Today, financial institutions have the ability to gather, store, aggregate and analyse a broader variety of client data, ranging from their current or former location to consumer behaviours and preferences, which has been enhanced as a result of technological advancements. This, in turn, enables organisations to build, optimise and secure digital interactions from frontend to backend, across the full technology stack.
The most accurate way to enhance customer experience is the use of insights from data. By harnessing data-driven insights, banks can deliver on their core promises: to listen to customers, create a service that benefits them and offer that service in a personalised way.
In this scenario, data becomes one of the most valuable assets in digital banking and key financial system designs must incorporate a frictionless process layer so that banks can deliver better digital customer experiences.
Thailand has put in significant efforts in digitalising the financial and economic sectors. Currently, the nation is leading the world for mobile banking and financial services apps. It also ranks in the top five countries for e-commerce adoption, mobile payment, mobile commerce and QR code usage.
Embracing digital transformation as a strategic goal is the need of the hour for banks operating in Thailand to compete with larger incumbents. This can be accomplished by combining the various data silos that exist on-premise, in hybrid cloud environments, or multi-cloud environments and distilling these data into actionable insights to guide executive decisions.
Over the last few years, the cloud has enabled scalability in the finance industry, delivering agility. Financial institutions can acquire and analyse varied types of data at incredible speeds, eliminate content silos, safeguard data across the bank and develop enduring relationships with clients thanks to the greater flexibility and scalability of cloud solutions over on-premises systems.
To provide a customised, customer-centric experience, financial institutions must use data, analytics, technology, and automation effectively. The new ‘Data-to-Everything’ approach is required to manage these technical and organisational challenges. Financial institutions must embrace this because it benefits business, IT, and security teams by collecting real-time data from all sources, applying analytics and intelligence, and triggering automated actions that reduce business risks, improve security, provide collaboration, accelerate decision making, improve the customer experience and generates more business opportunities.
A digital-first, cloud-first and customer-first strategy is the future. Any digital banking strategy must be supported by a strong data strategy. To drive a high-level digital transformation, financial institutions must leverage insights to inform decision-making, operations, and customer experience components.
The OpenGovLive! Virtual Breakfast Insight held on 21 January 2022 aimed to provide the latest information on delivering an effective and efficient customer experience, and how financial institutions must leverage data-driven insights to inform decision-making, operations, and customer experience components.
Accelerating a digital strategy to provide a transformative financial experience
Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief, OpenGov Asia, kicked off the session with his opening address.
Mohit contends that technology is being in all spheres of life at a faster pace than ever before. Digital transformation is the ‘latest buzz word’ used by everyone across the world in every imaginable area and sector. Retail, financial, and public sectors have been rapidly rolling out new IT, tech software and solutions to survive and thrive in the digital age.
No doubt, the COVID-19 outbreak was a key factor in shifting the banking business landscape. In an article he wrote recently, Mohit says there is more pressure on the financial sector in Thailand to be digitally ready to meet demand and customer needs, to have a robust infrastructure in place and a strong data strategy.
In light of the pandemic and the new normal, Mohit asserts that there is a pressing need to accelerate digital strategies. With remote working models in place, people have grown accustomed to accessing information at any time, on any platform and with any device. The retail industry took the lead in embracing personalisation and transformed itself in a variety of ways, including accessibility, options, ease of doing business and security.
“Customer experiences have changed,” Mohit claims. “There is a steep rise in expectations for personalised and seamless services. If an organisation or agency does not meet these, they will explore other options.”
This means that organisations need to create new cloud and data strategies and innovate in every aspect. To successfully and efficiently do this, he emphasised the importance of partnership to leverage data and cloud computing in an organisation. By partnering with the right people, a company can accelerate its digital journey towards digital transformation.
Multi-cloud solutions in powering financial services
Dan Brassington, Chief Technical Advisor, APAC, Splunk spoke next on adapting and tweaking strategies to meet client needs and expectations. “Every organisation needs to be a digital organisation, powered by data, running in a multi-cloud world,” he firmly believes.
To have a competitive advantage, organisations need to consider how to leverage data and operationalise security across hybrid and multi-cloud environments – to build, detect, validate, contextualise and prioritise alerts, as well as reduce time to detect, streamline investigations to respond rapidly.
While charting the roadmap might seem easy in theory, the reality of digital transformation is that it is hard, complex and the journey is long. It is as much about working on processes and people as it is about the technology, Dan emphasised. On this journey of digital transformation, “there is no end state but a future state,” Dan opines.
