The pandemic has brought about drastic changes to our personal and business lives and in particular how we carry out our financial transactions and access Government Services. These services have mostly moved online.
It has slowed down business operations, closed borders, disrupted daily life but on the other hand, it has accelerated digitalisation in a way that could not have been predicted.
“It feels like we have experienced 5 years of digital transformation in 5 months” said Jim Cavanaugh, Vice President – Asia Pacific and Japan, AppDynamics. “Everything was moving in that direction, but COVID-19 has really accelerated the process.”
OpenGov recently had the opportunity to speak with Jim Cavanaugh, Vice President – Asia Pacific and Japan, AppDynamics, a Cisco Company about the effect the pandemic has had on digital transformation, the digitalisation acceleration that has taken place over the last 5 months, the increased pressure it has put on businesses, those already well established online and for those who have had to make that transition out of necessity and in a short space of time.
We spoke to Jim about the online customer journey and how online consumers have high expectations and less tolerance for latency. Also asked him on how AppDynamics have the solutions and tools to support businesses with the challenges they face in this pressurised environment.
Pandemic has caused increased pressure for digital services
The increase in online users has been due to necessity in this current pandemic, and in turn has put huge pressure on government online services and digital transactional services to provide high standards of online service.
Consumers are using apps for their finances, shopping, deliveries, food and transport. And as consumers rely more heavily on apps to get things done, they also expect their experience to be simple and seamless.
According to Jim, today, online consumers have higher expectations of “a perfect digital experience and have less tolerance for latency or challenges. The ‘new normal’ is a consumer wanting a ‘flawless digital experience.’”.
Users have less tolerance for bad online customer experience and the online customer journey is so important, it could be the difference between winning or losing a customer.
Technology to Enhance User’s Online Application Experience
AppDynamics is well placed to support organisations from the tremendous pressure they face in today’s climate. Offering niche services such as being able to visualize revenue paths and correlate customer and app experience, to finding and fixing app issues.
Application performance monitoring – they can actively monitor, analyse and optimise complex application environments at scale to end-user monitoring which optimises key business transactions with a complete view of the customer journey.
They also leverage AI and ML to allow the organisation in real-time to fix complicated processes in the background, without interrupting the online customer. AppDynamics use AI and ML in anomaly detection, it gives the end-user real-time analytics of how people are using the app and can resolve challenges without human interaction.
“The real magic is providing the real time correlation between user experience and the business outcome. Our customers are using that to take market share, increasing the top line and reducing costs on the bottom line”
Digital Banking Success Depends on Good App Experience
The Banking Sector was already moving more and more towards digital banking, offering banking services online and through apps. Singapore is a good example of how the financial sector is experiencing an increase in digital banks. The Monetary Authority Singapore recently selected 14 digital banking applications out of 21.
And as Digi banks use apps as their sole touchpoints, the performance of their apps and technology becomes paramount to meeting the regulatory guidelines and consumer expectations. With only 17% of customers who experience hiccups in their digital experience indicating a willingness to contact service providers for troubleshooting assistance, the 83% of lost customers indeed raises alarm bells on the need for fast, efficient and robust applications.
Given e-banking providers hinge their survival on application performance, addressing gaps and weaknesses in their digital strategies is the key to digital banking success. Proactive monitoring is the key to exceeding regulatory as well as consumer expectations through the employment of proactive monitoring via AI or human intervention and reducing MTTR, hence making reduced downtime a reality.
AppDynamics provides the insights needed around key issues in real-time — before they impact customers. They provide end-to-end visibility to drive application and business performance. A solution that is key in the current situation with an increased focus on online services and higher expectations on user experience. For companies to succeed in this climate they will have quickly identify the weak points in the customer experience online and remedy those immediately so to not lose their client to another service provider and the gain market share.
The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) has approved an e-commerce plan that aims to boost the sale of farm produce and accelerate distribution to avoid congestion during harvesting season. It will keep farm produce prices stable and eliminate intermediary merchants. Two sites, Postmart and Vo So, have been assigned to place farm produce on sale, thus promoting the digital economy in agriculture and rural development.
