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It is now possible to log on to Australia’s myGov platform using digital identity credential myGovID, which is expected to add face biometrics and liveness detection later this year. MyGov is an ecosystem that allows Australians access to several government services online, and the recent addition of the digital ID feature to the login options is seen as a milestone in efforts by the country’s Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) in putting in place a more secure access system to the service.

The new feature was rolled out following a mid-year pilot in 2020 and at the time of reporting over 1.7 million Australians had already created a myGovID digital identity.

Before the rollout, it was possible to access the myGov platform using a two-factor login authentication option, and the novelty means there are now also no major worries about forgetting one’s login password.

With the new feature, it is possible for users who have connected the two platforms to sign into myGov using either a one-time code in the myGovID app or continue using a password. The myGovID login credential, the report adds, can also be used to access a beta version of myGov which is being trialled with new features and services to replace the one currently in use.

This development precedes plans by the DTA in adding a biometric liveness detection mechanism to myGovID so that it can allow people to have access to more confidential government services.

It was noted that a pilot for the liveness detection option is planned for September this year; and with it, an individual can have their identity verified by having selfie biometrics matched against an identity document held in a database. This will help prove that the person about logging onto myGov is a live person and is physically present, in a move that aims to stymie the creation of fraudulent digital IDs.

Moreover, Australia plans to put in place a law that ensures privacy safeguards regarding the digital ID new scheme, and that a huge sum of money has been set aside for the development and upgrade of the myGov platform.

According to the government website, digital Identity provides Australian people and businesses with a single, secure way to access government and other services online. The Digital Identity system includes everything from the policy and processes governing the system, to the technology and systems that allow it to work.

A secure Digital Identity replaces the need for multiple logins across a range of government services, making getting things done with government easier and faster.

The DTA is managing this whole-of-government program, delivering it in partnership with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), Services Australia, Department of Home Affairs (Home Affairs) and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). The system will expand over time to include more government agencies and private sector organisations.

Creating and using a Digital Identity is voluntary and a personal choice. People can still access government services in other ways, such as on the phone or in-person at a government shopfront.

Australia’s Digital Identity system is made up of agencies, private sector businesses and systems working together to deliver a secure way to prove someone’s identity online to access services. It is governed by the Interim Oversight Authority.

The Digital Identity system includes 4 types of accredited participants:

  • Identity service providers– help you set up and manage your Digital Identity account. If you choose to create and use a Digital Identity, then your identity provider will be your gateway into the Digital Identity system. Face Verification Service and Document Verification Service are sometimes used by your identity service provider to verify your identity online. myGovID is the government identity provider. There will more as the system develops.
  • Attribute service providers– verify specific attributes relating to entitlements or characteristics of an individual (for example, that you have a particular qualification). The ATO’s Relationship Authorisation Manager (RAM) is an example of an attribute service provider.
  • Credential service providers– play a critical role in keeping the system secure and safe. They take care of all credentials such as passwords and other forms of access restrictions used in the system.
  • Identity exchange– acts like a switchboard, transferring information, with your consent, between relying parties, identity service providers and attribute service providers, in a way which is secure and respects your privacy.

A three-fold improvement in the efficiency of solar-to-hydrogen energy conversion can facilitate solar energy harvesting technology, according to environmental scientists at City University of Hong Kong (CityU).

This research outcome could contribute to tackling the global energy shortage and provide new insights into the development of solar-to-fuel materials for photocatalytic applications in the emerging field of hydrogen technology.

The research team led by Dr Sam Hsu Hsien-yi, Assistant Professor in the School of Energy and Environment (SEE) at CityU, has developed novel lead-free bismuth-based hybrid organic-inorganic perovskites (HOIPs) with a semiconductor heterojunction structure.

The heterojunction structure could serve as a driving force to enhance the charge carrier transportation which is beneficial for hydrogen production under visible-light irradiation without the addition of co-catalysts such as platinum or ruthenium.

The research is featured as the cover of the prestigious international journal Advanced Functional Materials under the title “In-situ formation of bismuth-based perovskite heterostructures for high-performance co-catalyst-free photocatalytic hydrogen evolution”.

In the past few years, HOIPs have been widely used in solar energy conversion because of their remarkable photoelectric effects and extraordinary photovoltaic performance.

However, their application in the field of photocatalysis is limited. Besides, most comprehensively developed HOIPs comprise toxic metal lead, raising concerns about environmental health threats.

“As a result, we would like to construct a lead-free HOIP material that can drive the photocatalytic hydrogen production without a noble-metal co-catalyst,” said Dr. Hsu.

