The rate of cloud adoption has accelerated because of the pandemic with various industries throughout the world transitioning to remote working and practically everything going digital. In this environment, the hybrid cloud, which offers enterprises the best of both worlds because of its inherent flexibility, agility and efficiencies, is foundational to success in the new normal.
Demand for infrastructure has impacted cloud services and hybrid cloud use is amping up significantly. A hybrid is a blend of public and private cloud platforms, delivering the best of both. Without a doubt, as technological barriers between the platforms decrease, hybrid cloud adoption will expand.
The OpenGovLive! Virtual Breakfast Insight held on 08 June 2022 focused on adopting a secure government-commercial cloud policy to hyper-scale digitalisation that results in greater levels of efficiency in public service.
The New Normal of Hybrid Work
Starting off the discussion, Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief, OpenGov Asia, is convinced that hybrid work will be the new normal for most industries. This will allow employees to split their time between working in the office and working from home.
All technologies should be cloud-native, according to him, allowing businesses to design and deploy scalable applications in current, dynamic settings including public, private and hybrid clouds. It’s designed and engineered to take advantage of the cloud’s size, elasticity, robustness and adaptability.
“The pandemic impacted office culture quickly. Global lockdown and travel bans have changed work and corporate-government interactions. People have learned they can perform most things remotely,” observes Mohit.
Cloud-native solutions let enterprises design and run scalable applications in public, private and hybrid clouds – a huge advantage as both the private and public sectors attempt to save money by embracing technology.
To maintain public services, government organisations must keep expenses low while collecting, storing, updating and protecting data. Organisational leaders, especially in the government, must decide which culture changes to keep and which to combat as they adjust to the new normal and prepare for recovery.
Setting an example for the nation, the Government of Thailand recently looked at bolstering its tourist industry and enacted policies to encourage international travellers. The measures are promising and the World Bank predicts that the Thai economy will come back to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022.
Towards an Open Hybrid Cloud Future
Supannee Amnajmongkol, Country Manager, Red Hat Thailand spoke next on the future of an open hybrid cloud.
As society works to cope with the impact of COVID-19, whether in the public or private sectors, the need to adapt is growing, and innovation in the new normal has never been more important than today.
“Innovation remains the number one priority in the new normal,” according to Supannee. “Open-source communities are the innovation engine as the private sectors and even the government can use open-source viewpoints and collaboration to accelerate cloud innovation and deliver better products and services faster.”
Supannee added that the developers have designed a streamlined process to offer any software, anyplace, utilising best-of-breed services regardless of location.
The primary distinction between cloud and on-premises software, she believes, is where it is physically located. On-premises software is installed on the organisation’s computers and servers, whereas cloud software is hosted on the vendor’s server and accessed via a web browser.
Supannee acknowledges that hybrid is the reality for teams and IT environments, whereas the uniformity of environments is desired by operators to reduce operational complexity, lower costs and facilitate cross-environment interoperability. They require visibility throughout the full IT footprint of the organisation.
She also discussed the difference between the private and local clouds. Private clouds, often known as data centres, are hosted on a company’s infrastructure and are typically firewalled and physically secured. A local cloud is a dedicated cloud service that runs on-premises and is managed by a third party.
Most companies use more than one cloud because each cloud has its own features and benefits to offer. Cyber-security, however, is a must whichever cloud service provider is chosen and used. She added that a cloud service partner with a proven track record of successful cloud migrations guarantees success. Red Hat, the leading provider of enterprise open-source software solutions, makes an ideal partner.
Using ICT Capabilities to Transform the Public Sector
Janek Rozov, Head of Strategy at Information Technology and Development Centre, Ministry of Interior, Estonia elaborated on the uncontrolled and controlled cloud in the government sector.
Both individual services and public sector organisations have been designed and have moulded the country’s innovation and digitalisation policies. As digital technology becomes more extensively adopted, public service providers face increasing demands and expectations.
Firms should not entrust their access management and encryption to cloud service providers. This limits cloud service provider lock-in and preserves more confidence or control over who has access to which data.
On the other hand, unauthorised individuals can only access encrypted data. Not all data is sensitive, and risk-based data encryption requires data classification. Therefore, visibility of unauthorised cloud usages such as shadow IT, and unsanctioned IT is essential for establishing security controls or offering end-users and business units secure alternatives.
