February 25, 2024

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In a bid to revolutionise the power distribution sector through digital innovation, REC Limited, a prominent Maharatna Central Public Sector Enterprise under the Ministry of Power, recently organised a workshop. The focal point of this initiative was the introduction of the Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme (RDSS) module within the Integrated Web Portal for Power Sector Distribution Schemes, aiming to usher in a new era of transparency and efficiency.

Image credits: Press Information Bureau

This initiative, spearheaded by REC in collaboration with key stakeholders, promises real-time updates and insights into the implementation of power sector distribution schemes, thereby revolutionising transparency and accountability in the industry.

The Integrated Web Portal, launched under the auspices of the Ministry of Power and championed by REC, represents a significant milestone in the digital transformation of the power distribution landscape.

Its primary objective is to provide stakeholders, including state DISCOMs, Programme Management Agencies (PMAs), REC-Third Party Quality Monitoring Agencies (TPQMAs), and other entities such as the Power Finance Corporation, with a comprehensive platform for monitoring and managing distribution schemes effectively.

During the workshop, industry experts and officials gathered to gain insights into the functionalities and potential applications of the Integrated Web Portal. With over 200 participants attending in person and an additional 300 joining remotely via video conferencing, the event served as a crucial forum for knowledge exchange and capacity building.

Rahul Dwivedi, Executive Director (Project Management Division) of REC, emphasised the profound impact of the Integrated Web Platform on the power distribution sector. He stressed the platform’s capacity to meticulously track progress at every phase of scheme implementation, thereby ensuring heightened visibility, transparency, and accountability across the sector.

By facilitating seamless communication and data sharing among key stakeholders, the Integrated Web Platform promises to streamline operations and enhance efficiency in the power distribution sector. Its ability to consolidate information from various schemes and reporting modules addresses a critical need within the industry, paving the way for more effective decision-making and resource allocation.

The Integrated Web Portal, developed as part of the RDSS initiative, encompasses a wide range of modules designed to address key challenges and streamline processes within the power distribution sector.

These modules include RDSS, Consumer Service Rating of DISCOMs (CSRD), Energy Accounting, Additional GSDP Borrowing, Integrated Rating of DISCOMs, Key Regulatory Parameters, Annual Performance of State Utilities, and Integration with the PRAAPTI Portal. Together, these modules form a comprehensive ecosystem for data management, analysis, and decision-making.

Throughout the workshop, attendees had the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the platform’s features and functionalities through interactive sessions and demonstrations. The event also facilitated open discussions, allowing participants to raise queries, share insights, and collaborate on potential solutions to common challenges.

By fostering collaboration and knowledge sharing among stakeholders, the workshop laid the groundwork for greater synergy and cooperation within the power distribution ecosystem.

Looking ahead, the Integrated Web Platform is poised to play a pivotal role in driving progress and innovation within the power distribution sector. As stakeholders continue to leverage their capabilities and insights, they will be better equipped to address challenges, optimise processes, and deliver superior outcomes for consumers and communities alike.

With its potential to enhance transparency, accountability, and efficiency, the Integrated Web Portal represents a significant step forward in the ongoing digital transformation of the power distribution landscape.

Ho Chi Minh City is gearing up to propel its digital economy, with ambitious targets set to significantly boost its contribution to the city’s gross regional domestic product (GRDP). By 2025, the goal is for the digital economy to constitute 20% of the GRDP, increasing to 40% by 2030.

In a groundbreaking move, Ho Chi Minh City conducted a scientific assessment of the digital economy’s contribution to its GRDP for the first time in 2021, revealing a notable figure of 15.38% (excluding e-commerce and sharing economy). Building on this momentum, the estimated contribution surged to 18.66% in 2022 and is projected to reach 22% by 2024.

Lam Dinh Thang, Director of the municipal Department of Information and Communications, emphasized that the city has been entrusted with a pivotal role by the Politburo’s Resolution 31/2022, tasked with spearheading the nation’s transition to a digital economy by 2030.

To fulfil this mandate, Ho Chi Minh City has been proactive in implementing measures to foster the digital economy, integrating digital economic development targets into key municipal Party Committee resolutions and the city’s annual socio-economic development program.

Key initiatives include the development of digital infrastructure and the promotion of non-cash payments across various sectors, particularly in administrative procedures, education, healthcare, and transportation. However, Thang highlighted challenges such as insufficient awareness, inconsistent measurement methods, and a lack of policies and resources to support small and medium-sized enterprises.

Ha Than, Vice Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Computer Association, suggested prioritising economic sectors for digital transformation and establishing a clear roadmap to enhance public familiarity with digital economic and administrative processes.

Meanwhile, Professor-Dr. Tran Minh Tuan, Director of the Department of Digital Economy and Digital Society under the Ministry of Information and Communications, advised focusing on digital economic development in key sectors such as processing, manufacturing, logistics, agriculture, and services.

In line with these recommendations, the municipal Department of Information and Communications has rolled out measures and policies since the beginning of 2024 to support small and medium-sized enterprises, business households, and individuals. This includes training and consulting activities, as well as facilitating access to digital platforms at affordable prices.

Furthermore, the city is keen on nurturing and incentivising digital technology businesses to drive innovation and accelerate digital transformation across various economic sectors. Improving the investment environment and operations at the hi-tech park are also kept at the fore to create an ecosystem conducive to digital innovation and growth.

In an effort to drive digital transformation and meet the objectives outlined in the resolution of the 11th Congress of the Ho Chi Minh City Municipal Party Organisation, Deputy Director of the Department of Information and Communications, Vo Minh Thanh, unveiled the city’s ambitious roadmap comprising nine pivotal tasks during a meeting held on February 22nd.

