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.
Four industry titans in technology have been given contracts for the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability (JWCC), according to the Department of Defense (DoD) of the U.S.
JWCC is a multiple-award contract vehicle that will give the DoD the chance to obtain commercial cloud capabilities and services directly from the commercial Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) at the pace of mission, at all classification levels, from the corporate headquarters to the tactical edge.
With this Indefinite-Delivery, Indefinite-Quantity (IDIQ) contract vehicle, cloud services can be provided more quickly and at commercial cost, if not better.
The following capabilities will now be available to warfighters under a single contract thanks to JWCC: global accessibility, readily available and resilient services, centralised management and distributed control, usability, commercial parity, elastic computing, storage, and network infrastructure, advanced data analytics, fortified security, and tactical edge devices.
Those interested in knowing more about JWCC, register for the JWCC Customer Portal or contact the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Hosting and Compute Center (HaCC), can visit this website.
To make cloud purchasing, provisioning, and onboarding simpler for DoD clients, DISA has created user-friendly cloud accelerators.
In addition, the DoD MIIs build a national network of public-private partnerships, establish an industrial common for manufacturing R&D, and advance workforce education and development while accelerating new technologies using federal funding combined with matching investment from academia, industry, and state governments.
The network strategically coordinates resources to solve important technologies and create interconnected manufacturing systems by marshalling the greatest talent from around the nation. The nine MIIs supported by the DoD are under the direction of ManTech, the DoD Manufacturing Technology Program.
Finding industry partners, including small enterprises, that have cutting-edge technology that could help the warfighter is essential to the DOD MII mission. DoD makes investments in these sectors of advanced manufacturing through the MIIs.
Conversations with some research institutes earlier this year shed light on how the DoD and the country are benefiting from the pace of technology.
Combining silicon integrated circuits with semiconductor lasers is known as silicon photonics – a speciality of the American Institute of Manufacturing — Integrated Photonics.
Compared to conventional electronics, this technology allows for faster data transfer over greater distances while making use of the advantages of high-volume silicon production.
COVID sensors are some of the most fascinating applications for photonics. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act provided funding for sensors that can identify COVID-19 from a drop of blood in less than a minute.
In various sensor regions of the chip, there are proteins linked to SARS-CoV-2 and eight other viruses. Antibodies to those viruses will bind to the proteins in a blood sample and be found if a person has been exposed to any of the viruses.
On the other hand, additive manufacturing creates parts that can be formed of ceramics, rubber, metal, plastic, rubber, and polymers. The ability of the military to build parts additively improves its capacity for swift and agile operations, particularly in hostile circumstances.
The qualification and certification of processes and materials are other areas of emphasis for some manufacturers. The primary obstacle to manufacturers fully embracing additive manufacturing is a lack of training and certification.
The manufacturing sector also examines how the supply chain’s capacity compares to the need for components made additively.
Together, these initiatives are assisting the U.S. in strengthening its manufacturing sector and taking the lead in global competitiveness.
Communication remains the backbone of organisational operations and has been bolstered by cutting-edge technology. Many organisations have migrated from Public Switched Telephone Networks (PTSNs) to cloud communications, which resulted in faster and more efficient communications with vastly increased reach.
Cloud communications remain the primary solution for meeting the growing demand for effective organisational communications in the hybrid workplace. It is agile enough to adapt to ever-changing business environments while keeping mission-critical business functions unified on all levels.
Organisations can place and receive phone calls using cloud calling from phones and any internet-connected device, including computers and tablets, from any location with an internet connection.
Cloud communications’ inherent capacity enables organisations to expand as needed without regard to geographical boundaries quickly. It makes it simple for organisations to scale up to accommodate changing needs. Less capital expenditure means expansion can be undertaken and completed more quickly, resulting in increased
These possibilities make businesses more accessible and responsive to customers. Having scalability and flexibility in communications regardless is a vast advantage irrespective of a company’s geographical spread.
The OpenGov Breakfast Insight with the Philippines’ top public sector leaders on 6 December 2022 at the Dusit Thani Manila provided the current information on the benefits of the most recent cloud communications technology that can greatly empower the nation’s public, education, financial services and healthcare sectors.
Intensifying the Cloud’s Role in Fostering Digital Transformation
The adoption and implementation of cloud-based strategies are currently used by businesses of all sizes to boost growth and profits, says Mohit Sagar, CEO & Editor-in-Chief of OpenGov Asia. Moreover, cloud technology has drastically changed how businesses communicate.
Cloud technology is bringing massive change to how various sectors of modern-day digital communities interact with each other. Cloud communications vendors allow businesses to delegate management of their IT infrastructure by taking on provisioning, switching, data storage and security responsibilities. The cloud’s cutting-edge features and functionality facilitate unprecedented staff collaboration and communication across time and space.
These changes have transformed the way people work where employees experience increased levels of productivity. With the cloud, people have the option to follow the traditional work model, a hybrid one, or a purely remote work model. Such possibilities for workers also translate to added advantages for employers with geographical boundaries; hiring only locally has become passé.
A hybrid or remote work setting makes cloud communications a necessity. Collaborative technology like cloud communications allows employees to transition or shift from one work model to another without losing productivity, effectiveness or efficiency. However, Mohit cautions, remote and hybrid models can still fail if they are not built on the right technology.
As shared by one of the attendees, their company did not experience any downturn when the pandemic hit because they were prepared for remote work. The experience of this company highlights that preparedness with the right technology enables an organisation to weather a black swan event.
Having workers functional in various locations amid an unexpected situation will prevent work disruptions. Moreover, a company gets empowered to collaborate with other groups and individuals regardless of their geographical location. Globalisation is further strengthened with cloud communications technology.
Cloud communications allow businesses to maximise resources by facilitating rapid deployment, enhanced adaptability and unlimited high-volume data sharing. Additionally, the safety measures built into cloud communication ensure compliance with privacy regulations.
Cloud security refers to the set of tools, protocols, and best practices used to keep cloud-based servers, apps and data safe. The first step in protecting cloud services is gaining an awareness of what must be protected and what parts of the system must be managed.
The development of the backend to guard against security flaws is the responsibility of cloud service providers, in general. Customers’ primary focus should be on establishing a secure service configuration, developing secure routines for using the service, and choosing a service provider who takes security seriously.
“Nonetheless, clients should also confirm that any end-user networks and hardware are properly secured,” Mohit advises.
Cloud security goals include protecting against malicious data theft on networks and storage, preventing data leaks caused by human error or carelessness, facilitating data recovery in the event of data loss, and limiting the impact of any data or system compromise.
Since the advent of cloud computing, conventional methods of protecting digital assets have undergone extensive development. Although cloud models improve efficiency, constant online access requires innovative safety safeguards. Compared to traditional IT models, a few key features set cloud security apart as a cutting-edge cyber protection option.
There have been major shifts in the macro business environment, says Nathan Guy, Zoom’s Phone Leader for Asia Pacific. There is a lot of pressure on businesses to improve productivity, to be flexible in the face of intensifying competition, and to be more productive to keep up with the ever-quickening pace of technological innovation and advancement.