Governments have been compelled to maximise the value of becoming digital, with benefits ranging from increased efficiency to transparency. Janek feels it is essential for governments to keep in mind that they cannot replicate digital processes, but they can replicate the principles of how they might improve public procedures and lives in the face of the rapid digital shift.
Governments and agencies must determine how diverse social processes occur and how they are interconnected. After mapping the current level of public service supply, the institutional framework, and the cultural context, digitisation could create further benefits.
It is anticipated that citizens will demand and expect more from the public sector as services continue to shift to the digital platform. It may seem that governments are forced to play a never-ending game of catch-up, but efficiencies and transparency are improved over time.
As with most problem-solving, the first step is to separate the means from the goals. Before digitalisation moves forward, the government needs to figure out what people need. To get more people to use digital services, governments should avoid repeating complicated steps that slow down adoption.
Following the informative presentations, delegates engaged in participatory dialogues aided by polling questions. This is intended to provide participants with professional learning and growth through live audience interaction, participation, and sharing of real-life experiences.
Delegates had the opportunity to learn from subject matter experts, share their experiences, and take methods back to their organisations.
The first poll asked the delegates what their organisation’s biggest challenge in digital transformation was. The majority (72%) went with people and skillsets while opted for scalability (21%) or common framework and platform (7%).
On being asked what cloud strategy delegates are interested in implementing, an overwhelming majority indicated hybrid cloud (72%). The remaining were evenly split between private cloud (14%) and multi-cloud (14%).
Inquiring about delegates’ top consideration in adopting multi-cloud, just under a third (30%) agreed that it was data sovereignty and residency (30%). The remainder were equally divided across cost optimisation (20%), tools and services available on the new cloud (20%) and inter-communication and workload portability among the clouds (20%).
Looking to see how delegates characterise their current stage of digital transformation in their respective organisations, well over half (57%) said that planning was conducted but there were delays in implementation and execution. About a quarter (23%) opted for pilot projects rolled out successfully and just under a fifth (19%) chose full-scale implementation of more than one program or project.
Asked how the delegates leverage data between other public sector agencies, about half (52%) said they used API Management, while the rest were equally split between inability due to security constraints (21%) and data integration (21%).
Janek shared that Point to Point is still an option but not as characterised by the API Management. He added that it is advisable to use third party infrastructure to secure the data.
Queried on the key value and driver of a public sector cloud offering, about 40% went with standardisation and governance (40%), followed by the total cost of ownership and price for investment (36%) and security (22%).
Ongkarn Nakprada, Head of Research and Development, National Intelligence Agency said that they are using the public cloud because the government allowed it for free and very efficient for the personnel as well. Pongpan Itsuwan, Chief of Computer Operation Section, Expressway Authority of Thailand shared that they prioritise privacy and personal information security.
On their plan to develop new applications and modernise their legacy applications, just under half (47%) opted to outsource (47%), while others went to re-write (26%) or SaaS (17%).
Siwat Panyachaiwatthanakool, Chief of Transport System Research and Development Section, Expressway Authority of Thailand felt that a starting company or organisation should outsource their platforms to ensure its security protocols.
inquiring as to what external assistance delegates think is needed most to accelerate their Digital Transformation journey, most (54%) felt having a mindset change and new ways of working were important. Others opted for building the framework and a standard platform (31%) or agile integration (9%).
The Breakfast Insight concluded with remarks from Christopher Tan, Global Partner Revenue Acceleration Director, APJ, Intel, who believes that digital ecosystems are frequently created and rapidly influencing change in a variety of sectors, including government.
Christopher urged the delegates to invest in their technology, as that is one of the most crucial elements to the ecosystem’s success. He was confident that Intel had innovative solutions for all their digital concerns.
Whether a company wants to safeguard a brand, intellectual capital and customer information, or offer controls for vital infrastructure, the tools for incident detection and response to defending organisational interests consist of people, procedures and technology.
Data security refers to the process of securing data throughout its lifecycle from illegal access and corruption. Globally, businesses even the government sector are investing extensively in information technology (IT) cyber security skills to safeguard their most valuable assets.