The outlined tasks encompass various aspects of digitalisation, including the enhancement of information technology infrastructure, the implementation of an integrated information system for administrative procedures, and the promotion of a mobile app for streamlined communication between citizens and local authorities. Additionally, the city plans to establish a shared digital platform, digitise sector-specific data, and provide training for members of the community digital technology team.

A significant focus lies on the effective utilisation of the Quang Trung Software Park in District 12 while exploring opportunities for the creation of additional concentrated information technology zones. These endeavours are aimed at fostering regional connectivity and bolstering the growth of the IT industry within the city.

By concentrating on these initiatives, Ho Chi Minh City aims to leverage digital transformation as a fundamental solution to propel economic development and enhance overall efficiency in governance and service delivery.

The recent Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC) Academy and Tung Wah College Limited marks a significant milestone in the realm of technology education (TechEd) and the application of Gerontechnology. The collaborative effort between the two institutions aims to foster the development of young talents equipped with FutureSkills, thereby bolstering Hong Kong’s competitiveness in innovation and technology (I&T).

Image Credits: HKPC, Press Release

Dr. Lawrence Cheung, Chief Innovation Officer of HKPC, stressed the importance of Hong Kong’s aspirations to become an international I&T hub under the ’14th Five-Year Plan’. He highlighted HKPC Academy’s dedication to promoting TechEd and talent cultivation, expressing delight in partnering with Tung Wah College.

The collaboration seeks to amalgamate HKPC’s training expertise and research capabilities with Tung Wah College’s extensive network in the education sector to offer more opportunities for youth to delve into the I&T realm.

Dr. Cheung outlined plans for organising diverse training programs, exhibitions, youth activities, and internship initiatives. Furthermore, the collaboration aims to deepen research and project development in advanced technology sectors such as gerontechnology, cyber security, and smart city technologies, fostering interest among young minds and enriching Hong Kong’s I&T ecosystem.

Professor Sally Chan, President of Tung Wah College, highlighted the institution’s commitment to nurturing nursing and allied health talent, especially in the face of an ageing population and emerging healthcare challenges. She underscored the pivotal role of innovative technologies in healthcare, highlighting the need to equip students with I&T knowledge.

The College actively integrates digital technology into its curriculum, exemplified by the establishment of a Virtual Reality Centre to enhance learning outcomes in human anatomy. Professor Chan expressed gratitude for HKPC Academy’s support and underscored the collaborative efforts to deepen research areas, providing students with internship and exchange opportunities.

The collaboration aims to expose students to the latest developments in health-related I&T industries, including robotics, big data analysis, and cloud computing in gerontechnology, with the goal of improving healthcare outcomes and addressing societal needs for new healthcare talent.

The MOU signing ceremony witnessed the participation of approximately 30 students in laser cutting and 3D printing workshops, where they were guided by experts to translate their innovative ideas into tangible creations. Additionally, HKPC and Tung Wah College collaborated on a video filmed at the “Smart and Secure City Hall” at HKPC Building, serving as an educational resource to enhance students’ awareness of cyber security trends and threats.

The collaboration between HKPC Academy and Tung Wah College heralds a new era of TechEd and Gerontechnology applications, aimed at nurturing young talents and bolstering Hong Kong’s I&T landscape. Through joint efforts in research, training, and practical experiences, the partnership seeks to empower the younger generation with the necessary skills and knowledge to thrive in the ever-evolving field of innovation and technology.

The approved 14th Five-Year Plan for China’s economic and social development, endorsed by the National People’s Congress on 11 March 2021, delineates a strategic roadmap for national progress spanning 2021-2025.

Within this framework, Hong Kong’s role and positioning within the country’s development trajectory are specified, highlighting significant areas ripe for growth and opportunity. The plan underscores Hong Kong’s integral role within the broader national agenda, signalling avenues for development and prospects across various sectors deemed crucial for advancement and synergy within the larger framework of China’s economic and social aspirations.

In the dynamic realm of cybersecurity threats, organisations face the formidable challenge of recognising, assessing and addressing system vulnerabilities. This underscores the essential need for adopting a pragmatic prioritisation framework.  

Existing vulnerability assessment processes within organisations often offer less-than-optimal resource allocation and heightened vulnerability to security risks with substantial consequences and, as such, require a systematic overhaul. 

Amidst the surge in digital business transformation, organisations face significant changes in their daily IT operations. This transformation brings about a proliferation of new applications, services, and tools, thereby escalating the complexity of digital assets. In the current landscape of helpdesk operations, various challenges pose a threat to overall productivity. 

From an IT operational standpoint, service desks bear a significant burden in addressing increasing queries, requests, incidents, service tasks, and change request tasks. In instances where automation is present, it may be confined to silos, lacking reusability and standardisation across teams. 

Additionally, a robust knowledge management system is necessary to avoid the loss of valuable tacit knowledge exacerbated by high employee attrition rates. This dependence on human expertise introduces inconsistencies and variabilities in operational quality due to potential human errors. 

Organisations require efficient mechanisms to promptly address vulnerabilities, yet there exists a significant misalignment in the goals, tools, and processes between security and IT operations. This misalignment results in delays in resolving critical vulnerabilities, thereby posing a risk to the overall security of the enterprise. 

To overcome these challenges, it is essential to implement a resilient and flexible vulnerability prioritisation framework. This framework should include thorough criteria, account for resource limitations, integrate real-time threat intelligence, utilise dynamic assessment methods, consider business impact, and foster collaboration across departments.  

Under these circumstances, the helpdesk ecosystem demands advanced AI solutions to mitigate delayed response times, relieve agents of repetitive tasks, and guarantee an optimal customer experience. The goal is to establish a proactive and risk-aware approach to vulnerability management, aiming to minimise exposure to potential security threats. 

The OpenGov Breakfast Insight at the Voco Orchard Singapore on 22 February 2024, explored cutting-edge security capabilities and recent AI-powered IT automation to enhance customer experience. IT experts and decision-makers were invited to gain insights into fortifying the digital realm against cyber-attacks. 

