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At first glance, the 0.8-hectare site in Kampung Sijangkang in Telok Panglima Garang, Selangor, where red chillies grow from black polybags, looks like an ordinary vegetable farm. However, this is far from a conventional farm; it is, in reality, a “digital laboratory farm” where digital agriculture or precision farming practices are used to increase crop yields and profitability, as well as reduce fertiliser, pesticide and herbicide inputs.

The Managing Director of the company that operates the farm, is making use of an Internet of Things (IoT) smart farming application and system developed by Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC).

The Managing Director, who has been involved in agriculture for 14 years, admitted that it was not easy for him to switch from conventional to digital farming applications but now he is convinced of its benefits. His “digital laboratory farm”, where some 6,000 red chilli plants are being cultivated using the fertigation technique, has now entered its third year of operation and the smart farming application has helped him to save time and manpower costs, as well as improve harvests.

He noted that anyone, even those in rural areas, can practice smart farming as long as they have a smartphone and Internet access. All they need to do is insert a SIM card in the sensor hub panel and monitor the cultivation process via their smartphone, he added.

IoT-based smart farming, also known as precision farming, helps farmers to optimise water, fertiliser and pesticide inputs and improve crop yield, quality and productivity by monitoring various factors such as humidity, temperature, soil conditions and fertiliser and pesticide levels on their farms or agricultural fields in real-time with the help of sensors and interconnectivity.

The Managing Director started his digital laboratory farm project by applying the smart farming application to the fertilisation system first. Its success spurred him to extend the application to pest control for which he used an automatic spraying system comprising a 137.16-meter-long railing.

His team this system effective and went on to integrate both the fertilisation and pesticide spraying systems which they controlled via the IoT application, he said, adding that the smart farming concept can benefit young agropreneurs involved in fertigation cultivations in terms of their farms’ maintenance, watering, fertilisation and pesticide application aspects.

With the use of emerging technologies such as satellites, drones, artificial intelligence and weather forecast software, farmers can determine crop types that are appropriate for cultivation on their land. This will avoid wastage and save time.

While he is still experimenting with this smart farming system, he noted that it has helped him save time and manpower costs and has given better yields too.

The IoT smart farming application, which can be downloaded on both Android and iOS smartphones, provides farm-related data that have nearly 100% accuracy. Among the data recorded by the sensors are readings pertaining to the volume of fertiliser or pesticide in the tanks, status of the irrigation pumps, humidity level and temperature, crop growth timeline, type of crop, date of cultivation and automatic harvesting and crop yield record.

The farm has 15 sensors and all the data collected from the field is stored in a cloud computing system. Data from the 15 sensors are sent to the cloud every 15 minutes. If the teams need any information on, for example, fertiliser, pesticide, temperature or humidity level, they just have to print out the required data from the list.

They can also download data from individual sensors. And, now they are developing a system that will enable access to all the data via email because it is quite time-consuming for them to download data from the cloud especially when there is too much data.

Technological collaborations with MDEC have also enabled them to activate the sensor control panel via voice commands, he added.

Financial institutions are scaling up the utilisation of cloud services to enable innovation and new business models, as well as to meet the exponential need for and use of data.

Changing customer expectations, the rise of FinTech, and COVID-19 are accelerating banks’ digital transformation, forcing them to upgrade their infrastructure to meet the requirements of the data-intensive era.

Customer data protection is an absolute must. If the data gets into the wrong hands, it will cost the company greatly. It can engender a loss of customer’s trust, which can put the financial company’s reputation at stake.

OpenGov Asia organised a highly timely Virtual Breakfast Insight on 2 December 2020 to discuss enhancing multi-cloud data management, data availability, insights, protection, and compliance readiness to gain the coveted competitive edge.

The session saw active participation, engagement and full attendance from some of the leading financial institutions from Singapore.

Focussing on five pillars of cloud data management strategy

Mohit Sagar: Data management strategy needs to be revisited to orchestrate security, insights and availability

The session was kick-started by Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director, and Editor-in-Chief at OpenGov Asia. Mohit pointed to the fact that we have been inundated with data in the COVID-19 era. But he was quick to note that, in a bid to keep the lights on and sail through this difficult time, data strategy does not need to take a hit.