Regardless of where organisations are on the path to digital transformation, the general trend is that they are applying technology across the business in new and broader ways. Whether organisations are attempting to control costs, open new revenue streams, make their workers and internal processes more efficient or build that “Next Great Thing,” the business objectives that they are trying to use technology to solve for are closer to the centre of their core business than ever before. In some cases, it may even be redefining the organisation’s identity.
On customer experience, Dan believes that customers expect organisations to understand their behaviour, their likes and dislikes and to move at their speed – if an institution is not able to do so, customers will find someone who can. Maintaining a competitive advantage is, therefore, imperative.
COVID-19 has driven 4 fundamental shifts, Dan observes. The first is the forced adoption of online, mobile call centre channels. That is followed by the arrival at a tipping point for digital and contactless payments, the overnight visualisation of the workforce and ways of working and the evolution of underlying market structure and economics.
The fact of the matter is that all the innovation and transformation is so that businesses can meet their customers’ expectations and provide smooth experiences in a bid to maintain their competitive advantage. Data is central to powering the experience of digital channels in ways that organisations need to look into.
To stay ahead of the curve, organisations must harness insights derived from data and the software that drives the digital experience. The ability to deliver data-driven digital services faster and cheaper is the key.
Beyond a doubt, the future is digital and digitalisation must take place across the entire value chain and the new environment. For instance, financial institutions cannot simply provide a mobile application per se – the provision of that service must come with the ability to provide streamlined processes of accessing services, such as approving home loans in 24 hours and providing quick financial services.
It is important to bear in mind that the hybrid and remote workforce is the future, Dan is convinced. This requires people, operations, and culture to be reimagined. And in this rapidly changing and demanding environment, innovative approaches must also be created for organisations to tackle inherent cyber risks and compliance risks.
Another important aspect of the digitalisation journey is the building of a cloud strategy. “Cloud is not a place but an operating model,” Dan highlights.
In conclusion, modern technologies will transform the future of business and data will fuel it. Data is the competitive advantage that businesses need to build to properly understand their customers and business. Businesses must evolve. Concluding his presentation, Dan shared 5 areas that are pressing for organisations to consider:
- Enable business model transformation and think differently about how businesses are run
- Identify industry changes early
- Optimise Resource Allocation
- Access, automate and accelerate data usage across the whole organisation
- Build a strong data-driven foundation for businesses
Using data-driven insights to accelerate businesses
Johnson Poh, Head Enterprise AI and Data, UOB Singapore, elaborated on the fundamental concepts of data analytics, as well as how financial institutions can enhance their business value and operational efficiency.
“What is the buzz surrounding AI, big data analytics and graph analytics?” Johnson asks.
But before the questions can be answered, the context and terms need to be unpacked. Breaking down the various related concepts, Johnson articulates the technologies underpinning data science.
- AI is a broad concept that relates to any technique that enables the machine to mimic human behaviour – it is about building smart machines to facilitate human efforts.
- Big data analytics pertains to the use of qualitative and quantitative methods and computing tools to derive insights from large volumes of data from a variety of sources at high velocity. It is an interdisciplinary field that focuses on advanced implementations for predictive and prescriptive analysis, comprising techniques such as Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Graph analysis.
- Machine Learning refers to a suite of AI techniques that allows computers to learn from data without being explicitly programmed to do so.
- Deep Learning is a subset of machine learning and refers to more advanced algorithms based on multi-layered artificial neural networks.
According to studies, big data can generate revenue on annual basis and enhance efficiency. Mckinsey estimates that big data analytics can create between US$ 4 to US$ 6 trillion in value annually, while another source reveals that banks can expect potential savings between 20% to 25% using big data analytics.
In the context of financial institutions, Johnson provided examples of how big data analytics can transform the banking and financial industry with impact – Anti Money Laundering (AML) management and fraud detection, recommender systems, customer 360 view and cybersecurity.
On Anti-Money Laundering management and fraud detection, he shared that big data analytics allows banks to sift out the underlying transactions and the relationships of fraudulent entities by mapping accounts and fund flows. By leveraging big data, the human task of investigating fraudulent transactions can be streamlined by prioritising the transactions that matter.
Another application of big data analytics includes recommender systems. It can also empower sales teams and analysts to have a comprehensive and unified view of customers and their journey map. With a fuller view of the customer journey, financial institutions can offer personalised and targeted services by analysing the preferences and profiles of customers. By offering a customer 360 view, the technology allows institutions to leverage linkages and relationships and to make connections that can inform operational decisions.
