In the rapidly evolving digital landscape of today, organisations are increasingly turning to multi-cloud systems to take advantage of their flexibility, scalability, and cost-efficiency. However, this shift often brings about complex challenges in the realms of identity management and security.
To fully capitalise on the benefits of cloud computing while safeguarding their data and operations, businesses are now placing a high priority on certain objectives. These include automating security measures, mitigating risks, and effectively managing identities within the multi-cloud environment.
Enhancing security in multi-cloud systems heavily relies on automation. Automation empowers enterprises to promptly address threats, identify vulnerabilities, and maintain continuous monitoring of their cloud infrastructure. Automated security systems possess the capability to analyse extensive datasets, pinpointing trends and anomalies that may go unnoticed by human observers.
By taking a proactive approach, businesses can not only reduce downtime and financial risks but also significantly lower the chances of data breaches. Mitigating risks in a multi-cloud setting calls for the implementation of a comprehensive strategy. This encompasses establishing robust encryption, access control, and data loss prevention protocols across all cloud providers and applications.
Additionally, it is crucial to adopt a unified security framework that provides centralised visibility and control over the entire multi-cloud ecosystem within an organisation. Such an approach streamlines risk management by ensuring consistent policy enforcement, threat detection, and incident response procedures.
Identity management plays a vital role in multi-cloud security, especially when individuals like customers, partners, and employees access resources from various devices and locations. Identity and Access Management (IAM) assume a pivotal role in this context, enabling organisations to enforce precise access controls, ensuring that only authorised users can access resources.
Furthermore, IAM systems offer single sign-on (SSO) capabilities, which not only enhance security but also simplify the user experience by allowing users to access multiple resources with a single set of credentials.
As businesses increasingly embrace multi-cloud architectures to protect their data, assets, and reputation in today’s interconnected digital landscape, the adoption of automation and robust security practices becomes imperative.
A comprehensive cloud strategy that encompasses automated security measures, risk reduction strategies, and effective identity management in multi-cloud environments is foundational. Prioritising these elements empowers organisations to mitigate risks and fully harness the benefits of multi-cloud setups.
The OpenGov Breakfast Insight on 26 September 2023 convened Singapore’s leading technology experts at the Voco Orchard Singapore to discuss the latest developments in digital integration, cybersecurity, cloud computing, and data governance.
Mohit Sagar, the CEO and Editor-in-Chief of OpenGov Asia believes the role of IT automation in bolstering cybersecurity has never been more critical, particularly in the face of the growing sophistication of cyber threats.
He highlights the escalating intricacies of modern business infrastructures, compounded by the proliferation of remote work, mobile devices, and the Internet of Things (IoT). These developments have introduced vulnerabilities that traditional security approaches find challenging to combat.
Recent data breaches in Singapore, a global financial and tech hub, also underscore the urgency of robust security measures, highlighting the severe consequences of inadequate security practices in the face of evolving cyber threats.
In this context, Mohit underlines the revolutionary nature of Zero Trust Security, which eliminates the inherent trust traditionally placed in both internal and external entities. The importance of rigorous identity verification for users, devices and applications, emphasising the use of multiple-factor authentication as a core principle of this approach, is key.
“Continuous monitoring serves as a rapid anomaly detection mechanism, while micro-segmentation effectively constrains lateral network movement, ultimately minimising the impact of potential breaches,” he elaborates. “Here, automation assumes a critical role by swiftly analysing data, enforcing access controls, and providing real-time responses to incidents.”
According to Mohit, the adoption of automation is paramount for organisations looking to bolster their security measures. Automation accelerates processes, minimises errors, and empowers proactive threat detection and swift incident responses through real-time analysis.
Additionally, automated patch management guarantees timely updates, thereby reducing exposure to vulnerabilities, while orchestration optimises security tools and processes for efficient threat management
“To defend against modern cyber threats, organisations should employ a comprehensive approach that includes secure coding, infrastructure hardening and Zero Trust principles,” Mohit is convinced. “This strategy safeguards applications with secure coding, regular testing, and continuous monitoring.”
Infrastructure hardening serves to diminish attack surfaces while extending the principles of Zero Trust through stringent access controls and identity-based authentication, thereby fortifying the overall defence. This comprehensive approach integrates application-centric security, infrastructure hardening, and the Zero Trust Architecture, offering a multi-faceted defence against a wide range of threats.
A seamless identity-based framework begins with the establishment of robust Identity and Access Management (IAM) practices, which form the cornerstone of modern security. IAM effectively manages digital identities for users, devices, and applications, enabling precise control over resource access.
Mohit stresses the importance of access control policies that are structured around roles and responsibilities, emphasising their role in mitigating unauthorised access risks. He also underscores the significance of continuous monitoring of user activities, as it bolsters security by identifying unusual behaviour and potential breaches.
Additionally, he recommends that organisations prioritise the security of credentials for critical systems and data. This can be achieved through the implementation of robust password policies and user education. He also suggests that the adoption of password management tools can prove highly beneficial in this regard.
Elevated access management includes securing privileged accounts with strict controls, regular reviews, and just-in-time access. Data encryption safeguards sensitive information at rest and in transit, making unauthorised access ineffective. Continuous monitoring, with real-time alerts for strange behaviour, enables rapid response to possible breaches and improves security overall.
