Digital Transformation

Under an initial 12-month pilot, Singapore’s 3rd largest bank confirmed that they had launched a programme allowing customers to sign electronic documents using the Singpass app. The bank said it will first test the use of electronic signature services with a set of its retail and corporate customers.

Some of the transactions the pilot will cover include forms for individual wealth planning services and other corporate applications. After the pilot ends, the service will extend to more of its products and services for retail and wholesale segments in Singapore.

The bank also plans to expand its electronic signature capability to the ASEAN region from 2022. Once rolled out across all markets, electronic signatures will cut down the use of more than 2 million paper forms a year, said the bank. This is in line with the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s green fintech push in recent months. For markets without a national digital identity platform, the bank will use electronic signatures and authenticate the customer through two-factor authentication.

The bank said it is the first in Singapore to pilot the use of the Government Technology Agency’s “Sign with Singpass” to confirm transactions or product applications using a customer’s digital signature. The digital signature is identifiable and uniquely linked to the person who signs. During the digital signing process, only a cryptographically random, indecipherable code will be shared with the bank’s document management platform to confirm that the customer has signed the document, thus ensuring the confidentiality of personal data, the bank added.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, since November last year, SingPass users can use the new “Sign with SingPass” feature to electronically sign contracts, agreements and other legal documentation. This feature will be progressively rolled out by GovTech’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Assurity Trusted Solutions Pte Ltd (ATS), in collaboration with eight digital signing application providers.

The signed document is platform agnostic, such that the validated signature can be viewed with the user’s preferred system. Digital signatures made with “Sign with SingPass” use certificates issued by ATS, the National Certification Authority. Upon ATS’ accreditation under Singapore’s Electronic Transactions Act, signatures made using “Sign with SingPass” will be regarded as secure electronic signatures.

The bank’s head of group technology and operations said that as more customers take to the convenience of managing their banking needs online, banks must ensure that they offer them a seamless and safe digital experience. She added that in 2018, they were the first bank in Singapore to digitalise all consumer banking product applications. Today, they are aiming to build on earlier efforts with their digital signature initiative. The initiative will not only increase the convenience for the customers but also remove one of the roadblocks – the need for physical signatures – in fully digitalising the documentation process.

The Senior Director for National Digital Identity of GovTech said that they are delighted that a bank will be piloting “Sign with Singpass” for its suite of digital services. The bank’s integration of “Sign with Singpass” is a significant step towards offering a more secure and efficient process for customers. The agency affirmed that it would continue to work with industry partners to build more beneficial services and establish new digitally enabled ways of doing business.

Today, SingPass has evolved to provide seamless and convenient access to over 1,000 digital services offered by some 250 government agencies and private organisations. There are now over 2.1 million users of the SingPass Mobile app since its launch.

U.S. programmers further developed their ai enabled housing solution, an application to help automate Dallas-Fort Worth’s Section 8 voucher program. The app uses Artificial Intelligence (AI), and automation to help voucher holders find rental units, property owners complete contracting and housing authorities conduct inspections. The software and mobile app were released in partnership with the Dallas Housing Authority, which gave access to data from some 16,000 Section 8 voucher holders.

AI has been used in a host of algorithms in medicine, banking and other major industries. But as it has proliferated, studies have shown that AI can be biased against minorities. In housing, AI has helped perpetuate segregation and discrimination. The creators of the app were worried that the AI would promote bias, so they tweaked it so that tenants could search for apartments using their voucher number alone, without providing any other identifying information.

As AI is adopted by more industries and government agencies, U.S. lawmakers want to strengthen and update laws to guard against racially discriminatory algorithms – especially in the absence of federal rules. Since 2019, more than 100 bills related to AI and automated decision systems have been introduced in nearly two dozen states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. This year, lawmakers in at least 16 states proposed creating panels to review AI’s impact, promote public and private investment in AI, or address transparency and fairness in AI development.

A bill in California would be the first to require developers to evaluate the privacy and security risks of their software, as well as assess their products’ potential to generate inaccurate, unfair, biased or discriminatory decisions. Under the proposed law, the California Department of Technology would have to approve software before it could be used in the public sector.

