Public governance is more important in times of crises, such as the present pandemic, when economic and social consequences have far-reaching consequences. In these scenarios, existing governmental structures determine the nation’s initial reaction and ability to respond. They also impact, influence and direct the path nations and their economies take to recover and how societies adapt to a “new normal.”
Government services have traditionally been delivered in person by specific departments in brick-and-mortar locations through paper forms. However, despite the pandemic, agencies have had to rely heavily on digital technology, accelerating e-government and other citizen services.
With digital services, the government can provide information and services at any time, from any location and on any platform or device, while minimising citizens’ exposure to danger.
Thus, transitioning from traditional to digital services, or increasingly now a hybrid model, offers government capabilities beyond service delivery.
In the Philippines, the strengthened version of Republic Act No. 11032, also known as the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018, is one of many government policies and reforms that have facilitated quick actions and efficient resolution of all government responses.
It applies to all government offices and agencies in the nation, including local government units (LGUs), corporations owned or controlled by the government and other public agencies that may be based abroad or locally to offer services for both business-related and non-business transactions for Filipinos.
The OpenGov Breakfast Insight on 15 September 2022 at the Shangri-La The Fort Manila offered the latest information on the post-COVID-19 Philippine economic recovery with technical advances.
Accelerating Digital Transformation in the Philippines
Mohit Sagar, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of OpenGov Asia, opened the discussion by acknowledging that the Philippines is speeding its readiness for involvement in the global digital economy.
“Disruption brings exponential change, while exponential change brings unlimited possibility and the unlimited possibility brings rising customer expectations,” says Mohit.
He noted the Philippines’ digitalisation goals, which include interactive, transactional, networked public online services, more citizen participation, better openness in government, which leads to higher public trust, and improved efficiency in government operations.
Knowing about technology trends isn’t enough. Neither is possessing the latest and best hardware. Organisations can understand and utilise cloud-based services while remaining adrift. The most likely reason is that many have forgotten that technology is a tool and not a purpose.
“For governments, providing services to citizens is the purpose, but along the way, some governments forget this.”
Governments have unlimited possibilities. Their expectations and requirements for the services they offer have also exponentially risen. “We need to get our eyes more focused once more on purpose,” Mohit asserts.
Moreover, the Philippines’ Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) prepares the country for participation in the global digital economy in 2021. Other countries have achieved efficiency in production and services across all sectors by utilising superior information technology. As a result, the DICT highlighted the necessary adjustments in government, industry, and the public.
Mohit believes that to develop the policy and regulatory frameworks necessary for the effective governance of a digital economy, government agencies must collaborate more closely.
Of course, the goal has always been to provide dynamic, transactional, networked public web services. New technology has played a significant role in all the strategies laid out for more than a decade, as it has the potential to significantly boost a government’s level of performance.
Public engagement has a favourable impact on government decision-making because it introduces new information, attitudes and views. Digital services also improve government openness, which has a direct effect on public trust.
DICT’s mission also includes increasing the efficiency of government operations, which digitalisation has done well in governments around the world. Since the COVID-19 pandemic happened, governments worldwide have been changing and re-aligning their policies to get the economy going again in the new normal.
The business sector has called on the government to enact policy measures that will help enhance investments in digital infrastructure and remove recurring bureaucratic barriers to technology-driven development.
Since data science and analytics aid in developing improved policies and providing services, the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) declared that these fields urgently require digital transformation.
The new normal has highlighted growing public use of digital services, more potential threats in digital platforms, and increased demand for working from home and utilising metaverse. Important laws were approved, and measures were introduced to assist the continued digitalisation of services nationwide.
These are essential because they establish the regulatory framework that serves as the basis for technology’s current and future use.
Data and Analytics Innovation for Philippine Public Sector and FSI: Accelerating Technology Functions
Gerard McDonnell, Principal Business Solutions Manager, Fraud and Security Intelligence, Emerging Markets & Asia Pacific, SAS, believes that Artificial Intelligence (AI) combines machine learning and decision making.
“AI improves decision-making by teaching systems to imitate certain human jobs via machine learning and automation,” says Gerard. “Data and analytics transformation are especially challenging for the public sector due to size and operational restrictions. However, some are making progress and providing vital insights.”
As an example, he offers social fund distribution and flood control in Jakarta, where SAS Hackathon as an innovation incubator was made. This happened when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, wherein lockdowns and activity restrictions halted a large portion of everyday business and endangered the lives of millions of people.
The Special Capital Region of Jakarta’s local government took measures to mitigate the impact, including city injections to keep businesses afloat during the worst pandemic and subsequent infection spikes. This COVID aid was a lifeline for MSME business owners and regional employees.
A group of Indonesian data scientists attempted to address this issue. Using data and advanced analytics such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, they assisted Jakarta’s local government authorities in optimising the distribution of COVID aid.
Hackathon teams worldwide engaged with experts and SAS mentors to address significant commercial and government concerns, using the event as an innovation incubator.
The research team utilised SAS® Viya®, a cloud-native data management, AI, and decisioning platform, to implement AI and advanced analytics. SAS Viya effortlessly interfaces with open-source technologies such as Python, which the team also utilised.
The link between AI and the cloud provides Hackathon teams, corporations, government organisations, and institutions throughout the globe with the ability to rapidly transform data into better, faster, and more reliable judgments. Teams of participants work and compete during the SAS Hackathon to produce the best solutions to a business or humanitarian challenge using SAS technology.
A growing number of companies are implementing initiatives to embed data and analytics at the core of their operations, recognising the potential to revolutionise performance. Governments are also becoming aware of the immense potential of data analytics to enhance the delivery of public services, address social issues more effectively, and foster transparency and trust among citizens.
FSI companies can harness data and analytics power using cloud technologies and turn this wealth of information into actionable insights. “Fraud involving VAT Carousels was a serious issue for the Belgian government. The solution is used to identify businesses with a high likelihood of engaging in VAT carousels,” says Gerard.
The SAS Hybrid method delivers ultra-early detection beginning with the first VAT return or other suspicious activity that is dubious. The outcome is a 98% reduction in VAT carousel fraud. Analytics played a crucial role in reaching this result; the models are highly accurate and give ultra-early detection beginning with the very first VAT submission.
“VAT Carousels are now a controlled phenomenon. The system enables international collaboration by identifying suspicious companies abroad,” reveals Gerard.
FSI firms may use the cloud to break down legacy infrastructure barriers and transform massive amounts of internal and external data into market and customer insights. Thus, cloud-based machine learning services increase transaction monitoring and model development.
A functional design, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, combined with authentic dialogue and data governance, will ensure that financial companies provide personal customer service that improves the overall customer experience.
These cloud-enabled capabilities enable FSI organisations to manage risk better, optimise operations, and provide more tailored customer experiences.
The combination of cloud and big data gives FSI companies more insights into their clients than ever before. It enables businesses to create highly personalised solutions that meet the demands of their clients while accounting for changes in critical demographics.
This in-depth understanding will enable FSI firms to provide the incentives and services needed to keep and increase their customer base.
How Do You Close the Resiliency Gap?
According to Eric Velardo, Head of Solutions Engineering, ASEAN, Veritas, ransomware is malicious software (malware) that threatens to publish or limits access to data or a computer system, typically by encrypting it, unless the victim pays the attacker a ransom price.
Frequently, the ransom demand includes a deadline. If the victim fails to pay on time, the data is deleted permanently, or the ransom amount escalates.
“Ransomware threats are a major risk for many types of businesses. Attacks utilising ransomware have become regular, with cybercriminals continuously innovating and developing new, more sophisticated delivery methods,” says Eric.
He emphasised with the increasing demands and danger of data loss, an advanced multi-layered resiliency plan is required to ensure that IT services are secure, resilient, and recoverable while providing end users with the smooth user experience they expect.
Eric shared that the earliest known ransomware attack occurred in 1989. It was a sleeping giant until recently awoken by a perfect storm of circumstances, including the lingering effects of the pandemic, companies producing and storing more business-critical data than ever before, especially in the cloud, and the fact that more businesses are willing to pay ransoms.
Unfortunately, today’s cybercriminals are more intelligent and inventive than ever before. A recent example is the Russia-associated REvil ransomware as a service provider.
Before being forced offline in a multi-nation operation earlier this year, the group began offering a two-stage extortion scheme that not only held victims’ data for ransom but also automated DDoS attacks and phone calls to their business partners and journalists to increase the pressure to pay.
