Australia and Vietnam will jointly launch DigiVet-Aus, a business connecting platform, this September. The project is expected to boost software exporting and outsourcing from Vietnam. The Head of the Vietnam Trade Office in Australia made the announcement during a virtual seminar on information communication technology (ICT) cooperation opportunities between Vietnam and Australia last week.
The official noted that the market size of the software industry in Australia is estimated at AUD13 billion (US$8.9 billion) as the development of the country’s economy is based on ICT platforms. However, the supply of digital products and human resources have dropped mainly due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Managing Director of the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) added that the demand for human resources and IT products in Australia is huge. Many Australian enterprises are facing a shortage of ICT workforce while the government is focusing on bolstering the development of digital technologies.
It is an opportunity for Vietnamese IT companies to strengthen their connection with Australian pairs and vice versa, the official noted. Speaking at the webinar, the General Secretary of the Vietnam Software and IT Services Association (VINASA) said that Vietnamese and Australian businesses have many suitable conditions to increase cooperation. He hoped the conference will be a bridge for Australian and Vietnamese IT businesses to expand their networks and strengthen connections.
According to a member of the VINASA, Vietnam’s IT human resources have currently reached more than one million people, covering hardware, software, and digital content. Foreign investors can benefit from the high-quality IT human resources, government support policies, and a market of 97 million people. Also, they get the opportunity to penetrate the larger ASEAN market that comprises more than 600 million people, he added.
In his speech at the webinar, the Vietnamese Ambassador to Australia stated that through a close strategic partnership, Vietnam and Australia have signed an action plan for the 2020-2023 period, including three pillars of the economy, politics-defence security, and innovation; they are all related to digital transformation. The Vietnamese Ambassador added the strategy to strengthen economic cooperation between the two countries, expected to be signed in October, also attaches great importance to this issue. He underlined the current opportunity will not only benefits businesses but support the development of both Vietnam and Australia economies through IT cooperation, contributing to creating many facilities for the people of the two sides.
As OpenGov Asia reported earlier, the digital economy in Vietnam accounts for about 8.2% of GDP. The potential for development for the Internet and digital economy components is large. The ICT digital economy accounts for about 4.5% of global GDP, about 6.9% of America’s GDP, and 7% of China’s GDP. For Vietnam, the ICT digital economy is estimated to account for about 5.5% of the country’s GDP, with a revenue of about US$123 billion.
However, the government has claimed that this number does not reflect the real potential of Vietnam’s Internet digital economy, because many cross-border digital platforms collect billions of dollars in Vietnam but do not make declarations. The supervision and management of online business forms have many loopholes. Measuring the digital economy is still difficult, but this figure shows that Vietnam’s Internet digital economy still has great potential for development. According to a recent report, although Vietnam’s internet economy is behind Indonesia and Thailand in total revenue, Vietnam has the highest growth rate with 16% per year, compared to 11%/year for Indonesia and 7%/year for Thailand.
The issuance of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) on broadening the provision of internet service through satellite services is seen by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) as further promoting financial inclusion and digital finance in the country. The IRR, issued in September by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) under Department Circular No. 002, Series of 2021, aims to promote the development of an inclusive and vibrant satellite industry by liberalising access to satellite systems.
Increased access to satellite services is expected to hasten the rollout of internet connectivity for the country’s unserved, underserved, geographically isolated, and disadvantaged areas. With the issuance of the IRR, banks, fintech companies, and other financial sector entities will be guided even further in their exploration of ways to use satellite technology for their operations, particularly in expanding presence in underserved communities.
With enhanced countryside connectivity, we see previously unserved and underserved areas being reached by digital financial services, especially those designed for the lower-income segments, like remittances, bills payments and the opening of transaction accounts.
– Governor, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas
As financial transactions and services shift to online platforms, internet connectivity is recognised as a critical enabler of financial and economic inclusion. Banks and other financial service providers (FSPs) will be able to better serve rural areas with more access points, such as automated teller machines and cash agent services that rely on internet connectivity, as internet service is expanded.
