A recent report has estimated that by 2025, the tech jobs in demand will be cloud architecture designers and original digital content creators for software and web applications. India will require nine times as many digital workers by 2025 as it does currently, and premiere Indian Institutes are partnering with industry players to train students and early-stage professionals in emerging technologies to meet the demand.
With the rapidly evolving digital landscape, the increasing transition of work, education, shopping and entertainament online, it is becoming imperative to create a safe and secure cyber environment. Given the increasing use of the internet in all spheres of life, it is becoming critical to be able to protect against cyber-attacks. In this context, and people with skills to develop digital security and cyber forensic tools will be important.
The cybersecurity market in India is set to grow to US$3.05 billion by 2022, at a growth rate that is nearly 1.5 times the global growth rate of cybersecurity expenditure. It has the potential to create over two million new job opportunities by 2025.
However, during the first nine months of 2020 alone, it is estimated that organisations and individuals lost about US$6 trillion due to cyber thefts; companies with the highest levels of security also fell prey to cybercrimes. Research has further predicted that by 2027, over 900 million Indians will have a digital presence, significantly increasing the potential for cyber-attacks.
Consequently, businesses and enterprises are scouting for trained cybersecurity professionals. However, the supply does not meet the demand. In fact, digitally-skilled workers only represent 12% of India’s total workforce. The country will need far more digital expertise by 2025 than it has right now. Further, the average Indian worker will need to develop seven new digital skills by the same period to keep pace with tech advancements and demand.
Over the past year, as the pandemic has changed the way education is delivered and spotlighted the need for digital transformation, Indian universities and organisations have been developing courses in emerging technology to bridge the digital gap and equip students and the Indian workforce with the skills they require to thrive in the new normal.
For example, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) launched two 12-week long online courses on AI/ML and cybersecurity. The Indian Institute of Science (IISc) announced the launch of a 10-month Advanced Certification Programme in Deep Learning, which offers a practical understanding of how ML algorithms can be developed and optimised for hardware.
Further, earlier this month, the IIT-Patna and WileyNXT announced they would offer post-graduate certification programmes in cybersecurity and blockchain, artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML), and big data engineering. The courses are specifically designed for final-year students and early-stage professionals who aim to develop a career in the respective fields. After completing the programme, the participants will get a joint certificate from WileyNXT and IIT-Patna, a media report noted. Overall, there has been an increase in IIT placements for AI/ML, with a few institutes already surpassing last year’s total number of offers in emerging technologies.
Also this month, IIT-Jodhpur launched an Advanced Certification Bootcamp in Cyber Defense. As OpenGov Asia had reported, it offers mentoring from industry experts and access to advanced cloud-based labs on the latest cyber tools and techniques.
Most recently, the IIT in Delhi launched a six-month certificate programme in digital marketing. The course offers 18 modules that cover website planning and development, email marketing, and advertising. It is industry-oriented and will explore internet/digital analytics, advertising and marketing. Lectures will be delivered by leading IIT-Delhi faculty and industry experts.
The overall drive for upskilling is in line with the nation’s desire to make the e-development of India an engine for transition into a developed nation and an empowered society. The country believes in e-governance for empowering citizens, promoting the inclusive and sustainable growth of the Electronics, IT & ITeS industries, enhancing India’s role in internet governance, adopting a multipronged approach that includes the development of human resources, promoting R&D and innovation, enhancing efficiency through digital services and ensuring a secure cyberspace.
As tests and vaccinations for communicable diseases gradually become mandatory requirements for travel, they also become targets for counterfeiters. Fraudsters are selling fake Covid-19 test and vaccination certificates on the black market according to Europol.
Thus, to support the safe re-opening of international economies, a Hong Kong-based technology firm developed MatriX-iPass – a secure test and vaccine management platform designed for COVID-19 and other communicable diseases. MatriX-iPass allows citizens to travel with confidence and businesses to operate safely again.