The capabilities are supplied collectively to ensure that your business will be prepared to resist and recover when Ransomware attacks. Despite the enterprise’s challenges, Veritas has devised a three-step plan to achieve ransomware resilience.
The priority is to secure or safeguard data integrity. The first step is to ensure total protection. This includes ensuring that all aspects of the environment are backed up to immutable storage, from physical and virtual to cloud and containers.
This comprehensive protection must be deployed smartly and controlled automatically to scale successfully. Veritas offers multi-layered solutions that are built on zero-trust principles.
Second, any strategy is only as good as its weakest link. Indeed, ransomware prefers to attack the most vulnerable areas of an IT environment. Universal visibility, controllability and measurability are essential to close these possible gaps. Veritas can assist in ensuring that all systems are safeguarded and that suspicious behaviour is detected before it becomes a critical issue.
Finally, total cross-system restoration is automated and orchestrated. This is accomplished by providing as many options as feasible, such as other recovery sites such as secondary data centres, and even the ability to put up a whole data centre in the cloud on demand from efficiently stored static data. Veritas makes restoring as easy as a single click.
Only Veritas can automate and coordinate comprehensive data centre recovery on demand from deduped data to anywhere, including the cloud, at scale. That means organisations can execute their recovery strategy with a single click.
“We can practise and restore to a sandbox environment using the same recovery orchestration without affecting the production environment at all,” says Eric. “The enterprise IT solutions from Veritas ensure that IT applications are secure and dependable.”
He added that firms are not effective at testing their disaster recovery (DR) plans because it disrupts production. “However, not with Veritas. It’s also worth noting that you can test with a lower footprint during the DR and then deploy the full-sized DR system during recovery. This is something that most of our competitors do not have.”
Creating Agility and Resilience for a Changing Digital World
According to Hon Chew Seetoh, General Manager, Asia, Boomi, based on an internal Boomi investigation of over 10,000 client use cases, the following are the issues impeding digital transformation success:
- Legacy systems are #1 among the barriers
- Lack of enterprise-wide data structure
- IT leaders have stalled or abandoned digital transformation
- Lack of improvement in customer experience
- Have insufficient in-house skills
“I feel that for the context of today’s agenda, it is useful to remind ourselves of the importance of data in our business. I have two simple examples that perhaps amplify this importance,” says Hon Chew.
The first is the fire that almost destroyed the historic Notre Dame Church in Paris. The data in question is a ten alphanumeric code that exploded on alarm systems, but no one could make sense of what it meant for 30 minutes.
It later turned out that the code was for a smoke detector in the wooden ceiling of the church. The 30-minute delay in not understanding what a 10-digit alphanumeric code was, almost destroyed 759 years of history.
So simplistically, it is not that there is no data, but its meaning, its relevance and most importantly, its impact, good or bad, on the business and the everyday lives of the citizens are not fully understood.
There are many positive examples of Digital Transformation using Data. An international newspaper is an excellent example of how a legacy company has embraced Data in its business transformation.
There are five factors that the international newspaper has made its 40% year-on-year paid digital subscription, and revenue and profit increases despite print revenue decreases:
- Leveraging Customer Data to Increase Subscriptions
- A new Mindset of Agile Product Experimentation
- Intense Leadership Focus on Digital Experiences
- Cross Silo Collaboration Built on Trust
- Building a modern technical stack
What is impressive is that these five strategies can be applied to almost any business. Thus, every company can succeed in the transformation.
There are two key considerations and strategies: Treating the data as a critical resource and integrating everything from everywhere. “Agencies and even private organisations need trustworthy information access to make effective strategic decisions and maintain efficient operations,” believes Hon Chew.
Integrated Experiences are the convergence of information, integration and interactions that revolutionise the way a company interacts with its customers to instantly connect them to what they desire. Customers, partners, employees, and stakeholders are all examples of users.
On the other hand, Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) is a platform that standardises how applications are connected within an organisation, making it easier to automate business processes and transfer data between applications.
The iPaaS provides integration services that mirror enterprise solutions to government IT managers. This streamlines workflows for internal workers and citizens that require the government to respond to their enquiries and fulfil their demands as quickly as its standard APIs.
The integration platform integrates the government organisation’s cloud-based and on-premises technology. This is especially significant in the public sector since legacy and internal systems are frequently used, and third-party solutions are challenging to integrate.
An iPaaS provides a central hub to facilitate the movement of data. This means enhanced internal staff efficiency and a greater capacity to satisfy the demands of your community’s residents.
For government and state entities, security and cost are significant concerns. An iPaaS solution provides a unified solution that enables the government to maintain legacy systems, add custom solutions, and integrate with newer APIs, making it more cost-effective than alternative approaches.
In addition, it is a more secure solution because it provides the government with a single platform that can be monitored and secured more simply. Data loss is less likely when using a single platform than when using different systems.
Through a single iPaaS platform, users may share information smoothly to suit the needs of consumers or citizens, and data administration is more efficient.
Boomi has a platform that enables companies to discover, connect, and leverage their data to deliver an integrated experience to users. The end-to-end platform ensures a great experience, from the design stage to the creation of new products and even the invention of new business models to create competitive advantages.
Know the 6 Key Drivers of AI Maturity Before You Hit the Wall
According to Alex Aung, Director, Sales Engineering (South Asia), Dataiku, “Maturity is not when we start speaking big things, it is when we start understanding small things.”
Organisations are constantly modifying their operations to stay up with market dynamics and the competition. Business transformations have three primary goals: 1. Operational change, which entails performing present tasks in a manner that is better, faster, or less expensive; 2. Innovation of the business model in a completely different manner; 3. Domain expansion generates new business beyond already served areas and changes the company’s essence.
Alex explains that every organisation goes through five ai maturity stages: Explore, Experiment, Establish, Expand, and Embed. “However, the challenge is not the technologybut the culture and processes.”
He shared three factors for why it is needed to assess AI maturity. “For benchmarking, place yourself on the potential growth curve toward mastery of leveraging AI — identify if your AI is acting as a utility, a business enabler or a business driver and where you stand vs your competitors.”
For strategic planning, strategise about what internal organisational steps an organisation should take to be confident that they can address AI at such a pace with such an ambition in mind
Lastly, it is essential to communicate its vision, “Communicate to management where you stand and how far you have to travel and at what rate you can expect it.”
Alex is convinced that vision, value, governance, talent, system and data drive AI maturity. He added that there are six main dimensions that an organisation must deliver to evolve from one maturity phase to another.
On the other hand, shaping operating models means managing supply and demand, favouring AI adoption and transformation for the organisation, and maintaining agility and robustness to lead to sustainability.
AI can assist in driving step-change improvements to transformation programmes in five areas of business transformation: process, digital, management, organisational and cultural. By learning from previous examples, AI can personalise automation. It can also determine what drives process parameters such as cycle time, quality, and prices. Thus, AI can assist the organisation in understanding the inputs and how they influence the results.
Digital efforts entail gathering and disseminating new data more meaningfully and efficiently. Enterprises may improve their customer experiences with AI, and this empowers decision-making. They are frequently concerned with improving the customer experience, developing, or improving products, and creating new services.
Initiatives within an organisation consist of evaluating the department’s staffing and structure for the success of its employees. Teams can use AI to forecast employee success and retention based on employee characteristics and the organisational context.
Changing the company culture to accomplish business objectives better is the objective of cultural initiatives, which frequently include gaining people’s support and showing acceptable behaviour.
With AI, teams can comprehend and determine which elements and types of behaviour drive the desired objectives and quantify the influence of employee behaviour on business outcomes to prioritise the most significant.
POWER TALK: Smart Cities: Shaping the Future of Connected Government
“The goal of developing a smart city is to improve the lives of every citizen in every nation through modernising and automating many essential processes,” says Raymond Remoquillo, Country Lead, Large Enterprise and REL Business, Lenovo Philippines.
Smart city deployments, in general, include a variety of features and cutting-edge technologies like ICT implementations, as well as various ecosystems of technology suppliers.
Sensors, gateways, communication infrastructure, and servers will all work together to bring the concept of the “Internet of Things” to reality, making it a vital component in building future cities.
On the other hand, smart city technology results in cost savings, more resilient infrastructure, and a better urban experience. Smart cities are the key to integrating a sustainable future with sustained economic growth and employment creation to provide the lifestyle with a new identity and unique value.
