Every country across the world today is dealing with at least one, if not more critical events at this time. Besides the pandemic, citizen safety is constantly being threatened by bushfires, cyclones, floods, earthquakes, etc. In times like these, a system that informs and alerts all citizens that are threatened by any calamity, with the final purpose of enabling them to prepare and act expediently, is of great value.
To understand the potential and importance of a Public Warning System (PWS), OpenGov Asia spoke with Knut Gjerde, Senior Director and Chief Technical Officer for Public Warning System at Everbridge. Watch some of the highlights of the conversation on OpenGovTV.
Knut, a veritable trove of information and a specialist of public warning systems, began by noting the plethora of options a public waning system can have. It can range from shouting from rooftops to warn the citizens of an impending threat to sending out organised nationwide alerts through various tech-channels of communication.
He was quick to point out that a public warning system is not only relevant during the alerting phase of a critical event; it can also play an important role in a preparation phase as well during recovery from a critical event. Also, it can be used to keep citizens informed in situations that are not necessarily critical or dangerous.
Knut explained that there has been a colossal evolution in the channels/methods of reaching out to the public. The modern public warning system is no longer limited to sirens and broadcasts on TV and radio. PWSs can utilise parts of telecommunication networks that have been earmarked in addition to legacy channels. By employing options across the spectrum – low tech to high tech – a public warning system can have a far wider reach and application areas.
However, despite the technology (Cell broadcasting, SMS based alerts, etc) being available since the late 90’s there are very few South-East Asian countries that have deployed a PWS. Commenting on the reasons for this low adoption/ uptake rate, especially in South East Asia, Knut opined that it was a combination of reasons that was responsible.
Governments’ might fear regulative issues and privacy concerns, the lack of sustained funding and the complexity of working in tandem with the telecom industry (and the dependency and accountability it implies). Moreover, the main technology used (Cell Broadcast) has had a long journey towards wider adoption. Over the years the challenge has been lack mobile device support and the need for users to configure their own phones to make it receive alerts from the networks. So even if these challenges to a large extent have been solved, and there are also additional channels that can be used in combination with Cell Broadcast to broaden the reach and use-cases, it has been one of the reasons that have been inhibiting governments from seeing a clear path along the PWS direction.
Knut explained that the biggest driver for most of the countries that have adopted a system early has been a major critical event/situation that has commanded immediate action. The trigger event that drove authorities to take concrete action in this regard has been different for each country – wildfires in Australia, strong winds in Sweden, earthquakes in the US and tsunamis in Asia.
He went on to share that the countries that have implemented PWSs already had a sound structure in place to enable harmonious coordination between governments and the multiple telecom companies that need to work together to create an effective warning system.
Another major driver to have a public warning system in place was mandates that were issued for blocks of nations. He used the example of the European Union to underscore this point. With mandatory guidelines for all EU countries to have a nationwide warning system in place, countries had to start plan and implement strategies for a PWS.
Knut emphasised that they encourage their customers with preexisting legacy alerting channels in place to fully utilise them rather than abandoning them altogether. Apart from the obvious cost and time involved in such an undertaking, it is also the best way to ensure that no citizen is left behind in case of an emergency – especially those who are not tech-savvy and do not access or do not have access to the latest technology or devices. Any vendor of modern public alerting systems should be able to accommodate legacy alerting channels along with deploying the key telecom channels of Cell Broadcast and alternatively Location-based SMS.
“Look to cover what you already have but find a way to include new technologies as well,” said Knut.
He revealed that at Everbridge they have a wide range of solutions for countries to choose from depending on their needs and purpose of deploying the warning system.
Having a robust public warning system has become the top priority of many governments today. And when it comes to ownership, governments are responsible for their citizens’ safety along with managing data privacy and security issues.
However, the private sector (including the telecom companies) is coming forward to support governments in these endeavours. There is potential for the private sector to invest in infrastructure that can strengthen the public warning system.
