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The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in the Philippines and the University of the Philippines (UP) Mindanao aim to educate the public about the benefits and applications of artificial intelligence (AI) in a variety of fields.

The country has recognised that AI is one of the technologies that is starting to change the way businesses and organisations work. Because AI has so many uses, it is starting to be utilised in many different areas, and its full potential is being realised and used in many markets. Hence, businesses and organisations in the Philippines are starting to pay attention to the benefits of this.

During the recent “1st AI Pinas Research and Development (R&D) Conference and Workshop 2023,” over one hundred participants, including local and international speakers, discussed the benefits of machine learning, natural language processing, robotics, computer vision, and deep learning applied to health, education, mobility, the environment, disaster risk reduction (DRR), industries, and smart and sustainable cities and communities.

Renato Solidum Jr, DOST Secretary acknowledged that AI has the potential to increase human productivity by automating routine tasks, analysing massive amounts of data, learning new information, and making well-informed decisions.

He added that they focused on the four investment pillars, and as a result, DOST has pledged financial support for the Philippines’ rapid scientific development in this area so that the nation can fully benefit from AI technologies.

Secretary Renato confirmed that the DOST has been collaborating with multiple stakeholders to make the AI R&D framework for 2019–2029 beneficial for its intended beneficiaries. The framework focuses on building a national infrastructure, which includes:

  • AI R&D centres;
  • Empowering more professionals through DOST-PCIEERD training and development; and
  • Encouraging more mission-driven programmes with unique applications.

He has emphasised that the Philippines are also enhancing its workforce’s capabilities. In collaboration with the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP), the Analytics Association of the Philippines (AAP), and an open online course provider, three (3) AI Pinas training have produced 143 graduates.

Through the Smarter Philippines and R&D, Training, and Adoption (SPARTA) project, he hopes to upskill and launch the data science careers of the nation’s workforce as they aim to have 50,000 Filipino data scientists by 2029 to meet the needs and demands of the industry as they undergo digital transformation.

Dr Lyre Anni Murao, Chancellor of UP Mindanao, on the other hand, urged the use of AI to help with daily tasks, stating that AI should be given more credit for improving the quality of life and strengthening the capacity to contribute to global development.

On the other hand, Dr Enrico C. Paringit, Executive Director of the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD), stated that the “AI for Better Normal” investments, made possible in June 2021, have put them at the forefront of using AI to advance innovation in the country, as they have supported impactful AI projects across the country.

DOST-PCIEERD, as a leader and partner in enabling innovations in the Philippines, ensures that it strengthens local capabilities in the region. Initiatives like this strengthen ties with more developed countries and foster new collaborations that can spur future socioeconomic growth.

The event themed “Artificial Intelligence Driving Transformation and Impact in the Digital Age,” provided a forum for experts, researchers, professionals, enthusiasts, and prospective beneficiaries to update the R&D roadmap and develop a national AI R&D programme.

A significant partnership between a leading Victorian university and a top global hospital is poised to elevate MedTech breakthroughs and contribute to the enhancement of healthcare. The Minister for Industry and Innovation, Ben Carroll, witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Monash University and Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv, Israel. The MoU aims to foster research and development of more inclusive healthcare systems and MedTech manufacturing prospects in Victoria.

The Australian government will provide approximately AU$ 200,000 to Monash University’s Victorian Heart Institute in support of the MoU. The funding will facilitate access to cutting-edge technology, accelerate the adoption of new treatments for cardiovascular diseases, and help combat one of the leading causes of mortality worldwide.

The largest university in Australia, Monash University earned the title of the world’s best in Pharmacy and Pharmacology in 2022, becoming the first Australian institution to achieve this distinction. Meanwhile, Sheba Medical Centre acknowledged as one of the top hospitals globally has gained expertise in artificial intelligence (AI), robotic surgery, digital imaging and telemedicine. These capabilities were established through its in-house innovation hub.

This partnership is anticipated to improve the delivery of healthcare in Victoria and create opportunities for local companies to generate employment in MedTech research, manufacturing, and export.

