Recently OpenGov spoke to Mr Lup Yuen Lee, Chief Technology
Officer at UnaBiz[f1] ,
the exclusive network operator of Sigfox’s low-power
wide-area network (LPWAN) in Singapore and Taiwan. UnaBiz is the
first IoT-dedicated network operator in Asia to roll out a nationwide[PB2]
Recently, UnaBiz enabled full indoor coverage of the Sigfox
IoT network at all 4 terminals of Changi Airport. Smart solutions providers and
system integrators have developed Sigfox-enabled solutions such as temperature
sensors and other applications for the Smart Airport.
Taipei City Government last year to build an IoT Innovation Lab. It is working
with Airbus to advance research in
digitalization of aircraft maintenance operations through the adoption of IoT
solutions. In collaboration with bike-sharing company, oBike, UnaBiz is rolling
out geolocation services for one million bikes on Sigfox Global LPWAN.
In a wide-ranging discussion, Mr Lee talked about different
types of IoT applications and their network and power requirements and shared
his views on the complexities of IoT development.
Deep vs Wide IoT
Mr Lee explained that there are two classes of IoT, ‘deep’
IoT and ‘wide’ IoT. Amazon Echo and Alexa are examples of deep IoT. Deep IoT
devices require high bandwidth and power supply.
With the Amazon devices, the voice command goes to the cloud
for processing and generating an output command. This has high computation power requirements and
hence, these devices don’t work well on a low-bandwidth network or low battery
power. As a result, they tend to stay fixed in offices or homes.
UnaBiz looks at wide IoT, which refers to devices that are very
light, battery-powered and operate on pervasive networks. They can work anytime,
anywhere in Singapore and do not rely on WiFi or the cellular network.
“We don’t think everyone will be able to afford an Amazon
Echo. It is a very powerful device but it is not cheap, because there’s so much
complexity inside it. In short, we’re just trying to be a very simple kind of
IoT network, where you press a button and it triggers the backend. The device does
not need to pair with Bluetooth or WiFi. It is simple and fuss-free, even for
the elderly,” Mr Lee added.
Subscription also tends to be easier, and there is no need
to worry about SIM cards because all the devices have a built-in ID. The ID
indicates that the device belongs to a certain company, and all messages can be
directed there, without any routing elsewhere. The packets are a mere 12 bytes,
so bandwidth requirement is limited and users are not expected to pay an
exorbitant price to use the network.
energy-efficient IoT solutions
When Sigfox was created in Europe, it was for primarily for outdoor applications, for low-power sensor kind of networks that need to send data intermittently. UnaBiz has been working on such applications that help collect data on outdoor environment, such as the weather and haze conditions. UnaBiz has been exploring indoor applications as well, such as tackling rodent infestations in F&B or retail shopping malls.
The trouble with
rat traps is that if a rat gets caught, it has to be gotten rid of immediately.
Otherwise the rodent will decompose, and the other rats will disperse. So how
can building owners know if there is a rat stuck in the trap and alert someone
to clean it up. Doing regular manual checks is simply a waste of manpower.
“The problem with
this kind of use case is that the rats run around in very strange places, deep
inside the building. You cannot guarantee that there’s WiFi network in air con
vents, ducts etc.,” said Mr Lee.
solution needs to be able to penetrate into distant locations, without being
constrained to just public areas or by WiFi coverage. Sigfox was found to be a
good solution because of its pervasiveness. One base station can provide
coverage for the whole building.
Lee said, “We’re actually trying a few types of tracking solutions. You can
install a GPS module, however as we all know, running GPS on any device uses up
a lot of power.”
“The second idea
being explored is WiFi geolocation –
like an Android or iPhone which can use WiFi hotspots for locations –
but if you think about it, they might not work in the wild in areas such as a
reservoir because there is no network there, or in secluded areas such as big
drains or canals for flood monitoring, on the rooftops of buildings with solar
panels to monitor power storage and usage (UnaBiz is currently working with Sunseap on power metering), or at the basements of industrial buildings
for monitoring water leakage.”
The third alternative
would be to use the Sigfox network for geolocation.
Mr Lee said, “You
can either use a high-power one which will drain your battery faster or you can
choose something like Sigfox geolocation which requires no power, as long as it
transmits one message a day.”
“For Sigfox, it’s
easy, just one base station can penetrate the whole building indoors. There’s
no need to shift the base station around and you do not need to put in additional
“When we talk about networks, power and costs matter. If the
rat trap needs to be hooked up to the mains, then it’s not going to work. You
cannot be assured that there will be power source anywhere you go- so it has to
be battery-powered. Battery power means that it has to be a very low power kind
of network, WiFi will probably drain it because it consumes too much power,” he
The reason why Sigfox is so energy efficient is that the way
it transmits in the form of a broadcast, sending out very small packets, as
mentioned earlier. Every time a message is sent, three packets are sent at
three different frequencies (this is called frequency hopping). When running on
unlicensed frequencies, some of the packets might get blocked. If one is
blocked, the others can still go through, ensuring that the message is
“Because it is ‘broadcast’, the communication is very simple
There’s no need to negotiate – 3G and WiFi networks need to authenticate with
the hotspot. They need to make sure the password is correct. After that they
need to keep the session alive, whereas Sigfox can shut down after each broadcast,
reducing power consumption,” Mr Lee said.