Opening Remarks 

Mohit Sagar∶ AI offers pertinent suggestions and recommendations, elevating response accuracy and efficiency

Singapore, as a prominent digital nation and technological force in Asia, stands out with its resilient and vibrant IT sector. The country’s strategic geographical location, business-friendly ecosystem, and dedicated initiatives for digital transformation have enticed numerous global tech companies and startups to establish their operations in Singapore. Through its Smart Nation Initiative, Singapore has demonstrated a pivotal role in fostering connectivity and innovation to enhance various aspects of society. 

Mohit Sagar, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of OpenGov Asia underscores that in today’s complex technology landscape, success relies heavily on digital transformation, with a strong emphasis on security. Whether reinforcing cybersecurity or augmenting infrastructure with artificial intelligence (AI), the goal is to prevent organisations from incurring irreversible damage. AI facilitates thorough system scans, early threat detection, and more efficient streamlining of security tasks compared to human counterparts. 

Mohit explains that addressing vulnerabilities and implementing efficient patch management is crucial for safeguarding organisations against cyberattacks. Studies reveal that leaving well-known vulnerabilities unpatched and delaying remediation heightens cyber risks, increasing the likelihood of data breaches and ransomware attacks. 

“Utilising AI enables support organisations to offer pertinent suggestions, recommendations and solutions during customer interactions, enhancing response accuracy and efficiency,” elaborates Mohit. “This enhances the help desk experience, leaving customers satisfied with the prompt assistance they receive.” 

In the financial sector, considered one of the most critical industries in a country, maintaining resilience during the transition to the digital landscape is imperative. Mohit believes that prioritising customer experience in the Financial Services Industry (FSI) is crucial, given its direct influence on customer satisfaction and loyalty. In an era with numerous consumer choices, providing a seamless and positive experience is essential for retaining existing clients and attracting new customers. 

The key to gaining a competitive edge lies in the effective collection, breakdown and comprehension of customer data. AI algorithms are adept at analysing vast amounts of customer data, deciphering individual preferences and behaviours, and empowering FSIs to enhance the overall customer experience. 

By harnessing the power of AI to comprehend, shape, customise and optimise the customer journey, financial service institutions (FSIs) can provide individualised offerings like tailored product recommendations and customised financial advice.  

AI’s impact extends to customer interaction with the deployment of chatbots and virtual assistants. These AI-powered entities offer instant and efficient customer support, addressing queries, managing routine transactions, and guiding users through various processes.  

Such tools, solutions and platforms not only ensure a smooth and seamless experience for customers but also showcase the transformative potential of AI in enhancing service delivery, personalisation and safety in an increasingly digital financial sector. 

 The OpenGov Breakfast Insight will highlight Singaporeans’ commitment to merging proven tradition with cutting-edge technology to navigate the dynamic digital realm more effectively. This shift reflects a forward-looking approach, embracing the opportunities presented by the ever-evolving cyber landscape. 

“Singapore’s pioneering efforts in smart governance, the digital economy and citizen experience reflect a paradigm shift in approach to the digital era. The global community stands to learn from its journey,” Mohit shares. 

Welcome Address 

Saranga Rajan∶ Navigating an evolving threat landscape requires continual adaptation and enhancement of cybersecurity protocols

Saranga Rajan, the Associate Vice President & Head of BFSI Endpoint Security at HCL Software, warmly welcomed the participants, speakers, and OpenGov Asia to the valuable discussion. 

Digital security and digital transformation are intricately linked, with one significantly influencing the other. As organisations leverage advanced technologies to enhance operations, streamline processes, and improve overall efficiency, the need for robust digital security becomes paramount.  

Moreover, as systems become more interconnected and reliant on digital platforms, ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data becomes a critical aspect. In this transformative journey, the critical role of digital security in the evolving digital landscape cannot be overstated 

Collaboration between diverse entities, spanning both the private and public sectors, is essential for fostering knowledge exchange and addressing the challenges and opportunities presented by the ever-changing digital ecosystem. This collaborative approach recognises the interconnected nature of the digital landscape and emphasises the need for a unified front in navigating its complexities.  

“Partnerships are vital in confronting today’s issues amidst technological advancements,” Saranga believes. “Collective efforts across sectors are crucial for developing robust cybersecurity frameworks, policies, and strategies that can effectively mitigate risks and bolster the overall resilience of the digital ecosystem.”

Singapore has placed a significant emphasis on enhancing the cybersecurity resilience of its banks and financial institutions (BFSI). The industry has introduced “second-generation” cyber regulations to deal with the evolving landscape of cyber threats. These regulations signify a proactive response to the escalating challenges, underlining the importance of cyber resilience and the timely reporting of incidents within the financial sector. 

Saranga shares that HCLSoftware’s expertise in delivering enterprise software solutions, coupled with a focus on driving the digital economy and addressing transformative client requirements through AI and Automation, positions the company as a key player in fortifying organisations against cyberattacks. 

Acknowledging the heightened vulnerability within the Financial Services Industry (FSI), HCLSoftware is dedicated to addressing the need for robust resiliency and stands ready to provide tailored solutions to address these specific challenges. 

With a commitment to cutting-edge technologies and comprehensive security measures, HCLSoftware aims to empower FSI organisations with the capability and adaptability to navigate and mitigate cyber threats effectively. 

The importance of adapting security measures to the evolving threat landscape and the necessity for continuous improvement in cybersecurity protocols must be stressed. By remaining vigilant and responsive to emerging threats, the financial sector can proactively fortify its defences and maintain a resilient posture against cyber adversaries. 

In this VUCA environment, next-gen AI becomes a powerful ally in fortifying cyber resilience by offering enhanced threat detection, rapid response, and continuous adaptation to emerging cyber threats. 