Australia has extended support to various significant MedTech initiatives, including the Australian Medtech Manufacturing Centre (AU$20 million), mRNA Victoria, and MedTech startups through LaunchVic and the Breakthrough Victoria Fund. Victoria’s MedTech sector contributes AU$ 21.4 billion in revenue, AU$ 3.5 billion in exports and sustains around 31,400 jobs.

The Minister for Industry and Innovation expressed his approval of the partnership between Monash University and Sheba Medical Center, citing its potential to attract more investment to Victoria’s MedTech sector and enhance healthcare for Victorians.

The Minister for Health remarked that partnering with a global leader in digital health innovation such as Sheba Medical Center presents an excellent opportunity for Victoria.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Monash University highlighted the institution’s history of translating research into practical applications, underscoring that the partnership is another step towards improving health outcomes through the integration of research and translation.

The Director-General of Sheba Medical Centre stated that that the partnership aims to advance healthcare and promote economic growth while shifting the future of medicine towards prevention.

The Medical Technology market is expected to generate revenue of approximately US$579.40 billion by 2023. The largest segment of the market is Medical Devices, which is projected to reach a market volume of US$470.60 billion in 2023. Despite a regression in revenues in 2020 due to decreased routine medical treatments apart from COVID-19 treatments, the market has bounced back strongly in 2021. The market is expected to exhibit an annual growth rate of 4.91% between 2023-2027, resulting in a market volume of US$701.90 billion by 2027.

The increasing prevalence of chronic diseases and the emphasis on early diagnosis and treatment by healthcare agencies are among the factors driving growth in the medical technology market. The Medical Technology market is essential to the healthcare sector, with a focus on diagnosing and treating health problems, conducting genetic research and improving physical mobility. Its multifunctional usage and health improvement attributes make it a key player in the industry with steady growth.

Thailand organised discussions to share ideas and insights among the various parties involved in the digital startup ecosystem in Thailand. Digital advancements were discussed at a meeting between Dr Chinawut Chinaprayoon, Executive Vice President of the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (depa), and representatives from the Institute for Digital Startup Promotion and the Lower Northern Branch office in the northern Thai province of Chiang Mai and Province of Phitsanulok.

Dr Chinawut convened a meeting with senior executives and professors from the faculties of engineering and the lower northern science park at Naresuan University, the faculty of engineering and the lower north science park at Phibunsongkhram Rajabhat University, and a group of young businessmen from the Phitsanulok Chamber of Commerce (YEC Phitsanulok).

To that end, Depa is prepared to give full attention to boosting local businesses and bolstering local entrepreneurs. Dr Chinawut emphasised the need to work together to define problems and goals to move forward as a team towards increasing digital technology exports at the national level.

Depa provided resources, such as guidance, measure and financing, to help and promote digital startup firms. The seed money aims to help new business owners get their operations up and running so they can start selling their wares to customers. The agency also provides Depa with a digital service that helps advertise, expand into new markets, and test new products. To further boost the acquisition of clients and target groups at the spot, they also developed a depa mini-Transformation Voucher.

While to encourage digital entrepreneurship growth, depa created a digital entrepreneur competition, HACKaTHAILAND 2023. Depa managed the HACKaTHAILAND 2023 competition roadshow to showcase digital initiatives and innovation in the country’s lower northern region. About 13 digital startups are competing, representing various industries and technology. To the qualified judges, they exhibit prototypes of digital solutions that will be developed to fulfil the needs of the digital economy and society. The judges come from various backgrounds, including the academic setting, startup organisations, startup founders, and the corporate world.

The judges are Ratchawut Pichayaphan, Founder of Fixi Co., Ltd.; Thanawit Tonkanya, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Horganai Limited; Sarawut Sattayawee, Assistant to the President Department of International Relations and Technology Transfer Naresuan University; Thanapat Rakpaisate.

Five further iterations of the HACKaTHAILAND 2023 Roadshow are scheduled to take place. Three rising star teams from the lower north area are qualified for the August final round of ideas competition in Bangkok.