A lawyer described algorithms such as the ai app as a gatekeeper to an opportunity that can either perpetuate segregation and redlining or help to end them. He also praised the developers for their decision to omit a person’s name. However, the government cannot rely on small groups of people making decisions that can essentially affect thousands. The government needs to audit these systems to ensure they are integrating equity metrics in ways that do not unfairly disadvantage people.

The app’s developers are sure it would pass any state-mandated test for algorithmic discrimination and it has already been a huge success in Dallas and beyond. The Dallas Housing Authority has used the app to cut the average wait time for an apartment inspection from 15 days to one. Since its launch, Dallas and more than a dozen other housing agencies have added some 20,000 Section 8 units from landlords who were not participating in the program because of the long inspection wait times.

Dallas Housing Authority partnered with the developers to come up with some technology advancements to their workflows and automation so that they could respond in a more timely manner to business partners. The housing authority wanted to ensure that their partners the dealy as a lost lead in terms of working with the voucher program.

The real promise of AI in the housing space is that it may eventually produce greater fairness and equity in ways that we may not have possible before. Lawmakers are keen to make sure that the biases of the analogue world are not repeated in the AI and machine-learning world.

U.S. researchers have been creating AI for a multitude of purposes, such as an AI that can have free-flowing conversations. As reported by OpenGov Asia, the newest conversational artificial intelligence (AI) model, called Language Model for Dialogue Applications (LaMDA) aims to replace artificial, robotic conversations with AI, with more natural dialogues. LaMDA can engage a conversation in a free-flowing way about a seemingly endless number of topics. It is an ability that could unlock more natural ways of interacting with technology and entirely new categories of helpful applications.

The researchers are developing several qualities in LaMDA, including sensibleness, specificity, “interestingness” by assessing whether responses are insightful, unexpected or witty. They also want LaMDA to stick to facts and are investigating ways to ensure LaMDA’s responses are not just compelling but correct.

An AI company in New Zealand recently announced the launch of its new digital platform, an AI-powered end-to-end solution designed to help organisations manage the delivery of software-driven business outcomes. It includes AI-powered analytics, deeper insights into value streams, release management, risk management, and software delivery predictability, as well as pre-built, smart integrations for a variety of solutions that connect the entire lifecycle and provide visibility and automation.

The platform gathers data from all phases of the software development lifecycle to establish a strong data repository that has all of the information needed to acquire important financial insights and enable intelligent orchestration. With these capabilities, the platform enables enterprises to continuously and intelligently improve the entire development value stream, from ideation to customer delivery.

It provides end-to-end visibility and forward-looking analytics, allowing businesses to align software development teams with strategic business goals and truly leverage technology and data to make better business decisions. Businesses can transform traditional project teams, which are often structured around and focused on outputs and features, into cross-functional value stream teams, which are structured around customer-centric value, using Value Stream Management (VSM) and the Platform.

A forum on artificial intelligence identified key AI opportunities in the public, private and education sectors that New Zealand can invest in now to actively shape the effects on its collective future. Adopting Artificial Intelligence helps sectors from education to healthcare to citizen services to continuously adapt to market changes and customer needs and predict deliver better outcomes and services. Organisations and agencies can fully grasp the value of digitalisation, create higher efficiencies and boost productivity by leveraging artificial intelligence that scales operations in ways that humans cannot.

OpenGov Asia recently reported that New Zealand is set to adopt the world’s first Kiwi Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered insight generator system that aims to deliver richer, more accurate insights faster than ever before. The tech is an AI-powered super engine, revolutionising the speed and efficiency by which data is transformed into rich insightful knowledge. Comprised of AI tools and algorithms, the New Zealand-made market research insights product allows businesses to save hours in data analysis, dramatically improving productivity and allowing them to use their data smarter.

More than 1,200 enterprises around the world have accelerated their digital transformation initiatives, improved business outcomes and RoI from software investments, increased operational efficiency, and reduced risk with the Platform and associated solutions. Research indicates the global conversational AI platform market size is anticipated to grow from $4 billion in 2019 to $17 billion by 2025.

Artificial intelligence is now playing a critical role within the wider community in terms of enhancing efficiency and productivity, according to recent releases. It is the present and future efficiency driver for business and services around the world; one that is backed up by massive global investments. A report estimates that investment in AI, along with machine learning and robotic process automation technology, is set to reach $232 billion by 2025.

