Share with us about your role as CIO/Director IT at SPRING Singapore.
Like all the other CIOs, I look at a broad range of issues: from envisioning how IT can be used to achieve the organisation’s mission, and then planning out to execute them, to building and running the organisation’s e-services. For example, the SME portal – positioned as the first stop for business information–as well as SPRING’s grant portal, an online platform for companies to apply for SPRING’s assistance programmes. In addition, I make sure that daily technological needs of our officers are met, so for example, providing officers with what they need to do their work and collaborate: notebooks, email, Internet connectivity, collaborative technologies, etc. All in all, my role really spans a wide range, all the way from IT strategy and planning to project execution and daily operations.
I am also an employee of the Government Technology Agency (GovTech).
How do you think your previous experiences in the private sector helped you in your current role?
My private sector experience comes from working as a developer in a technology startup and also as a product manager at Oracle. These experiences have certainly helped me in my current role. For instance – understanding how the private sector operates, how sales drive a lot of the conversations and how the international companies work with their headquarters – have been very useful to me in my current capacity.
I would say the private sector is one of the most important partners for our work. We partner them heavily to deliver services and systems because more often than not, we don’t and can’t do things by ourselves.
For example, our IT help desk service is outsourced to a vendor company. They’re the people who answer the calls from internal users at SPRING and come alongside users to troubleshoot problems, rather than the IT team because we simply do not have the manpower to do all these by ourselves.
What are some of the challenges you face in your current role?
I think this is not only myself, probably a lot of other colleagues also face these challenges. Let me share some of them.
-Firstly, the worsening cybersecurity climate. We see this a lot in the news of different organisations getting hacked, different types of scams happening and info leaks all around the world and how hackers are getting more sophisticated. This is worsened by the fact of our dependence on technologies is growing. It’s like a double whammy: on one hand, we’re being faced with increasing exposure in the digital landscape, on the other hand, the digital landscape is getting less and less safe.
-Secondly, the quick pace at which the business evolves. The IT systems supporting those business needs will have to keep in pace.
-Thirdly, some of the vendor relationships are challenging, and given that the private sector is one of our most important partners, this can give a lot of headaches.
Could you share with us some of the projects you are currently working on?
I will just name some of the projects we are currently working on: One of them is to improve collaboration within the organisation. At SPRING, we frequently engage and connect with SMEs, and inevitably due to the nature of our work, different parts of the organisation might be talking to the same company at different times. In addition, there are also new colleagues who join the organisation and there are others who move on to other careers. With that, there’s a strong organisational need to handover and ensure that the institutional knowledge is transferred easily so that the learning curve for new staff is smooth. That level of collaboration and the retention of knowledge within the organisation is something which we are looking to improve and build on existing tools that we have.
The other project is about safeguarding our commitment and managing risks. As SPRING supports companies with grant monies, we must also have the necessary processes to be good stewards of taxpayers’ money and be able to identify fraudulent grant applications. The question is how can we improve upon that so that we get better and better at identifying fraudulent grant applications.
With the grants that we give out, there are a lot of applications and claims as well as administrative overheads behind all these application processes, so we’re also looking to streamline this. I think the good thing is we are not starting from ground zero but some of the areas revolve around leveraging big data analytics and technological advances to do some of these tasks including fraud detection, better.
Having a vast experience in both data management and analytics as well as IT security, what are some tips you would give for government agencies or even SMEs who wish to better manage, integrate and utilise the data they have collected?
I think the key question is this, “How do you know where is the best place to invest your analytics resources?” Maybe I have a certain amount of money I want to spend on analytics, where is the best place for me to invest these resources? If I want to hire a team of 5 or 10 people, what problems should I ask them to work on? And then the next question is what will you focus on solving? That’s the tricky piece, because some problems can’t be solved with analytics. For example, at SPRING, we are looking to help local enterprises grow and we want to create good jobs for Singaporeans, we want to be able to help the local economy grow. So one of the things that analytics cannot solve is companies that are not motivated to grow their business. It’s the human motivation factor that’s at play here. What analytics can probably help is getting timely data about the business sentiments within the business community. There are three things I look at when prioritising analytics projects:
Understanding where the organisation’s priorities are, to know what are the key pain points the organisation faces, and what are the key objectives the organisation wants to achieve. This, in a way, is fairly obvious. You want to be doing analytics for things that are important to the organisation. If you hire an external consultant, they might or might not get this right because they might not have spent enough time with your organisation to understand the business or they might not be asking the right questions to understand what exactly your organisation’s priorities might be. Here, I do see that there is more of an advantage to having someone lead this within the organisation.