With the global economy in shambles, the urgency has only increased. It will be impossible to solve these problems if customers, prospects and employees cannot communicate effectively.
Nathan pointed out that a generational shift is also occurring in the labour force. Remote work is becoming increasingly popular. They have also requested state-of-the-art tools and communication infrastructure to carry out their duties better.
When a new app or device is released, it adds another layer of complexity to a complicated process. Stakeholders, including employees, clients, and potential customers, have individual preferences and expectations regarding the manner, frequency, and location of business interactions.
Therefore, according to Nathan, many companies are selective in the ways they invest in improving internal communication.
They might do this in several ways, including staying up to date with systems already in use that is judged to be adequate, using built-in communication tools that are part of other software packages or investigating a variety of potential solutions. These plans aim to improve the company’s ability to spread the word.
Although these approaches provide more leeway, they also alter the dynamics between businesses and their prospective clients, employees and customers. Depending on their predicament, people are forced to switch between several potential answers.
In the event of a communication breakdown, the firm will inevitably fail. An essential trait of effective leaders is the capacity to chart a course for their people, providing a sense of purpose and direction even when difficult situations arise.
In Nathan’s opinion, organisations need to expand their communication strategies beyond the bare minimum and into the global scope. An enormous advantage in today’s unstable business climate will go to the company that can always make seamless connections to all stakeholders, regardless of location, device, or business activity.
To achieve this, as Nathan puts it, “You deliver a consistent and quality experience for all participants, making human connection effortless, and enabling rapid innovation to maintain relevance by combining the connection needs of the individual and organisation.”
By taking these measures, businesses may be able to better respond to their customers’ wants and needs, free up internal resources that were previously spent on communications management and expand their capabilities and agility.
The credibility of a company rises or falls with its communication strategies. Since employees, clients, and customers can do their jobs from anywhere, the channels through which the message is sent must be fit for the times, the resources, and the ever-changing need of organisations.
The failure of a session owing to dropped participants or bad audio and video is now considered unacceptable. Businesses must adapt to a more complex hybrid environment and ensure that all clients, regardless of location or condition, receive the same high level of service.
Nathan recognises that “business transactions become impossible” when communications are disrupted in today’s world. In solving communications needs amid disruptive situations, an unpredictable risk that has the potential to impede productivity for businesses also gets removed. The result is a continuance of operations and avoidance of deterioration or decline of productivity.
Zoom will shield businesses from communications breakdowns because its top-notch infrastructure was explicitly designed to prevent failures. Examining the root cause of problems is essential in giving lasting and effective solutions. In the case of communications strategy and technology for organisations, addressing various approaches made by organisations and guiding them to dig up the root cause will allow them to focus on the now without overly worrying about the future.
However, some users may be unable to fully participate due to severe audio and video quality degradation due to differences in network performance and bandwidth. This is a reality in the Philippines, where many areas still lack fast internet speed.
Zoom allows businesses to host effective meetings even in the face of significant packet loss. If you’re doing business on a global scale, having this kind of consistent network and infrastructure in every country is a must.
The complexity of communications is increasing. Now, besides travelling or working from home, “you have workers returning to the office, frequently in a hotel setting,” acknowledges Nathan.
During the pandemic, people are often left trying to balance ad hoc, piecemeal solutions developed as the crisis unfolded. As a result, three significant environments have emerged: at-home/in-the-office and on the go. A personal mobile phone, a videoconferencing method for in-person gatherings of a few people, and something else for more momentous occasions all fall under this category.
Nathan believes that both staff and customers will need to adjust to a new user interface. “Communication platforms are undeniably crucial to the success of hybrid teams.” A cutting-edge communications platform like Zoom could help increase output, expand possibilities, and reveal levels of employee engagement.
Fireside Chat: How to Prepare for the Transition to the “Cloud Culture”
According to Dr Jennalyn Raviz, Director, Management Information Service, Department of Transportation, when it comes to promoting, developing, and regulating a dependable and coordinated network of transportation and communications systems, the Department of Transportation (DoT) is the primary policy, planning, programming, coordinating, implementing, and administrative entity within the executive branch of the Philippines. “Transport by air, sea, rail, and highway are all included.”
Since multiple parties are involved and a hybrid structure has been established, maintaining consistency may prove difficult.
“The pandemic has become a motivator for us, and we seek secure communication across many platforms, which is why we use cloud communication,” says Dr Jennalyn.
Despite some reservations, cloud communications are the preferred method of meeting the growing demand for efficient organisational communications in today’s hybrid workplaces. With cloud computing and communications, businesses can quickly expand or contract to meet fluctuating demand.
Cloud computing allows workers to do their jobs from any Internet-connected device; it has the dual benefits of increased productivity and expanding the geographical scope of their operations.
Since the cloud facilitates remote work, organisations will gradually reduce their reliance on outsourcing. As a result of the use of the cloud’s effect of reducing in-office and staff expenses, businesses are now able to hire more full-time workers across the globe.
Dr Jennalyn highlighted that getting cloud is cost-effective. Additionally, cloud computing can be particularly cost-effective for organisations due to the improvement in workforce efficiency in addition to direct labour savings. “Cloud software deployment is far quicker than a traditional installation.”
Because of this, more employment possibilities can be made available to people in the area who possess the necessary skills. As the popularity of self-sufficiency rises, organisations can select from a greater pool of eligible candidates for a wider variety of positions.
More efficient teamwork is one of the main advantages of cloud computing. The advent of the cloud has had a profound effect on teamwork, and this transformation will continue so long as the cloud undergoes progress and improvement.
Improved communications, cheaper technology, and the ability for smaller organisations to cooperate with worldwide partners and expand their reach in the global arena are all possible because of the cloud’s ability to provide capabilities that were previously only available to major companies.
Dr Jennalyn believes that to have the greatest possible effect, digital transformation must occur in tandem with a thoughtful cultural shift.
As most businesses are already utilising cloud computing in some form, Nathan emphasised the importance of cloud security. While cloud storage has many advantages, “organisations are still hesitant to move more data and applications to the cloud due to security, governance, and compliance concerns.”
Collaborating with Zoom could streamline human connection while also adding safety measures. Businesses can benefit from workers’ improved routines and skill sets over the past two years. They also guarantee uniformity in a wide variety of applications.
“The key to progress is providing the appropriate value in each solution,” Nathan asserts.
Businesses can stay competitive through Zoom’s partnership with rapid innovation, Zoom allows clients to have access to a continuous stream of new capabilities that reflect actual user requirements.
Mohit stressed the importance of communication in fostering collaboration. He concurred with an attendee that when their partners offer a secure platform for cloud communications, organisations become more powerful. Mohit believes that rather than just being providers, vendors are also the transformation partners of every organisation.
An important aspect of cloud security, in Mohit’s opinion, is making sure sensitive information like customer orders, confidential design documents and financial records are safe. Maintaining customer confidence and protecting strategic assets necessitates a solid data security programme. “Cloud security’s ability to safeguard data and assets makes it essential for businesses moving to the cloud.”