“In today’s evolving cybersecurity landscape, a comprehensive approach is key,” Mohit concludes. “From IT automation to Zero Trust Security and robust identity management, organisations must implement security measures to defend against modern cyber threats and safeguard critical systems and data.”
Morgan Hite, the Area Vice President for Asia at HashiCorp, recognises the growing complexity of contemporary information technology infrastructure, underscoring the significance of safeguarding and preserving valuable assets for companies.
He agrees that advanced automation solutions can effectively address the intricate security requirements within hybrid and multi-cloud environments. These solutions offer valuable insights into secure asset management, threat detection, and incident response.
The ongoing shift towards cloud adoption is compelling organisations to transition from rigid to more agile infrastructure management, particularly within the public cloud domain. Consequently, IT operations teams are confronted with emerging hurdles.
These challenges include coping with sluggish manual workflows that can lead to errors and inefficiencies. Moreover, development teams may also find themselves burdened by intricate manual processes and less-than-optimal ticketing systems.
Moreover, the obstacles associated with implementing consistent policies not only hamper productivity but also elevate the risks an organisation must contend with. Consequently, having scalable and adaptable infrastructure automation becomes crucial in tackling these challenges effectively. Hence, many organisations opt for solutions that help them steer clear of such complexities.
Morgan explains that HashiCorp assists enterprises in resolving these issues by employing infrastructure as code principles for provisioning, compliance, and management across various domains, including public clouds, private data centres, and third-party services.
“Infrastructure automation plays a pivotal role in efficiently managing the progressively intricate cloud environments that organisations encounter,” he says. “This is a critical component in efforts to maintain security and protect critical assets in a frequently changing environment.”
In a dynamic cloud environment characterised by fluctuating demands, the capability to swiftly adapt and oversee resources emerges as a critical necessity. Automation assumes a pivotal role in guaranteeing efficient scalability, enabling organisations to effortlessly adjust their capacity as required without getting entangled in time-consuming manual processes.
Further, apart from scalability, operational efficiency stands out as another compelling rationale for the implementation of infrastructure automation. Automation empowers organisations to automate routine tasks like provisioning, scheduling, and resource management. Consequently, this not only lessens the burden of manual labour but also mitigates the potential for human errors.
Ultimately, it results in significant time savings when it comes to managing the intricacies of cloud environments.
“Security is another key factor that makes infrastructure automation very important. With automation, organisations can apply security policies consistently across their infrastructure,” Morgan elaborates. “This helps prevent vulnerable configurations and ensures compliance with required security standards. In a world full of security threats, automation helps keep cloud environments safe.”
Additionally, automation serves as a critical tool for enhancing infrastructure resilience. Its capacity to swiftly identify and respond to security incidents or infrastructure failures allows organisations to uphold the availability of their services. In this regard, automation proves invaluable in addressing the challenges that arise within the ever-changing landscape of a dynamic cloud environment.
Morgan strongly emphasises the fundamental importance of implementing infrastructure automation in today’s organisational landscape. He firmly believes that automation not only boosts productivity but also has the potential to curtail risk and optimise expenses, underlining its multifaceted value.
Automation has a positive impact on organisational productivity. By eliminating valuable time-consuming manual workflows associated with cloud infrastructure, organisations can experience significant time savings. That means less time is wasted on tasks like creating, managing and provisioning cloud infrastructure. As a result, the IT team and related staff can focus on more strategic and value-added tasks.
Automation further elevates the level of security by upholding rigorous operational consistency and ensuring compliance with established security policies. In this context, automation serves as a safeguard against the risk of security incidents stemming from human error or policy deviations. By automating security measures, organisations can execute them consistently and with high efficiency, providing a sense of confidence and peace of mind.
Additionally, automation enables organisations to pinpoint and curtail unnecessary or redundant utilisation of cloud resources, leading to significant cost savings. Organisations have the potential to realise substantial savings of up to 40% on their cloud infrastructure costs.
Such significant savings represent an opportunity to allocate budgets more efficiently towards other pressing needs. Consequently, investing in infrastructure automation can yield tangible economic benefits for organisations, freeing up resources for strategic initiatives and growth.
Morgan holds a firm conviction that infrastructure automation constitutes a strategic decision that delivers not only operational advantages but also risk mitigation and the intelligent and efficient allocation of budgets.
This proactive step has proven to have a positive and far-reaching impact on various aspects of an organisation’s operations and finances. In essence, automation acts as a multifaceted asset, enhancing security, reducing costs and streamlining operations for organisations operating in dynamic cloud environments.
Mary Wee, Director of Cloud Services and Support at CPF Board, reflected on the devastating impact of COVID-19 on countless people. The pandemic took many by surprise with its sudden shifts in employment and lifestyle. Consequently, access to essentials such as food, medical services, and education unexpectedly became more challenging for many.
She underscored the paramount importance of preserving continuity and well-being amid the prevailing uncertainty. In a post-pandemic era marked by unprecedented challenges and unforeseen disruptions, maintaining financial stability has emerged as an essential pillar of resilience.
Mary strongly advocates having sufficient financial savings to effectively cope with unforeseen emergencies, particularly those triggered by events like the pandemic. This financial cushion not only imparts a sense of security but also equips individuals and families to surmount economic hardships that may arise unexpectedly. It underscores the pivotal role played by institutions like the Central Provident Fund (CPF) in extending vital financial services to the community.