1. The ATTRA group Digital business card-style authentication and identification platform ATTRA CARD. It has infinite potential for its new positions as a Portfolio Storage and is helpful to centralise your contacts and activity logs.

2. The Experience is a Service Marketplace for jobs, events, and other services, and it also lets people exchange knowledge in their preferred roles. Assist in shaping how each student achieves their full academic potential by focusing on developing individualised intellectual abilities and competencies, allowing for more leeway in the classroom and using study results and their interpretation.

3. DeliConn: A Reconciling Delivery Platform A method that speeds up the reconciliation process and saves accountants’ time. Thailand has been working to strengthen its internal manufacturing management and reduce waste and industrial production using digital technology solutions. DEPA and a national bank organised Digital Smart Manufacturing (DSM) training to help businesses learn the fundamentals of digital manufacturing.

The programme is meant to help Thailand achieve its goal of becoming a “Digital Thailand” by the year 2037. The country’s digital growth policy and plan were unveiled at a global conference held in Barcelona, Spain. The national programme is meant to propel the digitalisation of the economic and social strategy for 2018-2037.

A developer of robotic applications and systems based in Hong Kong has announced the release of ARCS, a Robotic Control System developed in-house and powered by cloud technology from a multinational technology corporation based in the United States.

The company is a member of Hong Kong Science and Technology Park Corporation’s Leading Enterprises Acceleration Programme (LEAP) and has received full support from HKSTP. This has enabled them to establish their office and a state-of-the-art automated warehouse, called the RobEX Centre, within the campus.

In recent years, work automation has become increasingly popular. The widespread use of robots in our daily lives has made it possible to free up human labour through highly efficient execution abilities. However, there has been a lack of agnostic platforms to coordinate and control robots of different brands, functions, and systems, which has prevented our robots from creating synergy in the most efficient way possible.

Furthermore, there is an urgent need for society to proactively explore alternative approaches to maximising the potential of robots, especially with intensifying community issues such as an ageing population and declining birth rates, which further widen the local workforce gap. This could greatly elevate our quality of life, particularly for those with lower self-care ability, such as the elderly and the sick.

Moreover, with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) subjects becoming more prominent, organisations are increasing their investments in sustainability and environmental research to find solutions that can boost energy efficiency through robotic technologies.

The HKSTP company is dedicated to developing a range of robotic solutions that address specific challenges, with the ultimate aim of integrating these technologies into daily life and supporting various sectors such as healthcare, smart city, logistics, and education.

With a vision to transform Hong Kong into a smart city, the company developed ARCS. Today, ARCS has been implemented in the fields of rehabilitation and healthcare, offering more autonomous and sophisticated care services, while also alleviating the workload of healthcare professionals through the assistance of smart technologies.

ARCS offers more than just improved efficiency and cost savings for enterprises and organisations. Its distinctive feature of centralised management streamlines the process of data management and analysis, resolving the isolation deadlock of different types of robots.

In the near future, ARCS will integrate artificial intelligence to cater to different scenarios, create the most suitable application plans, and provide tailor-made suggestions derived from the analysis of environmental data collected by robots. This will take the sustainability performance of corporations and organisations to the next level.

During the press conference, the company demonstrated a series of collaborative tasks performed by robots managed by ARCS in three simulated scenes. The first scenario applies to the retail and catering industry: when a store receives an online order, ARCS immediately obtains data from elevators and turnstiles through the Internet of Things (IoT) and delivers the product to the customer using a managed robot.

The second scene is suitable for public places with heavier traffic, such as malls and hospitals. When a patrol robot detects a mass gathering, ARCS can coordinate and send the concierge robot with its camera open for a live stream. This helps users to have a better understanding of the incident with minimised reaction time, while simultaneously instructing the patrol robot to resume its original task.

The third scene is designed for people with disabilities in various public venues. ARCS remotely controls the wheelchair robot, allowing one or a group of robots to safely carry those in need to their destinations.

Additionally, the company showcased the use of ARCS to analyse centralised data, illustrating the system’s capability to streamline the data collection and analysis process, as well as its great potential to incorporate the use of business intelligence.