When I talk about the operational context, I am referring to the people, processes and systems: this defines who makes up the organisation, how do they work and what are the existing systems they have in place. This is very important because it determines whether the analytics can be implemented within the operational context. For example, is there someone to champion a change? Is the champion influential enough to push through the needed change? Is there a way to fit it into the current way of working? Can the current IT systems be enhanced to incorporate analytics? The operational context is key because you need to identify where within the organisation that people are a little bit more open to change–be it in the areas the people, or the process or the system. And there are certain areas that people just don’t want to touch.
When I say intuition, it is an analytics intuition– to have someone with a good nose that can ‘smell out’ good problems for analytics to solve. What are some problems that are easier to solve with analytics? And what are some of the problems you shouldn’t even try to go near? So for example, when we look at things like analysing sentiments from textual information, let’s say you look at social media, you try to do sentiment analysis, the accuracy level can vary depending on what kind of social media, and also because humans’ comments can be sarcastic; what sounds positive might actually be a very sarcastic remark.
And then there are some areas that are a little bit easier to solve with analytics and more mature, so you definitely want to start with the more mature areas. This comes with experience of implementing analytics as well as a good understanding of what are the pitfalls and benefits of analytics. So you need someone who can look at problem, look at what’s available and then tell you that, “I think this problem we can solve with analytics, this problem we cannot solve with analytics, or this problem is very high risk if we try to solve it”.
So when I prioritise analytics projects, I look at these 3 areas: priorities, the operational context and intuition to decide on where to invest our resources in. I think one of the pitfalls of technology sometimes is that we will chase after the “shiny black box”, what looks very ‘sexy’ in terms of technology, we will chase after those but it might not be the highest priority from the business angle. Sometimes business problems can be solved with very simple technology.
What are some initiatives/projects that SPRING Singapore is embarking on in helping Singapore’s journey towards becoming a Smart Nation?
SPRING Singapore is in the business of enabling enterprise development. We deal with many local enterprises, both small and large ones. As part of our work, I do see that SPRING can also play a big role as a ‘sensor’ for business sentiments. This means that we are constantly aware of the pulse on the business ground. For Smart Nation, we talk about IoT, sensors, we talk about being more keenly aware about what’s going on within the city through the use of sensors, analytics, AI, robots. At SPRING, the question is how can we be a good sensor for business sentiments?
In my opinion, the sensors can come in a few ways. One is really through our regular interactions with the local businesses. So for example, when our colleagues in SPRING have regular meetings with different businesses on a weekly basis, they will file an internal report summarising some of the key talking points, which includes the plans and challenges that the businesses might be having and some of the possible next steps. These reports are taken seriously and stored securely to maintain confidentiality of information. So we look at that and say, “Can I use this information? How do I bring together all these different reports to provide a view to the business sentiments of the local community?”. That can involve using text analytics to identify what are the key topics that are being discussed as well as looking at trends: is manpower the issue people are facing, or are we seeing a drop of manpower issues after certain events?
Sensors for business sentiments is definitely one of the areas SPRING will be able to play in. At the same time, on the receiving end, SPRING will benefit from the other sensors or the other data that is being collected as part of Smart Nation. For example other agencies’ touch points with companies will also help us in areas like fraud detection, as other agencies might have spoken to the same companies and have detected some irregularities that we should watch out for.
How do you think local SMEs/industries can better embrace the digital transformation process so it helps improve their businesses?