Through collaboration with development partners, businesses can better serve a diverse set of customers and expand their customer base. Therefore, it is important to incorporate platform or integration capabilities and a partner strategy when creating cloud-based applications.
It is important to consider business potential, engineering prowess, and platform marketing when formulating a strategy for your cloud partners. Mohit concludes that a well-rounded approach will allow for an expansion of the partner ecosystem, the delivery of more comprehensive customer solutions, and higher earnings potential.
AI and other digital technologies could help solve some of the world’s most important social problems, like climate change, biodiversity loss, food insecurity and risks to public health, among others. Harnessing digital capabilities to promote a transformative system could be a game-changer for a sustainable and equitable global future.
Today’s consumers expect more than great products and services, and businesses are well aware of this. Clients want to feel like they are investing in a reputable, responsible brand. Consequently, the most market-dominant businesses are not merely profitable and have good products but those that have multiple alternate bottom lines – social, environmental and sustainable.
More than 90% of business executives agree that sustainability is crucial to their success. As consumer groups continue to publish reports on the increased desire for more environmentally friendly corporate practices, it is simple to see why green marketing strategies are gaining such importance.
The environment and sustainability are vital components in the strategy and operations of enterprises looking to be more conscientious. Organisations have been taking proactive steps to develop a greener future with their consumers, partners, stakeholders and workers. These efforts include environmental initiatives, community outreach efforts and business practices.
Advancing Environmental Sustainability and Resilience
“Everyone is becoming aware of the necessity for action to attain sustainability,” says Vivek. “There is a growing interest in corporate sustainability and how corporations can strive for it to meet the needs of stakeholders for social, economic, and environmental implications.”
Most businesses are considering ways to contribute significantly, which will need robust investment and efforts. “We see businesses quickening their momentum and considering effective climate innovations. A case in point is how electric mobility companies can be affected by the huge reductions in costs for climate technology.”
Vivek believes it is possible to adapt a company’s digital strategy to mitigate and deal with extreme climate change. Companies must include digitalisation and decarbonisation in their strategy, as industry 4.0 technologies will play a crucial role in meeting the emissions reduction goal.
Digital technologies can increase energy efficiency and decrease fuel consumption across multiple industries and sectors. Digitalisation has the potential to revolutionise the way people and technology interact by helping to analyse and calibrate necessary interventions.
By utilising digitalisation, businesses can identify the emissions sources, whether at the product level, manufacturing unit level, or equipment level. They can then determine the necessary interventions to reduce emissions, such as a change in the manufacturing or personnel settings, and then monitor whether the identified interventions are being implemented.
“Here is where I believe digitalisation and decarbonisation must go hand-in-hand, as this will ensure that industries undergo structural changes and reach their objective,” says Vivek.
Businesses need to be more conscious of the need to be prepared for the energy shift, and he has five relevant steps for how businesses should approach this:
- Develop an understanding of how energy shifts will affect your company;
- Think about a bold and ambitious target, such as considering how big of a carbon footprint reduction they intend to achieve with this energy transition;
- Consider various situations and their effects;
- Create a comprehensive plan that will serve as an overall strategy with well-defined and cascading targets;
- Think about implementation, where companies strike a balance between all the goals, e.g., carbon footprint and profitability
Right now, society is more conscious of sustainability and is calling for companies to shift their carbon footprint and be more conscious about emissions. This is causing profound changes in the corporate and government landscape.
Organisations can work toward more sustainable practices with the aid of corporate sustainability’s economic, social and environmental pillars. Businesses must alter their mindset from just profitability at the expense of the environment to a sustainable and profitable paradigm. There must be interdependence and a greater emphasis on operations and eco-innovation.
Adopting sustainable practices benefits the environment, but businesses have also demonstrated that these programmes can boost productivity, lower costs, make shareholders happy, and a host of other advantages.
“Corporate entities must take the initiative in determining pertinent technologies. Companies must implement technologies to decrease their carbon footprint. They are the ones that will bring about change. Governments can decide the legislation, but unless companies change, it will be difficult to achieve net zero,” Vivek firmly believes.
A green economy is the practice of sustainable development supported by public and private investment in creating an infrastructure that promotes social and environmental sustainability. A green economy refers to an economy in which individuals are increasingly aware of their carbon emissions and are taking steps to reduce them.
A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide and methane, that corporations and individuals generate.
There are numerous practical and effective approaches to implementing sustainable technologies at the national level. “I believe that each country will deploy different technologies; the mix of technologies, the adoption rate, and the deployment cost will all be very different. However, each country will need to consider what sustainable technologies are relevant to them, consider implementing them, and consider the reasons for doing so.”
According to Vivek, decarbonisation entails significant economic transformation. When new business opportunities arise in Asia, companies must contemplate how they will be the first to take advantage. To do this, they must seriously consider the technologies and industries they want to innovate in or implement and the various business models they should use to take these opportunities.
There will be an acceleration of the energy transitions if individuals in the nation change their behaviour, the government considers how the empowering regulations should be made, or how businesses decide how they will operate.
Vivek has led several large-scale transformations and new business builds across the region, such as for an energy conglomerate in Indonesia. From this experience, he is convinced that a fundamentally different way of thinking about any business problem is required.
It requires thinking about what the unique value proposition is going to be and thinking about getting new talent to build a business from the ground up. Some of his most memorable moments on this journey include realising the value of having the right talent.
Another thing he learned is that customer preferences change at very different levels. So, thinking about the organisation’s unique value propositions and how customers perceive them becomes very important. For incumbents, choosing different business models can also be essential.
Both private and public organisations are aware that change needs to occur quickly. Resources are becoming harder to come by while demand is rising, necessitating a balance to build a sustainable future. “Green technologies will help the world achieve sustainable levels and make the environment cleaner and safer for everyone.”
Urban Ideas and Solutions Through LKYGBPC
Vivek is on the International Judging Panel (IJP) of the Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition (LKYGBPC), a biennial global university start-up challenge held in Singapore.
As a member of the judging panel charged with driving, developing, and upholding the entrepreneurial spirit of the LKYGBPC participants, Vivek is focused on the innovativeness of the solutions, such as how effectively the technology solves the problem.
He also believes that feasibility and how the different technologies are correctly implemented can significantly change the world. “These two parameters will be quite useful in considering how we are selecting, or how I would select various technologies.”
He acknowledges that innovative entrepreneurship talent can be cultivated wider in the broader community through such competitions. These serve as an illustration of how they are fostering innovation and entrepreneurship across society.
The competition is also one example of instilling a culture where the next generation is thinking about how things can be done differently. Competitors explore creative ideas and have a forum where they can share their thoughts, which can be a great example of nurturing innovation.
The competition, which is run by the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Singapore Management University (SMU), is centred on urban ideas and solutions developed by student founders and early-stage start-ups. It is positioned as a campus innovation movement that seeks to establish a global startup ecosystem with financial backers, including venture capitalists, corporate oligopolies, and governmental organisations.
“I believe many of our leading schools are doing a great job of instilling a culture where children are thinking about how things can be done differently and what are creative ideas,” Vivek opines.