He encouraged the delegates to make sure that their cloud is fully set up by working with trusted partnerships. Cloud and cloud service providers like Red Hat allow adding and changing services straightforward without increasing or deleting digital space. Thus, there is no worry about restricted resources, buying and housing servers and hardware, updating software or data protection.
“Thailand has incredible tourist destinations and production will go up in the manufacturing industry; so every aspect of government service must be fully functional,” Mohit concludes.
Thailand is on a massive digital transformation journey, Mohit acknowledges and reminds delegates that there are people who are willing to help them. He invited them to reach out to the sessions resource persons and experts to explore how to best progress on their transformation journeys.
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), the Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC) recently kicked off the “vHK Grand Tour” AR Design Competition (the Competition), officially launching a series of activities which aim to encourage Hong Kong secondary academia to combine augmented reality (AR) technology with famous landmarks in Hong Kong, thus creating their ideal Green and Smart City landscape and enhancing their sense of belonging to the city.
Students and the general public were also introduced, via a seminar, to the Government’s “Smart City Blueprint for Hong Kong 2.0” (Blueprint 2.0), the latest development in immersive technologies and their applications in STEM education, thereby enabling the new generation to master new digital technologies and promote Hong Kong as a green and smart city.
Funded by the General Support Programme of the Innovation and Technology Fund under the Innovation and Technology Commission, the Competition is also supported by the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer, Education Bureau, and several innovation and technology (I&T) enterprises and education organisations and the Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers.
The Chairman of HKPC stated that as the super-connector among the government, the I&T sector and the education sector, HKPC has been committed to promoting I&T education and talent training, and advocates equipping young people with ‘FutureSkills’ to expand the local I&T talent pool.
Coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the HKSAR, HKPC hopes the competition will enable students to experience the application of AR technology and increase their interest in immersive technologies; and concurrently alight young peoples’ vision of Hong Kong becoming a smart city and enhance their awareness of green living and sustainable development, thereby strengthening their sense of belonging to Hong Kong.
In the future, HKPC will continue to leverage its advantages in the field of I&T, and combine its rich experience in talent training to lay a solid foundation for nurturing talents for the I&T development of Hong Kong.
In her opening address, the Commissioner for Innovation and Technology noted that with the development of technology, the application of innovation and technology is emphasised, especially on the benefits brought about by I&T in our daily life, and through which we have a fresh understanding and feeling towards Hong Kong’s history, culture, art and other aspects.
The Commissioner also pointed out that in promoting I&T, the Government has unprecedentedly invested more than $150 billion in the past 5 years. Currently, the I&T industry in Hong Kong is flourishing. She encouraged fellow students to explore the world of science and technology and acquire the skills they will need for careers in the I&T industry.
The Competition will be held in different stages across a period of about 9 months, covering first-round assessment, training workshops, final round assessment, an award ceremony and an exhibition. Participants will be required to design and produce the AR works based on the theme of the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the HKSAR and the vision and goals of Blueprint 2.0 to showcase a brand new image of a green and smart Hong Kong to the public.
In addition, as the COVID-19 epidemic has brought unprecedented challenges to the city, participants are required to integrate anti-epidemic elements into their works to demonstrate the impacts and benefits of innovative technologies on public hygiene and daily life.
Ultimately, the AR works of the top 25 finalist teams will be available for public viewing online and offline, while people from all over the world will be able to participate in the “vHK Grand Tour” without being restricted by time, space and region.
An international team of researchers has developed a scanning tool to make websites less vulnerable to hacking and cyberattacks. The black box security assessment prototype, tested by engineers in Australia, Pakistan and the UAE, is more effective than existing web scanners which collectively fail to detect the top 10 weaknesses in web applications.
UniSA mechanical and systems engineer Dr Yousef Amer is one of the co-authors of a new international paper that describes the development of the tool in the wake of escalating global cyberattacks.
Cybercrime cost the world US$ 6 trillion in 2021, reflecting a 300% hike in online criminal activity in the past two years. Remote working, cloud-based platforms, malware and phishing scams have led to skyrocketing data breaches, while the rollout of 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) devices has made us more connected – and vulnerable – than ever.