Smart cities have a very human and straightforward goal -to dramatically improve the living and working conditions of the metropolitan people.
As governments face constrained budgets and limited IT resources, technology advancements drive operational efficiency through automation solutions.
Nonetheless, there is cause for optimism. By modernising government technology, “Digital Transformation” solves the dilemma of doing more with less for governments at all levels.
New possibilities for government workload automation have evolved, creating operational efficiencies for governments of all sizes, and even attending to the current problems with disaster management.
Paul Rene S. Padilla, OIC, Information Technology, Department City of Quezon, spoke about the crucial need to change current disaster data management methods. Collaboration among institutions is essential for sharing, visualising and analysing data to improve decisions and interventions.
Government automation is not a novel technology but one that continuously evolves. Artificial intelligence advancements continually lead to workload automation and play an increasingly vital role in streamlining government-related operations that specialists traditionally perform.
According to Diosdado Santiago, OIC, Information Management System, Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB), “Empowering the general public is part of the transportation sector’s goals.”
“It is important for us that we can connect and produce results like creating policies in using QR codes for public vehicles,” Diosdado says.
Understanding precisely what is needed and proper deployment is the key to getting desired results with any technology. Investments in poorly deployed or planned technology can be harmful, particularly in the government sector.
While there are numerous automation possibilities, governments must evaluate their priorities, strengths, shortcomings, and most urgent requirements. AI and autonomous intelligence, for instance, can be used to power government automation platforms and process automation software.
Angel Redoble, Chief Information Security Officer, of PLDT Group, ePLDT, and Smart Communications, believes that users should be protected even if they are away from the office. He emphasised that cybersecurity is crucial because it safeguards all types of data against theft and loss.
This covers, among other things, sensitive data, personal information, intellectual property, data, and government and business information systems. “Without a cybersecurity programme, organisations cannot defend themselves against data breach and can ruin their whole operations that could lead to the worst scenario,” says Angel.
Why Business Resiliency Matters More Now than Ever Before
COVID-19 has altered governments’ and businesses’ perspectives on economic resilience, and every country knows how to develop corporate resilience and why it is crucial.
“We have gone through the Pandemic and are now entering Endemic. Most of us have begun to reconsider Business Continuity. Resilience is a product of Covid19,” says Arnold Carlos, Account Manager, AWS.
Business leaders are becoming increasingly interested in data analysis for decision-making purposes. Change, simplifying, and knowing how to view analytics dashboards are priorities for CIOs.
With this, Arnold emphasised the importance of AWS, which will provide its business resiliency framework to build visual maps that will enable the client to improve infrastructure and optimise costs across weeks, months, and years.
Leaders had to make rapid choices but lacked immediate access to data or real-time analytics. AWS Constructed data lakes and analytics to aid leaders and public health officials in tracking the infection, analysing its effects, and ensuring the safety of employees and residents.
The decades-old mission-critical systems and websites broke under pressure, resulting in a poor user experience. AWS modernised historical systems to enhance the ability to offer vital services, such as unemployment insurance claims and safeguarding backup emergency operations.
Employees or students had restricted access to systems, resources, and data to perform government services or remote learning; therefore, AWS provided thousands of public sector companies with a tool to work, teach, and support remote citizens and students throughout the epidemic.
The centres lacked sufficient agents to manage call volume resulting in long hold times and overloaded systems. AWS Implemented artificial intelligence (AI), conversational bots, and virtual call centres to enhance the customer experience and give agency management actionable intelligence to eliminate fraud, waste, and abuse.
Personnel lacked the necessary technical skills to keep systems operational, and constituents lacked in-demand skills – Provided no-cost AWS training on the cloud and how to construct IT infrastructure and develop secure cloud-based applications for government employees.
Typically, organisations wait until something is broken before attempting to repair it. Building resilience enables an organisation to be proactive, accelerating a digital transformation, enhancing operations over time, and planning resources.
“We endorse the business resilience framework that we developed. This framework not only helps to present all the solutions we can offer by business resiliency category but also enables account teams to create visual maps,” Arnold explains.
In addition, the framework can aid senior executives in understanding the full benefits of establishing a solid infrastructure. Too often, business leaders decline cloud requests because they cannot adequately articulate how the technology contributes to the company’s overall goals.
Leaders must find ways to alleviate the challenges associated with severe cuts to financial and human capital resources, newly implemented health standards, and outdated technology. Sector and industry leaders are hard-pressed to prioritise what’s urgent and what may be delayed amidst many competing needs.
“By initiating the business resiliency dialogue and implementing solutions today, you can see beyond the immediate crisis,” Arnold ends.
Unlocking the Power of Your Data to Drive Actionable, Real-time, Insights-Driven Decision-making using Graph Database
According to Pranay Roy, Manager, Solutions Engineering, APJ, TigerGraph, there are barriers to the mainstream adoption of graphs despite graph computing’s ability to give data intelligence at scale and speed, there are still barriers to its mainstream adoption. These barriers include the lack of understanding of graph computing’s capabilities and the difficulty that many graph platforms have had in interoperating with third-party libraries and other systems in data processing pipelines.
“Graph technology is an important component of the total solution. Graph systems, when combined with other analytics technologies, will enable enterprises to gain meaningful insights from the massive amounts of data they already have,” says Pranay.
Detecting and preventing fraud necessitates a multi-layered, sophisticated strategy. This means that systems must go beyond transactions to relationships, including confirming identity based on a comprehensive understanding of activities and behaviours.
Once fraud has been recognised, it can be stopped in real-time. In addition, when the graph database system learns the fraud indicators, similar fraudulent activities can be discovered and halted more quickly.
Graphs and charts are visual depictions of data. They are significant and valuable because they are potent tools that may be used for tasks such as analysing data, stressing a point, and comparing multiple sets of data in a manner that is simple to comprehend and remember.
Pranay highlighted that comparing collections of complex data can be burdensome and difficult to comprehend at times, thus, graphs and charts are applied to present the data in a manner that facilitates analysis.
Business graphs are visual aids utilised for data analysis. They can facilitate the comparison of numerous data sets, as trends and linkages are often readily apparent on the chart or graph. They also aid in presenting data that is easy to understand and recall.
Graphs and charts are crucial because they facilitate the rapid data analysis and identification of linkages. They simplify information so the audience can easily comprehend and remember it.
Pranay elaborated on TigerGraph, a native parallel graph database designed for loading enormous volumes of data (terabytes) in hours and analysing relationships up to 10 hops deep in real-time.
He cited an example of the local government that can control the spread of future illnesses by finding infection centres and tracking people’s travels using graph analytics and TigerGraph.
“This is apart from tracing those who may be transmitting the virus and encouraging them to self-isolate; identifying everyone who was near spreaders and warning them about the risk of infection and developing models to forecast the number of ICU beds and ventilators needed at the peak,” explains Pranay.
He clarified that Temporal (Time Series) Graph Analysis is the study of how prescribers, providers and members change over time and how those changes affect their relationships.
“Temporal analysis can show, for example, if patients are seeing their health care providers, and if the cost of care for those patients is going up or down over time,” Pranay explains.
The temporal analysis lets providers immediately see all the information that is important for a specific patient and find ways to improve the quality of care. When combined with the multi-dimensional entity and pattern matching, temporal graph analysis can tell a care team which members are missing post-operative appointments.
“TigerGraph can help a care team offer support and help to members who are going through a similar journey and make sure that they stay committed to their recovery programmes,” Pranay concludes.
Data Analytics @ Cities and Transportation: Focus on the Implementation of Practical Ways to Unlock the Value of Data and Increase Efficiencies of Transportation
According to Yau Wai Yeong, Segment Marketing Manager, Smart Cities & Transportation Road Infrastructure, Intel Corporation, AI can improve organisational productivity, cost control and research advancement.
“Intel technologies provide holistic systems based on our experience with governments and the public sector. We can solve the most challenging problems together in ways that will alter society,” says Yau in an exclusive video presentation.
In AI, private enterprises have made incredible strides. Everyone gains from AI by using what they have learnt to solve problems in the public sector. Some of the most significant technological developments are frequently driven by the government. Innovation in the public and government sectors can encourage the adoption of AI across industries.
The core of AI in government services consists of machine learning and deep learning, computer vision, speech recognition, and robotics. When used, these strategies produce actual, measurable results.