As businesses look for unique ways to capture the hearts and minds of consumers in the present contactless customer environment, robots, digital entities and virtual assistants are gaining ground. Currently, digital humans are already being deployed as brand ambassadors, digital influencers, customer support representatives and advisors across the entertainment, finance, banking, gaming, talent development and recruiting and health care industries.

Research collaboration on geotechnical structures in hydraulic engineering and another one on video coding technology developed at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) have won major Ministry of Education awards.

The two projects took home the 2020 First Class and Second Class Awards, respectively, in the Natural Science category at the Higher Education Outstanding Scientific Research Output Awards (Science and Technology).

Winning the First Class Award was the project “Uncertainty Analysis and Reliability Control of Geotechnical Structures in Hydraulic Engineering” by Professor Wang Yu of the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering and his team.

The research team focuses on the study of reliability and safety of dams and reservoirs, with particular reference to the many structures related to water conservation and hydroelectric engineering, collectively termed hydraulic structures, in mainland China. After more than 10 years’ hard work, the team has developed quantitative and highly efficient characterisation and simulation methods for uncertainty in subsurface rocks and soils.

By assessing the impact of these geotechnical uncertainties on hydraulic structures, they have established standards and design method for improving the safety and reliability of those structures. Their research offers new theories and methods for uncertainty analysis and reliability control. In addition, they have provided the theoretical basis and technological support for related evaluation, design and safety control.

Five representative academic papers produced by their project have been highly cited in the Web of Science Core Collection, and the findings are highly regarded by eminent scholars around the world, winning Sloan Outstanding Paper Award from the international journal Computers and Geotechnics and the Best Paper Award from Georisk.

Members of the collaborative research team include Professor Li Dianqing, Professor Cao Zijun and Professor Tang Xiaosong from Wuhan University and Professor Jiang Shuihua from Nanchang University. Professor Cao, a CityU PhD graduate supervised by Professor Wang, helped facilitate the collaboration.

The Second Class Award was won by a project titled “High-efficiency Computing Theory and Method for Video Coding” conducted by Professor Sam Kwong Tak-wu, Chair Professor of Computer Science in the Department of Computer Science (CS), Professor Wang Hanli from Tongji University, Professor Pan Zhaoqing from Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology, Professor Zhang Yun from Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Professor Zhao Tiesong from Fuzhou University.

Professor Wang, Professor Pan and Professor Zhao are PhD graduates of CS, while Professor Zhang was previously a research assistant with the department.

Video coding converts the original form into another format, which is convenient for storage and transmission via compression. The arrival of the multimedia big data era means video data flow is expected to increase sharply, especially with the rise in live broadcasting, online learning, self-driving cars, and other new technologies. After more than 10 years of extensive research, the team has contributed to the ultra-high-definition video industry by developing new theories and methods for enhancing the algorithm efficiency for video coding on three key issues: optimal mode decision, sparse transformation quantisation, and motion estimation optimisation.

Published in journals included in the Science Citation Index, the team’s 59 academic papers have been cited positively by fellows of academies of science and engineering around the world as well as over 50 IEEE and Association for Computing Machinery fellows.

The Higher Education Outstanding Scientific Research Output Awards (Science and Technology) set up by the Ministry of Education are presented to individuals and units of higher education institutions for their outstanding contributions in the areas of scientific discovery, technological invention, promotion of scientific and technological advancement, and the implementation of patented technologies.

Transition to renewable energy poses an identity crisis for the oil and gas industry that is currently facing new challenges in efficiency and profitability in the new normal. Entities across the oil and gas value chain spectrum – exploration, production, midstream operators, wholesale, downstream distribution, trading and even retail operations – face entirely new and uncertain realities. These include ever-changing global hydrocarbon market prices, increased pressure from authorities on the environment and a fluctuating investment climate due to global uncertainty driven by dynamic and uncontrollable external forces. 

To deliver a high level of profitability that is required to underpin hydrocarbon-based economies, particularly in Indonesia, both oil and gas companies and government bodies are seeking much higher operational efficiency rather than increased output. Transforming operation across the value chain through digital technology investment is increasingly gaining traction.  

