As the world transitions online, cyber threats have increased dramatically. Ransomware seems to have capitalised the most. In the last few months, a slew of organisations from different countries had to deal with increasingly sophisticated ransomware attacks.
Given the vast amount of data being produced, especially in the COVID-19 era, backups are critical as they offer a fallback in the event of a cyber breach. But having more comprehensive, robust data protection strategies is the need of the hour.
In the increasingly Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) environment, organisations should be covered 24/7, year-round. They need systems that offer multi-protocol support for the vast amount of data they have and ones that can deliver results at an unprecedented speed. Platforms need to be designed to be fully customisable and easy to deploy for the best user experience so users must be able to expand and upgrade it conveniently and without disruption.
The solution must have the capability to protect saved data and backup metadata by creating a secure copy that ransomware cannot eradicate, modify or encrypt even with admin credentials. The good news is that there are a plethora of ways for a business to meet their Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs) from snapshots to mirroring.
This was the focal point of the OpenGovLive! Virtual Breakfast Insight held on 8 July 2021. This session aimed to provide the latest information on prioritising data backup to defend against ransomware threats, ensuring compliance and critical data availability.
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.
Finding Partners to Recover Data
To kickstart the session, Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief at OpenGov Asia delivered the opening address.
While the adoption of different technologies significantly increased during the pandemic, the solutions cannot be termed digital transformation as organisations, for the most part, deployed band-aid technologies and ad-hoc platforms to stay afloat.
Pushed by COVID-19-driven needs and used to private sector delivery quality, citizens expect services at an unprecedented level. The open market offers not only a wide variety of options but the ease of business and efficient service.
Banks, too, need to focus on enhancing citizen experience and provide them with great and personalised services. In the past, the benchmark of personalised customer experience was set by them, but during the pandemic, retail outlets have been leading the way by utilising a plethora of cutting edge solutions.
As a result, people have become even more demanding about what they want and have expectations of how it should be provided.
In perspective, though, while personalisation is a critical part of delivering the best experience for customers, it does make organisations more vulnerable to cyberattacks. When the pandemic started, people thought that cybercrime would slow down. In fact, cyber actors used the pandemic as an opportunity to increase their attacks as people started to work remotely. Ransomware, for example, has been crippling the economy – organisations, banks and governments all have succumbed.
Instead of merely focusing on the security aspect, Mohit suggests, organisations should concentrate on data recovery if data gets taken away.
Mohit emphasised the importance of partnership in securing and recovering data. Finding the right partners is paramount in recovering organisations’ critical data. Having competent partners who can focus on the data protection, data recovery and compliance needs against ransomware threats, allows businesses to focus on their main tasks and key deliverables.
Modernising Data Protection and Data Recovery
The delegates next heard from Sunil Chavan, Vice President- Emerging Technology Solution Sales, APJ at Pure Storage who discussed how ransomware impacts data management strategy in financial services.
Ransomware is now a national security issue for countries around the world evidenced by the many recent ransomware attacks. Most recently a backup software company was attacked by ransomware. Even a company that is supposed to help customers to manage their backup can also be a victim of a ransomware attack. This incident highlights the fact that no organisation is immune to ransomware.
Pure Storage is working with regulators and trying to understand their regulatory frameworks on ransomware. The main issue of ransomware is the loss of credibility of organisations with their customers. When the bank systems are crippled, regaining the trust and confidence of the customers is hard.
In financial services, technology and innovation are driving industry change at an increasingly rapid pace. Banking industries also need to face new challenges which include cost pressures, new competition, high expectations from customers and regulatory transformation. The new challenges create new opportunities for financial-services organisations if they use data in the right way.
The banking industry has been at the forefront of data protection. However, in the post-pandemic world, a vast amount of digital data is being created. Hence, banks need to improve their backup and restore data quickly.
Pure Storage goes beyond merely providing backup and guarantees a better rapid recovery of data in case of any ransomware attack.
Pure Storage has a feature called SafeMode to store data safely and when data gets locked due to ransomware, organisations can take the safe copy and recover the business quickly. This mode enables organisations to lock down data from malicious attacks. It creates read-only snapshots of backup data and associated metadata catalogues. Their snapshots cannot be deleted, encrypted or modified.
