In light of the remarkable advancements in digital technology, businesses must recognise that prioritising the consumer experience has become a crucial and distinctive factor. As interactions between businesses and consumers multiply across numerous channels, customers are placing greater emphasis on convenient accessibility and overall satisfaction available through these diverse channels.
In order to meet the ever-changing expectations of consumers, businesses are incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) into their operations to enhance customer satisfaction in the digital realm. By harnessing the capabilities of AI, companies can analyse consumer data, gaining valuable insights into individual preferences, behaviours and needs.
Through algorithms, companies can effectively meet customer expectations by delivering customised and pertinent solutions. They can deliver personalised experiences and recommendations to customers across multiple digital touchpoints. This includes offering targeted product suggestions and promotions through various channels such as websites, mobile apps, social media platforms, and online stores.
AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants have become crucial in swiftly and precisely understanding and addressing customer inquiries. Through natural language processing and ML techniques, these chatbots offer rapid and accurate responses, enhancing customer service efficiency. They can handle basic queries, furnish product information, facilitate transactions, and even resolve consumer issues. As a result, companies can achieve high levels of customer satisfaction by leveraging this technology effectively.
AI technology plays a pivotal role in enabling companies to analyse consumer interests and patterns, particularly in relation to their satisfaction with different digital platforms. By examining gathered consumer data, reviews, social media interactions, and other relevant information, companies can gain insights that help them identify areas for improvement and adjust their strategies accordingly.
This data-driven approach empowers companies to make informed decisions and optimise their offerings to better meet customer expectations and enhance overall satisfaction. It helps in identifying areas for improvement, responding to customer issues and proactively improving the overall customer engagement.
Personalising the customer experience to this extent leads to a more appealing and relevant interaction, ultimately resulting in increased consumer satisfaction and loyalty.
The OpenGov Breakfast Insight on 19 July 2023 at Voco Orchard, Singapore centred around the theme of leveraging advanced AI/ML technologies to deliver a fast, accurate, and relevant customer experience across various sectors, including business, education, financial services, healthcare, and the public sector in Singapore.
Mohit Sagar, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of OpenGov Asia highlights the potential for businesses to provide personalised recommendations, offers, and information through AI-driven customisation.
Incorporating AI-driven personalisation and digital delight within omnichannel strategies enhances customer experience, fosters loyalty, and drives revenue growth.
Businesses can adapt to remote interactions, meet evolving consumer expectations, transcend industry boundaries, and ensure the ethical utilisation of customer data.
This approach allows businesses to deliver tailored interactions and seamless continuity across various touchpoints, creating a more engaging and relevant experience for customers. By embracing these practices, businesses can cultivate meaningful customer relationships and achieve sustainable success in the digital landscape.
Recognising the importance of prioritising AI adoption, businesses can effectively stay competitive in the digital age and harness its potential for delivering enhanced customer experiences and achieving business success. They have the opportunity to boost customer satisfaction, foster brand loyalty, and drive growth by analysing customer data, leveraging AI-powered chatbots, and identifying new revenue opportunities.
AI-driven enhancements to the omnichannel consumer experience offer various advantages. These include sentiment analysis, hyper-personalisation, chatbots and virtual assistants, predictive customer service, customised product recommendations and metrics to measure digital consumer satisfaction. Furthermore, these advancements lead to improved efficiency, customer satisfaction and overall corporate performance.
AI-powered solutions such as automated personalisation and chatbot customer assistance offer enhanced and cost-effective omnichannel experiences. Through features like predictive analytics for proactive service, real-time customer care through chatbots, smooth interactions with voice assistants, 24/7 accessibility, and automation-driven cost savings, these innovations not only exceed customer expectations but also enhance operational efficiency for businesses.
However, implementing AI-driven personalisation and prioritising digital happiness in practice presents various challenges that businesses need to address. These challenges encompass concerns related to data privacy, integration complexities, limited customer understanding, skill and talent gaps, cost-effectiveness, return on investment considerations, and ethical implications.
Overcoming these obstacles is crucial to ensure the ethical and efficient utilisation of AI technology while delivering optimal outcomes for businesses and customers alike. In addition, businesses need to place a high priority on customer trust and privacy as they invest in infrastructure, talent, and technology to capitalise on these opportunities.
In the future, businesses stand to gain significantly from an AI-driven omnichannel customer experience. Technological advancements such as Natural Language Processing (NLP), Predictive Analytics, advanced Chatbots and Virtual Assistants, Hyper-Personalisation, and the integration of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) will shape customer interactions.
“Delivering smooth, pertinent, and customer-focused experiences is made possible for organisations by AI-driven personalisation and a smooth digital interaction,” Mohit says. “Embracing these innovations will enable businesses to meet and even exceed customer expectations in an ever-evolving digital world.”
Nathan Guy, Head of UCaaS, Asia Pacific, at Zoom, highlights that support leaders across various company sizes, ranging from SMBs to larger enterprises, consistently emphasise two key points. Firstly, they face the challenge of accomplishing more with limited resources and secondly, they have to deal with the growing need for responsive and proactive customer service.
To effectively scale their teams, support leaders employ a combination of technology and automation while maintaining agility and adaptability to accommodate business changes. This approach enables them to efficiently handle increased workloads, particularly during peak periods such as Black Friday or holiday seasons, without solely relying on hiring additional agents.