In Australia’s upcoming renewable energy landscape, there will be fresh prospects for cooperation between electricity networks and retailers to assist customers in optimising the potential of their own energy resources.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), acting on behalf of the government, has revealed that it will grant AU$1.02 million to SA Power Networks along with two energy companies to collaborate on creating and testing retailer solar management offers that are capable of functioning alongside the flexible connection offers of electricity networks (also known as ‘dynamic operating envelopes’). The aim is to provide customers with Consumer Energy Resources and a smooth and seamless experience.

Despite rooftop solar being the biggest source of energy generation in South Australia, the majority of systems are not capable of reacting to market signals. However, energy companies are striving to transform this by introducing innovative offers that incentivise customers to make their solar power responsive to pricing signals in the wholesale energy market.

The primary objective of the AU$ 2.1 million project is to facilitate the development of an integrated design for the new customer offers and SA Power Networks’ Flexible Export connections for rooftop solar. The rollout of this integration will begin in July 2023 as a standard service offering.

The integration of flexible export connections with innovative retail market offers is intended to optimise customers’ market participation opportunities while maintaining power flows within the technical limits of the network. This approach could potentially be expanded in the future to support other “behind-the-meter” equipment, such as batteries and electric vehicles.

Should the solutions developed prove effective, they could be adopted by other states within the National Electricity Market, thereby potentially unlocking wholesale market and network benefits.

Demand and generation flexibility present opportunities to lower energy costs, regulate peak and minimum demand, and shift energy loads to times when renewable energy is most abundant. This flexibility can be put into action in real-time, as a response to market signals, generation shortages, or network limitations.

According to the CEO of ARENA, intelligent management of rooftop solar has the potential to serve as a long-term solution for accommodating the growing influx of renewable energy into the market. He added that the project undertaken by SA Power Networks is a targeted and limited trial that will aid in shaping the development of future mechanisms for managing rooftop solar PV and other energy assets owned by customers.

According to the latest statistics from the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water In the year 2020-21, renewable energy sources constituted 8% of Australia’s total energy consumption. While the production of renewable electricity has more than doubled over the last ten years, the combustion of biomass such as firewood and bagasse (the leftover pulp from sugar cane crushing) accounts for just under 40% (38%) of Australia’s overall renewable energy consumption.

In the year 2021, 29% of Australia’s overall electricity generation was derived from renewable energy sources, which comprised solar (12%), wind (10%) and hydro (6%). This represented the highest percentage of renewables in the country’s total electricity generation to date, with the previous record of 26% having been set in the mid-1960s.

Over the past decade, solar and wind power have been the primary forces behind the expansion of renewable generation, with their output having more than doubled. Small-scale solar generation saw a growth of 29% in 2021 and an average of 28% per year over the last 10 years. Wind generation, on the other hand, grew by 19% in 2021 and by an average of 15% per year over the last decade. In contrast, hydropower output has remained relatively consistent, subject to fluctuations due to rainfall and market conditions, and has decreased in importance as other sources of generation have diversified.

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has launched a new initiative to boost its innovation capabilities and accelerate research commercialisation to support Singapore’s drive toward an economy based on innovation and knowledge.

The University will ramp up its educational programmes to nurture entrepreneurs and create a more conducive environment for mentoring and supporting students, faculty, and alumni looking to turn their ideas into market-ready products through its NTU Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NTU I&E) initiative.

“Our vision is to create a vibrant innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem covering the entire spectrum of activity, from cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset through holistic education and experiential learning to starting a business,” says Professor Louis Phee, Vice President for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Dean of the College of Engineering.

Prof Louis, who leads the NTU I&E initiative, stated that they aspire to be a fertile breeding ground where innovative ideas, supported by a solid foundation in education and research, blossom into successful commercial entities that ultimately benefit Singapore’s economy. With digitalisation and sustainability at the forefront of new industries, NTU believes that the skills and knowledge students require to be successful are also evolving rapidly.

