On 7 June 2018, over 80 senior technology executives from various Victorian Government agencies gathered at the Victoria OpenGov Leadership Forum 2018 to exchange ideas on enabling digital transformation with the Victorian Government to leverage new digital technology to quality public services to citizens. The exclusive full-day Forum took place at Pullman Melbourne Albert Park.
Chairman’s Opening Remarks
Mr Mohit Sagar, Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of OpenGov Asia, kickstarted the Forum by highlighting the importance of digital transformation in the public sector.
In his Chairman’s Opening Remarks, Mr Sagar remarked that digital transformation is more than just the technology – it is about understanding citizens’ needs and driving desirable outcomes. According to him, government officials need to understand citizens’ needs, how they use technology and, more importantly, what
their agencies are trying to achieve, in order to make the best use of technology to improve public services delivery.
The Forum then moved on to its first gamification session. Throughout the full-day event, the Forum hosted a total of four gamification sessions which engaged the senior technology executives in a series of open discussions and interactive gamification exercises through OpenGov’s signature Open Dialogue Table format.
Each table featured a different topic and was hosted by a senior government official and an industry leader to facilitate meaningful conversations and give an all-round perspective of the topic. A wide range of topics were covered at the gamification sessions, including artificial intelligence (AI), big data analytics, cloud utilisation, cybersecurity, data privacy, digital identity, smart cities etc.
In between the gamification sessions, OpenGov invited a few distinguished international speakers to present case studies on various governments’ experience in their digital transformation journeys.
New Zealand’s Integrated Data Infrastructure
The first to share an international case study was Mr Chris Buxton, Chief Digital Officer of Stats NZ, who spoke about New Zealand’s integrated data infrastructure. According to him, New Zealand’s Integrated Data Infrastructure is an enabler for research, which allows various government agencies to draw valuable insights into complex issues and better understand the needs of the citizens.
He shared how Stats NZ integrated microdata from two large integrated databases – Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI) database and the Longitudinal Business Database (LBD) – for research about issues pertinent to New Zealand’s population. To ensure that the IDI and LBD data is kept safe, Mr Buxton explained that Stats NZ adopts the “Five Safes Framework” under which only authorised researchers working on approved statistical projects of public interest can access de-identified data at the Data Lab through which Stats NZ staff will ensure that no person nor business are identifiable in the data.
The Digitisation of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Mr Mark Bowry, the Radio and Regional Business Lead, ABC Technology at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), then discussed the digitisation of the ABC. He shared that the vision of the organisation is to be the independent source of Australian conversations, culture and stories.
In the organisation’s ongoing efforts to remain a trusted and relevant part of Australians lives, the ABC went from doing a one-way broadcast through AM radio to fully interacting with the audience on social media. To reach a larger audience, the ABC has went beyond using only one-way broadcast and expanded into other channels and medium including podcasts and iView.
Delivering on the Data Democratisation through Data Science as a Service
To give an industry perspective, Mr Mitch Robinson, Senior Data Scientist at Leidos Australia delved into the topic of data science as a service. According to him, we are on a journey to citizen data science in which the emergence of big data and analytics improve accuracy. Such technological advancement thus created a need for the modern enterprise to shift strategic direction from process based to data driven.
However, for most businesses, this transformation is still in its infancy. Typical analytical challenges that businesses face include capability establishment, data engineering, data discovery and insights productisation.
In his sharing on how Leidos expedites customers’ digital transformation journeys, Mr Robinson highlighted the importance of using the right tools that allow rapid and secure data access for the organisation to develop trusted and actionable insights.
The Netherland’s Experience in Digital Identity
Mr Frans Rijkers is the Strategic Advisor Innovation and Identity, National Office for Identity Data at the Ministry for the Interior and Kingdom Relations, the Netherlands. His sharing focused on the Dutch journey in creating a self-sovereign digital identity.
To start, Mr Rijkers shared that the vision of the Dutch Government is to leverage technology to provide citizen-centric public services and create a network society. He then spoke about the Dutch Blockchain Coalition and how the blockchain platform allows the government to implement citizen identification whilst protecting and preserving the privacy.
In his sharing, Mr Rijkers emphasised the role of international collaboration in creating self-sovereign digital identity and the importance of empowering citizens to control their digital identities to build trust with distributed ledgers.