Saranga was confident that the discussions and insights shared would significantly contribute to enhancing digital security practices and strategies. These knowledge-sharing forums play a pivotal role in shaping the future trajectory of digital security, particularly within the dynamic realm of digital transformation. They create an environment where industry experts, thought leaders, and practitioners can exchange valuable perspectives, innovative ideas, and best practices.  

“Cyber resilience can be enhanced by adopting a holistic and proactive approach that combines technological solutions, employee education, and collaboration within the industry,” concludes Saranga.  

In Conversation With 

Mohit, alongside Dr Chandra and Saranga, looked at strategies to bolster cybersecurity that would ultimately enhance consumer satisfaction. They explored innovative techniques, best practices and industry insights to create a resilient framework that not only safeguards digital assets but also fosters a heightened sense of trust and satisfaction among consumers.  

Addressing the dynamic challenges within the cybersecurity landscape yields valuable insights and practical solutions. These outcomes serve as a guide for organisations, offering implementable measures to ensure a secure and satisfying experience for consumers in the ever-changing digital environment. 

Dr Ashish Chandra∶ Businesses can leverage cutting-edge technologies to achieve smooth integration and streamline workflows

In the rapidly evolving landscape of massive digital technology transformation, Saranga concurs that addressing vulnerabilities in cybersecurity must be an ongoing priority. Strengthening these aspects not only provides security for the organisation’s systems but also enhances consumer satisfaction. 

Through the analysis of extensive data, AI empowers highly tailored and context-specific interactions for customers engaging with businesses. GenAI, with its capacity to anticipate and respond to user needs in real-time, ensures a seamless and intuitive experience, setting new standards for service excellence.  

While integrating these capabilities empowers businesses to receive personalised recommendations, predictive support, and unprecedented responsiveness, the primary challenge revolves around security concerns when incorporating GenAI into the customer experience.   

Dr Ashish Chandra, Head of Technology Innovation and Group Functions at Standard Chartered Bank, emphasised the vulnerability of Singapore’s FSI sector to a range of cybersecurity threats. This susceptibility is attributed to the growing digital and technological integration within the industry. 

In 2023, key security challenges within the Financial Services industry included: 

  1. Cloud-based attacks: The cloudification of FSI systems has resulted in risks from malware and advanced threats. 
  2. Island hopping: Cybercriminals are increasingly targeting the interconnectedness of the financial system and turning to island hopping campaigns, which involve infiltrating an organisation’s more vulnerable third parties 
  3. Remote work risks: The shift to remote work has introduced new risks for FSI companies, such as implementing safeguards in outsourcing arrangements, security controls, and cybersecurity measures for remote working infrastructure, including personal devices. 

To address these challenges, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) have issued guidelines on managing remote work risks for businesses in the FSI. These guidelines emphasise the importance of implementing safeguards in outsourcing arrangements, including personal devices. 

Within the business context, leveraging cutting-edge technologies offers various avenues to achieve seamless integration and streamline workflows, ultimately resulting in more efficient and cost-effective operations. Some of the key approaches encompass: 

  1. AI and ML for Process Optimisation: Chatbots enhancing customer support and predictive analytics optimising supply chain management are examples of how AI and ML can play a pivotal role in streamlining workflows and enhancing efficiency 
  2. Digital Adoption Platforms (DAPs): Implementing DAPs can help businesses streamline customer management, ensure smooth digital transformations, and protect data assets, ultimately leading to greater scalability and efficiency 
  3. Cloud, AI, and Automation for Operational Resilience: Leveraging cloud, AI and automation technologies can improve business resilience, operational efficiency, and client engagement, ultimately leading to optimal business outcomes 

“By harnessing the power of interconnected emerging technologies, businesses can unlock unprecedented opportunities for growth, efficiency, and competitiveness,” he says. “The integration of technologies such as AI, blockchain, and the IoT forms a synergistic ecosystem that not only streamlines operations but also paves the way for innovative business models.” 

Saranga Rajan∶ Real-time tracking and improved prediction capabilities driven by AI facilitate faster and better decision-making

Saranga Rajan, Associate Vice President & Head of BFSI Endpoint Security at HCLSoftware, recognises that AI empowers businesses to enhance decision-making through various avenues.  

Firstly, real-time tracking and improved prediction capabilities, driven by AI technologies, facilitate faster and more informed decision-making by providing insights into various scenarios based on real-time data.  

Another crucial aspect where AI excels is Big Data Analysis, enabling the analysis of vast datasets to identify trends, patterns, and insights. This capability empowers businesses to make informed decisions that drive sustainable growth and maintain a competitive edge in dynamic market landscapes. 

Furthermore, AI facilitates scenario modelling and simulations, predicting outcomes for different choices. This capability allows businesses to evaluate alternative strategies, optimise resource allocation, and minimise risks associated with decision-making.  

In strategic planning, AI’s proficiency in processing extensive data sets and identifying trends significantly enhances strategic preparation, enabling businesses to formulate data-driven decisions and develop winning strategies. 

Additionally, AI contributes to personalised customer interactions, optimising inventory management, and providing data-driven insights. It enables businesses to concentrate on strategic decision-making and foster growth by automating processes, reducing manual work, and increasing efficiency. 

“By embracing intelligent automation and adopting a strategic approach that prioritises efficiency, innovation, and cybersecurity, businesses can achieve seamless integration, streamlined workflows, and optimal business outcomes,” Saranga is convinced. “This can be achieved by investing in the right technologies, fostering a culture of innovation, and striking the right balance between AI insights and human expertise.” 

“With its expertise, HCLSoftware can enhance cybersecurity and elevate customer experience by leveraging AI, automation, and enterprise security.  HCLSoftware integrates AI-powered cybersecurity measures to detect and respond to cyber threats in real-time, embodying a proactive approach to safeguarding digital assets,” elaborates Saranga. “HCLSoftware analyses vast datasets to identify trends and patterns, facilitating informed decision-making for sustainable business growth.” 