Fake certificates and test results have become rampant as travellers seek to cross borders or gain entry to particular establishments, tourist destinations, or other countries. MatriX-iPass solves this through a counterfeit-proof verification process using blockchain technology and counterfeit-proof paper-based solutions to bar entry to holders of fake certificates and tampered test results.
The VP of the tech firm stated that MatriX-iPass is designed to be an end-to-end solution, from managing test or vaccination registration, issuing health passports, continuously updating health status, as well as inspecting the health passports’ unique multi-level security features.
Additional modules are available to deter and detect fraud, corruption and other illegal activities with the help of artificial intelligence and blockchain technology.
Currently, the MatriX-iPass system is being used by the Philippines’ largest Covid-testing company at a popular tourist destination that draws over 2 million tourists per year pre-pandemic.
As the largest Covid-testing company in the Philippines, LABx needed highly secure technology for our test certificates. Fake certificates were becoming rampant in the country just for people to cross borders, the CEO of LABx stated. The technology confirms travellers’ Covid-test status and their vaccination records which are critically needed in protecting citizens from the risk of communicable diseases.
HealthMatriX is supporting the LABx Vpass Health Visa program, to provide document and digital solutions to manage vaccination programs and verify health credentials. The physical Health Visa is designed with banknote-grade security printed features, while the money-transfer type of digital security is applied to store, interchange, and validate the sensitive private health data.
Within the MatriX-iPass App, citizens can register and see their test results and vaccination status. A counterfeit-proof Health Passport would then be issued to them by the facility that administered the vaccine or test.
MatriX-iPass inspection app and other tools can be used to determine the veracity of vaccine certificates or test results being presented to them. This makes for a closed-loop system that can effectively protect the integrity of vaccine certificates and test results.
To ensure that certificates and test results are authentic and safe from hacks, MatriX-iPass employs blockchain technology, cryptographic features, and AI-powered counterfeit threat detection systems to further enhance security.
MatriX-iPass can also be integrated with other systems and can be used for vaccination tracking and tracing. It’s also scalable for a wider implementation such as nationwide government pandemic response and augmenting existing contact tracing efforts.
- A complete 4-in-1 solution that includes a digital MatriX-iPass health record management system, a convenient mobile app, an anti-copy physical health passport, and a high-security stamp and ink with forensic security features.
- Blockchain encryption with built-in AI for spotting probable cases of fraud introduced to the system.
- Track & trace system for secure document distribution designed to eliminate misuse of original Health Passports.
- Reliable verification process through a cloud-hosted server for digital verification and a high-security anti-copy physical health passport for offline use cases.
A total of RM15 billion (US$ 3.7 billion) will be invested over 10 years for the implementation of 5G technology throughout the country. The multi-billion investment is among four important types of digital infrastructure initiatives outlined by the government under the MyDigital — the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint – to accelerate innovation and create an effective digital ecosystem in the country.
At the virtual launching ceremony of the MyDigital today, the Prime Minister said such efforts would be carried out by a special purpose vehicle under the government and is expected to create some 105,000 employment opportunities. He said all licenced telecommunication companies will have equal access to these infrastructures, in marketing their 5G services to their respective customers.
The infrastructure’s cost-sharing enables telecommunication companies to generate higher returns and, in turn, provide better and cheaper 5G services to consumers. This is expected to boost the use of 5G, thus enhance economic capability in triggering more product and service innovations. By the end of this year (2021), 5G technology will be enjoyed by the rakyat in stages. With this, Malaysia will emerge as one of the first countries in this region to build a 5G ecosystem using internet and cloud services in real-time to enable instant sharing of information,” the Prime Minister stated in his speech at the virtual launching ceremony.
It was also noted that 5G technology will serve as a game-changer as more smart services with direct impact will be made available for the well-being of the people. 5G technology not only promises better and faster internet access, but more importantly, it also enables various important applications to be in the hands of end-users, including health monitoring applications for chronic patients, smart emergency assistance, and special applications for senior citizens who are living alone, he said.
