Countries have witnessed a historic development in the digital economy – an economy built on digital technologies since the acceleration of transformation brought by the pandemic. Daily transactions have become increasingly electronic as cashless payment solutions like e-wallets play a significant part in the marketplace. Online operations are leading toward a digital future and are becoming more popular as they enable and support the growth of the digital economy.
In Malaysia, the Digital Economy Blueprint says that by 2025 everyone in the civil service will be able to use computers and 80% of government services will be available online from start to finish. All ministries and agencies will offer ways to pay without cash and 80% of the government will use cloud storage.
The 7th Annual Malaysia OpenGov Leadership Forum 2022, held on 23 June 2022 at Putrajaya Marriott Hotel, convened digital leaders from the Malaysian public sector to explore accelerating digital innovation strategies for sustainable growth.
The Pandemic: A Game Changer
Mohit Sagar, CEO and Editor-in-Chief, OpenGov Asia, kicked off the session with his opening address, emphasising the game-changing role of COVID-19 across the world and particularly in Malaysia.
By accelerating the digital transformation of government operations and business models, as well as encouraging innovation and cooperation between various agencies, Malaysia seeks to increase access to high-quality public services and business.
In addition, the government is looking to digitalise citizen services and solutions for people and the local business sector by engaging and encouraging the private sector. The nation is particularly focussing on the highly strong local ICT sector and local innovators to play an active role in the digital transformation of society.
Speaking of the future of the digital economy in which every nation is impacted by the growth of human knowledge and the advancement of technology, Mohit felt that different types of research are being done on artificial intelligence and different development budgets are being used to get the best outcomes.
“If we want to use AI to make real-time decisions, we still need data, and that data must be stored in the cloud. This is the augmented reality of the future,” Mohit explains.
Big data science and the AI industry are viewed as particularly promising by experts and labour market analysts, who advise workers to consider careers in these fields. The needs of the industry and the importance of this data for forecasting a project’s profitability are related to the sector’s growth.
In closing, Mohit highlighted the importance of hastening the digitisation of governmental services to offer quick access and a better user experience when citizens need them most and investing in digital platforms to build the capacity of the public sector.
Accelerating Digital Economy: Public Sector Perspective
Hanissull Jalis Binti Md Yusof, Director, Application Development Division, Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit acknowledges that the pandemic continues to pose significant problems to the world economy, which includes Malaysia. Both the public and private sectors had an impact on everyone, causing upheaval in entire industries. Many daily contacts are now virtual.
“Malaysia to prioritise digitalisation and advanced technology this effort with intensify the digital economy and achieve inclusive development, accelerating R & D and harnessing the potential of advanced technologies,” says Hanissull.
COVID-19 has forced traditional brick-and-mortar businesses to shift their business models online and millions of Malaysians migrated for their e-commerce, entertainment and especially education, “A student’s home internet connection or access to laptops or computers are now prerequisites for the delivery of high-quality education.”
The growth of the digital economy has understandably accelerated in 2020 alone. So the time has come for Malaysia to build the groundwork for its transformation and to ride the wave of digitalisation into an advanced digital economy so that no Malaysian is left behind.
This foundation, she adds, involves developing the essential infrastructure, promoting innovation and determining an ecosystem in the public sector, to help improve the living standards of all Malaysian. They must cooperate and take the essential actions to adapt and cooperate to the new normal as they deal with the digital economy transition.
“Our digital journey won’t be easy, but we must have the courage to move through with this huge step to improve everyone’s quality of life in Malaysia,” concludes Hanissull.
AI and Digital Transformation in Government: Supporting Smarter Investigations
Particularly in the government, artificial intelligence (AI) and digital transformation (DX) can occasionally seem complex or challenging to implement, according to Dr Steve Bennett, Director, Global Government Practice, SAS.
Different countries see AI as a critical defining technology that can bring socio-economic development and growth, opening a wide range of opportunities for a variety of sectors, including government. As a result, leaders and policymakers from many countries are promoting the creation of an inventive and strategic AI ecosystem.
The tax collection department is not the only one using AI for documentation. It can also be applied to other industries where officials and staff are tired of recording and documenting information processes. During the pandemic, it also became an important tool for tracking and tracing cases.
“AI may be used to detect money laundering operations so that law enforcement can intervene, and effective machine learning can aid in fraud detection,” says Dr Steve, citing the example of the state of Victoria in Australia for Public safety and security using AI.
The Victorian State government is eager to capitalise on the transformative potential of AI technologies such as voice, image, and facial recognition, robotics and autonomous systems augmented and virtual reality and machine learning.
According to reports, Australian police are using a private, unaccountable facial recognition service that combines machine learning and broad data-gathering practices to identify members of the public from online photographs.
Victoria police use AI/ML to implement effective policing and eventually close crime investigations at a much faster pace and can automatically build the connections of pieces of evidence.
AI and machine learning are delivering valuable solutions for the public and private sectors to screen large amounts of live data. AI is also often viewed and marketed as a solution for eradicating human bias, despite the reality that AI algorithms and dataset production can perpetuate human bias and are therefore not error- or value-free.
For law enforcement, one of the most important skills that is not keeping up with the pace of tech innovation is the ability to screen, analyse and draw conclusions from the ever-growing amount of data while respecting the limits on access to and use of personal information in the democratic system.
To promote citizen involvement and accountability, the government will need to adapt the way it operates due to the rapid advancement of digital technology. This can be accomplished by adopting innovative, intelligent technology to become more resilient in a complicated environment that is constantly changing.
In many areas of government, AI has a lot of promise, and the government must understand this potential and use it to better the lives of citizens and the functioning of government.