Instead, they prioritise finding tools and technologies that can deliver improved outcomes without incurring substantial costs. By leveraging innovative solutions, they strive to optimise their support operations, enhance productivity, and maintain a high level of customer service without overburdening their resources.
As far as service and experience go, customers expect brands to provide seamless support across multiple channels like phone, video, and webchat, aiming for single contact resolution. A single negative experience can drive loyal customers to consider switching to a competitor.
“According to a Gartner survey, over 60% of customers would contemplate moving their business due to a poor customer experience,” Nathan explains. “This presents a significant risk for businesses, and technology is now driving a differentiation strategy to enhance user and customer experiences.”
Zoom’s AI innovation is focused on three areas: supporting individual productivity, powering better collaboration, and helping customer-facing teams improve customer satisfaction. The company’s approach to AI revolves around three key themes:
- Empowering: Zoom aims to utilise AI in a way that enables both individuals and teams to maximise their capabilities and potential.
- Responsible: Privacy, security, inclusion, trust, and safety are ongoing priorities. They emphasise that customer data remains under the control of the customers themselves, ensuring that they have the autonomy to decide how their data is used.
- Federated: They adopt a flexible approach that can adapt to the rapidly evolving industry landscape. This includes the ability to work with proprietary models, third-party models, or even Zoom’s own AI model.
Zoom offers a Customer Experience portfolio that includes Zoom Contact Center, Zoom Virtual Agent, and a new Workforce Engagement Management (WEM) offering. Zoom Virtual Agent is the result of their Solvvy acquisition and is a comprehensive Conversational AI platform for customer support, self-service, and automation.
“Globally tech investments surged during the pandemic, underscoring the importance of having flexible technology stacks to adapt to changing circumstances,” Nathan says. “With ongoing economic uncertainty and budget reductions, establishing a strong foundation for the technology stack becomes crucial for stability and growth.”
Unlocking the potential of the future workplace entails addressing key challenges including evolving collaboration and productivity frameworks, nurturing personal connections and meeting updated expectations of teams and customers.
In addition, Nathan emphasises that a successful technology infrastructure should encompass key elements like a cloud and mobile-first approach, prioritising employee engagement, fostering flexibility, enabling real-time collaboration, promoting emotional well-being for healthy teams and ensuring effective training, development, and change management to drive positive outcomes.
Nathan acknowledges that a solid foundation is crucial for a collaboration platform, and Zoom has developed a range of communication and collaboration solutions specifically designed to cater to the diverse needs of knowledge workers, departments, and industries. The company has invested significantly in AI to further enhance the collaboration experience across its solutions.
The ultimate focus is on serving different audiences, with customers and their employees at the top of the hierarchy. All the innovations and launches aim to empower organisations and their customers to thrive in the new era of work.
“Customer-facing teams need to address various challenges to provide an exceptional customer experience,” Nathan knows well. “By empowering these teams to become subject matter experts, businesses can deliver personalised experiences that delight customers.”
Jayraj Nair, Customer Experience Lead-ASEAN at Zoom, emphasises the goal of integrating all product innovations into a unified solution that empowers knowledge workers and teams, enabling seamless collaboration internally and with external customers, ultimately driving business growth.
Employee collaboration encompasses a wide range of activities, including calendar management, chat, email management, meeting collaboration, casual collaboration through huddles, and concluding tasks with phone calls. On the other hand, customer collaboration encompasses marketing events, webinars, sales processes, and delivering a seamless customer experience, all facilitated within a single interface.
The negative impact of poor customer experiences on businesses is substantial. Meeting customer needs in today’s landscape is increasingly challenging, requiring personalised and insightful experiences despite limited resources. Various studies underscore these trends and emphasise the escalating expectations of consumers.
According to a global Metrigy survey, “customer satisfaction” emerged as the top business priority for 2022 and 2023, surpassing other priorities such as product and service quality, information security, and revenue generation.
Jayraj reiterates the criticality of consistently delivering excellent customer experiences for overall business performance, as even a few negative experiences can result in a loss of 60% of customers, which can be highly detrimental. However, only a mere 33% of customers believe that customer service organisations are actually improving.
Customer service organisations are actively responding to the demand for digital engagement channels, underlining the pressing need for swift adaptation and strategic shifts to effectively address these emerging trends and priorities. Gartner’s predictions regarding increased spending by CIOs align with the significance of digital transformation, artificial intelligence (AI), and security, reflecting the evolving landscape.
Findings indicate that organisations that provide a total experience connecting employees and customers are projected to outperform competitors in satisfaction metrics by 25% in both CX and employee experience (EX) by 2024.
However, when employee experience (EX) and customer experience (CX) strategies are developed independently, or when individual channels have separate key performance indicators (KPIs), delivering a consistently excellent customer experience becomes challenging.
Recognising the interconnectedness of EX and CX and aligning strategies accordingly can lead to more seamless and satisfying experiences for both employees and customers. As a result, integrating employee productivity and customer experience is expected to emerge as a prominent trend for 2023.
One of the significant challenges in delivering excellent customer experience (CX) is the presence of teams working in silos with different tools, which hampers effective communication and collaboration. Nonetheless, a report suggests that by 2026, around 60% of large enterprises will leverage the concept of total experience to transform their business models and attain higher levels of customer and employee advocacy.