Companies that are prepared to leverage cutting-edge technologies will have a far more optimistic outlook. Investing in cloud computing infrastructure, sensor networks, IoT, edge computing, streaming messaging, open architectures, open standards and API’s are all on the cards. Open-source along with massive advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) have the power to enhance oil field processes digitally. 

These technologies will help companies make data-driven decisions on critical issues with tighter processes and information integration across the entire oil and gas value chain. The opportunity for fully integrated groups from oil and gas companies addressing the whole value chain in this scenario is promising. 

AI has been utilised across industries to predict trends, manage stock levels and handle massive amounts of data. The energy industry has only started to harness the power of AI to automate processes, predict trends, improve performance and generally make their operations more efficient and cost-effective. Other non-conventional ways that AI can be deployed are in resources exploration by mapping and identifying petroleum deposits beneath the earth or detecting equipment failure or gas leaks. 

The sector has to deal with continuous change, even as they endeavour to increase profitability, operational efficiency and reduce costs. The sector must embrace the inevitable realities of energy market transition, decarbonisation and lower hydrocarbon prices with both lower upstream output and leaner trading margins. 

Breakthrough innovations are the need of the hour that can only be had by leveraging advanced technologies. This was the focal point of the OpenGovLive! Virtual Breakfast Insight held on 10 June 2021 which was sponsored by Red Hat and Intel.  

The session aimed at imparting knowledge on how tech can make a significant impact on oil and gas businesses and help drive operational efficiency and profitability whilst reducing the cost and implementing digital oilfield 2.0 innovation. 

This session served as a great peer-to-peer learning platform to gain insights and practical solutions to integrate cutting-edge tools and technologies for public sector communication and to scale these, as necessary. 

How Oil and Gas Industries Benefit From Digital Transformation 

Mohit Sagar: The cores of digital transformation are people and culture

To kickstart the session, Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief at OpenGov Asia delivered his opening address. 

Mohit acknowledged that the oil and gas industry is one of the leading sectors that generate huge income. However, this industry has been negatively impacted over the last decade due to supply-demand factors and, more recently,  the pandemic. While there are some uncontrollable factors, Mohit emphasised, there are others that companies can control, and they can control them effectively to achieve the desired goals.  

The current use of technologies to mitigate the pandemic is not actual digital transformation as agencies have been deploying band-aid solutions and ad-hoc platforms to stay afloat. Digital transformation is more intentional, with strategy. It involves processes, technologies and people that facilitate business objectives of revenue, operational efficiency and cost containment.

Nevertheless, the core of transformation is people – the challenge Is how to get organisational culture on the same page with industry. 

Digital transformation can bring a plethora of benefits to oil and gas industries such as improving operational efficiency, providing real-time data, increasing revenue,  giving real-time analytics and report, increasing safety and decreasing risks.  

Mohit encouraged the delegates to rethink how they harness the power of technology. This drive has to come from every unit, not just a few departments.

To effectively utilise technologies, partnerships are paramount to assist agencies in their digital transformation journey. Having competent partners is one of the keys to drive positive, effective, sustainable change. 

Utilising Red Hat’s Technologies 

Rully Moulany: Indonesian companies already been successfully using Red Hat’s technologies

Rully Moulany, Country Manager at Red Hat Indonesia was the next speaker who elaborated on the various technologies that Red Hat offers. 

Red Hat Indonesia has been operational for seven years but globally it has been operating for over 20 years. The company is the biggest software enterprise in the world that focuses on open source technology.  

Several Indonesian companies have been using Red Hat’s technologies particularly the Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system. This system is the foundation on which agencies can scale existing apps and roll out emerging technologies across all types of cloud environments.

It provides a versatile environment and the necessary tools needed to deliver services and workloads faster for any application. It reduces deployment friction and costs while speeding time to value for critical workloads, enabling development and operations teams to innovate together in any environment.

The company also has multiple other technologies and currently focuses on open hybrid cloud, infrastructure automation and cloud-native application development and platform.

