Data analytics delivers great value for businesses and customers. This is also the case for insurance company, FWD Singapore. Started in April 2016, the company provides a wide range of insurance solutions, including Travel, Car and Employee Benefits insurance for corporate customers.
Being one of the new kids on the block in Singapore’s insurance industry, FWD’s strategy for success is to leverage on technology to change the way people feel about insurance. To this end, they believe that data analytics have enabled the company to deliver products and experiences which are relevant, easy-to-understand and direct.
In October, the company launched the FWD Flyer mobile app. It allows customers to seek medical treatment at any of its 500 panel clinics in Singapore within 48 hours of returning from a trip, without the need to fork out their own money. Prior to this, FWD Singapore also introduced electronic claims payment via DBS IDEAL RAPID, and PayNow. This eliminated the need to make payouts via cheque which may be delayed or lost. As a result, customers can now receive their claims payment the next day upon approval, rather than the five days or more it would take for the cheques to be delivered.
Indeed, for FWD, innovation is the way forward. Riding the wave of digital disruption in the insurance landscape necessitates lacing insurance products with technological advances. FWD’s Chief Technology Officer, Mr Narasimhan Parathasarathy, shares with OpenGov Asia his thoughts on the importance of a data driven strategy.
Responsible for the company’s digital and information technology development, he thinks data and analytics are key enablers in his organisation. Yet, the age-old business adage still stands – the customer is king. He said, “Only if you know what your customer wants, can you service them efficiently. And to do that, there has to be a much deeper understanding of the customers’ needs. This is where we use data analytics. A data driven strategy is very important for customer satisfaction and loyalty.”
He added that business begins the moment a prospective customer visits the company’s website to enquire about or buy an insurance plan. From that point forward, creating a positive customer experience is key. Be it covering the customer’s needs to providing support when it is most needed, the time a claim is made, FWD is committed to providing the best service along every point of the customer journey.
In this way, customer satisfaction is increased. “A happy customer is also our champion. And through that customer, we can look at referrals to make the customer’s contacts our customers also. This provides us with endless opportunity.”
However, seizing these opportunities is no straightforward task. Businesses need to think out of the box to gather the right data.
Mr Parathasarathy explains, “The golden data is not in the traditional places but in the interactions and without the structure. This is the challenge and change in mindset that we should be looking at and [should be putting more efforts into knowing] more about it.”
Indeed, there is much more strategizing and frontiers of knowledge to explore for a truly valuable business transformation. Mr Parathasarathy was one of six speakers at OpenGov Asia’s Insurance Analytics Forum on 16 November 2018. With more than twenty-five years of experience in the information technology and insurance sectors, he had a wealth of information to share.
A half-day session, participants of the Forum met and learnt from other industry practitioners on how data analytics and visualisation can aid business transformation and drive more value for customers. Delegates walked away with knowledge of the best tools and strategies needed to optimise customer experience analytics, claims analysis, fraud and cybercrime and other key challenges within the insurance and financial services industry.
The Philippines, situated within the Pacific Ring of Fire, is uniquely susceptible to a range of natural disasters stemming from its geographical location, including typhoons, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions, which render it particularly vulnerable. Nevertheless, in response to these formidable challenges, the nation has embarked on an impressive trajectory of resilience enhancement, strategically emphasising the convergence of technology and preparedness as key focal points in their efforts.
As the impact of climate and its cascading effects intensify, the Philippines’ exposure to natural hazards and the significance of resilience has surged. Recognising the limitations of traditional disaster responses, the country has shifted focus. Instead of relying solely on those methods, they’re embracing forward-thinking strategies that integrate proactive measures and technological advancements to effectively confront these challenges head-on.
The core of this transition lies in the effectiveness of the integration of technology with disaster preparedness. This fusion of innovation and readiness is indispensable in the face of ever more frequent and severe natural calamities. In an era where data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and early warning systems have reached new heights, the Philippines is leveraging these technologies to build a nation better equipped to withstand and rebound from disasters.
The Philippines’ journey towards resilience is characterised by progressive solutions built on technology. From early warning systems that provide timely alerts to communities, to advanced data analytics aiding in disaster risk reduction, the country is pioneering approaches that safeguard its people, infrastructure, and economy.
Moreover, this evolution is not contained within national borders. The Philippines acknowledges the interconnectedness of global resilience, actively participating in international collaborations and sharing its expertise to enhance global disaster preparedness.
Engr. Niñaliza H. Escorial, the Deputy Executive Director of the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) within the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), discusses their vision in response to the rapidly changing global landscape of emerging technologies with OpenGov Asia.
She highlights the agency’s commitment to fostering advancements in Quantum technology, agreeing that it is in a nascent development stage. In a bid to enhance capabilities, PCIEERD is actively seeking collaborative partnerships abroad, emphasising knowledge exchange and capacity-building initiatives. The first step in this endeavour involves establishing an innovation laboratory in collaboration with DOST-ASTI, dedicated to Quantum technology research and development.
Engr. Niñaliza underscores PCIEERD’s dedication to technological innovation, particularly in advanced manufacturing, which greatly supports industries engaged in prototype development. They know the significance of acquiring substantial equipment, considering it pivotal in fostering growth and bolstering competitiveness within the industrial sector.
Acknowledging the pivotal role of blockchain technology within the technological landscape, PCIEERD is actively embracing its integration into their initiatives. Their strategic adoption of blockchain aims to fortify and elevate capabilities, emphasising the assurance of heightened security, transparency, and efficiency across an array of applications and systems within their purview. This deliberate incorporation signifies a proactive step towards optimising technological frameworks and operations for enhanced performance and reliability.
Simultaneously, PCIEERD is delving into Artificial Intelligence (AI), moving beyond exploration to practical applications. The focus extends to improving administrative processes through diverse AI applications. The agency is actively seeking ways to enhance and streamline administrative functions, emphasising efficiency and effectiveness.
Engr. Niñaliza elaborates on PCIEERD’s expansive AI initiatives, spanning various sectors to highlight the transformative capacity of AI applications. The agency is actively leveraging AI to revolutionise weather forecasting, understanding the critical necessity for enhanced accuracy and timeliness in predictions. This strategic utilisation of AI underscores their commitment to addressing pressing needs through technological innovation.
“By integrating AI into weather prediction models, the agency aims to enhance preparedness and response to changing weather conditions, contributing to overall disaster resilience,” Engr Niñaliza explains.
