem with addressing online risks, Fahmi shed light on the Ministry’s commitment to enhancing internet infrastructure, particularly in educational institutions. Collaborating with Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir, Fahmi revealed plans to prioritise internet access in schools and public institutions of higher education throughout the year. This initiative aligns with the government’s broader vision for improved digital connectivity and accessibility for educational purposes.

In the same vein, Fahmi separately provided an update on the results of the Call Reestablishment (CRE) function activation for LTE700 coverage conducted from Dec 21 to 29, 2023. Noting a significant decrease in dropped calls – up to 70% for some service providers – the minister expressed satisfaction with the outcomes but acknowledged persistent technical issues.

Fahmi urged telecommunication companies (telcos) to submit detailed reports to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) for further examination, demonstrating the government’s commitment to ensuring the highest quality of telecommunication services.

A recent cellular service quality test at the Felda Bukit Goh Digital Economy Centre served as a testament to the improvements, covering eight locations over a distance of 31 kilometres. The comprehensive test involved major mobile network service providers, including CelcomDigi, Maxis, U Mobile, Unifi Mobile (TM), and YES (YTL), and recorded only one dropped call throughout the assessment.

Additionally, Fahmi provided an update on 5G coverage in Pahang, reporting a commendable 65% coverage rate. He also highlighted the ongoing implementation of the Point of Presence (PoP) project in the state, specifically focusing on 57 schools in Phase 1. The PoP project aims to enhance internet quality through the deployment of optic fibres, contributing to improved connectivity and digital accessibility in the region.

Fahmi’s comprehensive and multifaceted approach underscores Malaysia’s commitment to navigating the complexities of the digital age while simultaneously safeguarding its citizens against emerging threats and ensuring the continuous improvement of telecommunication services. The minister’s initiatives align with the broader national agenda for digital transformation and inclusive development in the digital landscape.

In the face of evolving market dynamics, Vietnam’s mobile telecommunications sector is undergoing a transformative phase marked by changes in traditional revenue streams and the emergence of over-the-top (OTT) services. Minister of Information and Communications Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng underscored the industry’s low growth rates compared to the country’s GDP, emphasising the need for innovative strategies to propel network operators into a new era of sustainable growth.

Image credits: Ministry of Information and Communications

Major players in the Vietnamese telecom landscape are strategically positioning themselves to address these challenges and drive digital transformation. Viettel, a military-owned telecommunications group, reported a commendable 5.4% year-on-year increase in consolidated revenue, maintaining a dominant market share of 56.5%. VNPT, on the other hand, demonstrated robust financial performance, achieving a remarkable 102.14% growth in total revenue.

In response to the changing landscape, a significant player in the industry is embarking on a comprehensive plan to upgrade and expand its Big Data systems. The corporation aims to leverage data-driven insights for reporting, processing, and analysis, fostering a more informed approach to business operations.

Additionally, the company is set to integrate artificial intelligence (AI) and generative AI technology into its products, services, and technology systems, showcasing a commitment to cutting-edge innovation.

Its push for digital transformation is not only limited to technology upgrades but extends to the deployment of 5G infrastructure. For instance, the company plans to broadcast at least 1,000 5G stations this year, positioning itself at the forefront of next-generation connectivity.

Minister Hùng highlighted the urgent need for network operators to identify new growth spaces, emphasising the decline of traditional services such as phone calls and SMS messaging.

The industry’s future, he noted, lies in creating innovative digital applications for various sectors – an initiative aligned with the ‘Make-in-Việt Nam’ approach. This approach encourages industry players to consider research and development activities as a means to drive digital innovation.

In the journey towards digitisation and establishing robust Make in Vietnam platforms, overcoming multifaceted hurdles becomes imperative, aligning with the challenges highlighted in the telecom sector’s push for innovation and sustainable growth.

The complexities inherent in the digital transformation landscape, ranging from economic considerations to technological intricacies and regulatory frameworks, demand strategic solutions and concerted efforts from various stakeholders.