As cities and municipalities have turned to technology to improve the lifestyles of their citizens, advancements in 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT), edge computing, and artificial intelligence provide cities with opportunities to enhance citizen experiences and services. This is primarily attained as the new technologies allow governments and businesses to build secure and sustainable urban environments designed to support a thriving economy.
5G represents the next generation of technological advancements designed to increase mobility and improve the lives of citizens. In conjunction with other technologies, 5G radically alters city residents’ lives, work, and travel.
5G facilitates infrastructure development in unprecedented areas, including on land, water, and trains. Real-time solutions ranging from mass transit and intelligent traffic management to vehicle to everything (V2X), lighting, parking metres, and sewer lines are made practical by AI computing at the edge. IoT sensors can monitor air quality, energy use, security, traffic patterns, and public transit.
Intelligent Transportation and Smart Cities can achieve massive device connections, increased data speeds, decreased latency, more system capacity, and a cheaper total cost of ownership with 5G.
“The demand for public transportation and infrastructure needs to be improved to meet the needs of growing populations and megacities,” says Yau.
5G provides city and transportation officials with the opportunity to rebuild their core technology infrastructure and establish a new, more robust foundation to satisfy the rising need for urban innovation.
Intel technologies are incorporated into the Smart Edge platform. Moreover, Smart Edge is a cloud-native, scalable, and secure platform for edge computing with many access points. With Smart Edge, businesses and communications service providers can support cloud-like services closer to the user on client premises or at the network edge.
Smart Edge opens new options and income streams for organisations and service providers while reducing the total cost of ownership for intelligent edge systems.
Innovative funding and financing options can advance Smart City and Intelligent Transportation initiatives. Funding commitments are necessary to implement a comprehensive Smart City and Intelligent Transportation concept and ITS improvements. It is a crucial component that requires careful planning.
Defining and implementing a Smart City, Intelligent Transportation, and 5G strategy is neither simple nor risk-free, but the potential rewards are substantial.
Intel believes that a successful city and transportation transformation involves the correct level of stakeholder collaboration, distinct priorities, and rigorous technological infrastructure design.
“Intel has a data-centric vision. Intel’s investments in AI, 5G, and Edge solutions are helping Smart Cities and ITS providers put data to work. The result is better synergy among Intel, the public, government, and industries both at the edge and in the cloud to drive data-based decisions and improve efficiency, make transportation easier, and give agencies and citizens more value,” Yau claims.
POWER TALK: Services in “New Normal”: Time to Recharge, Reinvent, Reimagine and Reinvigorate
As a result of the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the present public health emergency has resulted in significant changes to business practices and daily routines. This has implications for how businesses build and design their products and services, especially in the health care sector.
According to Cherrie Esteban, Chief, System and Software Engineering, Department of Health in the Philippines, to keep up with the times and encourage growth during a period of profound change, it is necessary to comprehend new requirements and new behaviours to help in every situation.
She mentioned that the department is currently improving its telemedicine programme for easier access to health care services. Still, they need to ensure that the data is being protected through policies, universal health care law and data security.
This new norm, which will alter the meaning of the workplace both remotely and on-site, is centred on technology, according to Dennis Omila, Chief Information Officer, UnionBank of the Philippines.
Most currently working remotely prefer to maintain a mixed model of remote and in-person work. And the new strategies of companies fit with the changing demands of the labour force.
Companies have diverted expenditures from larger office spaces and on-site support to new technical solutions that enable robust, safe and productive work environments to prepare for the new normal. In addition, government institutions must shift their concentration.
“Our goal is to leverage technology to support underserved communities, and we think applying AI to these efforts will make it more powerful,” says Dennis. “And people are the key part of the transformation.”
In addition, domestically and internationally, social media and virtual encounters have become the “new normal” as people attempt to maintain routine in the face of pandemic limitations. Most Filipinos are spending more time on social media and engaging in more online shopping.
With consumers increasingly turning to online buying in response to pandemic restrictions, entrepreneurs have even more embraced the online shopping digital boom. E-commerce websites are in the vanguard of these online shopping platforms, with anticipated sales revenue increases in the millions of Philippine pesos.
Technology has changed online business transactions into an unlimited marketplace; conducting business has become more convenient and efficient for sellers and buyers. The pandemic of COVID-19 has made this market a greater necessity.
Moreover, when Covid-19 struck, it compelled global socioeconomic transformations. Governments enacted orders restricting big gatherings of people, prohibiting in-person business transactions, and encouraging as much remote employment as possible.
In response, businesses and schools began searching for internet-based methods to maintain operations remotely. While working from home offices, they utilised numerous collaboration platforms and video conferencing capabilities to maintain contact with coworkers, clients, and students.
According to Charles David Ramos, Head of Information Technology, City of Makati, the new normal provides an opportunity to accomplish more things far better.
He added that Makati City tagged as the financial capital of the Philippines has been at the forefront of citizen services.
Some of their initiatives are: hospitalisation and education are free and other free programmes for the citizens. They also made payments easy for companies, organisations and residents through online portals and applications.
Moreover, Makati has been implementing a Data warehouse and analytics programme. They have the citizen corporate data apart from the electric bus transport system and south way system; and the digital twin city programme.
This shift towards digital operations in many firms affected both customer-facing and internal processes. Due to the inability to congregate in groups, many professional organisations and schools were forced to devise new methods of communication, collaboration and completion of jobs or school tasks while working remotely.
Customers have also shown a willingness in receiving services with minimal or no human interaction, necessitating remote or at least contact-limited operations from a customer-facing perspective.
Together, these factors contributed to a digital transition that has had repercussions across industries. Examining how these developments have affected firms can assist individuals in comprehending how organisations might embrace their digital growth and which aspects of these changes are likely to endure.
While a machine can accomplish a given task, typically more efficiently than a person, it lacks the artistry in the activity and the capacity to cater to the needs of the individual that is unique to humans. Therefore, technology is useless without human interaction. The procedure may recommend one method, but a competent employee understands when to change and the required nuances, such as “Tech will not take our jobs, so you have nothing to fear.”
Mohit agrees that “change is tough, and technology is our next-door neighbour; thus, all we need to do is grasp technology and its benefits.” The marketplace for technology professionals is evolving, as is the computing landscape and technology delivery.
Mohit concludes, “Begin designing a plan that exploits cloud benefits for your firm, as the cloud is here to stay.”
The global spread of COVID-19 has been a disaster of unparalleled proportions. Not only has it halted the world economy, but it has also made even the most optimistic leaders reconsider how soon things would return to how they were before the outbreak.
Even as the pandemic disrupted businesses and services around the world, a sudden and dramatic increase in internet consumption was observed. Businesses had to shift to digital communications and tools as the key medium for maintaining productive and interesting relationships with their many stakeholders – internal and external.
While the private sector was quicker to alter procedures in the early phases of the pandemic, the public eventually successfully adapted and innovated to continue citizen service delivery. Of course, early on, most governments rapidly put into place digital communication and emergency response platforms.
By allowing users to access their data and applications from any internet-connected device, cloud computing expands the scope of digital transformation beyond simple technology adoption to encompass a comprehensive redesign of all related procedures, resources and user interactions.
The cloud and digital transformation are now inextricably linked. Organisations across the board need to adopt a cloud-first strategy if they want to ensure the longevity of their operations and realise their transformation objectives.
Most organisations and agencies have benefited from the digital change, but some industries are behind the curve. To keep up with the fierce competition in their industries, they must guarantee the reliable operation of the cloud communication platforms that serve as a direct line of contact between the organisations and their consumers and aid in the promotion of their offerings.
The OpenGov Breakfast Insight on 25 November 2022 at M Hotel Singapore provided Singapore’s public, education, financial and healthcare sectors with the advantages of the most recent cloud technology.
Simplifying Things via Cloud Communication
Mohit Sagar, CEO & Editor-in-Chief, OpenGov Asia believes that the cloud has transformed the way organisations communicate, cooperate and carry out many other critical business and service functions.
Cloud communications are voice and data communications solutions that organisations employ to manage cloud-hosted applications, storage and switching.
“Cloud communications services are becoming an increasingly intrinsic choice for organisations looking to streamline their operations and enable their remote workforces to stay connected and productive,” observes Mohit.