The North and South Spines of the University’s main campus will house the new NTU Innovation Port, a physical and digital one-stop shop for all things innovation-related. The centre will provide a forum for the NTU community and external partners to discuss start-up and innovation concepts, as well as assist industry partners seeking to collaborate or license technologies.

NTU I&E consists of both the revamped NTU Entrepreneurship Academy (NTUpreneur) and the University’s existing innovation and enterprise company NTUitive, which focuses on commercialising innovations and incubating start-ups.

The I&E initiative is part of the NTU 2025 Strategic Plan, an ambitious road map announced in 2021 that guides NTU toward becoming a global university founded on science and technology and that cultivates leaders capable of making a positive societal impact through interdisciplinary education and research.

The Overseas Entrepreneurship Programme is one of NTU’s most successful entrepreneurship plans. More than 320 students participated in the programme, travelling to the United States, Europe, China, Southeast Asia, and Australia to work with start-ups and accelerators. After graduating, 45 of these students have been inspired to start their own businesses or join a start-up.

The NTU I&E initiative aims to build on these achievements. Students from all disciplines will benefit from improved and easier access to mentorship, entrepreneurship modules and courses, and more internships through NTUpreneur.

Students will participate in experiential learning programmes such as innovation challenges, training boot camps, and workshops as part of their journey of exploration and discovery. In addition, the Overseas Entrepreneurship Programme will be expanded to include more countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Sweden, and Finland. The number of available placements will also be increased.

Recently, over 40 NTU innovations and start-ups were showcased at the exhibition area of the I&E launch event to inspire students and faculty. Deep tech software powered by blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) to robotics, food technology, and health and biomedical devices were among them.

NTU’s I&E efforts align with Singapore’s Research, Innovation, and Enterprise 2025 Plan and will contribute to the city-upcoming state’s Jurong Innovation District. Many of NTU’s start-ups and spin-offs are currently housed at the NTU Innovation Centre on the NTU Smart Campus and the nearby CleanTech Park, putting them at the epicentre of Singapore’s Industry 4.0 transformation.

The HKSAR government has established the Committee on Innovation, Technology and Industry Development (CITID). The Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Development Blueprint (the Blueprint) was promulgated by the government and with the establishment of the Committee on Innovation, Technology and Industry Development (CITID), cooperation among stakeholders will be improved, and the growth of innovation and technology (I&T) in Hong Kong will be facilitated. The Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry will serve as the Chair of the CITID.

The Committee on Innovation, Technology and Industry Development (CITID) has been established by the government to advise on the strategic development of innovation and technology (I&T) in Hong Kong. The CITID will focus on the following key areas:

  • Determining Focus Areas, Priorities, and Key Performance Indicators: The CITID will work towards facilitating the development of the I&T industry in Hong Kong, with a specific focus on areas highlighted in the Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Development Blueprint. To achieve this, the committee will establish priorities and key performance indicators to guide its efforts.
  • Promoting Research and Development: To encourage research and development in Hong Kong, the CITID will formulate strategies and measures that promote the commercialisation of research outcomes.
  • Nurturing and Attracting I&T Talent: The CITID will also develop strategies and measures to nurture, attract and retain I&T talent. This will help ensure that Hong Kong has the necessary expertise and human resources to support the growth of the I&T industry.
  • Developing Key I&T Infrastructure: To support the development of the I&T industry, the CITID will also prioritise the development of key I&T infrastructure. This may include initiatives related to technology parks, data centres, and other relevant infrastructure.
  • Promoting New Industrialisation: Finally, the CITID will also provide recommendations on strategies and measures to promote new industrialisation in Hong Kong. This may include initiatives to develop new industries or to enhance the competitiveness of existing ones.

The CITID is composed primarily of experts and representatives from academia, industry, information technology, and other relevant sectors, as well as government officials. These members are appointed by the Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry and serve a two-year term.

OpenGov Asia reported on the release on the release of the Hong Kong Innovation & Technology (I&T) Development Blueprint which aims to establish a clear development path and formulate systematic strategic planning for I&T development over the next five to 10 years.