Numerous governments and organisations have pledged to not pay ransom to the cyber actors. Hence, organisations need to ensure they can return to normal so clients do not suffer.
Pure Store offers four solutions to empower organisations:
- Activate modern analytics: Leverage more of agencies’ data to accelerate time-to-insight and support Artificial Intelligence (AI) initiatives.
- Accelerate core applications: Enable rapid response times with enterprise resiliency and game-changing cost reduction.
- Enable hybrid cloud: Design applications that take advantage of the agility and innovation of multiple clouds at the same time.
- Modernise data protection: Deliver industry-leading availability while enabling comprehensive data protection across the enterprise.
In closing, Sunil shared that Pure Storage has been focusing on improving data protection activity and will continue to improve its services in the face of ransomware threats. Pure Storage helps the financial industry in its digital transformation journey by accelerating new edge infrastructure to enhance engagement with the customers.
International Case Study
The next speaker Kiran Kumar Sivapurapu, Technology Expert at Nationalised Bank elaborated on challenges and solutions of ransomware threats for financial institutions.
Ransomware is a type of malware that denies users and system administrators access to files or entire networks. Once the malware infects systems, threat actors will send a ransom note typically demanding payment in Bitcoin.
Ransomware has become a serious threat in this era. Kiran showed statistics about the amount of money from ransomware attacks is worth about US$ 20 billion. Ransomware usually targets the most common system that people use daily.
These are the most common challenges for financial institutions regarding ransomware attacks:
- Organisation IT security awareness
- Cybersecurity and data protection investments
- Data classification and prioritisation
- End-devices or touchpoints management and their protection
- Dealing with legacy systems and patch management
- Network security and isolation challenges
- Meeting massive scale application
- Protecting backup copies
- No one-stop data protection solution available for all types of workloads
- End-user experience
Kiran opined that the three basic pillars of any company are people, process, and technology. Having the right set of people, processes and technology are essential to deal with ransomware threats.
He also highlighted preventive measures of a data protection strategy. Organisations should not put all critical data in a single storage basket. They need to create immutable snapshots for quick recovery and implement Journal Based Continues Data Protection (CDP). Organisations identify the right way to backup for app and data consistency.
In closing, Kiran emphasised the importance of the three basic pillars and organisations need to focus on investing in people, processes, and technology. The three pillars define the level of resilience in an organisation against ransomware.
After the informative presentations, delegates participated in interactive discussions facilitated by polling questions. This activity is designed to provide live-audience interaction, promote engagement, hear real-life experiences and impart professional learning and development for participants.
The first question asked what the organisations’ most important IT priority was. Half of the delegates (50%) prioritised digital transformation and innovation. Almost one-third (30%) focused on improving efficiencies and reducing maintenance costs. One-fifth (20%) chose service-oriented applications as their main focus.
The next query was on challenges that delegates have with managing change in data or business requirements. A little over a third (38%) chose lack of flexibility or agility in current systems as their main challenge. About a third (31%) said that their biggest challenge was the time involved to make changes. A quarter (25%) voted that organisational commitment to look at new technologies was the key challenge. Only 6% of delegates chose leveraging cloud models as their main challenge.
On the issue of why digital transformation requires new IT strategies, just over two-thirds (67%) agreed that evolving business value is the main reason why new IT strategies are necessary. Some delegates and the speakers agreed that financial institutions have to be agile and robust to win over the competition, especially with emerging financial technologies. Delegates were evenly split between new IT enablers (13%) and partnering for capabilities (13%) as the reason why new IT strategies are necessary. Only 7% chose external customer-centricity.
On being asked about the biggest challenge for their organisations when faced with a ransomware attack, delegates were evenly split between compromised backup copy (38%) and customers’ confidence in the company (38%). A little less than a quarter (24%) chose the long time required to recover data from backup as their biggest challenge.