Therefore, Sigfox is ideally suited to applications that
need to be delivered at a very low cost, have less frequent communication
requirements, and require exceptional battery performance.
There are numerous smart cities applications that requires
such monitoring sensors where deployment need to be pervasive. If we think of waste
management, building management, critical infrastructure monitoring, and imagine
the need to put a sensor on all the fire hydrants, all AED (Automated external defibrillator)
devices, all the power meters, all of the trees in Singapore, the cost and
simplicity of deployment becomes crucial.
And how does Sigfox achieve wide penetration? Because it is
an ultra-narrow band technology. Transmissions on wireless networks are divided
into different channels. With Sigfox the communication channels are very
narrow. Each message is 100 Hz wide. Because these channels are so small, the possibility
of interference is very low.
Other networks like LoRa have the advantage of being able to
send bigger packets, but bigger packets also impliy higher risk of
Barriers to take-off
in IoT technologies
IoT technologies have been around for a while. And there is
a market for interesting applications. Even if it is a small market like
Singapore, technologies developed here can be exported worldwide.
Then what is holding back development and deployment?
Mr Lee has been an Adjunct Lecturer at Temasek Polytechnic School of Informatics & IT since April 2015, teaching and mentoring the next
generation of ICT professionals in networking and IoT technologies. From his teaching experience, he realised that working on IoT
technologies is quite difficult.
“Because it involves a whole range of skills. You have to
know about hardware. You have to know about these devices. You have to know
what powers these devices, what is the transmission range of these devices.”
“Next you have to go up in the cloud. These things will
transmit to some base station, the base station will be connected the cloud.
You have to figure out how the data goes into the cloud. Then how do you build
a cloud that can handle all these devices. It’s quite easy to handle one device
at a time, for prototyping. But to handle hundreds of thousands of devices is
quite challenging,” he explained. It is very difficult to find people with that
wide a skillset.”
Then there is the question to how to analyse all the data
from the devices
“Very few jobs in Singapore that have that kind of data processing
requirements. We are one of the first to actually do this kind of large scale
analytics. We need tools to be able to massage the data.”
Mr Lee also said that today we see a lot of devices created
just for the sake of it. These are examples of technology looking for a problem
to solve. Identifying problems is a crucial step.
He provided an example of a very real problem UnaBiz is
trying to address.
At a home for patients suffering from disabilities, some of
the residents go out for work. The officials want to make sure that they report
to work on time and that they also come back on time. It is about ensuring that
they are safe and are not getting lost. The home cannot afford to give the
residents expensive phones or trackers. Even if they do, the devices will run
out of battery when their clients do not return.
UnaBiz proposed using one of its motion-triggered Sigfox
devices. Residents can carry the device around and everytime they move, it
sends a message to the cloud. Then, an algorithm is used to do machine learning
and figure out where the person is. Being mindful of privacy concerns, the technology
is kept accurate to a radius of around 1 km, which is enough to know if the
person is safe, without pinpointing their exact location.
This is only one example of tracking solutions for
non-motorised assets. Other use case include tracking bicycles, people, pets.
The device must be affordable and accessible for the mainstream users to adopt
and benefit from.
accelerating IoT development and deployment would require connecting the people
with expertise in devices and in cloud computing with the business people,
placing them all on one team. This would enable the creation of solutions with
real value, solving real-life problems.
China aims to build environmentally friendly data centres, including those in clusters, across the country that will feature advanced technology and computing power compatible with the growth of its digital economy by the end of 2023, according to a three-year plan unveiled by the nation’s top industry regulator on July 14.
China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said efforts will be made to accelerate the construction of data centre clusters in regions such as the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and the Yangtze River Delta region to deploy large-scale computing power to meet the needs of major regional development strategies. The plan also called for more actions to improve the service quality and the utilisation efficiency of computing power in provinces such as Guizhou and Gansu.
The MIIT said these facilities would also support the transformation of other sectors, including those involved in raw materials, consumer products and digital information. The move is aimed at ensuring data centres are distributed in an orderly way to balance supply and demand. This will be in harmony with China’s quest for high-speed, mobile, ubiquitous and safe information infrastructure.
A nationwide network of big data centres will constitute a sound telecom infrastructure for companies to better accelerate digital transformation and promote the integration of the digital economy and the real economy.
