Last week OpenGov published a joint interview with Mr. Francis Liang Kuo-Hsin, Representative, Taipei Representative Office and Dr. Chiueh Tzi-Cker, Vice President & General Director, Industrial Technology Research Institute of Taiwan (ITRI), discussing the development of Taiwan’s digital economy.
Founded in 1973, ITRI is a nonprofit R&D organization engaging in applied research and technical services. ITRI has been dedicated to helping industries in Taiwan stay competitive and sustainable.
Subsequently, we received additional detailed responses from Dr. Chiueh to some of the questions. Here, we have collated his responses. He talks about the pressures of price competition and the need for manufacturers to move beyond the confines of just “Hardware” or “Software”, into the systematic software and hardware integration development. Dr. Chuieh highlights Taiwan’s strengths in human capital, established industrial chain and entrepreneurial culture, which could enable the industry to leverage trends in big data, 5G, IoT, AI and move to the next level.
Could you please provide an overview of the landscape of Taiwan’s ICT industry, including large corporates, SMEs and startups?
According to the latest official statistics report from the Ministry of Economic Affairs, R.O.C, the number of companies in Taiwan is 1,416,738 including 32,757 large corporations (2.31%) and 1,383,981 SMEs (97.69%). Taiwanese startups totaled 98,320. The numbers are as of end 2015. The report underscores the importance of ICT industry in Taiwan as its gross production amounted USD92,300 million, contributing 16.5% of the total GDP in Taiwan.
What are your views on the prospects for Taiwan’s ICT going forward? What are the priorities and challenges?
While industries in Taiwan continue to enjoy some success in the hardware business, Taiwan faces immense pressure particularly stiff price competition from Chinese and well-established global manufacturers. As technology moves to the third platform such as mobile, big data, and cloud computing among others, software and services industry shows great promise and value add. Taiwan’s ICT industry needs to transform itself from a low-cost, manufacturing efficiency industry to a high value, innovation-driven economy.
The development of cross-domain integration systems is becoming a global trend and hence, it is important for ICT manufacturers to move beyond the confines of just “Hardware” or “Software”, and venture into the systematic software and hardware integration development.
System software is software that combines with specific hardware, to which value-added upgrades may be performed for years to come. The most valuable aspect of system software is its control management function, for example: Industry 4.0 control software, vehicle control software, and automated driving management software.
The ICT manufacturers in Taiwan must embrace software to provide high quality software-hardware integrated systems and perfect solutions that are required to upgrade themselves from being hardware OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) to system suppliers.
We anticipate it will be necessary to exert considerable efforts to improve our software capability and hardware value in order to elevate Taiwan’s ICT industry to the next level.
Besides, Taiwan has many advantages that other countries lack, such as high-quality human resources, a pragmatic and reliable culture among engineers, a well-developed industrial chain, highly flexible small and medium-sized enterprises, and a famous spirit of entrepreneurship. By capitalising on our competitive edge, Taiwan’s industries will be able to enjoy a prosperous and long-lasting future.
Are there any specific areas in technology that are expected to drive growth? Can you share some developments in emerging technologies such as AI, data analytics, and IoT etc.?
Emerging technologies in areas such as artificial intelligence, robotics, IoT, are expected to drive growth in today’s Industry 4.0 era. For instance, automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and autonomous drones will help increase productivity and reduce manpower reliance for industries across logistics, manufacturing, and retail.
The ITRI has introduced several exciting, state-of-the-art technologies including an intelligent vision system for companion robots, and a remotely operated autonomous drone. In addition, ITRI has also just released a smart pesticide detector featuring micro optical inspection, which was awarded the COMPUTEX 2017 Best Choice Award.
In Taiwan and in Asia, ITRI is promoting the NSOS or next-generation system software for smartphone technology. NSOS is designed to increase the added value of commodity Android phones. Some features of this project include: solving the BYOD security problem via smartphone virtualisation; providing more personalised services via accurate inference of dynamic user interests; and offering more streamlined smartphone usage experiences via programmatic app control by leveraging on the capabilities of existing apps.
Specifically, the smartphone virtualisation technology enables a physical smartphone to be used as multiple virtual smartphones, e.g., one for office use (more secure and less secure), another for personal use (more flexible but less secure), and the third for app trial (risky but free). This way, a smartphone user only needs to carry one physical device, and then uses it in different ways in different contexts, without interfering one another.