There are numerous instances throughout the world where the technologies or solutions used by youth or larger communities have truly made a meaningful difference. “But it does take some significant effort to raise awareness and establish a forum where people can discuss their concerns, share their ideas, and obtain the resources needed to solve them,” Vivek concludes.
In the new normal, everything is moving online, including employee workloads, leadership insights, and how the services and businesses interact with customers or clients. Organisations must undergo a digital transformation to create entirely digital processes, better experiences and streamlined operations.
Successful digital transformation allows all processes and systems to communicate with one another. Users have a single source of truth, updates occur in real-time, and data is integrated.
The transformation enables organisations to effortlessly pivot when necessary because all their systems and teams are interconnected. Everything can be done quickly and without impacting the operations – whether it is to add more users, connect new business software or begin automating tasks.
In a cloud-first strategy, organisations are not merely adding a new layer of technology when they transform. They are expanding their IT capability in an entirely new way. Data and systems are hosted in the cloud, allowing for a seamless, effective and adaptable connection of all their IT.
Increasingly, companies of all sizes are aware of the potential and power of the cloud. Due to the increased security, scalability and convenience, more businesses and services are moving their apps and data onto the cloud.
Within this suite, that offers consumers a significant advantage is cloud communications. As remote and hybrid work models become the norm, cloud communication is quickly gaining importance.
The OpenGov Breakfast Insight with Indonesia’s top public sector leaders on 1 December 2022 at the Westin Jakarta provided the current information on the benefits of the most recent cloud technology that can help the nation’s public, education, financial services and healthcare sectors.
The Cloud at the Heart of the Digital Transformation
Mohit Sagar, CEO & Editor-in-Chief OpenGov Asia, believes cloud-based strategies are being adopted and implemented by companies of all sizes to spur growth and increase profits. Cloud has fundamentally altered business communications.
Cloud transforms how people communicate, collaborate and conduct business in today’s digital world. It has sparked advancements in machine learning, the Internet of Things (IoT), devices, healthcare and autonomous vehicles.
“The cloud offers cutting-edge features and functionality that let staff members collaborate and communicate in ways – and places – they never imagined,” says Mohit. “Organisations can outsource systems management tasks like provisioning, switching, data storage, and security to cloud communications providers.”
Moreover, with remote and hybrid models, employees report higher productivity and greater satisfaction.
Nonetheless, according to Mohit, even though remote and hybrid models are becoming increasingly popular, they will not be successful if they are not based on the right technology. Cloud communications are a crucial component of any hybrid or remote work environment.
With cloud-based communication tools, staff can easily switch to working remotely, teams can keep meeting, and operations can go on as usual.
“Technology for collaboration will be more crucial than ever with employees working in different time zones and locations. Hence, teams have the resources to connect with coworkers across boundaries thanks to cloud communications,” Mohit explains.
Organisations can make the most of their resources with cloud communications, which can quicken implementation, increase flexibility, and provide limitless high-volume information exchange. Moreover, cloud communication security features guarantee adherence to data privacy laws.
The technology, protocols and best practices that safeguard cloud computing environments, cloud-based applications and cloud-stored data collectively constitute cloud security. Understanding exactly what needs to be secured and the system components that must be managed is the first step in securing cloud services.
As an overview, cloud service providers are responsible for backend development against security vulnerabilities. Clients should concentrate primarily on the proper service configuration, safe use habits, and selecting a security-conscious provider.
“Clients should also confirm that any end-user networks and hardware are properly secured,” Mohit says.
Every step taken to secure the cloud aims to facilitate data recovery in the event of data loss; guard against malicious data theft on networks and storage; prevent human error or carelessness that results in data leaks, and minimise the effects of any data or system compromise.
The transition to cloud-based computing has resulted in a significant evolution of traditional IT security. While cloud models offer greater convenience, always-on connectivity necessitates new security measures. There are a few ways in which cloud security differs from conventional IT models as a modernised cyber security solution.
According to Nathan Guy, Zoom Phone Leader, Asia Pacific, Zoom, the macro business environment has significantly changed. Businesses are under tremendous pressure to increase productivity, adapt quickly as competition heats up and be productive to keep up with the rapid pace of innovation and technological advancements.
This problem is becoming even more pressing because of economic uncertainty. Without effective communication between customers, prospects and employees, it will be impossible to address these issues.
Nathan highlighted that the workforce is also experiencing a generational shift. People prefer the option of remote employment. And they are asking for cutting-edge equipment and communication systems as they need to do their jobs.
With every new tool and app that is made available, communication becomes more complex and confusing. Employees, clients, and potential customers are just a few stakeholders with preferences and expectations about how, when, and where they conduct business.
“Due to this, many businesses choose their battles carefully when it comes to facilitating communication,’ says Nathan.
Among the routes they take are keeping up with currently used systems deemed adequate; embedded communication tools included with other software packages; exploring multiple solutions depending on the situation; among others. “These strategies are meant to provide the organisation with fundamental communication.”
Such methods allow for some flexibility but also change the environment for prospects, employees and customers. People are compelled to alternate between various solutions based on their needs.
Some consumers “separate” from a favourite brand after just one disappointing interaction. Today’s harsh reality is that communication is a critical path activity; your business will also fail if it fails. A path that is crucial to the business failure.
Nathan believes that organisations must go beyond essential communication to universal communication. Creating intuitive connections to all parties – employees, customers, and investors – regardless of location, device, or business activity – will have a tremendous advantage in this uncertain business environment.
“You do this by combining the connection needs of the individual and organisation by delivering a consistent and quality experience for all participants, making human connection effortless, and enabling rapid innovation to maintain relevance,” says Nathan.
These steps could result in:
- Meeting both the organisations’ core business needs and the demands of their customers;
- Refocusing internal resources away from administering communications and towards new services and capabilities; and
- Improving the agility and the perceived value both in the company and the market
An organisation’s reputation is directly linked to the quality of its communication services. In addition to the fact that employees, clients, and customers can work from anywhere, people returning to the office do not want them to be disappointed by the home office environment to which they have grown accustomed.
Expectations have increased; a session that fails due to dropped participants or subpar audio/video is unacceptable and embarrassing. Organisations must adapt to this new hybrid environment and guarantee that everyone receives high-quality service regardless of circumstance or location.
“When communications are disrupted in today’s world, business transactions become impossible,” claims Nathan. “Organisations can eliminate a work-limiting unpredictability risk by doing this. They provide a controlled experience by enabling the staff to work without concern about the underlying technology.”
By using a top-notch infrastructure specially built to prevent failures, Zoom will protect organisations from communications breakdowns. Organisations could troubleshoot the underlying cause of environmental problems and take preventative measures. This allows the workforce to concentrate on their work without unneeded interruptions or uncertainty. Hence, employees will have confidence that the communication system they provide will work as expected.
Differences in network performance and bandwidth can seriously impair audio and video quality and lead to intermittent problems, preventing some users from participating fully. Even with severe packet loss, organisations can use Zoom to deliver a productive meeting experience. This makes it possible to eliminate local network and infrastructure variability, which is crucial when doing business internationally.
More complexity is being added to communications. “Now you have workers returning to the office, frequently in a hotel setting, as well as those travelling or working remotely,” says Nathan.