The focus extends to the projection and management of river systems, where AI technology proves invaluable in analysing complex hydrological data. This initiative enables more accurate predictions of river behaviour, vital for mitigating the impact of floods and ensuring sustainable water resource management.
As they also see the pivotal role of AI in ensuring a stable food supply, PCIEERD is deploying innovative AI applications in agro-industry. This includes optimising resource allocation, enhancing agro-industry practices, and improving overall crop yield and quality. These initiatives align with the agency’s commitment to harnessing technology for the nation’s food security.
AI has emerged as a vital tool in traffic management systems, with PCIEERD harnessing AI algorithms for monitoring and controlling traffic. Their goal is to ease congestion, improve transportation efficiency, and play a role in creating sustainable, more livable urban environments.
Within the manufacturing sector, PCIEERD’s focus extends to the integration of sensors, a strategic move to expedite production processes. This innovative approach enhances efficiency and precision in manufacturing, ultimately increasing productivity and global competitiveness.
Engr. Niñaliza expands on PCIEERD’s deployment of AI in health monitoring projects, specifically tailored for students. This proactive strategy facilitates early intervention, fostering a healthier learning atmosphere. It underscores the convergence of technology and public health, prioritising well-being within educational settings.
She highlights their steadfast commitment to making science accessible and relatable, especially to diverse audiences, with a primary focus on students. PCIEERD’s engagement in science communication is evident in strategically designed initiatives that foster a deeper understanding of scientific concepts.
Curated exhibits and workshops serve as dynamic platforms where students actively engage with scientific principles in a hands-on and immersive manner. These initiatives aim not only to impart knowledge but also to cultivate a genuine interest in science, aligning with educational curricula while promoting curiosity and exploration.
Taking cognisance of the evolving landscape of communication, PCIEERD actively harnesses the power of social media as a dynamic channel for disseminating scientific information. Through various platforms, the agency strives to reach a broader audience, transcending geographical constraints and connecting with individuals from diverse backgrounds.
The approach to science communication on social media is characterised by clarity, simplicity, and engagement, ensuring that complex scientific concepts are presented in an accessible and understandable manner.
PCIEERD’s main objective is to democratise science communication, making it accessible to individuals at all levels of familiarity with scientific concepts. The agency aims to simplify science, translating intricate ideas into language and visuals that resonate with the general public. This approach fosters a culture of inclusivity, breaking down barriers between scientific knowledge and everyday understanding.
By prioritising science communication from the grassroots level, PCIEERD contributes to a broader societal understanding of the significance of science and technology. Through these initiatives, PCIEERD is actively bridging the gap between the scientific community and the public, fostering a more informed, engaged and scientifically literate society.
The efforts go beyond conveying information; they aim to inspire a sense of wonder and appreciation for the role of science in shaping the world.
PCIEERD’s international collaboration efforts extend to studying and benchmarking different food systems around the globe, particularly in terms of food technology. By exploring and learning from a wide range of methods, the agency seeks to integrate innovative food technologies that enhance productivity, reduce waste, and promote sustainability in agro-industry.
The primary focus lies in improving methods in agro-industry, streamlining supply chains, and strengthening a resilient food system capable of tackling the challenges presented by a swiftly evolving world. Insights gained will inform effective strategies, technological applications, and policy frameworks, tailor-fitted to strengthen the Philippines’ food security measures.
Acknowledging the environmental impact of waste, particularly its movement, PCIEERD is actively engaging in international collaboration on waste management. Through shared knowledge and best practices, the agency aims to minimise the environmental footprint of waste, emphasising sustainable waste disposal methods and embracing circular economy principles.
“One strategic avenue of international collaboration involves studying guidelines, especially during pandemics,” she elaborates.
They are keenly aware of the critical importance of understanding and adapting to global best practices in managing food systems amid pandemics, PCIEERD aims to examine diverse approaches worldwide. The emphasis is on collaboration to realise the goal of innovating food security initiatives through the use of advanced technologies.
Engr Niñaliza highlights the transformative potential of food technology as an essential in the fight against food hunger in the Philippines. The agency aims not only to develop solutions but also to craft comprehensive strategies that encompass both the preservation and consumption aspects of food.
By leveraging cutting-edge advancements in food technology, PCIEERD aspires to revolutionise the production, storage, and consumption of food, with the ultimate goal of significantly mitigating hunger on a large scale.
PCIEERD’s focus on preservation extends beyond traditional methods. The agency is actively seeking to harness innovative food preservation technologies to extend the shelf life of perishable goods, reduce post-harvest losses, and enhance the overall efficiency of the food supply chain.
“Through these efforts, PCIEERD aims to ensure that a greater quantity of nutritious food reaches those in need, contributing to the alleviation of hunger in local communities,” Engr Niñaliza asserts.
Simultaneously, PCIEERD recognises the crucial role of addressing consumption patterns as part of its strategy. The agency accentuates the importance of educating and engaging the public, particularly the youth, in a comprehensive awareness campaign.
This campaign aims to foster a deeper understanding of the role of food technology in daily life, making the public aware of the benefits of innovative food products and promoting sustainable and healthy dietary choices.
Considering the pivotal role of AI in shaping the future, PCIEERD is committed to fostering AI literacy, especially among the youth. Initiatives are underway to raise awareness among young stakeholders, ensuring they grasp the potential and responsible use of AI technologies.
PCIEERD aims to empower the younger generation with AI knowledge, cultivating a pool of innovators who can contribute to the development and implementation of AI solutions in diverse sectors, including addressing food security challenges.
In terms of AI, PCIEERD’s international collaboration efforts encompass discourses on AI guidelines. The agency aspires to ensure that its AI initiatives align with global ethical standards and technological norms. Addressing ethical concerns related to AI is paramount, and through international collaboration, PCIEERD aims to contribute to the development of comprehensive and universally applicable guidelines.
Engr Niñaliza envisions a unified roadmap for all DOST agencies, the goal is to harmonise efforts and resources, creating a symphony of innovation across science and technology.
This blueprint aims to streamline initiatives, eliminate redundancies, and optimise resource allocation. The strategy leverages the collective expertise of each DOST agency, fostering collaboration for a greater impact on a national scale.
“By aligning priorities, the roadmap addresses critical challenges, from industry development to energy security and emerging technologies,” she says emphatically. “The holistic approach ensures that advancements in one sector enhance progress in others, creating a ripple effect of positive change.”
This vision fosters interdisciplinary collaboration, breaking down silos to adapt swiftly to emerging trends. The goal is to position the Philippines as a dynamic force in the global scientific community.