HCLSoftware offers cloud-based solutions that optimise cloud usage, accelerate innovation, and enhance agility at scale, resulting in a superior customer experience. Through digital transformation solutions, the company aids businesses in adapting to the digital age, improving operational efficiency, deepening client engagement, and enhancing overall business resilience. 

“I believe that if companies prioritise cybersecurity, innovation, and customer experience, HCLSoftware can help ensure seamless integration, streamlined workflows, and optimal business outcomes,” Saranga opines. “This strategic approach involves investing in the right technologies, fostering a culture of innovation, and finding the optimal balance between AI insights and human expertise.” 

Closing Remarks 

Saranga expressed his gratitude for the active participation, as participants shared their experiences and ideas, enriching the discussion. Bringing together diverse entities to discuss the issue of cybersecurity vulnerabilities needs such collaborative efforts. Involving both the public and private sectors, along with other pertinent stakeholders, to collectively address challenges is vital for ensuring a safe digital landscape. 

He acknowledges that cyberattacks know no boundaries and can impact various sectors of life, ranging from government to business and the general public, and as such, the imperative for collective efforts to build robust cybersecurity resilience remains.  

Saranga encouraged all parties to actively share information about cybersecurity threats and their experiences in dealing with them. By fostering an environment of open communication and collaboration, communities can learn from each other’s insights and swiftly identify and respond to potential cyberattacks.  

This collective sharing of information plays a crucial role in building a united front against evolving cyber threats, promoting proactive measures, and strengthening overall cybersecurity resilience.  

A common understanding can lead to several concrete steps that can be taken to enhance cybersecurity: 

  1. Strengthening regulations governing data protection and information security 
  2. Increased investment in innovative and effective cybersecurity 
  3. Capacity, capacity building through training and development of human resources in cybersecurity 

Highlighting the importance of cybersecurity awareness across all layers of society, from ordinary internet users to IT professionals and decision-makers at the executive level, Saranga emphasises that a holistic approach is key to creating a secure ecosystem against cybersecurity threats.  

This inclusive awareness strategy ensures that individuals at every level understand their role in maintaining cybersecurity, contributing to a collective and proactive defence against evolving threats. 

 Saranga is convinced that any nation can attain a higher level of cybersecurity through strong collaboration and collective commitment. He foresees that forums like the one at hand will continue to serve as platforms for exchanging ideas and strategies, allowing people to collectively address the complex challenges posed by the continually evolving digital world. 

This is an era where inclusivity is a currency, and its value extends across various domains, from business and technology to social and cultural realms,” he explained. “Diversity and partnership foster innovation and better decision-making and inclusive approaches are more adaptable, creative and better reflect varied markets.” 

Vietnam is poised to emerge as a significant player in the global semiconductor industry, according to Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung. In a recent interview with Vietnam News Agency, Minister Dung emphasised Vietnam’s determination to create an environment conducive to semiconductor investment, citing the nation’s political stability, strategic geographical location, investment incentives, abundant human resources, and robust digital infrastructure as key factors propelling its semiconductor industry forward.

Image credits: VNA

With a focus on innovation and technology-driven growth, Vietnam aims to position itself as a reliable partner and a crucial link in the global semiconductor value chain. The government has been actively working to attract investors in the semiconductor sector, recognising its potential to drive economic growth and technological advancement.

Minister Dung highlighted the government’s efforts to streamline regulations and provide favourable conditions for semiconductor companies looking to establish operations in Vietnam.

One of the key initiatives driving Vietnam’s semiconductor ambitions is the collaboration between the National Innovation Centre (NIC) and leading global technology firms. Major companies have already partnered with NIC to support digital transformation initiatives and provide training programs for Vietnamese firms. This collaboration underscores Vietnam’s commitment to leveraging technology to enhance its competitiveness in the global market and drive sustainable economic development.

The Ministry of Planning and Investment plays a pivotal role in steering the NIC’s efforts and facilitating cooperation with global partners across various sectors. By focusing on areas like the digital economy, sci-tech, and emerging domains such as semiconductors and renewable energy, Vietnam aims to fuel growth and innovation through strategic partnerships and investments. The establishment of high-tech parks like Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Park serves as a hub for semiconductor companies and reinforces Vietnam’s position as a tech leader in the region.

Despite the opportunities presented by the semiconductor industry, Minister Dung also acknowledged the challenges Vietnam faces. High investment requirements, intense competition from global powerhouses and the increasing complexity of semiconductor technology pose significant hurdles to Vietnam’s semiconductor ambitions.

Anticipating substantial growth in Vietnam’s semiconductor industry, with a projected valuation of US$20-30 billion by 2030, the government understand the barriers confronting local companies in fully capitalising on the industry’s potential. Despite boasting over 50 eligible firms, only FPT and Viettel have ventured into the semiconductor sector.

The absence of domestic manufacturing facilities is evident, with only packaging and testing factories established by international giants. Additionally, the shortage of skilled workers in the semiconductor field remains a pressing issue that needs to be addressed.

To tackle these challenges, the Vietnamese Government has outlined a comprehensive plan to develop the semiconductor industry and build a skilled workforce. The plan includes initiatives to train 50,000 skilled workers by 2030, with a focus on integrated circuit design engineers and engineers across various disciplines.

The government is also exploring the establishment of an investment support fund for high-tech industries, including semiconductors, to provide financial assistance to companies operating in the sector.

Furthermore, efforts are underway to ensure a stable supply of electricity for high-tech industries and accelerate land clearance processes for industrial parks and economic zones. These measures aim to improve the competitiveness of semiconductor projects and attract more investments to the sector.