Dr Yousef Amer and colleagues from Pakistan, the UAE and Western Sydney University highlight numerous security weaknesses in website applications and how these are costing organisations dearly. Due to the widespread adoption of eCommerce, iBanking and eGovernment sites, web applications have become a prime target of cybercriminals who want to steal individual and company information and disrupt business activities.
Despite a projected US$ 170 billion global outlay on internet security in 2022 against a backdrop of escalating and more severe cyberattacks, existing web scanners are falling way short when it comes to assessing vulnerabilities, according to Dr Amer.
The team identified that most of the publicly available scanners have weaknesses and are not doing the job they should. Nearly 72% of organisations have suffered at least one serious security breach on their website, with vulnerabilities tripling since 2017. A world leader in web application security estimates that 86% of scanned web pages have on average 56% vulnerabilities. Among these, at least one is classified as critical. The researchers compared 11 publicly available web application scanners against the top 10 vulnerabilities.
The team found that no single scanner is capable of countering all these vulnerabilities, but the prototype tool caters to all these challenges and is a one-stop guide to ensure 100 per cent website security. There is an urgent need to audit websites and ensure they are secure if these breaches are to be curbed and companies and governments can save millions of dollars. The researchers are now seeking to commercialise their prototype.
The global cyber security market was valued at US$ 139.77 billion in 2021. The market is expected to grow to US$ 376.32 billion by 2029, exhibiting a CAGR of 13.4% during the forecast period. The COVID-19 pandemic has been unprecedented and overwhelming, with security solutions undergoing higher-than-anticipated demand across the world compared to pre-pandemic levels.
The key drivers of the cyber security market are the emerging online e-commerce platforms and the advent of core technologies such as the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), cloud security, and others. Key market players focus on developing internet security solutions based on artificial intelligence (AI) platforms.
The growing demand for solutions is anticipated to gain traction with cumulative investments from Germany, France, India, Spain, South Korea, Italy, Canada, and Qatar, among others. The growing adoption of enterprise security solutions from manufacturing, banking, financial services, insurance (BFSI) and healthcare is expected to drive market growth in the future.
To conduct a proof-of-concept on the use of space-based Very High Frequency (VHF) voice for communication between pilots and air traffic controllers for air traffic management, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and the Economic Development Board’s Office for Space Technology and Industry (OSTIn) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with partner companies.
The novel technology’s viability and advantages over ground-based VHF voice communications will be shown in the proof of concept, and the data will be gathered for international review, standards creation, and acceptance.
As global and regional air traffic continues to grow, CAAS is committed to leveraging new technologies to enhance air traffic management to improve efficiency and reduce carbon emissions, and to being a pathfinder and convenor of the public-private partnership needed to drive development and global adoption of such technologies.
– Han Kok Juan, Director-General, Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore
The Director-General added that the space-based VHF communications technology has the potential to revolutionise aviation, improving safety, effectiveness, and sustainability while expanding capacity to handle the growing demand for air travel. If this proof of concept is effective, it will be a big step toward acceptance and adoption around the world.
Pilots and air traffic controllers currently communicate with one another via VHF voice communications. For instance, pilots can ask for clearance to ascend or descend, and air traffic controllers can adjust a flight path in reaction to weather or turbulence.
The communication must be trustworthy, direct, and immediate to ensure safe and effective air traffic management, particularly in congested airspaces and during abnormal and emergency situations.
Moreover, due to the ground-based nature of present VHF stations, there is little to no coverage for VHF voice communications in maritime, hilly, or remote places that are outside the range of ground-based stations, which poses operational challenges. Air traffic control will be safer and more effective because of the expanded coverage provided by space-based VHF voice communications.
Before they may be used for safe operations, space-based VHF voice communications must first undergo technical feasibility studies, evaluation, and standardisation by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
The CAAS-OSTIn and partner companies’ proof of concept is the first technical research where a specially manufactured satellite will be launched into orbit to contain VHF communications gear for such a trial, even though there have been earlier technical studies in this area.
The trial’s goal is to show that space-based communications are compatible with aircraft technology and already-existing ground radio stations, with equivalent speech quality, latency, and other standards to ground-based voice communications.