Data would only be valuable if we could draw actionable insights from it.

He urged the delegates to focus on the five pillars of cloud data management strategy:

(1) Security

(2) Compliance and Governance

(3) Cost Management

(4)  Automation and Orchestration

(5) Performance Monitoring

Mohit emphasised that data strategy is not a zero-sum game, but it is about maintaining a delicate balance between data availability, security and insights. In the same vein, he also implored the delegates to not let governance and compliance hinder their cloud data management strategy as these should be the enablers of creating possibilities for them.

In conclusion, Mohit encouraged the delegates to incorporate a simple, secured and scalable data management system. He advised them to partner with experts in the field who can support them on this journey.

Reduce risk, optimise cost, strengthen ransomware resiliency, and manage multi-cloud environments at scale

Justin Loh: Leverage tech to drive automation,  efficiencies, agility, flexibility and scalability

After Mohit’s opening, Justin Loh, Country Director, Veritas Technologies shared his insights on Veritas’s Enterprise Data services platform with the audience.

Justin spoke about how the Veritas Enterprise Data service platform can help the delegates better manage, protect and simplify their data landscape.

Justin elaborated on the innovative features of their platform and how it helps customers reduce risk, optimise cost, strengthen ransomware resiliency and manage multi-cloud environments at scale.

The EDS platform allows organisations to get what matters to them most, namely: highly available apps, always protected and recoverable data, and insights that drive operational efficiency and regulatory compliance.

Justin concluded his session by sharing his observations that have been gleaned from his interaction with various business leaders. He mentioned that four key areas have been in the spotlight:

  • Sustaining the business
  • Cost optimisation
  • Risk management & compliance
  • Reinventing future business models

Infrastructure Automation, Application Modernisation and Operation Optimisation

Dr Amarit Laorakpong: Keeping Cloud security, compliance and governance on track

After Justin’s presentation, Dr Amarit Laorakpong, Executive Vice President, IT Strategy and Governance Bank of Ayudhya shared his organisation’s Cloud journey with the delegates.

Dr Amarit explained that cloud security is the linchpin of their digital transformation efforts. Bank of Ayudhya (Krungsri) leverages the cloud to transform its technology infrastructure to support its digital transformation.

Dr Amarit shared how his organisation built a secured and resilient cloud-enabled infrastructure to migrate to and managed a hybrid cloud environment which resulted in:

– Accelerated application development

– Extended security posture to applications running on cloud

– Optimised costs and utilisation

He further shared that at Bank of Ayudhya, there are over 300 applications on-premise which are being slowly migrating to the cloud. There are seven domains that Krungsri are building on the cloud which are as below:

  1. Identity and Access Management
  2. Cloud Risk Governance and Compliance
  3. Cloud Resiliency and Incident Response
  4. Monitoring risk of Cloud Traffic
  5. Cloud Applications Security
  6. Cloud Infrastructure and Platform Security
  7. Data Protection

Dr Amarit concluded his presentation by emphasising the importance of data protection. This has gained significance in the wake of Thailand’s Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA). The act is in the process of being updated, and full implementation and compliance are expected by the middle of  2021.

Focusing on the three pillars – Data Availability, Protection, and Insights

John: Chose a reliable partner who can support you overcome data management challenges

After Dr Amarit’s thought-provoking presentation, John Abel, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Veritas Technologies shared his perspectives with the delegates.

John began by agreeing that this year has been topsy-turvy and the digital transformation efforts of most of the organisations have been disrupted due to the ongoing pandemic.

Many industries have been impacted like the travel and hospitality industry and the banking industry has had to rethink their strategy of how to serve their customers remotely and revitalising mobile applications.

He drew an interesting comparison and example of Ford Corporation and Airbnb. He spoke about how Airbnb has effectively utilised data and insights to create a better user experience.

He acknowledged the rapid transformation and the increased digital footprint of doing everything online,  especially in the current landscape.

The data explosion and rapid digital transformation have also exposed organisations to a lot of external risks like ransomware and dark data. All these factors together have increased the IT complexity, making it even more challenging for the organisations to stay resilient.

John concluded his presentation by saying that he could sleep well at night because he knows where his organisation’s data is sitting, readily available and secured and that he can draw insights to the benefit of his organisation. All this is possible because of the advantages of the Enterprise Data Platform.