Leveraging Technology to Unleash the Power of Human Collaboration
Mr Tony Simonsen, Vice President – ANZ, Japan and Korea, Polycom gave insights on how the government can unleash the power of teams. Technology changes the way we live, work, and play. With technological advancements, business communication today is also vastly different from what it was in the past.
To unleash the power of human collaborations, Mr Simonsen highlighted the importance of empowering seamless collaboration across different platforms, ensuring interoperability of technology solutions and emphasising on the ease of use of these technologies.
Hong Kong: AI and the Future of Education
Dr Andy Chun, Associate Professor and former Chief Information Officer of City University of Hong Kong, spoke on the topic of AI and its implication on the future of education. His sharing covered the sustainable development goals of the United Nations (UN) with regards to education and how emerging technologies including AI can help to achieve such goals. His insightful session highlighted the importance of inclusive and quality education for all and lifelong learning, and how technology can serve as an enabler to the provision of affordable education.
Malaysia’s Approach to Cybersecurity
Dato’ Dr Haji Amirudin bin Abdul Wahab, Chief Executive Officer of CyberSecurity Malaysia, shared Malaysia’s holistic approach to cybersecurity. Such an approach contributed to Malaysia high global ranking on the Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) by the International Telecommunication Union(ITU) which is a multi-stakeholder initiative to measure the commitment of countries to cybersecurity based on 5 pillars of governance, legal capacity, technical capacity, capacity building and international cooperation.
According to Dato’ Dr Abdul Wahab, having a holistic approach means capabilities in both identifying potential cybersecurity threats and its impact on national security and public well-being as well as developing cyber resilience to resist, respond, and recover from cybersecurity threats. In the case of Malaysia, the holistic approach has helped the country to see cybersecurity as more than just a technical issue. Instead, it addresses cybersecurity through implementing relevant policies, training a quality cybersecurity workforce, and developing cybersecurity processes and procedures to cope with cybersecurity challenges.
Other than international case studies, the Forum also featured panel discussions to deep dive into two major topics of interest include AI, big data analytics and cybersecurity.
Moderated by Mr Mohit Sagar, the two panel discussions explored how government agencies can harness the power of big data analytics and AI for better governance and improve citizens’ lives, as well as how public sector agencies can enhance their cybersecurity defence in the digital age.
The Victoria OpenGov Leadership Forum also aimed to better understand the needs of the public sector agencies in their digital transformation journey through interactive polling sessions.
According to the polling results, 52% of the delegates came from agencies with total head count of over 1,000. 40% of them said their organisation have an IT head count of over 50 people. Around 30% of the attendees said their organisation has an annual budget of over $501 million and another 20% claimed to have an annual budget between $121 million to $240 million. 47% of the attendees indicated that their organisation’s annual IT budget ranges from $1 to $15 million.
In terms of the IT budget allocation, 24% said that less than 10% of the annual IT the budget is allocated to outsourced services. The top 3 outsourced area of IT services are in IT infrastructure management (41%), enterprise IT system (28%) and data centre (8%).
In terms of their IT and Information Management Strategy, 35% said their organisations are behind schedule for the implementation of the strategy while 28% are updating the existing strategy. A quarter said the implementation is as scheduled and only 6% claimed that the implementation is ahead of schedule. 6% of the delegates said their organisations do not have an IT and Information Management Strategy.
While 42% of the attendees said their organisation are in the process of updating their Information Security Infrastructure, 11% are undergoing policy review and problem definition process, while 9% are planning to update the infrastructure.
Regarding the organisation’s priorities, 43% named citizen-centric services their top priority, followed by cloud adoption and data management (34%), predictive analytics and AI (9%), cybersecurity (8%) and data sharing and privacy (6%)
At the same time, delegates also shared the top 5 major challenges their organisations face in implementing IT projects, which are: the lack of clearly defined goals and requirements (26%), lack of foundational IT infrastructure (20%), the lack of funding (18%), lack of in-house skills (14%), and lack of ownership by the business (14%). Only 1% of them are struggling to find the right technology partners.
Results also showed that the online transaction portal (40%), non-interactive websites (23%), and mobile application (14%) are the major digital public services that these public sector agencies offer. On the use of emerging technologies such as AI and blockchain, a majority (51%) of the attendees said they are currently not using or evaluating any form of AI and nearly half of them also said they need more information on blockchain to determine if there is a relevant application of the technology for the organisation. 32% of them also shared that data accessibility and sharing is the biggest pain point in big data value chain while 23% named data quality as the major challenge.
