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Halfway through the first month of the year, a number of government organisations are making the shift to digital transformation a priority even as global economies continue to grapple with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. In Asia, economies are injecting fresh stimuli to various sectors. One of them is Indonesia which has been making strides in improving operations through innovation. 

According to a statement, the Ministry of Industry is re-strategising and putting technology at the core of its operational framework this year. Integrated within this strategic programme is the 3-in-1 Education and Training event which reflects the government’s goal of propping up the industrial workforce to meet the growing demand for products and services. This is alongside efforts to stem the unemployment rate and increase the competence of human resources. 

Minister of Industry Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita explained during the virtual kick-off for the education and training event that they are looking at improving three pillars of economic growth –investment, human resources and technology. The Minister believes that of the three, human resource development and digital technology must be taken advantage of to sustain the growth momentum of the industrial sector under the Making Indonesia 4.0 roadmap. 

This initiative is in line with the government’s plans to improve the manufacturing and industrial sectors under the Making Indonesia blueprint. To achieve this goal, Indonesia has been actively scoring investments across various industries. As cited earlier by OpenGov Asia, it is looking at encouraging global tech giants to invest in its digital economy and its electric vehicle industry as these firms start to look for new investment locations. 

Investing in human resource development 

To comply with this roadmap, the workforce must learn how to adapt quickly and be able to implement the technology. The Minister noted: “[It] is necessary to provide basic skills, increase skills (up-skilling) or update skills (re-skilling) for workers based on the needs of the industrial world today.” 

This is where the 3-in-1 training curriculum comes in as an initial step towards harnessing certain skills from the workforce that can help cater to industry needs. The Minister added: “The implementation of training starting from curriculum preparation. [L]earning practices to job placements have been carried out in collaboration with industrial companies and industry associations.” 

The training focuses not only on disseminating information about technology and human resource management. The Minister emphasised that it can be used to deal with the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is done by reducing the number of employee layoffs in the industrial sector by improving their skills and making them more competent. 

He mentioned: “With the availability of competent industrial workers, it is hoped that industrial utilisation can increase again. In December 2020, industrial utilisation began to crawl at the level of 61.1%, which previously decreased by around 50% due to the Covid-19 pandemic.” 

The Ministry anticipates that conducting the training will provide startup enterprises within the industrial sector added knowledge and expertise in the field which they can use to improve their operations. 

The kick-off was well attended and had over 6,000 participants across 14 provinces and 52 districts. It likewise involved 101 industrial companies and 20 district offices. Training for machine operation, food safety and production equipment for processed food were held. Training regarding innovative quality control processes and animation procedures were also conducted. 

Pursuant to Circular No 7 of 2020 earlier released by the Ministry, an Operating Licence Mobility Industrial Activity was launched to streamline manufacturing operations for public health emergencies. As of writing, the Ministry has introduced more than 18,000 mobility activities expected to improve the competency of 5.13 million workers. 

The University of Melbourne will deploy endpoint detection and response technology across its IT environment this year and improve its access to threat intelligence as part of a broader five-year cybersecurity uplift. Details of the uplift – which is currently in its second year – are contained in a submission by the University to a federal inquiry into national security risks affecting the Australian higher education and research sector.

The first year of the uplift had focused on reducing the university’s vulnerability to cyber threats while balancing a practical need for platforms that support academic autonomy and collaboration, it said.

In line with the experience of tertiary education providers around the world, the university routinely encounters and defends against cybersecurity threats, including sophisticated attacks that cannot be attributed to any known threat actors. The university is cognisant of the fact that advanced persistent threat (APT) actors regularly test its defences.

The university said it had recently run a threat modelling exercise with an external consultancy to provide a better understanding of the threats the university faces, but will also generate a controls library that will be mapped to an industry-standard framework (NIST).

This project will additionally generate a list of risks, associated threats, and clarify the university’s effectiveness of response, all leading to a stronger cybersecurity ecosystem, the university noted.

In addition, with biomedical researchers at the university conducting various Covid-19 work, the university said it had collaborated with the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) to run a cyber hygiene improvement programs (CHIPs) scan to provide the university with information for the purpose of visibility, analysis and risk management.

As the university moves into the second year of its five-year uplift, it intends to introduce an endpoint detection and response (EDR) capability into its IT environment. This will enhance the cybersecurity team’s ability to rapidly respond to threats even in remotely located university assets, the university said.