Meanwhile, with the introduction of the Philippine Identification System and its electronic know-your-customer service, increased internet access will enable more unbanked rural clients and low-income communities to use digital financial services and benefit from digital innovations.
Republic Act 11055, or the Philippine Identification System Act, was signed into law by the Philippines President in August 2018. Its purpose is to create a single national ID for all Filipinos and resident aliens. The national ID must be a valid proof of identity that can be used to simplify public and private transactions, school enrolment, and bank account opening.
It will also increase efficiency, particularly when dealing with government services, as people will only need to present one ID during transactions. “These developments will contribute towards the BSP’s financial inclusion targets, namely that first, 70% of the adult population should own a transaction account, and second, that half of all retail payments should be in digital form by 2023,” the BSP Governor said.
Ultimately, The BSP encourages financial service providers to seek opportunities for innovation and market expansion from this policy reform to accelerate financial inclusion in the country.
In addition, the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved a US$400 million loan to support reforms that will assist the Philippine government in accomplishing a resilient financial sector and ensuring a more inclusive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
First Financial Sector Reform Development Policy in the Philippines, the financing loan is the first of two programmes that support three reform areas: strengthening financial sector stability, integrity, and resilience; expanding financial inclusion for individuals and businesses; and promoting disaster risk finance, which protects national budgets and businesses, as well as families’ lives and livelihoods, from the effects of disasters.
OpenGov Asia reported that the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) will move forward with Phase 1 of the National Broadband Programme (NBP), which will boost the development of supplemental infrastructure or a “resiliency route”. According to the DICT secretary, the establishment of a resiliency route serves as insurance or a safety net against any unforeseen problems or events that could reason a delay in the project’s completion.
The Philippine government established the National Broadband Plan to accelerate the deployment of fibre optic cables and wireless technologies throughout the country, particularly in remote areas, and to improve overall internet speed and affordability (NBP).
The ‘connected firefighter’ package is a $57.4 million investment as part of the New South Wales (NSW) government’s response to the Independent Bushfire Inquiry following the Black Summer Bushfires of 2019/20. The package includes:
- Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), or drones that provide images and data from incidents in real-time, assist firefighters with incident planning.
- Cell on Wheels (CoWs), which are mobile modules that are equipped with communications technology and provide power for extended periods in remote parts of the state without coverage.
- Upgrades to Fire and Rescue NSW Mobile Command Centres for communications between incident management teams and firefighters.
- Vehicle as a Node (VaaNs), vehicles that have a built-in Wi-Fi hub to provide mobile 4G network in remote locations where satellite connection is limited.
The region’s Police and Emergency Services Minister said that the NSW Government is providing record funding towards initiatives that are bolstering the safety of the community. It is apparent is that the emergency services are entering a tech boom, one which rightly puts NSW ahead of the pack this bushfire season, he said. These assets will ensure NSW’s first responders are safe as they enter dangerous and volatile fire grounds to protect their communities.
A report from earlier this year noted that Emergency services and communities will be better prepared for disaster, with another record $1.9 billion budget in 2021-22 across the NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS), Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW), and NSW State Emergency Service (NSW SES).
The Minister for Police and Emergency Services has confirmed a record investment of $930 million for FRNSW and $240 million for NSW SES reflected the Government’s continued focus on safeguarding lives, property and supporting emergency management personnel. The budget includes more than $75 million over four years for the Stay Safe and Keep Operational program across emergency services, which will support the communication requirements of the emergency services agencies in areas not serviced by the Government Radio Network.
Fire and Rescue NSW will benefit from a nearly $23 million investment over four years for the rollout of new firefighting personal protective clothing. Almost $12 million will be spent over two years for the completion of FRNSW fire stations at Marsden Park and Oran Park, including trucks and equipment for each station.
The funding also includes an additional $268 million to continue the implementation of the recommendations of the NSW Independent Bushfire Inquiry, building on more than $192 million already announced since the 2019-20 bushfire season.