Engr Niñaliza’s dream for DOST-PCIEERD is one of convergence, collaboration, and collective impact. Guided by a shared roadmap, the vision propels the nation forward into a future where the transformative power of science and technology uplifts every aspect of Filipino society. Through this unified approach, DOST-PCIEERD actively crafts a legacy of innovation for generations to come.
Being the first female deputy at PCIEERD, Engr Niñaliza sees her role as a testament to the agency’s strides in inclusivity and merit appreciation. With 35 years of dedicated service, her journey reflects a commitment to progress and witnessed significant improvements in the research and development system.
Rising through the ranks, she brings valuable insights, navigating the dynamic field with a comprehensive understanding of internal workings. Notable is the evolution in research and development, marked by a commitment to innovation. PCIEERD’s culture values forward-thinking approaches, staying at the forefront of technological advancements and expanding horizons in industry, energy, and emerging technologies.
PCIEERD embraces upskilling, ensuring the team remains adaptable and proficient in the latest tools and methodologies. Innovative processes, from project conceptualisation to execution, streamline approaches and position the agency as a dynamic entity within the DOST framework.
The collective journey strengthens PCIEERD, equipping it to fulfil its mandate with resilience. Engr Niñaliza takes pride in contributing to this positive trajectory and looks forward to advancements through continued innovation, upskilling, and excellence in research and development.
PCIEERD’s commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship is demonstrated by the ambitious goal of funding 20 startups annually with a dedicated budget of PHP5 million (SG$135,000). This initiative injects vitality into the local startup ecosystem, fostering technological advancements, economic growth, and job creation.
Inclusivity is a core focus, with dedicated programmes for women empowerment in entrepreneurship. Through Women Helping Women initiatives, PCIEERD addresses challenges faced by women entrepreneurs, providing support, mentorship, and financial assistance. Gender diversity is celebrated in STEM fields, breaking down barriers and inspiring the next generation of women.
PCIEERD’s commitment goes well beyond financial support, creating networking opportunities, mentorship programmes, and platforms for knowledge exchange. By addressing gender disparities and championing diversity, PCIEERD enriches the overall fabric of innovation and progress in society.
The advice given by Engr Niñaliza to anyone aiming for success, regardless of gender or background, is based on the conviction that dedication to ongoing learning and personal development is necessary to realise one’s greatest potential.
“It’s imperative to align your efforts with your strengths and passions, doing what you excel at and what truly ignites your enthusiasm,” she asserts. “Success often follows when we are dedicated to refining our skills and staying open to new knowledge.”
Engr Niñaliza has seen firsthand the transformative power of setting clear goals and persistently working towards S&T, as she progressed from a technical role to becoming the first female deputy of DOST PCIEERD. It emphasises the significance of having a clear direction and a road map for professional and personal goals.
Learning, according to her should be an ongoing process that is not limited by age or stage of career. The pursuit of knowledge and skill enhancement should be constant, whether in technical or administrative roles. Individuals who adopt this mindset are better able to adapt to changing challenges and remain relevant in their respective fields.
Engr Nializa understands the importance of recognising burnout and the need for periodic recovery. In the pursuit of success, it is critical to pay attention to one’s well-being and know when a break is required. Recovering from burnout enables rejuvenation and renewed focus, laying the groundwork for long-term success.
Her experience exemplifies the philosophy of pursuing excellence through passion alignment, continuous learning, and resilience.
“By maintaining a clear goal, staying dedicated to improvement, and understanding the importance of self-care, individuals can navigate their unique paths to success, contributing meaningfully to their fields and making a lasting impact on their personal and professional journeys,” Engr Niñaliza ends passionately.
As a vital arm of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) holds a pivotal role as one of the three sectoral planning councils within the organisation.
Founded on 29 June 2010, PCIEERD is distinguished by its unique commitment to driving research and development initiatives, particularly in the industries, energy, and emerging technology sectors.
Functioning as a pivotal agency, DOST-PCIEERD takes a central role in crafting policies, plans, and programmes, along with implementing strategies in the designated sectors. The execution of these initiatives is facilitated through a spectrum of Science and Technology (S&T) programmes designed to promote innovation and progress.
Encompassing a broad spectrum, DOST-PCIEERD extends research and development (R&D) support across 21 sectors, broadly categorised under industry, energy, emerging technology, and special concerns.
The council plays a crucial role in disseminating and promoting S&T information, undertaking sustained programmes for information dissemination. This proactive approach aims to enhance the accessibility and utilisation of information and research results by the diverse array of customers and stakeholders associated with the sectors.
In its commitment to fostering growth, DOST-PCIEERD dedicates efforts to developing and enhancing R&D and support capabilities. This forward-looking perspective ensures the fulfilment of present and future human resource and institutional requirements.
Moreover, the council actively contributes to technological advancement by adopting, transferring, and commercialising available technologies. In doing so, DOST-PCIEERD plays a vital role in propelling the nation’s scientific and technological landscape towards greater heights.
Driving Innovation and Industry Development
In an exclusive interview with OpenGov Asia, Dr Enrico C. Paringit, Executive Director of DOST-PCIEERD, sheds light on compelling projects that underscore the council’s significant influence on research and development in the realms of industry, energy, and emerging technology.
At the forefront of catalysing research and development in the Philippines, DOST-PCIEERD has been a driving force behind diverse programmes and initiatives. Launched in 2015, the Infrastructure Development Programme (IDP) has emerged as a cornerstone, playing a pivotal role in the expansion or modernisation of academic and research institutions.
Under the Infrastructure Development Programme (IDP), DOST-PCIEERD has actively spearheaded initiatives encompassing the acquisition of cutting-edge laboratory facilities, state-of-the-art equipment, and specialised software. Between 2015 to 2023, this strategic investment, totalling Php234.4 million (S$6.31 million), has yielded transformative outcomes, facilitating the establishment and enhancement of 49 laboratories across the nation. This concerted effort reflects the commitment to fortify research capabilities and foster innovation within academic and research institutions.
In line with the DOST Halal Policy, the DOST Halal S&T Programme was initiated to support the development of the Halal industry. This programme focuses on research and development, technology transfer, human resource development, and Halal verification through laboratory testing. Additionally, efforts have been directed towards fortifying the Filipino Halal sector to meet global benchmarks, enhance competitiveness, and improve research and development.
Dr Enrico explains that the Food Safety Programme, Food Innovation Centres, and Natural Dyes facilities have been established to strengthen the food industry and improve the living standards of Filipino people. The commitment extends to bolstering the country’s manufacturing industry by providing cutting-edge facilities for specialised testing, designing, and research and development in key sectors like food, electronics, and materials.