The next question was on the most important feature that the delegates expect from the Kubernetes Data Services Platform. Almost half (46%) chose elastic scalability and agility to run in the cloud, on-prem, and in hybrid/multi-cloud environments. The balance participants fell equally between data protection (18%) and data security (18%) for their Kubernetes applications. The remaining delegates (12%) chose ease of migration across clusters, racks, and clouds. Only 6% said capacity management was the best feature.
The last question inquired about which infrastructure tech modernisation areas that organisations are investing in or planning to invest in support of digital transformation. Almost half (42%) have invested in or planned to invest in Data Services (protection, location optimisation, security and compliance, integration and orchestration) for hybrid cloud. One-third (33%) chose converged or aggregated infrastructure. A quarter (25%) chose the service approach and nobody chose ransomware protection.
The Virtual Breakfast Insight ended with the remarks from Catharina Hadiningtyas, Country Manager at Pure Storage Indonesia. Catharina gave a recap of SafeMode as the feature that can help organisations to recover data quickly. This element can help organisations that are currently facing a problem of slow recovery.
She thanked everyone for actively participating in the discussion. The feedback from delegates gave Pure Storage insights on the challenges that Indonesian government organisations are currently facing and the priorities they are focusing on.
In a pioneering move to strengthen the capabilities of future robotic professionals, the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) has teamed up with seven esteemed local Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) to align and elevate learning outcomes in robotics courses.
This strategic collaboration aims to equip students with consistent knowledge and skills essential for their integration into the workforce and engagement in robotics work. The partnership, formalised through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed during the ROS-Industrial Consortium Asia Pacific Annual Summit, underscores a commitment to harmonising educational approaches in response to the dynamic landscape of Singapore’s growing robotics ecosystem.
This collaborative effort, led by Professor Quek Tong Boon, Chief Executive of the National Robotics Programme, addresses the imperative of cultivating a workforce adept in the Robot Operating System (ROS), an open-source framework pivotal in the development and control of robots.
According to Professor Quek, robotics courses are instrumental in shaping the skills, mindset, and capabilities of individuals, preparing them for impactful and rewarding careers in technology and innovation.
As ROS gains prominence in industrial robotics applications, facilitating seamless communication among robots with diverse manufacturers and user interfaces, the collaboration seeks to bolster the future workforce’s relevance and competitiveness. Likewise, it envisions empowering professionals to undertake higher-value tasks, aligning with the evolving demands of the robotics industry.
At the helm of this educational convergence is the ROS-Industrial Consortium Asia Pacific (ROS-I AP), managed by A*STAR’s Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre (ARTC). The consortium spearheads collaborative endeavours with Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore), National University of Singapore (NUS), Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP), Republic Polytechnic (RP), Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), Singapore Polytechnic (SP), and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD).
The ROS-I AP has been instrumental in adapting ROS capabilities to suit the hardware requirements of industrial applications. Traditionally, robots were programmed using proprietary solutions, constraining innovation.
Leveraging ROS’s open-source architecture, ROS-I AP catalyses the industry’s adoption of ROS by fostering collaboration, pooling resources, and sharing knowledge to drive ROS applications in manufacturing automation. The consortium also plays a pivotal role in training and outreach to cultivate a talent pool aligned with the increasing deployment of robots.
The MoU signifies a pivotal phase in a broader Train-and-Place programme championed by ROS-I AP, responding to the escalating demand for robotics-related skills in the Singaporean industry landscape. This initiative seeks to cultivate a skilled workforce capable of contributing to ROS-related projects within companies.
The collaborative efforts between ROS-I AP and IHLs aim to establish a standardised curriculum for ROS-based courses, ensuring a consistent quality of education delivery. The collaboration will also include monitoring the efficacy of course content through piloting in IHLs and assessing students, with a commitment to updating content to align with industry developments.
According to A*STAR, this holistic approach ensures that graduates across IHLs possess a baseline competency, instilling confidence in employers regarding the proficiency of these future robotic professionals.
Likewise, this collaboration signifies a concerted effort to shape the future of robotics education, ensuring that students receive a cohesive and advanced learning experience. As the robotics landscape continues to evolve, this strategic partnership not only meets current industry needs but also prepares the workforce for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in the dynamic field of robotics.