The company also has multiple other technologies and currently focuses on open hybrid cloud. The greatest benefit of a hybrid cloud strategy is the ability to choose the optimal solution for each task or workload. It can become a necessity for many organisations as they grow. To fully enable the capability to adapt to change without costly rebuilding, a hybrid cloud should be built on a consistent foundation of open source code. Other technologies that Red Hat focuses on are infrastructure automation and cloudnative application development and platform.

Rully was confident that delegates would gain valuable knowledge from the speakers about open source technology. He was eagerly looking forward to a robust discussion, highly interactive, productive, and beneficial to everyone. 

Driving Real Digital Success In Oil and Gas 

David Forden: Open source is a disruptive innovation that has permanently altered businesses operations

David Forden, Director – Application Development Solutions at Red Hat Asia, was the next speaker who discussed how to use Red Hat and open source technology to drive digital success in the oil and gas sector. 

According to David, oil and gas companies have mistakenly assumed that an engineering-savvy company can easily benefit from digital solutions. However, there is a prerequisite change that must happen to drive digital success. 

In the current context, the sector has been dealing with uncontrollable external forces, such as the pandemic, the continued volatility of the oil prices and the impending transition to renewable energy sources apart from a host of regulatory, legal and financial hurdles. 

As a result, smaller companies are forced to focus on short-term initiatives to survive while larger companies and fully integrated companies have an unprecedented opportunity to get to the next level on costs, efficiency and adaptability. Digital transformation is crucial to create a sustainable future but at the same time, it has been overhyped.  

On the bright, research indicates a digital programme that implements narrow, deep, high-impact initiatives results in 2%-10% improvement and reduces costs by 10%-30%. This research suggests that digital inputs play a key role in generating more profits and increasing efficiency.  

David believes that the major stumbling block for digital success is embedded notions and norms. Information technology already has existing culture and processes that are hard to change. The IT division has not been ready to address digital transformation problems. Hence, both cultural and technological changes are required to achieve digital success. 

Nonetheless, there are various ways to accelerate cultural change such as team rotations, lighthouse service/team, embedded Minimum Viable Skills (MVS) resources, hackathons, MVS alignment and progression, communication/user groups, integration of culture, people and technology, communities of practice and design pattern.  

It is also crucial to differentiate between sustaining innovation from disruptive innovation. Sustaining innovation means improving existing legacy systems to be more efficient whereas disruptive innovation implies a complete change in how to conduct businesses for higher advantages. 

Chief Information Officers (CIOs) must separate sustaining innovation and disruptive innovation deliveries and address them both very differently. Be this the treatment of people, skills, processes, organisation structure, technology or centricity.  These are the differences in characteristics between sustaining innovation and disruptive innovation: 

Sustaining innovation: Cost-sensitive, reliability-centric, monolithic, ticket-centric, outsourced, minimal change, specialised based on function, upgraded in place, manual of functionally automated, technology-centric, incremental improvement in stability and performance, commodity-centric. 

Disruptive innovation: Customer-sensitive, niche and/or unproven, distributed, independent, segmented, feedback-centric, collaborative expertise, rapid change, specialised based on service, rebuilt continually, service automation, user-centric, improved features with acceptable stability, new-capability-centric.  

Hierarchical traditional practices are unsuitable for disruptive innovation, according to David. The focus must be on innovation, collaboration and guarding a coalition type model. They need to experiment with new and unproven technologies, but the potential of disruptive innovation outweighs the risks.  

Open source is a disruptive innovation as it has permanently altered the way that business is conducted. Thousands of other open-source software projects completely dominate the enterprise software landscape. Such software is now the engine that is used to power a dominant share of the worlds digital transformation initiatives across all industries. 

Technology in the oil field such as Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) has been around for a long time and is used for many metering and control use cases. The advent of the Internet of Things (IoT), sensors and edge computing is the next generation of SCADA. It holds unique advantages and opportunities for data collection, processing, AI/ML and real-time analysis that equate to efficiencies and profitability.​ Edge computing is a natural ally for the rollout of IoT as it brings the processing closer to the source for distributed applications architectures leveraging IoT. 

In closing, David pointed out that Red Hat not only offers a digital transformation in oil and gas but also has strong thought leadership in technology transition. They have a deep understanding of solution needs and offer extensive professional services to help ensure companies’ digital transformation. David invited delegates to partner with Red Hat and engage in more discussions and open dialogue. 