Leadership for Digital Economy
Shamsul Izhan Abdul Majid, Chief Officer, Technology and Innovation Sector Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission believes some leadership traits, like courage, are always important, but others are even more important such as the inability to handle the change more smoothly in the face of fast technological breakthroughs and improvements.
“The most successful leaders in the digital economy are those who recognise and value their place in an ecosystem,” says Shamsul.
He explains that long-term success is not simply defined by what one person can accomplish on their own; it’s also determined by how well they can empower, engage, assist and elevate the teams and colleagues around them.
One aspect of becoming a successful leader in the digital economy is to identify a leadership attitude. Another is to recognise and correct any flaws or holes you may have when dealing with difficulties and change.
Organisational culture is one of the key elements driving the success of an industry as digital transformation is reshaping every sector, and organisations learn and adapt to the quickly shifting business environment.
Every employee helps change the corporate culture, but in the end, it’s up to the leaders to build or break it, because the decisions they make have a big effect on employee performance, recruitment, engagement, and retention.
In a world where digital transformation is happening, an organisation is more than just a set of digital processes. It also includes the work environment, a set of habits, and a set of mentalities that are necessary for digital transformation to work.
When planning for a company’s digital transformation, organisational culture is one of the things that gets the least attention. Up until now, digital transformation has mostly been about putting in place technologies or processes that are used by customers.
Shamsul elaborated that sustainability is about people and policies. Under this are some important takeaways:
1. Institutionalisation of Data-Driven at the workplace. Incentivise data use by factoring it with performance evaluation and promotion consideration;
2. Implementing open data and data sharing policies. Cultivate optimal data sharing among internal and external stakeholders; and
3. Building an effective analytics team such as an advisory service.
He added that digital leadership is the key to driving collaboration, exchange, and sustainability. Hence, a data-driven culture provides all the opportunities to be involved in the data ecosystem and data governance and data classification are necessary to accelerate the adoption of data and information exchange.
Modernising Data Protection to Build a Resilient Organisation
According to Lai Yoong Seng, Solution Architect Southeast Asia and Korea (SEAK) Veeam, to accelerate the delivery and quality of citizen services, government agencies need modern data protection strategies, and the industry should accomplish the following:
– Maximise data availability and resiliency that delivers verified protection for critical government data;
– Accelerate cloud mobility and enable data portability in government cloud initiatives; and
– Manage privacy, risk, and compliance to safeguard citizen personnel and mission-critical information against cyber threats.
Lai pointed out the definition of data resilience -an organisation’s ability to maintain business continuity in the face of any unforeseen disruption which employs an automated method that standardises data protection and provides centralised visibility and management of all workloads and locations.
Thus, unauthorised parties cannot access or change data that is robust, “Modern Data Protection provides the foundation necessary to achieve data-resiliency and transform the way IT organisations manage, leverage and secure their data.”
The greatest solutions for data resilience, he continued, are cloud-native and capable of safeguarding data assets regardless of their location.
No matter where their data assets are kept, businesses must be able to manage and preserve them. It’s crucial to safeguard backed-up data from malicious activity, inadvertent deletion, and harm from either internal or external factors.
In the event of data loss or corruption, data resilience software can automatically respond to red flag signals, allowing a firm to quickly resume operations with little downtime. The promise of modern data protection is data robustness, data dexterity, and data trust; 96% of all enterprises anticipate accelerating their cloud investment.
Lai emphasised the benefits of data resilience in the cloud which include standardised data protection across all workloads and environments; a shift-left approach to security across primary and backup environments; and accelerated recovery and restore times.
Get Inspired! The Panel Session
The delegates gained knowledge through the discourse and interaction of the digital experts and industry leaders’ discussion moderated by Mohit.
The interaction – Future of Secured Remote Working for Malaysia Organisations – explored how remote working has become the norm because of cutting-edge technologies and collaborative solutions that can help employees maintain their productivity. In terms of productivity, engagement, and cooperation, remote working platforms are now more practical than traditional workspaces.
The panellists were Hazami Habib, Chief Executive Officer, Academy of Sciences Malaysia; Dato’ Ts Dr Haji Amirudin Bin Abdul Wahab, Chief Executive Officer, CyberSecurity Malaysia; and Steven Loh, PhD, Senior Sales Director Relationship Segment, Malaysia, Lenovo.
The panel addressed important steps to implement or develop a secure digital infrastructure as well as the latest methods that have been implemented to adapt digitally to meet the agencies’ mission of providing citizens and customers with quick services. They explored the various stages to consider when dealing with security risks using the appropriate security strategy and tools.
Next-Gen Data Management: The Key to Digital Resilience is Next-Gen Data Management
Kamal Naresh, Solutions Architect, ASEAN, Cohesity, shared his insights on how to reinvent next-gen data management strategies that embrace Digital-to-Core, defence-in-depth modernisation that delivers a unique combination of simplicity at scale, and beyond zero trust security principles.
With next-generation data management, businesses can also quickly add apps to the data, streamlining the process by which they derive value from their data. Numerous companies throughout the world already have access to and are using such next-generation data management technologies.
“To unlock limitless value from your data, the integration of all four of these elements addresses today’s challenges of complexity, cost, and risk associated with legacy data management solutions,” says Kamal.
He emphasised the three cores to be implemented for data security:
1. Beyond Zero Trust Security – Combating the Threat of Ransomware with Security Threat Defence and Data govern;
2. Simplicity at Scale – Manage everything in a single pane of glass, solve the most pressing data management challenges and embrace defence-in-depth data resiliency.