Under the OneLab Programme, regional testing facilities have been consolidated into a unified network, providing easy access to a global network of public and private laboratories for analytical and calibration needs. This initiative promotes collaboration among students, researchers, and industry stakeholders, with information accessible through the onelab.ph website.
The National Metrology Laboratory (NML) leads metrology efforts in the Philippines and has achieved international recognition. However, continued support is required for the expansion of Calibration and Measurement Capabilities (CMCs) to maintain competence globally.
Dr Enrico reveals that the establishment of the Advanced Device and Materials Testing Laboratory (ADMATEL) marks the country’s first electronics design facility, aimed at reinforcing and upgrading failure analysis and materials testing facilities to attract potential investors and promote a conducive business environment.
The Electronics Product Development Centre (EPDC) serves as the national testing facility, providing design, prototyping, and testing facilities for printed circuit boards. The goal is to support companies and schools in developing hardware and software for electronics products.
The Advanced Manufacturing Centre (AMCen), on the other hand, has been established as the national centre of excellence in additive manufacturing, focusing on areas like Aerospace and Defense, Pharmaceutical/Healthcare, Novel Electronics, Agriculture, and Automotive.
In addition, the renewable energy projects include a micro-hydro turbine research and testing facility in Morong, Rizal, supporting off-grid electrification for communities. The Mindanao Renewable Energy Centre (MREC) focuses on Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) and Ocean Renewable Energy (ORE) facilities, aiming to harness energy from solar power and simulate tidal and wave characteristics.
To serve as a bridge between R&D and commercialisation, the Funding Assistance for Spin-off and Translation of Research in Advancing Commercialisation (FASTRAC) Programme supports technologies such as USHER, CharM, FISH_I, Smart Surface, CATCH-ALL, Marine Nanocoat, Monascus Red Colorant, Fruitect, HormoGroe, Gitara ni Juan, X-LIPAD, MapX, Vigormin, and others.
Embedded in the ethos of DOST, a circular economy mindset takes centre stage, underscoring a dedication to initiatives that champion environmental stewardship and optimal resource utilisation. Positioned as a key tenet within the DOST framework, this pledge manifests in the backing of projects geared towards converting waste materials into valuable and sustainable resources.
A notable example is the successful initiative led by the Industrial Technology Development Institute (DOST-ITDI), wherein an in-depth analysis of dredged material from the Tullahan River was undertaken to investigate alternative applications. This project exemplifies a forward-thinking strategy in tackling environmental issues by repurposing materials that would otherwise contribute to waste, showcasing a commitment to sustainable solutions and resourcefulness.
The University of Mindanao is leading another remarkable sustainable initiative, centring on the transformation of durian rinds into 3D printing filaments. This inventive project not only addresses waste reduction but also taps into the potential of agricultural by-products, underscoring a steadfast commitment to sustainability and resource optimisation.
“At the core of our mission, we prioritise environmental sustainability, ensuring that our operations, activities, and programmes are conducted with a steadfast commitment to minimising adverse impacts on the environment,” Dr Enrico states.
Recognising the importance of ecological responsibility, PCIERRD incorporates environmental considerations as a pivotal metric in the assessment of proposals. This approach underscores its unwavering commitment to nurturing initiatives that adhere to the principles of environmental conservation and responsible stewardship.
Dedicated to environmental stewardship, the agency proactively pursues a science and technology roadmap for tackling and mitigating challenges related to waste management. Under the leadership of Dr Enrico, PCIERRD aims to assume a pivotal role in shaping sustainable practices that advocate for the responsible use and disposal of resources.
Demonstrating a responsible use of resources through its life cycle, PCIERRD fulfils its mandate to actively support the Clean Air Act (RA8749). By championing the implementation of this key legislation, the agency contributes significantly to promoting clean air standards and mitigating air pollution, aligning its efforts with broader initiatives that prioritise the health of both the environment and local communities.
“Through these multifaceted approaches, we strive to be proactive stewards of the environment, integrating sustainability principles into the fabric of the industrial operations; thereby promoting responsible practices within the realm of science and technology,” Dr Enrico emphasises.
The success of PCIERRD can be attributed in part to its ability to develop talent and inspire upcoming researchers and innovators to advance the country’s technological frontiers. In 2017, the country witnessed the launch of the Young Innovators Programme (YIP), designed as an inclusive platform for highly talented high school students aspiring to gain research experience.
The programme invites these young minds to gain experience in research under the guidance of mentors, facilitating hands-on learning and fostering a spirit of scientific inquiry. The objective of YIP is to equip and prepare these young researchers to undertake independent research endeavors, supported by funding allocated to innovative research projects.
Since its inception, the Young Innovators Programme has made significant strides in cultivating a new era of scientific exploration and inventive breakthroughs within the country. A total of Php37 million (SG$1 million) in funding has been disbursed across 56 approved projects, providing vital resources for these young innovators to bring their ideas to fruition.
The programme’s impact extends beyond financial support, contributing to the development of a vibrant community of budding scientists and researchers who are poised to make meaningful contributions to the scientific landscape in the years to come.
Nurturing Ingenuity Through Partnerships
According to Dr Enrico, engaging with diverse stakeholders is at the core of their approach as they strive to meet the evolving needs of the 21 sectors under its support. Through focused initiatives such as focus group discussions and consultation, they actively seek input from industry stakeholders, research institutions, and government agencies.
“This collaborative process allows us to gain valuable insights into the specific requirements and challenges faced by each sector, informing the direction of our research and development endeavours,” Dr Enrico explains.
Beyond external engagement, PCIEERD places considerable emphasis on internal feedback mechanisms. Tools such as the Research Fairness Survey and the R&D Customer Preference Survey serve as valuable means to directly collect insights from researchers. This two-way communication approach ensures that the perspectives and experiences of those actively engaged in the research process are taken into account, fostering an environment of continuous improvement and responsiveness within the organisation.
Collaboration remains a cornerstone of their strategy, and they actively cultivate partnerships with industry stakeholders. Through a range of programmes, such as the Expert Intervention for Scientific Engagement (ExperTiSE) programme, Regional Research Institutions (RRI), research attachments and expert visits, PCIEERD creates avenues for meaningful cooperation.
These collaborative initiatives not only enhance the effectiveness of the research but also contribute to the broader goal of fostering innovation and sustainable development across diverse sectors.