The challenges are further accentuated by the dichotomy between foreign platforms and indigenous solutions, a hurdle the Vietnamese telecom industry navigates in its pursuit of sustainable growth. Similarly, enterprises grapple with the choice between globally established platforms, often robust but economically burdensome, and the more cost-effective, tailor-made Vietnam-based platforms.

This echoes the dilemma faced by telecom giants as they balance the adoption of cutting-edge technologies against the need for economic viability.

The quest for low-cost, tailor-made Vietnam-based platforms has gained prominence, mirroring commitment to upgrading big data systems and integrating AI technology. This aligns with the broader narrative of promoting and utilising cost-effective indigenous solutions, offering not only economic alternatives but also actively engaging domestic businesses in Vietnam’s digital transformation journey.

As the telecom sector shapes the future of telecommunications in Vietnam through initiatives like the Bharat 5G Portal, the parallels with the challenges and opportunities in the broader digital transformation landscape reinforce the significance of strategic adaptation, innovation, and collaboration to foster sustainable growth and technological advancement.

As Vietnam’s major telecom enterprises continue to optimise resources, embrace technological advancements, and explore new digital products, they are not only positioning themselves for sustainable growth but also actively contributing to the nation’s broader digital transformation agenda.

The journey toward a digitised future requires continuous adaptation, and these telecom giants are poised to play a pivotal role in shaping Vietnam’s technological landscape.

In a significant development towards advancing its technological capabilities, Dr Neeraj Mittal, Chairman of the Digital Communications Commission and Secretary of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), launched the “Bharat 5G Portal – an Integrated Portal” during the ‘Bharat Telecom 2024 – An Exclusive International Business Expo.’

Image credits: Press Information Bureau

The event, organised by the Telecom Equipment and Services Export Promotion Council (TEPC) in collaboration with DoT, showcased India’s commitment to the future of telecommunications. As part of the portal’s initiatives, the DoT announced a call for 6G research and development (R&D) proposals, emphasising accelerated research to foster the development of the 6G ecosystem.

Dr Mittal also inaugurated the Future Tech-Experts registration portal, a collaborative effort with PANIIT USA, marking a pivotal step to guide and support the Indian Telecom ecosystem. This initiative will be featured prominently on the Bharat 5G Portal.

A special session titled “Bridging Dreams and Funding: Linking Venture Capital/Investors to the Future of Startups” was inaugurated during the event, facilitating interactions between 26 startups/MSMEs and over 10 venture capitalists/investors. The startups presented their innovative telecom products, engaging in discussions on potential funding opportunities and collaboration for scalability.

Dr Neeraj Mittal expressed India’s remarkable progress in the 5G rollout, asserting that the country is already exploring the possibilities of 6G. India, with the second-largest telecom network globally, has astonished the world with the development of indigenous 4G/5G technologies in a short span. He emphasised India’s position as a trusted global partner, attracting collaborative interest in 5G and 6G technologies.

Highlighting India’s thriving startup ecosystem, Dr Mittal noted that the nation currently boasts one lakh startups, presenting a significant opportunity for international collaboration. He reiterated Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision to create new business opportunities for Indian manufacturers by encouraging greater startup participation.

The Bharat 5G Portal, designed to serve as a comprehensive platform, stems from the India Mobile Congress, where 100 “5G Use Case Labs” were awarded to educational institutions. These labs, connected through the Bharat 5G Portal, act as a knowledge dissemination platform for testing and developing 5G use cases.

Implemented by Telecommunications Consultants India Limited (TCIL), the Bharat 5G Portal integrates quantum, 6G, intellectual property rights (IPR), and 5G domains. It serves as a one-stop solution capturing academic R&D developments, industry standards, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), startups/MSMEs, and subject matter experts.

The portal aims to propel India’s 5G capabilities, fostering innovation, collaboration, and knowledge-sharing within the telecom sector and act as a single-window solution for all quantum, IPR, PoCs/Pilots, 5G, and 6G-related works.

These initiatives underscore India’s commitment to technological advancement and the growth of the telecom industry, playing a pivotal role in shaping the future of telecommunications in the country. The call for 6G R&D proposals and the collaborative efforts with startups and venture capitalists demonstrate India’s proactive approach to staying at the forefront of emerging technologies.