In terms of their biggest challenge in 2018, 38% are facing difficulties in creating the culture and openness to innovation, 27% of them are struggling with legacy infrastructure, and another 17% found cross-agency collaboration a challenge.
In terms of cybersecurity risks, employee negligence or malfeasance (32%), outdated systems and software (30%), and oversight of basic security practices (24%) were also named the biggest cybersecurity risks, highlighting the need to raise cybersecurity awareness among employees.
36% of the organisations are using or planning to use hybrid clouds while 25% preferred private clouds. In adopting cloud solutions, the lack of skills to manage cloud security (26%) is the main challenge, followed by the budget and procurement (24%) and security concerns (21%).
To their top strategy to achieve policy objectives, 52% of the attendees named a change in organisational culture to create a conducive environment to promote innovation, followed by upskilling internal resource (15%).
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) and a US-based engineering company signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish the Centre for Humanistic Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CHAiR) for translational research with the goal of advancing the well-being of humanity.
The partnership aims to integrate the university’s interdisciplinary research capabilities and the company’s well-known humanoid robotics platform to explore technology applications. Sophia, the company’s most advanced human-like robot, will work with PolyU researchers to enhance the contribution of AI and robotic technology for social and commercial benefits.
Research into and applications of AI and robotics are essential to the advancement of industry. As an interdisciplinary research and development centre, CHAiR brings cross-faculty collaborations in research fields such as AI, the internet of things (IoT), neuroscience, design, computer science, mechanical engineering, material science, healthcare, and the humanities.
In collaboration with the company, CHAiR supports innovation and entrepreneurship in Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area. The Dean of Graduate School, Chair Professor of Distributed and Mobile Computing, and Otto Poon Charitable Foundation Professor in Data Science will serve as the principal investigator and administrative director of CHAiR. He will also serve alongside the CEO and Founder of the company as a co-chair of the Centre’s steering committee.
The MoU was signed by the Vice President (Research and Innovation) of PolyU and the CEO and Founder of the company. It was Witnessed by the President of PolyU and the Executive Director of the firm.
During the signing ceremony, Sophia made conversation with the guests. She said, “I look forward to learning many new skills and abilities. With your help, maybe I can learn how to be a nurse, a teacher, a concierge, a librarian. You can teach me how to be a better companion, a more skilful artist, a funnier entertainer.”
Meanwhile, the company’s CEO and Founder noted that the new centre is perfectly positioned to refine and improve the performance of Sophia-class robots in ways that promote the growth of a new service robot industry. As soon as the industry begins expanding, investment in improved hardware, software and manufacturing technologies will as well, he noted.
The President of PolyU noted that academia-industry collaboration is one of the most productive mechanisms for creating and implementing innovations. There is tremendous untapped potential for humanistic social robots. Let us aspire that CHAiR will be a major catalyst for the onset of the age of humanistic robots.
The Dean of Graduate School, Chair Professor of Distributed and Mobile Computing, who is also Director of the Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence of Things (RIAIoT), said the Institute has been working on practical solutions to key challenges in advanced AIoT technologies and applications.
He noted that the natural evolution for RIAIoT is to partner with the engineering firm to address increasingly ambitious opportunities in humanistic AI and social robotics. CHAiR will play a unique and key role to combine the firm’s knowledge with world-class academics here at PolyU.
The engineering company is an AI and robotics company dedicated to creating socially intelligent machines that enrich the quality of our lives. Sophia is the world’s first robot citizen and the first robot Innovation Ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme.
Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, helped launch construction of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Observatory’s SKA-Low telescope at Inyarrimanha Ilgari Bundara, the CSIRO Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory on Wajarri Country in Western Australia (WA).
The global SKA Observatory (SKAO) announced the start of on-site construction activity for both their telescopes, SKA-Low in Australia and SKA-Mid in South Africa. The SKA-Low telescope will be the first mega-science project co-hosted in Australia and will explore the Universe in more detail than ever before, transforming the current understanding of the cosmos and benefitting society through global collaboration and innovation.
The SKA project aims to help Australian expertise remain at the forefront of discovery as an example collaboration to drive innovation, especially the collaboration of the Wajarri Yamaji, Traditional Owners and native title holders of the telescope site.