Are there specific technology areas that are expected to drive growth? Can you share some developments in emerging technologies such as AI, data analytics and IOT?
Global trends in big data, 5G, IoT, AI drive the transition of ICT industry, whereas big data drives data center and server industry in Taiwan. Taiwan government has launched the Asia.Silicon Valley project aiming to transform Taiwan into an R&D hub for IoT as well as the integration of software and hardware to create a global center of entrepreneurship.
Device makers move down to the value chain to offer platform and services. Small, low power consumption, sensor and identification are needed for integrated circuit (IC). Advanced communication technology drives demand for small cell. AI drives the rise of accelerated computing in data centers. Decades of success in Taiwan’s ICT hardware industry will bring opportunities to prospective growth from the new global ICT trend fueled by the trend-driven innovation.
While Taiwan’s advantage lies in its information technology, Taiwanese companies have developed UAVs or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles manufacturing ecosystem; this shows Taiwanese companies could be suppliers of both hardware and software solutions.
For the suppliers of autonomous vehicles, there are major sensor systems including camera modules, millimeter wave radars and LiDAR for existing advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) development. ADAS helps boost Taiwan millimeter wave sensors and camera modules makers. Taiwan ICT industry gains momentum with growing connected car technology investment. The government’s Digital Nation and Innovative Economic Development Plan (DIGI+) (2017-2025) has included Unmanned Vehicle as one of the advanced research technologies, and there will be a significant funding support to advance the emerging technologies in Taiwan.
AI has been recognised within the tech sector as the next big thing after smartphones, and it presents an excellent opportunity for an upgrade of Taiwan’s high-tech industry. The emerging technologies, AI and machine learning, which include technologies such as deep learning, neural networks and natural-language processing, can also encompass more advanced systems that understand, learn, predict, adapt and potentially operate autonomously. AI and machine learning will also increase the need for big data analytics. Its influence on industries and businesses will have direct impact on products and services and the upgrading of industries through the use of AI in production, management or commercial processes.
Taiwanese businesses face a more urgent task to convert their key processes and management know-how into an AI system to maintain their competitiveness. To actively support Taiwan’s position as digital innovation, Board of Science and Technology (BOST), the Executive Yuan is planning to include AI strategy in Strategic Review Board Meetings for Taiwan’s Intelligent System and IC Industry. Although Taiwan may not be able to match what giant companies are doing, there is a niche direction that Taiwan can go from master technologies and applications in specific industrial fields, which in turn provides plenty of opportunities out there for Taiwanese industries.
Millimeter wave or Extremely High Frequency Waves constitute an undeveloped band of spectrum that can be used in a broad range of products and services like high speed, point-to-point wireless local area networks (WLANs) and broadband access. Researchers are testing 5G wireless broadband technology on millimeter wave spectrum.
 LiDAR or Light Detection and Ranging measures distance to a target by illuminating that target with a pulsed laser light, and measuring the reflected pulses with a sensor. Differences in laser return times and wavelengths can then be used to make digital 3D-representations of the target. Originally used in airborne and ground surveying to make high-resolution maps, the technology is being used for control and navigation for some autonomous cars.
When initially established, most cantonments and military stations were built on the edge of existing towns and cities. Over time, as these places have developed, the military areas are now in the middle of major population centres. Consequently, the land that the army owns has increased astronomically, as real estate within is now a very scarce resource. As the Indian expands to accommodate its growing ranks and capacities, infrastructure development has gained significant importance in many of the Army stations where major works are planned to replace vintage accommodation of the pre-independence era.
Presently a majority of functions for infrastructure development and management, including ascertaining the availability of land, planning and monitoring of works, environment conservation and responsive quartering policies are carried out manually. The process is time-consuming and involves multiple agencies. Additionally, unstructured data, storage and diversity of records and permissions makes the procedure cumbersome and inefficient.
Accepting that automation is the key to empowering all stakeholders and goes a long way in making the process efficient, transparent and accountable, the Indian Army has deployed software to digitise the entire system. The “Infrastructure Management System” (IMS) software which was inaugurated by the COAS on the sidelines of the Army Commanders Conference on 28 October 2020. The platform has been developed to:
- automate works initiation, preparation of list and its approval by the Ministry of Defence
- accord administrative approval and monitoring of execution by the CFA
- automate availability of CAO pool accommodation, plan vacations, re-allocation and undertake maintenance
- automate approval of accommodation allocation/extension for children education ground, special children and battle/physical casualty
- manage cantonment roads including emergency closure
- make land, works and quartering policies available on line
- monitor land encroachment, Old Grant Bungalows, VIP references and transfer/exchange of land
This is one of the various measures the army has taken on its digital front. As part of the nation’s Atmanirbhar Bharat (Self-reliant India) vision, the Indian Army has developed a simple and secure messaging application named the “Secure Application for the Internet” (SAI).