CPF stands as a pivotal mechanism for helping individuals and families enhance their financial planning. This encompasses a spectrum of considerations, from long-term investments and retirement savings to health protection. By cultivating well-managed financial savings, individuals are better poised to confront challenging circumstances such as a pandemic with a greater sense of readiness and resilience.
The CPF, in this context, serves as a valuable tool in fortifying financial security and enabling individuals to navigate the uncertainties of the future with greater confidence.
Mary also underscored the paramount importance of effectively safeguarding client data, particularly in the context of social enterprises. In an age where data serves as a linchpin for informed decision-making and enhanced client services, the preservation of data security and integrity emerges as a foremost concern.
CPF frequently handles the personal and sensitive information of their clients, including financial, medical and various other personal details. Consequently, they bear a substantial responsibility to shield this data from cyber threats and potential misuse.
The loss of data or a security breach can wield far-reaching consequences, impacting not only client trust but also the seamless functioning of an organisation. It underscores the imperative of unwavering diligence in preserving data security and ensuring the highest standards of data protection to safeguard both clients and the organisation itself.
“In an age where services and operations are increasingly tied to cloud technology, security cannot be ignored,” says Mary. “As such, upholding cloud infrastructure cybersecurity is our top goal since it boosts client satisfaction through quality support.”
When customers entrust their vital data and information to an organisation, they hold the expectation that this data will be handled and stored with the highest level of security. This is not merely a matter of practicality; it is a profound issue of trust.
Mary understands that when customers have the assurance that their data is securely managed within the CPF Board’s cloud infrastructure, their satisfaction with the service provided is assured.
Robust security forms the bedrock of customer trust, and this trust is unequivocally reflected in the quality of service delivered. It’s a symbiotic relationship where security breeds trust, and trust, in turn, elevates the calibre of service provided.
The CPF Board’s commitment to cybersecurity extends beyond the technical aspects; it focuses on instilling a sense of safety and confidence in customers regarding the security of their data. This approach not only engenders customer satisfaction but also contributes to cementing the CPF Board’s reputation as an organisation that is both responsible and trustworthy in its stewardship of client data.
In the multi-cloud era, there has been a significant shift in the locus of control. Instead of relying on physical controls, the emphasis is now shifting to trusted identities, Mary explains. This means each entity must go through an authentication and authorisation process to gain access to a system or resource. By adopting this identity-based framework, they can effectively navigate the complexities of securing dynamic multi-cloud environments while ensuring higher levels of security.
Mary reaffirms the CPF Board’s unwavering dedication to the utmost protection of their clients’ data. They have put significant measures in place by implementing stringent security protocols, which include leveraging the latest in security technology and providing comprehensive training to employees in identifying and mitigating cyber threats.
In addition to these initiatives, they have established rigorous policies governing data management and storage, ensuring compliance with all relevant privacy regulations.
“It’s a holistic strategy where technical prowess combines with a commitment to customer trust, fostering a solid and reliable image for the organisation,” Mary concludes. “This multi-faceted approach underscores CPF’s dedication to the highest standards of data security and privacy, further cementing its reputation as a responsible custodian of client information.”
Binny Peh, Head of Partners & Alliances Singapore Public Sector, Amazon Web Services (AWS) expressed her appreciation for the attendees’ perceptive and insightful event as they came together to explore the transformative power of technology in the public sector.
“The discussions and interactions we’ve had reaffirm the pivotal role that technology plays in shaping the future of our societies, and more importantly, in improving the lives of our citizens,” she acknowledges.
Binny confirms that Amazon Web Services is deeply committed to driving innovation and enabling digital transformation for governments and organisations worldwide. “Our mission is to empower you to leverage the cloud to build more agile, efficient, and citizen-centric services. But it’s not just about technology; it’s about the partnerships and alliances we form, the collaborative spirit we nurture, and the shared vision we pursue together.”
She believes that the success they have achieved in the public sector is a collective effort. It’s the result of collaboration between government agencies, industry partners, and technology providers like AWS, “Your insights, your commitment to excellence, and your tireless efforts to push the boundaries of what’s possible are what make this transformation journey so exciting and impactful.”
Binny encouraged the participants to continue fostering innovation, build strong partnerships, and embrace the opportunities that lie ahead. She emphasised the importance of pushing boundaries and harnessing technology to tackle the most critical challenges in communities, ultimately working towards a brighter and more interconnected future for everyone.
“Thank you once again for your participation, your passion, and your dedication to the mission of OpenGov Asia. Together, we can achieve great things, and I look forward to our continued collaboration in shaping a better tomorrow,” Binny ends emphatically.
Li Wen Chi, Group Chief Technology Officer at Cloud Kinetics, expressed his appreciation to OpenGov Asia and all attendees for contributing to the event’s success, highlighting OpenGov Asia’s role as a facilitator of knowledge exchange, innovation and collaboration.
“OpenGov Asia has consistently created effective platforms for sharing ideas, stimulating discussion, building relations and driving change,” he acknowledges. “And this year has been no exception!”
As usual, Wen Chi confirms, the event featured insightful presentations, thought-provoking interactions and valuable networking opportunities, showcasing the dynamic evolution of digital transformation in Asia and the enthusiastic embrace of technology by governments, businesses, and individuals to catalyse positive change.