Three main contexts have been produced as a result: remote, office and mobile. Unfortunately, all too frequently, people are forced to juggle a patchwork of disjointed point solutions created during the pandemic. This includes a personal cellphone, a videoconferencing option for small meetings and another tool for significant events.
Nathan believes that employees and clients must learn to use a different interface. Even if the organisations stick with a single vendor, many have expanded through acquisitions, leading to various products with no shared characteristics.
“There’s no doubt that communication platforms are a big part of how hybrid teams work,” Nathan asserts. “A modern communications platform like Zoom could help boost productivity, add to what can be done, and show how engaged employees are.”
Fireside Chat: How to Prepare for the Transition to the “Cloud Culture”
According to Deddy Kartika Utama, Head of Information Security, Ministry of Home Affairs (Kemendagri), policies regarding political and general governance and regional autonomy are developed, determined and implemented by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The Ministry also plays a role in establishing regional and village administration, governing issues, regional finance, demographics and civil records.
Given the number of parties involved and the nature of the hybrid organisation, including the Ministry, maintaining consistency may prove difficult. Because of this, compelling and trustworthy means of communication are crucial.
Cloud communications, Deddy emphasised, continue to be the preferred method of meeting the growing demand for efficient organisational communications, considering the advent of the hybrid workplace. With cloud computing and communications, organisations can quickly expand or contract to meet fluctuating demand.
In the public sector, by using internet-based connectivity to reduce lag time and unreliable connections, organisations can communicate with their team and customers through various channels, including email, voice calls, chat and video.
Through the advancements in IT, organisations now have access to a flexible, instant, scalable, stable, and conveniently located environment. Organisations that switch to cloud-based communication technology can take advantage of full cloud communication’s mobility, scalability, security, reliability, and cost-effectiveness.
The rapid development of cloud computing services and collaboration technologies has apparent benefits for remote and hybrid workforces. It enables teams to work together and achieve their shared goals even when they are not physically present in the same office.
“Using a cloud collaboration strategy, coworkers can work together on documents stored in the cloud while having access to the same files and making changes to them in real-time,” Deddy explains. “One method for cutting costs while maximising organisational resources despite growing communication capabilities and reach is to concentrate on the quality of the technology.”
By utilising the cloud, businesses have found cheaper alternatives while ensuring that their customers can access their data and systems from any location at any time. Transitioning from traditional to cloud office culture is exciting and promising. To protect the organisations and their operations, a solid security foundation must first be established.
According to Deddy, the potential of cloud computing is becoming increasingly apparent to various organisations, and it is also growing. “Organisations are already transitioning from the traditional office culture to the cloud culture, and doing so is profitable. They can save money and space by switching to cloud technology.”
Nathan emphasised the significance of cloud security, albeit that most organisations are already utilising cloud computing in some form. “Organisations are still hesitant to move more data and applications to the cloud due to security, governance, and compliance concerns when storing their content in the cloud.”
By partnering with Zoom, the human connection could be simplified and security could be included. Organisations can capitalise on the habits and competencies individuals have developed over the past two years. Additionally, they will ensure consistency across multiple use cases.
“By partnering with Zoom, businesses will be able to maintain their relevance through rapid innovation. They have access to a constant stream of new capabilities that reflect actual user requirements,” Nathan claims.
According to Mohit, a critical component of cloud security is the protection of data and business content such as customer orders, secret design documents and financial records, among others.
Preventing leaks and data theft is critical for maintaining customer trust and safeguarding assets that contribute to competitive advantage. “The ability of cloud security to protect your data and assets makes it critical for any organisations that are transitioning to the cloud.”
Development partners can assist organisations in meeting a broader range of customer needs, resulting in increased market reach. As a result, when developing cloud applications, make sure to include platform or integration capabilities as well as a partner strategy.
“Your cloud partner strategy should be based on business potential, engineering capability, and platform marketing. A balanced strategy will enable a larger partner ecosystem, more comprehensive customer solutions, and increased revenue potential,” Mohit concludes.
Both in normal circumstances and in times of crisis, Thai people are known to generate a lot of innovative ideas and continue to develop products that make their lives better. This encompasses and encapsulates the nation’s most recent campaign, Innovation Thailand, which promotes Thai creativity to a global audience.
The Innovation Thailand Alliance consists of partners from a variety of sectors including government agencies, private organisations, educational institutions, and civil societies. Through it, the National Innovation Agency of Thailand (NIA), is expanding the scope of its Innovation Thailand platform.
The fundamental goal is to use national/local ideas to revitalise the nation by promoting awareness of and pride in inventive Thai works. Allies will serve as ambassadors in the effort to promote Thailand as an innovative nation. They will be able to exchange knowledge and skills with one another at the same time.
All stakeholders are enthusiastic to help Thailand achieve its goal of being one of the world’s top 30 innovative nations by 2030 and turning Thailand into an innovation-driven country.
Innovation Capabilities of Thai People
The National Innovation Agency’s mission is to support and develop Thailand’s innovation system to promote economic restructuring and competitive enhancement.
“We began the Innovation Thailand campaign before COVID-19 because we faced a significant challenge in terms of how not only Thai people but also global clients, perceive the nation’s unique products and services,” explains Dr Pun-Arj.
Even though this may not be directly related to innovation, the NIA has attempted to communicate and brand national innovation in such a way that it can be easily connected not only with Thais but also with international customers – this is how they started the Innovation Thailand platform.
Thailand is a tourist destination and one of the top three in the world, which has caused the country to innovate their lifestyle as well as their livelihood.
Thai culture places a high value on craftsmanship and attention to detail. Thai innovation for artful living is a process created exclusively by the fusion of modern technology and knowledge passed down from one generation to the next.
“We have created ingenious solutions through this method that enhances the standard of living in terms of society, prosperity, health, safety, and the environment,” Dr Pun-Arj furthers.
They began to construct a community to exchange ideas, develop, and manage innovation that would result in delivering some information or any significant strategic movement that the government could initiate.
They are recruiting more Chief Innovation Officers from not only the private sector but also the public sector and universities, as part of their primary target group.
Dr Pun-Arj is looking to enhance the opportunities brought in by innovation, particularly at the regional level in the city. This is because they are working not only on economic development but also on the skillset of the social innovation division and platform.
“As a result, our primary focus is on regionalisations of innovation possibilities, as well as startups – innovation-based firms,” reveals Dr Pun-Arj.
He believes that every successful community is built upon a robust and well-functioning infrastructure. Hence, Thailand’s industries and infrastructure will be modernised to meet upcoming challenges.
“In the past, one of our five-year priorities included buildings which we identify as system integrators. As the system and ecosystem become more robust, we are transitioning from system integrators to full core facilitators.”
He emphasised the need to consider the impact of being a system integrator before transforming themselves into focal facilitators. Furthermore, the country wants to make better use of the enormous resource of innovation in universities to conduct research and technology in collaboration with other organisations across the world.
Through the City Innovation Index, which focuses primarily on districts and cities, the NIA promotes and monitors the constant innovation and evaluation of diverse organisations. Periodically, they performed surveys in particular industries to evaluate and propose answers for the difficulties they face.