Looking to the future, Knut felt with enhancements made with telecom technologies, improvement in handset support for Cell Broadcast, the rollout of 5G, and introduction of device-based geofencing technologies, it would enable them to improve accuracy and overcome the challenge of lower reach and expand it to 100% – ideally what a PWS is aiming for. In countries like the Netherlands where Everbridge has had its Cell Broadcast systems deployed for many years, the population reach is now almost at 95%.
Additionally, Knut was enthusiastic about how key technologies such as Cell Broadcast and Location-based SMS can be combined to increase the usability and efficiency of PWS. “We have only seen the start of how we can shape these systems for the future,” he said.
He also shared a few examples of how some countries have customised their solution – depending on the weather and climate conditions, geography, layout and relevant context. They may opt for a nationwide system or something local/regional.
Countries like Australia and Sweden, for example, uses a multi-channel PWS for specific regional alerts about weather, fires, etc. Norway, on the other hand, uses their Location-based SMS system extensively for regional and local alerting – giving out specific regional alerts and updates about pandemic as well as for nationwide general alerts. Countries like New Zealand and Greece have used their Cell Broadcast alerting extensively during Covid-19 to keep the population informed.
Knut signed off by sharing that he sees a lot of awareness amongst governments who are keen to deploy the system in future to ensure public safety. Keeping with these trends Everbridge is also determined to curate more sophisticated solutions that will help keep people safe and nations running.
Watch some of the highlights of the conversation on OpenGovTV.
The modular desktop technology can be used to distinguish black carbon particles from two primary sources: diesel vehicles and biomass burning, such as bushfires or crop burning regimes. Thomson Environmental Systems in Caringbah NSW, co-located in the Sutherland Shire with ANSTO, has been licensed to sell MABI.
Distinguished Research Scientist Prof David Cohen, who was instrumental in the development and testing of the device, said it was an important tool which can provide environmental managers and researchers with new information about pollution.
As part of the extensive validation and testing, the device was distributed to 43 countries around the world and performed well. He notes that it started as a research instrument, it is time to push it out there to the commercial world. The technology complements the extensive range of instruments being sold for measuring air pollution in the atmosphere.
The Director of Innovation and Commercialisation at ANSTO stated that the solution is a great example of how decades of experience in monitoring pollution led to the development of the innovative technology with environmental and health benefits, as well as commercial opportunities for a local science-based business.
In July 2019, it was reported that ANSTO scientists, who are experts in the monitoring of fine particle pollution, developed a research instrument to measure the concentration of black carbon in the atmosphere and determine its source.
Black carbon is a key component of fine particle air pollution; its quantification will produce a better understanding of the role it plays in climate change.
Typical aerosol filter samples used for fine particle pollution monitoring can be loaded in the instrument for measurements. Because the instrument can measure light absorption at seven different wavelengths, it can distinguish different black carbon particle sizes and types.
MABI, which is powered from a simple USB cable has inbuilt software to record and export transmission data which can be converted to black carbon concentrations through standard equations. The equations are provided and the users can measure their black carbon mass absorption coefficients for each wavelength and for their particular region and sampling site. This ensures that the calculation is specific to their sampling site and a more accurate estimate of the black carbon content in their air.
The instrument works by inserting a filter paper into a beam of light. This light goes through the filter and into a detector. Measurement is taken for an unexposed filter and then an exposed filter. By taking the log of the unexposed reading subtracted from exposed reading, you can calculate the amount of black carbon on the filter.
The light from seven LEDs in the unit extends to wavelengths from 405 nanometres to 1050 nanometres. And the process is fast, taking less than 35 seconds to complete the seven-wavelength measurement.
The idea for the instrument came from ANSTO’s fine particle pollution sampling program. The team used to measure black carbon at one wavelength and use a single mass absorption co-efficient to cover all particle sizes. This assumed that every particle was the same size and density.
Facilities which purchase the instrument are asked to provide their data back to ANSTO to be added to the global database the researchers maintain on fine particle pollution. Ideally, the instrument could be used by all the environmental protection agencies and environmental monitoring facilities sampling air pollution using filters, Cohen noted.