This approach can encourage companies to migrate their data to cloud platforms and make better use of their data assets to ensure data security. Big data centres, as the key infrastructure in the digital economy era, are playing an important role in supporting cutting-edge technologies such as cloud computing, big data and the internet of things
The partnership includes building big data centres and providing global users with basic big data-related services, including co-location, bandwidth renting, server renting and virtual hosting, as well as some value-added services like data backup.
Chinese tech companies are quickening their efforts to deploy internet data centres globally, tapping the ever-growing business needs of both international companies and Chinese enterprises marching overseas.
To deploy internet data centres globally require secure internet. According to an article, China has launched a special six-month campaign to regulate its internet industry. The campaign targets problems that may disrupt market order, damage consumer rights, or threaten data security.
The ministry will crackdown on malicious internet company practices that could disrupt market order, such as link-blocking activities and interference in products and services operated by other entities. technical measures as required in the collection, transmission and storage of data, and in offering the data to other entities.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, China’s Ministry of Science and Technology has played an important role in China’s efforts to build a moderately prosperous society. China has taken a host of practical measures to promote science and technology in socio-economic development, foster innovation, support the transfer and industrialisation of research results, and encourage more investment in scientific and technological infrastructure.
The ministry has also made breakthroughs in its reform of the research system, created a better environment for innovation, improved the resource allocation system and has inspired creativity in science and technology workers.
The ministry has also worked with multiple provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions to encourage institutes in economically thriving areas to cooperate with their counterparts in less-developed western regions, and has also helped technology-intensive east coast enterprises establish presences in the west. The introduction of investment, business and talented people has helped less-developed areas build their own high-tech industries, train local professionals, and create more jobs.
Today, businesses in all industries can cultivate deeper relationships with customers by leveraging digital technology. To reap the benefits of such tech, it is important to select the best solutions and tailor programmes to specific customer demands and preferences.
As data becomes an increasingly important asset in digital banking, critical technology architecture must include a frictionless process layer for banks of the future to deliver an exceptional digital customer experience. Technological advancements have greatly improved financial service providers’ ability to capture, store, combine, and analyse a much broader range of customer data, ranging from the current or previous location to customer behaviours and preferences.
As programmes and devices get smarter, special purpose applications will become more adaptable and self-configuring. Algorithms will improve as they are used and will contain mechanisms to optimise over time. This “machine learning” is a broad concept representing dozens of approaches and algorithms for improving how the technology performs.
The acceleration of digital transformation during the pandemic has contributed to the fast evolution in data architecture which enables the use of appropriate production and channel to provide better customer experiences.
This was the focal point of the OpenGovLive! Virtual Breakfast Insight on 23 July 2021 – a closed-door, invitation-only, interactive session with Malaysia’s top financial institutions. The session aimed to provide the latest information on delivering an effective and efficient customer experience.
This virtual event presented recent research and real-time case studies on how data will shape and drive the future of banking, as well as how businesses can transform with real-time data and advanced analytics to guide decisions and drive new revenue streams.
Finding Partners to leverage Data and Technology
To kickstart the session, Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief at OpenGov Asia delivered the opening address.
While the adoption of various technologies increased significantly during the pandemic, the solutions cannot be referred to as digital transformation because organisations, for the most part, relied on band-aid technologies and ad-hoc platforms to stay afloat.
With the remote working models in play early into the pandemic, people have grown accustomed to accessing at any time on any platform with any device – courtesy of the retail businesses. The retail sector has embraced personalisation and has transformed itself in a variety of ways including accessibility, options, ease-of-business, and security. Customer expectations built on the retail service delivery model has deeply impacted the financial and public sectors.
No doubt, at least early on, Mohit emphasised, retail companies have seen gains when compared to the finance sector. It would behove the sector to have wider and more comprehensive digital offerings that provide an efficient, seamless experience to clients.
Mohit also highlighted the importance of collaboration in data security and recovery.
Finding the right partners is critical in recovering critical data from organisations. Having competent partners who can focus on data protection, data recovery and compliance needs against a host of cyber threats allows businesses to concentrate on their primary tasks and key deliverables.
Technology & Data Strategies
Dan Brassington, Chief Technical Advisor APAC, Splunk discussed how companies use technologies as an enabler where data is going to be the new fuel in the digital transformation.
Data exhaust from product interactions will become a source of value for businesses that previously relied on commodity goods revenue. The optimisation of multi-vendor sensor and equipment ecosystems will provide new sources of value and efficiency. Understanding, interpreting and leveraging data that drives these processes and is emitted by devices and systems of devices, will be a major challenge for enterprises dealing with the current information deluge
Dan elaborated on the fundamental shifts in perceiving data, that has been driven by COVID-19 in an unprecedented manner. The first is forced adoption, in which online, mobile and call centre channels are crucial in leveraging and communicating with customers.
The tipping point was when retail transitioned to digital and contactless payments as well as how companies think about the data behind their customers’ journeys.
Overnight virtualisation is another key fundamental shift that occurred as a result of the pandemic. As most businesses shifted to remote working, they urgently needed to leverage data and technology. Over and above this, they had to learn to enable and empower people in the process to work symbiotically.