3. Powered by AI – Improve decisions and act faster with built-in smart capabilities.
This technique can help businesses make sure that their data is backed up and secure. When attempting to safeguard data from ransomware and other cyber threats, it can also help businesses save money, boost productivity, and decrease their attack surface.
“Finding a way to stop ransomware is becoming more and more important for business. Next-generation data management gives your organisation the data security, ransomware recovery, and cyber resiliency it needs to stay competitive and confidently refuse to pay a ransom,” Kamal explains.
Digital business is not made for the way traditional data management works. When the global pandemic forced companies to switch to remote workers, ransomware attackers were able to make a lot of money.
Nowadays, businesses are getting smarter about how to break down silos to stop ransomware and get more out of their data. They are updating the way they manage data, and many of them prefer to do this in the hybrid cloud to make their cyber resilience stronger.
“An important competitive edge comes from the uniqueness of your data. However, the more data you have, the more difficult it is to manage. And, with ransomware and other cyber threats on the rise, your data and business are more vulnerable than ever,” Kamal believes.
Whether it’s decreasing costs, ensuring the security of the company, or providing greater value, he thinks technology should work harder and smarter for the people.
Protect People: Health Data Governance Principles
Dr Fazilah Shaik Allaudin, Senior Deputy Director, Planning Division, Ministry of Health, Malaysia shared that the Human Rights and Equity Lens is used by the Health Data Governance Principles to view data use within and across health systems. They want to advance long-lasting public health systems that can offer Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
To improve health systems and services, data should only be collected when necessary. Additionally, safe data collecting and storage methods should be used to foster trust in data systems. Prioritising health data governance as part of global, regional and national agendas in Malaysia.
“The pandemic has accelerated the importance and the use of data and health data must be managed properly to ensure trust and transparency with patients,” Dr Fazilah says emphatically.
Data privacy and confidentiality are of critical importance in healthcare as the collection, processing, storage, analysis, use, sharing and disposal of health data has grown in complexity. However, increasing the cyber risks in the current digital era became one of the problems in the healthcare sector.
At every point of the data lifecycle, health data governance must safeguard people, groups and communities from harm and violations. It should strike a balance between protection and rights and the societal importance of health data.
Governance of health data should bolster confidence in data systems and procedures. Developing health data governance mechanisms in a participatory and transparent manner, as well as ensuring that legislation and norms are available, understood, and adhered to in practice, can aid in building confidence.
For the safety of persons and communities, data security is an indispensable element of health data governance. All data collection, processing, storage, use, sharing, and disposal processes must apply effective security procedures.
Dr Fazilah calls for unity between government agencies and organisations to take action to strengthen the governance of health data by pointing out the following:
- Adopting the Health Data Governance Principles
- Supporting the development, and subsequent adoption, of a national health data governance framework, underpinned by the principles
- Health data governance and stewardship are to be led by MOH and MAMPU
- Prioritising health data governance as part of national agendas
- All stakeholders, including civil society and communities, should champion this agenda, advocating for action and holding governments and other stakeholders accountable
- Communities, particularly the most marginalised, must be meaningfully engaged in discussions and decision-making
She believes that anyone who wants to lead their organisation into the future must have a data governance strategy that allows trusted data to be provided in real-time.
Data Analytics @ Cities and Transportation: Focus on the Implementation of Practical Ways to Unlock the Value of Data and Increase Efficiencies of Transportation
Yau Wai Yeong, Segment Marketing Manager, Smart Cities and Transportation, Road Infrastructure, Intel Corporation discussed the implementation of practical ways to unlock the value of data and increase efficiencies of transportation.
Organisations cannot always rely on old ways of doing things to solve problems in the future. Advanced analytics like AI and ML, with help from the government, is what will make decision-making faster and less expensive for the digital economy.
“Intel’s mission is to influence technological advancement so that everyone can live in better times. Intel’s work is at the core of innumerable advances thanks to its advancements in areas like artificial intelligence, analytics, and cloud-to-edge technology,” says Yeong.
Highways are essential to the future and to a successful economy. Cities today are under pressure to respond to urbanisation, improve safety, decrease pollution, and streamline traffic flow. Governments and municipal planners must tackle these issues head-on with the use of smart road technology.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is making roads more intelligent, efficient and well-managed in a variety of ways, including traffic control, pedestrian and vehicle safety and environmental monitoring.
Everything that improves daily living, from significant innovations like self-driving cars and the repair of coral reefs to everyday conveniences like blockbuster effects and better shopping experiences, is made possible by Intel technology.
Smart infrastructure is vital for cities under pressure to build more effective roads and highways. Smart city roads built on IoT allow cities to collect and analyse data to better traffic management and adapt to long-term transportation needs.
IoT sensors, cameras, and radar can analyse data in near real-time to optimise traffic flow on congested roads. Long-term monitoring of cloud data can help reduce CO2 emissions and improve road conditions.
Edge computing enables smart, linked highways. It reduces latency for smart road infrastructure including adaptive traffic lights and integrated highways. Traffic lights can automatically adapt based on sensor data, improving traffic flow, or protecting others from risky driving.
Smart road technology uses speed sensors, sound sensors, IP CCTV cameras, smart traffic signals, and weather monitoring systems. Cities can benefit from less-congested streets, increased traffic and pedestrian safety, and enhanced parking and e-tolling when these devices collect and analyse data in near real-time.
Yeong confirmed that the Intel is assisting Smart Cities and ITS providers in putting data to work – at the edge and in the cloud – to make data-backed decisions to optimise efficiency, streamline mobility and create more value for agencies and citizens through investments in AI, 5G, and Edge solutions.