The application supports end-to-end secure voice, text and video calling services for Android platform over the internet. The model is similar to commercially available messaging applications like Whatsapp, Telegram, SAMVAD and GIMS and utilises end to end encryption messaging protocol. SAI scores over on security features with local in-house servers and coding which can be tweaked as per requirements.
The Ministry of Defence has reviewed the functionalities of the app and was impressed by the ingenuity it embodies.
The application has been vetted by CERT-in empanelled auditor and Army Cyber Group. The process for filing Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), hosting the infrastructure on NIC and working on the iOS platform is currently in progress. SAI will be utilised pan Army to facilitate secure messaging within the service.
These initiatives come in the backdrop of significant tech-enabled developments by the army. Notably, the indigenously developed Laser-Guided Anti Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) was successfully test-fired at the start of October. The ATGM employs a tandem HEAT warhead to penetrate Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA) protected armoured vehicles up to a range of 1.5 to 5 km.
Developed by Armament R&D Establishment (ARDE), Pune in association with High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL), Pune and Instruments Research & Development Establishment (IRDE), Dehradun, the ATGM has multiple-platform launch capability and is currently undergoing technical evaluation trials from 120 mm rifled gun of MBT Arjun.
In the same week, the Supersonic Missile Assisted Release of Torpedo (SMART) was effectively tested. SMART is a missile assisted release of lightweight Anti-Submarine Torpedo System for Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) operations far beyond Torpedo range.
All the mission objectives including missile flight up to the range and altitude, separation of the nose cone, the release of torpedo and deployment of Velocity Reduction Mechanism (VRM) were met perfectly.
The tracking stations (radars, electro-optical Systems) along the coast and the telemetry stations including down range ships monitored all the events.
A cloud-first strategy directs organisations to deliver applications and services from a cloud computing platform first before considering any on-premise alternatives.
While several considerations – like the threat of a data breach or data loss – could cause concern from using the cloud in sensitive industries, such as finance, the growing consensus is that a cloud-first approach has considerable advantages and in many cases is more secure for organisations than trying to protect their own infrastructure.
The New Zealand government Cloud-First requires its agencies to use public cloud services and to accelerate their adoption of public cloud services, in a balanced way, so they can drive digital transformation. This includes:
- enhancing customer experiences
- streamlining operations
- creating new delivery models
With massive investments made into digital infrastructure by major global software companies, hyperscale cloud providers are keen to make their services available in New Zealand. These developments could prove to be a ‘game-changer’ for the nation’s digital transformation journey. Hyperscale cloud and sophisticated infrastructure would have a significant impact on digital maturity and accelerate the use of cloud in government.
To support and guide these developments, the Digital Public Service (DPS) branch at the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) is working collaboratively with partner functional leads to chalk out a detailed strategy to update policy and system settings for cloud technology. This will include new guidance for the use of cloud by government agencies.
Developing an all-of-government Cloud Centre of Excellence
The New Zealand government cloud programme supports public service agencies to accelerate the use and benefits of cloud in line with government’s policy.
Under the Cloud-First policy, government organisations are required to use public cloud services as the go-to strategy. They are required to adopt these services individually for the various services and offerings on hand after assessing all possible issues. The Cloud First policy requires government organisations to:
- adopt public cloud services in preference to traditional IT systems
- make adoption decisions on a case-by-case basis following a risk assessment
- only store data classified as RESTRICTED or below in a cloud service, whether it is hosted onshore or offshore
The focus for the 2 years will be to establish an all-of-government Cloud Centre of Excellence, that would support agencies to successfully execute well-designed and governed cloud migrations. Currently, the Digital Public Service branch is working actively with agencies to assist them with their cloud adoption planning and to facilitate collaboration on common cloud-related challenges.
Cloud programme partnerships
The programme will also specifically explore engaging with cloud providers to refresh and continually improve New Zealand’s access to cloud services. Where necessary, public service policies will be adjusted suitably and will a range of agreed ‘Lighthouse’ innovation partnerships will be progressed.