The progress of the SKA project over the past two decades has allowed researchers to see further into the universe than ever before. It has driven innovation and inspired generations both new and old through the development of technologies to solve great challenges facing our planet by better understanding the universe.
The start of SKA-Low construction on site is the culmination of many dreams, both within CSIRO and the global astronomy community, and the next step on this journey of discovery. CSIRO is the SKAO’s operations partner for the SKA-Low telescope in Australia and holds multiple contracts for SKA-Low construction activities.
The SKA-Low telescope will spread across 74 km end-to-end at the WA observatory site alongside existing instruments including CSIRO’s ASKAP radio telescope.
The SKA-Low Telescope Director stated that the SKAO was pleased to have established operations and engineering centres in Australia, where SKAO works closely with CSIRO as operations partner. She noted that CSIRO has been involved in the SKA project since its inception and have been leaders in radio astronomy science and technology for more than 70 years. The SKA Observatory welcomes this partnership with CSIRO to build and operate the SKA-Low telescope in Western Australia, she added.
CSIRO is also a foundation member in other key SKA project partners in Australia, including the Pawsey Supercomputing Research Centre and the Australian SKA Regional Centre.
More about CSIRO’s role in the SKA project
Australia is a member of the international organisation established to build and operate the world’s most powerful radio astronomy facility, the SKA Observatory (SKAO). The SKA Observatory will consist of two radio-telescopes, one in Australia (SKA-Low), and one in South Africa (SKA-Mid). The two telescopes will observe the sky at different radio frequencies and complement each other scientifically.
CSIRO will be the operating partner for the SKA-Low telescope, as well as hosting the telescope itself at Inyarrimanha Ilgari Bundara, our Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in Western Australia.
SKA-Low will consist of an array of 131,072 Christmas tree-shaped antennas, grouped in 512 stations, each with 256 antennas. Several of these antenna stations will be placed in the centre and the rest will span out along three spiral arms, stretching 74 kilometres end to end. SKA-Low will operate at frequencies between 50 and 350 MHz, like FM radio and TV broadcasts.
In addition to its role as operations partner and managers of the telescope site, CSIRO will also contribute to the construction of the SKA-Low Telescope. CSIRO:
- Led the infrastructure design work and is collaborating with industry partners to manage the site infrastructure construction process. This includes its work with industry partner Aurecon to manage the infrastructure contracts in Australia, including the contract with an Australian-based business.
- Is working with university and industry partners to oversee the installation of SKA-Low antenna stations.
- Is managing the assembly, integration, and verification process – the work to connect and check all the individual sub systems and products are working correctly – together with international institutions.
- Is working with international research institutions to develop the central signal processing system of the telescope, the backend of the telescope that takes the signals from each antenna station and combines them before sending that information to the science data processing system.
- Is working with university partners to design the science data processing system, the supercomputer software that takes the data from the telescope and outputs the images astronomers use to study the universe.
Indonesia’s Ministry of Communication and Informatics conducted a familiarisation workshop for health workers and non-medical staff about Electronic Medical Records (RME). According to Health Ministry regulations, health facilities in Indonesia are required to use RME. Indonesia Social Security Administrator (Health BPJS) now offers an integrated RME computing system. Some digitally based hospitals have used the system for RME.
“Through this workshop and seminar, the Ministry of Communication and Informatics introduces Electronic Medical Records (RME) so that participants can understand what RME is and how the supporting technology works,” said I Nyoman Adhiarna, Director of Digital Economy at the Ministry of Communication and Information.
Essentially, health facilities must use the electronic record for patient registration activities, clinical information filling, storage and transfer of medical records, ownership and contents of patient medical records, security, and data protection.
Meanwhile, Setiaji, the Chief of the Ministry of Health’s Digital Transformation Officer (CTO), emphasises the importance of information technology as the backbone of the ongoing transformation of the national health system. “One of the major agenda items is the implementation of electronic medical records, which has begun with the launch of the SATU SEHAT platform.” “This platform connects sixty thousand health services across Indonesia,” he said.
The seminar also covered several topics, such as the role of medical recorders and health information (PMIK) in the success of RME adoption, RME integration with cyber security, change management in RME adoption, and RME adoption and its implications for hospital services.
