Cybersecurity has gained a lot of attention in the last
couple of years, no thanks to the increasing number of high profile
cyberattacks across the globe. As more and more nations embark on smart city
projects such as India’s Smart Cities
Mission, reliance on data and connectivity will continue to rise
dramatically across geographies and industries, giving cyber criminals even
more avenues to carry out malicious activities.
Today, cyber criminals are as sophisticated as ever and
both governments and organizations are finding it hard to keep up. Cyberattacks
are increasing in scale, just think of the Equifax
breach which affected millions of Americans and more recently, the attacks on
Winter Olympics. These attacks are possible because cyber criminals are
becoming more strategic at targeting vital data across the healthcare, finance,
and public sector verticals, raising the costs and stakes involved. In fact, according
to the World Economic Forum (WEF), the cost of cybercrime to the global economy
is currently estimated at $445 billion a year .
In this turbulent landscape, technology companies not only
need to make cybersecurity a priority in the development of their solutions, but
they also need to re-instill confidence in the market so that the progress of
economies and smart cities or nations are not curtailed by the fear of cyberattacks.
To do this, a multi-pronged strategy and concerted effort across governments
and organizations is required.
Outsmart the enemy
The dearth of cybersecurity professionals will continue to
plague the industry as the cybersecurity sector’s global workforce shortage is
projected to reach 1.8 million by 2022 ,
while the amount of data collected, analyzed, and stored will continue to
increase exponentially. This means that there are simply not enough humans to
process the data for cybersecurity detection and prevention.
The good news is, cybersecurity vendors are accelerating
their research and ramping up solutions to meet today’s challenges. One major
trend we are seeing is the implementation of Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial
Intelligence (AI) to detect and respond to cyberattacks.
One example is Apache
Spot, an open source cybersecurity
project that uses ML as a filter for separating bad traffic from benign and to
characterize the unique behavior of network traffic, giving organizations the
ability to analyze large data sets quickly, leading to better and faster threat
The revival of AI and ML is a rosy
development for Chief Security Officers (CSOs) as it can help address several
of their common pain points. If we can offload tasks to ML and AI, while
harnessing the scarce human expertise for decision-making, our cybersecurity
infrastructure can become more robust and cost-efficient.
The bottom line is, all solution
providers, be it Internet of Things (IoT), fintech, biotech, or data analytics,
must make innovation in cybersecurity a priority in the development of their
solutions to stay one step ahead of cyber criminals and meet customer
All together now
There is also an urgent need for public and private stakeholders
to carry out diplomatic dialogues and share threat intelligence as cybercrime
is not something that can be dealt with in silo. Unlike physical crimes, it is
not bound by geography or jurisdiction and cyber criminals will have no qualms with
exploiting the weakest link to launch regional or even global attacks.
Recognizing that cybercrime cannot be
tackled unilaterally, information-sharing platforms have sprung up around the
world, such as the Cyber-security Information Sharing
Partnership (CiSP) in the United Kingdom and the National
Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) in the
United States. Closer to home, the recent Cyber Security Summit 2018
held in Mumbai served as a platform for the public and private sectors to discuss
the scale and nature of cyber threat and how stakeholders can work together to
develop effective counter measures. These are all positive developments that
require the critical support of all stakeholders to prevail and governments
should take the lead in promoting a landscape of collaboration and transparency
to catalyze action and change.
Today, the odds are not in our favor and
we need to move away from the reactive approach to cybersecurity that we are
long accustomed to. Instead, we should adopt a proactive approach encompassing
robust cybersecurity infrastructures built on the latest technology, coupled
with the collective efforts of all stakeholders in contributing to an open and
cohesive environment that this region’s smart city building efforts can rely on
as a backdrop for progress.
Economic Forum, Cybercrime, 2017
 Center for
Cyber Safety and Education, Meet the Millennials,
Science, engineering, technology, and innovation give people the power to develop a country and its quality of life. Investment in these areas is vital for economic growth and social progress.
Research and development in smart tech can help build greener cities with better access to essential systems and services for all. Moreover, infrastructure development, technology transfer and public and private R&D must be supported and regulated by good policies if they are to work.
To ensure scientific progress is encouraged and embraced at all levels of government decision-making, the Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM) is tasked with giving strategic advice to the government and stakeholders, as well as pursuing excellence in science, engineering, and technology for the benefit of everyone.
Malaysia’s S.E.T.I. Initiatives
One of the contributions of the ASM is to incorporate interactive learning of STEM into the pedagogy of education in Malaysian schools. “To see the performance and results, inquiry-based science education (IBSE) will create an interactive learning environment in the physical classroom. Therefore, we want to have this kind of ecosystem and environment in schools.”
She is eager to see more collaboration between tertiary education and industry so that any courses and curricula provided by universities are both industry-required and future-proof. This is why their organisation is working with the government to create collaboration between industry and academia. “I believe that will help us advance more.”
ASM is currently working with the Malaysian government, in particular the central agency, to begin evaluating public decision-making universities based on data. Hence, using facts, metrics, and data to inform strategic business decisions that align with goals, objectives, and initiatives is the most effective data-driven decision-making.
Making data-driven decisions the norm within an organisation is necessary to foster a climate that values scepticism and curiosity. “Data is the starting point of conversations at every level, and people improve their data skills through practice and application,” says Hazami.
At its core, this calls for a self-service model where users can access the data they require while maintaining a balance between security and governance. Additionally, it necessitates proficiency, resulting in opportunities for training and development for workers to acquire data skills.