Jayraj highlights that Zoom offers an end-to-end capability for both employee experience (EX) and customer experience (CX) through their cloud-based Zoom Platform. The company has demonstrated remarkable product innovation and expansion, releasing over 1,500 new features and products in 2022 alone.
Zoom provides a comprehensive package of collaboration solutions, including Zoom Phone, Zoom Events, Webinars, Meetings, Zoom Spaces, and developer tools. They also offer CX products such as Zoom Contact Centre, Zoom Virtual Agent, and Zoom IQ.
“With Zoom, businesses can avoid the complexities of building and maintaining multiple solutions, allowing them to focus on their employees and customers,” Jayraj assures the delegates.
In addition, their Zoom Contact Centre, a video-first omnichannel Contact Centre-as-a-Service (CCaaS) solution is included in the Zoom platform. It enables businesses to deliver prompt, efficient, and highly personalised customer experiences that drive loyalty and retention.
Zoom Contact Centre combines unified communications with customer experience, allowing businesses to engage with customers naturally and efficiently. Features like advanced skills-based routing and an intelligent virtual agent enhance the ability to provide concierge-like experiences at scale.
Jayraj emphasised that operating 24/7 across multiple support channels, Zoom Virtual Agent ensures fast and personalised customer experiences, reduces call volumes for human agents, and generates significant operational efficiencies. It can be integrated with Zoom Contact Center as well as other leading CRM and contact centre solutions.
The chatbot delivers an excellent initial interaction, and if required, there is a smooth transition to a human agent. Hence, it can shorten the sales cycle, increase revenue, and enhance customer engagement.
“All these innovations showcase Zoom’s commitment to providing comprehensive solutions that cater to the evolving needs of organisations in enhancing both EX and CX,” Jayraj concludes.
End User Insight
As the world increasingly transitions into the digital realm, consumer expectations for a seamless customer experience (CX) continue to rise. In terms of service, individuals seek effortless interaction, robust security measures, and convenient access to service-related information. Mastercard’s CX solutions address these needs, enabling customers to overcome issues such as card swipe rejections and ensuring stringent digital security measures are in place.
According to Ashutosh Sharan, Vice President of Customer Solutions SouthEast Asia at Mastercard, the company currently offers an advanced feature called Mastercard Identity Check™. This innovative feature enables clients to verify their accounts without encountering cumbersome obstacles. By facilitating the exchange of additional information between card issuers and merchants during the authentication process, Mastercard Identity Check™ not only enhances security but also streamlines the user experience.
Ashutosh has emphasised that a comprehensive data ecosystem and strategy enables businesses to collect and analyse data in real-time enabling them to respond rapidly to market shifts, customer demands, and emerging trends. By monitoring and analysing data, businesses can make well-informed decisions and modify their strategies and operations accordingly.
The increasing emphasis on data privacy and security regulations, he added, necessitates that organisations have robust data governance and compliance measures in place. A comprehensive data strategy ensures that organisations comply with pertinent regulations and guidelines, thereby protecting customer data and maintaining legal compliance.
“Organisations will understand and predict their customer’s needs by using data through AI and ML,” Ashutosh emphasises. He stated that extensive data ecosystems enable firms to successfully collect, process, and analyse customer data.
With this, organisations can customise their products, services, and marketing activities by acquiring a better understanding of their customer’s habits, preferences, and needs. As a result, client satisfaction, loyalty, and retention will improve.
“In everyday life, our clients are constantly faced with multiple payment options, therefore the best way to increase engagement and protect loyalty is to provide better tools,” says Ashutosh. “Mastercard provides initiations in the form of Mastercard Controls and Alerts. This tool is a cardholder-facing solution that helps consumers manage their accounts.”
Additionally, Ashutosh reveals that Mastercard offers another valuable solution called Ethoca Consumer Clarity™. This tool empowers card issuers to provide purchase details to cardholders through their digital banking applications, enabling them to have a clear understanding of their transactions. It also equips call centre agents with the necessary information to efficiently address customer inquiries.
These two tools not only assist in preventing fraud but also serve as Mastercard’s Unique Selling Proposition (USP), distinguishing the company from its competitors.
Further, Mastercard has implemented a strategic approach to enhance customer service by leveraging the power of data. Recognising the critical role that data plays, banks utilise it to gain insights into consumer needs, preferences, and behaviours.
Mastercard collects and analyses data obtained from a variety of sources, including payment transactions, customer interactions and consumer behaviour. By leveraging advanced technologies such as big data processing and artificial intelligence (AI), the organisation can generate deep insights into consumer behaviour and market trends.
Mastercard can identify purchasing patterns, product preferences and individual consumer needs. By harnessing this valuable information, they can deliver a more personalised and relevant customer experience, offering better-targeted solutions and providing relevant recommendations to consumers.
This data-driven approach allows the company to tailor its services and offerings to meet the specific requirements of individual customers, thereby further enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Furthermore, data utilisation aids Mastercard in identifying potential fraud and suspicious activity. By conducting thorough data analysis, Mastercard can swiftly detect abnormal or unauthorised transaction patterns. This enables the company to take proactive measures to safeguard consumers and mitigate security risks.