In a thorough report by the National AI Centre, Australia is poised to solidify its stance as a global frontrunner in Artificial Intelligence (AI) by strategically transforming cutting-edge AI research into lucrative commercial prospects.
Termed “Australia’s Artificial Intelligence Ecosystem – Catalysing an AI Industry”, the report delves into a comprehensive analysis, empowering businesses, investors, government bodies, and research institutions with the latest insights to propel Australia’s AI landscape forward.
Published during the inaugural AI Month in Australia, the report, commissioned by the National AI Centre, housed within CSIRO (Australia’s national science agency), highlights a significant revelation: while Australia contributes 1.6% of global AI research, only 0.2% of global AI patents originate from within the country. Securing patents for indigenous research becomes pivotal in harnessing Australia’s innovations, amplifying its global competitiveness on the AI frontier.
Stela Solar, Director of the National AI Centre, emphasises the imperative to capitalise on the immense $13 trillion AI opportunity. Solar advocates for patenting, commercialisation, and application of Australia’s groundbreaking research towards solving domestic and global challenges.
She believes, “This strategic move could elevate Australia’s international standing, entice investments, foster talent development, and cultivate nascent sectors and employment avenues.”
Dr Stefan Hajkowicz, Chief Research Consultant at CSIRO’s Data61 and lead author of the report, identifies a critical strategy: pinpointing and fortifying Australia’s AI specialities to bolster its global market edge.
Hajkowicz asserts, “Australia’s AI ecosystem is rapidly evolving, presenting opportunities for specialisation and diversification. Our focus should revolve around applying innovative AI in domains where Australia already leads on a global scale.”
The report delineates 31 potential application domains, pinpointing areas for Australia to become a prominent AI innovator and exporter. Notably, these areas span diverse sectors such as livestock production, medical technology, horticulture, optometry, and dermatology.
Dr Alexandra Bratanova, Senior Research Scientist at CSIRO’s Data61 and report co-author, emphasises the significance of nurturing AI innovation hubs tailored to specific industries. “Domestically nurtured AI solutions often align more closely with our values of safe and responsible AI products. These solutions can be customised to domestic needs and uphold higher quality standards compared to those offered by large international AI providers,” says Dr. Bratanova.
The report uncovers compelling findings:
- Australia hosts 544 AI companies, placing it on par with global AI leaders like Canada.
- Over the past decade, 396 AI companies have emerged, with 204 established in the last five years, representing a 7.7% year-on-year growth.
- Predominantly, these companies focus on data services, developing and optimising AI capabilities, particularly in data analysis and management.
- The AI companies exhibit geographic clustering, with eight prominent hotspots across cities like Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth, housing 54% (296) of these enterprises.
Moreover, the report includes insights gleaned from consultations with 28 stakeholders within Australia’s AI ecosystem. Representatives from companies pioneering AI technologies, government agencies, and research institutions have contributed valuable perspectives.
Australia stands at a pivotal juncture, armed with cutting-edge AI research and burgeoning industry clusters. By strategically harnessing these strengths, the nation can propel itself to the forefront of global AI innovation, fostering economic growth, job creation, and technological advancement.
The report arrives amid escalating apprehensions regarding AI’s potential misuse. The widespread impact of AI raises pressing copyright concerns that encompass various facets, including the data utilised for training AI models, the transparency surrounding AI’s inputs and outputs, the emergence of imitative works generated by AI, and the intricate discussions regarding copyright safeguarding for creations produced by AI.
To address challenges posed by AI on copyright issues, the Australian government launched a dedicated copyright and AI reference group. This initiative aims to proactively anticipate and navigate the intricate web of copyright concerns brought about by the proliferation of AI technology.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology’s National e-Governance Division (NeGD) is conducting the 40th Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) Deep-Dive Training Programme from 4-8 December.
It is being conducted under the Ministry’s Cyber Surakshit Bharat initiative, which aims to raise awareness about cybercrime and enhance the capabilities of CISOs and frontline IT personnel in government departments. Through it, the government ensures there are adequate safety measures in place to combat the increasing threat of cybercrimes.
The programme is held at the Indian Institute of Public Administration in New Delhi and is attended by 31 participants from Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and New Delhi.