A strong innovation strategy will evaluate the overall objectives, the target portfolio for innovation initiatives, and the process for allocating the necessary resources. The portfolio clearly defines innovation-critical benchmarks and bounds. Therefore, the nation will become democratic and transparent.
“I believe the government’s most essential innovation strategy focuses on three specific concerns. You must have highly strong and capable businesses of all sizes that will establish a very strong enterprise on its own. And secondly, you must have laws and regulations,” Dr Pun-Arj asserts. “In addition, governance is also required and identifying future risks.”
Thailand is struggling with several issues, including inequality, which includes limited access to public services, digital technology, education, and environmental problems. High manufacturing costs and new types of competition in the global supply chain became challenges for Thailand, with this, innovation has emerged as the country’s answer.
Additionally, there are many challenges in terms of digital transformation and government service and the nation is pushing for innovation that can deliver a good policy and deploy it into practice.
In the previous five-year plan, NIA primarily focused on the job of system integrator into four core facilitators. “That is why the short-term strategy is to train management in the methods, programmes, and activities that we have implemented over the last five years.”
NIA is primarily concentrated on strengthening the potential of regional innovation in several key sectors such as new technologies, assistance for startups, venture capital creation or investment for innovation, and internationalisation of Thailand’s innovation.
Dr Pun-Arj envisions a stronger Thai economy and society, with innovation playing a key role in propelling it. The Bio-Circular-Green Economy (BCG) model is a plan for the country’s growth and post-pandemic recovery. The BCG model focuses on four strategic sectors: agriculture and food, wellness and medicine, energy, materials, and biochemicals and tourism and creative economy.
It emphasises using science, technology, and innovation to turn Thailand’s comparative advantage in biological and cultural diversity into a competitive advantage. The primary aim is to support the sustainability of biological resources, develop local economies and communities and make Thai BCG industries more competitive and resilient to societal changes.
The approach is meant to make Thailand’s economy, society, and environment more sustainable and inclusive. “To achieve the 2030 goal, we must work incredibly hard to encourage innovation in this BCG economy. At the same time, the national policy needs to be improved.”
Dr Pun-Arj has been recognised as a pioneer in the domains of foresight and innovation management in the country. He counsels anyone aspiring to be a great innovator to fully comprehend the concepts of uncertainty and failure.
“Innovation will help us grow as a community or nation by making ourselves and others aware of the importance of innovation,” Dr Pun-Arj concludes.
Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) in education have the potential to enhance how education is provided, financed, and managed as well as offer easier access to the community.
A PPP system operates under the construct that market mechanisms, in conjunction with government inputs, are better for providing education. One of the rationales behind PPPs, which are supported by international organisations, development agencies and academics, is that competition between public and private education providers is a good way to improve the quality and efficiency of education.
PPP policy frameworks should therefore create real market dynamics in which education service providers continue to innovate and improve the quality of their services to attract learners, young and old, who are seen as benefit maximisers and well-informed consumers.
New Era of Partnerships, Building Talent Pipeline
“The structure and framework for any university to launch degree programmes can be fairly onerous, given the emphasis on quality assurance and relevance,” says Annie who is also a Professor Emeritus of Finance (Practice), Lee Kong Chian School of Business and Senior Advisor at the Business Families Institute in Singapore Management University (SMU).
However, academic-industry partnerships play a crucial role in building the future of students and facilitating the transition of young people from school to work. Students need to be exposed to a variety of jobs and workplaces to develop interest and discover where their studies and passion may lead.
Industry partnerships with different sectors offer a variety of experiences, such as simulated job interviews, career development activities, challenge-based learning projects, curriculum-aligned activities, and work-study programmes. In addition, internships have become a vital opportunity for candidates to distinguish themselves prior to full-time employment.
A PPP is mutually beneficial, allowing industry access to fresh talent and looking at the industry’s challenges from the perspective of future consumers or employees acknowledges Annie. In fact, the private sector has indicated to all institutions that they need future talent in the area of data analytics, so SMU has recently launched a track in data analytics hosted in both their business school and computer and info systems school so universities also benefit from the insights from the industry to stay relevant in our curricula.
With the help of data analytics tools, a company may take unstructured raw data and use this information to discover patterns, draw conclusions and turned into useful insights. Therefore, data analysis aids businesses in so many ways, including making educated judgments, developing a more successful marketing plan, enhancing the customer experience and streamlining processes.
Education is not only under the charge of the Ministry of Education but also needs the support of other ministries since future jobs and capacity building are expected of the Ministries of Trade and Industry, Finance, Maritime, Health and others. Partnering with the whole of government allows for students’ skillsets to be increased and all students become more relevant, valuable and workplace ready.
Prof Annie knows that no one has a monopoly on knowledge, and no one knows the exact skills which will be needed in the future. Thus, PPPs have the most value when it forms a part of “lifelong learning.”
The exciting thing about lifelong learning, Annie believes “…is that when you get your degree, you think you’re done, but you’re just getting started. Even as you gain experience and learn on the job, you’ll need to keep reinventing yourself and the skills needed to extend your runway will keep changing.”
Passion extends beyond degrees and ongoing learning is a crucial element to keep employees engaged That’s why higher education now permits a variety of pathways to marry passion with career aspirations and is no longer a paper chase, she explains.
Two good cases to illustrate the value of PPP in the context of SMU’s innovative programmes that Prof Annie is very proud of are the partnership approach in launching the International Trading track and the Maritime Business Operations track under the Finance and Operations majors in SMU’s business school.
In accordance with the creation of a strong Singaporean core, wholesale trade and maritime businesses have been focusing on both skillset development and attracting new talent supply to ensure a pipeline of sustainable human capital. So, the trading and maritime sectors do need to build a case for making the jobs in their sectors more appealing – particularly with the assistance of government grants and scholarships.
Companies can play a crucial role by showing how an organisation can provide a feeling of purpose with support and development opportunities available to make building a career in their organisations appealing and attractive to the candidate
A part of Annie’s challenge in the early days was to set up an International Trading Institute (ITI) where students could take for-credit classes under the business school and get a certificate of completion for the non-credit practice-oriented sessions, learning from practitioners in the evenings.
“My goal at SMU is to link external relevance to internal degree requirements while upholding the quality assurance requirements of the education system. Different industry partners help us with this mission to co-create and deliver the applied learning content with us.”
SMU is therefore a strategic asset for the country and both the tracks had, over the last decade, created a pool of more than 300 alumni who are knowledgeable about wholesale trading, largely in the commodities trading space and maritime operations. Now, there is available talent who are able to speak and work with more confidence up and down the trade value chain and contribute to Singapore’s relevance as a trade and maritime hub.
Another great example of PPP was manifested during the last three years of the COVID-19 crisis which saw a spate of job cuts and many experienced PMETs were laid off. Annie worked with her teams at ITI and BFI to design a nine-month Business and Digital Transformation programme which combined in-class training modules with a capstone project for candidates who are matched to SMEs to also deliver a project for these sponsoring companies. Candidates have a chance to learn and apply the knowledge and sponsoring companies also benefit from the capstone projects delivered. In addition, 70% to 90% of the programme fees are supported by SSG grants, while WSG grants provide funding support towards the candidates’ commensurate salaries.