By leveraging data to its fullest extent, Mastercard can optimise its operations and deliver enhanced customer service. Through meticulous analysis of data, companies gain valuable insights into customer needs, enabling them to develop tailored solutions.
Likewise, data is utilised to track and monitor the performance of customer service, enabling Mastercard to identify areas in need of improvement and implement necessary corrective actions. Through the analysis of customer data, companies can identify patterns of customer satisfaction, gain insights into the issues encountered, and promptly respond to enhance the overall customer experience.
This data-driven approach allows Mastercard to continually refine its customer service strategies and deliver a more seamless and satisfactory experience for its customers, that meet and exceed customer expectations.
Jayraj expressed his appreciation to all the delegates for their valuable participation and contribution to the event. He thanked them for sharing invaluable thoughts on the significant challenges encountered by diverse industries. Their inputs and insights, he feels, enriched the discussions and made this gathering a fruitful endeavour, with key takeaways for all.
Jayraj emphasises the significance of identifying challenges faced by industries to stay competitive and flourish amidst the fast-paced changes in the business landscape. These challenges can differ across industries and may include technological disruptions, evolving consumer expectations, intensified business competition, regulatory modifications, and economic uncertainties.
Once these challenges have been identified, the company can formulate a tailored strategy to confront them directly. This strategy may involve a blend of innovation, adaptability, collaboration, and a customer-centric approach, ensuring a comprehensive and effective response to the identified challenges.
“Understanding the main challenges faced by the industry and developing the right strategy to deal with them is the key to the company’s long-term success,” Jayraj explains. “By adopting innovation, flexibility, collaboration and a consumer-focused approach, the industry can face challenges, pursue opportunities and thrive amidst rapid change.”
Mohit stressed the crucial role of collaboration in tackling industry challenges. By forging partnerships and alliances with other organisations and companies, the industry can pool and leverage resources, expertise, and knowledge, enabling them to collectively address challenges more effectively.
He acknowledges that a consumer-focused approach is essential in successfully dealing with industry challenges. By understanding and meeting the evolving needs and expectations of consumers, the industry can create products, services and experiences tailored to meet customer needs.
To enhance customer satisfaction and foster loyalty, companies need to analyse customer data and generate tailored offers that align with individual interests and preferences. By understanding the unique demands of customers, companies can craft their offerings to meet their specific needs, resulting in a more personalised and engaging experience.
Long-lasting connections can be built by continuously providing customised offers, encouraging repeat business and favourable word-of-mouth recommendations. This personalised strategy underpins customer experience by making clients feel appreciated and understood by the business.
“By gaining a deeper, more comprehensive understanding of these needs and expectations, industries can strategically navigate and cater to them, allowing them to adapt and flourish in the dynamic business landscape, where consumer expectations are constantly evolving,” Mohit concludes.
The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) is spearheading an initiative to propel the nation’s capabilities in healthcare, Industry 4.0-driven manufacturing, and supply chain and logistics through the transformative power of 5G. This groundbreaking endeavour, known as the S$30 million 5G Innovation Programme, is not just a step forward but a giant leap into a future where innovation reshapes industries.
Launched in 2021, the 5G Innovation Programme is a testament to Singapore’s commitment to embracing emerging technologies. IMDA has forged strategic partnerships with key enterprises, including the National University Health System (NUHS).
In the healthcare industry, Singapore’s forward-thinking tech innovators, in collaboration with NUHS, have harnessed 5G to revolutionise patient care. The introduction of Mixed Reality-based Holomedicine in operating theatres stands out as a groundbreaking achievement.
This innovative approach not only enhances patient care but also redefines the entire healthcare experience. Announced in 2022, the initiative marks the Asia Pacific’s inaugural deployment of indoor private Enterprise 5G mobile edge computing (MEC) for Mixed Reality and Holomedicine capabilities in health tech.
A significant stride in healthcare also involves a collaboration with Republic Power to deploy 5G-enabled unmanned medical booths. These “Medbots” represent Asia’s first 5G-enabled unmanned pre-screening and teleconsultation medical booths. Equipped with state-of-the-art hygiene and safety systems, these booths support remote health screening and video consultations, offering an enhanced user experience that aligns with the demands of a digital era.
The impact of 5G extends beyond healthcare, permeating the realms of Industry 4.0-driven manufacturing, supply chain, and logistics. Collaborations with ST Engineering and DB Schenker have given rise to groundbreaking applications.
For instance, Singapore’s first 5G-enabled Digital Twin has been implemented for a logistics and supply chain company transforming warehouse and manufacturing operations, quality control, and customer experience. Simultaneously, ST Engineering’s 5G-Enabled Industry 4.0 Smart Factory boasts one of Singapore’s first 5G-enabled collaborative robots, revolutionising manufacturing processes.
Dr Ong Chen Hui, Assistant Chief Executive of the Biztech Group at IMDA, emphasised the agency’s commitment to architecting Singapore’s digital future. The goal is to build capabilities in various sectors powered by emerging technologies like 5G. IMDA’s collaboration with forward-looking companies signifies a concerted effort to unlock the full spectrum of benefits that 5G offers across a wide range of sectors.