Driving Real-Time Smart Government with Data in Motion
According to Richard Koh, Area Vice President, Asia, Confluent, the real-time infrastructure revolution brought on by data streaming is profoundly altering how governments approach data and create applications. Data could be thought of as an ever-changing stream of events rather than as temporary messages or records that must be saved.
“The future of data infrastructure is an event-driven architecture as software is changing every aspect of life,” says Richard. “software makes life easier in other ways as well. As electronics and appliances become more connected to software, they will continue to make life easier.“
On the other hand, data in motion, also known as data in transit or data in flight, is a process through which digital information is transferred between destinations, either inside or between computer systems. The phrase can also be used to refer to data that is available for reading, accessing, updating, or processing and is kept in the RAM of a computer.
Perspectives in business and government have shifted dramatically. Previously, technology was merely a support tool. Technology rules the world today. Business innovation is now required for survival, whereas it was previously only required for expansion.
“Running on yesterday’s data may have been adequate in the past, but it is now considered a failure. To manage the digital transition, a modern real-time data infrastructure is required,” Richard points out.
Data consolidation into a warehouse and the use of analytics are the conventional uses of data that is at rest. On the other hand, data in motion refers to the comprehension of the predetermined actions that will be conducted when coming across a particular event or data stream.
Richard observes that people are having to dramatically reconsider their methods and systems because of this transition, which is taking place everywhere. Citing as an example the organisations’ perspectives on data centres and maintaining technological infrastructure that has evolved because of the cloud in which today, every business is utilising the cloud.
He added that making judgments now occurs more frequently automatically and is facilitated by software that interacts with other software through machine learning, while customers’ interactions with businesses and their expectations have altered significantly because of mobile devices and internet connectivity.
Thus, event streaming has altered people’s perspectives on and interactions with the data that underpins all other trends.
Richard emphasised the importance of digital leadership for organisations to remain relevant and that “Confluent is a trustworthy partner for putting Data in Motion for organisations. Confluent’s data infrastructure for data in motion will aid enterprises in their transition to multi- and hybrid cloud and disaster recovery operations.”
Enterprise AI: How do Organisations Advance Along the Maturity Curve?
Zarie Rahman, Country Manager, Malaysia at Dataiku explored the specific steps a company should take to advance along the AI maturity curve. From Vision to Value, through Data, Systems, People and Governance, she highlighted the key considerations at different stages, while ensuring AI continues to deliver Business Value across your organisation.
“The challenge is not the tech, it’s the culture and processes,” says Zarie while citing the importance of knowing the company’s level of AI maturity is essential for the successful creation and implementation of the AI vision and strategy and it can assist the firm in making wise risk and reward decisions.
Zarie offers a few steps to assess the AI maturity of an organisation:
– Benchmark: Place the company on the potential growth curve toward mastery of leveraging AI; identify if AI is acting as a utility, a business enabler, or a business driver and where the company stands vis-a-vis your competitors
– Strategic Planning: Strategies about what internal organisational steps should be taken to be confident to address AI at such a pace with such an ambition in mind
– Communicate the Vision: Communicate to management where the company stands and how far it must travel and at what rate it can be expected to happen
Zarie notes that despite the enormous advantages AI will bring to the retail sector, there will unavoidably be significant obstacles, such as the high cost of implementing models, a lack of resources and expertise in small and medium-sized businesses, data collection, ROI estimation, data governance, and a shift in data culture.
This may appear to be overwhelming, particularly for midsize and smaller retailers, but it should not deter businesses from embarking on their Enterprise AI journey. Retailers can deliver real business value from their AI initiatives by establishing the proper infrastructure for people, tools, and processes, as well as focusing on high-value use cases.
Dataiku is a platform that democratises data access and empowers retailers to design their own AI journey. Dataiku enables retailers to massively scale AI efforts by making AI more accessible within the enterprise, facilitating, and accelerating the design of machine learning models and providing a centralised, controlled and governable environment.
On the other hand, personalisation is now a must-have for retailers, who are up against tough competition from e-commerce giants and a customer base that wants more and more. AI-powered stores and brands use advanced ML algorithms to look at things like a customer’s browser history, page clicks, social interactions, past purchases, how long they spent on a page, where they are, etc. to figure out what they like and don’t like.
The transition of the retail industry into the age of AI is not easy, but it is also not insurmountable. Retailers and brands that take a methodical approach to building the infrastructure for people, processes and tools can thrive.
Fireside Chat: Cloud Migration: Who Is Responsible for Securing the Network?
Mohit spoke with Vladimir M. Yordanov, Senior Director of Solution Engineering, Asia Pacific and Japan, Gigamon, looking into the current cloud migration strategy as a high-level plan that an organisation implements to migrate existing on-premises or co-located application workloads and their associated data to the cloud.
As more businesses migrate to the cloud, there are a growing number of internal cloud migrations happening as businesses switch between multiple cloud providers. However, there are a few crucial factors to be aware of for individuals making their first journey into the cloud, which we’ll look at below.
“Most of the government now has an agency that is responsible for cybersecurity, and we see more and more services migrating into the cloud,” says Vladimir.
He outlined some of the benefits of moving to the cloud, including how simple it is to use, how quickly it can be deployed, and how flexible and scalable it is, “But that could also bring a lot of cybersecurity challenges,” he warns.
One of the first things to decide when migrating to the cloud is whether the company will go private, public or hybrid.
With a private cloud, an enterprise will have a dedicated infrastructure for their business, managed either by a team or third-party providers. On the other hand, a public cloud provides its services over a network that is not a private one and it is available for others to use, while a hybrid cloud combines private or traditional information technology (IT) with a public cloud.