Apart from realising that data is one of the most valuable assets, future processes must also be digitised. “It is not just about digitising the channels, but also about digitising the entire environment.” Dan opined.
As evolution takes place, businesses must become more resilient, considering market structures and national economics. He acknowledged that most CIOs believed that their digital transformation would most likely take more than 3-5 years, with no real endpoint.
Businesses are advised to consider their technology and data strategies. As data becomes the new oil, they must reconsider their plans for leveraging, mining and, most importantly, using data to drive customer interaction and experience.
In closing, Dan highlighted four pillars that companies could build a winning cloud strategy on:
- Provide a better app experience – developers need to be able to innovate anywhere.
- Get value from 100% of your data – in the digital economy, powering applications and gaining insights from analytics means being able to leverage data from the edge to the cloud.
- Deliver digital services everywhere – as every aspect of the business goes digital, ensuring services at the edge and SaaS applications are working properly requires a new kind of thinking.
- Protect your most valuable assets – data drives the modern business and downtime and data loss can be costly.
International Case Study
The next speaker Ashwin Sinha, Chief Data Officer, Macquarie Bank shared his organisation’s data transformation journey. He explained that the bank had focused on 3 key fundamental areas – simplification, client and employee experience, and risk management.
While data practitioners consider solving a data problem to be a major challenge, Macquarie Bank’s goal was to hold product heads accountable. The approach was more focused on fraud prevention and financial crime. The bank used several machine learning methods and applications, resulting in significant commercial and risk benefits for the company.
Accelerating cloud migration is the first step on the journey towards digital transformation. It enables banks to redirect time previously spent on running and maintaining expensive IT infrastructure to activities that are more crucial to the company. It also makes it easier for them to collaborate with fintech organisations.
If fintech companies want to connect to non-cloud banks, both parties must go through a lengthy and complex process, not once but multiple times if they are partnering with more than one player. Banks, on the other hand, can offer Application Programme Interfaces (APIs) that are much easier for such companies to connect to once they are in the cloud. This is significant because when banks and fintech organisations collaborate and capitalise on each other’s strengths, they will thrive. They can deliver a best-in-class customer experience and strengthen their collective offerings.
Ashwin felt in this era, where everything is based on cloud, it was fundamental for companies to shift to a robust and reliable environment. Cloud adoption is transforming rapidly and flexible data architecture is essential to efficient growth as is the application of machine learning in data infrastructure. Further, governance is a critical aspect in holding accountability.
In closing, Ashwin urged companies to groom talent and skillsets in this area. He also agreed wholeheartedly with what Mohit said in his opening address about finding the right partner for collaboration.
After the informative presentations, delegates participated in interactive discussions facilitated by polling questions. This activity is designed to provide live-audience interaction, promote engagement, hear real-life experiences and impart professional learning and development for participants.
The first question asked how mature was the cloud strategy for the organisations. About half of the delegates (48%) indicated that they are still evaluating cloud and experimenting with different options. Just under a third (30%) said that they have a defined cloud strategy and are starting to implement it. Only 15% said they have a comprehensive cloud strategy and were well along with implementation.
The next query asked what the main drivers for data analytics and data-driven capabilities within organisations were. A majority (60%) felt that it was to gain better insights and to create a personalised customer experience. Just under a quarter (24%) said that it helps generate additional revenue through highly targeted marketing strategies. Only 16% went with risk mitigation in improving the employee experience.
The third question inquired about the challenges that financial institutions faced with getting data insights. Half the group (50%) felt that disparate data sources from multiple data silos were an issue. Over a third (36%) voted for a shortage of staff who understand big data analytics. About a tenth (11%) went with data storage and quality while just 3% noted that there was no proper software for data analytics in its company.
On being asked about how important digital transformation was to the company, an overwhelming majority (93%) acknowledged that it was very important and that they are undergoing transformation currently. In the same vein, 7% indicated that it is important, but there are constraints.
The next question on customer-centric organisations and customer experience had delegates fairly evenly divided. Under a third (32%) believed that their company designs and offers the right services, products and experiences to the right customers. Another 32% said they ensure customer requirements are filtered through to capabilities – as such, processes, capabilities and systems are systematically aligned to customer needs. About a quarter (23%) felt that their organisation understood who “banks with us “– the market, types of customers and how the needs of customers differ. Only 13% voted that they were a collaborative organisation, where top-down and bottom-up decisions are aligned.
The last question enquired about the main challenge companies face when implementing digital strategy. Just over half (52%) indicated that legacy technologies lacking integration capabilities were their main challenge. Under a third (30%) voted inflexible business processes and teams and 15% went with a lack of properly skilled teams. Only a minor fraction (3%) said regulatory constraints was their main challenge.