Additionally, ASM has developed a Responsible Conduct of Research module which acts as a benchmark to have this code of ethics in research taught to all graduates, whether they are in hard sciences or the social sciences.
“We want that because every piece of knowledge we incorporate in the future will be based on good science and value. Therefore, we must consider bioethics, biosecurity, and training modules on ethics in research,” Hazami explains.
ASM has recently directed its scientists to provide solutions in close collaboration with the ministries. Citing as an example is their committee on water, energy, health, agriculture, and biodiversity (WEHAB++). For instance, when Malaysia faces issues such as the price hike for chicken feed which causes societal dissatisfaction, solutions to food security issues such as this can be provided by the Academy’s expert network through science and technology directly to the government and stakeholders.
In addition to providing policies and strategies to decision-makers, the ASM also teaches them how to carry out those policies and strategies by applying their knowledge.
Hazami highlighted the growing movement called “Open Science” which aims to open scientific data and research to the public. In addition to democratising knowledge, the international principle of making research data findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable (FAIR) will support open scientific inquiry and integrity, facilitate improved research management, and encourage data-intensive research.
Unprecedented insights and solutions to local, regional, and global complex challenges are made possible by integrating numerous data streams and enormous datasets across numerous disciplines.
Through the Malaysia Open Science Alliance, the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment & Climate Change (MESTECC), now known as the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation (MOSTI) and the ASM are laying the groundwork for the realisation of the Malaysia Open Science Platform (MOSP), a strategic transformative project to strengthen Malaysia’s STI Collaborative Ecosystem.
“The Malaysia Open Science Platform or MOSP aims to connect raw research data, then collaborate and share,” Hazami explains. “By creating a reliable platform that enables accessibility and sharing of research data aligned to national priorities and international best practices, this initiative seeks to transform Malaysia’s research data into a valuable national asset.”
Hazami is passionate about science and technology because it has the power to change the nation. “I’m attempting to make a change, and one of those changes is in the area of science and technology.”
For her, the most meaningful contribution in her 26 years in the academy was when the government accepted 80% of their recommendations for transforming and creating change and an ecosystem. “For now, our current areas of focus are strengthening governance, the innovation ecosystem and the sustainability of R&D funding.”
A change in paradigm towards a growth mindset among policymakers, scientists and the younger generations is her greatest challenge and greatest passion. She believes that when decision-making is based on data, it can provide the best solution possible.
Hazami strongly believes that Malaysian women are more than capable of pursuing careers in science and technology. They hope to have a strong support network to help them succeed in those fields, whether as practitioners or scientists.
“Our goal is flexibility. We need to have an open work environment and open innovation because we can work from home as researchers and scientists. We are more adaptable now. If we can accomplish this, more and more women will contribute to the workforce more effectively,” she says emphatically.
By reaching out to the top management and demystifying technical terms, OpenGov Asia, a steadfast supporter of Malaysia’s digital transformation journey and an advocate for citizen-centric development, will continue to help bring about change. Hazami concludes by urging top leaders to practice a growth mindset for the betterment of the country.
Hazami strongly believes that over the course of the next five years, ASM will continue to serve as a catalyst for change and create the science, technology, innovation, and economy (STIE) ecosystem for the entire nation towards the full potential of digital transformation, including the Malaysian transformation and the humanisation of the economy. “Leaders’ courageous decisions pave the road to successful digital transformation.”
Communication remains the backbone of all sectors and industries, connecting all stakeholders. The organisation must consider the cost, scalability and efficiency of communications. Many businesses have switched from Public Switched Telephone Networks (PTSNs) to cloud communications.to better and more effectively meet their needs.
There are numerous benefits to using cloud telephony over traditional landline services, including costs. Moreover, with lower fixed investment, cloud communications are more cost-effective.
Apart from the initial investment, the reduction in maintenance and commutes associated with face-to-face meetings results in lower overall expenses and increase staff efficiency. With reduced travel time to and from appointments and the office, the number of conversations and virtual meetings per day increases exponentially.
Migration to cloud-based systems results in faster and more efficient communications with significantly greater reach and flexibility. Cloud solutions allow for easy downsizing or expansion without significant capital investments. Ease of scaling with reduced capital outlay allows organisations to respond more quickly to fluid environments.
Given that the hybrid workplace is here to stay, cloud communications remain the primary solution for meeting the rising demand for effective organisational communications across a diverse geography and variety of gadgets. Cloud calling allows businesses to make and receive calls from any phone or internet-connected device in any location.
Cloud communications’ user-friendly features make it easier for employees to adapt to the technology. Features like breakout rooms allow multiple sub-groups to convene during a call, replicating face-to-face meetings in offline offices. In addition, sessions are greatly enhanced by features such as file sharing, which can be accomplished by sending files or sharing a screen.
The OpenGov Breakfast Insight with Thailand’s top public sector leaders on 08 December 2022 at the Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong Hotel provided current information on the benefits of the most recent cloud technology that can help the nation’s public, education, financial services, and healthcare sectors.
Cloud Communications to Drive Productivity
Cloud communications can become a solution for eliminating bad connections and lag in connectivity, says Mohit Sagar, CEO & Editor-in-Chief of OpenGov Asia. Moreover, cloud technology has drastically changed how businesses communicate.
Digital communication strategies include the replacement of traditional telephony with cloud-based unified communications (UC) platform systems to increase digital agility and flexibility.