Digital Transformation in Oil and Gas Industry 

Widita Sardjono: Digital transformation is agile where companies can experiment with potential technologies

Widita Sardjono, Partner – Digital Transformation at PwC Indonesia, was the next speaker who discussed the landscape of digital transformation in the oil and gas industry.  

He explained why digital transformation is necessary for the oil and gas industries, what areas that benefit from this transformation and how companies can successfully undergo digital transformation. Undoubtedly, profitability is the main factor that drives digital transformation in the sector and current statistics reveal the volatility of the industries’ profit. 

As a consequence of price dips, the pandemic, climate change initiatives and global energy transition, prices will remain volatile for the foreseeable future. Digital transformation is the primary method to increase cost-efficiency to survive this unstable situation.  

According to PwC Indonesia’s survey on digital transformation, the five most popular technologies used in oil and gas companies include Manufacturing Execution System (MES), cloud computing, energy analytics, connectivity or IoT and ML. These technologies are applied to areas such as predictive maintenance, digital process optimization, smart energy, transportation risk management and integrated planning. These areas have the biggest potential to yield huge benefits.  

Research showed that the industry leaders expect a 10% revenue increase and an 8.5% cost reduction from digitalisation. Nevertheless, well over a third of respondents said that they are still digital novices and digital followers. Only a fifth are confident that they are digital innovators and digital champions. To achieve the goals, companies need to be digital innovators or digital champions. 

Widita went on to explore ways to implement a digital transformation framework. Companies need to determine their business priorities and what areas to focus on for digitalisation. Five typical areas for oil and gas companies to focus on are subsurface evaluation, development or engineering, production operation and maintenance excellence, connected supply chain and smart health, safety, security and environment. 

Digitalisation must be driven by businesses not technologies. As such, companies need foundational capabilities that include technology architecture, digital talent, data management and governance, as well as partnerships. 

Widita ended his presentation by stressing the importance of agile culture. Digital transformation does not usually happen by building a grand plan and taking actions later on. It has inherent agility in which companies experiment with potential technologies and either repeat or discard the effort. With every iteration comes a learning experience for companies. 

Interactive Discussion 

After the informative presentations, delegates participated in interactive discussions facilitated by polling questions. This activity is designed to provide live-audience interaction, promote engagement, hear real-life experiences and impart professional learning and development for participants. 

The first question in the opening poll was about the criticality of digital oil field transformation to the company’s near term success in the oil and gas value chain. Three quarters (75%) of the delegates agreed that digital transformation in the oil field is extremely critical while a quarter (25%) felt that it is somewhat critical. 

The next question focused on how delegates characterise the current stage of digital oil field transformation in their company. The delegates were equally divided between pilot projects already rolled out (40%) and that their companies have already applied full-scale implementation of more than one project (40%). Just a fifth (20%) said that their companies have been planning the transformation but they have no implementation. 

Mohit added that transformation can be bite-sized pieces in a form of a quick fix of a particular problem, it does not always have to be a grand gesture.  

Asked if delegates view edge computing as part and parcel of their digital oil field transformation strategy, half (50%) felt it is somewhat critical and almost half  (44%) said that the technology is supercritical. Only 6% thought that edge computing is marginally critical. 

Inquiring about the percentage of their overall IT investment to digital oil field transformation strategy over the next  3 years, a little over a third (38%) said that the IT division gets less than 50%.  A quarter (19%) said their IT  team gets 30% of overall investment. More than one-fifth (12%) said the IT division gets less than 20%. Only 6% said their IT investment is over 50%. 

The last question was on the role that open-source software plays in their companies. Half (50%) said that open source plays a somewhat critical role while a little over a quarter (26%) felt the technology is marginally critical. Interestingly, more than one-fifth (13%)thought open source plays a key role, the same number (13%) believed that open source is not critical at all 


The Virtual Breakfast Insight ended with the closing remarks from David. After hearing the interactive discussion from the delegates, he was looking forward to working with them. He stressed the importance of edge computing and urged everyone to think more deeply about the strategy that needs to be in place. He encouraged people to lobby the group to get a better profile of investment for the IT division in digital transformation.  