Companies are frequently reluctant to implement new technology because they do not know where to begin. Customers may experience digital frustration if effective technology applications and capabilities are not in place. This may lead them to switch to other options that are easier and provide better interactions. Organisations that lack innovation may face an uphill battle to maintain market share and could struggle to grow their business.
Dan Brassington closed the session by emphasising how important the use of data technology is and for the companies to start adapting to it.
Are you on pins and needles to get back to the office, or are you a bit more hesitant? Our new Meeting Trends 2021 research uncovered 5 new trends for the hybrid workplace. One of them is that employees worldwide can’t wait to get back to the office. Read on to learn more about when and how we will be returning to the office.
When are we returning to the office? One year into the pandemic and the enthusiasm about working from home has taken a turn. At the start of the pandemic, many were over the moon about the benefits of WFH: no commutes, flexible work hours, etc.
However, our 2020 Hybrid Meeting research already showed that slowly but surely the downsides started to outweigh the benefits. Employees miss social interaction, experience Zoom fatigue and struggle to balance office and domestic tasks. Our Meeting Trends Research 2021 shows that 56% of employees are eager to return to the office, and 72% expects to be back by the end of June 2021.
When are we returning?
Right now, actually. 50% of the workforce already comes into the office on occasion. We do see some regional differences here. Australia and France appear to be at the forefront of the back-to-the-office trend, with respectively 82% and 61% of employees, having already (partially) returned. In India and the US, the majority of workers hasn’t returned yet, with respectively only 40% and 42% signalling that they are already back at the office. Most employees (72%) expect to be back by the end of June. However, in Germany, many employees believe that they will only be able to return from July to September and onwards.
Who is pushing the return?
C-level management is encouraging employees to come back, 66% of employees believe their CEO would like to see all employees back at the office. 41% also think their manager is also pushing them to return to the office. Employees themselves are also eager to return, on average 56% of employees want to get back to the office. In India, it’s even 76% of workers that are waiting to sit at their office desk again.
Will work at the office be the same?
Employees want to return but this doesn’t mean that they are ready to give up the newfound flexibility in their work that WFH brought. Workers want to choose when and where they work and are tired of struggling with virtual.
This leads to the ideal workweek balance shifting in favour of the office. In September 2020, people were still more optimistic about working from home and employees indicated that the ideal workweek would be 2 days at home and 3 days at the office.
Today, the desire to work from home has dropped to 1,5 days a week, with employees preferring to spend more time, 3,5 days per week, at the office.
Undoubtedly, in-office and remote team members will have to be united in the new hybrid workplace.
Lieven Bertier is the Segment Marketing Director Workplace at Barco.
Lieven is an experienced B2B marketer and has worked across multiple marketing disciplines in the technology industry. Since 2014 he has been part of Barco’s ClickShare team, responsible for all strategic marketing activities. He strongly believes in user experience and is convinced that the way people work together is the number one competitive advantage for companies in today’s dynamic world.
Lieven loves a good story, and always starts from user research to reflect on the role of technology and collaboration in the workplace.
In a 2020 report by PwC, 74% of CEOs stated they were concerned about the availability of key skills and of those, 32% admitted they were ‘extremely concerned’. To ensure a thriving future, companies are now required to invest in their workforce more than ever, upskilling and reskilling them to prepare them for new ways of working.
Upskilling is the process of improving a current skill set. It’s a vertical growth path towards optimised abilities and potential leadership in a specific field of expertise. On the other hand, reskilling focuses on entirely new abilities, preparing an individual for steering his or her career in a different direction.
There are numerous benefits to upskilling and reskilling, from improving a company´s long-term perspectives, increasing productivity and internal mobility, to ensuring talent retention and bringing new, like-minded talent.
For these efforts to be successful, employees need to be fully on board. It is not enough for companies to assess their needs, design learning paths and enrol employees. Managed incorrectly, both upskilling and reskilling can become complicated processes, met with resistance and can turn ineffective. That is why we have listed 5 tips to encourage your employees to upskill and reskill.
- START FROM THE TOP
Higher management does not only have an essential role in establishing a vision for the future of the company and the skills necessary for fulfilling it but is also indispensable when instilling a strong learning culture. Beginning with higher management, the mindset must pervade all layers of the company, onto people managers and down to every single employee.
Lead by example, ensuring that higher management and people managers are engaged in continuous learning. Encourage them to share their experience, their struggles and successes and to encourage their workforce to do the same. Involve the internal communication department and ensure that these messages are disseminated company-wide on a regular basis.
Further on, higher management and people managers can take an active role by participating in mentoring programs or 1 to 1 coaching, strengthening further the reskilling and upskilling strategy you are devising.
Getting management involved through all these means will support the creation of a culture of learning, beneficial not only for supporting a bright future for the company but also for attracting new talent. Younger generations are especially eager to learn and improve themselves and will be more willing to join a company with the same mindset.