As Singapore propels itself into the future, the 5G Innovation Programme stands as a testament to the nation’s dedication to progress. The partnerships with key enterprises underscore a collective effort to reshape, redefine, and transform industries across the country.
Singapore is not merely embracing change; it is pioneering a future where technology catalyses innovation and progress. The journey has just begun, and Singapore is at the forefront, shaping the narrative of a technologically advanced and future-ready nation.
The comprehensive initiative serves as a catalyst, propelling Singapore into a new era of digital prowess. It is not merely an adoption of advanced technologies; rather, it is a strategic alignment with the needs of the future, recognising the pivotal role technology plays in shaping economic landscapes on a global scale.
The 5G Innovation Programme signifies Singapore’s commitment to sustainable economic growth. By embracing technology as a driver of progress, Singapore is not just securing its current standing; it is laying the foundation for a resilient and forward-thinking economy. The emphasis on sustainability in this digital transformation ensures that growth is not just rapid but also enduring, with an eye towards environmental and social responsibility.
The implementation of a National Digital Identity (Digital ID) system in Malaysia is poised to revolutionise the verification and distribution of aid during crises or natural disasters, ensuring swift and precise assistance to those in need.
According to the Chairman of the Malaysian Cyber Consumer Association (MCCA), Digital ID has the potential to streamline processes, reducing bureaucratic hurdles and optimising the impact of government subsidies by facilitating the efficient distribution of assistance to targeted groups with greater accuracy and effectiveness.
Digital ID, in this context, serves as a digital means of self-identification and authentication for individuals, designed for use in both public and private sectors to verify user identities during online transactions. The nation’s Prime Minister has conveyed that while the government will not mandate registration for Digital ID presently, civil servants are encouraged to do so, especially as the Rahmah Cash Aid (STR) and other targeted subsidies will be channelled through this system. MIMOS Berhad, Malaysia’s national Applied Research and Development Centre, has been appointed as the implementing agency for Digital ID, with an initial allocation of RM80 million.
The Former Principal Assistant Director at Bukit Aman emphasised the significance of Digital ID in enhancing cybersecurity. The technology relies on digital certificates to bolster security in online transactions, verifying identities by linking cryptographic keys with their owners through cryptography.
Despite its potential benefits, the Former Principal Ass
istant Director pointed out a critical concern: the possibility of Digital ID being exploited as a ‘mule ID’ by third parties for fraudulent or illegal activities. He stressed the need for the government to establish robust security measures to prevent misuse, safeguard the system’s integrity, and maintain public trust in the initiative.
Addressing potential concerns about the misuse of Digital ID, the Former Principal Assistant Director called for a thorough examination of security measures. The government’s commitment to preventing fraudulent activities and illegal exploitation is crucial for the success of Digital ID. The Former Principal Assistant Director’s experience in cybercrime and multimedia investigations underscored the importance of maintaining the integrity of the system.
Furthermore, the Former Principal Assistant Director highlighted the need for comprehensive digital education to ensure that all segments of society benefit fully from Digital ID. A focus on digital education can prevent digital divides and contribute to the long-term success of Malaysia’s digitalisation initiatives. By promoting digital literacy, the government can empower citizens to use Digital ID responsibly and stay informed about potential risks.
In conclusion, the implementation of Digital ID in Malaysia represents a significant step toward modernising and securing online transactions. While the technology holds great potential for enhancing the distribution of aid during crises, it is imperative for the government to address security concerns and invest in digital education to ensure the successful adoption of Digital ID across all segments of society.
The advent of Digital ID in Malaysia represents a pivotal moment in the nation’s journey toward a more efficient and secure identity verification system. The Malaysian Cyber Consumer Association’s unwavering support underscores the potential benefits of this technological advancement for the wellbeing of Malaysians. However, as the implementation progresses, the emphasis on system integrity, cybersecurity, and public trust becomes paramount.
The call for robust security measures and consistency resonates as a crucial safeguard against potential misuse, ensuring that Digital ID serves as a reliable tool for streamlined aid distribution and government subsidies. As the nation navigates this transformative phase, it is imperative to strike a balance between technological innovation and the preservation of public confidence to fully realise the positive impact of Digital ID on the Malaysian society.
The National Education Policy (NEP) of 2020 has ushered in a new era for education in India, advocating for a robust investment in digital infrastructure and technological tools. At its core, the policy emphasises the integration of technology into the educational landscape, embracing online teaching platforms, virtual labs, digital repositories, and assessments.
NEP’s visionary approach highlights the pivotal role of multilingualism and language in transforming teaching and learning methodologies. Para 4.23 of the NEP stresses the acquisition of essential skills, including digital literacy, coding, and computational thinking. These competencies are being actively promoted through a myriad of digital initiatives.
The PM e-VIDYA, launched under the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan in May 2020, aims to consolidate efforts in digital, online, and broadcast education, ensuring widespread access to education through multiple modes. Notably, PM eVidya is accessible to students across all states, free of cost, democratising educational resources.
The cornerstone components of PM eVidya encompass DIKSHA, serving as the nation’s digital repository for high-quality e-content tailored for school education across States/UTs. The integration of QR-coded Energised Textbooks, providing a unified platform for all grades, resonates with the ethos of ‘one nation, one digital platform’.