According to another article, Malaysia is speeding up 5G deployments in the country through a “special purpose vehicle” (SPV) that will receive 5G spectra, as well as build, operate and lease 5G infrastructure to new and existing telecoms by the end of 2021.
Speaking to the media to elaborate on the government’s 5G plans, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) Chairman, said the SPV will be fully owned by Malaysia’s ministry of finance (MOF). The yet-to-be-named SPV is expected to invest a total of RMB15 billion over the next decade and will be given the appropriate spectrum to own, implement and manage 5G infrastructure. 5G services will be commercially available by the fourth quarter this year.
The frequency bands chosen for 5G in Malaysia are 700MHz, 3.5GHz and 28GHz. Spectrum bands already allocated to existing operators cannot be repurposed for 5G usage to ensure continued focus on 4G development. The head of Malaysia’s industry regulator said urban and industrial areas would likely have commercially available 5G coverage by the fourth quarter, in addition to some rural centres to bridge the digital divide.
According to the MCMC Chairman, the Covid-19 pandemic had galvanised the government to consider the importance of connectivity, especially in suburban and rural areas where even 4G coverage and quality is marginal at best.
He said internet traffic in Malaysia has not only increased by up to 70% but has shifted to residential areas by the same percentage. Speeds have reduced by up to 40% and complaints on poor indoor coverage have increased by up to 70%.
The MCMC Chairman said another factor exacerbating these challenges is the high investment needed for 5G network roll-outs, which could cost between 25% and 75% more than what was needed for 4G, citing an unnamed study.
“Covid-19 has been a stress test for Malaysia’s digital infrastructure,” he said. “A new approach is now needed to address the demand for a better digital economy, and that is why we need a new national approach to managing Malaysia’s 5G roll-out.”
Vietnam has been witnessing robust digital transformations in areas where local tech companies like Viettel, FPT, and the Be Group, have secured strong footholds in the domestic market, according to a recent press release.
The National Forum on Developing Vietnam’s Technology Companies, which was held in Hanoi last December, spotlighted digital transformation, tech companies, and ‘Make in Vietnam’ technologies. Many Vietnamese tech companies found how to create breakthroughs in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution between 2018 and 2020.
Vietnam has more than 58,000 technology businesses, and the target of 100,000 tech firms by 2030 could be achieved as early as 2025.
From a small construction company founded more than 30 years ago, the military-run mobile network operator Viettel has transformed itself into one of Vietnam’s largest telecom groups and established a trusted name not only locally but also overseas.
Viettel’s annual revenue now stands at US$20 billion, with annual profit at more than US$1.74 billion, according to Deputy Director-General, Nguyen Thanh Nam. The company has remained among the world’s top 500 largest brands, it also ranks among the top in Southeast Asia and 28th globally in the field of telecommunications.
With strong telecom networks, Viettel has focused its efforts on developing an ecosystem of various made-in-Vietnam technologies serving multiple areas, ranging from finance and health care to education and smart cities.
Viettel has successfully developed its own core technologies for 5G networks. Last year it became the sixth provider of 5G devices globally. It has now geared up to expand the 5G network for commercial use this year.
Last year, at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the group was one of the first in the country to launch a telehealth service, called Viettel Telehealth, allowing people to access health care services online. During the two months after launch, it was used by more than 1,000 clinics throughout the country and more than 4,000 commune and ward-based medical stations are expected to adopt it in the near future.
Recognising the importance of digital transformation during the pandemic, the Chairman the of telecom group FPT, Truong Gia Binh, called on the business community to keep themselves updated on digital trends.
IT workers in Vietnam are now as capable as those from many developed countries. With such a workforce, Vietnam will be able to satisfy the demand for digital transformation both at home and abroad.
Digital technologies bridge gaps between sectors, countries, and enterprises, and result in the growth of the digital economy with great future potential, the Director-General of the Be Group, Nguyen Hoang Phuong, said. “If local companies do not stand up and dominate core businesses, they will lose in their own backyard. Vietnamese people must create their own technologies and digital ecosystem to become competitive and reach out to the world.”