All these partnerships were possible because a pool of companies is available and can be accessed to match the candidates as a result of SMU’s external network of trusted companies, which was strengthened by the BFI that Annie had set up 10 years ago with the support of SMU’s senior leadership. Many of Asia’s SMEs are family owned with different sets of challenges and aspirations other than the usual business issues. In addition, many of these business families have longer horizons and they are the ones that countries depend on to build businesses sustainably as they think beyond current generations.
Therefore, business families with an entrepreneurial spirit, not only make money but also contribute to changing the world through their businesses and other new ventures, including building social enterprises and philanthropic activities.
By addressing business family-specific issues such as succession, family governance, entrepreneurship and wealth management, BFI aims to strengthen the ecosystem of entrepreneurial business families and stakeholders in their creation of sustainable impact by leveraging SMU’s core competence as a thought leader. In turn, BFI has been a strong partner to the LKYGBPC. Many of LKYGBPC’s sponsors are family-owned businesses, such as Wilmar International and Frasers.
In addition, many of these family enterprises have footprints beyond Singapore and are always on the lookout for quality start-ups to invest in or be part of their accelerator programmes. Innovation is essential for a company to improve its operations, introduce new and enhanced products and services to the market, raise its efficiency, and most crucially, boost its profitability.
Annie feels that her journey in academia is more about building entrepreneurship and Technology, Talent and Trust (3Ts) are important drivers in helping companies in their transformation journeys. As such, public-private-people partnerships are even more relevant in today’s challenging and uncertain times to build back better and broader for everyone.
According to Annie, the road to digital and business transformation success is paved with courageous actions by caring and forward-looking leaders. The right leaders will build a firm sustainably and attract the right people, the right leaders will inspire and motivate the right people to learn, improve and grow.
“Developing people is my calling but learning to develop people is everyone’s responsibility. And because the world is bigger than yourself, you need to be big-hearted, purpose-oriented, and have an open mind to be successful on any path you choose,” Annie concludes.
The global spread of COVID-19 has been a disaster of unparalleled proportions. Not only has it halted the world economy, but it has also made even the most optimistic leaders reconsider how soon things would return to how they were before the outbreak.
Even as the pandemic disrupted businesses and services around the world, a sudden and dramatic increase in internet consumption was observed. Businesses had to shift to digital communications and tools as the key medium for maintaining productive and interesting relationships with their many stakeholders – internal and external.
While the private sector was quicker to alter procedures in the early phases of the pandemic, the public eventually successfully adapted and innovated to continue citizen service delivery. Of course, early on, most governments rapidly put into place digital communication and emergency response platforms.
By allowing users to access their data and applications from any internet-connected device, cloud computing expands the scope of digital transformation beyond simple technology adoption to encompass a comprehensive redesign of all related procedures, resources and user interactions.
The cloud and digital transformation are now inextricably linked. Organisations across the board need to adopt a cloud-first strategy if they want to ensure the longevity of their operations and realise their transformation objectives.
Most organisations and agencies have benefited from the digital change, but some industries are behind the curve. To keep up with the fierce competition in their industries, they must guarantee the reliable operation of the cloud communication platforms that serve as a direct line of contact between the organisations and their consumers and aid in the promotion of their offerings.
The OpenGov Breakfast Insight on 25 November 2022 at M Hotel Singapore provided Singapore’s public, education, financial and healthcare sectors with the advantages of the most recent cloud technology.
Simplifying Things via Cloud Communication
Mohit Sagar, CEO & Editor-in-Chief, OpenGov Asia believes that the cloud has transformed the way organisations communicate, cooperate and carry out many other critical business and service functions.
Cloud communications are voice and data communications solutions that organisations employ to manage cloud-hosted applications, storage and switching.
“Cloud communications services are becoming an increasingly intrinsic choice for organisations looking to streamline their operations and enable their remote workforces to stay connected and productive,” observes Mohit.
Cloud communications enable organisations to interact with their employees and customers over many channels, including email, audio calls, chat and video. All of these leverage internet-based connectivity to minimise faulty connections and lag in communication.
This communication model has become the go-to option for addressing the growing need for efficient internal communications in the hybrid workplace. As numerous workers are returning to the office, and for many of those who have remote work capabilities, hybrid work arrangements are swiftly becoming the new standard.
Organisations are figuring out ways to make hybrid work as interesting and effective as they can. Leaning into what is working, changing what is not working and adapting as lessons are gained are the first steps in creating an effective hybrid strategy, work environment, and culture.
Employee access to the system from anywhere on any device is the need of a mixed work environment. Regardless of the apparatus they are using or their location, employees need to be able to connect to the system.
“User-friendly features in cloud communications make it simpler for staff to become used to the technology,” Mohit explains. “Up until now, better work-life balance, more effective time management, control over working hours and location, prevention of burnout and higher productivity have been the main benefits of hybrid work.”
Having the appropriate tools to be productive at work, feeling less a part of the organisation’s culture, poor cooperation and relationships, and disturbing work processes are some of the biggest obstacles to hybrid work.
Apart from the initial expenditure, virtual meetings result in reduced expenses because of the decline in maintenance and transportation costs. Moreover, integrations of cloud telephony enable companies to place and receive calls from any device that is connected to the Internet.
This means that cloud communications can potentially maximise resources for organisations. Procedures, implementation and adaptability can all be accelerated with a cloud communications strategy, which also offers limitless high-volume information transmission.
According to Mohit, cloud communications must have robust security components to ensure compliance with data privacy laws and the security of all stakeholders. “To assist in safeguarding data in the cloud, emerging cybersecurity tools should also be taken into account.”
These include Artificial Intelligence (AI) for IT Operations (AIOps) and Network Detection and Response (NDR). Both programmes gather data on the security and stability of cloud infrastructure. After data analysis, AI notifies administrators of any unusual behaviour that might represent a threat.
Ultimately a well-thought-out cloud communication strategy with strong security features can serve organisations and gain a competitive advantage in an increasingly digital landscape and VUCA environment.
According to Lucas Lu, Head of Asia, Zoom, if communication fails to give the greatest possible experience, everyone suffers – from employees to consumers to investors. And neglecting to address this essential avenue has ever-worsening implications.
Organisations are going through some significant changes, he explains. The first is in the general business environment. Organisations are under tremendous pressure to boost efficiency, adapt fast as competition rises and keep up with the rapid pace of innovation and technological advancements.
This problem is becoming even more pressing because of economic uncertainties. Furthermore, solving these problems requires effective communication between consumers, prospects and staff.
The workforce is likewise seeing a paradigm shift. People desire the option of remote employment and are asking for the cutting-edge equipment and communication systems they need to do their jobs.
HR managers concur that a high-performing workplace’s future requirements would include collaboration, regular communication and a mentorship culture between managers and teams. “You run the risk of losing the ‘War for Talent’ if you don’t deliver,” Lucas asserts.