Director Nyoman acknowledged challenges in implementing RME in hospitals, such as internet network connectivity and cyber security. However, adequate digital infrastructure would make digital transformation in health care more accessible. As a result, the Ministry of Communication and Informatics is currently focusing on developing digital infrastructure in remote areas, known as the 3T acronyms for frontier, outermost, and lagging.
A multifunctional satellite, Satellite Indonesia Raya (SATRIA) 1, will provide support for remote internet access. The broadband satellite will launch in 2023 to reach 150,000 public service points.
As the health sector becomes increasingly digitalised, cyber and data security has become a significant concern. According to Director Nyoman, all PSEs, both public and private, that manage personal data are urged to pay close attention to the feasibility and dependability of personal processing data, particularly those related to technology, governance, and human resources.
He is also concerned about the role of the Data Protection Officer (DPO) following the implementation of the government’s data protection law. Each electronic system operator must legally have a person in charge of data protection.
“Later,” he said, “a Personal Data Protection Agency will be formed, which will most likely be under the Ministry of Communication and Informatics.”
Director Nyoman also emphasised the Ministry of Communication and Informatics’ role in assisting the Ministry of Health in becoming the leading sector in the health sector to accelerate digital transformation in the health sector.
The Ministry of Communication and Information welcomed the One Healthy Indonesia Health Service (IHS) platform, launched in July 2021 by the Ministry of Health as a digital transformation programme based on an integrated and standardised health data system.
Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, recently revealed details of an AU$15 million project to develop a national soil information system, aimed at improving the sustainable management of one of the nation’s most precious assets.
Supporting the National Soil Strategy, and funded by the Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, the Australian National Soil Information System (ANSIS) project is a collaboration between the government, research organisations, industry, the private sector and the community.
Using innovative processes and technologies, ANSIS will allow improved sharing of nationally consistent soil data and information through online access for users. This will help Australians to better understand their nation’s diverse range of soils and make better decisions about managing our important soil resources. Currently, soil data is collected using different methods, by different organisations, and at a range of depths in the soil. This makes it hard to access, compare and use data from diverse sources.
The Project Lead at CSIRO stated that improving access to the best soil data and information can help promote digital agriculture innovation and is key to sustainably managing Australia’s soils. By using ANSIS, farmers and agricultural advisors will have access to more soil data and be better placed to more sustainably manage the soil on which they rely.
Soil is vital to agricultural production and natural environments, as well as health and well-being. This information system will help everyone care for this important natural resource. Productive, healthy, and resilient soil means more economic, environmental, and social benefits to Australia. Monitoring soil also helps scientific understanding of how the natural world is changing.
This work will provide insight into biodiversity, water resources, landscapes and coastlines, fauna, climate, and geology. By harmonising Australia’s soil data, we can make it accessible across many fields of science and exploration. The project is being delivered under the Federal Government’s National Soil Strategy, which is about prioritising soil health, empowering soil innovation and stewards, and strengthening soil knowledge and capability. The new ANSIS system will be available for use in 2023.
ANSIS will provide improved access to nationally consistent soil data and information needed to help sustainably manage Australian soil. ANSIS will provide:
- More soil data
- More data sets are available that in other soil systems
- Enables more certainty in products developed
- Opportunity to develop new products
- Improved access
- Multiple data sets are now discoverable and accessible
- National coverage
- Most up-to-date data available
- Efficient provision
- Organised and standardised data for immediate use
- Can feed into many users’ requirements
- Consistent delivery
- Substantial reduction in time to prepare information products
- Trusted location
- Certainty that data is from an authoritative source, verified and satisfies standards.
Indonesia has great ambitions for its digital economy and has deployed strategies to achieve its ambitions with a goal to reach USD315 billion by 2030. The 2021-2024 Indonesia Digital Roadmap is set on 4 pillars, namely digital infrastructure, digital government, digital economy and digital society.
As part of its strategy, the government is promoting four important digital skills to accelerate its digital economy. The government believes that the future demand for digital skills will be focused on four areas Artificial Intelligence, Bitcoin, Cloud Computing, and Data Analytics (ABCD). The ABCD skills are projected to help the national economy hit its US$315 billion by 2030 target.
Therefore, the Indonesian government is encouraging young people to start businesses through a variety of free programs such as Beta School, 1,000 Startup Movement, Startup Studio, HUB.ID and IGDX.