In the process of exploring and developing their application for the production of photocatalytic hydrogen, Dr. Hsu’s team discovered a straightforward method for constructing a junction structure, which led to improved photocatalytic activity.

They employed time-resolved photoluminescence spectra (TRPL) to characterise the materials. From the TRPL result, the charge transfer of the HOIP material with heterostructure exhibited a longer lifetime than the material without the heterostructure. The longer lifetime indicates a reduction of nonradiative recombination in the heterostructure.

Therefore, the in-situ formation of the heterostructure benefits photocatalytic performance. The result shows improved efficiency by three-fold and a more stabilized solar-induced hydrogen evolution for the perovskite heterojunctions, even without the addition of any noble metal co-catalyst under visible light irradiation.

Their next step is to improve hydrogen production performance. Dr. Hsu believed that in the long run, hydrogen would become one of the major energy sources. He hoped that this research would help to harvest solar energy in response to the global challenge of the energy crisis.

According to a recent article, Hong Kong and China-listed solar-energy stocks rose sharply on 23 December 2020, extending the sector’s momentum as investors bet on strong demand and favourable policies.

The upbeat trend came after Chinese authorities last week issued a draft regulation that would allow solar glass manufacturers to increase capacity free of restrictions.

Globally, an increasing number of countries have pledged to achieve carbon neutrality in the next few decades amid the falling costs of solar equipment and growing pressure to cut emissions.

It is expected that the trend to support global demand growth of more than 28% for solar power in 2021. And Chinese companies, which account for more than 70% of many key solar-energy equipment’s supply capacities globally, are poised to benefit from such a demand boom.

Several government agencies in Indonesia are banking on the increased reliability of technology to improve their organisational frameworks and in the long run, see an uptick in operations. One of these agencies is the Ministry of National Development Planning which announced plans to address challenges in social assistance through digital transformation. 

Minister Suharso Monoarfa said in a statement that to ensure accuracy of data in social assistance programmes of the government, there must be innovative tools in place. These tools, the Minister added, are crucial in providing speed, ease and accuracy in social assistance services. 

He stated that the Ministry is intent on setting up social protection system reforms in the near future. These policies are anticipated to cater to 55% of households that are now reliant on government assistance applications to mitigate livelihood impacts during the pandemic. 

The Minister suggested a reintegration of programmes in the social services sector to cater to the needs of the citizen base. The Minister added, “[N]ot all Indonesian citizens have the same ability in terms of social security and also in terms of obtaining or not getting social assistance. So, going forward, we rearrange, we redesign, we design the things that we have done today, for us to integrate in such a way.” 

The Minister explained in depth that future reforms in the sector shall be implemented continuously through 2024. A majority of policies that are now being carried on separately shall be closely integrated so that in the coming years, there will be more efficient strategic programmes in the social services sector. He also highlighted that data gathering and analysis is a “necessity” that form the backbone of social assistance. 

To further outline the importance of digital transformation in the social services sector, the Minister said that there must be an improved data programme that can harness relevant information from beneficiaries of social assistance programmes.  

The initiatives laid out by the Ministry are pursuant to a directive from Indonesian President Joko Widodo. The directive is to restructure the Social Protection System. The Ministry was tasked with formulating new policies to shore up the current operations in providing social assistance. One of the current practices that the Ministry is planning to streamline is the payment of contributions. 

Reducing poverty through social reform 

 Mitigating the impact of the pandemic is the tip of the iceberg for the Indonesian government. One of its long-term goals, according to the Ministry, is to reduce poverty by improving human resources and boosting the public sector’s purchasing power. 

 This vision is in line with the Government Work Plan of hitting the Human Development Index target of 72.95%. It also plans to reduce the poverty level to 9.7%. 

 To achieve this, the Minister stressed that the government must refocus on its existing social assistance programmes “in such a way as to target basketball groups that are vulnerable and chronically poor to achieve poverty reduction.” 

This is part of the six strategies underscored by the Ministry to reduce poverty. Among these are data transformation, as well as enhancement and coordination in social assistance operations. The development of a digital distribution scheme for cash transfers and other social protection schemes is also a priority. The Ministry is likewise looking at digitising the distribution of social assistance through online and fintech payment platforms.  

Digital transformation is one of the goals the Indonesian government is bent on achieving. As previously reported by OpenGov Asia, many agencies, including the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, are digitising. The Ministry said that this year, its main focus is boosting frequency spectrum management, an effort that will help drive technological advancement not just within the department but to various government agencies. 

The Philippine government is set to fully implement cashless toll payments in its major expressways starting January 11. This comes following the installation of more radio-frequency identification (RFID) sites as the country continues to innovate in meeting increased demand from motorists.  