If I were to do a small business myself, I will leverage the cloud platform. This is one thing that, as a government organisation, we do have more stringent security considerations in comparison. If some of these hurdles can be further streamlined or even removed, the government can benefit further from cloud-based innovations.
Firstly, I think for the SMEs, (not that they have less concerns about security), but by looking for a cloud-based provider that meets their security requirements, the benefits to their business can be easily reaped. The pace of innovation in the cloud-based space is moving quite quickly and the related services can help to scale their business as they grow too.
Secondly, the other consideration that I think is important is data collection.
It’s crucial for any organisation to be very conscious of the data they are collecting, or how they can actually collect more data that is useful for their businesses, how can they collect data of the right granularity and format and how those data can be used to fuel business decisions. I think a lot of businesses don’t think along those lines in the past, but more of them are starting to think along these lines today.
The third piece that I will look out for is really the implications of digitalisation, how digital is changing business models. The one that we have seen so far before our eyes is how Amazon is pushing out Borders and other brick and mortar stores. In Singapore we are seeing it happening right now. It might not be really Amazon but definitely we saw Borders going out. And now, we see how UBER and Grab are impacting taxi companies.
The question is really, for each of the businesses to ask, what digital business might actually push me out? We’re seeing more food delivery services, how would they impact cafes and restaurants? Granted that food is not like books, we still want to see the food but what are the implications on brick and mortar stores? Is there going to be an impact? Is there not going to be an impact? I think those are the questions worth pondering about.
The National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS) has been on a remarkable journey of advancements in cardiovascular research, particularly in the prevention, diagnosis, and management of heart diseases. With the global rise in heart disease cases, NHCS’s dedication to scientific knowledge and innovation has become increasingly vital.
Since its establishment in 2014, the National Heart Research Institute of Singapore (NHRIS) at NHCS has positioned itself as a leading institution for cardiovascular research in the region. Over the years, NHRIS has achieved significant breakthroughs that hold the potential to transform patient outcomes.
NHRIS’s research encompasses a wide spectrum of disciplines within cardiovascular medicine, spanning basic, translational, and clinical research. Notable achievements include Heart Stem Cell Therapy and Preventing Fibrosis.
By studying patients’ heart stem cells, researchers have uncovered new treatments for heart diseases. For example, a breakthrough treatment using myeloperoxidase has been discovered for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, an inherited condition characterised by thickening of the heart muscle.
Also, through the study of heart tissue from patients undergoing surgery, NHRIS researchers have identified a potential treatment involving interleukin-11 antibodies to prevent inflammation and fibrosis in the heart and other organs. This innovative therapy has the potential to improve outcomes for patients with various inflammatory and fibrotic conditions.
The next phase of NHCS’s research efforts over the coming years will focus on three key areas:
- Discovery of New Treatments: Ongoing research aims to develop new treatments for heart diseases, enhancing patient outcomes.
- Utilising Artificial Intelligence: NHCS is at the forefront of integrating artificial intelligence (AI) into cardiovascular care. AI holds promise in predicting, diagnosing, and monitoring heart diseases with greater precision and efficiency. The APOLLO study, initiated in 2021, is building an AI-driven national platform for coronary angiography analysis, offering detailed reports on patients’ conditions and future cardiovascular disease risk.
- Clinical Trials and Population Health Studies: NHCS’s research agenda includes conducting clinical trials and population health studies to prevent the onset of heart disease.
NHRIS is pioneering innovative approaches, including Visualising Energy Pathways and AI Applications.
Disturbances in energy-producing pathways in heart muscle contribute to heart conditions as Hyperpolarised magnetic resonance spectroscopy, a novel imaging technology available only in a few centres worldwide, allows the measurement of these metabolic pathways, potentially leading to new treatments for heart disease.
On the other hand, AI accelerates research in the field of cardiovascular science. By processing vast datasets and identifying patterns, AI systems assist researchers in identifying novel treatment methods, risk factors, and disease mechanisms. These insights lead to breakthroughs in treatment and prevention methods, advancing the overall understanding of cardiovascular diseases.