The programme’s objectives include raising awareness, enhancing capacity, and empowering government departments with the necessary steps to establish a cyber-resilient ecosystem. It seeks to sensitise and orient participants on cyber safety and security, advancing the Digital India programme for the integrated delivery of diverse government services to citizens. The programme aims to provide comprehensive information and knowledge about cybersecurity, fostering awareness, building capacities, and enabling government departments to effectively manage their cyber hygiene, safety, and security.
Emphasising the significance of cybersecurity in the face of escalating cyber-attacks, MeitY Secretary, S. Krishnan discussed the vulnerabilities prevalent in the digital era. He highlighted the pivotal role played by CISO officials in formulating cybersecurity strategies for organisations, particularly for information security.
Krishnan said that it was important that CISOs should keep pace with technological advancements and encouraged CISO officers to adopt innovative and forward-thinking approaches in supporting the cybersecurity initiatives of their organisations. During his address, he acknowledged the Department of Telecommunication for its role in tackling challenges presented by emerging technologies such as 5G and 6G.
Officials including the Director General of the Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA), S. N. Tripathi, and other officers from NeGD and IIPA attended the inaugural session of the programme. Since the initiative was launched in June 2018, NeGD has successfully organised 40 batches of CISO deep-dive training programmes, benefiting more than 1,523 CISOs and frontline IT officials.
Cybersecurity has been a top priority for the government given the increasing reliance on technology across all sectors of the economy. Last month, the Ministry of Finance spearheaded a comprehensive discourse to strategise against the burgeoning threats of cybercrime in the financial services sector, particularly the surge in online financial fraud incidents.
Stakeholders discussed the need for enhanced coordination among police, banks, and financial entities for real-time tracking and blocking of defrauded funds. They also put forth strategies to tackle the proliferation of mule accounts, augment response times to handle alerts on online financial frauds and establish regional/state-level nodal officers.
As OpenGov Asia reported, it was agreed that a central registry for merchant onboarding and KYC standardisation is required and the importance of whitelisting digital lending apps through stakeholder consultation was highlighted. Progress updates on implementing recommendations, such as setting up the Digital India Trust Agency (DIGITA) and the proposed legislation known as the ‘Banning of Unregulated Lending Activities (BULA) Act,’ were also on the agenda.
Key industry players presented their strategies for mitigating fraudulent activities. The State Bank of India (SBI) presented its Proactive Risk Monitoring (PRM) strategy, while representatives from companies dedicated to mobile banking shared their successful best practices.
Organising Public Service Malls (MPP) in Indonesia represents an innovative approach to achieving more equitable and improved public services. Implementing MPP in Indonesia has significantly and positively impacted community public service performance. MPP integrates public services provided by ministries, agencies, provincial and municipal/regional governments, state-owned enterprises, regional-owned enterprises, and private entities, all in a unified location. This initiative aims to enhance the speed, convenience, accessibility, comfort, and security of services, ultimately contributing to global competitiveness and facilitating business operations in Indonesia.
The legal basis for establishing MPP is governed by the Regulation of the Minister of State Apparatus Empowerment and Bureaucratic Reform of the Republic of Indonesia Number 23 of 2017 regarding implementing Public Service Malls. This regulation is further strengthened by the Presidential Regulation of the Republic of Indonesia Number 89 of 2021 on implementing Public Service Malls.
To reinforce and expand the MPP initiative in Indonesia, 39 regions are prepared to offer integrated, convenient, and fast services through Digital MPP. The national count of Digital MPP locations has now increased to 60 pilot projects. It is hoped that these selected regions will uphold their commitment to leveraging Digital MPP in the future.
The assistant Deputy for Public Service Digital Transformation at the Ministry of PANRB, Yanuar Ahmad, emphasised the serious oversight of Digital MPP implementation across various regions by the Minister of PANRB. The directives given are particularly stringent, especially for inactive regions. “Failure to commit to utilising Digital MPP may result in reevaluating their status as Digital MPP locations,” he asserted.
The selection of regions as Digital MPP locations involves a process where 115 regional leaders have proposed the utilisation of Digital MPP to the Ministry of PANRB. The selection process includes an assessment of the readiness for Digital MPP implementation, focusing on regions that have already planned the establishment of MPP.