During the pandemic, internet-based communication platforms provided significant benefits to businesses. One of the challenges of a hybrid work environment is that employees must be able to access the system from any location. They must also be able to connect regardless of the device they use.
Cloud communications have become the primary solution to address meeting the growing demand for effective organisational communications. This technology conveniently and practically supports a work-from-anywhere model. Such platforms assist companies in integrating their existing business applications in a seamless, user-friendly and powerful cloud-based technology.
In terms of cost, cloud communication is a great return on investment, with low deployment costs and easy scalability. Virtual meetings result in reduced expenses due to lower maintenance and transportation costs. Cloud telephony combined with cloud communication solutions, enables businesses to make and receive phone calls from any internet-connected device.
A cloud communications platform helps businesses to make the most of their resources. It can accelerate procedures, simplify implementation and offers flexibility all while providing unlimited high-volume information exchange. In addition, organisations can quickly analyse and scale cloud services and business operations according to their current needs.
Communication gets more complicated and complex every day with each additional tool and app that’s available. All stakeholders – employees, customers, and prospects – have preferences and expectations about how, when and where they do business. Cloud is a user-friendly solution that meets a plethora of needs and is a must in a communication-centric landscape.
The world is experiencing two massive shifts nowadays: productivity and remote working, says Dinesh Bedi, Solution Engineering Manager, Zoom Phone APAC accentuating the importance of communication applications.
As a result, businesses are under intense pressure at the macro level to improve productivity, adapt quickly and handle the steep competition.
There is also an increasing proclivity worldwide to work remotely or in a hybrid environment. People want the option to work remotely, and they are demanding advanced tools and communications capabilities to perform their jobs.
Organisations must meet the needs of this new hybrid environment and ensure everyone has a high quality of service regardless of situation or geography.
“75% of senior HR managers agree that collaboration, constant communication, and a mentorship culture between managers and teams will become the future mandate of a high-performing workplace,” Dinesh cites.
This VUCA business environment is an incredible opportunity for companies to move beyond essential communication into universal communication, building intuitive connections to all parties – employees, customers, and investors – regardless of location, device, or business activity.
There are several issues to tackle when it comes to enabling cloud communication applications. Decision makers often are inclined to maintain their existing systems, adding embedded tools or integrating with other software packages which only meet some needs. Alternatively, they may use multiple solutions depending on the situation. For example, organisations may use one communication solution for internal collaboration and a different product for customers, investors and external events.
Although these approaches offer some flexibility, they create unnecessary confusion. Different environments for customers, employees and prospects force people to switch between multiple solutions depending on their needs. Employees can become disconnected and frustrated. Customers have a disjointed and unprofessional experience with the brand. In the end, these options can slow down business.
The question is: why does this matter? The reason – 32% of customers will “break up” with a favourite brand after just one poor customer experience. The hard reality today is that communication is a critical path activity. If the communications fail, the company falls on a business-critical path.
With Zoom, users can use zoom API and SDK to offer new services and products to their customers. Zoom SDK enables users to build Zoom into new products and services and create additional revenue streams for the business. Feedback from a few past Zoom customers shows that video engagement services improve net promoter scores by 70%.
The company aims to improve productivity, remove silos, improve responsiveness and streamline the process. Zoom also works to reduce customers’ costs, minimise the burden of IT-related jobs, and create a seamless experience for users. The cloud communication platform promises to deliver consistency across multiple use cases.
Fireside Chat: How to Prepare for the Transition to the “Cloud Culture”
Cloud communications have become the go-to option for addressing the expanding need for effective organisational communications, especially in a hybrid workplace. Thanks to cloud communications, organisations may scale up or down to meet shifting demands says Theresa Mathawaphan, Chief Strategy Officer National Innovation Agency. Cloud computing has the capability and agility to comply with the demands of the new normal.
Be that as it may, organisations face the harsh reality of budgets when implementing any platform. To address these constraints, Theresa suggests a start-up mentality. She cites the example of a company that started small with three on-premises server rooms and worked its way, step by step, to the cloud.
She also explained the government policy around cloud communication, which provider they choose and what type of security they use.
“We are not very big in terms of a budget. So we can start small when you don’t have a big budget – doing MVP first. As an executive, we need to think in two layers. First, see the low-hanging fruit, something you can start now, something that is visible. But at the same time, you also need to think in a big layer, strategy, budget, long-term plan and the infrastructure,” she believes.
There are several benefits an organisation can take from the cloud; it enables the user to start small, test out how it works, shift, invert or pivot, or keep up with what the organisation is currently doing.
Another challenge is how to convince decision-makers to agree to cloud adoption. Theresa shares some tips on the issue. First, seeing is believing; people can’t just motivate their top management or make them think. Management needs to experience and know first-hand how the solution can improve the business.
“It’s kind of a roadshow. Let them see what is going on. Then, take them to other organisations to make them see it with their own eyes. Because people don’t believe your words only,” explains Theresa. Once they recognise the value, leaders can come up with a business plan and the actual numbers.
Dinesh is convinced, like any other cloud solution, cloud communication brings about scalability and agility. As a result, companies are already transitioning from traditional office culture to cloud culture.
With the trend toward remote work digitalisation being well established, a new corporate culture – the cloud culture – has replaced the traditional 9-5 mindset and office culture. The hybrid or remote model of work, enabled by the cloud, can satisfy both organisational demands and keep employees happy.
Both Mohit and Dinesh agree that happy employees keep customers comfortable and, this, in turn, ensures business growth.