Before bringing the session to an end, Rully thanked everyone for their active participation. He encouraged the delegates to exchange ideas and gain more information about open source. 

Creating an internationally recognised and sought after tech hub is central to President Joko Widodo’s vision of ushering in a fourth industrial revolution built on advanced technology and human resources in time for 2045 when the country will celebrate 100 years of independence.

Indonesia’s new capital city would be modelled on Silicon Valley, functioning as a hub for digital and tech industries as well as housing the government. It will be completed in 11 years and will focus on the manufacturing of unmanned aircraft and nano-satellites.

President Joko Widodo made the appeal to reform the country’s science and technology policy at this opportune time. The National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) was recently restructured as an independent state body, and the technology ministry was incorporated into the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology. In the first phase of three years, infrastructure such as tollways, water and electricity systems and earthquake-proof buildings would be built.

In Sukabumi, West Java, the Bukit Algoritma (Algorithm Hill) megaproject embodies the same concept. An Indonesian politician from the Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) is leading this project.   The ambitious initiative aspires to be a hub of research in neuroscience, nanotechnology, quantum technology, solar cell technology, and space exploration, similar to Silicon Valley located in California. The project is expected to take 11 years to complete starting this year.

If the government and private sector want to turn Bukit Algoritma into a science and technology industrial zone, they need to come up with a specific industry to cultivate, possibly by utilising the existing oil palm plantations. This could lead to a regional vision of creating renewable energy and other derivative products in order to support a zero-waste industry.

Technology developers should be placed in the hub so that innovations could be made between them, especially start-ups. Such strategic steps would encourage and hasten the development of start-ups. However, a single technology centre, even as large as Silicon Valley, will not be enough to meet markets throughout Indonesia, which is an archipelago.

Indonesia’s objective of becoming a technological centre in Southeast Asia faces numerous challenges. Besides Indonesia’s progress in each of its disruptive technologies, the country still has a long way to go. Foreign investment is constrained, there are skills shortages, and the financial system is still developing. Better IT innovation and agility, as well as product and service innovation, are other success drivers.

Nonetheless, Indonesia is poised to become one of the world’s most important digital economic powerhouses, and 5G will be essential not just in accomplishing this aim but also in unlocking digital opportunities and growth. According to an article from OpenGov Asia, the Association of Indonesian Cellular Operators (ATSI) is now working on establishing its first 5G coverage by 2023, with major cities and tourist attractions expected to be among the first to adopt the technology. ATSI plans to perform frequency auctions next year in order to set up 5G networks in 2022.

Despite Indonesians massive growth, the country is dwarfed by the neighbouring Asia and South East Asia countries. India and China have massive investments from domestic and international sources with a huge skilled employee force and significant tech head-starts. Malaysia and Singapore are far more advanced economies, well along with their digital paths. Additionally, India, Malaysia and Singapore have a language advantage as English is the widely spoken and the medium of instruction in higher learning institutions and in business.

However, digital transformers in Indonesia have already seen benefits for their efforts, particularly in areas of digital experiences and digital operations. Indonesian firms successful in their digital transformation report improved operational efficiency and most often as reasons for success. This will serve as a beacon for others.

COVID-19 Pandemic accelerated a migration to cloud technology for U.S. government offices. A recent study found 56% of federal government offices now use some level of cloud-based solutions and systems, while 49% of state/local governments have most of their systems and solutions in the cloud. While software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications enable tremendous efficiencies and cost savings, they also come with some risk when it comes to data protection and privacy.

Federal agencies must follow the Federal Data Strategy framework which focuses on building a culture that values data, governing, managing, and protecting data, as well as promoting efficient and appropriate data use. Similarly, many states have enacted, or are currently enacting, data privacy laws. To help adhere to these policies, agencies must examine whether the data they gather and store is at risk of exposure. Backing up SaaS data can help them meet data governance and privacy regulations.

The vast majority of organisations backup their on-premise application data. They know how crippling it could be if the data they rely upon to run their missions and perform their services is lost or corrupted. However, it is not the case with SaaS application data. According to a study, 33% of IT professionals believe SaaS-based applications don’t need to be backed up, with 37% relying solely on the SaaS vendor to back up the data. However, when the vendor is keeping an agency’s SaaS app running, it does not automatically mean it is protecting the data.