Polling Questions & Discussion

After the presentations from the speakers, it was time to engage in discussion with the audience through polling questions.

On the first question about the requirement that is shaping their landscape to be agile with the business needs, a majority of the audience voted for speed of change for applications, data, and building/removing core business systems while 37% voted for adapting to changing customer demands.

A senior delegate from a leading financial institution shared that incorporating the needs of the customers is of paramount importance and banks have to overcome their legacy infrastructure to be able to serve the next generation of customers.

On the next question about the biggest challenge faced by organisations when looking at digital transformation, the delegates were divided between skill shortage to implement and operate technology (33%) and dependency on the need to integrate with legacy systems and/or technology (28%). Interestingly, 22% of the delegates voted for compliance with government regulations being the biggest challenge.

One of the delegates shared that compliance invariably becomes one of the biggest challenges when it comes to accelerating the digital transformation journey. There are a lot of legacy systems in place and integrating them into the new digital platforms is a very challenging task.

The third question on evaluating new technologies and considerations being taken as a priority, there were interesting answers from the delegates. Operational simplicity and product reliability were hands down the most preferred choice of answer from the delegates ( 69%).

On the final question about the area of interest for your organisation and what do they value the most, the audience overwhelmingly voted for ease of doing business through a simplified technology consumption model (50%).

There was consensus among the delegates that simplicity is the key and is the ultimate sophistication. A delegate said, when looking for a new solution in the organisation, they ensure that it supports the latest technology to bring ease to operations and processes.

After the hugely interactive and engaging polling session, John addressed the delegates to bring the informative session to its logical end. He whole-heartedly agreed that these thought-provoking discussions and sharing by prominent Singapore financial institutions undoubtedly provided food for thought for all the participants.

John acknowledged unequivocally that this is one of the best times for IT leaders. They have to push the envelope, they need to work around the data and make sure their organisations are cyber resilient.

Mohit added that these are exciting times despite the challenges; with the right partners, leaders can get assistance along their journey of digital transformation.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced this week that eligible non-bank financial institutions (NFIs) will have direct access to the banking system’s retail payments infrastructure from February 2021.

This applies to non-bank financial institutions that are licenced as major payment institutions under the Payment Services Act, they will be allowed to connect directly to Fast and Secure Transfers (FAST) and PayNow.

FAST is an electronic funds transfer service that enables customers of participating entities to transfer Singapore dollar funds from one entity to another instantly.

PayNow is an overlay central addressing service that runs on top of the FAST payment system. PayNow allows consumers and businesses to make instant payments across accounts using a proxy such as a mobile number, NRIC/FIN number, or Unique Entity Number (UEN). FAST and PayNow is also available 24/7, 365 days of the year.

Direct connection to FAST and PayNow will enable users of NFI e-wallets to make real-time funds transfers between bank accounts and e-wallets as well as across different e-wallets. Currently, most e-wallets require the use of debit or credit cards to top-up funds, and funds transfers between e-wallets are not possible.

Mr Ravi Menon, Managing Director of MAS said, “Direct access by NFIs to FAST and PayNow closes the last-mile gap in Singapore’s e-payments journey. Consumers who may not have ready access to debit or credit cards to fund their e-wallets will now have the option to do so directly through their bank accounts.”

“Our vision to enable complete real-time payments interoperability will now become a reality. Adoption of e-payments will become even more simple for individuals and businesses. MAS thanks the members of the DFWG for their spirit of partnership that brought to fruition this major milestone for e-payments in Singapore.”

Businesses that partner any of the 23 FAST or 9 PayNow banks, or e-wallets that have traditionally been closed-loop ecosystems will soon be able to receive real-time payments from other users of e-wallets or mobile banking applications that will be joining FAST or PayNow. This will enable businesses to access a larger market of consumers than before for receiving e-payments instantly and seamlessly.

NFIs will be able to connect directly through a new Application Programming Interface (API) payment gateway developed by the Direct FAST Working Group (DFWG), with guidance from the Singapore Clearing House Association (SCHA) and The Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS), which govern FAST and PayNow respectively.

The API payment gateway is better geared to the technology architecture of banks and NFIs, and can also be used by other banks and NFIs in future.