The EDR will be augmented by consuming a commercial threat intelligence feed to identify TTPs [tactics, techniques and procedures] for advanced threat actors and risk conditions.  In addition, a proactive threat hunting program will also be introduced to provide additional visibility into the environment.

The university said it had doubled the size of its cybersecurity team over the past two years. It has also rolled out multifactor authentication (MFA) for all staff accounts and will do the same for student accounts sometime this year.

Updating Australia’s cybersecurity

In an earlier article, OpenGov Asia reported that The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) is enhancing the Information Security Registered Assessor Program (IRAP) to strengthen the cybersecurity assessment framework. The agency has released an updated IRAP policy and a new IRAP Assessor Training module following an independent review of the program.

The enhanced program has been designed to help develop the capabilities of industry partners, increase the number of cybersecurity assessors and bolster national cybersecurity efforts. It has been developed in consultation with government and industry representatives.

Changes include increases to the standard and consistency of cybersecurity advice provided by IRAP assessors by requiring these assessors to maintain and demonstrate ICT security knowledge.

Other changes include a minimum requirement for IRAP assessors to maintain a Negative Vetting Level 1 Security Clearance, and enhanced governance arrangements in place for assuring IRAP assessors are performing their roles as independent third parties.

The ACSC has also established a revised five-day IRAP training course, which covers both IRAP and Information Security Manual fundamentals. The new policy will apply to all assessments initiated going forward, and current IRAP assessors will have 24 months to meet new requirements outlined in the policy.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has far-reaching impacts on the global economy. Tighter restrictions in export controls are making huge dents in global markets and leaving these economies in a slump. 

report from the World Economic Forum showed that exports from giant economies like China and the U.S. recorded dips in exports. In China, exports fell in February last year but they rose quickly by the following month. The U.S., however, was not able to get up on its feet as quickly. While bike exports rose last year, exports for cars dropped by billions in countries like Spain, Canada, Japan and the U.S. 

Other Asian economies share the same struggle, with most governments looking at veering away from traditional means to shore up exports and shifting their gaze to newer, more innovative remedies. This is particularly the case for Indonesia, which set goals early on to streamline processes in its various sectors even before the pandemic hit. These goals were set to be realised by ramping up investments in technology and using these as tools to enhance its digital economy. 

In an earlier report by OpenGov Asia, the Ministry of Industry announced that it is accelerating its digital transformation this year by integrating human resource development and by being more adaptive to technological advancements. The Ministry noted that the workforce must be able to adapt quickly to new technology to contribute to overall operations. 

In line with this initiative, Minister of Agriculture Syahrul Yasin Limpo in a statement encouraged the Agricultural Quarantine Agency to continue to maintain the quality of agricultural products through its Three-Time Export Movement (Geratieks) project. Pursuant to this, he pushed for the adoption of digital technology and improved synergy with existing entities and players within the agency.  

The directive, given during the Agency’s National Working Meeting, is aimed at boosting exports and has proven to be effective during its run last year. The minister said, “Indeed, this is not an easy task, but we have proven it in the first phase of 2020, where we succeeded in achieving the target of increasing the value of 12% according to the three-fold increase scheme.” 

He noted that the agricultural sector has been at the fore of supporting economic growth despite challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The sector still allows for improvement which can be achieved by setting up integrated programmes. Building upon the economic achievements of the sector, the ministry has encouraged stakeholders to ensure that agricultural products are globally competitive. By doing this, such products can improve the flow of exports in the country and also fortify its position in the global market.

The importance of “understanding the duties and responsibilities of each work unit to be able to execute the agricultural export multiplication agenda” was something he highlighted as well. Such an understanding aligns with the earlier mandate given by Indonesian President Joko Widodo. 

The minister took the opportunity to remind the audience that the task of the agency and other departments within the ministry is to ensure that agricultural products are of high quality not just as exports but to meet the needs of the Indonesian population. 

Ali Jamil, Head of the Agricultural Quarantine Agency, added to this discourse during the virtual meeting. He explained that the main agenda behind the event is to follow up on efforts in increasing the department’s overall supervision of agricultural products. He noted: “In essence, we will carry out the direction of the President and Minister regarding the prevention of pests and food security. Then [the Agency] will also certify agricultural products for export. Therefore, I ask all quarantine ranks to continue to analyse existing agricultural products.” 

The onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic has far-reaching implications in both the private and public sectors. Many economies are re-shaping their operations to adhere to safety protocols and restrictions present during the new normal. 