Many SaaS vendors operate under a shared responsibility model. They are obligated to protect the application itself, but they are not responsible for safeguarding the data housed inside of it which is the users’ responsibility. After a service failure or end-users unwittingly change or delete data, then organisations finally realise critical data is gone and cannot be recovered.

As much as 45% of federal and 52% of state and local offices are already storing citizen and mission data in the cloud. One key way they can mitigate data risk, improve control over data access and enhance compliance is by backing up SaaS app data directly into their own services or cloud storage environment, instead of the SaaS app or backup vendors’ infrastructure.

Capturing information about who made data changes is also important. This includes not only who the people are, but also where they were located, their IP address, the device they used to access data, and so on. This is key for maintaining a digital chain of custody for data and enabling traceability and auditing.

The data that government offices generate in SaaS applications has value beyond the applications themselves. Government employees and contractors often need to tap into that historical data for other analytical purposes and use cases.

Many organisations use application programming interfaces (API) to provide direct access to that data so users can copy it into other systems and applications. However, not only are APIs time-consuming to maintain, but when too many users use them, agencies hit their API limits and have to pay SaaS vendors more for continued access.

Moreover, many agencies do not even know how many copies of data are made or where they reside. This quickly becomes a security and data management failure which can result in violation of data privacy regulations, such as the right to be forgotten.

However, by centralising backed-up SaaS data in a cloud data lake that they own, agencies can create pools of data for authorised users. IT teams can then use cloud-native tools that plug into the lake, automatically streaming data into applications and systems that can be tracked. Backing up SaaS data is extremely important. By capturing data at high frequencies in a cloud data lake they own, federal, local and state governments can better protect their data while maximising the value they get from it.

To aid farmers’ productivity by providing location-specific demand-based tele-agriculture advisories, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, the Digital India Corporation (DIC), and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU).

According to a press release, the objective of the MoU is to integrate DIC’s existing Interactive Information Dissemination System (IIDS) platform with ICAR’s proposed Kisan Sarathi programme. Its implementation through the ICAR network will reach a large number of farmers across the country. ICAR and DIC have agreed to collaborate to develop and deploy ICT platforms to establish and operate multimedia and multi-way advisory and communication system to support various local-level agricultural activities. To start with, the IIDS would be deployed at ICAR, which is a push and pull-based system wherein agriculture-related information can be pulled from the farmers using mobile phones.

Also, through the programme, farmers have the ability to receive individual needs-based information for only the services they have subscribed for. The experts at the back end will have access to the farmers’ database while responding to their queries. In this manner, the experts will be able to understand the problems raised by farmers or field problems in a better way (KYF – Know Your Farmer) and expeditiously provide appropriate personalised solutions. Currently, the IIDS platform has been deployed in the Northeastern states, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana. It will be extended to cover the country under the MoU with ICAR.

The DIC will provide the entire technical solution with support for development, hosting, and managing the ICT platform. The ICAR will manage and monitor the entire operations through their extension services network in the form of KrishiVigyanKendras (KVKs), various domain-specific research Institutes, and a network of agricultural universities in a phased manner.

Earlier in March, the government announced it was in the process of creating for the first time a “digital agri-stack”, a hi-tech national farmers’ database that could give the government and agribusinesses unprecedented insights into the rural economy. The digital repository will aid precise targeting of subsidies, services, and policies, according to a news report. Under the programme, each farmer will get what is being called an FID, or a farmers’ ID, linked to land records to uniquely identify them. India has 140 million operational farmland holdings.

The government is also developing a unified farmer service platform that will help digitise agricultural service delivery by the public and private sectors. The data of 4.3 crores (43 million) farmers linked with land records have already been verified and the database will be unveiled shortly, an official had claimed. The database will connect seemingly simple data points: the number of occupational farmers who avail of subsidies, how much land they own, what they grow, and which agro-climatic zones they fall in. These data points will be triangulated by software that will throw up a far more complex but illuminating picture of the rural and agricultural economy, the official said. The next step would be to create a model to monetise the data.

Barco ClickShare Conference: Great Things Happen When People Click