Yanuar explained that in November 2023, 115 regional leaders submitted requests to utilise Digital MPP. The evaluation process considered several reference variables, such as Digital Population Identity (IKD) and the Human Resources Information System for Health (SISDMK). Additionally, the readiness for physical MPP construction was taken into account. Subsequently, 39 districts and cities were designated as new Digital MPP locations.
The selected regions include Soppeng District, Pasuruan City, Bantaeng District, Sawahlunto City, Purworejo District, Morowali District, Wonogiri District, Pemalang District, Banjarbaru City, Hulu Sungai Utara District, Palopo City, Way Kanan District, Banjar City, Bangli District, Muaro Jambi District, Temanggung District, Penukal Abab Lematang Ilir District, Sabang City, Barito Utara District, Jombang District, and Kotawaringin Barat District.
Furthermore, there are Kapuas District, Cianjur District, Dharmasraya District, Hulu Sungai Tengah District, Tojo Una Una District, Lampung Timur District, Bintan District, Ponorogo District, Tegal City, Gowa District, Sukabumi City, Bangka Barat District, Pesisir Barat District, Tanggamus District, Morowali Utara District, Lampung Barat District, Banggai Laut District, and Jembrana District.
It is worth noting that the soft launch of the Digital MPP took place in June 2023 by Vice President KH Ma’ruf Amin, and it has been operational in 21 regions. During this event, Yanuar envisioned regions already implementing MPP could learn best practices and adopt new features of the Digital MPP platform.
“For regions that are not yet active, it is recommended to enhance and improve the performance of Digital MPP management promptly,” he added. The hybrid event also included a Digital MPP Technical Guidance. Siti Rafika Amalia Dina, the analyst for Public Complaints at the Ministry of PANRB, highlighted the significance of Digital MPP as an integrated digital service. Several key features of Digital MPP were outlined, including service application submission, service tracking, connection with service complaints, user service profiles, and notifications.
Integrating Digital MPP with Digital Population Identity (IKD) and the Human Resources Information System for Health (SISDMK) demonstrates a cohesive and efficient ecosystem. Additionally, the opportunity for regions without physical MPP to participate through Digital MPP reflects an inclusive and adaptable approach to public service solutions in the digital era.
The recent MSC Malaysia Asia Pacific ICT Alliance Awards (APICTA) 2023 witnessed the success of the Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU) with their pioneering creations, MAVIHUB and SMECollab. These innovations secured national acclaim, positioning themselves to represent Malaysian ingenuity at the imminent APICTA International competition in Hong Kong, China.
MAVIHUB and SMECollab, spearheaded by teams from APU, emerged victorious in the Industrial (Manufacturing) and Student (Tertiary) categories, respectively. These wins underscored APU’s standing as a leading hub for technological excellence and set the stage for its global prominence at the forthcoming APICTA competition.
MAVIHUB, led by Prof. Ir. Eur. Ing. Ts. Dr. Vinesh Thiruchelvam, Ir. Narendran Ramasenderan, and Mr. Krishna Ravinchandra, garnered attention with their innovative machine vision and deep learning solution, showcasing its potential to revolutionise manufacturing processes. Their debut victory at APICTA marked a milestone, emphasising their dedication to innovation and practical application.
“We showcased innovation in machine vision and robotic autonomy, demonstrating scalability and the potential impact of our project,” explained Ir. Narendran, representing MAVIHUB.
MAVIHUB is strategically charting its course for the international competition in Hong Kong. The team is meticulously evaluating whether to enhance their current project or embark on a new endeavour, aiming to align with the competition’s criteria and engage a broader audience.
Similarly, SMECollab, comprising Computer Science students specialising in Data Analytics, showcased their solution which addresses contemporary challenges faced by SMEs. Guided by mentors Prof. Vinesh and Georg Chmiel, their AI-based collaborative platform evolved through continuous refinement, culminating in their national accolade.
Participating in APICTA unveiled a realm of learning opportunities, exposing the teams to diverse perspectives and fostering their growth within the industrial and technological landscape. It catalysed their growth, enabling networking opportunities, skill development, and exposure to potential partnerships.