Furthermore, DOST-PCIEERD recognises the pivotal role of international alliances and partnerships, strategically emphasising their significance in advancing research and development in the fields of industry, energy, and emerging technology.
This concerted effort is driven by a commitment to contribute to the growth of scientific knowledge, facilitate technology transfer, spur economic development, and enhance the capacity to address global challenges effectively.
International partnerships provide a crucial avenue for knowledge exchange, where foreign counterparts and experts bring expertise that exposes Filipino researchers to cutting-edge technologies, methodologies, and the sharing of best practices.
Such exposure not only enhances the skills of local researchers, rendering them more competitive on the international stage but also unlocks new opportunities for commercialising innovative technologies in the global market. Consequently, it bridges the gap between research and market application, facilitating technology pathways that contribute to economic growth through income and job creation.
Several notable international engagements exemplify the commitment of DOST-PCIEERD to fostering global collaborations. Among them, the e-ASIA initiative stands out – a multilateral international joint effort involving public funding organisations from East Asia Summit (EAS) member countries.
Additionally, the Southeast Asia-Europe Joint Funding Scheme for Research and Innovation (SEA-EU JFS) facilitates joint funding of bi-regional, multi-lateral research and innovation projects, fostering cooperation between Southeast Asia and Europe.
Joint efforts such as the UKRI-NERC initiative address specific challenges, exemplified by the “Sustainable Mineral Resources in the Philippines” programme. This collaborative effort aims to fund research that offers a comprehensive perspective on mineral production in the Philippines and address environmental issues associated with legacy and abandoned mines.
Another noteworthy effort is the UKRI-JST-DOST ‘Science, Technology and Action’ Nexus for Development (STAND) Collaboration, which seeks to foster international research interaction and exchange among researchers in Japan, the United Kingdom, and Southeast Asia. This collaboration focuses on projects contributing to sustainable development in Southeast Asia, aligning with the broader goals of knowledge sharing and capacity building on a global scale.
Public-private partnerships have also contributed to the advancement of industry, energy, and emerging technology in the country. In June 2023, PCIEERD took a significant step forward in fortifying its collaboration with the mining industry by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines.
This partnership encompasses three key areas aimed at fostering advancements and sustainability within the mining sector.
Firstly, there is a focus on the collaborative drafting of a nickel roadmap, with active consultation involving both mining industries and key government agencies. This initiative aims to chart a strategic course for the nickel industry, ensuring alignment with industry needs and national development goals.
Another crucial facet of the partnership involves an increased emphasis on research related to green minerals, particularly in anticipation of their translation into components for Electric Vehicles (EVs). This forward-looking approach aligns with the global shift towards sustainable and environmentally friendly technologies, positioning the mining industry to play a pivotal role in the emerging green economy.
Additionally, the collaborative efforts extend to the improvement of energy efficiency and the promotion of renewable energy within the mining sector. By addressing these critical aspects, the partnership endeavours to enhance the sustainability and environmental impact of mining operations, aligning with broader goals of responsible resource utilisation and energy conservation.
PCIEERD maintains an ongoing and fruitful partnership with the Philippine Technological Council (PTC), a non-stock, non-profit private organisation. The collaboration with PTC unfolds through its accreditation service, serving as a mechanism to facilitate capstone projects and promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) initiatives.
This sustained partnership underscores PCIEERD’s commitment to advancing technological excellence, education, and innovation within the Philippines, fostering a collaborative ecosystem that transcends industry boundaries for the greater benefit of scientific and technological progress.
Unveiling Key Strategies
Dr Enrico reveals the key strategic priorities and initiatives he is focusing on as the Executive Director of PCIEERD to foster innovation and drive industry development in the Philippines.
“Guided by the Harmonised National Research and Development Agenda (HNRDA) for the period 2022-2028, our research initiatives are intricately woven into a framework that aligns with the broader vision encapsulated in AmBisyon Natin 2040,” Dr Enrico highlights.
Envisioning a promising future for Filipinos, the HNRDA is anchored in the pillars of Malasakit, Pagbabago, and Kaunlaran, which collectively advocate for inclusive growth, a resilient society, and the cultivation of a competitive knowledge economy.
In pursuit of these aspirations, PCIERRD has embarked on pioneering programmes aimed at revolutionising the local transport systems. Spearheaded by the ELECTROMOBILITY R&D Centre, and R&D Centre for Advanced Batteries, these initiatives focus on the development and implementation of electric vehicles and enhancing advanced battery technology.
These efforts align with the priorities of the Comprehensive Roadmap for the Electric Vehicle Industry (CREVI). Additionally, PCIERRD has several initiatives on maritime transport on the electrification of boats and ferries.
“This strategic move reflects our commitment to advancing sustainable and eco-friendly solutions in the domain of transportation,” Dr Enrico furthers. “Our commitment extends to the empowerment of local governance through the implementation of the Smart Cities initiative.”
Significant transformations have been realised in cities such as Baguio, Cauayan, Iloilo, and Butuan, where the integration of smart technologies has contributed to improved urban living. The success of these endeavours has prompted an expansion of the programme beyond cities, reaching into various communities as part of our ongoing efforts to create more inclusive and technologically empowered environments.
Recognising the critical role of startups in driving innovation, PCIERRD actively supports the startup ecosystem through the Startup Grant Fund. The comprehensive programmes assist startups throughout their journey, from the initial ideation phase to full commercialisation. By nurturing and facilitating the growth of startups, they contribute to the dynamism of the entrepreneurial landscape and the overall economic development of the region.
Dr Enrico underscores in the domain of Artificial Intelligence (AI), the DOST endeavours are guided by a comprehensive 2019-2029 R&D Programme Framework. This strategic blueprint delineates a path to ensure the Philippines remains a frontrunner in the global evolution of AI technologies.
The primary thrusts of this initiative span across National Infrastructure, where the DOST has distributed nine High-Performance Computing (HPC) machines to higher education institutions, catalysing the commencement of new AI projects.
The groundwork laid in 2014 with the establishment of the Computing and Archiving Research Environment (CoARE) further bolsters these efforts, providing free access to HPC and Cloud services. The overarching goal is to enhance connectivity and expedite digital transformation by 2024, with a specific target of elevating the PH e-government index to 0.85 by 2029.
The DOST’s dedication to AI extends beyond infrastructure to encompass Capacity Building, where initiatives are undertaken to nurture the skills and expertise necessary for meaningful AI contributions. Simultaneously, the focus on Research and Data initiatives accentuates the commitment to advancing the knowledge frontier in AI.