Moreover, in terms of implementation in business settings, to convince top management to buy in for the cloud communication solution, education and experience are necessary.
To add more confidence in the implementation from the top level, the next step is to prepare a plan and RoI. On the employee level, the adoption rate of a cloud communication solution depends on the simplicity and convenience of its user experience. If it’s not simple, there’s hardly any inclination to adoption and little chance for success.
Mohit agrees that for the IT department, cloud communication needs to be a unified experience and the cloud environment needs to be able to speak with other settings.
Ultimately, cloud communications are the premiere solution that can manage the growing demand for effective organisational communications in the post-COVID era where remote working in a VUCA environment is the norm, Mohit concludes.
India will Chair the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI), an international initiative to support the responsible and human-centric development and use of artificial intelligence (AI).
The Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Rajeev Chandrasekhar, represented India virtually at the GPAI meeting held in Tokyo for the symbolic takeover from France, which is the outgoing Council Chair.
Chandrasekhar stated that the country would work in close cooperation with member states to put in place a framework to fully exploit the power of AI for the good of consumers across the globe. This means ensuring there are adequate guardrails to prevent misuse and user harm.
According to the Minister, India is building an ecosystem of modern cyber laws and frameworks based on three principles: openness, safety, and trust and accountability. With a National Programme on AI and National Data Governance Framework Policy (NDGFP) in place as well as one of the world’s largest publicly accessible datasets programmes in the works, the Minister reiterated India’s commitment to using AI to catalyse innovation and create good, trusted applications.
The NDGFP strives to ensure equitable access to non-personal data and improve institutional frameworks for government data sharing, promote principles around privacy and security by design, and encourage the use of anonymisation tools. It also aims to standardise the way the government collects and manages data. The NDGFP along with an envisaged Indian Data Management Office (IDMO) shall catalyse the next-gen AI and data-led research and startup ecosystem.
Through the datasets programmes, anonymised non-personal data will be available for the entire AI ecosystem. The AI market globally was nearly US$ 59.67 billion in 2021 and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 39.4% to reach around US$ 422.37 billion by 2028. With the rapid growth of AI and machine learning (ML), experts predict that most businesses will shift to AI-powered systems, apps, security systems, data analysis, and other applications in the future. AI is expected to add US$ 967 billion to India’s economy by 2035 and US$ 450–500 billion to India’s GDP by 2025, accounting for 10% of the country’s US $5 trillion GDP target.
A government official outlined India’s priorities as Chair GPAI next year, stating that the country would focus on promoting greater involvement of the global south in the conversation regarding the use of AI for solving societal problems. The country has also emphasised the need for the responsible and ethical use of AI.
GPAI is a congregation of 25 member countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, and Singapore. In 2020, India joined the group as a founding member. It is a first-of-its-type initiative that aims to better understand the challenges and opportunities around AI. It works in collaboration with partners and international organisations, leading experts from industry, civil society, governments, and academia. These stakeholders collaborate to promote the responsible evolution of AI and guide the development and use of the technology, grounded in human rights, inclusion, diversity, innovation, and economic growth.
Four industry titans in technology have been given contracts for the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability (JWCC), according to the Department of Defense (DoD) of the U.S.
JWCC is a multiple-award contract vehicle that will give the DoD the chance to obtain commercial cloud capabilities and services directly from the commercial Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) at the pace of mission, at all classification levels, from the corporate headquarters to the tactical edge.
With this Indefinite-Delivery, Indefinite-Quantity (IDIQ) contract vehicle, cloud services can be provided more quickly and at commercial cost, if not better.
The following capabilities will now be available to warfighters under a single contract thanks to JWCC: global accessibility, readily available and resilient services, centralised management and distributed control, usability, commercial parity, elastic computing, storage, and network infrastructure, advanced data analytics, fortified security, and tactical edge devices.
Those interested in knowing more about JWCC, register for the JWCC Customer Portal or contact the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Hosting and Compute Center (HaCC), can visit this website.
To make cloud purchasing, provisioning, and onboarding simpler for DoD clients, DISA has created user-friendly cloud accelerators.
In addition, the DoD MIIs build a national network of public-private partnerships, establish an industrial common for manufacturing R&D, and advance workforce education and development while accelerating new technologies using federal funding combined with matching investment from academia, industry, and state governments.
The network strategically coordinates resources to solve important technologies and create interconnected manufacturing systems by marshalling the greatest talent from around the nation. The nine MIIs supported by the DoD are under the direction of ManTech, the DoD Manufacturing Technology Program.
Finding industry partners, including small enterprises, that have cutting-edge technology that could help the warfighter is essential to the DOD MII mission. DoD makes investments in these sectors of advanced manufacturing through the MIIs.
Conversations with some research institutes earlier this year shed light on how the DoD and the country are benefiting from the pace of technology.
Combining silicon integrated circuits with semiconductor lasers is known as silicon photonics – a speciality of the American Institute of Manufacturing — Integrated Photonics.
Compared to conventional electronics, this technology allows for faster data transfer over greater distances while making use of the advantages of high-volume silicon production.
COVID sensors are some of the most fascinating applications for photonics. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act provided funding for sensors that can identify COVID-19 from a drop of blood in less than a minute.
In various sensor regions of the chip, there are proteins linked to SARS-CoV-2 and eight other viruses. Antibodies to those viruses will bind to the proteins in a blood sample and be found if a person has been exposed to any of the viruses.