With this, NHCS is leveraging AI to detect, predict, and diagnose heart diseases by analysing complex imaging data. AI provides clinicians with invaluable insights, enabling personalised care and early intervention.
In addition, NHCS collaborates with other heart research institutes and hospitals through CADENCE (Cardiovascular Disease National Collaborative Enterprise), a national platform that combines heart research capabilities in data science, clinical trials, and AI. This collaboration ensures a collective effort to advance cardiovascular research and improve patient care.
NHCS’s groundbreaking research initiatives in AI applications, clinical trials, and collaborative efforts underscore its commitment to enhancing patient care. As NHCS continues its pursuit of research excellence, its impact extends beyond Singapore, benefiting individuals across the region and around the world. The institution is poised to make substantial progress in preventing, diagnosing, and managing cardiovascular diseases, ultimately reshaping the future of cardiovascular medicine.
An innovative microscope developed by a research team at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) is poised to revolutionise the field of cancer surgery. This cutting-edge microscope, powered by artificial intelligence, has the potential to transform the way surgeons detect and remove cancerous tissue during operations, thereby sparing patients from the distressing prospect of secondary surgeries.
Lung cancer, a leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide, has been a focal point for this ground-breaking research. Professor Terence Wong Tsz-Wai, the principal investigator of the project and an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at HKUST, highlights the urgency of their work.
He notes that between 10% to 20% of lung cancer surgery cases require patients to return for a second operation due to incomplete removal of cancer cells. This uncertainty has long plagued surgeons, who often struggle to determine if they’ve successfully excised all cancerous tissue during the initial surgery.
The HKUST research team, led by Prof. Wong, is eager to see their innovation make a significant impact. Collaborating with five hospitals, including Queen Mary Hospital, Prince of Wales Hospital in Hong Kong, and three mainland Chinese hospitals, they have embarked on a large-scale clinical trial involving around 1,000 patient tissue samples. The goal is to have the microscope officially in service locally by 2024 and on the mainland by 2025.
The current methods for imaging cancer tissue offer either accuracy with lengthy delays or speed at the cost of accuracy. Traditional microscopy, considered the gold standard, is highly accurate but can take up to a week to generate results. This means patients must endure a week of anxious waiting to know the outcome of their surgery. In cases where the operation is deemed unsuccessful, patients face the daunting prospect of a second surgery to remove the remaining cancer cells.
The alternative, known as the frozen section, provides quicker results within 30 minutes but sacrifices accuracy, with an estimated accuracy rate of only around 70%.
The HKUST research team’s breakthrough technology, termed “Computational High-throughput Autofluorescence Microscopy by Pattern Illumination” (CHAMP), has changed this landscape. It can detect cancer cells in just three minutes with an accuracy rate exceeding 90%, rivalling the gold standard but with significantly faster results.
CHAMP employs ultraviolet (UV) light excitation to image tissue surfaces at a specific wavelength. Subsequently, a deep learning algorithm transforms the obtained greyscale image into a histological image, facilitating instant interpretation by doctors. This real-time feedback empowers surgeons to ensure they have completely removed all cancer cells during the operation.
CHAMP’s potential has garnered local, regional, and international acclaim, leading to the establishment of a start-up supported by HKUST and funded by the Technology Start-up Support Scheme for Universities (TSSSU). Beyond developing the technology, the company plans to manufacture CHAMP microscopes for medical institutions in Hong Kong, mainland China, and overseas markets.
This endeavour represents the culmination of years of meticulous research, starting with Prof. Wong’s PhD training at Washington University in St. Louis and the California Institute of Technology. During this period, Prof. Wong, under the guidance of biomedical imaging expert Prof. Lihong Wang, developed a microscope capable of analysing breast cancer tumours with an accuracy rate comparable to the gold standard but with results in just one to two hours.
The shift in focus to lung cancer occurred when a pulmonologist approached Prof. Wong, recognising the potential of the technology to enhance precision during lung cancer surgery. This decision led to the development of CHAMP microscopy, which is approximately 100 times faster than Prof. Wong’s earlier work during his PhD training. This breakthrough makes CHAMP clinically useful and impactful.