Additionally, the department actively engages in developing Policies and Stakeholder relationships, ensuring a holistic and forward-looking approach to AI development within the country. This multi-faceted strategy underscores the DOST’s commitment to positioning the Philippines as a key player in the dynamic landscape of AI innovation and progress.
“In our pursuit of ensuring the Philippines’ prominence in technological innovation and sustainable development globally, DOST-PCIEERD employs a multifaceted approach encompassing various strategic initiatives. One pivotal effort involves bridging the gap between academic research and industry through the establishment of Technology Business Incubators (TBIs),” Dr Enrico asserts.
With 54 members in the DOST TBI Network, including 32 industry-based and 22 agriculture- and aquaculture-focused TBIs across Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), the investments since 2018 have totalled Php411 million (SG$11.1 million).
These TBIs have incubated 1,359 startups, generated 5,696 jobs, attracted over Php1.87 billion (SG$50.49 million) in private investments, and produced Php907 million (SG$24.49 million) in startup revenue. Additionally, the TBIs themselves have secured Php118.3 million (SG$3.19 million) in private investments from various partners.
To promote science education in Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDA), they fund projects such as the Philippine Science Centrum Travelling Exhibit. This initiative, spanning 26 GIDA districts across Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, has reached 300,000 students and instructed 4,000 teachers in basic science experiments, enhancing education in these remote areas.
Acknowledging the vital role of women entrepreneurs, initiatives like Women-Helping-Women: Innovative Social Enterprises (WHWise) aims to support and acknowledge women driving economic growth and sustainable development in their communities.
Strategic planning is another cornerstone of the approach, with formulated roadmaps and sectoral strategies for the 21 supported sectors. These roadmaps not only guide the development of specific research programmes but also contribute to the realisation of sustainable development goals.
Collectively, these strategies underscore the commitment to enhancing the country’s competitiveness and productivity in the global landscape of technological innovation and sustainable development, fostering a comprehensive and impactful approach to propel the nation forward.
Nexus of Innovation by 2040
“Our forward-looking vision is rooted in becoming the Nexus of Innovation by the year 2040,” Dr Enrico shares his vision for PCIEERD’s position in the global context in the next three years. “Positioned as a leader in the country’s competitiveness and productivity, we aim to enable science and technology solutions across the industry, energy, and emerging technology sectors, all while upholding the principles of good governance.”
To realise this vision, global collaboration stands as a cornerstone of this strategy. They envision strengthening international partnerships and collaborations with funding institutions worldwide. By engaging with global counterparts, they seek to foster knowledge-sharing, promote cooperation and teamwork, facilitate mutual learning, and collectively drive innovation in the realms of industry, energy, and emerging technologies.
An essential aspect of their approach involves a dedicated focus on investment in Research and Development (R&D). By prioritising R&D investment, they ensure that PCIEERD remains at the forefront of technological advancements in the Industry, Energy, and Emerging (IEE) sectors. This commitment contributes to global innovation efforts and positions the nation as a key player in addressing pressing global challenges through technological solutions.
Their commitment extends to robust mechanisms for technology transfer and commercialisation. By effectively translating the R&D findings and innovations into practical applications and marketable products, they strive to bridge the gap between research outcomes and real-world impact.
“Knowledge dissemination forms another crucial element of our strategy. We are committed to sharing our S&T outputs, technological advancements, and success stories in technology transfer and commercialisation, both locally and globally,” Dr Enrico says emphatically. “This proactive approach ensures that the benefits of our innovations reach diverse audiences, contributing to the broader global knowledge pool.”
In all aspects of their operations, sustainability is a guiding principle. They are committed to using sustainable practices in everything they do, from research to innovations, technology transfers, and commercialisation.
Through their actions, they actively support the preservation of the environment on a global scale and are consistent with larger sustainability objectives, exemplifying a responsible and comprehensive approach to scientific and technological advancement.
“Embracing the role of a scientist is to willingly confront the mysteries of the unknown, and it is this very challenge that captivates me,” says Dr Enrico, who completed his doctorate at the Tokyo Institute of Technology and served as the principal scientist for DOST Project NOAH and the DOST DREAM LIDAR Programme.
Seeking out interesting and meaningful challenges brought him joy. His work at PCIEERD is similar to a large-scale experiment in which he develops theories and verifies them against reality.
He believes that this dynamic process fosters continuous innovation by pushing boundaries and revealing new possibilities. The core values of high integrity, innovation, and excellence serve as guiding principles, propelling the entire PCIEEED led by him to strive for excellence in all that they do.
“We are committed to exploring new ground in science and are constantly looking for ways to offer significant discoveries and solutions that have a long-term impact for the benefit of the whole nation,” Dr Enrico concludes.
China has achieved a significant milestone in the advancement of its computing infrastructure with the official release of the national standard GB/T 43331-2023, titled “Internet Data Centre (IDC) Technology and Classification Requirements.” This strategic move underscores a steadfast commitment to propelling the robust development of the computing industry within the country.
Spearheaded by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), in collaboration with various enterprises and institutions, this achievement signifies a dedication to aligning with the evolving needs of the national computing infrastructure and ensuring the high-quality evolution of the computing industry.
The comprehensive scope of GB/T 43331-2023 spans six dynamic aspects, mirroring the complexity of the digital landscape it seeks to regulate. These aspects include greenness, availability, security, service capabilities, computing power, and computing efficiency, with an added emphasis on low-carbon practices.
At its core, this national standard is designed to serve as a guiding framework for the planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of Internet Data Centres (IDCs). The creators envision a future where GB/T 43331-2023 acts as a catalyst, propelling diverse industries forward by facilitating a more profound integration of computing infrastructure.
The roots of this groundbreaking standard extend back to 2013 when the data centre team of the Institute of Cloud Computing and Big Data at the CAICT embarked on a mission to standardise the communication industry.
Over the years, several data centre rating standards have emerged, each contributing as a stepping stone towards the ultimate realisation of GB/T 43331-2023. This national standard has now come to fruition after years of collaboration with users, designers, and industry suppliers.
According to CAICT, the standard places a strong emphasis on energy efficiency, a longstanding concern in the development of data centres. No longer a vague aspiration, GB/T 43331-2023 outlines specific requirements aimed at elevating the energy efficiency levels of data centres through the application of green technology and adept operation and maintenance system management.
Beyond technology, the standard underscores a commitment to responsible and sustainable practices. It addresses service capabilities through a comprehensive evaluation of external services in data centres. This assessment isn’t a mere formality; it objectively gauges capabilities, fostering self-improvement within data centres and aiding customers in selecting facilities suitable for their business needs.