In terms of cybersecurity, Johnson shared that large corporate organisations face challenges in detecting real-time activity and transactions seamlessly. As data increases and operations scale, big data analytics offers a solution in sifting out critical data.
Developing people involves building a big data team with diversified skillsets to collaboratively drive analytics initiatives. For big data development at scale, a well-defined process and a set of standard operating procedures are imperatives.
Johnson has categorised the enterprise analytics lifecycle into three main phases: Big Data Engineering, Data Analytics & Machine Learning, Visualisation and Consumption. He points out that the process includes a feedback loop, emphasising that big data solutioning is an ongoing process requiring continuous monitoring, feedback, and refinement to account for performance degradation over time.
The final enabler is technology. To support the AI-driven pipeline, there is a need to assemble a suite of tools to fulfil the requirement for data storage, parallel processing, query processing, machine learning and insights delivery.
Concluding his presentation, Johnson reiterated the different use cases of big data technology in financial institutions and emphasised how it can benefit the operations of financial institutions, generate revenues and save on costs.
After the informative presentations, delegates participated in interactive discussions facilitated by polling questions. This activity is designed to provide live-audience interaction, promote engagement, hear real-life experiences, and facilitate discussions that impart professional learning and development for participants.
The first poll inquired on the maturity of delegates’ cloud strategy. Over two-thirds (65%) indicated that they have defined a cloud strategy and are starting to implement cloud. There were 17% who are still evaluating cloud and experimenting with different options while 13% had a comprehensive cloud strategy and far were ahead in its practical implementation.
On being asked by Dan if they felt that the implementation was the difficult part, one delegate replied that they undertook design thinking before focusing on the customer and experimented with applications on cloud, focusing on data-driven operations.
Another delegate felt that adopting and implementing cloud strategy is a continuous learning process. In a similar vein, an executive managing the business interests of his organisation shared that his department is learning about cloud strategy. While he finds the changes to be slower in the financial sector, he recognises the unique limitations and concerns about security in the financial sector. He added that resources and skills are limited, which places a cap on how the organisation can capitalise on technology.
In response to Dan’s query about the main challenges that organisations faced, one participant said that it is a combination of technology limitation, lack of expertise and nervousness surrounding doing new things. To that, Dan echoed Johnson’s point that the three elements of people, process and technology need to come together and emphasised the importance of working with partners.
When asked about the main driver for data analytics and data-driven capabilities within their organisation, approximately half of the delegates (54%) indicated that they are keen to gain better insights and to create a personalised customer experience. The remaining delegates (46%) thought that the main driver is to generate additional revenue through highly targeted marketing strategies.
For Dan, the drivers are interlinked – gaining better insights and creating a personalised customer experience can lead to revenue generation. After acquiring customers, organisations need to understand them and retain them by driving the customer experience.
One delegate concurred with Dan’s point of view but added that as a bank, he has an obligation towards regulators who have non-revenue related concerns.
On the challenge organisations face in obtaining data insights, most delegates (42%) ranked disparate data sources from multiple data silos as the main challenge. This was followed by the shortage of staff who understand big data analysis (38%), data storage and quality (20%).
In response to the results, Johnson opined that challenges can be classified as the elements of people, process, and technology. He observes that in the context of the banking sector, a large part of the challenge comes from having to implement the right systems that are secure to manage customers to ensure that it is safe – the mindset of how technology should be harnessed is a big part of it.
Quality of data was another issue that a delegate pointed out – some data sits on-premise or cloud and others are in the data lake. In that sense, synchronising the data is an ongoing process that needs to be tackled. Other delegates opined that finding data scientists who possess the contextual knowledge to extract relevant insights to drive business is a challenge.
The next poll asked delegates about where they stood and what their next steps are in their digital transformation plan. For almost half (48%), the digital transformation journey has just started, and they are looking at tools, data, processes and channels. Over a fifth (22%) said they are mature on the digital transformation journey and are looking at how to drive the customer experience and top-line growth. The remaining delegates are either between the early stage of building a digital transformation plan (17%) or require help to drive the business use case of digital transformation across the business (13%).
A delegate shared that his organisation might be mature in terms of digital banking but that there is still a long way to go when it comes to organisation-wide transformation. For a small bank like his, the challenge lies in acquiring new customers.