Expanding the horizons of education further, the initiative has scaled up from 12 to 200 PM e-VIDYA DTH TV Channels, enabling states to offer supplementary education in various Indian languages for classes 1-12. Leveraging radio and podcast platforms like Shiksha Vani, PM eVidya embraces a holistic approach to inclusive education, crafting specialised e-content for the visually and hearing impaired.
Driving the agenda of critical thinking and creativity, PM eVidya ambitiously aims to establish 750 virtual labs and 75 Skilling e-labs by 2023. These labs, designed for Science, Mathematics, and simulated learning environments, seek to foster hands-on learning experiences. The creation of a dedicated vertical on Virtual Labs within the DIKSHA platform and comprehensive training via PM eVidya DTH TV channels for educators underscore the commitment to capacity-building.
Moreover, the ICT and Digital initiatives within the centrally sponsored scheme of Samagra Shiksha extend support to Government and Aided schools, focusing on classes VI to XII. Financial aid facilitates the establishment of ICT Labs and Smart Classrooms, enhancing the technological infrastructure within educational institutions.
India is committed to deploying locally designed and made digital tools, platforms and solutions to better serve citizens, more comprehensively and inclusively.
OpenGov Asia reported on India Stack, a set of domestically created digital solutions implemented nationwide. It includes APIs and digital public assets that enable the widespread use of digital identity, data, and payments as fundamental economic elements. Key components include Unified Payments Interface (India’s instant payments system), Aadhaar (the government’s digital identity card), and DigiLocker (a secure document access platform on a public cloud).
India Stack enhances access to and the delivery of public services, with the overarching goals of achieving widespread connectivity, promoting digital inclusion, and ensuring seamless access to public services. Built on open technologies, these solutions are interoperable and crafted to encourage active participation from industry and community stakeholders, thereby fostering innovation.
Addressing the needs of students preparing for competitive exams nationwide, the development of the SATHEE portal in collaboration with IIT Kanpur stands as a testament to India’s dedication to empowering its youth.
The ongoing beta version is actively soliciting feedback from students across the country, aligning with a culture of continual improvement. It provides a comprehensive suite of resources tailored for NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test) and JEE (Joint Entrance Examination) aspirants.
These initiatives mark a significant stride towards a tech-driven educational ecosystem in India. As the nation embraces this digital revolution in education, it sets a precedent for inclusive and innovative learning paradigms.
Based on a study conducted in 2018, the Head of the Satellite Division of the Accessibility to Communication and Information Agency (BAKTI) of the Ministry of Communication and Information, Sri Sanggrama Aradea, stated that based, there is a need for internet access to 1Mbps for 150,000 public service points in the fields of education, healthcare, and government in remote, frontier, and outermost (3T) areas.
The Ministry of Communication and Information continues to uphold its commitment to implementing the agenda of equalising the progress of digital transformation across the entire archipelago of Indonesia. This commitment is realised by continuing the contract for Base Transceiver Station (BTS) 4G services, especially for Remote, Frontier, and Outermost (3T) regions.
This action signifies the seriousness of the Ministry in ensuring that the benefits of digital transformation progress are not only felt in major cities but also extend to remote and outermost areas of Indonesia. Continuing the BTS 4G contract for 3T focuses on equalising access and strengthening communication networks, ensuring that communities in previously connectivity-limited areas can enjoy the benefits of the digital revolution.
Minister of Communication and Information Budi Arie Setiadi emphasised, “Strengthening communication networks is the main focus, ensuring that communities in areas that may have been previously limited in connectivity can benefit from the digital revolution.”
Minister Budi Arie Setiadi stated that this aligns with President Joko Widodo’s directive during the handover of the Ministry’s Budget Execution Plan for the Fiscal Year 2024, emphasising that the utilisation of government budget allocations must be focused on results. Minister Budi Arie explained that the signed Operation & Maintenance Contract is intended to continue the operation of the already-built BTS 4G, which has become an asset of the Telecommunication and Information Accessibility Agency (BAKTI).
Arwoto Atmosutarno, Chairman of the Task Force of the BAKTI at the Ministry of Communication and Information, admits that completing the BTS 4G Project is challenging. The diverse topography of Indonesia and its often remote geographical locations create complexities that increase the difficulty in executing this project.
In overcoming these challenges, Atmosutarno highlighted the importance of collaborative and synergistic coordination among Task Force members, involving entities such as the Attorney General’s Office, Ministry of Finance, Supreme Audit Agency (BPKP), Procurement Policy Agency (LKPP), Ministry of Communication and Information, and various related industry stakeholders. This joint effort aims to overcome various obstacles and challenges from complicated geographical conditions.
This indicates that project completion requires technical expertise and active involvement from various sectors contributing to addressing Indonesia’s unique and complex landscapes. Although the task is not easy, the determination and good cooperation among Task Force members ensure the efficiency of the project, even in challenging geographical conditions.
Indonesia is indeed known as an archipelagic country with quite extreme topography. This poses significant challenges for communication networks, especially telecommunication infrastructure projects such as BTS 4G. With widely scattered islands, high mountains, and remote areas that are difficult to access, establishing a network that can cover the entire Indonesian territory requires meticulous planning and execution.
Based on data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), the number of internet users in Indonesia reached 292.3 million in 2022, equivalent to 77.02% of the total population. This figure increased by 2.6% from the previous year.