On the other hand, additive manufacturing creates parts that can be formed of ceramics, rubber, metal, plastic, rubber, and polymers. The ability of the military to build parts additively improves its capacity for swift and agile operations, particularly in hostile circumstances.
The qualification and certification of processes and materials are other areas of emphasis for some manufacturers. The primary obstacle to manufacturers fully embracing additive manufacturing is a lack of training and certification.
The manufacturing sector also examines how the supply chain’s capacity compares to the need for components made additively.
Together, these initiatives are assisting the U.S. in strengthening its manufacturing sector and taking the lead in global competitiveness.
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) and a US-based engineering company signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish the Centre for Humanistic Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CHAiR) for translational research with the goal of advancing the well-being of humanity.
The partnership aims to integrate the university’s interdisciplinary research capabilities and the company’s well-known humanoid robotics platform to explore technology applications. Sophia, the company’s most advanced human-like robot, will work with PolyU researchers to enhance the contribution of AI and robotic technology for social and commercial benefits.
Research into and applications of AI and robotics are essential to the advancement of industry. As an interdisciplinary research and development centre, CHAiR brings cross-faculty collaborations in research fields such as AI, the internet of things (IoT), neuroscience, design, computer science, mechanical engineering, material science, healthcare, and the humanities.
In collaboration with the company, CHAiR supports innovation and entrepreneurship in Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area. The Dean of Graduate School, Chair Professor of Distributed and Mobile Computing, and Otto Poon Charitable Foundation Professor in Data Science will serve as the principal investigator and administrative director of CHAiR. He will also serve alongside the CEO and Founder of the company as a co-chair of the Centre’s steering committee.
The MoU was signed by the Vice President (Research and Innovation) of PolyU and the CEO and Founder of the company. It was Witnessed by the President of PolyU and the Executive Director of the firm.
During the signing ceremony, Sophia made conversation with the guests. She said, “I look forward to learning many new skills and abilities. With your help, maybe I can learn how to be a nurse, a teacher, a concierge, a librarian. You can teach me how to be a better companion, a more skilful artist, a funnier entertainer.”
Meanwhile, the company’s CEO and Founder noted that the new centre is perfectly positioned to refine and improve the performance of Sophia-class robots in ways that promote the growth of a new service robot industry. As soon as the industry begins expanding, investment in improved hardware, software and manufacturing technologies will as well, he noted.
The President of PolyU noted that academia-industry collaboration is one of the most productive mechanisms for creating and implementing innovations. There is tremendous untapped potential for humanistic social robots. Let us aspire that CHAiR will be a major catalyst for the onset of the age of humanistic robots.
The Dean of Graduate School, Chair Professor of Distributed and Mobile Computing, who is also Director of the Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence of Things (RIAIoT), said the Institute has been working on practical solutions to key challenges in advanced AIoT technologies and applications.
He noted that the natural evolution for RIAIoT is to partner with the engineering firm to address increasingly ambitious opportunities in humanistic AI and social robotics. CHAiR will play a unique and key role to combine the firm’s knowledge with world-class academics here at PolyU.
The engineering company is an AI and robotics company dedicated to creating socially intelligent machines that enrich the quality of our lives. Sophia is the world’s first robot citizen and the first robot Innovation Ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme.
Communication remains the backbone of organisational operations and has been bolstered by cutting-edge technology. Many organisations have migrated from Public Switched Telephone Networks (PTSNs) to cloud communications, which resulted in faster and more efficient communications with vastly increased reach.
Cloud communications remain the primary solution for meeting the growing demand for effective organisational communications in the hybrid workplace. It is agile enough to adapt to ever-changing business environments while keeping mission-critical business functions unified on all levels.
Organisations can place and receive phone calls using cloud calling from phones and any internet-connected device, including computers and tablets, from any location with an internet connection.
Cloud communications’ inherent capacity enables organisations to expand as needed without regard to geographical boundaries quickly. It makes it simple for organisations to scale up to accommodate changing needs. Less capital expenditure means expansion can be undertaken and completed more quickly, resulting in increased
These possibilities make businesses more accessible and responsive to customers. Having scalability and flexibility in communications regardless is a vast advantage irrespective of a company’s geographical spread.
The OpenGov Breakfast Insight with the Philippines’ top public sector leaders on 6 December 2022 at the Dusit Thani Manila provided the current information on the benefits of the most recent cloud communications technology that can greatly empower the nation’s public, education, financial services and healthcare sectors.
Intensifying the Cloud’s Role in Fostering Digital Transformation
The adoption and implementation of cloud-based strategies are currently used by businesses of all sizes to boost growth and profits, says Mohit Sagar, CEO & Editor-in-Chief of OpenGov Asia. Moreover, cloud technology has drastically changed how businesses communicate.
Cloud technology is bringing massive change to how various sectors of modern-day digital communities interact with each other. Cloud communications vendors allow businesses to delegate management of their IT infrastructure by taking on provisioning, switching, data storage and security responsibilities. The cloud’s cutting-edge features and functionality facilitate unprecedented staff collaboration and communication across time and space.
These changes have transformed the way people work where employees experience increased levels of productivity. With the cloud, people have the option to follow the traditional work model, a hybrid one, or a purely remote work model. Such possibilities for workers also translate to added advantages for employers with geographical boundaries; hiring only locally has become passé.
A hybrid or remote work setting makes cloud communications a necessity. Collaborative technology like cloud communications allows employees to transition or shift from one work model to another without losing productivity, effectiveness or efficiency. However, Mohit cautions, remote and hybrid models can still fail if they are not built on the right technology.