In contrast, another delegate from a company with many entities shared his challenge of synchronising the digital channels and initiatives of the various entities. The difficulty lies in looking at the initiatives across platforms and deciding what ought to be consolidated and kept separate.
On the topic of customer-centric organisations being structured around the experiences of customers, most delegates (52%) agreed that they design and offer the right services, products and experiences to the right customers. About 20% felt that they are a collaborative organisation, where top-down and bottom-up decisions are aligned. The remaining votes were evenly split between the perception that they understand the people who bank with their institution – the market, types of customers and how the needs of customers differ (14%) and ensuring that customer requirements are filtered through to capabilities – as such, processes, capabilities, and systems are systematically aligned to customer needs (14%).
Regardless of the selection, Dan reiterated that there is no end-goal to digital transformation, only a future state digital transformation that is constantly evolving. Johnson added that all options are relevant, but it comes down to resource allocation and overall prioritisation.
Mohit agreed with Johnson that it is a complex topic because the banking sector has been challenged every step of the way, but that technology is an enabler for any organisation’s digital transformation.
The final poll asked delegates the main challenge they face when implementing digital strategy. Most of the delegates (56%) found the biggest challenge to be the legacy technologies lacking integration capabilities, followed by inflexible business processes and teams (22%), lack of properly skilled teams (17%) and regulatory constraints (7%).
In closing, Dan expressed his gratitude for the robust participation and highly energetic discussion. He observed that everyone was at a different stage of digital transformation and that technology is the key enabler that will help organisations to transform the hardest tasks in the organisation. The more an organisation can collect and leverage its structured and unstructured data, the more the business will be able to expand.
He emphasised the importance of partnering with colleagues within the organisation. He encouraged delegates to continue the conversation with the business department to understand what they need. Instead of being reactive to changes on the ground, it is better to be proactive.
Dan reiterated that learning about data is a continuous and ongoing journey and encouraged the delegates to connect with him and the team to explore ways in which the use of data can help agencies improve their operations.
Mohit brought the session to an end with a final remark that the banking sector is under tremendous pressure because of the tremendous competition. He also added that while technology is the enabler, people and skill sets are critical to the implementation of digital transformation initiatives. On that note, Mohit urged delegates to consider external partners to help smoothen the journey.
The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) announced the launch of a S$5 million Virtual Production Innovation Fund to support the local media industry in developing the capabilities needed to harness virtual production technology to maintain the local media industry’s competitiveness as the international partner of choice to create premium IP.
To enable the camera to capture actors and visual effects in real time, virtual production technology uses LED panels to produce realistic background landscapes for television or movie sequences driven by video game engines. The site, road closures, location costs, permits, weather, set construction, and space rental will no longer be necessary for production.
With the help of technology, Singapore has a rare chance to get over some of its physical constraints, like the lack of suitable locations for on-location filming and room for large sets.
The ability of the storytellers to reproduce historical sites or any other environment will allow them to generate content that was previously impossible. This will revolutionise the creative process of storytelling.
The adoption of virtual production by the media sector is further encouraged by the strong signals emanating from international media giants that this technology will be widely employed in the creation of movies and television shows and will become the standard in the next years.
To strengthen capabilities in virtual production and ensure that the media companies and talent can keep up with international production methods to remain competitive, IMDA will pursue a two-pronged strategy to prepare the media sector for the future.
The National Film and Television School (NFTS) in the UK has collaborated with IMDA to adapt the school’s Certificate in Virtual Production course to the requirements of the sector to train media professionals to use this technology.
From December 2022 to April 2023, fifteen professors, trainers, and media professionals from Singapore will participate in virtual lectures and undergo hands-on training at NFTS’s virtual production facilities.
Over the course of the following 12 months, several masterclasses and workshops given by professionals from the business will be offered. A Singapore-based firm that specialises in developing immersive experiences, held a display to exhibit how virtual production can enhance imaginative storytelling.
Hands-on demonstrations will be given by guest speakers from virtual production leaders. They will discuss and explore best practices in the workflow to inventive ways to use different technology in storytelling.
Local businesses can also test out virtual production to realise their creative ideas for brief pieces of content, such as music videos, short films, and brand advertisements, among others. Companies can submit their suggested content concepts from now until February 15, 2023.
The capacity to best utilise virtual production technologies to realise a project’s creative vision will be taken into consideration while evaluating proposals.