Through e-commerce sites and digital platforms, farming households will receive useful information about farm produce markets, predicted demand and production capacity, weather forecasts, and seed and fertilizer supply. High-quality input materials and tools for agriculture production will be introduced to farmers via the platforms, according to a press release.
MIC stressed that e-commerce platforms are an important solution to develop the digital economy in agriculture and rural development. MIC has asked provincial and municipal authorities to create favourable conditions for Vietnam Post and Viettel Post, the owners of the two e-commerce sites, to implement the plan. Farmers will be trained in digital skills. They will learn how to operate in the digital environment; how to register accounts to display products on the sites; and how to register online payment accounts and implement the process of packaging, connection, and delivery.
The result of the work will be measured by the number of farming households trained, the number of households having sale accounts/stalls on e-commerce sites, and the number of households with e-payment accounts. The support in boosting sales will be carried out through advertising farm produce on modern distribution channels based on digital platforms, expanding the domestic and international markets, and speeding up the distribution of farm produce to avoid congestion.
The plan also allows people in Vietnam and overseas to buy products quickly even amid restricted travel because of COVID-19. Particularly, it will help farming households develop their own brands, ensuring the quality of farm produce. Production households will receive information about farm produce markets and predicted demand and production capacity. This is the first time that ministries, branches, and local authorities have joined forces to help boost farm produce with a MIC-initiated project.
In the first quarter of the year, 7,987 households entered e-commerce sites, up by 191% over the same period last year. More than 14,590 products were put up for sale, up by 268%. The total transaction value went up by 293%.
Digital transformation has played an important role in promoting the growth of businesses and the retail sector, in particular. Data from the General Statistic Office show that in the first six months of 2021, total retail sales of goods and services went up 4.9% compared to the same period in 2020 to VND 2,463.8 trillion (over US$ 107 billion), of which goods retail revenue went up 6.2%. According to a report by OpenGov Asia, the results could be attributed to the fact that the people, household businesses, and firms have been quick to adapt their business operations to the new normal situation amid the pandemic and actively apply technological solutions in trading and payment.
The application of new technology such as the Internet of Things (IoT), big data, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning have allowed businesses to provide customer services with unique and valuable experiences, optimising management strategies as well as supply chain, hence improving revenue.
Advancements in information and communication technologies (ICTs), such as the internet, have resulted in improvements in life expectancy, GDP, life satisfaction, and environmental sustainability. Internet access is crucial to New Zealand’s effective digitalisation. As a result, the New Zealand government has established strategic priorities in the digital domain, including internet access.
Recently, New Zealand’s network company made its uncapped wireless broadband product available to more than 500,000 households, bringing uncapped connectivity to approximately 1.2 million New Zealand addresses in urban and rural areas. The expansion means that nearly two-thirds of New Zealand addresses, including more than 10% of rural households, can now stream their favourite shows and music, connect with loved ones, and work from home without having to worry about data caps.
According to the company’s Product Director, the company has a long-term goal of providing unrestricted capacity to all New Zealanders and is investing more than $100 million per year in its mobile network to make that goal a reality. “We are really happy to be able to take this next step toward uncapping New Zealand. We know Kiwis’ appetite for data is growing and as we continue upgrading and building more cell sites to increase capacity, we’re making uncapped broadband available to as many people as possible,” she said.
Instead of relying on physical infrastructure like fibre or copper to the home, wireless broadband connects customers to the nearest cell tower. It has the same speed as a 4G mobile connection and is usually faster than ADSL broadband, making it especially appealing to many rural customers who do not have access to fibre. Because there are no installation requirements, wireless broadband can usually be set up in minutes, and since it runs through the company’s mobile network, customers get end-to-end support rather than dealing with multiple parties if they have a fibre or copper fault.