In line with India’s commitment to technological advancement in the telecommunications sector, the Telecommunication Engineering Centre (TEC), the technical wing of the Department of Telecommunications, has expanded the Simplified Certification Scheme (SCS) to encompass an additional 37 products from January 1, 2024.

OpenGov Asia reported that this extension aims to significantly reduce certification time to two weeks, enhancing efficiency and further streamlining business operations within the telecommunications industry.

Newly included products range from media gateways and IP security equipment to optical fibre or cable and transmission Terminal Equipment, reflecting a notable increase in SCS-covered products from twelve to forty-nine.

The Singapore-Norway Maritime Digital and Cyber Forum 2024, held at the Andas Singapore, witnessed an opening address by Mr Chee Hong Tat, Minister for Transport and Second Minister for Finance. Acknowledging the robust partnership between Norway and Singapore in the maritime domain, Mr. Chee highlighted the shared vision for the industry, evidenced by the Memorandum of Understanding signed during the Nor-Shipping event in Oslo.

Image credits: Singapore Ministry of Transport website

The bilateral cooperation extends to addressing critical issues, exemplified by the joint organisation of the IMOSingapore NextGEN Connect workshop in October 2023, focusing on maritime decarbonisation.

Despite the challenges anticipated in 2024, including inflationary pressures and geopolitical disruptions, Mr. Chee expressed cautious optimism. Emphasising the need for continued transformation, he highlighted key areas such as decarbonisation, talent development, and digitalisation as pivotal for the industry’s long-term preparedness.

Maritime Singapore is making significant strides in digitalisation, with recent achievements indicating the sector’s commitment to overcoming obstacles. The Just-In-Time Planning and Coordination Platform, launched by the Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) in October 2023, optimises vessel arrival times at key terminals, contributing to cost savings and reduced carbon emissions. Additionally, Maritime 5G initiatives, with coverage in southern port waters since September 2023, are set to enhance connectivity across various maritime operations.

Mr Chee underscored the importance of cyber resilience as digital systems become more interconnected. Citing recent cyberattacks affecting Australian ports, he stressed the need for advancements in maritime cybersecurity. The three “C”s—Capabilities, Constant Vigilance, and Cooperation—were highlighted as Singapore’s approach to enhancing cyber resilience.

The Minister highlighted ongoing efforts to build technological capabilities, including the development of the Maritime Testbed of Shipboard Operational Technology system (MariOT) by the Singapore University of Technology and Design. MariOT aims to provide a cyber-physical platform for the realistic testing of cybersecurity technologies tailored to maritime operating systems.

In addition to technological capabilities, Mr. Chee emphasised the importance of building the cybersecurity capabilities of the maritime workforce. Initiatives like the Maritime Cybersecurity Roundtable are collaborating with Institutes of Higher Learning to develop cybersecurity courses, ensuring a skilled workforce to navigate cyber incidents.

Constant vigilance, the second “C,” involves building greater awareness and agility in responding to emerging cyber threats. Initiatives like the self-assessment tool for cybersecurity maturity are being developed to help maritime companies assess their readiness and vulnerabilities in operating technology systems.

Cooperation, the third “C,” emerged as the cornerstone of Singapore’s strategy. The Port Authorities Chief Information Officer Cybersecurity Network initiative (PACC-Net) established by MPA in 2020 focuses on information sharing and collaboration to strengthen responses to cybersecurity threats. The initiative identified areas for improvement during a Table Top Exercise in 2023, leading to ongoing efforts to streamline information flows.

Mr Chee expressed gratitude for the strong partnership with Norway, emphasising common values and the potential for collaborations to extend beyond bilateral relations. The collaborative efforts between Singapore and Norway, driven by a shared commitment to addressing complex maritime issues, aim to leave a lasting impact on the global maritime sector’s resilience to cyber threats. The forum is expected to facilitate further discussions and collaborations, contributing to the digital transformation and cyber resilience of both nations’ maritime industries.

The maritime sector, crucial for Singapore’s economic development and global trade, is a collaborative focus with the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA). The joint efforts aim to enhance the global hub port, reinforce the international maritime centre, and protect Singapore’s maritime interests, contributing to economic growth, job creation, and business opportunities.