Additionally, IMDA is working to organise an industry challenge with an internationally renowned gaming company. This challenge will encourage organisations to experiment with and use the cutting-edge real-time 3D creation tool developed by this gaming company. Currently, the aforementioned tool powers globally popular video games.
Teams whose concepts are shortlisted will receive personalised coaching and training from the gaming company. In addition, they will receive prize money from IMDA to assist with content creation.
Since virtual production technology has advanced in recent years, the country is now able to produce visual effects in real-time without building actual sets, thereby overcoming the constraints of scale, complexity, and space.
India will Chair the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI), an international initiative to support the responsible and human-centric development and use of artificial intelligence (AI).
The Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Rajeev Chandrasekhar, represented India virtually at the GPAI meeting held in Tokyo for the symbolic takeover from France, which is the outgoing Council Chair.
Chandrasekhar stated that the country would work in close cooperation with member states to put in place a framework to fully exploit the power of AI for the good of consumers across the globe. This means ensuring there are adequate guardrails to prevent misuse and user harm.
According to the Minister, India is building an ecosystem of modern cyber laws and frameworks based on three principles: openness, safety, and trust and accountability. With a National Programme on AI and National Data Governance Framework Policy (NDGFP) in place as well as one of the world’s largest publicly accessible datasets programmes in the works, the Minister reiterated India’s commitment to using AI to catalyse innovation and create good, trusted applications.
The NDGFP strives to ensure equitable access to non-personal data and improve institutional frameworks for government data sharing, promote principles around privacy and security by design, and encourage the use of anonymisation tools. It also aims to standardise the way the government collects and manages data. The NDGFP along with an envisaged Indian Data Management Office (IDMO) shall catalyse the next-gen AI and data-led research and startup ecosystem.
Through the datasets programmes, anonymised non-personal data will be available for the entire AI ecosystem. The AI market globally was nearly US$ 59.67 billion in 2021 and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 39.4% to reach around US$ 422.37 billion by 2028. With the rapid growth of AI and machine learning (ML), experts predict that most businesses will shift to AI-powered systems, apps, security systems, data analysis, and other applications in the future. AI is expected to add US$ 967 billion to India’s economy by 2035 and US$ 450–500 billion to India’s GDP by 2025, accounting for 10% of the country’s US $5 trillion GDP target.
A government official outlined India’s priorities as Chair GPAI next year, stating that the country would focus on promoting greater involvement of the global south in the conversation regarding the use of AI for solving societal problems. The country has also emphasised the need for the responsible and ethical use of AI.
GPAI is a congregation of 25 member countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, and Singapore. In 2020, India joined the group as a founding member. It is a first-of-its-type initiative that aims to better understand the challenges and opportunities around AI. It works in collaboration with partners and international organisations, leading experts from industry, civil society, governments, and academia. These stakeholders collaborate to promote the responsible evolution of AI and guide the development and use of the technology, grounded in human rights, inclusion, diversity, innovation, and economic growth.
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) recently announced that a PolyU-supported start-up has successfully developed the Nano Multi-rings Defocus Incorporated Lens for controlling the progression of myopia (or short-sightedness).
The start-up collaborated with the State Key Laboratory of Ultra-precision Machining Technology (The Hong Kong Polytechnic University) (SKL-UPMT) and the School of Optometry of PolyU to create the new solution by integrating DISC technology and Ultra-precision Nano Multi-rings Machining Technology, offering children and adolescents a convenient, non-invasive and effective option to delay myopia progression.
PolyU holds the patents for both DISC technology and Ultra-precision Nano Multi-rings Machining Technology. The launch of the Nano Multi-rings Defocus Incorporated Lens signifies the University’s long-term commitment to driving research and innovation and its continuous effort in facilitating knowledge transfer and research commercialisation by supporting cutting-edge technology start-ups.
PolyU’s School of Optometry invented the novel DISC technology, which is proven to retard the myopia progression of children by 60%. The method produces a clear image on the retina and a defocused or blurred image in front of the retina simultaneously, enabling children to have clear vision while controlling the development of myopia. Based on this technology, the DISC-SH soft contact lens was introduced in 2018.
The Ultra-precision Nano Multi-rings Machining Technology, developed by SKL-UPMT, merges advanced optics design, ultra-precision machining and ultra-precision measurement technologies, and ultra-precision mould-making to apply DISC technology in spectacle lens production. By employing an ultra-precision process, the new spectacle lens provides added comfort for wearers, while offering more stable vision. The non-invasive design also makes it more suitable for children of different ages.