In another triumph for the university, Shah Faisal, an Electrical and Electronic Engineering student at APU, attained the Second Prize in the individual category of the esteemed IEM Student Research e-Poster Competition 2023, organised by the Marine Engineering & Naval Architecture Technical Division of the Institution of Engineers Malaysia (IEM).
The competition, themed around Sustainability and Integrated Engineering, drew participants from diverse educational backgrounds, engaging graduates, undergraduates, and community college students alike.
Challenging and multi-staged, the competition involved rigorous rounds where participants crafted comprehensive research posters elucidating problem statements, objectives, methodologies, results, and the potential impact on enhancing sustainability.
His winning research project, “Smart Health Monitoring System for Rural COVID-19 Patients”, project comprised three vital components:
Health Monitoring Device: Capturing a wide array of vital information such as body temperature, Blood Oxygen Levels (SPO2 levels), heart rate (BPM), room temperature, humidity levels, and Mental Health Index assessment.
Solar Charging Station: Employing dual-axis solar tracking technology for sustainability and independence from the conventional power grid.
Application: A platform displaying diverse vital readings to healthcare professionals and patients, featuring pre-diagnostic analysis and facilitating doctor-patient communication.
Reflecting on the intense competition that brought together Malaysia’s brightest minds, Shah Faisal expressed his excitement, stating, “I was thrilled to make it to the final round. Presenting and defending my research in front of the judges, followed by an extensive Q&A, was truly exhilarating.”
The triumphs of MAVIHUB, SMECollab and Shah Faisal are not only proof of APU’s technological prowess but also highlight Malaysia’s commitment to innovation on the global stage. Their journeys stand as a testament to the transformative power of innovation, collaboration, and the relentless pursuit of excellence in the realm of technology.
Vietnamese and Japanese experts discussed potential solutions to enhance collaboration in their digital economies during a forum held in Hanoi. It covered shifts in Vietnam-Japan relations and explored international trends and developments influencing economic cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.
The forum, titled “Digital Economy Partnership under Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF): How should Japan and Vietnam Cooperate?” was organised by the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) in collaboration with the Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Tokyo. Participants explored Indo-Pacific perspectives and assessments on digital economic cooperation in the IPEF, and the next steps for the countries to strengthen digital economic cooperation in the future.
During the event, Nguyen Anh Duong, Director of the CIEM’s Department for General Economic Issues and Integration Studies, outlined Vietnam’s endeavours in advancing the digital economy and fostering collaboration in this area. The country is actively transitioning its growth model to rely more on innovation and boost labour productivity.
Reflecting the country’s strong commitment to advancing digital economic development, the Prime Minister has issued a series of pivotal decisions, including one in 2020 approving the National Digital Transformation Programme. In 2021, he endorsed the E-Government Development Strategy, focusing on digital government, and in 2022, he sanctioned the National Development Strategy for the digital economy and digital society until 2025, with an orientation to 2030.
Last month, Vietnam and Japan released a joint statement, officially elevating their relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership for peace and prosperity in Asia and the world. In the statement, the Vietnamese President and Japanese Prime Minister affirmed their commitment to advancing collaboration in the digital economy and innovation, aiming to generate momentum for swift and sustainable economic development.
The Vietnamese community in Japan has experienced rapid growth, establishing itself as the second-largest overseas foreign community with a total of 520,000 expatriates. The Vietnamese human resources who account for about a quarter of all foreign workers in Japan, such as technical intern trainees, specified skilled workers, and engineers/specialists in humanities/international services, make significant contributions to the development of the economy of both countries.
Both leaders agreed to collaborative efforts to develop digital government, digital economy, digital society, and new potential core industries like semiconductors. Additionally, they recognised the significance of promoting the free flow of data across borders, fostering digital connectivity, and strengthening trust among consumers and businesses in the digital economy.
The two governments will also cooperate in smart power grids, smart cities, power market development, and localisation of the energy industry. Furthermore, they will work together on sustainable development goals, climate change mitigation, natural disaster risk reduction, green growth, resource management, environmental protection, and circular economy initiatives.