“Aside from university disciplines, the ABCD is becoming increasingly important for everyone. I believe that all young people require ABCD,” stated Dedy Permadi, Expert Staff of the Minister of Communication and Informatics, in a discussion forum.
Mastering ABCD technical hard skills apart, Indonesian digital talents are also expected to be proficient in non-technical or soft skills known as the 4C’s, which are Complex Problem Solving, Critical Thinking, Creativity and Communication.
The Director of SDPPI Kominfo, Ismail, expressed his hope that the young generation in Indonesia would capture the golden opportunity for digitalisation. Digitalisation will transform Indonesia from a consumer country to a prominent player in the new normal.
The government recognises the importance of good infrastructure support in boosting the digital economy. As a result, the government is working to ensure an equitable distribution of internet connection networks across Indonesia, particularly in frontier, remote, and underdeveloped (3T) areas.
According to Ismail, the development of ICT infrastructure must meet three criteria: broad coverage, the deployment of a fibre-optic cable network on the backbone, and affordability, which means that the price is reasonable for the community.
Private operators focus on developing infrastructure in high-demand urban areas and, as a result, the digital divide between cities and towns has grown wider. Consequently, the government is beginning to develop 3T telecommunications in rural, underserved areas.
“We cannot rely solely on private-sector investment. To speed up and accelerate digital transformation, the government must invest in infrastructure,” Ismail said emphatically.
The Ministry of Communication and Information Agency and Telecommunications and Information Accessibility (BAKTI) have also worked to improve and expand internet access for public services throughout Indonesia. BAKTI is working with telecommunications companies to build Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) in remote areas of Indonesia.
“We hope to finish building BTS in all remote areas by 2023 and connect them to the 4G network,” Deddy stated.
Indonesia is a vast archipelagic country. So, relying solely on fibre optic cable networks will make it difficult to provide connectivity. As a result, the government is combining the fibre optic cable network constructed with the 150 Gbps SATRIA 1 satellite.
This multifunctional satellite can provide internet access to 150,000 public service locations in Indonesia, including educational institutions, local governments, defence and security administration, and health facilities. This satellite is scheduled to launch in 2023.
The government has begun construction of the first National Data Centre in the Delta Mas Region, GIIC, Cikarang District, Bekasi Regency, West Java Province, in connection with its digital strategy. It will then gradually expand data centres in Nongsa Digital Park in Batam, Riau Archipelago, the new National Capital City (IKN) in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, and Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara.
The creation of this government data centre is intended to promote efficiency, effectiveness, state data sovereignty, and national data consolidation as part of the One Data Indonesia initiative. “This (data centre) is critical because government data management is critical to developing society’s transformation into a digital society,” Deddy said.
The Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) affirmed its strategic co-incubation partnership with a Canada-focused venture capital firm to identify promising international start-ups seeking to expand their innovation journey to Hong Kong, into the GBA and beyond.
With a proven track record in life science start-ups, the VC firm will work with HKSTP to build an inbound stream of early and mid-stage ventures. The co-incubation programme aims to bring several strong-performing ventures to Hong Kong with a focus on biotech, but also on other deep-tech areas such as ESG, advanced materials, edutech and AI.
To date, as Hong Kong’s largest technological ecosystem, HKSTP has helped accelerate growth for hundreds of outstanding start-ups, raising over HK$80.2 billion in total funding in the past five years. During the 2021-2022 fiscal year, the total valuation of HKSTP’s acceleration programme start-ups grew over 250% while total investment funds raised have also doubled.
The partnership with the VC firm is the most recent of HKSTP’s series of strategic co-incubation programmes with global market leaders in the industry, investment, R&D and academia, which further elevate Hong Kong’s innovation and technology (I&T) ecosystem strength as a global springboard to success.
Riding on Hong Kong’s thriving biotech market and the city’s status as the world’s second-largest biotech fundraising hub, the co-incubation partnership also recognises HKSTP’s impact and success in building a vibrant biotech ecosystem in Hong Kong.
The Head of Incubation and Acceleration Programmes at HKSTP stated that the co-incubation partnership with an international player like the partnering firm validates Hong Kong’s unique and growing status as a global I&T hub helping international start-ups go beyond borders in their global growth journey.