Cloud communications enable organisations to interact with their employees and customers over many channels, including email, audio calls, chat and video. All of these leverage internet-based connectivity to minimise faulty connections and lag in communication.
This communication model has become the go-to option for addressing the growing need for efficient internal communications in the hybrid workplace. As numerous workers are returning to the office, and for many of those who have remote work capabilities, hybrid work arrangements are swiftly becoming the new standard.
Organisations are figuring out ways to make hybrid work as interesting and effective as they can. Leaning into what is working, changing what is not working and adapting as lessons are gained are the first steps in creating an effective hybrid strategy, work environment, and culture.
Employee access to the system from anywhere on any device is the need of a mixed work environment. Regardless of the apparatus they are using or their location, employees need to be able to connect to the system.
“User-friendly features in cloud communications make it simpler for staff to become used to the technology,” Mohit explains. “Up until now, better work-life balance, more effective time management, control over working hours and location, prevention of burnout and higher productivity have been the main benefits of hybrid work.”
Having the appropriate tools to be productive at work, feeling less a part of the organisation’s culture, poor cooperation and relationships, and disturbing work processes are some of the biggest obstacles to hybrid work.
Apart from the initial expenditure, virtual meetings result in reduced expenses because of the decline in maintenance and transportation costs. Moreover, integrations of cloud telephony enable companies to place and receive calls from any device that is connected to the Internet.
This means that cloud communications can potentially maximise resources for organisations. Procedures, implementation and adaptability can all be accelerated with a cloud communications strategy, which also offers limitless high-volume information transmission.
According to Mohit, cloud communications must have robust security components to ensure compliance with data privacy laws and the security of all stakeholders. “To assist in safeguarding data in the cloud, emerging cybersecurity tools should also be taken into account.”
These include Artificial Intelligence (AI) for IT Operations (AIOps) and Network Detection and Response (NDR). Both programmes gather data on the security and stability of cloud infrastructure. After data analysis, AI notifies administrators of any unusual behaviour that might represent a threat.
Ultimately a well-thought-out cloud communication strategy with strong security features can serve organisations and gain a competitive advantage in an increasingly digital landscape and VUCA environment.
According to Lucas Lu, Head of Asia, Zoom, if communication fails to give the greatest possible experience, everyone suffers – from employees to consumers to investors. And neglecting to address this essential avenue has ever-worsening implications.
Organisations are going through some significant changes, he explains. The first is in the general business environment. Organisations are under tremendous pressure to boost efficiency, adapt fast as competition rises and keep up with the rapid pace of innovation and technological advancements.
This problem is becoming even more pressing because of economic uncertainties. Furthermore, solving these problems requires effective communication between consumers, prospects and staff.
The workforce is likewise seeing a paradigm shift. People desire the option of remote employment and are asking for the cutting-edge equipment and communication systems they need to do their jobs.
HR managers concur that a high-performing workplace’s future requirements would include collaboration, regular communication and a mentorship culture between managers and teams. “You run the risk of losing the ‘War for Talent’ if you don’t deliver,” Lucas asserts.
With every new tool and software that is made available, communication becomes more difficult and complex. Employees, clients and potential consumers are just a few of the stakeholders who have preferences and expectations about how, when and where they conduct business.
Due to this, many businesses choose their battles carefully when it comes to facilitating communication. They follow a variety of routes, including:
- Maintaining already-established systems that are deemed adequate
- Making use of the fundamental, built-in communication capabilities that are provided with other software packages, even if they don’t entirely satisfy the organisation’s demands
- Using different approaches based on the circumstances. You might, for instance, employ one communication tool for internal cooperation and another for clients, investors, and outside events
“All these strategies are meant to provide organisations with fundamental communication,” says Lucas. “These methods provide some flexibility, but they also change the environment for prospects, employees and consumers. People are compelled to alternate between various options based on their needs as a result.”
This causes unneeded annoyance, rework, expenditures and misunderstanding. Employees may feel alienated and impatient. Customers’ interactions with the brand are disorganised and unprofessional. And various instruments frequently make business slower.
In this uncertain business environment, organisations that can move beyond basic communication into universal communication have extraordinary potential. They can develop intuitive connections to all parties, employees, customers and investors, regardless of location, technology or business activity.
This will be accomplished by integrating the individual and organisational connection demands that will result in a) Delivering a consistent and quality experience for all participants, b) Making human connection effortless, and c) Enabling rapid innovation to maintain relevance.
These results may:
- Satisfy both the primary business requirements and the consumers’ expectations
- Redirect internal resources from managing communications to new services and capabilities; and
- Increase the marketability and perceived agility within the organisation and in the market.
An organisation’s reputation is directly related to the quality of its communication services. In addition to the fact that employees, clients and customers can work remotely, those returning to the office do not t want to compromise on the at-home office environment to which they have grown accustomed.
Organisations must adapt to this new hybrid environment to guarantee that everyone receives high-quality service regardless of circumstance or location. Expectations are simply greater and it is unacceptable if a session fails due to dropped participants or subpar audio or video.
“With Zoom, you may use a top-notch infrastructure that is specially made to prevent failures to safeguard your company from communications disruptions. You eliminate a work-limiting unpredictability risk by doing this,” Lucas says confidently.
When communications are down nowadays, it is impossible to conduct business. Hence, organisations may provide a controlled experience by enabling their staff to work without being concerned about the underlying technology. Additionally, they can analyse the underlying cause of any problems in their surroundings and take preventative measures.
With this, employees can concentrate on their work without unneeded interruptions or ambiguity and will have faith that the communication solution their organisation has deployed will work as planned.
“Partnering with Zoom enables quick innovation to keep up with the times. You can take advantage of a constant flow of fresh features that correspond to actual user requirements,” Lucas says. “Moreover, by frequently communicating with their support group, organisations will rapidly realise what is possible.”
Fireside Chat: How to Prepare for the Transition to the “Cloud Culture”
Geetha Gopal, Head of Infrastructure Projects Delivery and Digital Transformation, Panasonic Asia Pacific believes that every day, new technologies emerge and the culture of change is driving a paradigm shift for which an organisation must be prepared.
“As the COVID-19 outbreak rocked the world and we were unsure of what to do, our investments in technology became our strength,” says Geetha.
As the trend toward digitisation of remote work transforms the traditional office culture, a cloud culture has evolved. Likewise, cloud computing has become a competitive advantage for these organisations.
Every step toward better efficiency in the manufacturing sector increases competitiveness. Because of this, the industry’s embrace of cloud communications has become a crucial turning point. Cloud communications have changed the game for manufacturing by enabling increased efficiency while lowering IT expenditures.
“Cloud computing is the future, and organisations are successfully transitioning from the traditional office culture to the cloud culture,” Geetha says firmly.
Streamlining operations using scalable technological solutions for essential tasks and process optimisation not only helps reduce costs but also frees up time for businesses to devote to value-adding endeavours.
This is crucial now more than ever as operations teams struggle to keep up with the quickening speed of product and investment strategy development being observed among clients.
The new service-focused, client-centric operating model for investment operations will be made possible by technology, data and scalability. Organisations need to realise that the greatest way to prepare for the future is to create it as they deal with this period of constant innovation.
As a result, operations leaders who are taking steps to redesign, reinvent and adapt their operations may ultimately be in a stronger position.
Geetha emphasises that collaboration, communication and connectivity are crucial for success in today’s work environment. The key to maximising these contacts is digital communication. “For efficient communication and productivity, your company primarily depends on specific systems, platforms, and applications.”
More organisations are understanding the enormous advantages of migrating their systems to the cloud as technology continues to progress. In addition to allowing organisations to remain relevant in a competitive market, innovation plays a vital role in economic growth. Innovations are required to solve key problems.
One of the tactics that may be employed to save money while maximising organisational resources and extending communication skills and reach is advance planning.
An advantage of cloud communications for aiding staff members in a hybrid workforce is the reduction in time spent travelling to the workplace. Employees can save time travelling with the hybrid model simultaneously offering the chance to be more productive.
Despite the importance of enabling technology, it is the human workforce that will not only execute the organisation’s digital transformation strategy but also ensure its long-term success.
Guaranteeing that personnel are up to the task, however, needs not only technical training but also a radical transformation in thinking and decision-making.
It is important to focus on organisational culture by changing the management programme and making concerted efforts to close the gap between the internal aspect and employees.
Organisations that are unable to develop and achieve new goals that will assist their employees and business to thrive are those that are unwilling to alter existing practices.