As shared by one of the attendees, their company did not experience any downturn when the pandemic hit because they were prepared for remote work. The experience of this company highlights that preparedness with the right technology enables an organisation to weather a black swan event.
Having workers functional in various locations amid an unexpected situation will prevent work disruptions. Moreover, a company gets empowered to collaborate with other groups and individuals regardless of their geographical location. Globalisation is further strengthened with cloud communications technology.
Cloud communications allow businesses to maximise resources by facilitating rapid deployment, enhanced adaptability and unlimited high-volume data sharing. Additionally, the safety measures built into cloud communication ensure compliance with privacy regulations.
Cloud security refers to the set of tools, protocols, and best practices used to keep cloud-based servers, apps and data safe. The first step in protecting cloud services is gaining an awareness of what must be protected and what parts of the system must be managed.
The development of the backend to guard against security flaws is the responsibility of cloud service providers, in general. Customers’ primary focus should be on establishing a secure service configuration, developing secure routines for using the service, and choosing a service provider who takes security seriously.
“Nonetheless, clients should also confirm that any end-user networks and hardware are properly secured,” Mohit advises.
Cloud security goals include protecting against malicious data theft on networks and storage, preventing data leaks caused by human error or carelessness, facilitating data recovery in the event of data loss, and limiting the impact of any data or system compromise.
Since the advent of cloud computing, conventional methods of protecting digital assets have undergone extensive development. Although cloud models improve efficiency, constant online access requires innovative safety safeguards. Compared to traditional IT models, a few key features set cloud security apart as a cutting-edge cyber protection option.
There have been major shifts in the macro business environment, says Nathan Guy, Zoom’s Phone Leader for Asia Pacific. There is a lot of pressure on businesses to improve productivity, to be flexible in the face of intensifying competition, and to be more productive to keep up with the ever-quickening pace of technological innovation and advancement.
With the global economy in shambles, the urgency has only increased. It will be impossible to solve these problems if customers, prospects and employees cannot communicate effectively.
Nathan pointed out that a generational shift is also occurring in the labour force. Remote work is becoming increasingly popular. They have also requested state-of-the-art tools and communication infrastructure to carry out their duties better.
When a new app or device is released, it adds another layer of complexity to a complicated process. Stakeholders, including employees, clients, and potential customers, have individual preferences and expectations regarding the manner, frequency, and location of business interactions.
Therefore, according to Nathan, many companies are selective in the ways they invest in improving internal communication.
They might do this in several ways, including staying up to date with systems already in use that is judged to be adequate, using built-in communication tools that are part of other software packages or investigating a variety of potential solutions. These plans aim to improve the company’s ability to spread the word.
Although these approaches provide more leeway, they also alter the dynamics between businesses and their prospective clients, employees and customers. Depending on their predicament, people are forced to switch between several potential answers.
In the event of a communication breakdown, the firm will inevitably fail. An essential trait of effective leaders is the capacity to chart a course for their people, providing a sense of purpose and direction even when difficult situations arise.
In Nathan’s opinion, organisations need to expand their communication strategies beyond the bare minimum and into the global scope. An enormous advantage in today’s unstable business climate will go to the company that can always make seamless connections to all stakeholders, regardless of location, device, or business activity.
To achieve this, as Nathan puts it, “You deliver a consistent and quality experience for all participants, making human connection effortless, and enabling rapid innovation to maintain relevance by combining the connection needs of the individual and organisation.”
By taking these measures, businesses may be able to better respond to their customers’ wants and needs, free up internal resources that were previously spent on communications management and expand their capabilities and agility.
The credibility of a company rises or falls with its communication strategies. Since employees, clients, and customers can do their jobs from anywhere, the channels through which the message is sent must be fit for the times, the resources, and the ever-changing need of organisations.
The failure of a session owing to dropped participants or bad audio and video is now considered unacceptable. Businesses must adapt to a more complex hybrid environment and ensure that all clients, regardless of location or condition, receive the same high level of service.
Nathan recognises that “business transactions become impossible” when communications are disrupted in today’s world. In solving communications needs amid disruptive situations, an unpredictable risk that has the potential to impede productivity for businesses also gets removed. The result is a continuance of operations and avoidance of deterioration or decline of productivity.
Zoom will shield businesses from communications breakdowns because its top-notch infrastructure was explicitly designed to prevent failures. Examining the root cause of problems is essential in giving lasting and effective solutions. In the case of communications strategy and technology for organisations, addressing various approaches made by organisations and guiding them to dig up the root cause will allow them to focus on the now without overly worrying about the future.
However, some users may be unable to fully participate due to severe audio and video quality degradation due to differences in network performance and bandwidth. This is a reality in the Philippines, where many areas still lack fast internet speed.
Zoom allows businesses to host effective meetings even in the face of significant packet loss. If you’re doing business on a global scale, having this kind of consistent network and infrastructure in every country is a must.
The complexity of communications is increasing. Now, besides travelling or working from home, “you have workers returning to the office, frequently in a hotel setting,” acknowledges Nathan.
During the pandemic, people are often left trying to balance ad hoc, piecemeal solutions developed as the crisis unfolded. As a result, three significant environments have emerged: at-home/in-the-office and on the go. A personal mobile phone, a videoconferencing method for in-person gatherings of a few people, and something else for more momentous occasions all fall under this category.