The newest wireless broadband offer flexes the price a customer pays based on their monthly usage, giving them the freedom to use more if they want, and enjoy savings when they use less. “In other parts of rural New Zealand where we have great coverage but more limited capacity, we’re offering the broadband service for customers to sign up to before 6 September and retain the plan thereafter. This will enable us to closely monitor network performance and make sure we could continue to provide an excellent service in these areas if made permanent, given the added data use.”
OpenGov Asia reported that authorities recognise that if New Zealand is to compete internationally it would need better broadband. Enhanced internet speeds boost video conferencing and enable faster access to cloud services for New Zealand enterprises. Both are considered necessary for effective foreign trade by the government.
Broadband is considered essential infrastructure and the country’s digital divide underscores the difficulties in bringing its benefits to all people, regardless of demographics or geography. Tens of millions of people do not have access to in-home broadband, mobile data, or both. These disparities are especially pronounced among rural, low-income households. While physical internet access remains a challenge for some households, many more struggle to afford services and navigate digital spaces.
The Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) programme is transforming New Zealand’s telecommunications sector. This initiative is supporting both the digital economy and the emerging digital media sector. UFB is expected to be completed by 2020, with approximately 540,000 premises connected by early 2016. This infrastructure will allow the residential and business segments to make much better use of the potential for IP-delivered services and content, allowing the country to remain at the forefront of the digital future. Though some of these deployments may not be completed for several years, they will undoubtedly pave the way for many new and exciting developments in the future.
China aims to build environmentally friendly data centres, including those in clusters, across the country that will feature advanced technology and computing power compatible with the growth of its digital economy by the end of 2023, according to a three-year plan unveiled by the nation’s top industry regulator on July 14.
China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said efforts will be made to accelerate the construction of data centre clusters in regions such as the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and the Yangtze River Delta region to deploy large-scale computing power to meet the needs of major regional development strategies. The plan also called for more actions to improve the service quality and the utilisation efficiency of computing power in provinces such as Guizhou and Gansu.
The MIIT said these facilities would also support the transformation of other sectors, including those involved in raw materials, consumer products and digital information. The move is aimed at ensuring data centres are distributed in an orderly way to balance supply and demand. This will be in harmony with China’s quest for high-speed, mobile, ubiquitous and safe information infrastructure.
A nationwide network of big data centres will constitute a sound telecom infrastructure for companies to better accelerate digital transformation and promote the integration of the digital economy and the real economy.
This approach can encourage companies to migrate their data to cloud platforms and make better use of their data assets to ensure data security. Big data centres, as the key infrastructure in the digital economy era, are playing an important role in supporting cutting-edge technologies such as cloud computing, big data and the internet of things
The partnership includes building big data centres and providing global users with basic big data-related services, including co-location, bandwidth renting, server renting and virtual hosting, as well as some value-added services like data backup.
Chinese tech companies are quickening their efforts to deploy internet data centres globally, tapping the ever-growing business needs of both international companies and Chinese enterprises marching overseas.
To deploy internet data centres globally require secure internet. According to an article, China has launched a special six-month campaign to regulate its internet industry. The campaign targets problems that may disrupt market order, damage consumer rights, or threaten data security.
The ministry will crackdown on malicious internet company practices that could disrupt market order, such as link-blocking activities and interference in products and services operated by other entities. technical measures as required in the collection, transmission and storage of data, and in offering the data to other entities.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, China’s Ministry of Science and Technology has played an important role in China’s efforts to build a moderately prosperous society. China has taken a host of practical measures to promote science and technology in socio-economic development, foster innovation, support the transfer and industrialisation of research results, and encourage more investment in scientific and technological infrastructure.
The ministry has also made breakthroughs in its reform of the research system, created a better environment for innovation, improved the resource allocation system and has inspired creativity in science and technology workers.
The ministry has also worked with multiple provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions to encourage institutes in economically thriving areas to cooperate with their counterparts in less-developed western regions, and has also helped technology-intensive east coast enterprises establish presences in the west. The introduction of investment, business and talented people has helped less-developed areas build their own high-tech industries, train local professionals, and create more jobs.