Critical event management has come to the fore with the pandemic. Forecasting, planning and management of critical events help organisations and authorities prevent disruption of life and damage to property.
Governments rely on several, specific systems for critical event management. Such programmes are essential to national well-being especially with the increase in natural disasters. But, more often than not, they operate in isolation of each other. According to world experts in Critical Event Management – Everbridge, this siloed approach can create duplication in information and processes, data contradictions and, when unchecked, could lead to loss of life and damages.
Everbridge’s Coronavirus Preparedness and solutions can make a significant difference in mitigating harm caused by the pandemic. They provide richer intelligence and correlating threats with locations of assets and people ensuring more rapid and comprehensive incident assessment and remediation.
With the pandemic forecast to be around for some time, planning responses to adverse events must continue alongside COVID-19 management. In light of this, it is expedient for governments to re-look at their systems, tools, processes and platforms they have in place to manage critical events.
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Building upon the ideation and directives and under the aegis of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), the National Informatics Centre (NIC), IEEE Computer Society and a tech giant have come together to announce Gov Tech-Thon 2020. The initiative is designed to incubate new ideas, boost innovation and use technology in agriculture and allied sectors.
Gov Tech-Thon 2020, a pan India 36 hours virtual Hackathon, to be organised from 30 October to 1 November 2020. The Hackathon will be facilitated by IEEE, a well-established institute for engineering, computing and technology information. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology announced the launch of the hackathon by activating the online portal signalling that registrations for Gov TechThon 2020 were open.
The virtual hackathon is open to students, working professionals, startups, freelance technologists, faculty, and other IT service firms in India. During the hackathon, participants will receive mentorship and advice from technical experts from NIC, IEEE and Oracle, as well as senior domain experts from the Ministries of Agriculture, Education and Transport Departments, Government of India.
Participating teams will have access to the latest tools from the tech company, its Autonomous Database, built-in and easy-to-use cloud security and compute – to help them develop prototypes that are practical and scalable. Additionally, they will be able to leverage open source technologies that bring benefits of high performance, reliability and data security.
The efforts of the National Informatics Centre, IEEE and tech partner incoming together to organise this hackathon have been greatly appreciated by the Ministry. India is keen to make digital transformation inclusive, widespread and comprehensive. An integral and essential part of this is youth. The ministry recognises that youth are an important part of India’s digital ecosystem and he looks forward to their participation in the hackathon and their solutions to the challenges.
Dr Neeta Verma, Director General, NIC in her address at the release of the online portal for ‘Gov Tech-Thon 2020’, said that the hackathon is a step towards developing a digital ecosystem with more emerging technologies. She was optimistic that Gov Tech-Thon 2020 would spur a lot of ideas, proof of concepts, working models for innovation and inclusion in government services.
Dr Savita Dawar, Deputy Director-General, NIC gave a brief introduction to the five challenges including AI-based crop recommendations, Blockchain-based seed certification, Automated vigilance in exams/tests, Automated fitness check process for commercial vehicles and Easy document uploads, from Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in India which require immediate solutions.
Shri Harish Mysore, Senior Director and Head of IEEE India Operations said, “IEEE has been empowering engineers for over a century, helping advance technology across sectors. This partnership with NIC and Oracle will help increase the use of technology, reduce the digital divide in agriculture, transportation and education and will help us deliver better governance to citizens of India.”
The Regional Managing Director of the tech company felt in order to transform India into a digital and knowledge economy, the nation must first digitally empower all its people, key economic sectors and allied communities. Join hands with NIC and IEEE for Gov Tech-Thon 2020 was a key step and the company was looking forward to supporting local innovation in all key areas identified.
Established in 1976, the National Informatics Centre is attached to the office of Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY). It has rich experience in providing ICT and eGovernance for the last 4 decades and helping bridge the digital divide.
NIC spearheaded “Informatics-Led-Development” by implementing ICT applications in social and public administration and facilitates electronic delivery of services to the government (G2G), business (G2B), citizen (G2C) and government employee (G2E). NIC, through its ICT Network, “NICNET”, has institutional linkages with all the Ministries /Departments of the Central Government, 37 State Governments/ Union Territories, and about 720+ District Administrations of India.
IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organisation dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. IEEE and its members inspire a global community to innovate for a better tomorrow through its more than 419,000 members in over 160 countries.
The IEEE Computer Society is the premier source for information, inspiration, and collaboration in computer science and engineering. Connecting members worldwide, the Computer Society empowers the people who advance technology by delivering tools for individuals at all stages of their professional careers.
The Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute Company Limited (ASTRI) and a wholly-owned subsidiary of a Hong Kong-based telecom, have introduced a jointly developed Augmented Reality (AR) solution designed to transform field engineers’ operations and maintenance processes.
Called DataHOUSE AR Remote Hand Service (AR Remote Hand), the solution leverages wearable Augmented Reality (AR) technology and brings the telecom subsidiary’s field engineers and its customers to a new era, enabling them to slash the time and cost of troubleshooting and maintenance for achieving better results.
The AR Remote Hand Service employs AR glasses to stream real-time intelligence, troubleshooting logs, graphics and encrypted data from back-end systems to on-site engineers and maintenance staff, boosting field productivity by up to 50%.
By wearing the glasses, field engineers do not have to stop their work to communicate with back-end support teams via a laptop or phone, nor to refer to a paper manual. The AR Remote Hand provides field engineers with a heads-up display for remote visualisation in real-time as they install, maintain or troubleshoot equipment, thus speeding up the whole process.
The solution enables field engineers across multiple locations to overcome the challenges of multiple languages and skillsets in multi-technology environments; as well as to manage installation and maintenance issues more efficiently and cost-effectively, resulting in improved customer satisfaction. This ability to work effectively from remote locations is also helping the telecom’s customers and staff stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
To ensure safe operations and maintain service infrastructure availability by the global remote service support teams, the subsidiary is using DataHOUSE AR Remote Hand Service in its China Data Center operations to assure regional customers’ business operations continuity.
The CEO of ASTRI stated that the strategic collaboration has demonstrated the success in leveraging next-generation technology in real-life applications that benefit Hong Kong’s people and society, in this case, smart industrial applications and field service management solutions for Hong Kong enterprises.
The CEO of the telecom’s subsidiary stated that DataHOUSE AR Remote Hand is an innovative remote maintenance service adopted in data centre scenarios, which leverages AR intelligent operations and maintenance technologies. Going forward, the parties, through further collaboration and more innovative thinking, expect to enhance the service to cope with more scenarios and bring more value and better customer experience to enterprises.
In their collaboration, ASTRI focused on developing the software platform and customisation, while the subsidiary provided related information and opinions based on its experience with business cases in various scenarios and applications. This ensured the solution could effectively address enterprise customers’ needs across a range of industries. The result is a solution that offers a wide array of benefits in service provisioning and remote location visualisation and communication capabilities:
- Intuitive AR-Guided Installation, Troubleshooting and Maintenance: With AR Remote Hand, field engineers recognise any device with a designated QR code and access real-time intelligence, graphics, and encrypted data from back-end systems streamed on-site. Field staff can access virtual step-by-step guides or even 3D manuals via AR glasses, without the need to interrupt work to check information on a laptop or in a manual.
- Historical Records Analysis: Using a pre-set routine (e.g. gestures), on-site engineers can review a device’s historical record (e.g. customers’ network traffic or cloud CPU history), speed up data analysis and troubleshooting, while cutting downtime and cost.
- Seamless Communication and Collaboration with Back-end Support: Field engineers previously communicated with back-end support via email or phone, making it difficult to describe a troubleshooting situation. Removing distance and language barriers, back-end engineers now view real-time images streamed via AR glasses through an AR operations console, improving operational speed and quality. Its powerful video conferencing feature also offers engineers instant support and fosters off-site collaboration between global operations and maintenance teams. Also, back-end engineers can give field engineers clear instructions via 3D AR labelling.