The increase in Internet access is driven by various factors, including economic growth, increased smartphone penetration, and government programmes to equalise Internet access.
Regarding telecommunication infrastructure development, the government aims to achieve 100% 4G network coverage by 2024. This target seems achievable, as in 2023, 4G network coverage in Indonesia has reached 98%.
The progress of telecommunication network development in Indonesia has brought various benefits to the community, including: Improving accessibility to information and communication, Facilitating economic transactions, Enhancing the quality of education and healthcare and Increasing the nation’s competitiveness.
Chengdu has placed its sights on catalysing digital transformation to connect with the dynamic landscape of scientific and technological innovation. With this, the Municipal Development and Reform Commission recently organised a major scheduling meeting for the Digital Transformation Promotion Centre, bringing together key participants in the province’s digital progress.
The recently held meeting convened influential figures from 19 provincial-level digital transformation promotion centres, district and county development and reform departments, and pivotal enterprises within the city. The goal was to enhance the city’s digital transformation promotion service capabilities and fast-track the realisation of a modern industrial system.
The proceedings unfolded with a comprehensive report from the High Technology Department of the Municipal Development and Reform Commission, shedding light on the progress of the city’s digital transformation promotion centre and unveiling the initial evaluation results.
The exchange of ideas extended beyond city borders, with experts from the Sichuan Provincial Digital Economy Development Centre offering insights, interpretation, and guidance on policies supporting the digital transformation initiative.
Highlighting the diverse facets of digital transformation, representatives from various sectors shared their experiences. These exchanges delved into the construction nuances of supporting, regional, and industry-specific digital transformation promotion centres, emphasising a multifaceted approach to catalysing change.
Concrete examples from food technology elucidated the transformative power of digitalisation in their respective industries, showcasing the tangible benefits accrued through embracing cutting-edge technologies. From enhanced processing efficiency in aviation equipment manufacturing to streamlined collaboration in biopharmaceutical production, the ripple effects of digital transformation were tangible.
Chengdu’s strategic position as a hub node in the computing power network has been pivotal in propelling the city’s digital drives. The initiative to construct a ‘smart Chengdu’ serves as the cornerstone for iterative upgrades and the demonstration of emerging technologies, products, business formats, and models. This concerted effort aims to foster innovative development within the digital economy.
The city’s proactive stance has yielded approval for 19 provincial-level digital transformation promotion centres. This includes 10 support centres, 2 regional centres, and 7 industry centres, collectively constituting over 50% of the total number in the province. The coverage extends across strategic areas like Tianfu New District and key industrial chains such as electronic information, equipment manufacturing, and medicine and health.
Success stories were brought to the forefront during the meeting, showcasing the tangible impact of digital transformation. For instance, the Chengdu Aircraft Digital Transformation Promotion Centre has significantly boosted the processing efficiency of the aviation equipment industry chain. Similarly, the Kelun Pharmaceutical Digital Transformation Promotion Centre has facilitated intelligent collaboration in biopharmaceutical production, reducing costs and optimising inventory turnover.
The initiatives underscored the imperative to align with national, provincial, and municipal mandates for deepening the integration of the digital economy with the real economy. A call to action resonated, urging a focus on the high-level construction of Sichuan Provincial Digital Transformation Promotion Centres.
Likewise, the emphasis on harnessing the transformative potential of computing power, algorithms, and data highlights Chengdu’s unwavering commitment to catalysing industry-wide development. The city recognises the pivotal role that advanced computing capabilities, sophisticated algorithms, and insightful data analytics play in propelling industries forward.
By leveraging robust computing power, industries in Chengdu can not only streamline their operations but also enhance their overall efficiency. This translates into faster processing times, heightened accuracy, and the ability to handle complex tasks with unprecedented precision.
The infusion of advanced algorithms further augments this initiative by introducing intelligent decision-making processes that adapt and evolve, ensuring that industries remain agile in dynamic market landscapes.
Hong Kong, a dynamic global financial centre and a historical node for the Chinese diaspora, stands as a vibrant hub for tech and trade. Hong Kong’s start-up ecosystem is thriving. In 2022, the number of start-ups in Hong Kong grew by 6% to 3,985, employing nearly 15,000 people.
Hong Kong’s innovation and technology sector together with that of Shenzhen and Guangzhou – the Shenzhen-Hong Kong-Guangzhou science and technology cluster – ranks as the world’s second performing according to the Global Innovation Index 2023.
Biotechnology, artificial intelligence, smart city and financial technologies were identified as the four key areas for Hong Kong’s innovation and technology industry. The city’s expenditure in absolute amount on research and development has almost doubled compared to a decade ago.
With opportunities brought by the Guangdong‑Hong Kong‑Macao Greater Bay Area development, Hong Kong is set to further capitalise on its advantages in R&D capabilities, technological infrastructure, legal system and intellectual property.
The region intends to spearhead the I&T industry and act as a business platform for companies looking to access the Asia market (and China in particular), or for innovative mainland companies seeking to go international.
There is a sharp focus on pivotal tech-driven sectors – healthcare, youth development, and the Greater Bay Area (GBA) – that have the potential to shape Hong Kong’s business trajectory. From cutting-edge healthcare advancements to fostering youth entrepreneurship and capitalising on the economic powerhouse that is the GBA, the pathways for innovation and collaboration will be determined.