- MAKE IT ACCESSIBLE AND INTERESTING
Are you aware of the learning format preferred by the workforce in your company? Whether they prefer full days of training or bitesize information, learning onsite or online, it is mandatory to consult them before starting to design learning paths. At Barco, we predict a future of work and, by consequence, of learning and development that is hybrid and blended.
The safest option is to create a flexible 360-degree learning environment, delivering learning content in multiple formats: instructor-led, be it online, onsite or hybrid, but also pre-recorded videos or e-books for individual learning. Make training material available on-demand and mobile-accessible to offer the opportunity to learn whenever convenient.
In live instructor-led training, turn sessions interactive – by using polls and quizzes – and collaborative – by using breakout rooms for teamwork and in-depth discussions. According to LinkedIn 2021 Workplace Learning Report, a staggering percentage of L&D professionals believe that employees who learn together are more successful (91%) and that it helps create a sense of belonging (92%).
- OPTIMISE LEARNING JOURNEYS
Once you have conducted research in your company to find out what kind of learning journeys your employees would like, then designed and rolled out the upskilling or reskilling programs, you will need to constantly track, measure and optimise.
Constantly review learning paths and register progress. Ask for regular feedback from both trainers and trainees by establishing several checkpoints along the journey.
According to the same report by LinkedIn, in the UK, 43% of L&D professionals are using different methods to determine how satisfied employees are with learning programs, including qualitative feedback, surveys, talent retention rates and company mobility rates.
Education technology can be of tremendous help, providing data and analytics of engagement, attention and interaction with the training material and other participants. The number of online courses completed and business metrics (deals closed, customer satisfaction, leads generated, etc.) before and after training as well as productivity increase can prove especially useful.
Assessing learning journeys and optimising them will make learning easier and more effective, and support talent acquires new skills or improve existing ones at a faster and more enjoyable pace.
- INCENTIVISE LEARNING
Incentivising employees is part of any company´s internal strategy. It helps employees feel more motivated, productive and valuable. That is why incentives should not be missed in the overall strategy for upskilling or reskilling workforces.
But what kind of incentives could be offered? Financial incentives or in-kind rewards can definitely prove useful but there are many other ways to show appreciation.
Gamify learning and give achievement badges or certificates that can easily be shared on LinkedIn or on internal social channels. Make sure you have top achievers put into the spotlight by their managers in team meetings, by higher management during regular company meetings or during end-of-the-year events.
Lastly, you can even feature them in internal campaigns in newsletters, interviews and articles to support that culture of learning so necessary in nowadays´ successful companies.
- PROMOTE WELLBEING
Increasingly uncertain times can take a toll on everyone´s mental health. When your workforce is worried about the stability of their job or the health of their loved ones, upskilling and reskilling can be more difficult and take longer. They remain crucial undertakings at both organisational and individual levels. How can L&D improve its employees´ capacity to learn?
Apart from creating a general sense of stability and calm regarding the future of the company and of their jobs, in what concerns wellbeing, Dr Guy Champniss, Head of Behavioural Science at engagement consultancy The Creative Engagement Group (CEG) advises to stay hydrated, get good sleep, eat healthy and manage stress.
Involve internal communication and HR and drive wellness campaigns. That can range from a regular newsletter with tips and tricks encouraging a healthy lifestyle, to more complex undertakings such as (virtual) yoga classes or workshops on stress management.
All these activities can improve your workforce´ ability to acquire new knowledge and will make your learning paths shorter and overall, your upskilling and reskilling efforts more effective.
BARCO WECONNECT SUPPORTS YOUR UPSKILLING AND RESKILLING EFFORTS
Barco weConnect supports the upskilling and reskilling efforts of your company. Our virtual classroom software solution is suitable for both remote and onsite training, hence perfect for flexible training. It offers a front-row experience to all participants, enabling fast and effective information acquirement. Participants can share content, break out in working groups, vote in polls and respond in quizzes. They will enjoy an engaging, interactive experience, across any device.
Furthermore, the data and analytics provided by our solution will help you adjust pedagogical methods, optimise future classes and consequently, enhance the upskilling and reskilling outcomes needed for securing a bright future for your company.
Jan van Houtte is the Vice President for Barco’s Learning Experience business unit. He works towards helping enterprises, business schools, and universities with the digitalisation and transformation of their training and education programmes. Jan believes in the power of technology to help faculty and trainers to increase engagement in their courses and trainings and to enable new and transformational use cases. Before leading the Learning Experience business unit, Jan held multiple product management positions in Barco and Philips.
In the world that we live in today, physical visits for government services seem like a distant memory with many of us accessing government services online through websites or mobile applications to get real-time support when needed. This is a remarkable development driven by the growing demands from increasingly digital-first citizens.
In Southeast Asia, a youthful population and a fast-growing middle class have given rise to a new generation of citizens who expect and crave superior digital experiences. However, government organisations in the region have not transformed quickly enough to meet the expectations of Southeast Asia’s digital-first citizens. To bridge this gap, we must adopt a holistic and comprehensive public-private partnership (PPP) model that will modernise Southeast Asia’s digital infrastructure to accelerate growth for the region as the global economy starts its post-pandemic recovery in earnest.