In exceptional circumstances, such as the current pandemic, it is difficult for enterprises’ IT staff to travel to data centres and manage their equipment. Equipped with the latest AR glasses development, the DataHOUSE AR Remote Hand serves as customers’ remote hands. It not only shows the status of on-site equipment as customers watch in real-time from offices or other locations but also lets customers provide live instructions to the subsidiary’s on-site engineers as they troubleshoot equipment issues without physically being in the data centre.
The team has plans to extend the AR Remote Hand service for further customer use and will enlarge the list of equipment support. Adding AI applications for the AR glasses will be the next milestone as we work to deliver even more intelligent diagnoses.
For example, when a field engineer sees the status of the target-fixing equipment through the AR glasses, they will be shown several possible causes for the problem, with each cause ranked with a percentage according to how likely it is to be the source of the problem.
Indonesia is very serious about Intellectual Property rights and this is reflected in their policies and initiatives that have significantly revamped their IP landscape.
The Directorate General of Intellectual Property falls under the Ministry of Law and Human Rights DGIP Vision and Mission. With a vision to be an Intellectual Property Institution that guarantees legal certainty and a driver of innovation, creativity and national economic growth, it serves to achieve quality intellectual property services and enforcement.
There are three important pillars to improving intellectual property management in Indonesia including filing, commercialisation and law enforcement. The DGIP continues to communicate these three pillars to the regions and ministries of the relevant institutions, which in turn has had an impact on increasing IP applications with the DGIP, including patents, copyrights and trademarks.
Interestingly, Intellectual property registrations in Indonesia have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic
“It can be seen from the intellectual property registration income, that where we have implemented an online system, there were around Rp 250 billion (US$ 17 million) entries during March and April this year, up from the same period last year at only Rp 130 billion (US$ 8.8 million). This is beyond our expectations,” said Freddy Harris, the Director-General of the Intellectual Property, in the IP Talks From Home online talkshow via YouTube, as quoted from official information received by Kontan e-paper.
While only 3,000 copyrights were registered a few years ago, currently registrations have reached 21,000. Earlier domestic patent registrations formed about 10% of overall patent registrations but now makeup about 15%.
The DGIP has been successful in setting up virtual counters, the first virtual IP registration counters in Indonesia. “People have been very enthusiastic about the virtual counters, as seen from recent transactions. They no longer need to come to the physical counters because it is very risky for spreading the virus. With these counters, people are being adequately serviced and the DGIP’s acceptance rate has increased,” said Mr Harris.
Most recently, the Minister of Law and Human Rights, Yasonna Laoly graduated 139 new Intellectual Property Consultants (KIs). With this inauguration, Indonesia has 964 IP consultants. The inauguration of the batch of KI graduates is considered important by as IP consultants are a strategic piece to help protect the intellectual property rights of the community. Yasonna advised all KI consultants to always maintain integrity and trust – becoming consultants who maintain integrity, professional code of ethics, follow principles and obey the law.
The existence of KI consultant is intended to help and represent the public, especially intellectual property rights applicants such as creators, inventors, designers, rights holders or other parties who have the right to apply for registration in the field of intellectual property expounded Yasonna explained during the inauguration ceremony for KI consultants.
Not only in the intellectual property registration process, Yasonna said that IP consultants also have a moral responsibility to introduce the importance of IP protection to the public. IP consultants encourage Indonesians to protect their work as well as regional property through intellectual property registration.
KI consultants mobilise and encourage people to continue to be creative. According to him, research shows that the number of intellectual property applicants, be it brands, patents, industrial designs, or others, has a positive correlation with the economic growth of a nation. He exhorted the batch of consultants to encourage regions to register communal intellectual property as well as geographical indications.
In this connection, the Minister of Law and Human Rights (Menkumham) praised West Java’s contribution in terms of protecting communal intellectual property. West Java is one of the important economic pillars that contributes greatly to the field of intellectual property as a province with the largest brand ownership and geographical indication in Indonesia.
In addition, West Java is an exemplary province in developing regional regulations in the field of intellectual property, including communal intellectual property in the form of dances, traditional clothing and other cultures. These are all legacies that we must preserve because the progress of the times does not need to erode local wisdom.