The newly released standard also focuses on availability, enhancing data centre resilience through improved equipment redundancy. This ensures data protection during emergencies, fortifying the foundational architecture of the digital world. Security, a paramount concern in the data-centric era, receives meticulous attention. Beyond conventional measures like firewalls and passwords, the standard aims to ensure the safety of both data centre equipment and personnel, adopting a holistic approach to fortify the guardians of the digital realms.
The CAICT added that the GB/T 43331-2023 is not merely a set of regulations; it is a guidebook signalling a future where computing infrastructure seamlessly integrates into daily life. It represents a collaborative effort among academia, industry, and innovation, shaping a digital landscape that is not only efficient but also sustainable, secure, and prepared for future challenges.
By establishing common guidelines, protocols, and specifications, these standards ensure that hardware and software components from different vendors can seamlessly communicate and function as part of an integrated system. This not only simplifies integration processes but also fosters a more open and competitive market.
Faculty, students, and alumni from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-Madras) have collaborated to create a mobile application to facilitate more convenient and efficient intra-city transportation of goods.
Named OptRoute, the mobile app connects drivers and consumers without charging commissions or onboarding fees. The consumer’s payment is directly transferred to the driver, eliminating the need for intermediaries.
The initial version of the app has been developed and commercialised by a startup incubated at IIT-Madras. It was co-founded by Professor N.S. Narayanaswamy, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, IIT-Madras, and Anuj Fulia, an IIT-Madras alumnus. Furthermore, the startup has developed methods for efficient packing and optimal utilisation of vehicle space, to be integrated into the application upon reaching a sufficient initial traction level.
The OptRoute application operates in two modes: Driver and Customer. In Customer mode, users can submit transport requests for various goods requiring a vehicle. In Driver mode, users can view available requests and choose to accept them.
As per a statement from IIT-Madras, key distinctions between OptRoute and existing services include:
- Zero-commission per transaction and nominal subscription-based service model
- Direct payment from the consumer to the driver
- High scalability of the software system and operational aspects
- A single app for both drivers and customers
OptRoute operates independently without relying on third-party services, enabling the startup to minimise operational costs and offer services with a zero percent commission. IIT-Madras alumni and students contributed significantly to the design and development of the application.
According to Narayanaswamy, OptRoute ultimately aims to solve connectivity issues between drivers and customers in the goods logistics and transport domain. Current challenges include the unavailability of return loads for transporters and the underutilisation of vehicle capacity. He characterised the existing market in this sector as being highly disorganised, which leads to inefficiencies.
The OptRoute app is operational on Android devices and available in the cities of Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Coimbatore, Delhi, Faridabad, Gurugram, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Nagpur, Noida, Panchkula, Pune, Mohali, Surat, and Zirakpur. The startup has plans to expand its service to over 500 cities by the end of this year.
“[OptRoute] is also ripe for the deployment of technology-based solutions to reach the goals set by the National Logistics Policy, 2022,” Narayanaswamy said. The National Logistics Policy aims to enhance economic growth and business competitiveness through an integrated, seamless, efficient, reliable, green, sustainable, and cost-effective logistics network. It intends to harness technology and skilled manpower to reduce logistics costs and improve performance.
The policy aims to increase the nation’s Logistics Performance Index ranking to be among the top 25 countries by 2030. It also aims to create a data-driven decision-support mechanism for an efficient logistics ecosystem. To achieve these goals, the government initiated the Comprehensive Logistics Action Plan (CLAP). It covers eight action areas including:
- Integrated digital logistics systems
- The standardisation of physical assets and benchmarking of service quality standards
- Developing human resources and capacity in the logistics sector
- Promoting state engagement
- The Services Improvement Framework
- Sectoral Plans for Efficient Logistics (SPEL)
- Facilitating the development of logistics parks
Since its launch, there have been notable advancements in the policy’s implementation through regional conferences, individual consultations, and inter-ministerial meetings.
A collaboration between agricultural research entities, Curtin University’s Centre for Crop and Disease Management (CCDM), and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development in Western Australia is poised to change farming practices through the development of a decision support tool known as the ‘Agri-analytics Hub.’ With a budget of AU$ 4 million, this technological initiative aims to significantly enhance farmers’ profitability and optimize risk management by employing a scientifically rigorous approach.
In the realm of precision agriculture, where data-driven insights play a pivotal role, the Agri-analytics Hub is slated to address a critical gap. While current practices enable producers to generate maps for precision agriculture using their farm data, the existing methods lack scientific robustness. Furthermore, there is a noticeable absence of tools designed for creating or analysing on-farm trials, leaving agronomists and skilled growers without a dedicated solution for this crucial aspect of their work.
The aim of the project lies in the ambition to empower farmers and their advisors with a state-of-the-art tool that can analyse the variability in crop performance and profitability at an in-paddock scale. Dr Julia Easton, the project leader and researcher at the Centre for Crop and Disease Management (CCDM) at Curtin University, stressed the significance of the Agri-analytics Hub.
Drawing on next-generation agribusiness research developed by the Curtin for Agribusiness Profitability Initiative, this tool is envisioned to give growers the confidence to make informed decisions supported by scientific analysis.
For farmers contemplating management changes – such as altering fertilisation rates or adjusting inputs to enhance profitability and sustainability – the Agri-analytics Hub aims to be a game-changer. Dr Easton highlighted that the tool ensures such decisions are grounded in science, offering a robust foundation for agricultural practices. This becomes particularly crucial in an era where sustainability is gaining prominence, and farmers are increasingly under pressure to demonstrate evidence of environmentally conscious and efficient practices.
The Director of CCDM explained the collective capabilities that this tool brings to the agricultural landscape. Farmers will now have the ability to visualise, analyse, and experiment with their own data and equipment, thereby driving profitability and managing risks effectively, even in the face of a variable climate.
The Agri-analytics Hub is designed to analyse existing data and facilitate on-farm experimentation, allowing farmers to test solutions and estimate the likely economic impact of adopting specific practices based on their own production systems.
This initiative represents a significant leap forward in agricultural data analytics, with CCDM taking the lead in advancing the way farming is approached. By empowering farmers with tools to leverage their own data and equipment, the project aims to usher in a new era of evidence-based decision-making in agriculture.
The CEO of one of the industry partners noted the importance of evidence-based decision-making, especially in proving sustainability credentials. The global demand for food and fibre produced in a sustainable manner has been on the rise, necessitating producers to provide tangible evidence of their commitment to sustainability. The significance of a scientifically rigorous digital tool that is not only cost-effective but also designed in collaboration with Australian farm businesses and their advisors was underscored.