There are other things to be considered – current infrastructure utilisation, Compatible operational system, Infrastructure availability, Backup policies and disaster recovery
Although there is no silver bullet for closing every security gap, adding analytics to the existing security data sources can help the sectors find unknowns and close gaps. The existing security infrastructure of an organisation can be consumed to provide intelligence that can help paint a more complete picture of threats.
By merging many data sources and standardising their outputs, it is feasible to conduct a comprehensive analysis, which enables the finding of minor connections and indications of compromise that would not otherwise be apparent.
“Always remembers that cloud security is a shared responsibility,” says Vladimir who has been in cybersecurity since 2000.
In addition, the update and implementation of national cybersecurity policies, as well as legislative and regulatory frameworks pertaining to cyberspace, require countries to become more flexible. International cooperation is required for cybersecurity, and all levels of trust between countries and businesses must be strengthened.
Every sector needs to raise awareness across all demographics and the importance of starting early cybersecurity education for children cannot be overstated. Governments and business organisations, on the other hand, should work together to create coordinated awareness campaigns.
Closing Keynote: Aspirations of MyDIGITAL and National 4IR Policy for a Digitally Connected Malaysia
The Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint defines the required strategy, tactics, actions, and goals for the growth of the digital economy. “Our world is changing exponentially because it is so intimately interconnected and multifaceted. Emerging disciplines of knowledge are constantly producing newer, more potent technology,” says Fabian.
More work must be done to guarantee that Malaysia keeps up with current trends to remain competitive as it moves toward more digitalisation and sustainable development. The pandemic has significantly realigned Malaysia’s economy, especially in the form of new business models, altered production patterns, and altered consumer tastes.
Technological advancements of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) have an impact on the physical, digital, and biological worlds in his closing keynotes. The National 4IR Policy was created by the government in advance of future advancements to guarantee that Malaysia reaps the greatest benefits possible from 4IR.
This Policy gives the country a big picture plan for getting ready for the 4IR. Along with lowering the risks of 4IR, it gives direction and encourages people to work together to move the agenda forward.
The 4IR calls for the whole ecosystem, including businesses, industries, societies, and even countries, to change. It shows and changes how society and technology work together and help each other. The National 4IR Policy helps the country’s economy and society change in a smart way by encouraging innovation and the right way to use 4IR technology.
It is predicted that if 4IR is used in all industries, productivity will go up by 30% by 2030. Malaysia will be able to offer better services in the future because of this contribution, which will also lead to more skilled workers and more products with added value.
To end the day, Mohit emphasised the importance of utilising technology to its full potential, “We are coming out with COVID-19 hangover, and we have to think about the future.”
If the world enters a super-global recession, various sectors must ensure that their services remain operational online because the entire nation depends on them.
Mohit also encouraged the delegates to upgrade their digital skills, especially those who are working to serve the public interest by listening and participating in different forums like the one they attended. “We can’t go back to what we used to be. This is the next paradigm so let us upgrade our digital skills.”
Seven intelligent robots have been installed in the wards of Yishun Community Hospital (YCH) to welcome patients and bring supplies to the bedside. These brand-new Temi Robots, known as Angel, were introduced to support nursing care so that nurses could focus their time and energy on clinical tasks while still giving patients a personal and meaningful touch.
These robots are loaded with patient education materials that patients and their caregivers can easily access, in addition to providing announcements and reminders throughout the day in all four major languages.
They also have a variety of features like games and entertainment, teleconference tools, and translation capabilities. YCH hopes to further improve patient engagement and satisfaction in its wards with the new addition.
A pilot project using Nao Robots was also used by YCH in previous years to assist dementia patients in their rehabilitation. Robot Therapy, which was started by the staff at YCH in 2018, is now a part of the therapy-related services offered there.
YCH, which is conceived of as a healing space for patients, offers intermediate care for recovering patients who do not require the intensive care services of an acute-care hospital. With rehabilitation and therapy at the heart of the hospital’s mission, the team was eager to investigate the potential of the innovation, Robot Therapy.
Because they can perform a wide range of tasks with little to no value added, hospital robots offer a reliable solution, freeing up doctors, nurses, and surgeons to focus on more high-value work. Robots have become an integral part of the healthcare industry, with many hospitals now using them to perform both surgical and administrative tasks.
In addition, prior to the arrival of Nao Robots in Singapore, a few local nursing homes used Paro, a robot that mimics the appearance, movement, and sounds of a baby seal. The therapeutic robot seal’s use is like animal therapy in that the robot helps to calm elderly people who have dementia or a loss of cognitive function.
The Nao robot, on the other hand, came with higher expectations: it can express emotions like laughter or sadness during interactions; it can interact and communicate with patients in different languages; and it has optic, audio, and impact sensors and motors to detect surroundings, interpret detection, and activate programmed responses.
Various interaction and language modes can be programmed into the Nao robot. The YCH Robot Therapy team took advantage of this by incorporating the robot into specific therapy sessions. This increased efficiency freed up nursing time, which could then be used for other care activities. Nao robot therapy sessions were trialled with 48 patients from the Dementia ward in October 2018.
Patients with Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD) require more care and attention, so this was chosen as the pilot ward. By introducing the Nao robot, YCH has increased patient engagement, motivate them to engage in social activities, and shorten the time required for social activities so that caregivers could concentrate on other care-related tasks.
The implementation process was divided into three stages: training staff, selecting suitable patients and assessing seniors who participated in the Robot Therapy programme using the Observed Emotion Rating Scale.
Singhealth asserts that the COVID-19 pandemic, which hastened the adoption of these solutions and accelerated the digital transformation of healthcare systems globally, has sparked a tremendous interest in digital technology and virtual health solutions.