University of Queensland staff and students will participate in a year-long mobility-as-a-service trial that will allow them to plan, book and pay for multi-modal trips through an app. The trial app is called ODIN PASS and its development is being co-led with the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR).
More broadly, the trial is part of an iMOVE cooperative research centre program. iMOVE is a network of government, companies, and researchers. The ODIN PASS covers multi-modal trips made on TransLink public transport, taxis, rideshare, car-share and e-scooters and e-bikes. Private operators including Neuron, 13CABS and GoGet have also signed on as transport options. The technology itself comes from personalised trip planning, corporate mobility and other mobility-as-a-service technology company.
Trial participants can “subscribe to monthly transport plans and bundles to pay for services through the app, which will offer discounts and reward points on selected modes of transport,” the university said in a statement. It was noted that the number of participants will initially be limited to approximately 200; with this number increasing over time, up to a maximum of approximately 10,000. The Chief Operating Officer of UQ said the trial would contribute to “designing and delivering even better transport options for Brisbane.
The app gives people the option to personally tailor their trips by combining multiple transport options, including focusing on that last mile connection, said the Queensland Transport Minister. For example, some people may get off a bus and need to walk some distance to get to their desired destination, so this app will assist students to plan out a seamless transition using different transport modes to help them get to their destination faster.
This is one of the largest real-world MaaS trials undertaken in Australia in terms of the number of service providers and has the potential to shape the future of the industry. Being able to plan and test different mobility solutions through a single app is a real game-changer; traffic data has also been integrated into the app to provide information on things like road disruptions and suggested alternative routes.
Following the 12-month trial, iMOVE said the analysis would be conducted to determine if the app should be put into production permanently at UQ and whether mobility-as-a-service should be expanded more broadly” beyond the university.
University students and staff tend to be open to experimenting with and be early adopters of, new technologies. UQ is a community of tens of thousands of people who travel to and from – and between – UQ campuses. UQ’s St Lucia campus is also a large regional attractor, the second-largest commuter destination in Brisbane after the CBD and is home to a group of world-renowned researchers specialising in transport and sustainable engineering research.
These factors combined make UQ a natural place for a real-world project to test and research innovative approaches for improved mobility. Sustainable transport solutions are an important part of UQ’s vision, and the university is actively exploring opportunities to support mobility innovation that can improve the daily lives of UQ staff and students.
Given this, TMR and UQ, through this iMOVE project, will deploy a MaaS trial exclusively available to UQ staff and students. The project is centred around the use of a smartphone app for MaaS users to sign-up and manages their mobility passes (or plans). This app will include an advanced MaaS journey planner, through which users will be able to plan and book multi-modal trips in South East Queensland.
Trial participants will purchase different MaaS passes, which will vary in price depending on the specific inclusions. The passes will include options such as unlimited public transport, and unlimited e-bike/escooter-share (time-limited trips), as well as provide discounts on taxi/ride-sharing trips, and car-sharing. Other additional transport modes may also be assessed and considered for inclusion as the trial progresses.
Singaporean researchers have developed a platform that automates and speeds up the detection of insulation failure in SP Group substations, helping to prevent blackouts. Since February 2021, the machine learning platform has helped to reduce 90% of the time spent daily on these routine checks. This eases the officers’ workload and enables them to focus on analysing the measurements suspected to have abnormalities.
As the owner and operator of Singapore’s electricity network, the company has more than 11,000 substations delivering electricity to industrial, commercial and residential consumers here. Part of the work in the maintenance of substations includes checking for partial discharge – an electrical discharge that does not completely bridge the space between two conducting electrodes – which is a key symptom of deteriorating electrical insulation. A fault due to insulation failure can lead to the tripping of protection equipment, which could trigger blackouts and even a fire.
Previously, checking for insulation degradation was highly labour-intensive. Operators used a handheld device to extract patterns and waveforms measured by the equipment at the substations. They then manually scanned through the pattern and waveform data to look for potential abnormalities.