The Visiting Chair Professor of the School of Optometry of PolyU and Co-founder of the start-up noted that the partnership with SKL-UPMT and the School of Optometry to launch the new Nano Multi-rings Defocus Incorporated Lens resulted in a breakthrough in DISC technology. This initiative helps address the spiralling myopia problem among children, especially in markets with a relatively high ratio of myopes such as Hong Kong, Singapore and mainland China.
The Professor of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering and Director of SKL-UPMT at PolyU stated that ultra-precision machining technology is a multi-disciplinary advanced manufacturing technology, which is the backbone of crucial industries like optometry, semiconductors, advanced optics, aerospace, energy, biomedical and new materials development.
He noted that SKL-UPMT is at the forefront of the development and application of technologies and have a proven track record in designing and implementing new methods, process, systems and facilities in ultra-precision machining and ultra-precision measurement.
The locally developed Ultra-precision Nano Multi-rings Machining Technology was extended to fine-tune and manufacture optometric products and will continue to create new technologies and solutions for diverse industries to benefit society. In doing so, Hong Kong and mainland China’s competence and strategic advantages in design and advanced manufacturing will be furthered, he said.
The Nano Multi-rings Defocus Incorporated Lens is expected to be rolled out in Hong Kong and mainland China soon. The company will continue collaborating with PolyU to develop new myopia control products based on DISC technology to protect the vision health of children and adolescents.
Founded by PolyU’s professor and alumni, the start-up has received financial support from the PolyU Micro Fund and the PolyU Tech Launchpad Fund. In 2018, the company secured a licence from PolyU for commercialising DISC technology, which the start-up manufactures and distributes DISC lenses at its authorised optometric clinics and fitting centres.
Four industry titans in technology have been given contracts for the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability (JWCC), according to the Department of Defense (DoD) of the U.S.
JWCC is a multiple-award contract vehicle that will give the DoD the chance to obtain commercial cloud capabilities and services directly from the commercial Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) at the pace of mission, at all classification levels, from the corporate headquarters to the tactical edge.
With this Indefinite-Delivery, Indefinite-Quantity (IDIQ) contract vehicle, cloud services can be provided more quickly and at commercial cost, if not better.
The following capabilities will now be available to warfighters under a single contract thanks to JWCC: global accessibility, readily available and resilient services, centralised management and distributed control, usability, commercial parity, elastic computing, storage, and network infrastructure, advanced data analytics, fortified security, and tactical edge devices.
Those interested in knowing more about JWCC, register for the JWCC Customer Portal or contact the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Hosting and Compute Center (HaCC), can visit this website.
To make cloud purchasing, provisioning, and onboarding simpler for DoD clients, DISA has created user-friendly cloud accelerators.
In addition, the DoD MIIs build a national network of public-private partnerships, establish an industrial common for manufacturing R&D, and advance workforce education and development while accelerating new technologies using federal funding combined with matching investment from academia, industry, and state governments.
The network strategically coordinates resources to solve important technologies and create interconnected manufacturing systems by marshalling the greatest talent from around the nation. The nine MIIs supported by the DoD are under the direction of ManTech, the DoD Manufacturing Technology Program.
Finding industry partners, including small enterprises, that have cutting-edge technology that could help the warfighter is essential to the DOD MII mission. DoD makes investments in these sectors of advanced manufacturing through the MIIs.
Conversations with some research institutes earlier this year shed light on how the DoD and the country are benefiting from the pace of technology.
Combining silicon integrated circuits with semiconductor lasers is known as silicon photonics – a speciality of the American Institute of Manufacturing — Integrated Photonics.
Compared to conventional electronics, this technology allows for faster data transfer over greater distances while making use of the advantages of high-volume silicon production.
COVID sensors are some of the most fascinating applications for photonics. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act provided funding for sensors that can identify COVID-19 from a drop of blood in less than a minute.
In various sensor regions of the chip, there are proteins linked to SARS-CoV-2 and eight other viruses. Antibodies to those viruses will bind to the proteins in a blood sample and be found if a person has been exposed to any of the viruses.
On the other hand, additive manufacturing creates parts that can be formed of ceramics, rubber, metal, plastic, rubber, and polymers. The ability of the military to build parts additively improves its capacity for swift and agile operations, particularly in hostile circumstances.