The applications of CHAMP extend beyond lung and breast cancers. The research team is conducting tests on smaller scales for conditions such as liver, colorectal, kidney, and skin cancers, as well as prostate gland conditions. Prof. Wong is confident that CHAMP will elevate medical imaging and diagnosis to new heights, benefiting not only Hong Kong hospitals but also healthcare institutions nationwide and abroad. This pioneering technology represents a beacon of hope for cancer patients, offering the promise of quicker, more accurate surgeries and improved outcomes.
OpenGov Asia reported that the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) spearheaded an initiative aimed at promoting innovation and technology in the biotech sector, showcasing Hong Kong’s pioneering advancements and entrepreneurial spirit.
This initiative was part of the “Think Business, Think Hong Kong” event organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) in Paris recently. The event was a platform to underscore the potential for cross-border collaboration between Hong Kong and France in the field of biotechnology and innovation.
The government has unveiled the Intelligent Grievance Monitoring System (IGMS) 2.0 Public Grievance Portal and Automated Analysis in the Tree Dashboard portal under the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG). It was unveiled by Jitendra Singh, the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Science and Technology.
The IGMS 2.0 Dashboard was developed by the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IIT-Kanpur) as part of an agreement with the DARPG through a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed in 2021. It enhances DARPG’s Centralised Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System Information Systems (CPGRAMS) by integrating artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. CPGRAMS is an online platform available to citizens round-the-clock to lodge their grievances to the public authorities on any subject related to service delivery.
The dashboard offers instant tabular analyses of both grievances filed and disposed of. It provides data categorised by state and district for grievances filed, and it also offers Ministry-wise data. Additionally, the dashboard can help officials identify the root causes of grievances.
The CPGRAMS portal receives an increasingly high caseload of issues raised by the general public. Given the public’s expectations for the timely resolution of their grievances, the portal receives approximately 2 million grievances annually.
Due to the substantial volume of grievances received, the manual classification and monitoring of cases is not feasible. The IGMS portal will assist the DARPG in generating draft letters for specific schemes or ministries. This automation expedites the grievance redressal process carried out by the respective ministries and departments involved.
According to Minister Singh, the Prime Minister has repeatedly emphasised the significance of grievance redressal as a crucial element to keep the government accountable and promote citizen-centric governance. In alignment with this vision, a more robust human interface mechanism has been introduced, which includes counselling services provided after the resolution of grievances.
The Minister praised DARPG for ensuring that the CPGRAMS portal is accessible in 22 Scheduled languages, in addition to English, ensuring that the benefits of the portal are accessible to the common man. He also emphasised the importance of integrating state public grievance (PG) portals and other government portals with CPGRAMS for more effective and streamlined grievance redressal processes.
He claimed that thanks to the reforms implemented by DARPG in the CPGRAMS, the average time it takes for central ministries and departments to resolve public grievances has decreased. There has been a decline of almost 50% in the average disposal time for central ministries and departments from 32 days in 2021 to 18 days in 2023.
Minister Singh also launched the Swachhata Special Campaign 3.0 and unveiled the Precedent Book (e-book) developed by the department. He praised the DARPG for achieving the transition to a fully paperless office, where all communication is conducted through the eOffice portal.
During the past two Swachhata campaigns, an impressive 9 million square feet of prime office space has been successfully cleared and repurposed for productive use. Additionally, 456,000 public grievances have been effectively redressed, and 8,998 references from Members of Parliament (MPs) have been addressed. The Swachhata campaign has also played a pivotal role in promoting an eOffice work culture within the government, resulting in over 90% of file work being transitioned to an online format.
Public transportation is a crucial service for enhancing the general satisfaction the government provides. In light of this, the Indonesian government has established high-speed rail infrastructure for Jakarta-Bandung mobility.
The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (Kominfo) fully supports the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Train (KCJB) WHOOSH operation. Kominfo’s Budi Arie Setiadi expressed continuous monitoring for the availability and reliability of digital connectivity, particularly telecommunications networks along the first high-speed rail route in Indonesia.