In the Philippines, local government units (LGUs) continue to build on reforms that were earlier introduced by the national government not just to abide by restrictions during the pandemic but also to provide an overall conducive climate for business and government transactions. One of these reforms is in keeping with the Ease of Doing Business measure signed into law to ensure faster, more convenient dealings in government. 

To adhere to this initiative, the local government of Cagayan De Oro (CDO) City announced that it is adopting a zero-contact policy as provided for under Ordinance No. 13992-2020. Under this policy, departments within the local government of CDO shall be required to adopt electronic submission of applications, requests and payments whenever applicable. 

City officials and employees shall communicate with the public through email, the local government’s website and other electronic means. They are required to limit their interaction with applicants of business permits and other public documents during the preliminary assessment stage. This phase covers the evaluation of all requirements submitted for government requests and applications. 

The protocol shall be observed for all transactions, except those which necessarily need physical interactions with city officials or employees. These include payment of application fees and transactions considered as highly complex and technical that would require the knowledge of government employees. In contrast, simple transactions were defined as requests which require only ministerial actions on the part of public officers, or those that present inconsequential issues to be resolved by the department concerned.  

As provided under Chapter 3 of the local ordinance, transparency shall be observed at all times to ensure a more efficient system of providing government services and to dispel any perception of corrupt practices. 

The CDO’s ordinance is in line with Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 2019-001. The primary aim of the government under the JMC is to promote integrity and accountability in government. This can be achieved by fostering proper management of government affairs and by establishing “practices aimed at the efficient turnaround in the delivery of government services”, as well as the prevention of graft and corruption. The implementation of simplified processes to mitigate instances of red-tape activities is also mandated under the JMC. 

The joint memorandum contains the implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018. It provides for the implementation of a Whole-of-Government Approach. This process covers the review of existing and applicable laws, regulations and issuances earlier made by the government. The goal is to enter into a re-engineering process so that all measures are inclined towards streamlining existing government processes. 

The measure also provides for a Citizen’s Charter for every government agency. This forms the basis of efforts and the overall performance of organisations. The Charter shall likewise be the basis of rewards and incentives to be awarded to offices for their good performance. 

The CDO government is among several local units that have adopted innovative methods in boosting their operational blueprint. In the realm of healthcare, LGUs have been increasingly investing in digital programmes to address public needs. As previously reported by OpenGov Asia, the provincial government of Davao Oriental adds to efforts toward digital transformation. It is poised to implement the Davao Oriental Digital Contact Tracing System. Under the DAVOR-DCTS, residents, non-residents and tourists shall have their own Quick Response (QR) Codes when transacting with public establishments in the province.

As businesses and government organisations continue to feel the effects of strict health protocols due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to digitalise and boost virtual connectivity is made more apparent.  The Philippine government has long realised this challenge and as a solution, it is now fortifying broadband services in a bid to accelerate its digital transformation.

To help ramp up internet connectivity in the country, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) announced that it has launched its Free Wifi for All Programme (FWAP) in state-universities located in Baguio City.  The department said that they have installed free Wi-Fi hubs at the University of the Philippines Baguio (UPB) and the Benguet State University (BSU), two of the biggest state universities in the whole Cordillera region.  

The DICT added that students, faculty members and visitors in UPB were able to use the free internet hubs earlier as the installation of these hubs started before the national government placed the city under enhanced community quarantine due to the pandemic in March last year. It stated: “Students who were stranded on campus were then able to utilize the connection early on.” 

To attest to the efficiency of the free Wi-Fi hubs, students of the university alluded that the project of the DICT proved to be vital for those who rely on broadband services to keep in touch with their friends and families during the lockdown. They explained: “Right now, the free Wi-Fi service is being used by school personnel and those who visit the university for any concerns, and even our students here in Baguio who are still going here for their academic concerns.” 

In BSU, the DICT said that several Wi-Fi sites were installed at the College of Nursing and the College of Agriculture. Officials at the university lauded the initiative of the DICT and underscored the importance of free broadband services in facilitating alternative learning programmes for their students. Dr Jude Tayaben, the outgoing dean of the BSU College of Nursing, explained: “We’re planning on online and limited face-to-face [classes], and most of the resources that we have now are in need of internet connection. This is a blessing that will help our facilitators and learners.” 