In a statement, San Miguel Corporation (SMC), the operator of Autosweep RFID stations, said that it is setting up to implement 100% cashless transactions in its tollways. This comes on the heels of an earlier announcement by the firm that it has reached its target to install 156 RFID stations last month. 

The operator’s President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon Ang said they planned to put up 100 new stations, particularly in “off-site areas” apart from its southern expressways, before the end of 2020 amid the development of other ventures including the opening of the Skyway 3 project. 

Of the 156 new installation sites, 11 cater to transactions by appointment to manage traffic congestion in certain areas. There are now 18 installation sites in gas stations, 11 in local government offices and 44 installation units in malls.  

Stickering locations that motorists can visit to have RFID stickers installed on their vehicles have likewise been put up to prepare for the full implementation of the RFID system. “All but one of 66 dedicated onsite or toll plaza stations” have been converted to stickering sites. These locations are set to provide 24/7 services to travellers. 

Off-site stickering units have been launched in malls and government offices. This way, the toll operator said non-regular motorists plying expressways, particularly those living in the southern portion of the metro, can have RFID stickers installed more conveniently.  

The rollout of additional RFID sites started in November in an attempt to digitise operations and do away with long lines at toll stations. The company’s president added: “We will continue to serve and accommodate all motorists wanting to install their free Autosweep stickers as we approach the January 11 full implementation of cashless toll collection on all expressways set by the government and even after that.” 

The Autosweep System employs a 98% read rate and has a detection range of up to five meters. This allows for faster and more seamless transactions at toll plazas. It also comes equipped with a real-time loading feature so motorists who have paid a few minutes before going into toll plazas will be able to see their credits loaded in real-time. 

The government has collaborated with the private firm as part of initiatives to introduce tech concepts in public transactions. The firm currently operates some of the major thoroughfares in the country, namely the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), the NAIA Expressway (NAIX) and the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway or the TPLEX.  

As previously reported by OpenGov Asia, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) earlier gave the green light to test both the AutoSweep and EasyTrip electronic payment schemes in tollways. The test was conducted for a period of 14 days and was participated by 45 vehicles of different classes. The participants were monitored and were required to submit their transaction reports and video recordings at the end of the testing period. A committee, formed to oversee the test, determined read rate percentages of the e-payment systems based on data gathered.  

Efforts toward cashless toll payments have been introduced pursuant to Department Order 2020-012 issued earlier last year by the transport department. Under the Order, toll operators are required to implement cashless toll collections at all expressways and major toll roads. This mandate was issued in a bid to quell the spread of the COVID-19 virus and also to address vehicle congestion in these thoroughfares.

Technological advances are often termed as ‘disruptions’, but this year they helped India overcome the big disruption to a great extent, said the President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind. The nation’s president made these observations while virtually addressing participants on the occasion of the Digital India Awards 2020.

Coronavirus has changed the world in terms of social relations, economic activities, healthcare, education and several other aspects of life. Yet, life has not come to a standstill – thanks largely to information and communication technology.

India was not only prepared to minimise the adverse impact of mobility-restrictions but also utilised the crisis as an opportunity to march ahead in various arenas. This was was only possible because the digital infrastructure has been strengthened in recent years.

From the judiciary to healthcare, scores of sectors switched to virtual mode. Even education at all levels could be continued as most institutions started offering lessons online fairly quickly.  He said the role of our digital warriors has been commendable in helping the country overcome challenges posed by the pandemic.

For the government too, information technology was one of the most crucial tools to deliver a variety of services to citizens and keep the wheels of the economy turning. Due to cutting-edge and innovative digital interventions, India was able to ensure operational continuity of important government services during and after the lockdown. Proactive implementation of platforms such as Arogya Setu, e-Office and video conferencing services backed by a robust ICT infrastructure has helped the country reduce the pandemic hardships.

Digital India Awards reflect the overall vision of the government to empower citizens to achieve their aspirations and make India a digital superpower. President Shri Nath Kovind

The president urged the nation to keep exploring innovative solutions for the functioning of government.  A paperless and contactless context is good not only for the security and benefit of citizens but will help in making administrative processes more eco-friendly. The country must continue to leverage technology and ICT-driven innovative solutions to aid economic inclusiveness and social transformation even in the remotest corners of our country.

A large segment of our population is still not able to derive the benefits of digital devices and services. The number of such people needs to be minimised by extending digital access to them through effective innovations. This will make India’s digital revolution more inclusive. The Digital India initiative of the government will continue to strive towards reducing the digital divide.