“The pandemic can no longer be an excuse or the reason – remote work is here to stay. If we want skilled employees then we need to concentrate on their needs – we must empower our employees,” Geetha concludes.
Lucas believes that every problem has a solution since most organisations fail to connect their strategy to their innovation objectives. “Change is a constant process, and what we say today might leave a legacy tomorrow. Any plan for digital transformation, in our opinion, must be built around digital innovation.”
The road of digital transformation must involve a competitive advantage that can only be sustained by introducing innovations and contemporary methods if it is to stay modern and please clients with cutting-edge goods and services.
For every change, there is a call for managerial backing to be successful and transformative. Zoom is happy to discuss how digital transformation budgets differ from traditional business or IT budgets to meet the demands of any organisation.
Lucas believes that cloud computing is transforming not only how many organisations access and store data, but also how many of these businesses run. It provides greater protection, flexibility, data recovery, minimal to no maintenance and ease of access.
“Although many people used to hesitate the cloud computing, they have now realised how important it has become to organisations,” Lucas has observed.
Mohit believes that changes in computers and how technologies are distributed are altering the ecosystem, especially for those who work in a hybrid environment. He encourages delegates to start establishing a strategy to utilise the cloud’s benefits for their businesses and services. “Organisations should determine the types of cloud services for which you require solutions, then meet with cloud service providers to determine the best long-term match.”
Both public and private organisations benefit from the adaptability, efficiency, scalability, security, improved collaboration and cost savings that cloud computing offers. “The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated cloud adoption, but it is anticipated that cloud computing is here to stay, especially since hybrid work assumes a central role,” Mohit concludes.
India ranked 61st in the recently released Network Readiness Index 2022 (NRI). The report ranks a total of 131 economies that collectively account for almost 95% of the global gross domestic product (GDP). The United States ranked first place as the most network-ready society. The report is titled ‘Stepping into the new digital era: how and why digital natives will shape the world’.
According to a press release by the Ministry of Communications, this year, India jumped six places. It ranked 11th within Asia and the Pacific. Further, the country not only increased its ranking but improved its score from 49.74 in 2021 to 51.19 in 2022. Apart from placing first in AI talent concentration, the country has done well in mobile broadband Internet traffic within the country, international Internet bandwidth, and annual investment in telecommunication services and domestic market size. Its ICT services exports ranked fourth, followed by FTTH/building Internet subscriptions and AI scientific publications. The country’s weakest indicators were happiness, online access to financial accounts, and the gender gap in Internet use.
As per the report, India has greater network readiness than expected, given its income level. The nation scores higher than the income group average in all pillars and sub-pillars. It said the country’s main strength relates to people and the greatest scope for improvement concerns governance.
Major progress was made by Singapore, which jumped from the seventh position to ranking second in this year’s index, pushing Denmark (6th) and Finland (7th) out of the top 5. The other five countries that made up the top ten included Sweden (3rd), the Netherlands (4th), Switzerland (5th), Germany (8th), the Republic of Korea (9th), and Norway (10th). The ranking is based on each country’s performance in technology, people, governance, and impact, covering 58 variables.
Recently, to secure digital data, the government, through the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MietY), announced it would discuss various aspects of digital personal data and its protection. It has formulated a draft bill titled ‘The Digital Personal Data Protection Bill 2022’. As OpenGov Asia reported, the purpose of the draft Bill is to provide for the processing of digital personal data in a manner that recognises both the right of individuals to protect their personal data and the need to process personal data for lawful purposes.
The Ministry has invited feedback from the public on the draft Bill. The submissions will not be disclosed and held in a fiduciary capacity, to enable people submitting feedback to provide the same freely. The government has said no public disclosure of the submissions will be made. The government said the draft Bill uses simple language, allowing citizens to understand it easily. It is accessible on the Ministry’s website, along with an explanatory note that provides a brief overview of its provisions.
At the Launch Ceremony of the national system of Policy Research Centre for Innovation and Technology (PReCIT)” as one of the PolyU’s 85th Anniversary celebratory events, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) hosted the “Forum on Integrating I&T into GBA. PReCIT is a University-level interdisciplinary policy research centre with the aspiration to be the leading I&T think tank in Hong Kong and the region.
Some 300 staff, students, alumni, leaders from I&T, finance, academia and guests gathered to exchange views on how Hong Kong can proactively integrate into the Nation’s development plan.
The Secretary for Innovation, Technology, and Industry, HKSAR Government stated that the new Policy Research Centre for Innovation and Technology will play a key role in facilitating interdisciplinary collaboration for more impactful research, in the I&T field.
PolyU’s President stated the establishment of PReCIT is just another timely step taken by the University to respond to key national strategies that unleash unlimited opportunities for Hong Kong’s future development.
The Vice President (Research and Innovation) and Director of PReCIT introduced the Centre’s background and three major research foci – carbon-neutral cities, the Greater Bay Area I&T development, and the Belt and Road Initiative development in Southeast Asia, with a view to dovetailing with the National 14th Five Year Plan in supporting Hong Kong to develop into an international I&T hub.
He stated that the respective strengths of Hong Kong and the mainland must complement each other in deliberation on cross‑boundary integration proposals which aim to foster R&D commercialisation to unleash the potentials of the GBA and Belt and Road economies as well as the opportunity associated with re‑industrialisation. To achieve this, a cross‑boundary policy on I&T cooperation including regarding the flows of I&T material, capital, data and people between Hong Kong and mainland provinces is needed. PReCIT, as the advocacy body of PolyU, endeavours to formulate strategies that support Hong Kong’s participation in the national pioneering technology missions.
The Co-Founder of the Greater Bay Area Association of Academicians; the President of the Hong Kong Academy of Engineering Sciences; the Chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong Industries; and the Senior Vice President and Executive Director of the Public Policy Institute, Our Hong Kong Foundation, were invited to share their insights, ahead of the announcement of the Hong Kong I&T Development Blueprint, in the panel discussion session moderated by
The Co-Founder of the Greater Bay Area Association of Academicians shared his experiences in cooperating with the innovation and technology sector on the mainland. He reiterated that it is important for the HKSAR government to work together with stakeholders, especially experts and the capital market, to advance I&T development.
The President of the Hong Kong Academy of Engineering Sciences called on the government to set an R&D policy direction that supports the Nation’s development. He also suggested Hong Kong and other cities in the GBA together establish an intellectual property exchange platform for university researchers to present their research outcomes and attract further funding.
Chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong Industries explained how Hong Kong serves as an industrial and I&T headquarters in connecting the GBA and ASEAN for research commercialisation and empowering advanced manufacturing, capitalising on the City’s strengths in the industry chain and as a financial centre.
The Senior Vice President and Executive Director of the Public Policy Institute, Our Hong Kong Foundation stressed that joint cross-border policy initiatives are needed to overcome barriers to deepening market access and facilitating movements of factors of production.
Finally, the Head of the Department of Applied Social Sciences and Co-Director of PReCIT concluded that concerted effort from all sectors of the community is essential to provide a sustainable and supportive environment for high-calibre and potential I&T talents to be persuaded to stay in Hong Kong.
Hybrid networking took place in Hai Phong city earlier this week, connecting Vietnamese and Republic of Korean (RoK) businesses with the supply capacity and demand for technology. The event was co-organised by the municipal Department of Science and Technology and the Korea Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA Hanoi). Many participants joined remotely from the RoK’s Incheon, Gyeonggi, Busan, and Seoul.
At the event, more than 50 networking sessions were scheduled to introduce a series of technologies such as dry ice blasting for industrial cleaning, product error detection technology to control and monitor the production process, and solutions for smart factories and machinery manufacturing.
According to the Department, the organisation of the networking was based on a survey of demand from more than 100 Vietnamese firms, most of whom lauded the RoK’s sci-tech products for their diversity and easy application. The Director of the department, Tran Quang Tuan, noted that applying science, technology, and innovation is an important role in business development, as the world and Vietnam no longer rely on available resources and advantages such as land and labour for economic growth.
This year, the department organised four networking events to connect Vietnamese enterprises to their peers from Taiwan, Israel, Japan, and the RoK. As a result, more than 200 working sessions between the sides took place and over 50 foreign technological solutions found customers in Vietnam.