The qualification and certification of processes and materials are other areas of emphasis for some manufacturers. The primary obstacle to manufacturers fully embracing additive manufacturing is a lack of training and certification.
The manufacturing sector also examines how the supply chain’s capacity compares to the need for components made additively.
Together, these initiatives are assisting the U.S. in strengthening its manufacturing sector and taking the lead in global competitiveness.
Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-Madras) have developed an ocean wave energy converter that can generate electricity from sea waves. The team successfully concluded the trials for the device in the second week of November.
According to a statement by IIT-Madras, the device was deployed about 6 kilometres off the coast of Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu, and around 20 metres deep. It targets generating 1 megawatt of power from ocean waves within the next three years. The product has been named Sindhuja-I, which means ‘generated from the ocean.’
The system has a floating buoy, a spar, and an electrical module. The buoy moves up and down as the wave moves up and down. In the present design, the buoy has a central hole that allows a long rod called a spar to pass through it. The spar can be fixed to the seabed, and passing waves will not affect it, the buoy moves up and down and produces relative motion between them. This relative motion is used by an electric generator to produce power. In the present design, the spar floats, and a mooring chain keeps the system in place.
The project will help achieve several objectives, including goals set in the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and India’s targets to carry out deep-water missions, promote clean energy, and achieve a blue economy. The project could help India meet its climate change-related goals of generating 500 gigawatts of electricity by 2030 through renewable energy.
The device will be deployed in remote offshore locations, which require reliable electricity and communication either by supplying electric power to payloads that are integrated directly in or on the device or located in its vicinity as on the seabed and in the water column. Targeted stakeholders are the oil and gas, defence and security installations, and communications sectors.
A faculty member from IIT-Madras who has been working on wave energy for over a decade, Abdus Samad, led the mission. He established a state-of-the-art Wave Energy and Fluids Engineering Laboratory (WEFEL) at the Institute. His team designed and tested a scaled-down model. The lab is also researching other applications for this technology such as producing power for smaller devices for the ocean like navigational buoys and data buoys, among others.
Samad explained that India has a 7,500-kilometre-long coastline capable of producing 54 gigawatts of power, satisfying a substantial amount of the country’s energy requirements. Seawater stores tidal, wave, and ocean thermal energy. Among them, harnessing 40 gigawatts of wave energy is possible in India, he said. Efficacy-wise, it can be installed anywhere within 10 to 6,000 metres of water depth. It’s not dependent on bathymetry, does not harm sea life, includes no digging of the sea bed and is easily deployable, and portable. This will generate power around the clock, with almost negligible battery storage. Samad said it would be an excellent choice for sea surveillance, offshore desalination, coral reef regeneration, offshore communication, and drone charging/underwater vehicle charging.
Even single devices in different locations along the Indian coastline can generate large quantities of clean power. The team is contemplating placing multiple devices in an array configuration for maximum wave power extraction from the location, Samad noted. Their vision is to make India sustainable by tapping marine energy and net-zero carbon emissions to mitigate climate impact.
In a bid to establish itself as a global mRNA vaccine hub, The Queensland government has partnered with a leading healthcare company to establish a world-first research centre in Brisbane. The AU$280 million Translational Science Hub will be established under an agreement between the company, the University of Queensland, Griffith University, and the Queensland Government.
The state’s Premier noted that Queensland will be the only jurisdiction in Australia to have a centre like this. She said that the Translational Science Hub will give them the platform to develop life-saving vaccines.
The Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development said the new Hub would help drive the development of new vaccines and healthcare solutions across the world. Through the Translational Science Hub, Queensland scientists will collaborate with global peers in the US and France on ground-breaking mRNA technology and vaccine development.
The Hub will bring more expertise, supply-chain capabilities, as well as clinical investigations to Queensland. It is expected to create up to 200 jobs for Queenslanders and strengthen the region’s biomanufacturing supply chain. mRNA technology is expected to deliver a new generation of vaccines that instruct certain cells to produce proteins that are recognised by the immune system to mount a defence.
The Minister for Science stated that Queensland is being recognised as a global research and innovation hub thanks to the government’s investment in state-of-the-art research facilities, talent attraction and partnerships between industry, academia and government.
She said that the agreement will make Queensland science even more competitive by accelerating the commercialisation of local research by linking university partners with a global industry leader to evaluate and develop new health technologies.
The government is also investing AU$17 million in the state budget to provide significant support to foster partnerships between universities and industry and accelerate the commercial application of major research being conducted in the state.