The department said it is amplifying efforts to increase the number of free internet hubs in other public areas and state-owned education facilities and universities. In its statement, the DICT said they are set to put up more Wi-FI hubs at the Bokod and Buguias Campuses of BSU not just to expand the coverage of its programme but to assist in the online learning systems to be implemented by the University.  

DICT’s FWAP aims to enhance internet accessibility for the general public by providing free internet access in a host of public places. These include national and local government offices, public schools, state universities and colleges, government hospitals, rural health units, public parks, plazas and public libraries. 

The DICT is also the government agency responsible for the implementation of the National Broadband Programme or NBP. The government is at the fore of supporting the department in rolling out the NBP. As earlier reported by OpenGov Asia, this year’s budget for the programme has been increased to a total of PHP 1.9 billion (US$ 39.5 million). 

In a separate report, the DICT said it has installed 4,305 broadband spots in areas across the country. This figure has increased significantly when compared with data recorded in the last four years. For three years since 2016, the number of live sites launched was at 3,000. There are currently over 7,000 Wi-Fi sites in the country. 

The ongoing pandemic caused much chaos and upheaval across the world – in personal lives, businesses and governments. Many organisations, especially those proving necessary goods and services, needed to rapidly transform and adapt to the challenges posed by COVID-19. In times like these, vision and agility of top leadership are what is needed the most.

To get a deeper insight into the challenges and opportunities of rapid digital transformation in an organisation attending to the everyday needs of an average Singaporean, OpenGov Asia spoke with Ramesh Munamarty, CIO Advisor at TBM Partners and former Group CIO (Digital and Technology) at NTUC Enterprises Singapore and International SOS.

Right off the bat, Ramesh credited the agility of the business, innovation culture and business processes enabled by the right technology for ensuring the survival and success of organisations in these unprecedented times. Beyond doubt, survival has been to a large extent because of an agile business mindset coupled with cutting-edge technology and the highly innovative solutions created from them.

On his organisation’s journey of transforming as necessitated by the pandemic and the tools and technology that came to rescue, Ramesh shared, like numerous other organisations, his prior organisation, too, had begun its digital transformation journey to an extent before the pandemic.

In any organisation working together in an obvious must. The pandemic could have put an end to this, and, indeed, it was the case for several organisations. In their favour, one powerful tool that had been in place, which significantly helped employees work together efficiently, in his opinion, was an effective collaboration suite. Facilitating simultaneous editing and doing away with the need for sharing multiple copies of the same document as attachments, these platforms immensely assisted employees to work collaboratively on documents and presentations from remote locations.

Another major factor to manage for efficient remote work was ensuring a safe and secure working environment for all employees. Without a plethora of tech-driven tools and solutions, it would have been nigh impossible for organisations to facilitate remote work or even to survive for long. Various digital strategies, platforms and applications allowed for safe remote access, data sharing and confidential communication between staff working from geographically diverse locations, on various devices, using different ISPs.

The third practice that significantly helped them better serve their customers was the adoption of cloud. Without doubt, it was their comprehensive cloud adoption that helped them manage the tremendous online traffic spikes. With people being forced to transition life almost entirely online – work, education, business, shopping, banking and entertainment – the load on the internet, and consequently businesses, shot up astronomically almost overnight.

Speaking from experience, Ramesh feels that the intelligent use of technology can help organisations and enterprises, not only survive, but thrive. With a range of agile, scalable and abundantly available technology at hand, organisations must decide what works best for them. They must determine which tools can help them work effectively and securely and invest in them wisely.

Expanding on some of the learnings from his experience that can help leaders and organisations be better prepared for the next critical event, Ramesh was of the view that leaders need to be more agile and prepare outside the box.

A good example to understand this better would be the concept of business continuity plans (BCPs). While most organisations, pre-COVID, had business continuity plans in place, a number of them necessitated employees to be physically present in the office. The pandemic made short work of these contingencies, forcing organisations to scramble and come up with reactive, stop-gap arrangements.

The pandemic has taught us, as much a cliché as it may be, to expect the unexpected. Organisations must consider all different scenarios and look to make their BCP’s as comprehensive as can be. They need to have a growth mindset and learn from their mistakes. Enterprises need to constantly test their systems and processes to ensure that it is comprehensive and a number of different (including currently unexpected) scenarios are incorporated.

Ramesh observed that organisations that could not transition quickly, resorted to short cuts, throw away solutions or put together a patchwork of ad-hoc solutions which they later had to revisit and reinvest in, leading to wastage of time and resources.