“One recurring theme of this event has been the pivotal role of technology in addressing our most urgent challenges. We’ve witnessed inspiring instances of technology’s potential for the common good. It’s evident that we’re not merely envisioning the future; we’re actively constructing it collectively,” Wen Chi reiterates.
Cloud Kinetics firmly believes that the cloud represents more than just a technological shift; it embodies a fundamental shift in our approach to business and society. And they are dedicated to leading this transformation, aiming to equip organisations with cutting-edge cloud solutions to navigate the intricacies of the digital era effectively, he confirms.
He encouraged the attendees to take the knowledge, insights, and connections acquired during the event and to further collaborate, share, learn from one another, and collectively strive for an inclusive, sustainable future driven by technology for the betterment of all.
“Remember that innovation knows no boundaries, and together, we can overcome any challenge that comes our way,” Wen Chi concludes, “The road ahead may be uncertain, but with the spirit of collaboration and innovation, we can navigate it successfully.”
In closing, Mohit extended his sincere gratitude to all the esteemed speakers, participants, and partners who graced the event with their presence and wisdom. Their expertise and unwavering commitment to innovation not only illuminated the discussions but charted a course for the future.
“Together, we have explored the limitless possibilities that emerge when governments, industry leaders, and technology providers join forces. We’ve delved into the transformative power of cloud computing,” Mohit appreciates.
It’s crucial, he adds, to acknowledge the transformative potential of AI, cybersecurity, and data analytics in the realm of public services. These technologies are pivotal in shaping the future of government operations and service delivery in several ways
Moreover, Mohit remains strongly convinced that in this era of unprecedented change, collaboration is not just a buzzword; it is the cornerstone of success, “It is through partnerships, alliances, and the exchange of ideas that we can unlock the full potential of technology and effectively navigate the intricate challenges that lie ahead.”
He urged the attendees to persist in the spirit of collaboration, encouraging them to forge new alliances, nurture existing partnerships, and remain open to the opportunities that technology continually unfolds.
“Let us always bear in mind that our collective mission is to enhance the well-being of citizens and stimulate comprehensive growth, “Mohit concludes, “We must keep the broader purpose of our endeavours at the fore and pave the way for a more sustainable and inclusive future for everyone.”
Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Defence, Heng Chee How, and Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information and Health, Dr Janil Puthucheary, recently visited the Critical Infrastructure Defence Exercise (CIDeX) 2023, underscoring the government’s commitment to fortifying national cybersecurity.
The exercise, held at the National University of Singapore School of Computing, witnessed over 200 participants engaging in operational technology (OT) critical infrastructure defence training.
Organised by the Digital and Intelligence Service (DIS) and the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA), with support from iTrust/SUTD and the National Cybersecurity R&D Laboratory (NCL), CIDeX 2023 marked a collaborative effort to enhance Whole-Of-Government (WoG) cyber capabilities. The exercise focused on detecting and countering cyber threats to both Information Technology (IT) and OT networks governing critical infrastructure sectors.
This year’s edition boasted participation from DIS, CSA, and 24 other national agencies across six Critical Information Infrastructure (CII) sectors. With an expanded digital infrastructure comprising six enterprise IT networks and three new OT testbeds, participants operated on six OT testbeds within key sectors—power, water, telecom, and aviation.
CIDeX 2023 featured Blue Teams, composed of national agency participants serving as cyber defenders, defending their digital infrastructure against simulated cyber-attacks launched by a composite Red Team comprising DIS, CSA, DSTA, and IMDA personnel. The exercises simulated attacks on both IT and OT networks, including scenarios such as overloading an airport substation, disrupting water distribution, and shutting down a gas plant.
The exercise provided a platform for participants to hone their technical competencies, enhance collaboration, and share expertise across agencies. Before CIDeX, participants underwent a five-day hands-on training programme at the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF)’s Cyber Defence Test and Evaluation Centre (CyTEC) at Stagmont Camp, ensuring readiness for cyber defence challenges.
On the sidelines of CIDeX 2023, the DIS solidified cyber collaboration by signing Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with key technology sector partners, expanding its partnerships beyond the earlier agreement with Microsoft earlier in the year.
Senior Minister Heng emphasised the importance of inter-agency cooperation, stating, “CIDeX is a platform where we bring together many agencies throughout the government to come together to learn how to defend together.” He highlighted the collective effort involving 26 agencies and over 200 participants, acknowledging the significance of unity in cybersecurity.
Dr Janil echoed this sentiment, emphasising CIDeX’s role in the Whole-of-Government (WoG) cyber defence effort. He remarked, “Defending Singapore’s cyberspace is not an easy task, and it is a team effort.”
He commended the strong partnership between the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore and the Digital and Intelligence Service, recognising the exercise as a crucial element in strengthening the nation’s digital resilience and national cybersecurity posture.
By leveraging collaboration, innovation, and a robust defence strategy, Singapore aims not just to protect its critical infrastructure but to set a global standard in cybersecurity practices.
CIDeX 2023 serves as a compelling embodiment of Singapore’s unwavering dedication to maintaining a leadership position in cybersecurity practices. This strategic exercise underscores the nation’s commitment to cultivating collaboration and fortifying its resilience against continually evolving cyber threats.
Beyond a training ground for sharpening the skills of cyber defenders, CIDeX 2023 encapsulates the government’s profound commitment to adopting a robust, collaborative, and forward-thinking approach to safeguarding the integrity and security of the nation’s critical infrastructure in the dynamic landscape of the digital age.