The Be ride-hailing app holds a market share of some 30% in Vietnam and is locked in competition against international players. The company is eyeing the development of a network of convenient transport, logistics, finance, and tourism services combined into a single app.
The government will continue to complete institutions and laws, carry out appropriate strategies and policies, and improve the business and investment environment to develop the business ecosystem, especially those involved in digital technology.
In Singapore, there are already seven car-sharing players and it is about to get even more heated with the entry of a new player that promises to adapt to accelerated changes brought on by COVID-19 and provide the next evolution of carsharing in the country. The company has launched a fleet of 400 cars across 300 locations and it hopes to expand the fleet size to 1,000 vehicles across over 600 locations island-wide by the end of 2021, making it the country’s largest carsharing service provider.
With the app, users can book, unlock and lock the vehicles without the need for an access card or retrieve a physical key. Their vehicles feature keyless ignitions, users simply need to push a button to start the engine and drive. Users need to be at least 19 years old and have at least one year of driving experience with a valid Class 3, 3A, or 3C driving licence.
Furthermore, the company’s entire fleet is equipped with advanced telematics which enables predictive maintenance and refuelling operations. Since petrol is taken care of by the company, it means that users do not have to pay for petrol and waste time refuelling vehicles for every single trip.
It is also worthy to note that the car-sharing service operates on an A-to-A return trip car-sharing model, which allows users to collect and return the vehicle at the same point. The developer reasoned that “an A-to-B service is not financially viable” without significant operational scale and user adoption. The company also adopts a “pay-as-you-go pricing model”, which means that users are charged after each trip for the duration and mileage charges incurred.
When it comes to encouraging responsible usage, the company penalises users who cause inconvenience to other users. They may be fined, or in more severe cases, get banned from using the service.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, as part of the initiative to move on from the negative effects brought upon by the pandemic, the government further encouraged the early adoption of shifting from traditional petrol-fuelled vehicles to electric vehicles or EVs. The Government will allocate S$30 million for projects and initiatives supporting the shift.
They will also introduce more incentives to narrow the “cost differential” between electric cars and internal combustion engine cars, announced Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat in his Budget speech. Accordingly, the new car-sharing service provider’s current fleet already has a significant number of hybrid vehicles, but they have plans to progressively “electrify” it. As such, the company is looking at working with more fleet partners, including potential strategic partners, that are keen to provide electric vehicles.
In the long run, the company said that they also aim to reduce the demand for vehicle ownership by 100,000. By taking vehicles off the roads, they intend to help the country free up its economic resources for more productive pursuits and protect the environment, in line with the government’s car-lite masterplan.
The country has made a good start in planning for a “car-lite” city. Since their first Concept Plan in 1971, planners have consciously applied a transit-oriented urban planning approach to ensure that all new towns and commercial centres are well connected by a comprehensive bus rail public transport system. Since then, the government introduced measures such as the Certificate of Entitlement (COE) and the Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) to control the ownership and usage of private vehicles.
Moreover, the company’s service and platform has been designed and built to tackle specific pain points for existing car-sharing users and to remove any barriers for potential new adopters. They believe that a simple, flexible, and accessible car-sharing service, operated at a significant scale, will be a legitimate and serious alternative to car ownership.
New Zealand Tech Alliance (NZTech) whose purpose is “to connect, promote and advance tech ecosystems and help the New Zealand economy grow to create a prosperous digital nation”, feels that the government must be more proactive in educating the population on cybersecurity.
The body believes that New Zealanders must be educated about cyber risks through government funding to some extent. It’s time, they feel, that the government allocate funds for educating people on avoiding becoming victims of cybercrime, much in the same way as there is funding for road safety.
NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller says as New Zealand businesses operate within an increasingly digital environment, cyber threats are growing in sophistication and magnitude. Organisations and businesses are facing increasing and rampant cybercrime threats and the situation is deteriorating. Almost a million New Zealanders are falling victim to cybercrime every year. According to a recent report, hundreds of the country’s businesses with online capabilities are now losing money to cyber-criminals.