The funding package includes:
- More than $48 million for fleet replacement and vehicle safety retrofits for frontline firefighting agencies;
- $16 million for additional NSW RFS crews for hazard reduction and mitigation works;
- More than $34 million to accelerate the delivery of the strategic fire trails network;
- More than $18 million over two years to enhance coordination between emergency services, helping to fast-track integrated call and dispatch at FRNSW;
- More than $17 million over two years to operationalise two black hawk helicopters and to replace an existing NSW RFS helicopter;
- $20 million over two years for NSW RFS to upgrade Fire Control Centres, Emergency Operations Centres, and Station/Neighbourhood Safe Places;
- Nearly $7 million to enhance firefighter safety through fire ground tracking, training and accreditation of heavy plant machinery over four years; and
- More than $5 million to acquire additional drones for firefighting operations by FRNSW.
The NSW RFS will benefit from a $686 million budget in 2021-22, which will ensure it has the resources required to provide a world-leading bushfire response capability. The Budget also includes almost $790 million for Resilience NSW to coordinate and oversee whole-of-government disaster management, recovery, and build resilience to disasters.
The post-pandemic world is entering a period characterised by restructuring and consolidation. Taiwan’s Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), with the backing of Academia Sinica, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health and Welfare are focused on six key strategic industries: IT and digitisation, cybersecurity, precision healthcare, renewable and sustainable energies, national defence and strategy, as well as civilian affairs and military preparedness.
With the rising popularity of the 5G infrastructure, asset security will be the next global battlefield. The synergy between Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), cloud and many other emerging technologies related to 5G is yielding a plethora of innovative cross-domain applications. With the popularity of 5G, asset security has become a critical issue that cannot be ignored.
Healthcare and technologies join hands to pave the way for the rise of precision healthcare. As the ageing society is creating a growing demand for medical services and management of chronic diseases, precision healthcare has become an irreversible trend worldwide. A number of leading medical institutions are utilising advanced technologies to enhance their smart healthcare and smart hospital services.
Taipei Veterans General Hospital President said that he intends to make smart healthcare the centrepiece of the next stage of development at the hospital, with the goal of reaching a peak utilisation of cutting-edge technologies that combine precision healthcare and big data.
Science and technology help improve military power by speeding up the transformation of the defence industry. When it comes to defence and strategy, Taiwan has accumulated substantial experience as a result of having developed the FORMOSAT-5 satellite and the FORMOSAT-7 satellite constellation, in combination with its existing complete supply chains and manufacturing capabilities in the semiconductor, information communication electronics and precision machinery sectors
These technologies assure Taiwan an ongoing capability to develop and manufacture satellites, as well as serving as an important R&D and manufacturing base for global satellite components, ground communications, ground terminals and other equipment.
Taiwan has long held an edge in display technology, and the sector is an economic powerhouse. To take full advantage of the nearly limitless opportunity presented by internet-connected devices and application services, and position display technologies and related applications as the engine for Taiwan’s next wave of economic growth, the government has released an action plan for display technologies and applications covering the years 2020 to 2024.
This strategy will move the sector beyond mere displays toward the 2030 vision of a smart-tech lifestyle incorporating emerging display technologies and applications, thereby keeping Taiwan’s advanced tech industry at the global forefront.
Three are three essential Taiwan tech strategies:
- Encourage demonstration applications and field testing: Drive domestic demand by building demonstration sites for exemplary solutions incorporating domestic products. Build Taiwan into the world’s top supplier of display technology products and solutions by 2030.
- Develop new capabilities for smart technology: Develop emerging technologies like intelligent sensors, online-offline convergence, and cybersecurity, as well as advance new technology through multidisciplinary cooperation. Elevate Taiwan’s international competitiveness and position on the value chain by producing a range of specialised and differentiated products by 2030.
- Build an environment for industrial development: Construct communications mechanisms and experimentation platforms for smart retail, smart transport, smart health care and smart entertainment. Nurture new talent capable of synthesising multidisciplinary research to create future-oriented display technologies and innovative applications, and promote cooperation with international counterparts.