“We, along with the telecommunications ecosystem, conducted tests. Kominfo is tasked with supporting signal-related issues. We assessed the signal quality along our journey and found that we could use devices and frequencies for communication,” he explained.
Minister Budi Arie emphasised that KCJB, as a technological leap for Indonesia’s progress, needs full support from the latest telecommunications technology. With advancements in transportation paralleled by digital technology, it will undoubtedly facilitate more efficient access for the public.
“This is a technological leap for Indonesia’s progress. Because this train is solid, the tracks are seamless, and the signal is robust. Our duty and responsibility are to support it,” he added.
Kominfo assured that the quality of telecommunications services would sustain the overall KCJB service. According to them, the journey from KCJB Halim Station to KCJB Padalarang Station and vice versa proceeded smoothly.
“Overall, the management and governance of the high-speed train are excellent,” he noted.
At this trial event, Minister Budi Arie Setiadi was joined by Deputy Minister of Kominfo Nezar Patria and senior officials from the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology. Minister Budi Arie encouraged the telecommunications service provider network to oversee and guarantee the quality of the network.
Ismail, the Director-General of Resources and Equipment of Posts and Information Technology at Kominfo, explained that the test conducted by Kominfo officials and telecommunications service providers is part of the initial process to support digital connectivity for KCJB. Kominfo has prepared radio frequency spectra for quality telecommunications signal transmission.
“And, fortunately, the signal used, or the frequency used, is now in collaboration with one of the biggest telecommunication companies in Indonesia. This cooperation began about two or three years ago. And, thank God, we witnessed today that the train’s communication system worked well. No signal interruptions,” he stated.
Director-General Ismail states that 5G telecommunication networks are available at Halim KCJB Station and Padalarang KCJB Station. This network supports connectivity and signifies that Indonesia is ready for full-scale and comprehensive digital transformation, even in minor details.
“For these two station locations here (Halim) and in Padalarang, the 5G signal has already been covered. Passengers at these stations can now enjoy 5G services. The remaining task is to improve the signal for passengers during the journey. So, from Jakarta to Padalarang and Bandung, we hope there will be no frequency or cellular signal interruptions,” he explained.
Next, Henry Mulya Syam, the President and Director of the Telecommunication company, stated that they would address several remaining telecommunications service challenges at various points along the KCJB route.
“There are several sites to be added, both outdoor and on the KCJB panel. We have conducted evaluations, so hopefully, within 6 to 9 months, because new towers need to be built,” he clarified.
Previously, together with President Joko Widodo and several members of the Indonesia Maju Cabinet, Minister of Communication and Information Technology Budi Arie Setiadi conducted a test journey on the KCJB from Halim Station, East Jakarta, to Padalarang Station, West Bandung Regency. The KCJB, WHOOSH, travels 350 kilometres per hour, making it the first high-speed train in Indonesia and Southeast Asia.
Rehabilitation services have gained increasing significance, as highlighted by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat during RehabWeek 2023. The demand for rehab services is growing worldwide due to an ageing population and a rising incidence of chronic diseases. To meet this demand and improve outcomes, the field of rehabilitation is embracing innovation, particularly through advancements in technology, robotics, and digitalisation.
Rehabilitation plays a crucial role in enabling individuals, regardless of age, to regain independence and participate meaningfully in daily life. With the World Health Organisation estimating that 1 in 3 people globally may benefit from rehab services, the importance of this field cannot be overstated.
Beyond individual well-being, rehabilitation contributes to productive longevity and reduces downstream medical costs when integrated into holistic care plans. Thus, it aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of “healthy lives and well-being for all at all ages.”
Deputy Prime Minister Heng shared his personal experience as a stroke survivor, emphasising the pivotal role that therapists and early rehabilitation played in his recovery journey. Early rehab interventions were instrumental in mitigating the debilitating effects of extended bed rest in the ICU. Dedicated therapists, combined with intensive rehab, enabled him to regain full functionality, underscoring the transformative potential of rehabilitation services.