The Cyberport Entrepreneurship Programmes’ 20th Anniversary Celebration and Graduation Ceremony was a major event attended by notable personalities, distinguished guests and budding innovators.
Cyberport is Hong Kong’s digital technology flagship and incubator for entrepreneurship with over 2,000 members including over 900 onsite and close to 1,100 offsite start-ups and technology companies. It is managed by Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited, wholly owned by the Hong Kong SAR Government.
With a vision to become Hong Kong’s digital technology hub and stimulate a fresh economic impetus, Cyberport is dedicated to cultivating a dynamic tech environment. This commitment involves nurturing talent, encouraging youth entrepreneurship, aiding startups, fostering industry growth through strategic partnerships with local and international entities, and driving digital transformation across public and private sectors, bridging new and traditional economies.
Professor Sun Dong, the Secretary for Innovation, Technology, and Industry, Hong Kong highlighted Cyberport’s incredible journey and the achievements of its vibrant community. Expressing his delight in commemorating Cyberport’s two-decade-long legacy, he emphasised the institution’s pivotal role as an ICT powerhouse in Hong Kong.
From its humble beginnings to its present stature, Cyberport has emerged as a catalyst for innovation, nurturing over 2,000 technology companies and startups and showcasing an exponential growth rate over the past five years.
Cyberport’s community has attracted a staggering US$38 billion of investment, marking its significance as an ICT flagship in Hong Kong. The establishment takes pride in its contribution to nurturing numerous innovative ideas and fostering dynamic business ventures, with seven notable unicorns in fintech, smart living, and digital entertainment sectors.
Cyberport excelled at the prestigious Hong Kong ICT Awards, with 25 startups securing 28 accolades, including the esteemed Award of the Year. This achievement showcased the institution’s exceptional calibre and innovation prowess nurtured within its ecosystem.
Acknowledging the pivotal role of startups in Cyberport’s success story, Professor Sun Dong shared how these young enterprises, often starting with a simple idea at a small table, grow in tandem with Cyberport’s support. The institution provides not just financial aid but also a nurturing environment where entrepreneurs can leverage extensive networks, collaborative spaces, and expert guidance to cultivate their ideas into commercial successes.
The graduation of more than 200 startups from the Entrepreneurship Programme stood as a testament to Cyberport’s commitment to fostering entrepreneurial talent. This initiative empowers startups to translate their ideas into tangible commercial solutions and market breakthroughs, laying the foundation for their future success.
Looking ahead, Professor Sun Dong outlined Cyberport’s exciting plans, including the upcoming expansion block slated for completion in two years, aimed at providing additional space for the community’s development. He also highlighted Cyberport’s initiative to establish the Artificial Intelligence Supercomputing Centre, a pioneering endeavour set to commence in 2024, envisioned to be a pioneering and substantial facility in Hong Kong.
Cyberport’s extraordinary journey showcases significant achievements while charting a promising future, embodying the core values of innovation, collaboration, and collective growth.
Professor Sun expressed gratitude on behalf of the Government, acknowledging their hard work and contributions to the tech ecosystem emphasising the importance of collective participation for a better future.
The vibrant success of events like the Cyberport Venture Capital Forum 2023 resonates with Cyberport’s commitment to fostering innovation and collaboration, further cementing its role as a catalyst for technological advancement and entrepreneurial growth in Hong Kong.
The Cyberport Venture Capital Forum (CVCF) 2023 saw a turnout of over 2,500 participants during its two-day hybrid event. Themed “Venture Forward: Game Changing through Innovation,” the forum convened 80 global visionary venture experts, entrepreneurial pioneers, and influential thinkers. With more than 120,000 page views and over 300 fundraising meetings facilitated, it solidified its position as a pivotal platform fostering networking and collaborative opportunities.
In a significant stride towards technological innovation and sustainable development, the Department of Scientific & Industrial Research (DSIR) and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) have joined forces to revolutionise India’s construction and wastewater treatment sectors.
This pioneering collaboration under the “Access to Knowledge for Technology Development and Dissemination (A2K+) Studies” Scheme of DSIR is aimed at aligning with India’s Smart Cities Mission and its ambitious commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2070.
DSIR’s allocation of two crucial research studies to TERI signifies a pivotal step in bridging the informational gap on advanced building materials, designs for energy efficiency, and the assessment of membrane-based sewage wastewater treatment systems for reuse and recycling.
A significant milestone in this partnership was marked by a high-profile Stakeholder Consultant Meeting held at the prestigious India Habitat Center in New Delhi. Attended by key decision-makers, esteemed experts from academia, industry leaders, and policymakers, this event became a platform for insightful discussions and collaborations.
Dr Sujata Chaklanobis, Scientist ‘G’ and Head of A2K+ Studies at DSIR, emphasised the importance of promoting industrial research for indigenous technology development, utilisation, and transfer in her address. Her words underscored the crucial role of research and innovation in fostering sustainable technological advancements.
Mr Sanjay Seth, Senior Director of TERI’s Sustainable Infrastructure Programme highlighted India’s commitment to carbon neutrality by 2070. He stressed the imperative integration of cutting-edge technologies and innovative designs in buildings to significantly reduce energy consumption, a key step towards a sustainable, low-carbon future.