A group of clinician innovators from SingHealth sought to ascertain whether digital interventions are more affordable and provide patients with greater value and benefits in anticipation of this continuing upward trend, and they discovered that this may not always be the case for some eye conditions.
Officially launched on 29 November 2022, the ANU School of Cybernetics provides unrivalled teaching and research that pioneers a new approach to engineering and technology design. School Director, ANU Distinguished Professor Genevieve Bell, noted that the School nurtures and trains a new generation of critical thinkers and practitioners who can navigate an increasingly complex world and who are committed to ensuring safe, sustainable, and responsible technology futures.
She said the new School’s leadership is working hard to help transform the way society engages with technology. Their aim is to help ensure that everyone can participate in building the future. And they are working to find new ways to think about and talk about the role of technology in our lives. The ANU School of Cybernetics is dedicated to helping lead and enrich this vital conversation.
The School and its curriculum draw on the rich history of cybernetics globally and reimagine it for the 21st-century challenges. The goal is to make sure major societal transformations can be successfully navigated.
The ANU School of Cybernetics offers the Master of Applied Cybernetics, a PhD program that recruits students as a cohort, and a series of microlearning experiences for organisations, communities, and individuals.
The School’s research program investigates how emerging cyber-physical, technological systems – such as robotics, digital voice assistants, and autonomous systems – operate across a range of settings and sectors including the creative industries, marine sciences, agriculture, and climate change research.
Distinguished Professor Bell said another key focus of the School was examining who is building and managing our AI-enabled future. There is a need to develop the ability to respond quickly to changing situations and complex systems and many, diverse voices must be involved in making those decisions and building new knowledge, she said.
The last few years have shown that better stories about the future need to be told; stories that are more equitable, fair, and just, and that, equally, more work needs to be present to make those stories not just possible but true.
To help launch the School, an inaugural curated exhibition featuring more than 100 historical and contemporary pieces is on display until 2 December in the award-winning Birch Building on the ANU campus.
From the world’s first computer graphics, animations, special effects, and electronic music, Australian Cybernetic: a point through time explores 50 years of technology and creativity in computing that have influenced the technology, cinema, gaming, and television we know today.
The collection of interactive, immersive, and provocative creations also includes an Emmy Award-winning virtual reality film; an acclaimed installation examining the resources, human labour, and algorithmic processing of a virtual assistant technology system; and a kinetic sculpture named ‘Albert’ that has been delighting audiences for 54 years, among many other displays.
The cybernetic futures lead at the School said the exhibition speaks firmly to the School’s approach of observing the past to help shape a course for the role of technologies in today’s world. He noted that for the first time, historic, contemporary, and conceptual cybernetic works are being brought together in a unique exhibition. People are invited to take a tour through time and learn about the history of technology and art and how this contributed to cybernetics and the multimedia, tech and music enjoyed today.
The Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) has launched nine satellites, including eight nanosatellites, into space from the first launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Andhra Pradesh.
The 44-metre-long rocket’s primary payload is the Earth Observation Satellite-6 (EOS-6) or Oceansat-3, a third-generation satellite to monitor oceans. It is a follow up to OceanSat-1 or IRS-P4 and OceanSat-2 launched in 1999 and 2009, respectively. Oceansat-3 will provide data about ocean colour, sea surface temperature, and wind vector data for oceanography, climatology, and meteorological applications.
The Oceansat-3 was placed in the polar orbit at a height of about 740 kilometres above sea level. While it weighs approximately 1,100 kilogrammes, which is only slightly heavier than Oceansat-1, for the first time in this series, it houses three ocean observing sensors. These include an Ocean Colour Monitor (OCM-3), Sea Surface Temperature Monitor (SSTM), and Ku-Band scatterometer (SCAT-3). There is also an ARGOS payload, a press release mentioned.
The OCM-3, with a high signal-to-noise ratio, is expected to improve accuracy in the daily monitoring of phytoplankton. This has a wide range of operational and research applications including fishery resource management, ocean carbon uptake, harmful algal bloom alerts, and climate studies. The SSTM will provide ocean surface temperature, which is a critical ocean parameter to provide various forecasts ranging from fish aggregation to cyclone genesis and movement. Temperature is a key parameter required to monitor the health of the coral reefs, and if needed, to provide coral bleaching alerts. The Ku-Band Pencil beam scatterometre will provide a high-resolution wind vector (speed and direction) at the ocean surface, which will be useful for seafarers, including fishermen and shipping companies. Data regarding temperature and wind is also particularly important for ocean and weather models to improve their forecast accuracies.
ARGOS is a communication payload jointly developed with France and it is used for low-power (energy-efficient) communications including marine robotic floats (Argo floats), fish-tags, drifters, and distress alert devices valuable in search and rescue operations.
The Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Science and Technology, Jitendra Singh, stated that ISRO will continue to maintain the orbit of the satellite and its standard procedures for data reception and archiving. Major operational users of this satellite include Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoEs) institutions such as the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) and the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF).
INCOIS has also established a state-of-the-art satellite data reception ground station within its campus with technical support from the National Remote Sensing Centre (ISRO-NRSC). Singh asserted that ocean observations such as this will serve as a solid foundation for India’s blue economy and polar region policies. A representative from MoES noted that the launch of Oceansat-3 is significant as it is the first major ocean satellite launch from India since the initiation of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (UNDOSSD, 2021-2030).
The Indian Space Research Organisation is the national space agency of India, headquartered in Bengaluru. It operates under the Department of Space, which is overseen by the country’s Prime Minister.
A Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) collaborative research team has synthesised a nanoparticle named TRZD that can perform the dual function of diagnosing and treating glioma in the brain. It emits persistent luminescence for the diagnostic imaging of glioma tissues in vivo and inhibits the growth of tumour cells by aiding the targeted delivery of chemotherapy drugs.
The nanoparticle offers hope for the early diagnosis and treatment of glioma, especially cerebellar glioma, which is even harder to detect and cure with existing methods. The research results have been published in Science Advances, an international scientific journal.
Limitations of existing diagnostic and therapeutic approaches
Glioma is the most common form of malignant primary brain tumour, accounting for roughly one-third of all brain tumours. While magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is commonly used to diagnose glioma, the technology lacks sensitivity. Cerebellar glioma, a relatively rare brain tumour, is even harder to detect with MRI. To facilitate early detection and treatment, an alternative method with improved sensitivity and precision is needed to diagnose glioma.
A chemotherapy agent called Doxorubicin is an effective treatment for glioma. However, its application may also damage normal cells, and it is associated with a range of side effects. To enhance doxorubicin’s clinical efficacy and minimise its side effects, a novel approach is needed to apply the drug to tumour cells in a more targeted manner.
In response to the diagnostic and therapeutic needs of glioma, a research team co-led by Dr Wang Yi, Assistant Professor of the Department of Chemistry at HKBU, and Professor Law Ga-lai, Professor of the Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, has synthesised a novel near-infrared (NIR) persistent luminescence nanoparticle called TRZD, which can play a dual role in diagnostic imaging and as a drug carrier for glioma.
An imaging probe for glioma diagnosis
The research team evaluated the efficacy of TRZ (i.e., TRZD without doxorubicin) in diagnostic imaging for glioma with a mouse model. First, TRZ particles were excited by UV light to initiate luminescence. Mice with tumour tissues injected into their cerebrum and cerebellum were then treated with TRZ. Over the next 24 hours, TRZ luminescence was detected at the tumour sites of the mice.
However, when the same experiment was conducted with TRZ without T7 peptides, and TRZ without both the red blood cell membrane coating and T7 peptides, no luminescence was detected at the tumour sites of the mice. The results show that the red blood cell membrane coating can prolong the function of TRZ by stabilising the nanoparticle, and it can slow down its natural uptake by the human body.
The research team further evaluated the anti-tumour efficacy of TRZD using a group of mice who had had their cerebrum and cerebellum injected with tumour tissues.
After applying TRZD for 15 days, the average diameter of their tumours was reduced to 1 mm. They also survived 20 days longer on average compared to the control group, who had not received TRZD. Besides, cell death was observed in the tumour region but not in normal brain tissue.
The results indicate that TRZD’s therapeutic effect on glioma has good selectivity because doxorubicin is brought specifically to tumour cells due to T7 peptide’s strong affinity with tumour cells’ surface receptors and its ability to penetrate the blood-brain barrier. As a result, doxorubicin can be applied in a more targeted manner, and hopefully, its side effects can be minimised with reduced drug dosage.
The team concluded that the nanotechnology demonstrates promising potential, and it could be developed into a new generation of anti-glioma drugs that can perform the dual function of diagnosis and treatment. It also offers hope for the development of treatment protocols for other brain diseases.
The Vietnam Information Security Association (VNISA) surveyed 135 organisations and enterprises in Vietnam on ensuring information security. One out of every four organisations and businesses have had their systems interrupted or attacked in 2022, while 76% of organisations and businesses lack sufficient staff for information security.
The information was revealed by former Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC), Nguyen Thanh Hung, who is chair of VNISA, during a plenary session at an international workshop during the Vietnam 2022 Information Security Day.
The survey found that 58% of organisations have doubts about technology and 47% about security holes. Around 68% of organisations and businesses said they still don’t have enough money to invest in information security annually. At the workshop, Tran Dang Khoa, the Deputy Head of the Authority of Information Security, said that in the last 11 months, the agency has recognised, warned, and instructed companies on how to handle 11,212 cyberattacks. The number of information systems in accordance with the new levels accounts for 54.8%. One of the key tasks of the agency in 2023 is submitting information to the Prime Minister for the issuance of a directive on legal compliance and security.
The workshop was sponsored by MIC and organised by VNISA and MIC and addressed “safe” digital transformation. MIC’s Deputy Minister, Nguyen Huy Dung, stated that ensuring safety in cyberspace is the task of all agencies, units, and people. Dung stressed that digital transformation is a national long-term programme. It means bringing people’s and businesses’ activities into a digital environment. It is necessary to protect more than 3,000 information systems of the state’s agencies, as well as activities in cyberspace of nearly one million businesses, five million business households, 26 million households, and 100 million people.
Dung noted that ensuring safe cyberspace and safety for organisations and people in cyberspace is the responsibility of all agencies, organisations, and people, with the principle ‘like cyberspace, like the real world’. The agencies in charge of certain fields in real life will also be in charge of those fields in the virtual environment, he said.
In October, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh issued Directive No. 18/CT-TTg on accelerating the implementation of activities to respond to cybersecurity incidents in Vietnam. The directive states that the government will pay more attention to reviewing, detecting, and fixing vulnerabilities and weaknesses. It will proactively monitor and detect any network information insecurity risks to promptly handle incidents. It will strictly implement regulations on reporting online information security incidents.
As OpenGov Asia reported, the directive describes cybersecurity as an important, cross-cutting pillar in the creation of digital trust. Its promotion will protect the country’s prosperous development in the digital era as the country attempts comprehensive national digital transformation. Chinh urged stakeholders to thoroughly grasp the contents of the Directive and devise measures to address and timely handle cybersecurity incidents. Stakeholders include ministers and heads of ministerial-level agencies, among others.