Innovations in rehabilitation leverage broader trends like robotics and digitalisation. These innovations offer precision rehabilitation, tailoring treatment plans to individual needs. They also mitigate manpower constraints by augmenting human efforts with technology.
For instance, robotics-assisted physiotherapy and games-based cognitive exercises are becoming increasingly prevalent. Moreover, virtual rehabilitation has gained prominence during the COVID-19 pandemic, enhancing convenience and empowering patients to take charge of their rehab journeys from home.
Many societies are facing the dual challenge of an ageing population and a declining workforce to provide rehabilitation services. Technology is critical in augmenting these efforts to meet growing demand. Innovations in rehabilitation enhance its effectiveness and accessibility, ensuring that patients follow through with and benefit from rehab programs.
Singapore is at the forefront of innovative rehabilitation practices. Its acute hospitals offer excellent rehab care services and conduct research to improve care. Notably, Tan Tock Seng Hospital is a pioneer in rehabilitation medicine. Changi General Hospital houses the Centre for Healthcare Assistive and Robotics Technology (CHART), facilitating the synergy between clinical needs and technological innovation.
The One-Rehab Framework is a recent innovation in Singapore, ensuring timely access to rehabilitation care. This framework enables seamless care coordination across different settings and care team members through a common IT portal and harmonised clinical outcomes. It streamlines the sharing of relevant patient information and encourages right-siting of care within the community, reducing the burden on acute hospitals.
According to Deputy Prime Minister Heng, RehabWeek serves as a platform for delegates with diverse expertise and a shared commitment to advancing rehabilitation care. It encourages the sharing of best practices and useful technologies to strengthen collective impact, especially when addressing global challenges.
Singapore stands ready to collaborate with international partners, offering its strong ecosystem in research, innovation, and enterprise to advance the field of rehabilitation for the benefit of people worldwide.
He added that rehabilitation is evolving and embracing technological innovations to meet the increasing demand for its services, especially in ageing societies. “Collaboration, innovation, and a focus on the last-mile delivery of care are crucial for ensuring that individuals can live well and maximise their potential through effective rehabilitation,” Deputy Prime Minister Heng said. “Singapore’s commitment to these principles makes it a valuable partner in advancing the frontiers of rehabilitation on a global scale.”
The Vietnamese government has said that digital transformation and green transformation are inevitable global trends. They have a crucial role in enhancing economic growth, labour productivity, competitiveness, production, and business efficiency. They also reduce reliance on fuel sources that cause pollution and minimise carbon footprint.
To discuss digital and green transformation for sustainable development and to foster networking opportunities for businesses to accelerate their green transitions, the Ministry of Science and Technology held a forum in the northern province of Quang Ninh.
Domestic and international scientists, along with representatives from organisations and technology companies, deliberated on strategies to speed up green and digital transformations. They underscored the importance of advancing technological innovation and implementing reforms in human resource management, training, and quality enhancement to create new products and processes. This, in turn, will boost business value, aid in the delivery of better goods and services to society, and expedite Vietnam’s industrialisation and modernisation processes.
Participants suggested the establishment of a support mechanism for industries implementing green and digital transformation solutions in Vietnamese businesses. They also stressed that it is necessary to promote Horizon Europe’s international cooperation programme on joint research and innovation for Vietnam and have comprehensive digital transformation solutions for businesses.
During the forum, Quang Ninh province representatives, the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA), businesses, and organisations exchanged memoranda of understanding regarding collaboration in the domains of digital transformation and green transformation.
Vietnam has been introducing emerging technologies in the agricultural sector to promote sustainable growth. Earlier this year, the government announced plans to introduce artificial intelligence (AI) for the optimisation of farming practices, including weather prediction, monitoring of plant and livestock health, and enhancing product quality.
AI can improve crop productivity and help control pests, diseases, and cultivation conditions. It can improve the performance of farming-related tasks across food supply chains. Advancements in the manufacturing of AI-controlled robots are assisting farmers worldwide in utilising less land and labour while simultaneously boosting production output.