Nathan believes that both staff and customers will need to adjust to a new user interface. “Communication platforms are undeniably crucial to the success of hybrid teams.” A cutting-edge communications platform like Zoom could help increase output, expand possibilities, and reveal levels of employee engagement.
Fireside Chat: How to Prepare for the Transition to the “Cloud Culture”
According to Dr Jennalyn Raviz, Director, Management Information Service, Department of Transportation, when it comes to promoting, developing, and regulating a dependable and coordinated network of transportation and communications systems, the Department of Transportation (DoT) is the primary policy, planning, programming, coordinating, implementing, and administrative entity within the executive branch of the Philippines. “Transport by air, sea, rail, and highway are all included.”
Since multiple parties are involved and a hybrid structure has been established, maintaining consistency may prove difficult.
“The pandemic has become a motivator for us, and we seek secure communication across many platforms, which is why we use cloud communication,” says Dr Jennalyn.
Despite some reservations, cloud communications are the preferred method of meeting the growing demand for efficient organisational communications in today’s hybrid workplaces. With cloud computing and communications, businesses can quickly expand or contract to meet fluctuating demand.
Cloud computing allows workers to do their jobs from any Internet-connected device; it has the dual benefits of increased productivity and expanding the geographical scope of their operations.
Since the cloud facilitates remote work, organisations will gradually reduce their reliance on outsourcing. As a result of the use of the cloud’s effect of reducing in-office and staff expenses, businesses are now able to hire more full-time workers across the globe.
Dr Jennalyn highlighted that getting cloud is cost-effective. Additionally, cloud computing can be particularly cost-effective for organisations due to the improvement in workforce efficiency in addition to direct labour savings. “Cloud software deployment is far quicker than a traditional installation.”
Because of this, more employment possibilities can be made available to people in the area who possess the necessary skills. As the popularity of self-sufficiency rises, organisations can select from a greater pool of eligible candidates for a wider variety of positions.
More efficient teamwork is one of the main advantages of cloud computing. The advent of the cloud has had a profound effect on teamwork, and this transformation will continue so long as the cloud undergoes progress and improvement.
Improved communications, cheaper technology, and the ability for smaller organisations to cooperate with worldwide partners and expand their reach in the global arena are all possible because of the cloud’s ability to provide capabilities that were previously only available to major companies.
Dr Jennalyn believes that to have the greatest possible effect, digital transformation must occur in tandem with a thoughtful cultural shift.
As most businesses are already utilising cloud computing in some form, Nathan emphasised the importance of cloud security. While cloud storage has many advantages, “organisations are still hesitant to move more data and applications to the cloud due to security, governance, and compliance concerns.”
Collaborating with Zoom could streamline human connection while also adding safety measures. Businesses can benefit from workers’ improved routines and skill sets over the past two years. They also guarantee uniformity in a wide variety of applications.
“The key to progress is providing the appropriate value in each solution,” Nathan asserts.
Businesses can stay competitive through Zoom’s partnership with rapid innovation, Zoom allows clients to have access to a continuous stream of new capabilities that reflect actual user requirements.
Mohit stressed the importance of communication in fostering collaboration. He concurred with an attendee that when their partners offer a secure platform for cloud communications, organisations become more powerful. Mohit believes that rather than just being providers, vendors are also the transformation partners of every organisation.
An important aspect of cloud security, in Mohit’s opinion, is making sure sensitive information like customer orders, confidential design documents and financial records are safe. Maintaining customer confidence and protecting strategic assets necessitates a solid data security programme. “Cloud security’s ability to safeguard data and assets makes it essential for businesses moving to the cloud.”
Through collaboration with development partners, businesses can better serve a diverse set of customers and expand their customer base. Therefore, it is important to incorporate platform or integration capabilities and a partner strategy when creating cloud-based applications.
It is important to consider business potential, engineering prowess, and platform marketing when formulating a strategy for your cloud partners. Mohit concludes that a well-rounded approach will allow for an expansion of the partner ecosystem, the delivery of more comprehensive customer solutions, and higher earnings potential.
AI and other digital technologies could help solve some of the world’s most important social problems, like climate change, biodiversity loss, food insecurity and risks to public health, among others. Harnessing digital capabilities to promote a transformative system could be a game-changer for a sustainable and equitable global future.
Today’s consumers expect more than great products and services, and businesses are well aware of this. Clients want to feel like they are investing in a reputable, responsible brand. Consequently, the most market-dominant businesses are not merely profitable and have good products but those that have multiple alternate bottom lines – social, environmental and sustainable.
More than 90% of business executives agree that sustainability is crucial to their success. As consumer groups continue to publish reports on the increased desire for more environmentally friendly corporate practices, it is simple to see why green marketing strategies are gaining such importance.
The environment and sustainability are vital components in the strategy and operations of enterprises looking to be more conscientious. Organisations have been taking proactive steps to develop a greener future with their consumers, partners, stakeholders and workers. These efforts include environmental initiatives, community outreach efforts and business practices.
Advancing Environmental Sustainability and Resilience
“Everyone is becoming aware of the necessity for action to attain sustainability,” says Vivek. “There is a growing interest in corporate sustainability and how corporations can strive for it to meet the needs of stakeholders for social, economic, and environmental implications.”
Most businesses are considering ways to contribute significantly, which will need robust investment and efforts. “We see businesses quickening their momentum and considering effective climate innovations. A case in point is how electric mobility companies can be affected by the huge reductions in costs for climate technology.”