Vietnam’s commitment to becoming a vital player in the global semiconductor value chain underscores its dedication to fostering technological innovation and economic prosperity. Through strategic initiatives and partnerships, Vietnam is poised to build a robust semiconductor industry, enhancing its long-term competitiveness and prosperity on the global stage.

CSIRO showcased its advancements in digital technologies and innovative methodologies during an open day at its research station near Armidale, situated on Anaiwan Country in New South Wales. The event highlighted ongoing research initiatives aimed at revolutionising livestock monitoring and welfare in agricultural landscapes.

Among the showcased technologies was eGrazor, a digital monitoring system utilising accelerometers akin to pedometers, designed to track the movement patterns of livestock. Enhanced with GPS tracking capabilities, eGrazor provides valuable insights into the behaviours and whereabouts of animals in real-time.

Additionally, CSIRO has embarked on exploring the integration of computer vision and machine learning algorithms to further augment livestock monitoring efforts. By employing cameras equipped with AI-driven recognition systems, researchers aim to identify individual animals and decipher their behaviours, such as grazing, amidst varying environmental conditions.

Despite promising advancements, challenges persist in accurately tracking multiple animals simultaneously and distinguishing them from environmental obstructions. CSIRO is actively developing methodologies to refine the technology’s ability to discern individual animals within herds or flocks, thereby bolstering the accuracy of livestock monitoring systems.

In a pioneering endeavour, researchers are delving into the realm of livestock vocalisations to decode the nuanced expressions of sheep and cattle. By employing microphones and AI algorithms, CSIRO endeavours to discern the emotional states and communication cues embedded within livestock vocalisations. This initiative aims to offer a novel avenue for assessing animal welfare and enhancing productivity within livestock operations.

Furthermore, CSIRO acknowledges the dynamic nature of agricultural landscapes, where soundscapes evolve throughout the day, comprising a multitude of auditory elements. Leveraging AI-driven sound analysis tools, researchers seek to extract meaningful insights from the cacophony of environmental sounds, thereby providing farmers with invaluable real-time data pertaining to livestock well-being and production metrics.

In conjunction with audio monitoring, CSIRO explores the synergistic integration of diverse data streams, including accelerometer readings, video footage, and GPS data, to glean comprehensive insights into animal behaviour and health status. Such holistic monitoring approaches hold the potential to facilitate early disease detection and optimise management practices, particularly during adverse climatic conditions such as droughts.

One notable research endeavour pertains to the strategic destocking of livestock during periods of drought-induced scarcity. By employing targeted selection criteria based on genetic value and performance metrics, researchers aim to optimise herd composition and enhance long-term resilience to climatic stressors. Preliminary findings suggest that value-based destocking strategies yield superior productivity outcomes, particularly in arid conditions, thereby offering a viable pathway for bolstering drought resilience within livestock operations.

In parallel to these endeavours, CSIRO continues to pioneer welfare-friendly technologies, such as virtual fencing systems, designed to guide livestock within designated grazing areas while minimising stress levels. Building upon the success of virtual fencing systems for cattle, researchers are adapting similar methodologies for sheep, utilising wearable collars to delineate grazing boundaries effectively.

Preliminary results indicate that sheep readily acclimate to virtual fencing systems, underscoring the efficacy of such welfare-centric approaches in livestock management. CSIRO’s collaborative efforts with academic institutions and industry partners, supported by funding from the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund, underscore its commitment to driving innovation and sustainability within the livestock industry.

The multifaceted research initiatives represent a concerted effort to harness cutting-edge technologies and scientific methodologies to enhance livestock welfare, productivity, and resilience in the face of evolving environmental challenges.

Through ongoing collaboration and innovation, CSIRO endeavours to empower farmers with the tools and insights necessary to navigate complex agricultural landscapes while fostering sustainable practices for future generations.

In a landscape increasingly shaped by digital innovation and cyber threats, the Ministry of Digital Affairs (moda) of Taiwan stands at the forefront of advancing cybersecurity technologies and strategies to safeguard its digital ecosystem. Addressing recent media reports, the moda reaffirms its unwavering commitment to enhancing cybersecurity defences and promoting collaboration both domestically and internationally.

Central to Taiwan’s cybersecurity efforts is the National Institute of Cyber Security (NICS), an executive agency supervised by the moda. Led by Minister Audrey Tang, the NICS plays a pivotal role in developing cutting-edge cybersecurity tools and technologies. Contrary to claims of reducing related personnel, the moda emphasises that the NICS has maintained its workforce and continues to actively recruit top talent to bolster its cybersecurity initiatives.

At the heart of the NICS’s mission is the development of innovative technologies for detecting fraudulent activities and analysing suspicious messages. Leveraging AI and deepfake analysis, the NICS works tirelessly to combat online threats and misinformation. Through collaborations with law enforcement agencies and third-party fact-checking organisations like the Taiwan FactCheck Center, the NICS provides critical traceability and consultation services to enhance response capabilities and protect against cyberattacks.

Moreover, the moda underscores its proactive approach to international cooperation in cybersecurity. Through strategic partnerships and collaborative efforts with the United States and other friendly nations, Taiwan seeks to strengthen its cybersecurity defences and promote information sharing on a global scale.

The establishment of the Center of International Collaboration and Cybersecurity Governance further solidifies Taiwan’s commitment to fostering mutual trust and cooperation in cybersecurity initiatives.

In addition to its focus on technological innovation, the moda places great importance on cross-agency collaboration and coordination within Taiwan’s cybersecurity ecosystem. Through the Executive Yuan Cybersecurity Council platform, the moda facilitates cooperation among central government agencies, direct municipalities, and local governments to strengthen the overall cybersecurity environment in the country.

By promoting information sharing and joint defence measures, Taiwan aims to build a resilient cybersecurity infrastructure capable of mitigating emerging threats effectively. Furthermore, the moda is dedicated to enhancing public awareness of cybersecurity issues and promoting transparency in its cybersecurity efforts.