The first session of the consultation centred on leveraging emerging technologies and innovative solutions for advanced building design to enhance energy efficiency. Experts from various domains provided insightful suggestions and information, fostering dialogue on energy-efficient building designs and sustainable construction practices.
The second session delved into the current status and prospects of membrane technologies in India for sewage treatment. Insights from academia, including professors from prestigious institutions, shed light on research gaps and opportunities for commercialisation in the domain of membrane-based technologies.
Industry experts also provided valuable perspectives on the current membrane market, innovations, and opportunities, creating a comprehensive understanding of the landscape and paving the way for future developments.
The amalgamation of insights from academia, industry, and end-users enriched the discussions, providing a roadmap for future innovation and development in these critical sectors. The event culminated with a commitment from both DSIR and TERI to embark on an innovation journey, heralding a sustainable and resilient future for India.
The DSIR-TERI collaborative consultation stands as a beacon of transformative progress in advancing sustainable building practices and sewage treatment technologies. It underscores the power of partnership in driving technological evolution for a more sustainable tomorrow.
India’s ambitions intertwine technological progress with a steadffast commitment to sustainability, envisioning a future where innovation not only drives economic growth but also champions environmental stewardship.
Through strategic initiatives and cooperation, India aims to leverage cutting-edge technologies to address pressing global challenges, ensuring a harmonious balance between technological advancement, environmental preservation, and societal well-being.
NITI Aayog, in collaboration with CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, initiated the India Australia Rapid Innovation and Startup Expansion (RISE) Accelerator under the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) to bolster circular economy startups from both countries, fostering innovation and entrepreneurship.
The Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IIT-Kanpur) and the African-Asian Rural Development Organisation (AARDO) jointly organised an international training programme, focused on exploring the application of nanotechnology in promoting plant growth and crop protection for sustainable agriculture.
According to an IIT-Kanpur statement, the programme served as a forum for experts from diverse fields to discuss and deliberate on solutions to meet the urgent global challenge of achieving food security and promoting sustainability in agriculture.
The Indonesian government actively strives to implement thematic Bureaucratic Reform (RB) directly addressing societal issues. Minister of State Apparatus Empowerment and Bureaucratic Reform (PANRB) Abdullah Azwar Anas emphasised that innovation is one way to realise impactful bureaucracy.
To create impactful bureaucracy through innovation, the PANRB Ministry, which oversees public services, encourages local governments to replicate innovations through the Public Service Innovation Replication Forum (FRIPP). This is done to expand the reach of inventions and make them an integral part of the Bureaucratic Reform effort. The PANRB Ministry, as the overseer of public services, pays special attention to the steps local governments take in implementing innovations in public service delivery.
The Public Service Innovation Replication Forum (FRIPP) is a platform for local governments to share and discuss their experiences adopting specific innovations. By sharing best practices and learnings, local governments can gain valuable insights to enhance the quality of public services at the local level.
Furthermore, Abdullah Azwar Anas emphasised that inter-government collaboration is critical to building an innovative and positively impactful bureaucracy. “Through FRIPP, we encourage local governments to inspire and adopt innovations that have proven to provide real benefits to the community,” said Minister Abdullah Azwar Anas.
As previously reported by OpenGov Asia, the PANRB Ministry, along with the Ministry of Home Affairs and the National Administrative Agency (LAN), successfully launched the National Public Service Innovation Network (JIPPNas) website as a knowledge management system and the national database for public service innovations.
JIPPNas represents a concrete step in building an innovation ecosystem at the national level. This platform allows local governments to share ideas, projects, and innovative solutions in delivering public services. With this platform, other local governments can easily access and adopt innovations, accelerating the spread of best practices.
“Therefore, the presence of JIPPNas is expected to be an effort to grow new public service models through collaboration to achieve the future government,” said Minister Abdullah Azwar Anas.
In the discourse of Future Government, Minister Abdullah Azwar Anas outlined four main focus areas of the Thematic Bureaucratic Reform, which serve as the foundation for ambitious goals: poverty alleviation, increased investment, digitisation of government administration, and accelerating the current President’s priorities. Emphasis on these areas is crucial to ensuring that the bureaucracy is an effective and efficient driving force in realising the government’s vision and mission.
Minister Anas stressed the importance of a prime bureaucratic condition as a foundation to achieve the desired goals. Like a machine that must be well-maintained, the bureaucracy is directed to be able to drive the “vehicle” of the government towards the desired direction. Thus, the success of implementing the Thematic Bureaucratic Reform involves not only structural transformation but also upholding the quality and readiness of the bureaucracy as the primary driver of development.
Addressing Future Governance or Governance 5.0, Minister Anas detailed a significant paradigm shift. The “government regulating society” transitions to “Government working together with society,” or more precisely, considering society as a partner. This concept marks an evolution in how the government interacts with society, creating closer and more inclusive collaboration.
The importance of support from strategic partners such as Indonesia Infrastructure Project Governance (IIPG) is also highlighted. As a supporter of public governance reform, IIPG significantly contributes to maintaining synergy and harmonisation of roles across multi-sectors, both from the private and public sectors. This synergy is crucial in maintaining optimal performance and achieving public governance reform goals.