The Minister for Power and New and Renewable Energy, R.K. Singh, has launched the Green Charcoal Hackathon, which aims to reduce carbon emissions and nurture technology solutions in India.

To fast-track technology development, NVVN (NTPC VidyutVyapar Nigam), in partnership with EESL (Energy Efficiency Services Limited), organised this technology challenge. The purpose of which is to leverage technology and innovation to develop solutions that will lead to clean air by eliminating farm fire and producing renewable energy out of the agro residue.

According to a press release, the hackathon also aims to promote local entrepreneurship and increase the income of the country’s farmers. Speaking on the occasion, the Minister explained, “The Hackathon displays the spirit of innovation, which pervades NTPC. Any organisation has to have this spirit of innovation to grow and prosper or otherwise, it would fade away.  I am sure that the NTPC management has told all young engineers that innovation and new ideas are encouraged.”

He added, “This [hackathon] is also innovation in the pursuit of reducing our carbon footprint. From that point of view, all competitors in the Hackathon should keep in mind that the process of converting this (agro residue) to charcoal should not lead to emissions. Another key thing is the commercial model, which will depend on the cost of both the machine and charcoal production. I am sure we will come out with a machine which is economical. I am happy to see the orientation of NTPC towards reducing the carbon footprint.”

Ashish Upadhyay, Additional Secretary of Power said, “The NTPC Group needs to focus on integrated and smart solutions to manage a carbon-neutral economy. I am confident that NTPC will be able to successfully implement and commercialise the technology which will benefit farmers, the environment as well as society”.

An industry expert noted that power plants are the biggest consumers of coal. Typically, a 1,000 MW plant consumes about 5 million tonnes of coal annually. India’s total coal-based power generation capacity is about 200,000 MW, which theoretically can consume approximately 1,000 million tonnes of coal annually. Even 10% of that, if replaced with green charcoal will amount to 100 million tonnes of this fuel. This will require approximately 160 million tonnes of agro residue and municipal waste (considering 60% yield), sufficient to wipe out the entire unused agro residue in the country. Thus, eliminating the farm fires and producing around 20,000 MW of renewable power.

Increasing air pollution due to the burning of stubble and agro residue by local farmers has become a major concern for the country. As a result, NVVN is looking for technologies to convert agricultural waste to a form that can be used in power plants. One such option is torrefaction, which converts the agro residue to green charcoal.

The technology to produce torrefied fuel using agro residue biomass is not easily accessible to small entrepreneurs due to the high costs of imported machines and lack of sufficient manufacturers. The technology to produce torrefied fuel using agro residue biomass, once developed in India, will be made accessible to small entrepreneurs.

To cater to the needs of the elderly in Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area, the Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI) is developing a smart companion pet dog which can chat in Cantonese and Mandarin and can even remind the elderly to take their medicine when the Bluetooth function is enabled.

The smart pet dog is expected to be launched in phases next year and is expected to sell for less than HKD 1,500 each. Eligible local elderly and rehabilitation service units can apply to the Social Welfare Department for the “Innovation and Technology Fund for Application in Elderly and Rehabilitation Care” and get subsidies for their purchase.

ASTRI introduced the smart pet dog during the four-day Gerontech and Innovation Expo cum Summit 2020 from 19 – 22 November 2020. ASTRI has been applying its cutting-edge technology and innovation to address societal pain points. This smart pet dog can support elderly care as Hong Kong faces challenges associated with an ageing population.

The project coordinator and Associate Principal Engineer at ASTRI stated that through the subsidy of Innovation and Technology Fund for Application in Elderly and Rehabilitation Care provided by the Social Welfare Department, ASTRI introduced the smart pet dog which originally had Japanese language capabilities to Hong Kong intending to enhance and localise it to suit the needs of the elderly here.

About 200 to 300 sets of Cantonese and Putonghua dialogues will be added to the smart pet dog so that it can “listen” to the elderly in Hong Kong and the Mainland and respond accordingly. Such a response can include caring and greeting the host, as well as greeting and talking endearingly.

At the beginning of next year, the team will collaborate with the Evangelical Lutheran Church Social Service to arrange smart pet dogs to be companions for hundreds of elderly people who live alone and stay in daycare centres, community centres and elderly homes to better understand the needs of the elderly in Hong Kong and optimise their conversations.