The monthly release of the “Cybersecurity Monthly Report” on the official website provides valuable insights into recent policy highlights, threat trends, and cybersecurity protection recommendations. By fostering a culture of cybersecurity awareness and transparency, the moda seeks to empower individuals and organisations to play an active role in safeguarding Taiwan’s digital landscape.

To complement its proactive stance on cybersecurity, the moda also prioritises capacity building and response readiness across government agencies. Through network attack and defence drills and government cybersecurity patrol seminars, the Administration for Cyber Security (ACS) identifies vulnerabilities and shares best practices to strengthen defence measures and improve incident response capabilities.

Taiwan is steadfast in its dedication to fostering cybersecurity both domestically and internationally, evident through its proactive initiatives and collaborations aimed at bolstering digital defences and promoting global cyber resilience.

OpenGov Reported on the Global Cooperation and Training Framework (GCTF) workshop on cybersecurity in New Delhi which symbolised a significant step forward in international collaboration in the digital realm.

Organised by Taiwan, the United States, and India, the workshop addressed global challenges related to cybersecurity, AI, cybercrime, the digital economy and critical information infrastructure fortification, demonstrating a shared commitment to tackling pressing digital issues.

The Ministry of Digital Affairs of Taiwan remains committed to advancing cybersecurity technologies, fostering international cooperation, and promoting collaboration across sectors. With the NICS leading the charge in technological innovation and the ACS spearheading efforts to enhance response capabilities, Taiwan is well-positioned to navigate the evolving cybersecurity landscape and ensure a safe and secure digital future for its citizens and organisations.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) is in the process of updating its electronic database of farmers and fisherfolk, who constitute the primary stakeholders of the agency. The individual data of these stakeholders is crucial for the effective planning, execution, and monitoring of agricultural projects and targeted interventions, valued at billions of pesos.

Image credit: Department of Agriculture

Enhancing the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture, the official electronic database is in line with the Department’s overarching strategy to digitise operations and reduce costs across the food value chain. The move will expand market access, enhance profitability in agriculture, and ensure a consistent and affordable food supply for consumers.

The Agriculture Undersecretary for Operations, Roger Navarro, announced that the Department will deploy approximately 16,000 personnel across the country to accelerate the collection, updating, and validation of stakeholders’ personal and farm data, which has experienced delays. “We were supposed to finish this update last year but we have so many islands to cover,” said Navarro.

Recent estimates indicate that there are about 10 million farmers and fisherfolk in the country, a significant portion of whom are considered among the poorest. Before the update started, the Department of Agriculture possessed an initial list comprising 1.4 million of these stakeholders. In addition to its internal staff, the Department is collaborating with local government units to aid in the collection and verification of data.

The registration and ongoing updating of records and profiles for farmers, farmworkers, fisherfolk, and agricultural youth are crucial steps in verifying the accuracy of these estimates. Furthermore, this process aids in identifying individuals who genuinely require assistance from the Department.

Navarro emphasised that farmworkers should not be included in the list of beneficiaries under the Department since they do not own the farms or crops. Given that farmworkers are typically employed seasonally on farms, Navarro suggested that they should instead be included in the lists managed by other government agencies, such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development, to ensure they receive appropriate support and assistance.

Navarro stressed the importance of distinguishing between farmers and farmworkers, stating that the differentiation is crucial for optimising resource allocation. Labour statistics indicate that agriculture employs one in every four Filipinos, underscoring its significant role in the country’s workforce.

Two years ago, the Department initiated the upgrading of its management information system, aiming to improve project and intervention monitoring while enabling real-time recording of agricultural and fishery data. Agriculture Secretary Francisco P. Tiu Laurel, Jr., a staunch advocate for the digitalisation of operations, has issued two memoranda delineating the latest guidelines for the registry update.

The agriculture chief has given his full support to the digitalisation project, expressing confidence that it will enhance efficiency across the Department’s operations, as well as project implementation and monitoring. Additionally, he is exploring the establishment of an agricultural statistics office to bolster the department’s capacity to manage food demand and production, with the aim of maximising returns for farmers and reducing the need for importation.

Because of the country’s dependence on agriculture for both food security and livelihoods, the integration of digital technologies is revolutionising agricultural practices. Precision agriculture stands out as a key domain poised to gain from digitisation. Farmers are leveraging GPS technology, drones, and satellite imagery to improve agricultural processes such as planting, irrigation, and pest management. This not only boosts crop yields but also conserves resources and minimises environmental footprint.

Farmers can also get information about market prices and trends through digital platforms. This helps them make smart choices about how to sell their crops, which increases their profits.

The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) envisions a promising trajectory for Vietnam’s semiconductor industry, forecasting a valuation of US$20-30 billion by 2030. However, the current landscape reveals a stark reality: only two local firms, FPT and Viettel, have ventured into this domain in its infancy, despite over 50 eligible companies in the country.

Image credits: Vietnam Plus

Policymakers are keenly aware of Vietnam’s potential in the global semiconductor chip map, acknowledging its abundant resources for the industry. However, the national semiconductor ecosystem lacks manufacturing facilities, with only packaging and testing factories established by international giants.

Given these fundamental issues, the road ahead is paved with challenges, including the relevant talent. To secure a significant position in the semiconductor arena, Vietnam must address its shortage of skilled semiconductor integrated circuit (IC) engineers. The MIC emphasises the need for at least 50,000 IC engineers by 2030, a tenfold increase from the current workforce.

Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Kim Son underscores the pivotal role of tertiary institutions in meeting this demand. Currently, 35 universities offer courses related to semiconductor ICs, with plans to enrol over 1,000 students specifically for chip designing next year. Despite ambitious enrollment targets, concerns linger regarding the frequency of engineer training cycles. Nguyen Thien Nghia of the MIC highlights the urgency of training engineers more rapidly to seize opportunities in the semiconductor industry.