Its pivotal role in the global business landscape is further accentuated by the Federation of Hong Kong Business Associations Worldwide (FHKBAW), a sprawling network uniting 47 associations across 36 countries and regions. With a membership boasting nearly 11,000 executives and professionals worldwide, this federation serves as a linchpin for a diverse global business community.
An annual Hong Kong Forum, jointly organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and the Federation, emerges as a pivotal event drawing in business leaders and tech innovators. Scheduled for 5th and 6th December, the 24th iteration promises an inspiring convergence of minds, ideas, and opportunities.
Sessions will explore the intricacies of navigating Hong Kong’s ever-evolving business landscape. Experts will elaborate on Hong Kong’s prowess as a global business platform and delve into how cultural exchange through the West Kowloon Cultural District could further elevate Hong Kong’s global cultural imprint.
As tech, innovation, and global business intertwine, Hong Kong is a testament to its unwavering commitment to fostering collaboration, innovation, and growth across industries that define the future.
The startup ecosystem is rapidly expanding and diversifying, stretching beyond conventional hubs like San Francisco and London to embrace emerging powerhouses like Hong Kong. Simultaneously, within the ASEAN region, burgeoning economies are evolving into significant nodes of innovation and entrepreneurship in their own right.
Acknowledging the borderless nature of the digital entrepreneurial landscape, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council unveiled Start-up Express International last year. This global iteration of its longstanding local entrepreneurship development programme acknowledges and taps into the interconnectedness of the worldwide startup community.
Hong Kong has launched multiple initiatives in line with its goal to expand its digital economy and propel technological advancements. 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.
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 start-ups, 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.
The game industry in Vietnam has emerged as a promising domain, yet it grapples with hurdles demanding immediate attention to unlock its full potential. In an era where global gaming numbers surged to nearly 3.2 billion players, generating a massive US$182.9 billion in 2022, Vietnam aims to solidify its stance in this evolving landscape.
Vu Quoc Huy, Director of the Vietnam National Innovation Centre (NIC), identifies the game industry as a pivotal sector crucial for the nation’s scientific, technological, and innovative growth trajectory. With an annual revenue surpassing US$500 million and a strong foothold as Southeast Asia’s fifth-largest revenue generator, Vietnam’s gaming landscape thrives. Over 50% of the population engages in gaming for entertainment purposes, signalling a robust market demand.
Huy underscores the industry’s capacity to foster high-value jobs in programming and design, presenting an opportunity to propel Vietnam’s global position within value chains. The country currently ranks second in game downloads within Southeast Asia, witnessing a steady annual growth rate of approximately 10%. Globally, Vietnam clinches a position among the top 10 for download numbers and the top 30 for revenue generation.
The country boasts a talented pool of programmers capable of creating games meeting the stringent standards for Google and Apple stores. Apple estimates approximately 180,000 Vietnamese are actively engaged in mobile app development, with the game industry housing the majority.
The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) emphasises Vietnam’s rank as the seventh-largest global mobile game distributor, attributing Vietnamese developers to nearly half of the world’s renowned games. Yet, there’s a push to increase the industry’s revenue from US$600 million to a lofty US$1 billion within the next five years.
Vietnam’s game industry, with its remarkable growth trajectory and burgeoning talent pool, stands at the cusp of a transformative phase. Despite this burgeoning success, challenges persist. Addressing hurdles in infrastructure, market expansion, and skill development will be pivotal to realising its immense potential and securing a formidable position in the global gaming arena.
At the fore, Vietnam’s game industry grapples with entrenched social stigmas and a host of structural deficiencies that hinder its growth. The prevailing societal bias against gaming, perceiving it as addictive, detrimental, and resource-intensive, casts a shadow over the industry’s prospects.
Le Quang Tu Do, Director of the MIC’s Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information, highlights critical issues, including policy inadequacies, limited financial support, and a dearth of local game competitiveness in the global market. Moreover, the absence of a robust ecosystem and collaborative efforts among businesses stifles the industry’s progress, hindering the discovery of high-quality Vietnamese games by distributors.
A significant obstacle lies in the shortage of skilled human resources, with estimates suggesting a need for up to 30,000 qualified personnel in the game industry. To transform the industry into a robust and competitive landscape, Vu Quoc Huy, NIC Director, advises cultivating an internationally adept workforce and fostering a cohesive ecosystem where stakeholders collaborate and uplift each other.
Others advocate official recognition of the game industry as an economic sector and a pivotal driver of the digital economy. Acknowledging the need for an appropriate management strategy and development roadmap underscores the necessity of societal and governmental acknowledgement to attract foreign investment and solidify the industry’s position.
The MIC has outlined a developmental roadmap spanning 2022 to 2027, centring on addressing critical issues such as policy frameworks, market regulation, and manpower development. Initiatives encompass facilitating partnerships between domestic developers and international counterparts, alongside efforts to entice foreign investment entities into Vietnam’s burgeoning gaming sector.
As the MIC steers the developmental trajectory and industry stakeholders converge to address these challenges, Vietnam’s game industry holds the promise of a transformative evolution towards global competitiveness and economic significance.