In the third quarter of last year, 281 Kiwis’ businesses reported cybersecurity breaches and many others are likely to have suffered the same fate, without reporting it. The average direct financial loss for small to medium business is still relatively minor, only a few thousand dollars, so, it often goes unreported. However, it was also noted that at least 13 Kiwi businesses lost more than NZ$100,000 each near the end of last year.
According to Muller, about 87% of New Zealanders concede security of their personal information online is important, but 40% say safeguarding their information is inconvenient. Additionally, almost a third of New Zealanders do not regularly check the privacy settings on their social media accounts. Roughly the same number of people do not use two-factor authentication when logging into an online account.
He confirms that “the world of cybersecurity and attacks are rife, and CERT NZ, the government entity that tracks cyber breaches, says Kiwis are not protecting their digital systems. Ransomware has become the biggest threat, used by criminals to lock up people’s systems and data and then demand a ransom in return for their release. In the United States, agencies including the FBI have warned that the healthcare system is facing an increased and imminent threat of cybercrime. Furthermore, cybercriminals are unleashing a series of extortion attempts in the new frontier of crime aimed at locking up hospital information systems. Local businesses and organisations must act quickly to prevent future cyber hacks.
The government must do its part to encourage organisations and businesses to bring cybersecurity to the front of their digital strategy to ensure they are operating at their peak and to protect both customers and staff. As part of its efforts to promote cybersecurity education, NZTech had the biggest cyber risk summit in Wellington on February 24. Attendees heard experts and peers at the front lines of cybersecurity discuss the realities of cyber risk in the modern business environment.
Statistics released in the summit revealed that 66% of businesses attacked make no substantial changes to prevent future attacks. With criminals often only taking small amounts the individual cost feels small, whereas the collective economic cost is huge. What businesses do not normally consider is the risk of reputational damage if data is stolen and the public finds out about it. There are also costs of fixing systems that get damaged by hackers.
OpenGov Asia reported on a study done by a New Zealand cybersecurity firm that says as organisations accelerate their spending on cloud migration and digitalisation to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, many may be overestimating their ability to protect their systems and their processes. It is estimated that about 80% of cybercrimes could be prevented. Simple measures like using and updating complex passwords and installing updates go a long way in safety.
The Minister for Science, Technology, and Earth Sciences, Dr Harsh Vardhan, discussed a range of scientific and technical issues and possible multilateral collaborations with a high-level delegation led by the Brazilian Minister for Science, Technology, and Innovation, Marcos Cesar Pontes.
The deliberations focused on India- Brazil collaboration in the areas of healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and COVID-19 vaccines. The two sides will also cooperate on biotechnology, energy, nanotechnology, information communication technologies (ICTs), artificial intelligence (AI), and cybersecurity.
The countries agree to monitor biomes and agricultural areas, oceans, water quality, air quality, and atmospheric pollution by satellite. Further, they will develop earth system modelling for weather forecasting and climate change.
According to a press release, the Indian Minister informed his counterpart that a series of scientific events have been planned, which will be steered and coordinated by India as Chair of BRICS in 2021. India is also keen to collaborate with Brazil in atmospheric sciences, renewable energy, low-carbon technologies, agriculture, cyber-physical systems, pollution, circular economy, space, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
The Minister emphasised that the mobility of researchers is key for the success of any collaboration. The project-based mobility for researchers and students needs to be increased to build long-term strategic collaboration and networking among the scientists and research organisation of both sides.
Under the ‘Vaccine Maitree’ mechanism proposed to make safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines available at affordable prices to the highest risk populations, India is committed to providing supplies of vaccines to partner nations. Last month, Brazil received two million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from India.