Taiwan researchers have been inventing novel advanced technologies, including a bendable water-enabled portable power bank — a device that generates power from a few drops of water. As reported by OpenGov Asia, a team from the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology said that the gadget utilises membrane technology to generate electricity from water.
For the first time since 2005, New Zealand’s government intends to create a new digital strategy. The strategy aims to define the goals, priorities, and activities for the next 2 to 5 years, as well as the long-term outcomes through 2031 and beyond those years. According to the government, its vision is to enable all of Aotearoa New Zealand to flourish and prosper in a digital world.
To ensure that it will not be lacking in key the components of this implementation, the government has issued a discussion document and demands immediate feedback. The document, according to Infrastructure New Zealand’s Chief Executive, is a start. “The discussion document has a heavy focus on connectivity and how we use it, and inclusion. That’s good, but a national digital strategy needs to recognise that digital technology is a means to an end, not an end in itself – it needs to drive economic growth and development and leverage every opportunity.”
In infrastructure solutions, digital technology is already playing a significant role. The strategy must outline how New Zealand can capitalise on digital technology opportunities, such as how digital infrastructure can help address New Zealand’s infrastructure deficit while also contributing to environmental outcomes. It is also noted that a submission will be made to ensure that it covers all bases and is fit for purpose in the future. “We’ll be keen to see an implementation plan and monitoring framework to ensure the strategy is meaningful and outcomes-based, as opposed to yet another plan that isn’t realistic.” She then added.
More than ever, how New Zealand navigates the digital world is essential to the country’s long-term success. There are significant consequences if the government gets this wrong, given the rise of working from home and the contribution digital technologies can make to mitigating the impact of climate change. As per a report released this year, New Zealand’s digital competitiveness has dropped by 70 points. The pandemic, according to NZTech Chief Executive, has stressed the importance of digital technologies.
OpenGov Asia reported that in response to the crisis, digital transformation and technology alliances are two of several areas in which a multinational professional services network of firms based in New Zealand intends to create more than 500 new jobs over the next five years. The proposed job creation drive is part of the company’s global strategy aimed at “responding to fundamental changes in the world,” such as technological disruption, climate change, fractured geopolitics, and the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The programme, dubbed ‘The New Equation,’ was announced by the firm and was described at the time as “a revolutionary approach in how we see new opportunities to serve clients as they work to build trust and deliver sustainable business outcomes.”
Another report had also stated that digital transformation could boost the New Zealand economy by up to $46.6 billion per year by 2030. The report identified three main pillars of action for New Zealand to fully leverage the opportunities brought about by digital transformation: supporting technology adoption in key industries, upskilling the current workforce and future talent and promoting digital export opportunities.
The report also discussed eight transformative technologies and the economic benefits they bring to New Zealand, such as artificial intelligence (AI), which can be used to drive data-based public health interventions; mobile internet to help digitise retail distribution channels; and the Internet of Things (IoT) for supply chain tracking.
In addition, as per New Zealand’s last transformation strategy, accelerating the New Zealand Government’s digital transformation will enable people to access personalised services when and where they need them, participate in decisions about issues that are important to them, and have trust in an open, transparent, and inclusive government.
Wisconsin’s Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) is partnering with tech companies to enhance Wisconsin’s occupational licensure review and adjudication. The Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform will automate certain data entry tasks that are currently conducted manually. This will improve the customer experience and will expedite entry to the credentialed workforce in Wisconsin.
DSPS currently issues licenses for more than 240 occupational fields. The department issues credentials to most health care providers, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, physical therapists, and more. It licenses about 1.1 million people every two years.
Our credentialing process is almost 100% manual. That is because applicants fill out a paper form and mail it in, leaving department employees to decipher the handwriting and enter the data into the agency’s database. Automating that process is going to be a great step in terms of licensing applicants much more quickly and helping our process be much more accurate.”
– Dawn Crim, Secretary, Department of Safety and Professional Services
Currently, several teams handle data entry, but with the new solution by using their expertise in reviewing applications and processing and interacting with the customer. The tech companies are working to enable AI to automate data extraction from emails and attachments and send the information to DSPS’ database. It will also link necessary attachments such as degrees or certifications to the applications, with administrators being alerted to review any mismatches.