Quoting the famous adage that information is power, the president acknowledged that sharing information with people not only enhances transparency in society but also empowers citizens and civil society. This is highly necessary for informed citizenship, which is the cornerstone of democracy.

With this ideal in mind, the government has started putting different kinds of data sets and data resources in the public domain.  The National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy too envisages a participatory model of governance in which citizens can access non-strategic information from public authorities and become partners with the government in various reform processes.

The government of India has consistently been deploying innovative digital solutions to enhance the quality and reach of government services to citizens. With the rapidly growing spread of internet and mobile, citizens are empowered to gain from government services using any digital devices, anywhere, any time.

Across India, government entities at all levels – centre and state – continue undertaking various initiatives to provide accessible information and services. With each passing year, Digital-Governance initiatives are demonstrating the power of ICT in improving the ease of living for all citizens.

The Digital India Awards is an initiative of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to honour exemplary initiatives and practices in Digital-Governance. It offers a national platform to showcase such initiatives. Instituted under the aegis of National Portal of India, the awards serve the purpose of bringing to the fore innovative digital solutions, thereby inspiring emulation by all government entities.

The 6th Digital India Awards 2020 was presented in six categories – Innovation in Pandemic; Excellence in Digital Governance – Ministry/Department (Central); Excellence in Digital Governance – State/Union Territories T; Excellence in Digital Governance – District; Open Data Champion; and Exemplary Product.

In order to enhance the convenience and experience of electric vehicle users as well as to encourage their wider adoption, PLN added 4 General Electric Vehicle Charges points (Stasiun Pengisian Kendaraan Listrik Umum – (SPKLU). An electric energy charging station (SPKLU) is an infrastructure that facilitates charging of electric vehicles, including electric cars, electric motorbikes and the like.

Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN), the Indonesian state-owned company tasked with supplying the electricity needs of the Indonesian people has collaborated with Jasa Marga to add these stations on the Surabaya – Jakarta toll road. With the launch of the 4 new SPKLUs on the Trans Java toll road, it will make it easier for people to travel long distances using electric cars.

“The SPKLU facilities at these 4 points are provided by PLN to provide comfort to electric car users and to accommodate battery charging needs when travelling from Jakarta to Surabaya,” said Director of Commerce and Customer Management of PLN, Bob Saril.

These latest SPKLU additions are part of PLN’s commitment to supporting the implementation of Presidential Decree No. 55 of 2019 concerning the Acceleration of the Battery-Based Electric Motor Vehicle Program for Road Transportation.

Indonesia continues to move towards battery-based electric vehicles and PLN is eager to assists everyone in the nation who is looking to use who use Battery-Based Electric Motorised Vehicles (KBLBB).

On 17 December 2020, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM) had a public launching of Battery-Based Electric Motorised Vehicles (KBLBB) as an environmentally friendly future vehicle. This formal launch aims to disseminate programmes of the Central and Regional Government and stakeholders in supporting the implementation of Presidential Regulation.

The programme has ambitious targets, aiming to have around 19,000 4-wheeled vehicles and 750,000 2-wheeled vehicles by 2025 in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 283,000 tons CO2-e.

The KBLBB programme also aims to improve National Energy Security by reducing dependence on imported fuel. The Head of the Communication Bureau, Public Information Services and Cooperation of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, Agung Pribadi, revealed that Indonesia’s current fuel consumption is around 1.2 million barrels of oil per day (bopd) with most of the fuel needs being fulfilled through imports.

“With the high growth of motorised vehicles, dependence on imported fuels will continue to increase. It is necessary to use local energy sources, especially new renewable energy and gas, which is used for electricity generation as a provider of electricity for KBLBB. The goal is to improve air quality and support the achievement of emission reduction targets. National Greenhouse Gas,” added Agung.

The shorter distances that electric vehicles can travel and the lack of infrastructure for charging electricity have always been the obstacles to using electric vehicles across the country and, therefore, electric cars are only predominantly used in cities. PLN plans to build 2,400 Public Electric Vehicle Charging Stations (SPKLU) by 2025.

Ensuring the provision of charging infrastructure through the construction of Public Electric Vehicle Charging Stations will go a long way in encouraging people to explore the use of electric vehicles. It is imperative to ensure convenience for those who wish to use such environmentally-friendly transportation options.

Earlier in October this year, the Mining Industry Indonesia (MIND ID) revealed that a group of Indonesian state-owned companies will form a venture to make batteries to power electric vehicles. The new venture, called Indonesia Battery Holding, would be formed by state miners MIND ID and Aneka Tambang (ANTAM).

Indonesia, the world’s biggest producer of nickel ore, a key component of EV batteries, wants to build an integrated EV industry that will eventually include building the vehicles.