In line with the paradigm shift and focus on reform, these steps mark the government’s severe efforts to build a foundation for an adaptive, responsive, and actively engaged Future Government. Thematic Bureaucratic Reform is not just about structural transformation but also an effort to create a governance ecosystem capable of meeting the challenges and demands of the times effectively and competitively.
The 21st century is frequently called the age of Artificial Intelligence (AI), prompting questions about its societal implications. It actively transforms numerous processes across various domains, and research ethics (RE) is no exception. Multiple challenges, encompassing accountability, privacy, and openness, are emerging.
Research Ethics Boards (REBs) have been instituted to guarantee adherence to ethical standards throughout research. This scoping review seeks to illuminate the challenges posed by AI in research ethics and assess the preparedness of REBs in evaluating these challenges. Ethical guidelines and standards for AI development and deployment are essential to address these concerns.
To sustain this awareness, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), a part of the Department of Energy, has joined the Trillion Parameter Consortium (TPC), a global collaboration of scientists, researchers, and industry professionals. The consortium aimed to address the challenges of building large-scale artificial intelligence (AI) systems and advancing trustworthy and reliable AI for scientific discovery.
ORNL’s collaboration with TPC aligns seamlessly with its commitment to developing secure, reliable, and energy-efficient AI, complementing the consortium’s emphasis on responsible AI. With over 300 researchers utilising AI to address Department of Energy challenges and hosting the world’s most powerful supercomputer, Frontier, ORNL is well-equipped to significantly contribute to the consortium’s objectives.
Leveraging its AI research and extensive resources, the laboratory will be crucial in addressing challenges such as constructing large-scale generative AI models for scientific and engineering problems. Specific tasks include creating scalable model architectures, implementing effective training strategies, organising and curating data for model training, optimising AI libraries for exascale computing platforms, and evaluating progress in scientific task learning, reliability, and trust.
TPC strives to build an open community of researchers developing advanced large-scale generative AI models for scientific and engineering progress. The consortium plans to voluntarily initiate, manage, and coordinate projects to prevent redundancy and enhance impact. Additionally, TPC seeks to establish a global network of resources and expertise to support the next generation of AI, uniting researchers focused on large-scale AI applications in science and engineering.
Prasanna Balaprakash, ORNL R&D staff scientist and director of the lab’s AI Initiative, said, “ORNL envisions being a critical resource for the consortium and is committed to ensuring the future of AI across the scientific spectrum.”
Further, as an international organisation that supports education, science, and culture, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has established ten principles of AI ethics regarding scientific research.
- Beneficence: AI systems should be designed to promote the well-being of individuals, communities, and the environment.
- Non-maleficence: AI systems should avoid causing harm to individuals, communities, and the environment.
- Autonomy: Individuals should have the right to control their data and to make their own decisions about how AI systems are used.
- Justice: AI systems should be designed to be fair, equitable, and inclusive.
- Transparency: AI systems’ design, operation, and outcomes should be transparent and explainable.
- Accountability: There should be clear lines of responsibility for developing, deploying, and using AI systems.
- Privacy: The privacy of individuals should be protected when data is collected, processed, and used by AI systems.
- Data security: Data used by AI systems should be secure and protected from unauthorised access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction.
- Human oversight: AI systems should be subject to human management and control.
- Social and environmental compatibility: AI systems should be designed to be compatible with social and ecological values.
Since 1979, ORNL’s AI research has gained a portfolio with the launch of the Oak Ridge Applied Artificial Intelligence Project to ensure the alignment of UNESCO principles. Today, the AI Initiative focuses on developing secure, trustworthy, and energy-efficient AI across various applications, showcasing the laboratory’s commitment to advancing AI in fields ranging from biology to national security. The collaboration with TPC reinforces ORNL’s dedication to driving breakthroughs in large-scale scientific AI, aligning with the world agenda in implementing AI ethics.
The Chief Dental Officer of the Ministry of Health (MOH), Associate Prof Chng Chai Kiat highlighted their role in fostering collaboration, exploring innovation and propelling oral health into the future. Digitalisation, a key element of this transformation, takes centre stage providing a vibrant space for scientists to delve into technological advancements shaping the future of oral health.
Over the next few days, 60 local and international speakers will unravel cutting-edge technologies, artificial intelligence (AI), digital dentistry, biomaterials, orofacial devices, therapeutics, and more.
Oral diseases, affecting 3.5 billion globally, not only compromise health but also pose a substantial economic burden. In Singapore, the 2019/2020 National Adult Oral Health Survey revealed high prevalence rates, emphasising the need for effective strategies.
Assoc Prof Chng underlined the significance of oral health surveillance studies, crucial for policymaking and health system planning, while research becomes a driver for innovation in delivering quality oral care.
Population health takes precedence, aligning with Singapore’s healthcare reform through the Healthier SG initiative. The ageing population becomes a focal point, prompting the need for preventive care to ensure good oral health. Population oral health studies become instrumental in understanding responses to interventions across generations, contributing to effective policymaking.
A notable endeavour is the SG70 cohort study, “Towards Healthy Longevity,” integrating oral health research into mainstream public health initiatives. Led by the National University of Singapore, it examines the effects of biological, lifestyle, and socioeconomic factors on healthy ageing. A representative sample of 3,000 Singaporeans aged 70 and older will be followed for the next 10 to 15 years.