The Translational Science Hub in Queensland will work closely with the healthcare firm’s mRNA Centre of Excellence in France and the US to accelerate a new era of vaccine innovation, the firm’s Global Head of Vaccine Research and Development said.
The Vice-Chancellor and President, Griffith University, stated that Griffith is delighted to be part of the partnership building on the strengths and capabilities of the University’s existing biomedical leadership. The University’s researchers are internationally recognised for bringing disease-specific mRNA expertise to developing new vaccines and therapies while our Clinical Trial Unit is a leader in testing safety and efficacy.
The Vice-Chancellor, University of Queensland stated that the partnership builds on a commitment to bring the latest technologies to UQ’s internationally recognised vaccine and drug development programs. The shift in focus mRNA technologies was accelerated during the pandemic and UQ has invested in both the people and facilities to ensure mRNA for pre-clinical research can be developed and produced in Queensland.
The Translational Science Hub will be located across Queensland, using the laboratories and infrastructure of the University of Queensland, Griffith University, and the Translational Research Institute (TRI). The research is expected to start in Q1 2023 with an initial focus on a Chlamydia vaccine.
Chlamydia is the most common STI in the world with around 129 million infections a year. While Chlamydia can be treated, there is currently no vaccine to prevent infection. If left untreated it can lead to infertility and in pregnant women can result in foetal eye and lung infections.
The biomedical industry in Queensland contributes around AU$ 2.1 billion in gross value-added products and employs more than 12,000 people across the state. The industry is supported by the Queensland Biomedical 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan.
To strengthen the nation’s local industries and reduce its reliance on imports, Philippine President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. invited enterprises to engage in digitalising processes as well as other crucial areas including education, skills training, and research and development.
The president of the Philippines stated that imported goods continue to be the main cause of inflation and that import substitution must be considered. For its part, the Philippine government is dedicated to accelerating economic growth with the broader objectives of reducing poverty and reviving job creation.
Notably, the government works to hasten the nation’s economic expansion by reducing travel and movement restrictions, even more, enacting economic reforms, and fostering stronger economic ties with trading and investment partners.
The President also emphasised the efforts being made by the government to increase the ease of doing business, public-private partnerships, and bureaucratic efficiency through the development and digitalisation of information and communication technology (ICT).
The Chief Executive said that the Philippine economy is on pace to sustain its good economic performance and meet the government’s growth target of 6.5 to 7.5 per cent for this year as it continues to recover from the pandemic’s negative effects. Inflation must be controlled, the country’s growth rate appears robust, the peso is strengthening slightly in comparison to other currencies, and the unemployment rate is reasonable given the circumstances.
The Chief Executive anticipates that the meeting will aid in creating new economic prospects, reviving the industries that have been most negatively impacted by the pandemic, as well as addressing upcoming difficulties.
Meanwhile, one of the first Intergovernmental Relations (IGR) entities established and constituted under the Bangsamoro Organic Law, the Intergovernmental Fiscal Policy Board (IFPB), recently had their meeting.
The primary role of the IFPB is to address revenue imbalances and variations in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s (BARMM) financial demands and income-raising capability. The body will specifically suggest tax-collecting strategies and changes to fiscal policy for the BARMM.
THE IGFP discussed 17 issues on the agenda, including the BARMM’s tax system’s digitalisation. Assuring solid financial management and improved bureaucratic efficiency through digital transformation is in line with the administration’s 8-Point Socioeconomic Agenda.
To further this objective, IFPB pledges to build and uphold positive and constructive relationships to meet BARMM’s financial demands and strengthen the region’s potential for revenue-raising. In addition to the IFPB, the Intergovernmental Relations Body (IGRB), which is made up of officials from the national and Bangsamoro administrations, had its 12th meeting and press conference to talk about issues pertaining to the local development of the BARMM.
In response to the difficulties posed by the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0), the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has reaffirmed its strong commitment to keep developing its programmes and services.
To adapt and alter its programmes to the increasing needs of the industries, TESDA is constantly trying to improve its systems and procedures. And this is where their partner industries step in, assisting them in creating training programmes that will equip graduates with skills relevant to their business.
The organisation emphasised how quickly technology is advancing in the workplace. Since tech-VOC training encompasses the study of technologies and allied sciences as well as the learning of practical skills, Industry 4.0 has a direct impact on this field. To create a workforce with competencies appropriate for the industry, the agency urged people in the education and business sectors to collaborate closely.