In addition to easing data entry, the technologies could help with customer service. For instance, virtual assistants could help in many permutations of the process. Because the process for each license is governed by statutory authorities and regulations, there tends to be a specific workflow for each industry. Virtual assistants could help point callers to the resources they need.
Although the different industries have different requirements, there are questions common to all licensing types. They use a natural language understanding platform that lets agencies design and integrate a conversational user interface into applications. The AI can comb through processes and statistics, such as how many calls virtual assistants deflect from staff. With those statistics, DSPS can make data-informed decisions about regulations, processes and procedures.
This modernisation effort is part of the second of a three-phase effort the state is pursuing. The first phase focused on the state’s construction industry, including replacing the regulated objects system, a 20-year old software application used for commercial building inspection permits, plan reviews and credentialing.
The third phase will address the complaint process. DSPS has more than 100 councils, committees and boards that govern the industry, so DSPS wants to use technology to study where complaints are coming from and whether they can be attributed to regulations or licensed professionals themselves.
Many U.S. Government agencies have leveraged the power of AI to achieve their goals more efficiently. As reported by OpenGov Asia, Yolo County District Attorney has had robust discussions with community members about the implicit or explicit bias that may occur in the criminal justice system. Prosecutors have nearly absolute discretion to charge or dismiss criminal cases. There is concern that these high-stakes judgments may suffer from explicit or implicit racial bias, as with many other such actions in the criminal justice system.
Yolo DA decided to address this potential problem by announcing the official launch of a first-of-its-kind Race Blind Charging (RBC) programme. The office then has been using the algorithm, developed by the Stanford Computational Policy Lab (SCPL).
By using a first-of-its-kind Race Blind Charging software program, Yolo County will ensure that their decisions on whether to charge someone with a crime are not infected by any real or perceived bias. This innovation will also help improve public confidence in the procedural fairness of the criminal justice system.
A report from the Jacobs Institute’s Urban Tech Hub at Cornell Tech showed that the main aspects that shape the future of urban technology are sustainable neighbourhoods, a supercharged infrastructure and inclusive innovation that strikes back at surveillance capitalism.
For the report, the research team conducted a 10-year horizon scan, scouring thousands of published journals, news articles and blogs to identify the most relevant and important trends. The raw data were synthesised to reveal 217 unique perspectives and 49 trends that describe the direction of urban tech in the next decade.
The Horizon Scan is meant to create a conversation across the many areas that are a part of urban tech. The report describes the innovations that the field could produce in the coming decade. But it also lays out the ‘technical debt’ that’s already on the books due to hasty decisions about sensing, AI, and tech governance.”
– Anthony Townsend, Project Lead
Though the report covers a number of technological advances, from mobility solutions to the complexities of privacy related to facial recognition, the research team homes in on six key themes that will likely have the biggest impact on the future of cities.
First, smart city concepts have seen steady progress over the last decade, with more municipalities equipping their buildings with digital sensing. Improved real-time tracking of energy, waste and water has led to increased control and savings.
The report cites scaling sustainable building technology as another theme, as cities look to cut carbon emissions in efforts to contain the effects of climate change. Technology will play a critical role as political and financial capital is focused on megacities, where street-level solutions will be key in extracting the maximum value.
City infrastructure is also expected to play an important role in shaping the future of urban technology. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted how understanding the urban ecosystem can help anticipate outbreaks, as scientists used sewage sampling and microbiome sequencing in city transit systems to track the spread of the virus. Many cities are even wiring up waterways and parks to calculate the vitality of these ecosystems.
Artificial neural networks, which power some of the cities’ most sophisticated machine learning efforts, can provide incredible value to governments by predicting the movements of goods, people, resources and information. At the same time, by deploying such powerful tools society risks giving up individual freedoms, the report states.