Such a tool, when seamlessly integrated into existing systems and processes, holds the promise of being a substantial step in the right direction, with implications reaching far beyond Western Australia. It is anticipated that the Agri-analytics Hub will have significant national relevance when delivered, contributing to the ongoing global discourse on sustainable and efficient agricultural practices.
The Agri-analytics Hub project in Western Australia stands as a beacon of technological advancement in agriculture, promising to equip farmers and advisors with a powerful decision support tool. The amalgamation of scientific rigour, precision agriculture, and on-farm experimentation positions this initiative at the forefront of modernizing farming practices.
As the demand for sustainable and evidence-based agriculture grows, the Agri-analytics Hub represents a crucial step forward in meeting these evolving expectations and contributing to the broader landscape of agricultural innovation.
The government has granted its approval, Resolution No. 175/NQ-CP dated 30 October, for the National Data Centre project, aiming to elevate Vietnam’s standing in global e-government, information technology, and cybersecurity rankings. It wants the centre to serve as a tool to resolve and remove bottlenecks while fostering the development of current national databases and any prospective database systems in the future.
The government will construct, manage, use, and run the National Data Centre. The centre will integrate, synchronise, store, share, analyse, exploit, and coordinate data from various state agencies in compliance with legal regulations. It will establish two data warehouses, one focusing on people and the other gathering data from national databases.
The data housed at this centre will form the core of data-related service delivery. It will contribute to policymaking, aid in development, and promote digital government, society, and economy. It will also enhance defence and security measures.
The centre will provide information technology infrastructure for socio-political organisations, national databases, and agencies with data requirements. It will leverage the collected and synchronised data to simplify and streamline administrative processes, improve the services provided by state agencies to citizens and businesses, and carry out in-depth analyses to help the government issue and manage social security policies. This includes policies for insurance, healthcare, and education.
Some of the data stored at the centre will include details on populations, insurance, healthcare, social security, education, and training, as well as staff data, including civil servants, public employees, identification records, civil status, and financial transactions. It will also store activity from the databases of ministries, government branches, and localities.
The centre will function as a hub to connect with international partners to exchange information, collaborate on research, and jointly create development strategies, particularly in the field of science and technology.
The centre is slated to be operational in 2030. It will aid in Vietnam’s deeper integration into the global digital economy. Apart from storing and connecting data from national databases and domestic information systems, it will contain data from governments across the world to support various activities in cyberspace while safeguarding Vietnam’s interests.
It is anticipated that by 2023, more than 90% of administrative activities involving the sharing of information between state agencies will be replaced by sharing digital data from the centre’s warehouses.
The government wants Vietnam to achieve several significant rankings by 2030, aiming to be among the top 50 countries in the E-Government Development Index (EGDI), the top 30 in the ICT Development Index (ID), and the top 30 in the Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI).
The country is recognising the significance of data infrastructure due to its data growth rate, which exceeds the global average.
Earlier this month, the Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) launched its largest data centre, VNPT IDC Hoa Lac, in Hanoi. As reported by OpenGov Asia, the centre spans 23,000 square metres and is designed to house 2,000 racks. With equipment from G7 manufacturers, it offers speeds up to 2Gbps per rack for domestic connections and 0.5Gbps per rack for international connections.
It is equipped with an N+1 backup system, which promises stable operation, even during maintenance events. Furthermore, its Data Hall features a 6-layer security monitoring system, adhering to international standards, and guaranteeing the highest level of data safety for clients.
The state-run Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) has inaugurated VNPT IDC Hoa Lac, its largest data centre at Hoa Lac High-Tech Park in Hanoi. The centre spans 23,000 square metres and is designed to house 2,000 racks. Using state-of-the-art equipment from renowned G7 manufacturers, it can provide impressive speeds, offering 2Gbps per rack for domestic connections and 0.5Gbps per rack for international connections.
VNPT IDC Hoa Lac is equipped with an N+1 backup system, guaranteeing stable operation, even during maintenance events. Additionally, its Data Hall features a 6-layer security monitoring system, adhering to international standards and ensuring the highest level of data safety for clients.
The centre has achieved Uptime Tier III Certification for Design Documents (TCDD) and the Constructed Facility (TCCF) and is also on track to obtaining the Certification of Operational Sustainability (TCOS) in the future.
VNPT currently runs eight data centres across the country, including in Hanoi, Da Nang, and Ho Chi Minh City. Each of these centres complies with rigorous domestic and international standards. “Our data centre in Hoa Lac is the largest and most advanced in the country and is poised to offer the nation’s premier data services, tailor-made to meet the diverse requirements of both domestic and international clients,” said Huynh Quang Liem, CEO of VNPT.
The human resources employed at this facility are highly trained professionals with extensive experience in the field. They offer round-the-clock customer support and stand ready to assist clients with package upgrades whenever necessary.
During the inauguration ceremony, the Minister of Information and Communications (MIC), Nguyen Manh Hung, emphasised the ministry’s focus on advancing Vietnam’s digital infrastructure. He underscored the importance of data infrastructure and urged telecom carriers to invest in this domain to create further opportunities for development.
Vietnam is experiencing a data growth rate that surpasses the global average. Presently, the country hosts 39 data centres, and to meet the increasing demands of the community, it needs to establish approximately 5 new centres annually, akin to VNPT IDC Hoa Lac.
Hung noted, “Digital infrastructure must be super-capacious, ultra-wideband, universally accessible, sustainable, smart, open, and secure. It’s essential to prioritise investment in modernisation to stay ahead in the digital transformation race. Data infrastructure is the cornerstone of digital infrastructure.”
Telecommunications companies that were formerly at the forefront of telecommunications infrastructure must now take the lead in data infrastructure. Investing in data centres presents a fresh growth opportunity for these operators. Without such investments, they face the risk of being replaced by others in the evolving digital landscape, he said.
Hung encouraged local businesses to prioritise Vietnamese cloud computing and data services, particularly given that domestic providers have met the most stringent global standards and are able to offer competitive pricing. For more cost-efficient and secure services, ministries, state agencies, and local authorities should choose professional data service units over trying to run their own ineffective data centres or IT systems. He also highlighted that this presents an opportunity for domestic data service providers to further their growth and professional development.
According to MIC, VNPT’s strategic move indicates a well-defined vision for bolstering the country’s telecommunications capabilities and marks a transition from conventional telecom services to more advanced data and digital services.