With work, business and life moving online, data has become one of the most important assets of a company. But this resource is only as valuable as the actionable insights that can be derived from it. Data analytics can empower enterprises to be better informed about their customers, their markets and the environment at large – enabling better decision-making and creating customer-centric products and services. . Data can also be monetized to create an additional source of revenue. As technology becomes more accessible and cheaper, there really is no excuse for organisations to digitally lag.

In addition to having the agile mindset, innovation culture and the right technology, Ramesh felt that the boards of the organisations should enhance their role from being focused on fiduciary and compliance to broader technology oversight and assessing the risk associated with the digital transformation. This will necessitate the directors to be more digitally savvy and potentially have a technology committee where they can dive deeper into the transformation initiatives and provide oversight to reduce risks and align them to the broader strategic objectives.

As organisations become more flexible and cloud-based, the need to operate in a safe and secure network becomes even more important.  Data breaches are becoming more frequent and have become disproportionately more expensive. As digitalisation comes to the fore and takes centre stage from organisations, security becomes extremely critical. Enterprises must improve their information security maturity and make sure that not only are they protected, but the products and services they offer are secure and scalable. Organisations need to rethink their cybersecurity and more from a reactive to a proactive stance. This will allow them to quickly to roll out solutions for a diverse, remote workforce while simultaneously protecting data, client information and trade secrets.

With almost a full year behind, organisations now seem to be gradually adapting to the “new normal”.  Ramesh is optimistic that businesses will look to convert this crisis into an opportunity, tapping into the massive online market that the pandemic had created. One such opportunity is the ability of enterprises to harness and utilize global talent and the gig economy more easily. Remote working has enabled organisations willing and capable to source the best skillset at the most optimal price from across the globe.

As enterprises accelerate their digital transformations, it is also vital that organisations take a more outside-in approach to augment their current teams. This would mean getting a perspective from experts from in and out of one’s industry to provide an unbiased view and to help maximise the success of the initiatives. This will help the organisation become more disruptive and better equipped to take on challenges.

Finally, Ramesh emphasised the need to be more data-driven, a culture shift that needs to come from top leadership to and percolate across the organisation to all employees. In the past, decisions would be made by the leaders based on their instinct as they were not necessarily equipped with the right data. Significant advances have been made in the data analytics space now that enable organisations to get actionable insights in a proactive manner and also elevate to predictive analytics. This will not only enable organisations to make better decisions but will also prepare them for any unexpected eventuality.

The Australian government recently engaged software and data specialists to set up IT systems capable of managing and tracking the logistics of a Covid-19 vaccination program.

With four promising Covid-19 vaccine candidates progressing through clinical trials – and the first vaccine approved for emergency use in the US and UK – governments worldwide face the task of managing a globally coordinated supply chain effort to vaccinate their populations quickly and safely.

Once a vaccine is approved as safe and effective, which is expected to be early 2021, the Australian government is responsible for safely transporting doses from suppliers to the storage and administration sites. It will also have oversight of the locations of doses, stock levels, locations for vaccination and who has been vaccinated.

To manage the large scale, high-demand vaccination program, IT systems will be required to bridge multiple data sources and provide supply chain visibility and future demand forecasting.

Legislation has also been introduced to make it easier to keep tabs on who has received the jab, through an updated national immunisation register.

The government has started work identifying key system capabilities and gaps across the digital, data and reporting systems that will help to manage public demand, minimise reporting overhead, and improve the efficacy of the rollout.

A department of health spokesperson stated that this involves the consolidation of data from many existing systems and sources so that there is a central source of information about each dose and each vial. This end-to-end capability will allow the government to understand where doses are needed, improve vaccine access and avoid issues of excess stock or wastage.

The government is working to ensure it can track the location of vaccine stock at any time and is also engaging software and data specialists to ensure vaccines can be tracked at every stage in their journey, from receipt from the manufacturer through to post-immunisation monitoring.

Currently, orders and supply of other vaccines to states and territories are managed through the Department of Health’s vaccine administration system. However, the department does not have oversight or a contractual arrangement to oversee the forecasting, supply and distribution of those vaccines in the private market.

These arrangements are managed by individual vaccine manufacturers and suppliers. Local distribution of other vaccines such as the seasonal flu vaccine under the National Immunisation Program (NIP) is managed by individual states and territories.

Distribution

The federal government is also working with its state and territory counterparts, vaccine makers and logistics companies to coordinate the rollout of the vaccine.