She noted that with a pipeline of seed stage and series A start-up’s already in place, this proves the strength of the HKSTP innovation ecosystem and confirms that Hong Kong is open again for global business and an ideal launchpad for high-growth tech ventures seeking GBA, regional and global expansion.
The Managing Partner of the VC firm stated that the signing of this co-incubation agreement will allow the two parties to incubate and introduce promising global start-ups to scale their businesses in Asia. The firm will continue to leverage its unique cross-pacific networks and investment niches in transformative life science technologies to enrich Hong Kong’s innovation ecosystem with more ground-breaking technologies from North American start-ups.
The programme features co-incubation activities ranging from business development, consulting and training to mentoring sessions for qualified overseas start-ups. Participating entrepreneurs will also create proofs-of-concept and pilot initiatives.
The start-ups will tap into the investment and international business network reach of the firm while also formally joining the HKSTP innovation ecosystem to access product validation, commercialisation and go-to-market expertise from HKSTP and its wider network of partners.
Specialising in investing globally in science and technology-based start-ups, the VC firm has been active in Hong Kong and Asia with its specific focus on nurturing start-ups that aspire to expand to China and Asia. In 2019 it facilitated eight Canadian start-ups from prestigious start-up programmes to come to Hong Kong to gain deeper insights into strategic landing tactics and expansion into the Asian markets. This latest partnership with HKSTP has forged a new level of commitment to the Hong Kong I&T ecosystem.
Taiwan City Science Lab @ Taipei Tech demonstrated a series of cutting-edge AI applications. The lab exhibit advanced AI applications and their research and development results, such as the mobile robot, a AI robotic fish and Campus Rover.
The cross-disciplinary R&D and teaching laboratory aims to be a global technology and talent exchange platform. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Taipei Tech are coming together to jointly established City Science Lab @ Taipei Tech.
“Through developing advanced AI technology and big data system, we plan to make Taiwan the island of high-end technology,” said Yao Leehter, Taipei Tech Chair Professor of the Department of Electrical Engineering.
Yao indicated that Taipei Tech alums highly support the lab. The lab also collaborates with Kent Larson, the leader of MIT City Science Lab, the City Science Lab @ Taipei Tech aims to be an international platform for technology and talent exchange.
Taipei Tech adopts and jointly promotes with MIT to implement the Undergraduate Scientific Research Programme. Known as UROP, the programme provides sufficient resources for students and cultivates a new generation of scientific researchers. The collaboration was initially rolled out in 1969 by MIT’s first President, William Rogers.
For students to learn the most modern and state-of-the-art technology applications, the lab provides advanced equipment for R&D purposes, such as mobile robots. The agile, mobile robot can adapt to complex terrains and is equipped with LIDAR, infrared, and stereo vision sensors, which can draw 3D point cloud maps in real-time and detect and dodge obstacles. The mobile robot is used in decommissioned nuclear power plants, factories, construction sites, and offshore drilling oil platforms. Another mobile robot use case is for patrol, troubleshooting, and leak detection.
In addition, the lab also showcased its R&D results which are the AI robotic fish to the advanced instrumental equipment. The robotic fish is a streamlined robot designed to resemble a real fish. The fish robot comprehends and mimics the motion model of swimming fish through machine learning.
The robot can swim underwater in a simulated way. To perfectly mimic the fish movement, researchers have spent significant time collecting massive movement data from real fish, documenting, and analysing the swimming performance. Afterwards, they utilised AI technology and programme coding to control the motoric movement of the robotic fish.
The team then spent a year adjusting the robotic fish to make the swim movement look like a real fish. Machinery fish propulsion efficiency and excellent swimming performance are considered one of the most critical subjects in bionics.
“The robotic fish is useful for biological research and can also be used to carry out underwater operations and examine water quality,” said Yao.
Recently, the fish robot was involved in movie production. During the designing process, the production house team suggested adding a “cloth” on the fish with fish skin and fish scale to make it more lifelike. The company also came up with the idea to use a magnet to stick the fish scale on the body of the robotic fish. Taiwan Textile Research Institute and the local design research group joined the brainstorming and production process to finish the golden fish’s final look onscreen.
Moreover, The Campus Rover, developed by the team of Professor Yao in cooperation with the Taipei Tech Department of Industrial Design, demonstrated practical AI applications in real life. For example, campus or express hospital service can use the self-charging robot to ensure delivery safety.