In VMware’s recent Digital Frontiers 3.0 study, we found that 78% of Southeast Asians consider themselves to be digitally curious or digital explorers who are ready for digital experiences. But at the same time, 68% of them also worried their older relatives won’t be able to keep up in this new digital world and have access to the services they require.
As the stewards of economies, the important task of building a digitally inclusive society has fallen on the shoulders of the governments. With 41% of respondents in the region saying that they trust the government in raising the personal levels of their digital literacy, Southeast Asia’s governments have responded accordingly with digital literacy campaigns such as Singapore’s Digital for Life movement Thailand’s Digital Literacy for Education Equality which aim at enhancing digital access to all citizens.
However, to truly move the needle on bridging digital gaps and fostering trust amongst citizens, government organizations will need to work hand in hand with leading private organizations to achieve these ambitious targets. As responsible members of the community, private sector organizations need to play a part in building a digitally inclusive society in Southeast Asia. For instance, VMware introduced its Getting Future Ready program to help Singaporeans deepen their expertise and specialization in next-generation technologies, and in turn, building a future-ready workforce in Singapore.
Enablers of a future-forward digital society
Trust and citizen-led innovations will become the bedrock of digitally enabled societies. In Southeast Asia, we have the advantage, with 42% of citizens indicating that they are happy to engage with the Government through digital means. However, more must be done to deliver better digital experiences that will move the needle for deeper and more impactful digital citizen interactions.
One way forward is the integration of technologies of the future where consumers have expressed trust in 5G (78%), connected devices (77%) and facial recognition (75%). Government agencies have also started on this venture with new digital offerings and services such as Singapore’s SingPass application, the Philippines’ biometric national ID and more.
While Southeast Asian citizens are digitally savvy, at least one in two (57%) still feel paranoid that organisations are tracking and recording what they do on their devices. This issue of privacy is a very valid one and government organisations in the region must work hard to assure citizens how their data is being used and stored. The VMware Digital Frontiers 3.0 study also revealed that less than half (41%) of Southeast Asian citizens say that the government has given assurance that their personal information is secure. It is thus critical for government organisations in the region to provide citizens with the assurance that their personal information is safe and secure.
A close partnership with private organisations will help spearhead conversations around these critical societal issues. While the public agencies can ensure that the necessary digital regulations are in place to safeguard citizens’ interests and encourage businesses to participate in these industry conversations, private organisations can also tap on the robust digital infrastructure and policies to harness data, accelerate innovations and agility for the regional economy.
Sustaining a resilient and digitally inclusive Southeast Asia
A digital-first Southeast Asia will ensure the development of a resilient and inclusive, innovation-led economy that lay the foundations for the long-term prosperity of the region. And this is only possible when governments adopt a holistic and comprehensive approach to deliver superior digital experiences across any cloud, any application and any device, in a seamless and secure manner to their citizens.
While organisations were focused on responding and adapting to the pandemic to ensure business continuity in 2020, 2021 marks a turning point with innovation becoming a priority for future-ready organisations looking to accelerate their growth. Now is the time for public and private sectors to join hands in harnessing technology to build a digitally inclusive and enabled society, and help Southeast Asia move collectively towards a digital-first future.
The pandemic has radically transformed education across the world. With the unprecedented need for virtual learning, students are taught remotely via a plethora of digital platforms. With this sudden shift away from the classroom in many parts of the globe, many wonder whether the adoption of online learning will continue to persist post-pandemic and how such a movement might affect the global education industry.
OpenGov Asia had the opportunity to speak exclusively to Marc Alexis Rémond, Vice President of Sales, Meeting and Learning Experiences, and regional business leader for Barco Meeting Experience solutions.
Marc Alexis is a seasoned professional and entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience selling and marketing technology products as well as in providing consultancy services. In his extensive career, Marc has written many technology blogs, contributed numerous business articles and spoken at multiple industry conferences on digital transformation and the future of the workplace.
In the exclusive interview, Marc stresses that online learning readiness is still poor in the education sector. Education institutions need to restructure their content so that it can be delivered via online platforms. Marc is convinced that those platforms are not specifically designed or natively built for teaching and learning but are built for meetings.
Efficient and effective learning and teaching platforms must be developed and created expressly for the use of educational institutions. Marc believes that the future of education systems will be hybrid, indicating that there will be a mix of students in the classroom and a portion of students learning from home.
When this takes place, there will almost certainly be significant challenges. Attention allocation, for instance, could be a challenge. A teacher may forget or neglect remote students over those physically present in class. As a result, the level of interactivity or engagement between remote students and teachers could fluctuate with negative outcomes.