These partnerships, early in their lifecycle, are in the areas of education, environment, business and land. The overseeing agencies will determine how best to couple hyperscale cloud with advanced technologies to deliver solutions that would have significant national impact.
To build further capability and capacity for these initiatives the DPS branch will be recruiting key positions for the programme.
The DPS also encourages digital innovation through its Digital Government Partnership Innovation Fund (DGP). The fund is a $5 million contestable fund that invests in digital and data innovation. It provides an opportunity for government organisations to collaborate and invest in early-stage, cross-agency pilots and prototypes. It’s administered by the Digital Public Service (DPS) branch at the Department of Internal Affairs.
Any proposed initiative under the fund should also demonstrate innovation (the fund is not for business-as-usual), cross-agency collaboration, benefits to the public service or sector that will support transformation and must align with relevant standards, such as the NZ Government Digital Service Design Standard.
The Digital Public Service (DPS) branch at the Department of Internal Affairs is also engaging with a selection of government organisations this month to get feedback on the current and future states of digital standards maintenance and development.
This work will result in an implementation plan and roadmap for standards which will be released to all public sector organisations for consultation in early December 2020.
A firm under the Hong Kong Smart Government Innovation Lab recently announced the launch of a new solution. The innovation is now ready to be acquired by companies and institutions.
The solution, called VR Fire Drill Training, is a disaster training device that can simulate disaster escape from a fire scene in VR (virtual reality) environment, suitable for people over 13 years old.
Information can be obtained through the VR experience which includes:
- Interactions with blurry surroundings in the event of a fire (black smoke)
- Users’ ability to follow the emergency lighting instructions to determine the correct escape route
- A simulation where users squat down and walk as much as possible to the nearest escape
- Alerts to remind users to not breathe directly, use a (wet) handkerchief or towel to cover their mouth and nose
Summary of experience:
- In the virtual experience, users will experience how to escape in a building full of black smoke and fire
- From the VR head-mounted display, they can experience a 360-degree realistic scene
- The viewing angle can be moved by the controller (the experience takes about 3 minutes)
The solution was designed to be applied in the areas of City Management as well as Environment.
The solution employs Virtual Reality.
The use of virtual reality to imitate fire situations to conduct fire escape drills can reduce the time for implementing real fire drills. For example, government departments do not need to leave the workplace. Users can take turns using portable VR devices to experience fire situations and learn how to escape skills. It can also be used in schools, gymnasiums and commercial organizations, etc.
Propelling CEM technology
According to Everbridge, a critical event is a disruptive incident which poses serious risk or threat to assets or people. An effective Critical Event Management program and strategy is an integrated, end-to-end process that enables organizations to significantly speed up responses to critical events and improve outcomes by mitigating or eliminating the impact of a threat.
This means business continuity, disaster recovery, active assailant, emergency response, natural disaster, IT incident risk management, and mass notification are all rolled up into an easy-to-execute, strategic plan with long-term benefits.
The aforementioned solution is an example of a Critical Event Management solution. A CEM platform uses technology to take manual processes and automate them. Amplifying ad hoc data feeds to provide richer intelligence and correlating threats with locations of assets and people, ensures more rapid and comprehensive incident assessment and remediation.
Critical event management has come to the fore with the pandemic. Forecasting, planning and management of critical events help organisations and authorities prevent disruption of life and damage to property.
Governments rely on several, specific systems for critical event management. Such programmes are essential to national well-being especially with the increase in natural disasters. But, more often than not, they operate in isolation of each other. According to world experts in Critical Event Management – Everbridge, this siloed approach can create duplication in information and processes, data contradictions and, when unchecked, could lead to loss of life and damages.
Everbridge’s software automates the key steps for responding to a critical event. It aggregates threat data from third-party and internal sources so customers can assess risk, and locate people and assets at risk and those needed to respond.
It then enables customers to act by executing pre-defined processes based on the type of threat for who should be contacted and how what message to send, and who to escalate to if a responder is not available.
Everbridge’s platform then sends out notifications and instructions via text, voice, email—over 100 modalities—in 15 languages as needed, organizes conference bridges for people to collaborate, and analyzes return messages. Automating these steps enables them to be completed quickly, highly reliably and at scale at a time when minutes often matter.