With every new tool and software that is made available, communication becomes more difficult and complex. Employees, clients and potential consumers are just a few of the stakeholders who have preferences and expectations about how, when and where they conduct business.
Due to this, many businesses choose their battles carefully when it comes to facilitating communication. They follow a variety of routes, including:
- Maintaining already-established systems that are deemed adequate
- Making use of the fundamental, built-in communication capabilities that are provided with other software packages, even if they don’t entirely satisfy the organisation’s demands
- Using different approaches based on the circumstances. You might, for instance, employ one communication tool for internal cooperation and another for clients, investors, and outside events
“All these strategies are meant to provide organisations with fundamental communication,” says Lucas. “These methods provide some flexibility, but they also change the environment for prospects, employees and consumers. People are compelled to alternate between various options based on their needs as a result.”
This causes unneeded annoyance, rework, expenditures and misunderstanding. Employees may feel alienated and impatient. Customers’ interactions with the brand are disorganised and unprofessional. And various instruments frequently make business slower.
In this uncertain business environment, organisations that can move beyond basic communication into universal communication have extraordinary potential. They can develop intuitive connections to all parties, employees, customers and investors, regardless of location, technology or business activity.
This will be accomplished by integrating the individual and organisational connection demands that will result in a) Delivering a consistent and quality experience for all participants, b) Making human connection effortless, and c) Enabling rapid innovation to maintain relevance.
These results may:
- Satisfy both the primary business requirements and the consumers’ expectations
- Redirect internal resources from managing communications to new services and capabilities; and
- Increase the marketability and perceived agility within the organisation and in the market.
An organisation’s reputation is directly related to the quality of its communication services. In addition to the fact that employees, clients and customers can work remotely, those returning to the office do not t want to compromise on the at-home office environment to which they have grown accustomed.
Organisations must adapt to this new hybrid environment to guarantee that everyone receives high-quality service regardless of circumstance or location. Expectations are simply greater and it is unacceptable if a session fails due to dropped participants or subpar audio or video.
“With Zoom, you may use a top-notch infrastructure that is specially made to prevent failures to safeguard your company from communications disruptions. You eliminate a work-limiting unpredictability risk by doing this,” Lucas says confidently.
When communications are down nowadays, it is impossible to conduct business. Hence, organisations may provide a controlled experience by enabling their staff to work without being concerned about the underlying technology. Additionally, they can analyse the underlying cause of any problems in their surroundings and take preventative measures.
With this, employees can concentrate on their work without unneeded interruptions or ambiguity and will have faith that the communication solution their organisation has deployed will work as planned.
“Partnering with Zoom enables quick innovation to keep up with the times. You can take advantage of a constant flow of fresh features that correspond to actual user requirements,” Lucas says. “Moreover, by frequently communicating with their support group, organisations will rapidly realise what is possible.”
Fireside Chat: How to Prepare for the Transition to the “Cloud Culture”
Geetha Gopal, Head of Infrastructure Projects Delivery and Digital Transformation, Panasonic Asia Pacific believes that every day, new technologies emerge and the culture of change is driving a paradigm shift for which an organisation must be prepared.
“As the COVID-19 outbreak rocked the world and we were unsure of what to do, our investments in technology became our strength,” says Geetha.
As the trend toward digitisation of remote work transforms the traditional office culture, a cloud culture has evolved. Likewise, cloud computing has become a competitive advantage for these organisations.
Every step toward better efficiency in the manufacturing sector increases competitiveness. Because of this, the industry’s embrace of cloud communications has become a crucial turning point. Cloud communications have changed the game for manufacturing by enabling increased efficiency while lowering IT expenditures.
“Cloud computing is the future, and organisations are successfully transitioning from the traditional office culture to the cloud culture,” Geetha says firmly.
Streamlining operations using scalable technological solutions for essential tasks and process optimisation not only helps reduce costs but also frees up time for businesses to devote to value-adding endeavours.
This is crucial now more than ever as operations teams struggle to keep up with the quickening speed of product and investment strategy development being observed among clients.
The new service-focused, client-centric operating model for investment operations will be made possible by technology, data and scalability. Organisations need to realise that the greatest way to prepare for the future is to create it as they deal with this period of constant innovation.
As a result, operations leaders who are taking steps to redesign, reinvent and adapt their operations may ultimately be in a stronger position.
Geetha emphasises that collaboration, communication and connectivity are crucial for success in today’s work environment. The key to maximising these contacts is digital communication. “For efficient communication and productivity, your company primarily depends on specific systems, platforms, and applications.”
More organisations are understanding the enormous advantages of migrating their systems to the cloud as technology continues to progress. In addition to allowing organisations to remain relevant in a competitive market, innovation plays a vital role in economic growth. Innovations are required to solve key problems.
One of the tactics that may be employed to save money while maximising organisational resources and extending communication skills and reach is advance planning.
An advantage of cloud communications for aiding staff members in a hybrid workforce is the reduction in time spent travelling to the workplace. Employees can save time travelling with the hybrid model simultaneously offering the chance to be more productive.
Despite the importance of enabling technology, it is the human workforce that will not only execute the organisation’s digital transformation strategy but also ensure its long-term success.
Guaranteeing that personnel are up to the task, however, needs not only technical training but also a radical transformation in thinking and decision-making.
It is important to focus on organisational culture by changing the management programme and making concerted efforts to close the gap between the internal aspect and employees.
Organisations that are unable to develop and achieve new goals that will assist their employees and business to thrive are those that are unwilling to alter existing practices.
“The pandemic can no longer be an excuse or the reason – remote work is here to stay. If we want skilled employees then we need to concentrate on their needs – we must empower our employees,” Geetha concludes.
Lucas believes that every problem has a solution since most organisations fail to connect their strategy to their innovation objectives. “Change is a constant process, and what we say today might leave a legacy tomorrow. Any plan for digital transformation, in our opinion, must be built around digital innovation.”
The road of digital transformation must involve a competitive advantage that can only be sustained by introducing innovations and contemporary methods if it is to stay modern and please clients with cutting-edge goods and services.
For every change, there is a call for managerial backing to be successful and transformative. Zoom is happy to discuss how digital transformation budgets differ from traditional business or IT budgets to meet the demands of any organisation.
Lucas believes that cloud computing is transforming not only how many organisations access and store data, but also how many of these businesses run. It provides greater protection, flexibility, data recovery, minimal to no maintenance and ease of access.
“Although many people used to hesitate the cloud computing, they have now realised how important it has become to organisations,” Lucas has observed.
Mohit believes that changes in computers and how technologies are distributed are altering the ecosystem, especially for those who work in a hybrid environment. He encourages delegates to start establishing a strategy to utilise the cloud’s benefits for their businesses and services. “Organisations should determine the types of cloud services for which you require solutions, then meet with cloud service providers to determine the best long-term match.”
Both public and private organisations benefit from the adaptability, efficiency, scalability, security, improved collaboration and cost savings that cloud computing offers. “The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated cloud adoption, but it is anticipated that cloud computing is here to stay, especially since hybrid work assumes a central role,” Mohit concludes.