This collaboration extends to the ASEAN-welcomed Strategic Programme for ASEAN Climate and Environment (SPACE). Both leaders appreciated the consistent implementation of international agreements and commitments between their countries related to sustainable development, such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement, and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.
Additionally, Japan has pledged ongoing support for Vietnam in research, technology, and technique transfer, the training of health-related human resources, technical assistance in health policy development, and the promotion of bilateral cooperation programmes between medical facilities and research institutes. It will also support the development of a platform for cooperation through initiatives like Medical Excellence Vietnam (MEV) and the training of healthcare workers from both countries.
Thailand is once again demonstrating its commitment to advancing its agricultural capabilities. The Minister of Digital Economy and Society’s support for farmers to embrace digital technology, particularly the utilisation of drones, reflects the nation’s serious dedication to accelerating and enhancing agricultural practices in Thailand.
Mr Prasert Chandraruangthong, Minister of Digital Economy and Society, has conducted a field visit to witness the successful integration of drone technology in uplifting rural communities. The visit, conducted in collaboration with key figures such as Mr Phuchapong Nodthaisong, Secretary-General of the National Digital Economy and Society Committee, marks a pivotal stride in the expansion of the “1 Tambon 1 Digital” project, also known as the “Drone Jai Community.”
The delegation, including Mr Teerawut Thongphak, Deputy Secretary-General of the National Digital Economy and Society Committee, Mr Somkiat Siriwathanachoke, a specialist in policy management, and Mr Somboon Mekpaiboonwattana, a specialist in information and communication technology management from the National Digital Economy and Society Commission (NCDC), visited the Community Enterprise of the Comprehensive Farmers Group in Ban Dong Na Kham, Nong Nang Subdistrict, Tha Bo District, Nong Khai Province.
During the visit, the Minister and his team engaged in a comprehensive discussion with representatives of community enterprises. They delved into the outcomes of the digital technology and innovation project aimed at elevating the community’s overall well-being. The discussion included exploring challenges, obstacles, and recommendations from farmer groups. Additionally, the delegation had the opportunity to observe community products and witness firsthand the application of drones for smart agriculture.
The project, spearheaded by the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA), is designed to foster the development of a robust digital ecosystem. By leveraging drone technology for agriculture, the initiative aims to establish 16 service centres dedicated to maintaining, spraying, and distributing agricultural drones in the northeastern region. It forms part of a larger nationwide plan that envisions 50 such centres across the country, benefiting 160 communities in the northeastern region actively utilising drones for agricultural purposes.
Using drone technology in agriculture has proven transformative, offering efficient solutions to traditional farming challenges. Drones with advanced sensors and imaging capabilities provide farmers real-time data on crop health, pest infestations, and overall field conditions. This invaluable information enables farmers to make data-driven decisions, optimise resource allocation, and maximise yields.
During the visit, the delegation attended a lecture detailing the project’s outcomes and the practical applications of digital technology and innovation in agriculture. The engagement with community stakeholders facilitated a deeper understanding of the impact of such initiatives on the ground.
In alignment with the government’s commitment to digital transformation, the “1 Tambon 1 Digital” project exemplifies a strategic approach to empower rural communities. Further, through drone technology, Thailand can address the ongoing challenges of climate change while enhancing its agricultural sector’s efficiency, productivity, and resilience. In this context, food security becomes crucial and must be addressed quickly. By integrating drone technology into agriculture, the initiative not only enhances productivity but also opens new avenues for economic growth and sustainable development.
As the Minister of Digital Economy and Society navigates the frontiers of digital innovation in agriculture, the field visit serves as a testament to the government’s dedication to leveraging technology for the betterment of society. The project’s expansion is poised to create a ripple effect, inspiring similar initiatives and fostering a culture of innovation that transcends geographical boundaries.
The journey towards a more digitally inclusive and technologically advanced agricultural landscape is underway, and the “Drone Jai Community” project stands at the forefront of this technological revolution, paving the way for a sustainable and tech-driven future in agriculture. These activities aim to raise awareness and stimulate the application of drone technology for agriculture, including drone flying and maintenance competitions.