Digital dentistry solutions take a leap forward with the ongoing development of a clinically integrated workflow to produce removable partial dentures efficiently. Spearheaded by SingHealth-Duke NUS Medical School, this research proposal employs 3D dental prosthesis printing, biomaterials, and regenerative dentistry, catering to the oral needs of an ageing population.
Industry collaboration has become integral, and a noteworthy example is the development of an antiseptic mouth rinse with anti-viral properties. Originating during the COVID-19 pandemic, the study by the National Dental Centre Singapore has successfully partnered with a homegrown oral care brand, showcasing a synergy between oral health research expertise and industry knowledge.
Digital dentistry solutions have revolutionised dental practices by offering precision, efficiency, and enhanced patient experiences. Utilising advanced technologies such as intraoral scanners and CAD/CAM systems, these solutions ensure precise measurements and accurate diagnoses.
Digital workflows streamline traditional processes, significantly reducing chair time and enabling same-day restorations. This benefits practitioners in terms of time efficiency and enhances the overall patient experience, as digital impressions replace traditional materials, providing a more comfortable and less intrusive procedure.
Customisation and aesthetics are paramount in modern dentistry, and digital tools like CAD/CAM systems allow for the creation of highly customised dental prosthetics tailored to individual patient anatomy. The precise colour-matching capabilities of digital technologies contribute to restorations that closely resemble natural teeth, achieving superior aesthetic outcomes.
Additionally, improved communication between dental professionals is facilitated through digital platforms, enabling seamless collaboration on multidisciplinary cases. The ease of sharing digital records with laboratories, specialists, and other team members fosters better coordination in delivering comprehensive patient care.
Beyond the immediate benefits, digital dentistry offers long-term advantages such as cost-effectiveness, as reduced material costs and increased efficiency offset initial investments.
The accessibility and secure storage of digital patient records contribute to better continuity of care, while ongoing technological advancements, including the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and 3D printing, ensure that dental practices remain at the forefront of emerging trends.
Hence, digital dentistry has become an essential component of modern dental care, providing practitioners with tools to deliver high-quality, patient-centred services in a technologically advanced environment.
Union Minister of State for Skill Development & Entrepreneurship and Electronics & IT, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, spoke at two influential tech events: the Indian Express Digifraud & Safety Summit 2023 and YourStory Techsparks’23. His engagements centred around India’s technological advancements, regulatory policies, and the nation’s promising future in the global tech landscape.
At these tech summits, Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar outlined India’s ambitious technological trajectory, reinforcing the government’s dedication to fostering innovation, ensuring a safe digital environment, and harnessing the transformative power of technology for the nation’s progress.
Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar articulated India’s journey in artificial intelligence (AI) and emphasised the government’s commitment to fostering innovation and the startup ecosystem. He expressed the government’s profound interest in further boosting India’s burgeoning startup landscape.
Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar noted India’s transition from an unrestricted, eternally optimistic view of technology and the internet to a more nuanced approach. He highlighted the government’s aim to strike a balance between fostering innovation and growth while guaranteeing distinct rights for digital citizens.
The Minister emphasised the evolution from the phase of transforming India to the concept of ‘New India’ and now envisions witnessing the emergence of ‘Viksit Bharat’. He expanded on India’s transformation which resonated with the Prime Minister’s vision to raise India to a developed nation status, aiming to elevate the nation to the position of the world’s third-largest economy.
Highlighting the government’s initiatives, Minister Chandrasekhar stated, “Our focus is on startups, innovation, and funding, creating a computing infrastructure. In January, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi agreed to establish a significant amount of GPU capacity in India for startups to access and bring forth their innovation and foundational models.”
He advocated for decentralising the startup landscape, encouraging the emergence of successful ventures from various regions across India. “We want unicorns and successful startups to come from Meerut, Ghaziabad, Kohima, Srinagar, Kottayam, Belgaum, Dharwad, Visakhapatnam, Nagpur, and beyond,” he asserted, confirming the nation’s commitment to fostering innovation in diverse cities.
Addressing concerns about internet regulation and safety, the Minister explained the government’s evolved approach, focusing on ensuring safety and trust for digital citizens while holding platforms accountable. He clarified that “safety and trust are not for the Government; rather, they are initiatives aimed at safeguarding the vast majority of Digital Nagriks”.
Reflecting on his participation in the UK AI Summit, Minister Chandrasekhar underscored India’s commitment to a safe and trusted internet, aligning with the government’s guiding principles since 2021.
“We want the internet to be safe and trusted; it is an article of faith. We also aim for platforms to be legally accountable,” he reiterated.
He highlighted the need to embrace AI’s potential while managing risks, warning against a narrative that diminishes its innovation. The Minister emphasised that avoiding the overshadowing of AI’s benefits by its perceived risks is crucial for the digital economy and the populace.
“We don’t seek to demonise AI; rather, it’s vital to maintain a balance so that the discourse on its risks doesn’t eclipse its potential advantages,” he explains, clarifying India’s approach to artificial intelligence.
OpenGov Asia provided coverage of India’s expanding global influence, highlighting the country’s leadership roles across diverse international platforms. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has introduced the Global Digital Public Infrastructure Repository (GDPIR) and a Social Impact Fund (SIF). The GDPIR will be used for sharing information and best practices and the SIF is designed to advance Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI).
He unveiled the schemes during the Virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit. Chaired by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), the G20 Digital Economy Working Group (DEWG) has played a key role in progressing the global DPI agenda.