At the recently held 3rd Joint Implementation Committee (JIC) meeting, the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) and Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) announced the signing of eight (8) Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) and unveiled fourteen (14) new joint projects underneath the Singapore-China (Shenzhen) Smart City Initiative (SCI).
The Singapore-China (Shenzhen) Smart City Initiative, inaugurated in 2019, has strengthened the digital and commercial ties between Singapore and Shenzhen, according to Joseph Leong, co-chair of the JIC and Permanent Secretary for Communications and Information. Both parties have worked hard to improve SCI as a powerful platform for digital innovation, smart city collaboration, and business and people exchanges during the past three years, despite the challenges of the epidemic.
Singapore and Shenzhen will actively create a suitable business environment for enterprises to innovate and undertake cross-border transactions safely and smoothly as they build economic recovery and resilience. As the SCI enters its third year of implementation, the meeting reported doubling the number of new cooperative initiatives compared to the prior year.
These new initiatives will strengthen the existing Singapore-Shenzhen partnership in fostering digital transformation and policy innovation and open new commercial and employment prospects in the fields of research and innovation, trade, sustainability, and talent development. In the past year, one of the most important areas of collaboration has been the ease of digital trade using electronic Bills of Lading (eBLs).
After evaluating the outcomes of successful technical trade trials over the previous year, IMDA and Shenzhen’s Bureau of Commerce are prepared to extend IMDA’s TradeTrust pilot with actual business transactions involving banks, shippers, and other partners. This would open the door for the complete digitalization of the trade supply chain and benefit the ecosystem by enabling quicker and more secure digital trade transactions.
IMDA has also expanded its relationship with TusStar, a major Chinese technological incubator with a network of over 10,000 enterprises. TusStar will develop its network in the fields of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality, and sensor technologies in the next phase, as well as strengthen its regional presence in Southeast Asia by instituting hub operations in Singapore. This collaboration will introduce technology start-ups from Singapore, Shenzhen, and other Chinese cities to new markets in the region.
The 14 new cooperative projects demonstrate digital technologies’ revolutionary significance throughout the SCI’s key areas of digital connection, talent exchange and development, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
Notable initiatives include the application of sophisticated technology and artificial intelligence (AI) for the green economy and sustainability, such as lowering carbon dioxide emissions and improving battery management for electric vehicles.
SCI has so far begun 29 projects and signed 21 memorandums of understanding. This strong momentum in the SCI partnership demonstrates Singapore and Shenzhen’s leadership in digital economy development, as well as the possibility for SCI’s innovative projects to be scaled to more cities in the Greater Bay Area and Southeast Asia.
By creating a thriving digital economy and an inclusive digital society, IMDA guides Singapore’s digital transformation. As the “Architects of Singapore’s Digital Future,” the agency works to make Singapore a digital metropolis by promoting growth in the Infocomm technology and media industries alongside progressive policies, utilising cutting-edge technologies, and building local talent and digital infrastructure ecosystems.
The Victoria University of Wellington’s division of Science, Health, Engineering, Architecture, and Design Innovation (SHEADI) will inaugurate a Centre of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence in the first half of 2023.
According to a statement from the University, the centre will offer areas of expertise in modelling and statistical learning; evolutionary and multi-objective learning; deep learning and transfer learning; image, text, signal, and language processing; scheduling and combinational optimisation; and interpretable AI/ML learning.
These technological themes will be applied across a wide range of areas including primary industry, climate change and environment; health, biology, medical outcomes; security, energy, high-value manufacturing; and social, public policy, and ethics applications. On top of traditional research, the centre will also establish a pipeline of scholarships/internships for Maori students, train early career researchers, and focus on industry, intellectual property, and commercialisation.
The centre will build on the current success and international leadership in this space at the University, the Pro Vice-Chancellor of the division, Ehsan Mesbahi, stated. The institute is continuing to grow its national and international partnerships to create local and global value. The centre will provide a distinctive identity for the growing excellence and innovation in data science and AI research at the University, capabilities which domestic and global partners are increasingly demanding across a vast array of application domains.
In May, the University announced it would offer the first undergraduate major in Artificial Intelligence in the country. It provides students with knowledge of AI concepts, techniques, and tools. They learn how to apply that knowledge to solve problems, combined with programming skills that will enable them to build software tools incorporating AI technology that will help shape the future.
Students studying AI at the University are taught by academics from its internationally renowned AI/ML research group, which is one of the largest in the southern hemisphere. The major is designed to open doors for graduates to opportunities nationally and around the world. There has been an increase in the adoption of AI technologies globally, and a growing demand for people who can apply AI techniques to address a wide range of problems, which the University aims to address.
After completing their degree, graduates will have a wide variety of career options, such as AI scientist, business consultant, AI architect, data analyst, machine learning engineer, and robotic scientist among others. They will also have the option to further their study through the University’s Master of Artificial Intelligence.
OpenGov Asia reported earlier that New Zealand’s Education Technology (EdTech) is set to become one of the country’s key industries. Worth NZ$ 173.6 million in 2020, EdTech software is poised to grow to NZ$ 319.6 million by 2025. At the heart of the digital transformation of education technology has been the pandemic. COVID-19 is seen as the driving force behind the digital transformation of learning, permanently changing the way education is consumed and delivered — right from preschool through post-tertiary education and lifelong learning. The global EdTech market size was valued at US$ 254.8 billion in 2021. Experts believe the market will reach US$ 605.4 billion by 2027.