Indonesia’s Ministry of Industry believes digital technology, such as cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) is it is critical to boosting the productivity of the manufacturing sector, including small and medium industries (IKM) during the pandemic and the new normal thereafter. Such tech deployment would be in accordance with the Making Indonesia 4.0 roadmap.
Director-General of Small, Medium and Miscellaneous Industries (IKMA) of the Ministry of Industry, Gati Wibawaningsih in Jakarta acknowledged that the pandemic had become a global issue for business, especially with the necessary social restrictions. Implementation of distancing normas has caused a shift in lifestyle, work models and business methodology.
In order to reduce the impact of the pandemic, the Ministry of Industry is looking at ways to maintain the activities of domestic business actors by utilising Cloud Computing and IoT based technology platforms. According to Gati, the development of digital technology has led to the creation of many breakthroughs for the manufacturing industry.
The advantages of these two technologies are considered useful in maintaining the business continuity of the IKM sector. Gati conceded that such technology would have a big impact on the SME sector business, especially during this pandemic.
The benefits of using cloud computing range from digital security to network, data centres and capable servers. Additionally, the use of IoT systems will easily interconnect technology, information and communication.
To accelerate the adoption of digital technology in the industrial sector, Gati urged cloud computing and IoT technology providers to support the production process more. This collaboration would be essential to form a solution ecosystem that would bridge the needs of industry and society.
Sutedjo Tjahjadi, Managing Director a cloud business, said the technology makes work very practical and does not need to use large infrastructure; cloud computing can also minimise company expenses. In a digital era, computers are increasingly touching all of our lives, especially during this pandemic and moving online is a critical strategy that must be carried out continuously in future as well.
In line with these trends, the Ministry of Industry launched the Startup4Industry program that would bridge the needs of industry with startup players as technology providers. This program was launched by the Minister of Industry, Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita under the umbrella of Indonesia Is Confident With Domestic Technology.
The Startup4 Industry program Directorate-General of IKMA of the Ministry of Industry, Endang Suwartini, said that the development of immersive technology needs the government’s attention because it is proven to be able to create new jobs and make the industry more efficient. For example, using Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality (AR / VR) during this pandemic has increased, initially being used for gaming has been effectively deployed for industry, education, training and tourism.
“The growing development of the AR/VR industry will encourage the electronics industry in Indonesia to start developing research and development for hardware development,” said Endang.
The Chair of the Indonesian AR/VR Association (INVRA), Andes Rizky, agreed this was the time for the Indonesian AR/VR industry to take grow and develop exponentially. Immersive technology as a new business field is recognised by the government through the publication of the 2020 Indonesian Standard Business Classification (KBLI) giving it formal legitimacy and a regulatory framework.
OpenGov Asia recently reported on the accelerated digital transformation of Indonesia’s Industry 4.0. The increased pace is being driven by efforts to increase productivity, efficiency and safety to adapt to the new normal brought about by the pandemic.
The International Science Survey 2019-2020 examined the attitudes of Malaysians towards robots and automation in the workplace, artificial intelligence (AI), and involved 20 countries.
In the survey results released in September, the 1,650 Malaysians polled had mixed views towards the use of robots for workplace automation. About 51% regarded this as bad for society while 45% said it has been good; only 3% felt it has been both good and bad for society.
The Malaysian respondents, who were polled via phone between October to November 2019 in Bahasa Melayu, Mandarin, and English, responded to the question of whether they felt using robots to automate many jobs humans have done in the past is mostly a good or bad thing for society on the whole, after considering all the advantages and disadvantages.
Similarly, when asked about the development of AI or computer systems designed to imitate human behaviours, Malaysians had mixed views. About 53%said it has mostly been good for society, while 44% indicated that it has mostly been bad for society. Only 3% said it has been both good and bad for society, and 1% declined to answer or gave other answers.
Malaysians were much significantly keener on space. When asked about the government’s space exploration programme at the National Space Agency (Angkasa), 83% of the 1,650 Malaysians polled said it has been good for society, while 14% said it has been bad for society.
How do other Asian countries view robots and AI?
In the same survey, most of Malaysia’s peers in the Asia-Pacific region displayed a more positive attitude towards the use of robots at the workplace to replace human labour, with comparatively more saying it was a good thing for society in Japan (68%), Taiwan and South Korea’s respondents both at 62%, Singapore (61%).
In India, 47% of respondents said it was good while 27% it was bad, with Australia displaying a mixed view with 47% saying it was bad and 44% saying it was good.