A local transportation and logistics company is among those providing logistics advice about the options for cold-chain supply for healthcare cargo to both state and federal health departments as well as preparing to play a role in distributing the vaccine across the country.

Rather than building or buying a new IT infrastructure, the firm’s preparations to help distribute the vaccine will rely on the system it uses to distribute millions of influenza vaccine doses each year. Their distribution system is directly linked to their transport management system for shipments and a customer track and trace portal (MyToll) which can be used to monitor shipments. Information can be shared from the firm’s enterprise systems via APIs, system integration, web portals and reports.

These same systems can be scaled up to manage the distribution of the 40-50 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine that are anticipated will be required in Australia.

Immunisation status

System enhancements will also need to be made to the Australian Immunisation Register, a national database which will be used to record all Covid-19 vaccinations.

Earlier this month the federal government introduced legislation to make it mandatory for vaccine providers to report all vaccinations to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) to help track and trace who is and isn’t protected against Covid-19.

The AIR is a whole-of-life national immunisation register that captures vaccines administered to those living in Australia.

However, reporting vaccinations to AIR is currently voluntary meaning the government doesn’t have a complete picture of who is vaccinated.

While vaccinations would remain voluntary, it would become mandatory to report that vaccines have been provided,” a spokesperson for the Department of Health said. Mandatory reporting in the Australian Immunisation Register means that people will be able to view an immunisation certificate through their My Health Record (MHR).

MHR is already connected to the AIR and could be used to generate immunisation certificates or alerts to remind Australians to get their second dose of the vaccine. Immunisation history statements, generated by AIR, can also be viewed and printed via Medicare Online, myGov or the Express Plus Medicare mobile app.

Within the final months of 2020, all three major mobile carriers in Vietnam announced trials of commercial 5G services, making Vietnam one of the first countries in the world to roll out the latest generation of wireless technology. This is expected to boost the digital economy.

According to a news report, unlike previous technologies most of which had to be imported, Vietnam has gradually mastered and is now capable of producing 5G equipment, a strategically important step in Vietnam’s development of information and communications technology.

State-run enterprise Viettel was the pioneer in announcing commercial 5G trials in late November with coverage in the Hoan Kiem, Ba Dinh, and Hai Ba Trung Districts of Hanoi. Owners of 5G-enabled devices can now use the service for free at a speed of up to 1.5 gigabits per second, far higher than 4G.

Later in mid-December, Vinaphone announced its 5G coverage in some central districts in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City as well as two demonstration centres, enabling residents without 5G devices to experience the new technological features. The third provider, Mobifone, also quickly caught up by piloting commercial 5G services in Ho Chi Minh City.

However, industry experts have noted that the mobile carriers’ rush to roll out 5G services at this time is merely a competition between brands and does not precisely reflect what the domestic telecommunications market will look like in the future.

With 3G and 4G technologies, Vietnam was a latecomer, but with 5G, Vietnam is one of the frontrunners. Although the trials are just an initial step in the long process to widespread rollout, the carriers’ efforts have demonstrated the local communications sector’s capacity and readiness to provide the new technologies to the people, the report noted.

With exceptionally fast speeds, low latency, and high density (up to one million devices in one square kilometre), 5G is expected to revolutionise the fields of advanced technology, healthcare, transport, and education. It will lay the foundation for Vietnam to master and apply new technologies as well as succeed in its national digital transformation drive.

5G will bring with its tremendous opportunities in the future but quite a few challenges as well. First of all, carriers face a risk that 5G-enabled devices have not yet been widely popular with consumers at the time of mass rollout and that 5G business models are as of yet not proven to be effective. Further, the demand for this technology is not yet very high, making carriers find it hard to balance costs and benefits.

The fourth industrial revolution is taking place at a rapid pace around the world and 5G is one of the key technologies in this revolution thanks to its high speeds and low latency, essential to many sectors. Therefore, countries should take advantage of this opportunity and Vietnam is also taking proactive steps to get on-board the 5G train.

Vietnam has certain advantages as it can produce many types of equipment and infrastructure necessary for 5G. The Ministry of Information and Communications has affirmed that mastering 5G equipment is strategically significant nationally and Vietnam is one of the few countries capable of doing so. From now on, Vietnam will actively act as a pioneer alongside the rest of the world with regards to technology, helping further stimulate the communications sector, making an even greater contribution to the country’s socio-economic development.

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