The trial will specifically show that space-based voice communications are feasible for the equatorial region, where the scintillation effect that degrades the quality of VHF audio communications is known to be particularly severe. Beginning in 2023, the proof of concept will take a year to complete. After that, CAAS will present the findings and data to the ICAO and ITU for review and discussion.
Between CAAS-OSTIn and partner companies, the program delivers strong complementary skills. The testbed for the trial will be provided by CAAS, a prominent provider of air navigation services that is at the forefront of technological development and adoption.
The development and application of space capabilities to aviation as well as the creation of a space eco-system will be examined by OSTIn, Singapore’s national space office, to support the endeavour. Moreover, joint ventures will put the satellite into orbit and supply the hardware and communications infrastructure.
The Centre for Civil Society and Governance of The University of Hong Kong and a global tech giant recently jointly announced a request for proposals (RFP) for the company’s AR/VR Policy Research in the Asia Pacific region. This research initiative invites the region’s academic community to develop solutions-focused research to support the responsible development of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies.
This includes identifying positive approaches to address policy issues and challenges, as well as opportunities in the metaverse and augmented and virtual reality, ultimately giving people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.
With the metaverse becoming the next chapter of the internet, Meta’s vision is to have a billion people accessing the metaverse as part of their daily lives within ten years. That relies on people being in control of their experiences and feeling safe and secure. This RFP reaffirms the tech giant’s commitment to ensuring the responsible development and use of AR/VR technologies and building strong collaborations with policymakers, experts and industry partners to bring the metaverse to life.
The Director of the Centre for Civil Society and Governance stated that the RFP forms part of the Tech for Good Initiative that aims to bring scholars and practitioners together to catch up with the latest development of technologies and explore how the interplay between emerging technologies and public policy works. The Centre is committed to the attainment of a sustainable society and advanced technologies will help address some of the most critical sustainability challenges we are facing today.
The Centre for Civil Society and Governance of The University of Hong Kong and the company are inviting faculty to respond to this call for research proposals on the following topics:
- Economic opportunity: people can be given more choice, how competition can be encouraged, how a thriving digital economy can be maintained
- Privacy: how the amount of data used can be minimised, how to build technology to enable privacy-protective data uses, and give people transparency and control over their data
- Safety and integrity: how people can be kept safe online and be given tools to take action or get help if they see something they’re not comfortable with
- Equity and inclusion: ensuring these technologies are designed inclusively and in a way that’s accessible
- New Use Cases: what are new applications of immersive technology that create substantial value for people and communities
The research initiative targets to award a total of 6 awards, each in the US$100,000 range funded by the firm’s XR Programs and Research Fund, a two-year US$50 million investment in programmes and independent external research to help in the effort of building the metaverse responsibly. The submission deadline is 25 July 2022, and the results will be announced on 5 September 2022.
The global augmented reality and virtual reality market, in the current year (2022), is expected to have a market size of US$37.0 billion and grow up to US$114.5 billion by 2027 within a 5-year forecast period at a market growth rate of 25.3%.
The driving factors behind this growth include increased healthcare applications of augmented reality, increased applications of augmented reality and virtual reality in retail and e-commerce, strong government funding for the facilitation of growth of the AR and VR market, partnerships between augmented reality device manufacturers and various service industries, the rise in the usage and demand for virtual reality in e-learning, medical training, increased demand of virtual reality in manufacturing divisions.
The Government of Queensland has launched the third of its state-wide regional science and innovation hubs in Cairns, boosting research opportunities in Far North Queensland. Under the Partner Up Queensland Regional Science and Innovation Network, the hubs aim to provide people living in regional Queensland with more opportunities to engage with science and innovation in a meaningful way.
The Member for Cairns stated that the hub in Cairns will enable Far North individuals and community groups to participate in a range of STEM-based (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and innovation-related activities and events. He noted that the events will be developed by the hub and by local science and innovation champions within the community and will include mentoring, networking and collaboration opportunities; the engagement of youth in the design, implementation, product pitching and entrepreneurship; and engagement with researchers, technologies experts, business and First Nations mentors.
The network will provide opportunities for skills development and establish local networks that will drive growth and development in the science sector and innovation economy throughout regional Queensland. This will result in enhancing how businesses, research organisations and industries can meet the changing scientific and innovation needs of the community.