Minister Yasonna is also optimistic that the Alam Santosa tourism village will further increase West Java’s contribution to the preservation and protection of communal intellectual property. With the Alam Santosa tourism village as a learning centre based on Indonesian culture to develop local policy insights as a contribution to the development of national cultural values, Kemenkumham is optimistic about West Java’s potential and contribution in the field of intellectual property in the future.
An incubatee at the Hong Kong Smart Government Innovation Lab has announced the launch of a new solution. It is now ready to be acquired by companies and institutions.
The solution, called the NB-IoT/LoRa Dual-detection parking occupancy sensing system, can accurately sense the occupancy status of parking space or spaces through its fully integrated dual-detection from Radar/mmWave and magnetometer sensing.
Equipped with leading NB-IoT and LoRa WAN technologies, the end-to-end system is easy to use and can be rapidly deployed. The solution also provides cross-system integration for various payment methods including self-help automatic payment, membership payment, and on-site payment. Data is displayed on the parking operation platform including parking space status, vehicle status, turnover rate, illegal parking behaviour and much more.
The solution was designed to enhance areas including City Management as well as Transport.
The innovation is equipped with the latest Internet of Things (IoT) technology.
The solution has the following benefits:
- Privacy: the system does not use the camera data to identify license plates or individuals’ faces, thereby eliminating privacy concerns;
- Low-cost: the parking timer sensor installation and maintenance costs are much lower camera installation costs;
- Mobile app: an interconnected app has been developed to help drivers navigate the parking areas;
- Special Parking Management:
- Detects and alerts users of no parking zones and U-turn area.
- Can Interlink with a speaker those with disabilities and for enhanced night safety parking.
- Charges different commercials accordingly (the system can be set to charge vehicles by number, hour, and time – for example, taxis, vehicles in temporary parking, and those in loading zone parking can all receive different rates).
- Detects scooter and heavy motorcycle parking spaces.
- Detects and manages shared parking.
- Can confirm whether a VIP or special user has parked in the appointed space.
The smart parking market
The global smart parking market is expected to rise from its initial estimated value of US3.38 billion in 2018 to an estimated value of US12.60 billion by 2026, registering a CAGR of 17.85% in the forecast period of 2019-2026. This rise in market value can be attributed to the increasing concerns of parking amid growth in the number of vehicles. The high cost of implementing and subsequent increase in the cost of the vehicles is expected to act as a restraint to the market growth.
Known as the “super project“, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Zhuhai Port has the most complex technology and the most difficult implementation in the history of Chinese bridge construction. It has 18 lanes and about 2500 parking spaces so far.
Additionally, a smart parking management system has been developed for the port. The all-in-one smart transportation solution for the car park of Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Zhuhai Port includes a license plate recognition/card system, a video parking guidance system, and more to achieve unattended parking. It also has a license plate scan to go system, parking guidance and voice IP intercom. Car owners can experience rich multimedia functions, such as pictures, videos, animations, and instructional information.
Thus, as the number of vehicles continues to rise, so will the need for bigger, better, smarter parking and Hong Kong is at the epicentre of innovations in the field.
About the Smart Government Innovation Lab
In 2018, the Government established the Smart Government Innovation Lab to explore hi-tech products such as AI and relevant technologies, including machine learning, big data analytics, cognitive systems and intelligent agent, as well as blockchain and robotics from firms, especially local start-ups.
The Lab is always on the lookout for innovation and technology (I&T) solutions that are conducive to enhancing public services or their operational effectiveness. I&T suppliers are encouraged to regularly visit the Lab’s website to check on the current business and operational needs in public service delivery and propose innovative solutions or product suggestions to address them.
The Assurance, Care and Engagement (ACE) Group, in partnership with the Smart Nation and Digital Government Group, the Building and Construction Authority, the Economic Development Board and industry partners such as The Singapore Contractors Association, will be distributing more than 450,000 contact-tracing devices to all migrant and local workers living or working in dormitories, as well as those in the Construction, Marine Shipyard and Process sectors.