Vivek believes it is possible to adapt a company’s digital strategy to mitigate and deal with extreme climate change. Companies must include digitalisation and decarbonisation in their strategy, as industry 4.0 technologies will play a crucial role in meeting the emissions reduction goal.
Digital technologies can increase energy efficiency and decrease fuel consumption across multiple industries and sectors. Digitalisation has the potential to revolutionise the way people and technology interact by helping to analyse and calibrate necessary interventions.
By utilising digitalisation, businesses can identify the emissions sources, whether at the product level, manufacturing unit level, or equipment level. They can then determine the necessary interventions to reduce emissions, such as a change in the manufacturing or personnel settings, and then monitor whether the identified interventions are being implemented.
“Here is where I believe digitalisation and decarbonisation must go hand-in-hand, as this will ensure that industries undergo structural changes and reach their objective,” says Vivek.
Businesses need to be more conscious of the need to be prepared for the energy shift, and he has five relevant steps for how businesses should approach this:
- Develop an understanding of how energy shifts will affect your company;
- Think about a bold and ambitious target, such as considering how big of a carbon footprint reduction they intend to achieve with this energy transition;
- Consider various situations and their effects;
- Create a comprehensive plan that will serve as an overall strategy with well-defined and cascading targets;
- Think about implementation, where companies strike a balance between all the goals, e.g., carbon footprint and profitability
Right now, society is more conscious of sustainability and is calling for companies to shift their carbon footprint and be more conscious about emissions. This is causing profound changes in the corporate and government landscape.
Organisations can work toward more sustainable practices with the aid of corporate sustainability’s economic, social and environmental pillars. Businesses must alter their mindset from just profitability at the expense of the environment to a sustainable and profitable paradigm. There must be interdependence and a greater emphasis on operations and eco-innovation.
Adopting sustainable practices benefits the environment, but businesses have also demonstrated that these programmes can boost productivity, lower costs, make shareholders happy, and a host of other advantages.
“Corporate entities must take the initiative in determining pertinent technologies. Companies must implement technologies to decrease their carbon footprint. They are the ones that will bring about change. Governments can decide the legislation, but unless companies change, it will be difficult to achieve net zero,” Vivek firmly believes.
A green economy is the practice of sustainable development supported by public and private investment in creating an infrastructure that promotes social and environmental sustainability. A green economy refers to an economy in which individuals are increasingly aware of their carbon emissions and are taking steps to reduce them.
A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide and methane, that corporations and individuals generate.
There are numerous practical and effective approaches to implementing sustainable technologies at the national level. “I believe that each country will deploy different technologies; the mix of technologies, the adoption rate, and the deployment cost will all be very different. However, each country will need to consider what sustainable technologies are relevant to them, consider implementing them, and consider the reasons for doing so.”
According to Vivek, decarbonisation entails significant economic transformation. When new business opportunities arise in Asia, companies must contemplate how they will be the first to take advantage. To do this, they must seriously consider the technologies and industries they want to innovate in or implement and the various business models they should use to take these opportunities.
There will be an acceleration of the energy transitions if individuals in the nation change their behaviour, the government considers how the empowering regulations should be made, or how businesses decide how they will operate.
Vivek has led several large-scale transformations and new business builds across the region, such as for an energy conglomerate in Indonesia. From this experience, he is convinced that a fundamentally different way of thinking about any business problem is required.
It requires thinking about what the unique value proposition is going to be and thinking about getting new talent to build a business from the ground up. Some of his most memorable moments on this journey include realising the value of having the right talent.
Another thing he learned is that customer preferences change at very different levels. So, thinking about the organisation’s unique value propositions and how customers perceive them becomes very important. For incumbents, choosing different business models can also be essential.
Both private and public organisations are aware that change needs to occur quickly. Resources are becoming harder to come by while demand is rising, necessitating a balance to build a sustainable future. “Green technologies will help the world achieve sustainable levels and make the environment cleaner and safer for everyone.”
Urban Ideas and Solutions Through LKYGBPC
Vivek is on the International Judging Panel (IJP) of the Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition (LKYGBPC), a biennial global university start-up challenge held in Singapore.
As a member of the judging panel charged with driving, developing, and upholding the entrepreneurial spirit of the LKYGBPC participants, Vivek is focused on the innovativeness of the solutions, such as how effectively the technology solves the problem.
He also believes that feasibility and how the different technologies are correctly implemented can significantly change the world. “These two parameters will be quite useful in considering how we are selecting, or how I would select various technologies.”
He acknowledges that innovative entrepreneurship talent can be cultivated wider in the broader community through such competitions. These serve as an illustration of how they are fostering innovation and entrepreneurship across society.
The competition is also one example of instilling a culture where the next generation is thinking about how things can be done differently. Competitors explore creative ideas and have a forum where they can share their thoughts, which can be a great example of nurturing innovation.
The competition, which is run by the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Singapore Management University (SMU), is centred on urban ideas and solutions developed by student founders and early-stage start-ups. It is positioned as a campus innovation movement that seeks to establish a global startup ecosystem with financial backers, including venture capitalists, corporate oligopolies, and governmental organisations.
“I believe many of our leading schools are doing a great job of instilling a culture where children are thinking about how things can be done differently and what are creative ideas,” Vivek opines.
There are numerous instances throughout the world where the technologies or solutions used by youth or larger communities have truly made a meaningful difference. “But it does take some significant effort to raise awareness and establish a forum where people can discuss their concerns, share their ideas, and obtain the resources needed to solve them,” Vivek concludes.