In October, a Republic of Korea-Vietnam digital transformation forum was organised by the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) and the RoK Ministry of Science and ICT (MIST), as part of Vietnam International Digital Week. Vietnamese and Korean information technology enterprises shared digital transformation solutions in manufacturing industries at the forum.
As OpenGov Asia reported, the Director of the Authority of Radio Frequency Management suggested that businesses from RoK share their experiences in the implementation of digital transformation with their Vietnamese counterparts. He said that digital transformation is one of the breakthrough strategic solutions implemented by the Vietnamese government. One of the key targets of the country’s digital transformation is to put peoples’ and businesses’ activities on digital platforms and encourage businesses to use digital technologies, especially those relating to artificial intelligence (AI) and digital platforms to improve productivity and operational efficiency.
Digital technology and digital transformation will enhance administrative reform, help people access public services more easily and conveniently, and bring the government closer to the people. That is the basic goal of Vietnam’s digital transformation.
In 2020, Vietnam approved a National Digital Transformation Programme by 2025, with an orientation toward 2030. The strategy helps accelerate digital transformation through changes in awareness, enterprise strategies, and incentives toward the digitalisation of businesses, administration, and production activities.
The programme targets businesses, cooperatives, and business households that want to adopt digital transformation to improve their production, business efficiency, and competitiveness. The plan aims to have 80% of public services at level 4 online. Over 90% of work records at ministerial and provincial levels will be online while 80% of work records at the district level and 60% of work records at the commune level will be processed online.
Scientists from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore (NTU Singapore) have created a method to transform wastepaper from cardboard boxes and single-use packaging into a vital component of lithium-ion batteries.
The NTU researchers used a process called carbonisation, which turns paper into pure carbon, to transform the paper’s fibres into electrodes that can be used to create rechargeable batteries for electric cars, medical equipment, and mobile devices.
Paper is used in many aspects of daily life, from gift wrapping and crafts to a wide range of industrial uses, including heavy-duty packaging, protective wrapping, and the filling of voids in construction, according to Assistant Professor Lai Changquan of NTU’s School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering and the project’s coordinator.
However, besides incineration, which produces high levels of carbon emissions because of its composition, not much is done to manage it when it is disposed of. “Our method to give kraft paper another lease of life, funnelling it into the growing need for devices such as electric vehicles and smartphones, would not only help cut down on carbon emissions but would also ease the reliance on mining and heavy industrial methods,” says Ass Prof Lai.
The team heated the paper to high temperatures to carbonise it, which turns it into pure carbon, water vapour and oils that can be used to make biofuel. As carbonisation occurs in the absence of oxygen and produces very little carbon dioxide, it is a more environmentally friendly method of disposal for kraft paper than incineration, which releases a lot of greenhouse gases.
The carbon anodes created by the research team also demonstrated superior durability, flexibility, and electrochemical properties. According to laboratory tests, the anodes are at least twice as durable as the anodes in today’s phone batteries and could withstand 1,200 charges and discharges.
The NTU-produced anode-based batteries could withstand physical stress better than their rivals, absorbing crushing energy up to five times better. In comparison to current industrial techniques for producing battery anodes, the NTU-developed method also employs less energy-intensive processes and heavy metals. This newest technique, which uses a cheap waste material, is anticipated to lower the cost of manufacturing lithium-ion batteries because the anode accounts for 10% to 15% of their overall cost.
Using wastepaper as the raw material for battery anodes would also reduce reliance on traditional carbon sources, such as carbonaceous fillers and carbon-yielding binders, which are mined and then processed with harsh chemicals and machinery.
In 2020, paper waste, which includes discarded paper bags, cardboard, newspaper, and other paper packaging, comprised nearly one-fifth of the waste generated in Singapore. A separate 2020 NTU study discovered that kraft paper bags, which account for most of Singapore’s paper waste, have large environmental footprints when compared to cotton and plastic counterparts, due to their greater contribution to global warming when incinerated and the eco-toxicity potential in their production.
The current innovation, which provides an opportunity to upcycle waste products and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels while accelerating our transition to a circular economy, green materials, and clean energy, reflects NTU’s commitment to reducing our environmental impact, which is one of four grand challenges that the University seeks to address through its NTU 2025 strategic plan.
The NTU team will carry out additional research to increase the material’s capacity for storing energy and lower the amount of heat energy needed to turn paper into carbon.
The Australian National University (ANU) is hosting a new training centre aimed at upskilling the next generation of researchers in cutting-edge 3D imaging and analysis technology to help repair bones, safely store CO2, deactivate viruses on surfaces and recycle car parts among a range of critical applications.
The ARC Training Centre for Multiscale 3D Imaging, Modelling and Manufacturing, M3D Innovation, is using a “disruptive” digital imaging, analysis, modelling and manufacturing technology developed at ANU for more than 15 years.
The micro-imaging technology provides users with 3D “supervision” into a range of materials at scales ranging from metres to 10 nanometres – a measurement 1,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair.
The technology was originally developed by a team of researchers with M3D Innovation Director, Professor Mark Knackstedt, who has won a Eureka Prize as well as an ENI award – the ‘Nobel prize’ for energy resources research – for his innovation.
He noted that the aim is to gather researchers from ANU and Queensland University of Technology, 15 industry partners and end users to harness the ‘super-power’ of advanced imaging and analysis technologies. He added that a vibrant research training environment is being built and a workforce that is expert in applying the new technology to a range of new industry sectors is being created. Moreover, PhD students and early career researchers in industrial collaboration and commercialisation are being mentored.
Already, incredible strides have been made through a range of exciting projects. This includes using the technology to investigate green steel production via hydrogen-based processes; safely storing CO2 in aquifers to fight climate change, recycling car parts for a circular economy, regenerating bones with biodegradable scaffolds and designing custom bone implants.
Partners at QUT have developed new technology during the COVID-19 pandemic, using etching techniques to roughen surfaces to deactivate bacteria and viruses. This is a technique that could be used to deactivate COVID-19 on metal surfaces in hospitals and clinical settings.
M3D Innovation is funded by the Australian Government under the Australian Research Council Industrial Transformation Training Centres scheme. Professor Knackstedt said they are grateful for the Australian Government’s investment and support for this important field of science and for the translation to industry partners.
ANU and Australia are world leaders in this space. Their work at M3D Innovation will boost the country’s capacity and deliver new graduates and researchers with critical skills and knowledge across novel manufacturing, modelling and imaging.
The global 3D imaging market size was valued at US$25.7 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.2% from 2022 to 2030. 3D imaging is the procedure of rendering a three-dimensional image to create the optical illusion of depth.
During the 3D imaging process, two or more motion cameras are employed to capture a three-dimensional object for these 3D images to be produced. High-resolution images are created by combining 3D image sensors, cameras, and screens. As a result, 3D imaging is widely used in hospitals, the entertainment industry, architecture, construction, and automotive.
While the COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted market growth, ongoing technological developments in the field of 3D imaging and the widespread adoption of and need for 3D imaging systems in different sectors are expected to drive the market in the coming future.
The growing prevalence of chronic diseases worldwide coupled with increased awareness of the benefits of 3D imaging technology are also factors contributing to the growth in demand for 3D imaging solutions.
A digital government operates in a manner that is digital by design, focusing on the requirements of users and maximising data. Fundamentally altering the way the Australian government operates now, it offers enhanced social, policy and economic outcomes.
The Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) of Australia believes that a digital government better prioritises the requirements of individuals and businesses. It entails investing in cutting-edge technology to deliver a personalised experience that is stable, safe and dependable and ultimately anticipates the demands of each user.
Australia’s Resilience and Growth Rely on Digital Government
“We cannot underestimate the impact of programmes and concepts such as ‘Tell us Once’ – not requiring customers to continue to re-tell their story as they access government services,” Lucy emphasises.
They are beginning to see both this de-duplication in service delivery and a side effect of more efficient investment through what they have dubbed the “Australian Government Architecture” (AGA).
The AGA is a vision to reduce the time agencies need to navigate the complexities of government in building digital and ICT-enabled solutions. It is designed to be a catalogue of applicable policies and standards combined with an index of repeatable patterns and capabilities for re-use.
Because of the increased speed-to-market, the Government can respond to priority needs using modern, best-of-breed approaches gaining “overall efficiency in how we digitally connect government services”.