To make the process more efficient, the researchers devised a machine learning platform that analyses the waveform data uploaded from the handheld devices, and flags suspected partial discharge. The platform uses a unique algorithm, called adaptive clustering, which removes noise of varying levels to accurately isolate partial discharge data points for analysis.
Typically, going through five waveform data files would take about 10 minutes manually. The platform runs through at least 50 waveform data files in the same amount of time. That is a 10-fold efficiency increase. As a result, the number of suspected partial discharge cases that officers review daily has dropped significantly from around 400 to 40. The project took nine months to complete. The machine learning platform can be installed on the company’s local machines from the shared drives and is easily accessible off-site even without internet access.
Machine learning is critical to leave the lab and enter places where people work, and ultimately makes a positive difference in their lives. The team is happy to continue on this journey as Singapore develops its infrastructure to meet the next stage of growth. The team is very pleased with the good outcome of this project, which allowed them to improve their productivity. They will continue to explore the use of advanced technology in our pursuit of even better network reliability.
Singapore has been focusing on developing machine learning for a variety of purposes including combatting fake media. As reported by OpenGov Asia, AI Singapore launches the “Trusted Media Challenge”, a five-month-long competition aimed at attracting the Artificial Intelligence (AI) community to design and test out AI models and solutions that will easily detect audio-visual fake media, where both video and audio modalities may be modified.
The initiative – targeted at AI enthusiasts and researchers from around the world – aims to also strengthen Singapore’s position as a global AI hub by incentivising the involvement of international contributors, and sourcing innovation ideas globally.
Fake media technology or deepfake tech is becoming mainstream, delivering benefits and yet posing a variety of threats. The technology has allowed movie producers to manage videos and dialogues without expensive reshoots, facilitated professional training, or has been used to protect the identities of those being persecuted, among other applications.
At the other end of the spectrum, deepfakes are used to sow mistrust and seed scamming, making them an existential threat to societies today. If left unchecked, fake media risks becoming a serious national security concern.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked catastrophe on the health and economic systems, contactless payments were a popular method of payment. Contactless payments have emerged as an essential solution for all businesses, allowing them to drive their operations forward while also ensuring safety in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
In line with its mission to provide world-class care, the Philippines’ tertiary hospital has partnered with a leading e-payment company to provide best-in-class digital payment technologies to its healthcare system.
Patients can now experience a safer and more convenient way to pay for hospital bills and services, from on-site medical checkups to drive-thru laboratory services and online health consultations. Patients can pay for hospital services using e-payment with credit or debit card, as well as other e-wallets, at the hospital cashier’s One terminal, payment link via the Digital Invoice for teleconsultation, and soon, through the payments checkout online payment portal at the hospital’s website.
“We are grateful to work with our leading e-payment service as this engagement helps to strengthen our mission to provide quality healthcare solutions and exceptional service to our patients, especially at these unprecedented times. With the availability of digital payment options to settle fees for our services, it makes it easier and more convenient for patients and family members. Plus, we get to assure them even further that we implement strict health and safety protocols so they can have worry-free transactions and visits,” said, the President of the Philippine’s hospital.
In the midst of the pandemic, the hospital has launched new healthcare services, including (Home and Office service for RT-PCR and other laboratory services), Teleconsultation, COVID-19 Home Healthcare service, Park and Lab, and Park and Swab Drive-Thru RT PCR Service. These services ensure that patients continue to receive the quality care they require during a pandemic.
The president of the e-payment company then added, “Providing patients and their families with access to contactless and cashless payment options is important. It brings safety and convenience to the overall patient experience. We are excited to bring the best digital payment technologies to the hospital and the rest of the healthcare industry.”
The e-payment company provides seamless payment solutions that enable merchants of all sizes to accept digital payments online and in-person – whether via e-wallet, cards, or QR codes. It leads the way as the preferred online payment gateway for Philippine businesses due to its user-friendly and accessible online payment solutions that can be easily integrated into various e-commerce channels.