In light of this, Marc shared their latest educational platform ‘weConnect’ which allows educational organisations to take the next step towards transformational teaching and training. Barco has collaborated with the world’s leading business schools, universities and corporate learning and development departments, to develop this powerful learning solution.
Its capabilities in an educational environment easily surpass those of video conferencing tools used today. With its innovative and differentiating teaching and learning experience, it allows interaction in real-time with learners, in any set-up to deliver new levels of engagement, learning outcomes and retention. Through this cloud-based platform for education, Barco strives to develop and supply technologies to improve online and learning experiences.
The platform promises to be an essential and reliable cornerstone of a learning institution’s digital strategy as it promotes collaboration and active learning, onsite and online.
With an intuitive user interface, users can launch spot polls or quizzes to encourage active participation and collaboration. The platform can get audience feedback with silent questions and user analytics after class to optimise future classes and learning outcomes.
Educators and learners can share content and participate in class discussions using any device. The platform aims to minimise and standardise classroom infrastructure with a solution that securely integrates into a campus network and Wi-Fi, supporting single sign-on (SSO) and API connectors to legacy systems and can automate dynamic room configuration and plan sessions.
Pedagogy technology in this space needs to be brought together to be part of that digital transformation strategy. Marc is convinced it is vital to integrate pedagogical aspects to anything related to students and the practice of teaching and learning.
Marc touched on the topic of digital enrolment and orientation which can now be done through leveraging online learning platforms. Students around the world can apply to their preferred university from another country, across all borders because of online enrolment. He suggests that all learning institutions should consider adopting online platform enrolment to give students across the globe better access to high-quality education. This would benefit not only the educational sector but also the economy.
Overall, the internet has transformed how we work, play, communicate, administrate and, most importantly, learn today. Almost all barriers to education have dissolved in the digital age. Marc believes that innovative, efficient and online learning platforms would be a key differentiator. The educational sector must start developing and highlighting online platforms for the betterment of the education system globally.
In the end, Marc is positive that online education platforms and digital initiatives will redefine – for the better – the course of learning and education. They are a safe solution to traditional learning and teaching methods in critical times and to those with limited access to a physical classroom. They are the future.
The Indian Institute of Science (IISc) has collaborated with a tech giant to launch a Hybrid Cloud lab to advance research in hybrid cloud technologies and drive breakthrough innovations in the area. Located at the IISc campus in Bengaluru, students, and faculty across departments of the institute will work alongside the company’s research scientists to conduct cutting-edge research that can help organisations leverage the true power of hybrid cloud by enabling the faster and more secure adoption of hybrid cloud and artificial intelligence (AI).
According to a news report, a study on hybrid cloud has revealed that the value derived from a hybrid, multi-cloud platform technology and operating model at scale is 2.5 times the value derived from a single platform, single cloud. Hence, businesses are increasingly investing in hybrid multi-cloud platform capabilities to unlock value and drive business transformation.
The Hybrid Cloud lab will bring together a community of scientists, faculty, and students, to solve research challenges that enterprises face today, in scaling the adoption of cloud computing across industries. The lab will engage not just with academia, but also the broader open-source community for wider adoption and acceleration of innovation. The lab will start with an initial set of projects. They will involve faculty and students from the IISc Departments of Computational and Data Sciences, Computer Science and Automation, and the Supercomputing Education and Research Centre, alongside scientists from the company’s research lab in the country.
The projects include building autonomous, self-healing computing systems that use AI to predict emerging issues, diagnose and heal faults while maximising availability and minimising the cost of operations. Also, adopting microservices and optimisation of cloud-native applications that leverage and advance cloud-native technologies such as Kubernetes and serverless. This will enable enterprises to bring substantial agility into their IT services and drive new cloud-enabled business models.
Researchers will create AI-based information management that enables enterprises to govern, consume, draw insights, and create value from data across a hybrid footprint of edge, cloud, and diverse data sources. They will also develop AI systems that can analyse human and machine languages, with advances in AI for code, to model, and optimise computing systems. This will be fundamental to enabling innovations and automation in the above-mentioned areas.
The report noted that the lab will take an open-access approach by jointly presenting the research findings in premier conferences, hosting workshops, and releasing open-source material to the community. It will also give IISc students exposure to industry-driven problem statements and mentorship from IBM researchers on research and open source. The lab will serve as a hub for fostering the exchange of ideas, not just for the members of the two institutions, but for the research and industry community in the region.
According to an official, the two organisations will jointly develop open-source software that provides interoperability, portability, and security that can be easily accessible to the vast community of developers to accelerate innovation. The new lab builds on a 15-year relationship between IBM Research and IISc on knowledge exchange through guest lectures, collaboration in the form of the open science programme, and internship opportunities. Last year, IISc and IBM Research conducted the ACM Winter School on Hybrid Cloud that offered students (at the postgraduate level and above) a deep understanding of the foundations of cloud computing. IBM Research also sponsors a STEM education program at IISc for secondary school students.