The distribution of the devices will be carried out in phases from 18 October 2020 and is expected to be completed by early November 2020.
Contract Tracing Devices purpose built for worksite environments
The contact-tracing devices, BluePass tokens, are purpose-built for the dormitory and worksite environment. They are compact and water-resistant, and can be worn at all times.
They will be interoperable with and complement the use of the TraceTogether app on migrant workers’ smartphones, as some workers may not always be carrying their phones at work and at the dormitories.
The ACE Group and sector agencies will trial and evaluate how these tokens function and perform in the rugged work environments, and how the data from the tokens can help improve contact tracing and the quarantine process when new COVID-19 cases are detected.
Tokens will help minimise COVID-19 transmission and work disruptions
This will benefit employers and workers because only close contacts will be isolated, thereby minimising any work disruptions.
Data can also be extracted from the tokens, to assess the extent of intermixing amongst the workers. This can help employers and workers better understand how preventive measures can be taken to minimise intermixing and potential transmission of the virus.
The contact-tracing devices will be distributed with the support of the Forward Assurance and Support Teams to migrant workers living in purpose-built dormitories.
Workers living in other types of accommodation will be issued their devices at Regional Screening Centres for Rostered Routine Tests.
Self-collection points will be set up for workers residing in decant sites and other forms of accommodation. Employers and workers will be informed of the collection dates subsequently.
Photo Credit: www.gov.sg
The year’s end will see the number of digital consumers in Southeast Asia reach 310 million. Currently, Malaysia is the country with the largest population of digital users.
A new joint study from an American global management consultancy and the world’s largest social media platform entitled Digital Consumers of Tomorrow, Here Today reportedly surveyed online users in Southeast Asia (SEA) to study their purchasing behaviour. One of the noteworthy findings is that the events of 2020 have inadvertently accelerated the growth of Southeast Asia’s (SEA) digital economy.
SEA had been initially projected to reach 310 million digital users by the end of 2025, in two parties’ 2019 digital consumer report, Riding the Digital Wave. Instead, the pandemic and its consequent effects have seen online behaviour in the region far outstripping the initial forecasts, to the extent the five-year expectation is now set to be reached by the end of this year.
For the first time, this will place SEA’s collective online retail market penetration ahead of India’s. Moreover, seven out of every 10 (or 70%) consumers in SEA that is 15 years old or older will complete a digital transaction by the end of the year.
Of that online purchasing age group of 15 years and above, Malaysia has the highest percentage of digital consumers in one country, with a clear majority of 83% have bought at least one item online in the past year.
Additionally, social distancing and other limitations that prevent physical contact in 2020 have had the added impact of swinging 48% out of the 83% in Malaysia into becoming first-time digital shoppers, further propelling Malaysia toward being the SEA nation with the highest digital penetration.
The report also found that online retail gross merchandise value (GMV) in Malaysia is expected to double from US$4 billion (RM16.6 billion) to approximately US$9 billion by 2025. In the meantime, Malaysians are spending more online and are buying from more segments online with an average of 5 categories purchased from in 2020, up from 3.8 categories in 2019.
Further, for the first time since 2018, online grocery purchases more than doubled its growth (2.2x) in Malaysia in 2020, causing the country managing director of the social media platform’s Malaysia branch to remark that the upswing in Malaysian digital adoption had never been more pronounced as it was in 2020.
In Malaysia alone, the company is expecting approximately 4 million new digital consumers in 2020. Online is no longer just one of many channels, for many businesses, it has become their main channel. It is crucial for businesses to connect with consumers in frictionless ways and to replicate in-person interactions through social platforms, messaging, and short videos as much as possible to drive discovery and loyalty.
A partner at the global management consultancy firm noted that, on the other hand, the digital consumption behaviour in fast-growing SEA is developing quickly, with online spending now expected to triple by 2025 to close to US$150 billion.
The rise of digital consumers in the SEA region has accelerated at a white-knuckle pace, and their discovery habits are changing. Reinforcing brand reliability and standing out from the crowd matters now more than ever, as consumers are more open to switching brands and rely more on e-commerce platforms.