Vietnam’s commitment to technological advancements in agriculture extends beyond AI, as highlighted by the government’s plans to harness biotechnology. In September, the Politburo issued a resolution under which Vietnam aims to be among the top ten Asian countries in biotechnology production and services by 2030.
As OpenGov Asia reported, the biotechnology sector is on the verge of becoming a significant economic and technological industry, with an expected 50% rise in the number of companies in terms of investment size and growth rate. Additionally, it is projected that half of the imported biotechnology products will be substituted by domestic production. This sector is anticipated to make a 7% contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Vietnam aims to establish a thriving biotechnology sector by 2045, positioning itself as a prominent centre for smart production, services, biotechnology startups, and innovation in Asia. This sector is expected to contribute 10% to 15% to the GDP by that year.
As a result of its tropical climate and its economic shift away from agriculture, biotechnology plays a vital role in Vietnam’s industrialisation and modernisation efforts. It contributes significantly to ensuring food security, facilitating economic restructuring, and promoting sustainable development. Furthermore, in environmental conservation, biotechnology has brought forth numerous solutions. These include the breakdown of inorganic and organic pollutants, waste treatment, industrial waste processing, and the use of microorganisms to address oil spills and incidents of oil contamination.
Vietnam can focus on developing various aspects within the biotechnology sector, such as agricultural advancements in crop and animal breeding, manufacturing veterinary drugs, developing vaccines, and creating bio-fertilizers.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has inaugurated several digital projects for the Defence Accounts Department (DAD) as part of its 276th Annual Day celebrations. The initiatives include:
The Summary of Accounts, Budget, and Expenditure for Raksha Mantralaya (the Ministry of Defence) tool aims to provide a more accurate and objective view of defence financial information like payment, accounting, and budgeting in India.
This analytics tool integrates, compiles, sanitises, and standardises financial data from various applications, data sources, and databases. It then offers a real-time, comprehensive platform with dashboard features, allowing users to visualise trends, display metrics, present graphs illustrating key performance indicators, and generate reports, among other functionalities.
SARANSH will function as a complete dashboard for higher management, offering a quick overview of all defence expenditures. It enables centralised monitoring and encourages data-driven decision-making for all defence organisations.
The Bill Information and Work Analysis System will function as a dashboard for various Principal Controllers of Defence Accounts (PCsDA)/ Controllers of Defence Accounts (CsDA), providing different infographics to monitor and analyse the whole process flow of bill management. It will also generate reports on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). It provides real-time detailed analyses of bill processing, with interactive visualisations of granular data flowing through the various office automation systems within a controller office.
E-Raksha Awaas is a centralised and comprehensive software package designed to enhance and streamline the process of generating rent and related charges for rentable buildings within Defence Services. It also facilitates the prompt remission of these charges to government accounts. This package acts as a unified online platform for all stakeholders engaged in the generation, recovery, and remission of rent and allied charges.
Minister Singh described the DAD as the guardian of defence finance and commended its efforts to strengthen the country’s defence capabilities through transparent and efficient systems, praising its prudent resource management and output optimisation.
He suggested ways to improve the department’s efficiency such as encouraging DAD officials to enhance their professional skills to address the challenges posed by “constantly evolving times”. He urged them to partner with organisations like the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) to create and implement customised training modules, as per requirements.
Providing financial advice is one of the DAD’s most crucial responsibilities, the Minister noted. The DAD should consider two key aspects when offering financial advice: a realistic assessment of the demands of the user agency and a thorough understanding of the product’s market.
He explained that it is important to evaluate whether there is a need to purchase a product and whether a similar product of equal or greater effectiveness is available in the market at a lower cost. This understanding will enhance the quality of financial advice.
Furthermore, to foster such an understanding, Singh suggested establishing an in-house mechanism—a standing committee of experienced individuals who can research and analyse market forces and offer valuable insights to field officers. “Big banks and financial institutions develop in-house economic intelligence and research teams. On similar lines, the DAD needs to develop an in-house team for market research and intelligence,” he stated.
It is also vital to strengthen the internal vigilance mechanism to detect and review suspicious activity. This will not only expedite addressing issues but also enhance public trust in the department, the Minister said.