Singapore, the world’s busiest container transhipment port, excels as the top bunkering port globally, facilitating over 130,000 vessel calls annually. Positioned at the crossroads of trade routes and connected to 600 ports in 120 countries, Singapore offers unparalleled global trade connectivity and a comprehensive range of maritime services.

Drones equipped with multispectral cameras have emerged as valuable tools for search and rescue operations, significantly enhancing the capabilities of law enforcement, emergency responders, and forensic teams. Using drones in these scenarios provides several advantages over traditional search methods.

Image credits: ornl.gov

Jack Orebaugh, a forensic anthropology major at the University of Tennessee, has used digital technology to revolutionise search and recovery efforts for missing individuals in densely vegetated areas. Recognising the challenges faced when a person goes missing in such environments, Orebaugh has employed cameras and drones to enhance the efficiency of locating lost and deceased individuals.

As an intern student, Orebaugh collaborated with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) Autonomous Systems team to map the University’s Anthropology Research Facility, renowned globally as a body farm for forensic research. The team employed multispectral cameras on drones to capture hundreds of photos, subsequently utilising Pix4D software to create a comprehensive map. Through the nitrogen’s analisation uptake in plants, Orebaugh aimed to identify areas where decomposition might have occurred, as healthy plants absorb released nitrogen during this process.

Plants employ diverse mechanisms to communicate information and adapt to their environment. They utilise abiotic and biotic signals to share details such as the presence or absence of neighbouring plants, their identity, available growth space, growth disturbances, and the competition they face. This intricate network of signals among plants inspires the development of techniques to locate missing individuals using drones.

“Plants essentially act as storytellers about their environment. Despite their stationary nature, they function as sensors, capturing and responding to events around them,” Orebaugh explained. The research delves into using multispectral cameras and sensors to observe plants from an aerial perspective. The hypothesis posits that specific patterns on the map could indicate areas of interest related to decomposition, offering a novel approach to searching for missing persons.

Orebaugh’s interest in the system of decomposition originated during his undergraduate studies. With the help of Electronics and Unmanned Systems Staff Member Jairus Hines, Orebaugh developed a research drone equipped with a multispectral camera from a multispectral sensors manufacturing company, suitable for capturing vegetation imagery and determining its health.

During a drone flight over the Body Farm in September, Orebaugh and his team observed the spectral signatures of vegetation during autumn, capturing a snapshot of time in East Tennessee. The research could amass a dataset of vegetation indexes in different regions and times of the year, allowing for calibration based on climatic and plant growth factors.

Despite the progress, several questions still need to be answered. Orebaugh explored how human, animal, or plant decomposition impacts the soil and appears on multisensory cameras. The maps show healthy vegetation in certain areas, but the reasons still need clarification.

The implications of Orebaugh’s research extend beyond search and recovery efforts. Drones equipped with various sensors could be deployed by government agencies in different scenarios, providing crucial data. For instance, in long-term cases of missing persons, a drone could scan a large land area and identify healthy vegetation, providing precise coordinates for ground recovery teams.

Orebaugh envisioned the technology bringing solace to families searching for their loved ones. “For the family missing their loved one, this could bring peace to them sooner than we can do now,” he remarked. Internationally, the technology could be employed in war crime investigations, providing valuable data.

Reflecting on his time at ORNL, Orebaugh expressed gratitude for his mentors and the opportunities to explore cutting-edge research. As he approaches graduation in 2024, he contemplates continuing his education in graduate school, driven by a desire to advance this science further and assist people during challenging times.

UT-Battelle manages ORNL for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, highlighting the collaborative efforts between academia and government institutions in pushing the boundaries of scientific research. The innovative use of digital technology in Orebaugh’s research showcases the potential of interdisciplinary approaches to address pressing challenges and positively impact society.

PARTNER

Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

PARTNER

CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Well-known for our strengths in system integration and consultation, CTC Global proves to be the preferred IT outsourcing destination for organizations all over Singapore today.

PARTNER

Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

PARTNER

HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

PARTNER

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.