This year at the Marketing Excellence Awards 2020, Singapore’s Government Agency, GovTech topped the Marketing Excellence Awards –  Mobile Marketing Category. They outperformed many strong private sector brands such as DBS, HSBC, UOB, Manulife and five others to win the Gold for their LifeSG marketing and communications campaign.

LifeSG – Government services that are clear and simple focusing on citizens needs

The purpose of the LifeSG campaign was to show how government gives Singaporeans convenient access to important government services anywhere and at anytime.

The government have said that “LifeSG symbolises our commitment to make government services simpler”. The app is centred around citizens needs and enabling citizen access to government services in the simplest way all in one place rather than dealing with multiple e-services or government agency offices.

LifeSG – the Moments of Life rebrand story

LifeSG started out as Moments of Life in June 2018, the aim was to transform the way people interact with government services. It was started under Singapore’s Smart Nation Initiative — a new approach where government services are designed based on key moments in people’s lives, instead of how government agencies are set up.

As the app has evolved and user numbers increasing, the government decided to develop the app with “a bigger aspiration — to deliver simpler government services that you can access anytime and to serve you beyond key life moments.”

Singapore government are continually developing the app by gathering citizen feedback, designing services and information around citizen needs, and integrating relevant services into one, convenient platform.

Govtech success at Marketing Excellence Awards 2020

The campaign was also shortlisted as a finalist in the following categories: Excellence in Brand Awareness;
Excellence in Public Sector / Non-Profit Marketing; Excellence in Launch / Re-Launch Marketing.

In it’s 9th year, MARKETING’s Marketing Excellence Awards is designed to recognise and reward Singapore’s outstanding marketing campaigns.

The awards are judged by an independent panel of 26 senior, client-side marketers, and is a recognised platform for marketers to showcase their creative excellence, successful strategies and effective delivery.

 

Over 12,000 enterprises are currently using the MISA AMIS platform, a digital platform under the Make in Vietnam campaign that is helping enterprises through the digital transformation process.

According to a press release, Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) recently launched MISA AMIS, a unified corporate governance platform that aids enterprises improve their structural governance in finance, business, personnel, and management.

In each field, the platform provides dozens of corresponding apps that help firms to manage their daily tasks efficiently. MIC has explained that the MISA AMIS aims to help the business community solve three major issues when engaging in the digital transformation process, including the lack of funding in investing in the standard Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.

Current solutions offered in the market have been unable to cover the whole development process of enterprises, and the incompatibility of individual apps in different aspects with each other. With databases stored on the cloud, users could work from different locations and with different devices, which together create a mobile working office. This is particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic, as the platform helps ensure continuity in enterprises’ operations.

Several advanced technologies have been incorporated into the MISA AMIS platform, including artificial intelligence (AI) for smart and automatic data processing; natural language processing (NLP), automatic data filling, and scanning. “The platform is set to ensure a speedier and more efficient decision-making process in enterprises while creating more added-value for users,” MISA CEO Dinh Thi Thuy noted.

At the recent National Forum for Developing Digital Technology Enterprises 2020, the Minister of MIC Nguyen Manh Hung called on every Vietnamese citizen and enterprise to take part in the Make in Vietnam initiative.

The event saw the participation of more than 1,000 delegates, experts, and digital technology enterprises. Hung delivered a speech that highlighted the meaning, mission, and strategic vision as well as possible solutions of the initiative.

One year ago, at the first National Forum for Developing Digital Technology Enterprise, the Make in Vietnam programme was introduced. The first Directive issued in 2020 – Directive 01 of the Prime Minister – was on the development of Vietnamese digital technology enterprises. After a year, over 13,000 digital technology businesses have been developed.

Over the past years, the state has created favourable conditions for the development of digital technology businesses. So far, the digital technology business community has strongly developed with nearly 60,000 enterprises, and annual revenue of US$120 billion, becoming an important driving force for the development of the business community in Vietnam.

In the trend of international integration and the strong impact of the fourth industrial revolution, besides many development opportunities, Vietnamese digital technology enterprises have faced many difficulties and challenges in the research and development of new products and services, MIC said.

To implement the Politburo’s Resolution No. 52/2019 and the goal of developing 100,000 Vietnamese digital technology enterprises, it will require the cooperation and efforts of the state, the people, and the business community.

The government will actively develop and implement appropriate strategies, open mechanisms and policies, continue to improve the business investment environment, and facilitate business development, especially digital technology businesses.

The digital technology business community needs to be a pioneer in research, development, and innovation, mastering technology will make an important contribution to the national digital transformation.

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