The region’s Science Minister stated that Cairns joined Gladstone and Toowoomba as locations, with each regional hub being provided with funding of up to $70,000 over 12 months to employ a regional coordinator to support events, activities and projects that encourage Queenslanders’ participation and awareness of science and innovation within their region.
She noted that science and innovation are helping to drive the Queensland Government’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan – whether that’s through renewable energy, advanced manufacturing or our education and research sector. Recent research commissioned by the Office of the Queensland Chief Scientist showed that 83% of Queenslanders believe science is critical for the Queensland economy, she said.
Survey results from the 3M State of Science Index show that 9 in 10 Australians back more investment in science. The findings indicated that during the pandemic, almost two in three Australians thought that scientists and medical professionals are inspiring a new generation to pursue a science-based career.
This is the reason the hubs are being delivered, together with major investments like the additional $35.5 million to ramp up the development and manufacture of locally-based vaccines that build on last’s announcement of $20 million as part of our flagship Queensland Jobs fund.
The Partner Up Queensland Regional Science and Innovation Network is a joint initiative of the Department of Environment and Science and the Department of Tourism, Innovation and Sport. The region’s Innovation Minister said the hubs would help to supercharge regional Queensland science and innovation.
For local entrepreneurs and business leaders, the hubs aim to deliver support and partnerships to identify and develop real-world opportunities. Be it robots, hydrogen or medical technology, the government understands that science and innovation will be critical to building regional Queensland’s industries and jobs of the future.
The Far North Queensland Hub will be led by James Cook University and will be supported by Cairns Regional Council, Gulf Savannah NRM, Y(E)P Entrepreneurship Facilitators Cairns, Regional Development Australia and Cairns Chamber of Commerce.
James Cook University Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor welcomed the initiative and said that the hub will strengthen linkages between the region’s very active science and innovation community, the Office of the Chief Scientist and the Office of the Chief Entrepreneur.
Having the Hub here in Cairns will boost connectivity between important state government programs and those working on research and innovation in our region, and will support projects that encourage community awareness of science and innovation.
The establishment of the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Multi-Modal Distribution and Connectivity Centre or DC Centre aims to improve both countries’ transportation and logistics ecosystems, as well as strengthen supply chain resilience and accelerate trade digitalisation.
The partnership, according to Josephine Teo, Minister of Communications, and Information, is an important step in the continued development of Singapore’s and Chongqing’s roles as mutual hubs of Southeast Asia and Western China, respectively.
As a key project of the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity (CCI) and logistics priority area, the DC Centre will be a physical location for multimodal operations in Chongqing and help build the CCI-New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor.
With this new facility in place, there will be greater opportunities for collaboration between Singapore, Chongqing, and other international partners in some areas.
– Josephine Teo, Minister of Communications and Information
Minister Teo emphasised first the improving logistics and transportation systems on both sides. To better integrate Chongqing’s key road, rail, and river logistics nodes and give logistics participants a smooth experience, the DC Centre will complement current and planned facilities including the Guoyuan Port and Yuzui Terminal South Yard.
In 2017, Minister Teo recalls the inauguration of the two joint venture companies of Singapore and China -the Sino-Singapore (Chongqing) Connectivity Solutions Company Limited or S1 and Sino-Singapore (Chongqing) DC Multimodal Logistics Company Limited or S2. Now, a training and placement programme will be formed between S1 and the Chongqing Finance and Economics College, with specialised training taking place within the DC Centre itself, to expand the talent pool of Chongqing’s logistics business.
Second, the Minister highlighted the improved supply chain resilience. In an era of global supply chain disruption, the CCI-New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor can determine its value by linking land and sea routes to provide the flow of essential goods, specifically perishable and time-sensitive supplies. To that end, she encourages all interested parties to join the Corridor by utilising key nodes such as the DC Centre and improving connectivity and trade flows between regions.
Minister Teo also stressed the hastening of trade digitalisation. In response to the growing importance of the digital economy, Singapore and Chongqing are encouraging the exchange of digital data and documents to improve supply chain visibility and facilitate seamless cross-border cargo movement. She welcomes more companies to join them in these endeavours, including those from adjacent sectors such as trade financing.