“Silos of excellence” are a significant challenge. While Australia has some policies in place to reduce investment in duplicated capability, this is a difficult barrier. While some core functions of a platform may be the same, the needs of the service that uses that platform may be very different. “It’s always a struggle to strike a good balance.”
Unfortunately, when it comes to transforming government services, there are often legacy, disconnected systems that must be addressed and eventually decommissioned. This requires time, effort, and, most importantly, commitment. When compared to the release of a new system, it is more difficult to create a good-news story about turning off a system.
“Our people are at the heart of so much of what we do in the Public Service. This heart is often the dedication that the government requires of people who are passionate about serving citizens and businesses,” Lucy acknowledges.
The money available to the public sector, particularly in the digital streams of work, can make it difficult to compete with the private sector. This means that their best and brightest often leave for greater returns and better opportunities. “Our big challenge will be crafting our employee value proposition – across the Australian Public Service and all agencies.”
One of the most important technological advancements ever made, digital identification has enormous advantages for businesses, consumers, and governments. Australia is a pioneering nation in the field of digital identity. The Trusted Digital Identity Framework that supports the Australian Government Digital Identity System isn’t simply based on industry best practices from throughout the world; it’s also regarded as best practices in many other nations.
Underscoring her belief in the Trusted Digital Identity Framework (TDIF), Lucy says, “At the DTA, we’ve been building policy for Digital Identity – the Trusted Digital Identity Framework (TDIF) – for several years.”
The DTA is responsible for the Whole-of-Government Digital and ICT Investment Oversight Framework – a six-stage, end-to-end framework that provides Government Agencies with direction for managing their digital and ICT investments across the full project lifecycle. Government Departments and Agencies are obligated to consult with the DTA on all digital and ICT investment plans throughout the framework’s numerous stages, per the Framework.
Moreover, the TDIF serves as the guiding principle for the Australian Government Digital Identity System. It is based on worldwide and industry best practices and standards and it establishes strict guidelines for privacy, security, transparency and trust.
The TDIF is regarded as a world-leading accreditation framework for digital identity providers. It has supported the implementation of best-practice digital identity policies in Australia’s government and corporate sectors.
The TDIF has evolved and continues to adapt in response to changes in the service delivery landscape and consumer expectations as digital identification technology quickly evolves. It has gone through four major revisions, with a fifth now in the works.
In addition to incorporating accrediting programme findings, the next version (release 5) aims to prepare the TDIF for the future of digital identity as verifiable credentials and digital wallets become more popular and technology continues to grow at a rapid pace.
More than 9 million Australians, on the other hand, have decided to create a Digital Identity (using myGovID to build a Basic, Standard, or Strong identity) to access over 125 government services online, with 26 services supplied by states and territories. Over the past year, 1.3 million people used their Digital Identity more than once while 12,000 people have used their Digital Identity more than 65 times.
“We also have more than 1.4 million businesses that use Digital Identity to access business services, like our tax agency. This makes it easier for them to do business by reducing the amount of paperwork they have to do,” Lucy reveals.
Identification fraud can be reduced using a digital identity. In Australia, Digital Identity is predicted to save the economy AU$3 billion per year from identity theft and online fraud. The Australian Government Digital Identity System also provides extra privacy and security safeguards, such as no central database where papers are held, the inability to trace or sell a person’s behaviour, and all information being securely encrypted.
On the surface, this looks to be a simple issue. But, a response must include service standards, service design, accountability systems, collaborative service delivery with other jurisdictions, feedback mechanisms, open data and open government.
The design of performance metrics to monitor end-user experience begins with the service design. That is, gathering baseline data, investigating what data is accessible and, most crucially, finding the questions that yield performance data to enable continual improvement.
Monitoring the performance of a service or product is frequently done through a lens other than digital. The annual Report on Government Services (RoGS), for example, provides an annual study of government services in terms of equity, efficiency, and effectiveness.
The RoGs must incorporate state and territory government services as well as those of the Australian Government because other similar service experiences can influence user satisfaction ratings.
All government services must pause and assess how well they are satisfying the requirements of their users. myGov, the largest platform for providing government services to citizens, is currently subject to an independent user audit. The audit’s recommendations are expected to have significant implications for government service delivery across the board.
The Australian Public Sector (APS), like many other organisations and institutions around the world, is reorienting and evolving to embrace digital transformation and harness the power of data. “Realising that these are critical to our ability to continue to effectively serve the interests of Australia and the Australian people in a world defined by increasing speed and complexity,” says Lucy.
She agrees that it’s hard to keep the momentum and focus needed for long-term digital transformation with all the other priorities and crises that the public sector has to deal with at the same time. A key part of this is recognising and emphasising the link between digital transformation and trust and satisfaction in government on the part of citizens.
Even though the pandemic forced people to rely on their governments more, the overall trend is obvious. Against this backdrop, the Australian Government has made it a top priority and a requirement for the APS to do its job to win back the trust of the people.
“In the DTA, we make it clear how the ongoing digital transformation and the whole-of-government reform agenda are linked and depend on each other,” Lucy asserts.
The agency continues to stress the importance of services that focus on people and are easy to use. They are also building strategies that support the transformation that is sustainable, efficient, and centred on people. She points out that Australians who are happy with government services are twice as likely to trust their government.
Paving the Way for the Future of Digital Transformation
Australia is experiencing the effects of the rapid rate at which the digital world is evolving. Its APS Reform, which has a 2030 perspective, provides the government with a clear vision for the transformation of the public sector. The main objective of this agenda is to revolutionise how digital is done by making the APS more effective and efficient.
Ensuring that people and businesses are at the centre of policy and services is a core tenet of APS Reform. To ensure that transformation meets and surpasses user expectations, early and meaningful interaction and co-design are given a lot of attention in the digital space.
Trust is an issue for governments everywhere and is closely related to citizen expectations. In Australia, as in many other nations, public trust in the government had been dwindling before the outbreak. Although COVID had a brief uptick, regaining the public’s trust remains a major problem facing the government and its institutions.
To ensure that the government puts its constituents at its centre, the digitisation of government is key to the endeavour to reestablish confidence. The Independent Review of the APS in 2019 recognised this priority, and the nation is already moving in the right direction.
The key will be to define who is responsible for delivering initiatives and to raise the transparency of the progress by publicising how well key metrics are performing. However, confidence is not just dependent on how well-run and open the government’s operations are. It includes safeguarding data as well.
Criminal and state-based actors are rapidly developing their offensive capabilities, which is causing the cyber threat landscape to change all the time. These more sophisticated cyber-attacks are aimed against Australia.
A big compromise of Australian Government networks is a matter of “when,” not “if,” without massive reorganisation and cyber upgrading. “In light of this, we are hardening the government’s own IT, through a centralised model of cyber security services, called Cyber Hubs. We’re currently testing the feasibility of the Cyber Hubs model through a pilot. So far the pilot has shown the centralisation of the provision of services can help improve cyber security,” Lucy explains.
The government and institutions have vast amounts of information about Australians. This data is the fuel that drives the progress of artificial intelligence. Over the next 5 to 10 years, there is a chance to harness this data and use AI to innovate and improve public service delivery, resulting in better efficiency and transformation. But AI’s use of this data comes with risks and challenges for everyone, including the public sector. These risks and challenges need to be handled morally and responsibly.
Quantum computing is still in its infancy, but its application could represent the next step in the digital revolution of service delivery. AI is only as good as the data it’s trained on. Large datasets are currently being used by governments and institutions to train AI models and make them more useful.
However, when these datasets become scarce, governments and industries will be forced to find new ways to improve AI programmes. Quantum computing is one such method. Quantum computing refers to a class of supercomputers based on quantum mechanics.
To process information, these quantum computers employ the laws of quantum mechanics. That is, they can detect patterns in data that are nearly impossible to detect using traditional computers. They are substantially different from today’s computers in this regard.
Lucy believes if these powerful AI capabilities are utilised responsibly and data is saved and maintained safely, confidence and trust in government and institutions will grow. “More will need to be done in the next 5 to 10 years to integrate human values like transparency and fairness with AI’s goals of efficiency.”
Lucy is optimistic about the future and the role the DTA will play in guiding the government on developments in digital and ICT. She sees great potential for the agency to act as a government advisory body for its tech-enabled initiatives going forward as well as to serve the country in its digital ambitions. In summary, that is what she believes the agency exists for – to aid the public sector to offer the best citizen experience possible and help the nation thrive.