The project coordinator said that a company has already indicated an interest in commercialising the smart pet dog. It is expected to be sold in Hong Kong, the Greater Bay Area and other parts of China in phases from mid-2021 onwards, he added.

ASTRI will further incorporate Bluetooth functions for the smart pet dog to enhance its functionality. The caregiver will only need to enter the medication time for the elderly through a mobile app, then the smart pet dog will remind the elderly to take the medication on time and will also ask if they have taken them, and finally report back to the caregiver through the app, he said.

He also said that other organisations can develop more applications in the future based on ASTRI’s application programming interface. And through Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT), one can further enhance the functions of the smart pet dog, such as continuously monitoring and analysing the responses and the speed of speech of the elderly while chatting, thus enabling social workers and family members to better understand the elderly’s health status.

Recent research shows that the global robotic pet dogs market 2019-2023 is expected to post a CAGR of close to 21% during the forecast period.

Robotic pet dogs have recently emerged as an effective way to alleviate depression, anxiety, distress, and loneliness, especially among the geriatric population. It has been observed that the regular interaction with robotic pet dogs at least thrice a week can decrease stress and anxiety. These robotic dogs are designed in such a way that they mimic most of the activities that live dogs do, such as they can wink their eyes, wag their tail, bark and many more. Thus, the adoption of robotic pet dogs is expected to increase significantly, which will drive the growth of the market during the forecast period.

The pandemic has fundamentally changed lifestyles and thought processes across the world. There is a paradigm shift in the way people now interact with each other. With social distancing becoming the new norm, citizens are increasingly becoming dependent on technology to communicate and interact among themselves.

From food delivery to shopping to banking, people are using apps on their mobile phones to get things done. And with it, people are getting used to the rapid and seamless service delivery businesses offer; to the point that they now expect governments to provide a similar experience.

However, delivering on such expectations can be quite challenging for the public sector as they must strike an intricate balance between the speed/experience of service delivery versus data security.

In order to help public sector utilise digital applications and APIs to enhance service delivery and get digital transformation right, OpenGov Asia hosted an OpenGovLive! Virtual Breakfast Insight with delegates from various public sector organisations in Indonesia.

Governments need to strike the balance between the speed of service delivery and security

Mohit: Find the right partners who are smart, stable and reliable

Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director, and Editor-in-Chief at OpenGov Asia laid the foundation for the discussions at hand.

He highlighted the fact that public services have never been under such pressure as they have been over the past few months. Further, he pointed out that due to the deeply ingrained legacy systems and lack of proper infrastructure, governments often struggle to provide the digital experience that customers have come to expect.

All of this has brought forward renewed demand for digital government services where they not only have to deliver at a certain speed but also ensure the security of data. On the same note, Mohit emphasised that security must be thought of as an intrinsic feature of applications rather than as a barrier.

Many agencies across local and central government are collaborating through open APIs to meet the ever-increasing need for data and connectivity. He acknowledged that APIs have become the foundational building block and a crucial element for any organisation undergoing digital transformation.

In conclusion, Mohit advised all the delegates to find partners who are smart, stable and reliable who will help strengthen their digital transformation and applications while ensuring the safety of their data.

The world is becoming more and more digital in its interactions  

Scott: The primary mode of interaction today is through multiple apps

After Mohit’s opening presentation, Scott Van Kalken, DevOps Solution Architect, F5, shared his insights with the delegates.

Scott began by highlighting how the way people interact with each other has changed in today’s digital world. The primary mode of their interaction is through multiple apps on their mobile phones. Be it for food or transportation, everything is just a click away.

He underscored this proposition with the recent example of COVID-19 apps that have helped citizens remain informed and safe during the pandemic.

Today’s digital citizens are getting so used to the convenience of the apps that they are increasingly demanding a similar experience in their interactions with the government. Enabling such a seamless digital experience can be quite challenging for governments as they not only need to share the relevant data with the public but have to ensure that it is protected in a secure manner.

He backed his opinion by sharing some numbers from a recent report that confirmed, through surveys, that security is the top concern for organisations across the board.