The Secretary for Innovation, Technology & Industry provided information regarding the blueprint and emphasised that it represents a comprehensive and systematic plan for the development of innovation and technology in Hong Kong, created by the government after years of effort.

The government will implement the blueprint through four primary development directions, which are:

  • Enhancing the I&T Ecosystem and Promoting New Industrialisation: The government aims to create a conducive environment for innovation and technology, thereby promoting new industrialisation in Hong Kong.
  • Enlarging the I&T Talent Pool: The government aims to expand the talent pool of innovation and technology, creating a strong foundation for sustainable growth.
  • Promoting Digital Economy Development and Developing Hong Kong into a Smart City: The government aims to develop Hong Kong’s digital economy and transform the city into a smart city that can proactively integrate into the overall development of the country.
  • Consolidating Hong Kong’s Role as a Bridge Connecting the Mainland and the World: Finally, the government aims to strengthen Hong Kong’s position as a bridge between the Mainland and the rest of the world, facilitating collaboration and cooperation in innovation and technology.

Deputy Minister of Trade Jerry Sambuaga acknowledges that Micro, Small and Medium enterprises (MSMEs) digitalisation is an essential part of promoting Indonesia’s digital economy. The number of digitised MSMEs reached 20,997,131, an increase of 17% from the previous year. Data from 2022 shows that the total value of e-commerce transactions in Indonesia amounted to IDR 476.3 trillion, up 18.7% from the last year on a volume of 3.48 million.

He argued that strong cooperation between the federal government, regional governments, and the private sector was necessary to digitise MSMEs successfully. The commercial electronic industry from digitised MSME successfully pushed for a clear path forward.

It was reported that in 2022, the value of online sales grew by 26% from 2021, and the number of new online traders using digital platforms grew by 6% thanks to events like National Online Shopping Day (Harbolnas). The value of transactions involving locally produced goods was IDR 10 trillion, an increase of IDR 1.5 trillion, or 18%, over Harbolnas 2021, when the value of locally produced goods sold was IDR 8.5 trillion.

“Cashless payments are one of the concrete proofs of the implementation of digitalisation in the commerce sector in the market undertaken by the Ministry of Trade,” said Jerry in an Education Digitalisation of Markets, Stalls, and MSMEs discussion in Malang City, East Java.

Therefore, the Ministry of Trade supports collaboration in developing an e-commerce ecosystem. Given the enormous development potential of the digital economy, the ministry has prepared four pillars with various stakeholders.

The first pillar is that MSMEs are adaptable, creative, and motivated to grow. To increase the value of goods and supply chain efficiency and distribution to consumers, marketplaces (marketplaces) work in synergy with MSMEs through a series of capacity building, prioritising goods aggregation activities like repackaging, management assistance, and other similar endeavours.

The third pillar, contemporary retail’s function, connects MSMEs with potential business partners. In today’s modern retail environment, MSMEs can get the local products they need. Financial institutions provide the People’s Business Credit (KUR) plan as part of the fourth pillar.

To foster an environment conducive to the development of new MSMEs, the Ministry of Trade will continue to boost the contribution of trade through the electronic system by providing regulatory assistance and guidance for business.

“Collaboration, teamwork, and digital adaption are essential to overcome the current difficulties in international trade. We believe that by working together, we can advance the digital ecosystem in Indonesia, which will benefit the economy and people at all levels of society,” Jerry says.

Jerry confirmed that they are expanding the potential for creative and digital products. For example, at the Malang Creative Center, the government has a programme to aid in developing novel products. This year, the industry emphasises developing handcrafted goods like clothing, movies, comics, and games and services for consumers to use in stores.

He explained that these items were chosen because they met a need in the market for handmade items inspired by popular culture among today’s youth (specifically, animation, comics, and gaming, abbreviated “ACG”).

Intellectual property (IP) in the form of character or product patents is an export category in the ACG industry. As an illustration, consider the prevalence of product marketing featuring Marvel or Disney characters. Intellectual property is vital to expanding the ACG industry’s export capabilities and ensuring the sector’s long-term financial viability. That’s because the impact of IP on other industries will be multiplied.