The shift toward doing things remotely, from learning and health care to work and entertainment, reveals wealth and power disparities. Fostering technologies that empower the disempowered can help ensure an efficient, tech-powered future.
Finally, the researchers predict that in the decade ahead, “big tech will crack the code of the city and stitch together a planetary supply chain for urban innovation.” Governments are getting a clearer picture of the problems they want the industry to solve, and the challenges of realising smart city innovation is becoming clearer.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, a new report also revealed the trends shaping the future of local U.S. governments which include data, technology and Customer Experience (CX). “The Future of Local Government” report states that because the public interacts with local governments the most, those agencies are best poised to make a for constituents and businesses.
Using data to drive decision- and policymaking is becoming increasingly crucial. Historically, government data has been stored across an array of sources, databases, systems and departments; one in four local officials surveyed by Forrester Consulting said public datasets housed in multiple databases and lines of business systems are a significant obstacle to executing new customer-focused strategies. Bringing disparate data sources together to tap into the immense power of analytics and data-based business insights will play a critical role in reshaping local government for a new era.
When the country implemented health and social-distancing protocols, the COVID-19 pandemic catalysed the shift in awareness and provided the necessary push for more consumers – individuals, businesses, and the government – to use digital payments.
Governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is optimistic that a payment system based on the quick response (QR) code will help the central bank’s efforts to increase electronic payment transactions in the country despite the country’s poor internet connectivity. He stated during the virtual launch of the QR PH P2M programme that the QR PH for person-to-merchant (P2M) transactions uses QR codes.
“To receive payments merchants only need to print QR codes, which the respective payments service provider will generate for them, display those codes, and obtain payments by simply asking their customers to scan the code without necessarily getting connected to the internet. Confirmation of successful payments transactions may also be received by both the merchants and the customers,” the governor said during the briefing streamed through the central bank’s social media page.
Electronic payments, which got boosted since the government-imposed movement restrictions at the start of the pandemic, are expected to grow even more with the use of QR codes for payments. The governor expressed optimism about the future growth of digital financial transactions, citing the fact that more people now own smartphones and have access to the internet.
OpenGov Asia reported on an article stating in a recent meeting, the BSP governor confirmed that the BSP will continue to collaborate with the Philippine Payments Management Inc. (PPMI) to ensure that every Filipino can be a part of the increasingly digital Philippine economy. The PPMI is a self-governing body run by payment industry participants that are recognised as the country’s payment system management body by the BSP.
The two bodies are working together on several fronts to better the overall national financial landscape in a bid to drive the economy and offer a better consumer experience. The PesoNet Multiple Batch Settlement (MBS) is expected to be in place by the end of this year. With most businesses relying on digital payments, credit and debit cards, rapid and efficient batch settlements are of vital importance for sustainability. In essence, e-payments are a digital alternative to the traditional, physical cheque system. Like cheque settlements, the MBS will clear sets of approved digital transactions. Increasing the frequency of e-payment settlements from once to twice daily will give businesses a significant boost. It will speed up the payment process for high-value transfers and assist businesses in meeting their funding requirements.
In addition, QR PH P2M runs its operations using one of the two electronic payment facilities provided by the central bank’s National Retail Payment System (NRPS). He then noted that they anticipate an increase in the number of QR PH P2M participants in the coming days and that using the QR code is less expensive than using a point-of-sale (POS) terminal. It is also mentioned that the QR PH empowers consumers by allowing them to choose their digital payment service through the interoperability feature of QR PH payments, which is in line with the United Nations’ principles on the responsible use of digital payment.
The Philippines’ central bank has announced that digital payments have surpassed the central bank’s target of 20% of total monthly payment volume by 2020.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said in a statement that 20.1% of monthly payments volume will be done digitally by the end of 2020, a significant improvement from the 2020 first semester estimates, which put digital payments volume at 17%. The BSP also stated that the value of digital payments increased significantly from 25% to 26.8% during the same time.
Furthermore, it was acknowledged that the increased use of digital payments was driven by high-frequency, low-value retail transactions such as person-to-merchant payments and person-to-person payments such as electronic fund transfers.