Moreover, governments understand that building an app is not enough and delivering the experience is equally important. In the same vein, he also explained how governments around the world are starting to embrace digital transformation to enhance citizen experience. The Indonesian COVID-19 app and digital medicare card in Australia are excellent examples of the convenience of interacting with the government.

Scoot went on to share another challenge faced by the governments i.e., which of the available technologies should they use to serve their citizens in a safe environment. The right strategy and choice would need to secure all the right components to deliver effectively.

The four important pillars that determine the API design in an organisation

Sabine: On the drivers and pillars for organisations to start using APIs

After Scott’s informative presentation, Sabine Deloffre, Principal Product Manager at Service NSW shared her perspectives with the delegates.

After briefly introducing her organisation, Sabine shared that they are focused on accelerating digital transformation using APIs to make services more effective, seamless and intuitive.

She explained that they began on this journey with strong endorsements from the advocates of APIs intending to synchronise information scattered across different departments.

Sabine spoke about the 6 major drivers behind using APIs:

  • Be an agile organisation
  • Expose functionalities
  • Share data easily
  • Be more observable
  • Defend and secure
  • Scale and expand services

After expounding about the major drivers, she talked about the 4 pillars that become important considerations for an organisation’s API design:

  • Autonomous: This pillar stands to ensure that the API design lets the organisation operate with agility as an independent body
  • Enablement: Once the API design has been done, the next important thing is to ensure that there are dedicated teams to support, coach, and share the knowledge for smooth implementation of the API design
  • Support: Ensuring that there is enough environment, platform, and security support for the applications to enable seamless delivery
  • Governance: A centralised governance to maintain consistency and security for API practices across all teams

Sabine concluded her presentation by emphasising the criticality of the 4 pillars and the need for them to align for an organisation to deliver effectively to the citizens.

After the presentations, it was time to interact with the virtual audience through an insightful polling session.

On the first question about the main challenge in moving towards application deployment, the majority of the delegates voted for culture (32%) and ageing infrastructure (32%).

A delegate reflected that while developing applications, organisations consider technology, people and processes, but often processes get overlooked making deployment of application very complicated. This becomes a major challenge.

On the next question about the current application development infrastructure to address a seamless user experience, most of the audience voted for modern with containerised environments and agile workflows with security on all layers (65%).

Surung: F5 believes in ingraining security in all solutions

Another senior delegate reflected that they are using modern applications at a micro-level in their organisation but cannot call themselves a fully digital organisation, as there are still some legacy systems in place which will transform over time.

On the final question about their organisation’s level of API security, half of the room voted that they are 75% on track with missing components on visibility and monitoring (50%).

A participant opined that it is very difficult to address the issue of security and to say with certainty that they are 100% secure. But because his organisation has the right protection and precautions in place, he voted for the above option.

After the interactive polling session, Surung Sinamo, Country Manager for F5 Indonesia addressed the audience with closing remarks.

Surung reiterated that the world today has gone digital and consequently the public sector is facing two main challenges: meeting the demands of the digital citizens seamlessly and ensuring the security of the data they harbour.

He shared that at F5, they believe in ingraining security in all solutions and make the right tools available to monitor security. In conclusion, Surung urged the delegates to reach out to him and his team in Indonesia who would be happy to partner with them.

Singapore has facilitated crew change for more than 60,000 crew of different nationalities from more than 3,500 ships. This was announced by Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Transport, Mr Chee Hong Tat when he opened the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore’s (MPA) International Safety@Sea Webinar Series yesterday.

The International Safety@Sea event is organised annually by MPA for members of the international maritime community and practitioners to provide updates on issues pertaining to safety at sea, actively share best practices and experiences on maritime safety, as well as discuss issues of concern and offer problem-solving ideas.

One of the main points Mr Chee made was on the important role technology plays as Singapore moves to Phase 2 of its Crew Facilitation Centre (CFC).

The Crew Facilitation Centre in Singapore will be a Centre of Excellence for Crew Change Protocols to test-bed emerging technologies that support safer crew change procedures. These improved procedures will be published so as to share Singapore’s best practices with other ports.

Digital Solutions to Assist Crew Changes

A task force led by the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA), comprising members from MPA, Singapore Maritime Officer’s Union and the Singapore Organisation of Seamen, has also been formed to work with stakeholders in the maritime industry on solutions for safe crew change under the SG-STAR Fund.