As for the development of AI, about two-thirds or more in most of the Asia-Pacific countries viewed it as a good thing, including 72% of Singapore’s respondents, South Korea (69%), India (67%), Taiwan (66%), Japan (65%), while Australia recorded 49% saying it was good and 39% saying it was bad.
The Pew Research Center referred to its own 2018 survey on the view in 10 developing and developed countries towards job automation by robots and computers to replace the work done by humans currently, with a majority of the respondents thinking that it is likely that people would have a hard time finding jobs and that the inequality or gap between the rich and poor would worsen.
The International Science Survey 2019-2020 of 20 countries generally found that men in most countries were more positive about both robots and AI but the difference between genders was not statistically significant in Malaysia.
When examined according to the gender of the respondents in Malaysia, 50% of women and 55% of men found AI to be a good thing for society, while 43% of women and 48% of men found robots at the workplace to be good. The Center noted that age was not a factor in the respondents’ views in most countries surveyed on the topic of automation.
On the topic of AI, however, 10 of the countries surveyed showed that younger adults (or those younger than the median age of the pool of respondents) are more likely than older adults to say the development of AI has been good. The pollster noted that in Malaysia, the pattern is reversed, with older adults seeing AI more positively than younger adults (57% vs. 49%, respectively).
Education does play a significant role in the views of Malaysian respondents, with 52% of those with less education and 59% of those with more education or who studied beyond secondary school saying AI has been good for society. Correspondingly, for the use of robots to automate jobs, significant differences were found in views based on education levels of Malaysian respondents, with 44% of those with less education and 53% of those with more education viewing automation positively.
On workplace automation, taking more science courses in post-secondary studies also makes a difference for Malaysian respondents, with 49% of those who took zero to two science courses and 61% of those who took three or more science courses saying that using robots to automate human jobs is a good thing.
Vietnam has seen a rapid blossoming of its city areas with the urbanisation rate shooting up from 19.6% in 2009 (629 urban areas) to about 39.25 by the beginning of 2020 (835 urban areas in December 2019).
The Vietnam government is paying close attention to developing smart cities. Many agreements have been signed between Vietnam and important partners such as countries and organisations that have successfully developed smart cities, including the Netherlands, South Korea and India. Most recently, an agreement was signed to develop the ASEAN smart urban network.
Domestically, several state-owned entities have forayed into this sector. In fact, by the first quarter of this year, an additional 35 central cities and provinces had signed strategic cooperation agreements with telecom groups on building smart cities. Military telco Viettel has signed cooperation agreements with 24 localities while the Vietnam Post and Telecommunication Group (VNPT) have gone ahead with agreements with another 20 localities.
After Vietnam joined ASCN (ASEAN Smart Cities Network) in two years ago, the Vietnam Smart City Development Project (2018-2025) was released with a vision until 2030. The project has three priority areas – programming smart cities, managing smart cities and smart urban utilities.
Minister of Construction, Pham Hong Ha, said Vietnam will implement the tasks and solutions set in the Vietnam Smart City Development project in 2018-2025. These include a legal framework for the development of smart cities as well as management of tools, institutions and mechanisms for cooperation between ministries and branches, between the central and local government, to ensure smart cities throughout the country and avoid waste in using resources.
Using a linked database, many cities in Vietnam had initial success in providing smart utilities in the fields of education, healthcare, transportation, construction environment. Step-by-step, inclusively, these cities have been optimising urban management, improving the quality of urban residential life and creating opportunities for human development.
Hanoi, for example, is developing a parking system that allows people to find suitable parking places, payment through apps on smartphones and a digital transport map to manage urban traffic.
Driving development towards sustainability, the Bac Ha Noi (Northern Hanoi) Smart City project, covering an area of 272 hectares in Dong Anh district, is expected to improve transport infrastructure, energy, education, healthcare and environment on a digital technology basis,
Meanwhile, HCM City is building a big data infrastructure system, data control centre, security control centre and open data system. It is planning to build smart solutions for healthcare, food safety, education, traffic management and flood control.
Da Nang leads the country in readiness for ICT development and application. Da Nang has been hailed as a leader in applying IT in state agencies. As early as 2018, the Da Nang People’s Committee issued the Overall Architecture of Smart City and Smart City Construction Plan for 2018-2025.