The Brazilian Minister noted that the side was keen to collaborate with and receive technical help from India to prepare for the future and also tackle situations like the recent pandemic. Both sides acknowledged the ongoing collaboration between the two countries in the fields of science, technology, and innovation at the meeting.
Recently, India announced it will collaborate with the European Union (EU) to develop and adopt a long-term strategic perspective for research and innovation. The India-EU joint steering committee on science and technology said that it plans to accelerate the clean energy transition, necessary for a carbon-neutral planet. Cooperation on health beyond COVID-19 pandemic areas through global fora was also reinforced.
Both sides underlined the cooperation on polar sciences and discussed future cooperation under Horizon Europe. They also reiterated their commitment to human capital development, including researchers’ training and mobility, based on mutual interests and the reciprocal promotion of each other’s equivalent programmes, aiming at a more balanced flow of researchers between Europe and India.
As OpenGov Asia had reported, the Indian side presented the key elements of the new Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy (STIP 2020). The policy aims to create a fit for purpose, accountable research ecosystem promoting translational and foundational research, the indigenous development of technology, and facilitating open science, equity, and inclusion.
India also proposed Implementation Arrangement (IA) for co-funding future joint projects under the India-EU science, technology, and innovation cooperation to address certain issues on project evaluation, selection, funding, monitoring, and IPR sharing/data sharing/materials/equipment transfer mechanisms.
The Philippines Railways Institute (PRI) will undergo digital transformation to further adapt to the demands of the new normal brought by COVID-19. The PRI is a rail transportation research and training centre that deals with research and development on the management, operation, and maintenance of railways and training of personnel in the rail transportation industry in the country.
In a statement, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) undersecretary and the PRI officer-in-charge, stressed that the PRI is now able to provide remote learning sustainably during this pandemic. She said that the agency is now part of a growing number of institutes and organisations that have adopted this kind of learning platform in the country.
Existing railway personnel and maintenance staff can now access self-paced training courses through an online learning platform launched by the PRI with the help of a PHP307-million grant from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
PRI’s learning management system (LMS) is an online learning platform that allows self-paced learning, while still encouraging the trainees’ participation through facilitated contact sessions. Further, the LMS gives PRI instructors and railway trainees an academic and scalable digital learning environment alongside the existing video platform being used by the Institute. It is also mobile-friendly, which allows trainees and instructors seamless access to learning materials anytime and anywhere.
The PRI has recently conducted the first LMS-delivered refresher training course, with 30 railway personnel and 15 graduating college students as participants. The PRI noted that the pandemic disruption has accelerated technological trends in the fields of learning and education. Instructional methodologies are evolving with the adoption of innovations to address limitations set by health and safety protocols to prevent the further spread of the virus.
Before the strict community quarantine was imposed due to the pandemic, the PRI was conducting the Refresher Training Course (RT) face-to-face with a total of six batches of trainees completing the course. Since then, the learning institute shifted to the Web Refresher Training Course (WRT), an online course conducted through the Zoom platform, with 15 batches completing it.
The PRI also expanded the scope of its WRT to include graduating college students with a railways-relevant background and returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) with railway operation and maintenance experience.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, the country’s “Full Digital Transformation Act of 2020” mandates all government agencies, government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs), instrumentalities and Local Government Units (LGUs) to adopt a digital plan that aligns with the Philippine Digital Transformation Strategy 2022.
The bill of full digitalisation of government services promotes a zero-contact policy and facilitates ease of procedures. All of this is meant to streamline government services under Republic Act No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018, Republic Act No. 11234, the Energy Virtual One-Stop Shop Act and other applicable laws.
The Government reiterated that digitalisation is no longer just another trend, but it is the way the world is heading to, the rationale emphasised by lawmakers in the country. They added that full digitalisation is in the nation’s vision two years from now, and this transformation can be achieved through business and wireless networks, resulting in higher efficiency and lower costs.
At the same time, the rapid adoption of digital technologies can help the country overcome the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, recover from the crisis, and achieve its vision of becoming a middle-class society free of poverty, according to the report released by the World Bank and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).