OpenGov Asia earlier reported that 17 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were signed among Singapore and Chongqing businesses in 2020 on the side-lines of the Smart China Expo (SCE) Online, as enterprises continue to explore opportunities despite pandemic restrictions. The MoUs included collaborations in the built environment and manufacturing, as well as logistics and tourism for markets in Chongqing, Western China, and Singapore.
On the other hand, at the annual Smart China Expo in Chongqing in 2019, Singapore and Chinese companies signed 13 agreements for collaborative efforts to use digital technologies in education, manufacturing, and telecommunications.
In the same year, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), Enterprise Singapore, and the Chongqing Application Development Administration Bureau launched the Joint Innovation Development Fund (JIDF), an RMB$ 40 million initiative to promote the joint development of innovative products and solutions, which may include research and development and pilots to promote innovative technologies such as robotics, IoT, augmented reality, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence. The fund’s goal is to catalyse projects that have the potential to generate significant economic benefits for the companies and countries involved.
The Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT) is committed to building robust partnerships within the 5G ecosystem with a range of stakeholders including local industry and start-ups. C-DOT has continued to emphasise the evolution of a coordinated collaborative framework that supports multiple providers and promotes healthy competition amongst key 5G players in an output-driven and target-oriented environment.
Broadband, especially mobile broadband, has become an integral part of life. Its adoption was accelerated through the rapid expansion of 4G services across the country since 2015. Currently, 800 million subscribers have broadband access, compared to 100 million subscribers in 2014. According to a press release, through policy initiatives, the government has been able to give citizens access to mobile banking, online education, and telemedicine, among others.
Dr Rajkumar Upadhyay, Executive Director, C-DOT highlighted the vision of PM GatiShakti as it harnesses the country’s technological potential. This is done by creating an environment for the creation of path-breaking initiatives by local R&D, industry and start-ups. He underscored the importance of achieving synergy among various participants of the technology ecosystem to spur novel innovation and competitive spirit leading to the development of holistic indigenous solutions expeditiously.
He expressed confidence in emerging partnerships between R&D and industry in enabling the proliferation of indigenous 5G across the country and emphasised that effective collaborations would bring Indian products and solutions to the international market.
C-DOT is the premier Research and Development (R&D) centre of the Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications, Government of India. C-DOT has overseen the design and development of a host of telecom software applications such as optical, switching and routing, wireless and security. Further to developing an indigenous 4G solution, C-DOT now focuses its attention on 5G.
This month, C-DOT signed an agreement for collaboration in the area of Open RAN-based Radio Network for 5G solution. The collaboration will leverage the complementary strengths of Telecom R&D and private industry to speed the indigenous design, development and deployment of end-to-end 5G solutions that would be mutually beneficial to all stakeholders. Further, the partnership will go a long way to strengthen indigenous Intellectual Property as well as facilitate wider adoption and monetisation of national 5G products and solutions.
Earlier, Union Railways, Communications, Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said that at the current pace, he was confident that the deployment of 5G will begin in at least 20-25 cities and towns by the end of 2022. He revealed that India currently has the lowest price for data across the globe and that the price “is at least 10 times cheaper than what other countries are offering”.
In related developments, OpenGov Asia reported on the upcoming 5G spectrum auctions in July 2022. Digital connectivity has been an important part of the government’s policy initiatives through programmes like Digital India, Startup India and Make in India.
A total of 72097.85 MHz of spectrum with a validity period of 20 years will be put to auction by the end of July this year. The auction will be held for spectrum in various low (600 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz), mid (3300 MHz), and high (26 GHz) frequency bands.
The government announced that, in a first, there will be no mandatory requirement to make upfront payments by bidders. Payments for the spectrum can be made in 20 equal annual instalments to be paid in advance at the beginning of each year. This is expected to significantly ease cash flow requirements and lower the cost of doing business in this sector.
To meet the backhaul demand, the government has decided to provisionally allot two carriers of 250 MHz each in E-band to telecom service providers. The government also decided to double the number of traditional Microwave backhaul carriers in the existing frequency bands of 13, 15, 18, and 21 GHz bands.