Minister Ha said developing smart cities is in line with international trends, takes full advantage of the achievements of the Industry 4.0 and is in line with the country’s ambitions.
Experts emphasise that lack of reasonable policies will make it difficult for local authorities to seek resources for smart city development, especially capital from the state budget. They believe that Vietnam needs to be cautious when developing smart cities, and not a one-size-fits-all approach.
Nguyen Van Binh, head of the Central Economic Commission, said it is necessary to have an ‘open and creative’ approach when developing smart cities.
Smart cities should be developed with people in the centre, and be based on specific characteristics of each city. Before applying a development model, each city needs to check its resources and advantages and ascertain where and what it needs for each stage to effectively use existing facilities and investment resources.
The Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI) showcased a portfolio of its cutting-edge 5G technologies at the PT EXPO China 2020 in Beijing which was held from 14 to 16 October 2020.
Adopting the theme of “Promote 5G for an Intelligent Future”, ASTRI demonstrated its technologies and innovations that enhance the competitive strength of enterprises in Hong Kong, the Greater Bay Area and around the world. These technologies include:
- 5G O-RAN Solution
- Industrial IoT applications
- 5G OpenUPF
- Ground-breaking Terabit 5G Standalone Core Network
- AR Intelligent Maintenance
- IoT Blockchain
- 5G Smart Mobility solution
The Chief Executive Officer of ASTRI stated that the agency’s technology and innovation must always serve a practical need in society. He noted that the organisation was delighted to have the opportunity to showcase so many of these ground-breaking success stories in one place, allowing them to truly demonstrate how wide-ranging and impactful their work is.
The PT EXPO China 2020 is hosted by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. It is one of Asia’s largest and most influential Information and Communications Technology (ICT) events, exploring the impact of next-generation technologies across a variety of industries, as well as trends in the market. Last year, the event had more than 81,000 attendees and hosted over 400 exhibitors.
The Vice-President, Communications Technologies at ASTRI remarked that the agency’s network solution is fully compliant with 3GPP standard and low-cost. It can realise new application scenarios including private networks, Internet of Vehicles, industrial Internet and mobile phone OS cloudification etc., bringing 5G into the market quickly with valued services.
ASTRI’s 5G O-RAN Solution is an end-to-end 5G network solution, which complies with 3GPP standards and, through its flexibility, low cost and ease of deployment remove a traditional cost barrier to the industry looking to make the most of the 5G network. Our Industrial IoT applications include the development of simultaneous localisation and mapping (SLAM) and robot navigation software running over a 5G network with industrial AGVs.
China Mobile’s 5G OpenUPF (User Plane Function) will enable open and flexible 5G deployment in network edge and drive vertical applications. ASTRI is one of the first members to have joined the OpenUPF initiative.
ASTRI has been working closely with an American multinational corporation and technology company in 5G technology development, including 5G core network, O-RAN development, 5G OpenUPF, and V2X infrastructure technology. They have worked together to optimise software and hardware to enable scalable 5G UPF. They also combined to deliver a ground-breaking performance of more than 1Tbps 5G UPF data throughput earlier in 2020.
Further, ASTRI also collaborated with a Hong-Kong-based technological company to introduce a jointly developed AR Intelligent Maintenance solution, designed to transform field engineers’ operations and maintenance processes. ASTRI has also developed an innovative IoT Blockchain platform that can securely monetise and strategically exploit enormous amounts of IoT data in real-time.
ASTRI and a Chinese multinational technology company also jointly demonstrated a 5G Smart Mobility solution that combines with ultra-low latency C-V2X communication and 5G edge intelligence to improve road safety and traffic efficiency.
The Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI) was founded by the HKSAR Government 20 years ago with the mission of enhancing Hong Kong’s competitiveness in technology-based industries through applied research.
The agency’s core R&D competence in various areas is grouped under five Technology Divisions; Artificial Intelligence and Big Data Analytics; Communications; Cybersecurity, Cryptography and Trusted Technologies; Integrated Circuits and Systems; and IoT and Sensors. It focuses on five areas of application including Smart City; Financial Technologies; Intelligent Manufacturing; Health Technologies; and Application Specific Integrated Circuits.
For decades now, ASTRI has nurtured a pool of research, I&T talents and received numerous international awards for its pioneering innovations as well as outstanding business and community contributions. To date, ASTRI has transferred more than 750 technologies to the industries and owns more than 850 patents in the Mainland, the US and other countries.