Recognising the strategic importance of semiconductor chip development, the Government has prioritised quality human resource strategies and assigned relevant ministries to formulate cohesive development policies. Since 2010, semiconductor chip products have been deemed national strategic products, although substantial investments are yet to materialise. The Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) is actively engaged in semiconductor chip research, design, and manufacturing initiatives.

Dam Bach Duong, Director of the High Technology Department at MoST, underscores the need for specialised policies to support semiconductor chip manufacturing. Currently, development policies for this industry lack consistency, necessitating collaborative efforts among ministries and sectors to introduce coherent policies.

Despite the inherent challenges, experts believe that Vietnam has a window of opportunity to prepare for the semiconductor industry’s emergence. Global semiconductor leaders, such as the US and Japan, are eager to support Vietnam’s foray into this market. With the Government’s commitment to digital transformation, domestic demand for electronic devices and IoT-connected devices is set to surge.

In line with these ambitions, Vietnam is taking significant strides to bolster its semiconductor industry, with pledges of tax breaks and incentives for companies contributing to sector development. Minister of Science and Technology Huynh Thanh Dat outlined plans for industry grants and joint state-private research collaborations to propel chip manufacturing forward.

While major players eye expansion in Vietnam, the country stands to benefit from investments under the US CHIPS and Science Act, alongside hosting a chip giant’s largest global test and assembly facility.

U.S. Undersecretary of State Jose Fernandez highlighted Vietnam’s appeal to semiconductor companies, contingent on its renewable energy capacity meeting industry demands. Technology transfer agreements with chip sector leaders are vital for Vietnam’s growth trajectory, prompting policy enhancements to attract foreign expertise.

Collaborations between universities and industry giants aim to address skill shortages and prepare 50,000 engineers for the semiconductor industry by 2030.

Fernandez emphasised Vietnam’s importance in the US CHIPS Act subsidies, reflecting confidence in the country’s potential. The subsidy amount, to be determined soon, is poised to accelerate Vietnam’s semiconductor ambitions and solidify its position as a key player in the global electronics supply chain.

By fostering a conducive environment for semiconductor development, Vietnam can leverage its engineering talent to design and manufacture chips for telecommunications products, thereby shaping its future trajectory in the semiconductor landscape.

In a rapidly evolving technological landscape that fuels innovation and economic prosperity, Dr. Neeraj Mittal, Secretary of Telecom and Chairman of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), underscored the crucial role of standards in facilitating technology adoption and securing commercial viability. The commendable efforts of TEC in setting standards for Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) were acknowledged, highlighting the significant contribution of such initiatives in pushing forward the boundaries of quantum technology.

Image credits: Press Information Bureau

These points resonated powerfully during the inauguration of the Second International Quantum Communication Conclave. The event served as a common platform for diverse stakeholders – ranging from researchers and academia to industries and government bodies – united in their mission to promote standardisation activities and forge fruitful collaborations.

Aligned with the nation’s vision to position India as a global hub for Quantum Technologies, the conclave convened a diverse ensemble of experts from premier academic and research institutions, industries, and startups.

As India emerges as a potential leader in quantum technology, fueled by its robust research ecosystem and the innovative spirit of its startup community, a firm commitment from DoT to support and nurture startups in this domain is essential to seize this opportune moment.

This commitment was further solidified through a memorandum of understanding with the Pan-IIT USA network, aimed at facilitating global collaboration and mentorship in high-technology projects.

Beyond its role as a forum for knowledge exchange, the event sought to catalyse collaborative endeavours in Quantum Technologies and promote the formulation of standardised protocols and frameworks.

Notably, participants were treated to an array of demonstrations showcasing cutting-edge solutions, including Quantum Key Distribution Systems, Quantum-safe secure IP phones, Hardware Security Modules, Quantum chipsets, and Quantum Random Number Generators.

Dr Mittal reflected on the success of the previous International Quantum Communication Conclave, stressing the need to demystify quantum technology for broader public awareness. He reaffirmed DoT’s dedication to fostering innovation and collaboration in emerging technologies, expressing optimism for future quantum advancements.

Apart from its technological implications, the forum served as a platform for envisioning the transformative potential of Quantum Technologies across diverse sectors, including healthcare, energy, finance, telecommunications, and defence. Through concerted efforts and synergistic partnerships between industry players, academia, and government agencies, India stands poised to not only chart new frontiers in the global quantum landscape but also drive ground-breaking innovations that address societal challenges and propel economic growth.

In essence, the Second International Quantum Communication Conclave stands as a testament to India’s unwavering commitment to technological excellence and collaborative innovation. As the nation embarks on its journey towards quantum supremacy, guided by the principles of standardisation, collaboration, and inclusive growth, the stage is set for a quantum leap in India’s technological prowess on the global stage.

OpenGov Asia reported on the inaugural meeting of the Mission Governing Board (MGB) of the National Quantum Mission (NQM) which marked a significant leap in India’s pursuit of quantum technology advancement.

With a budget allocation of Rs. 6003.65 Crore (US$ 722 million) over eight years, the NQM aims to foster scientific and industrial R&D, positioning India as a global leader in Quantum Technologies & Applications (QTA) and creating a dynamic ecosystem for quantum technology development.

The board extensively deliberated on implementation strategies, including the establishment of a pivotal Mission Coordination Cell (MCC) and four thematic hubs dedicated to Quantum Computing, Quantum Communication, Quantum Sensing & Metrology, and Quantum Materials & Devices.

The central focus of the discussion revolved around the promotion of manpower development and the empowerment of startups. It underscored the critical need for enhancing human capacity through the empowerment of hubs and stressed the importance of industry engagement in technology and funding collaborations, advocating for the development of indigenous systems.


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