OpenGov Asia reported that when the coronavirus threatened to engulf the mostly cash-reliant archipelago, the Philippines unexpectedly saw a steady take-up of cashless and digital payment methods, a steadier acceptance of e-commerce over physical shopping, and even the establishment of the Philippines’ first ‘cash-lite’ community.
Some economic transactions may have shifted to online marketplaces during this time period, as people and businesses increasingly turned to online platforms to conduct economic and social activities. Nevertheless, the rise in platform use was highly variable across industries and countries.
Countries with higher levels of economic and technological development, easier access to infrastructure and connectivity, better digital skills, and broader Internet use saw a greater increase in the use of online marketplaces, potentially mitigating the COVID-19 shock’s negative effects on output and jobs.
Technology has drastically altered the way we live and behave in many industries. In terms of payments, the way we shop, and pay is constantly changing. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates how payment trends can shift at any time. Rather than attempting to predict the future, our goal as a tech-first payments company is to provide merchants with the tools they need to adapt and thrive in any environment.
Karnataka has announced a programme to up-skill its youth workforce through Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), by converting 150 of them into technology hubs. ITIs are post-secondary schools in India constituted under the Directorate General of Training (DGT) of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship to provide training courses. According to a news report, the Chief Minister (CM), B.S. Yediyurappa, noted that the ITIs will be upgraded as part of an agreement with a private tech giant. The programme will refurbish 78 old labs and establish 72 new ones. It is expected to be completed by September.
Programmes for Upskilling
As the state has a population of 22.1 million between the ages of 16 and 35, several programmes have been initiated to improve economic and social development by technically skilling the youth to global standards. The CM announced that a Karnataka Skill and Livelihood Taskforce had been set up to create ten million job opportunities in the next five years. To provide an international-level quality of training, ITIs have tied up with leading industrial enterprises and the curriculum has been revamped. The programme is focused on apprenticeship, and 30,000 apprentices will receive incentives from the government. Currently, the state has 24 government tool rooms and training centres (GTTCs), six more will be added soon.
Another scheme, the ‘Knowledge Skill Initiative’ will be implemented in all the schools by the task force. The government will also open two more Karnataka German Technology Training Institutes (KGTTIs) at Belagavi and Mangaluru. This is in addition to the five such institutes across the state. The government is also launching a ‘skill hub’ which integrates all the skill development programmes initiated by various departments.
Further, the government recently signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) to begin courses related to the automotive sector in selected ITIs in Bengaluru, Ramanagara, and Tumakuru in collaboration with private players. Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister, Ashwath Narayan, who is in charge of skill development, entrepreneurship, and livelihood, said a programme named ‘Udyoga’ to offer new skill-based diploma courses would be launched in October.
Earlier this month, the state government opened the Karnataka Digital Economy Mission (KDEM) office as a part of its Beyond Bengaluru programme to create technology clusters in tier-II cities. The office will bring together industrialists, entrepreneurs, academicians, and start-ups. It will act as a bridge between the government and the industry. It is a public-private partnership venture.
As per a news report, the state government’s Beyond Bengaluru initiative plans to use the pandemic to create ecosystems in emerging IT destinations and leverage trained human resources by providing them employment opportunities locally. “The state government is committed to balancing economic growth and employment opportunities across the state. Beyond Bengaluru will transform the digital economy in clusters like Hubballi, Mysuru, and Mangaluru,” the Deputy CM said. The government has set a target to create 10,000 start-ups and 10,00,000 IT professionals by 2030, under the Beyond Bengaluru programme.
Last month, the state unveiled a new technology platform to facilitate and streamline Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funding for various developmental activities. As OpenGov Asia reported, the online portal, Akanksha, was developed in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). It allows corporates to identify sectors where they want to put their CSR money. The collaboration also enables the CSR stakeholders to align their CSR goals with the state’s SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) priorities and showcase the best CSR practices for further scale-up. The CM called it a first-of-its-kind initiative in the country.