The taskforce has shortlisted two digital solutions companies – KaHa and Viatick – under a trial programme to provide wearables digital solutions that support overseas crew change processes such as quarantine and health monitoring. Both solutions are tamper-proof, smart wearable technologies, where companies can have better assurance in ensuring that seafarers had adhered to their quarantine requirements in their home country before leaving for Singapore for a crew change.

Launch of Phase 1 of Singapore’s national marine spatial data infrastructure

At the event, Mr Chee also announced the launch of Phase 1 of GeoSpace-Sea, Singapore’s national marine spatial data infrastructure, that integrates and shares authoritative marine and coastal spatial data and information from various sources and disciplines, creating the first-ever comprehensive picture of Singapore’s sea space.

The GeoSpace-Sea web portal will be accessible by participating government agencies in Singapore to begin with.
Subsequently, GeoSpace-Sea will be made available to more users from the public including academia, research institutions and industry so that end-user applications can be built using its data.

GeoSpace-Sea will support and enable solutions to tackle complex problems and future challenges in areas such as maritime safety, marine coastal spatial planning, climate change and environmental sustainability.

The second day of the event, taking place today- 1 December will feature three plenaries on the topics of “Mental Health & Wellness: Helping Seafarers Cope Better During a Pandemic”, “Ship Safety: Reflecting on Incidents, Causality and the Way Forward”, and “Ship Management: Lessons Learnt for Safety & Standards in the New Normal”.

The Open Group, the International Telecommunication Union and the United Nations agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs) have announced a collaboration to accelerate public service innovation for better citizen outcomes and improved utilisation of ICT infrastructure.

The Open Group and ITU aim to promote, guide and build capabilities for digital government strategies and citizen-centric enterprise architecture (EA) across the globe.

ITU Secretary-General noted through this partnership, ITU is redoubling its efforts to help governments everywhere accelerate the deployment and scaling up of impactful citizen-centric digital solutions in support of economic recovery and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

With the necessary guidance and materials, resource-constrained countries will be able to convert digital strategies into implementing large-scale systems. As such, the alliance between ITU and The Open Group will fill the gap between digital investments and best-practice architectural approaches for the achievement of the SDGs.

The Director of the Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT) of ITU noted that using digital solutions and technologies to upscale digital public services is fundamental for supporting the response to, and recovery from, the COVID-19 pandemic.

She noted that when it comes to designing, implementing and rolling out digital public services at scale, adopting architectural approaches is key. EA allows governments to meet the needs of sectors with varying requirements, while at the same time to facilitate the organisational change process and the modernisation of government services as a whole. Alongside The Open Group, the ITU can create the tools and guidance needed for countries to put an EA approach into action.

The work undertaken as part of the collaboration will be carried out by The Open Group Government EA Work Group. The Work Group will develop processes that enable seamless information flow across various government ecosystems, making existing EA resources — including guides, frameworks, use cases, and methodologies — easier to use.

By providing access to these resources, The Open Group and ITU will help governments build the capabilities needed to implement architectural approaches at scale, based on country-specific needs.

It is evident that the countries able to yield the best outcomes from digital investments are those that have created and adopted a fit-for-purpose digital government EA. This is why, together with ITU, The Open Group will strive to democratise the use of methodologies and tools required to establish futureproofed digital architectures and infrastructures, particularly for countries with limited resources.

Pushing the digitalisation of governments

According to a 2017 report by a British multinational professional services network, digital technologies have the potential to deliver enormous benefits in the public sector, helping governments to:

  • Understand their citizens better and deliver better outcomes
  • Provide services more effectively and efficiently
  • Find new solutions to policy challenges
  • Engage with external partners to develop new delivery models
  • Commercialize some public services and develop fresh sources of revenue

Governments that exploit digital technologies are also in a much stronger position to compete on the world stage, as the firm’s Global Advisory Leader, Government and Public Sector, pointed out. Being at the forefront of digital government is a badge of prestige that can raise the global profile of a country or city and help create an economy that is a magnet for talent, enterprise and investment, he added.

Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 - OpenGov Asia

He overcame all obstacles to reach his destination: Entrepreneur of the year (2017). Listen to our leader’s inspiring story.