As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread around the world, governments, enterprises and industries from the private sector, communities and society in general, continue to face unprecedented challenges.
In the public sector, where governments are trying to keep their citizens safe and the economy running, the onslaught has been unrelenting. Agencies are expected to respond quickly to equip citizens and businesses with the resources to minimise the social and economic consequences.
Recently, the rapid development of vaccines from various pharmaceutical organisations has presented a glimmer of hope to contain COVID-19. Unfortunately, the rollout of the vaccines has been far from hassle-free. Getting the vaccine from the manufacturing sites to the global population is proving to be a monumental mission – logistic challenges combined with inefficient data management are hindering an effective outreach.
The COVID-19 vaccine distribution and management challenges are of a scale and magnitude no one has ever witnessed and are unprecedented, to say the least. Governments alone cannot address this challenge, and no one organisation can claim an end-to-end solution or capability. There is an urgent need to plan the processes, infrastructure and organisations in place to manage vaccine administration and distribution adequately and effectively.
Indonesia has rolled out a mass COVID-19 inoculation programme, aiming at vaccinating two-thirds of the population to reach herd immunity within 15 months. The sheer size of the population and its geographical extent – 270 million citizens spreading across more than 17,000 islands – making the task a mammoth one.
Whether in Indonesia or another country, several questions need answering: do the government agencies and healthcare organisations have the tools and methodologies to classify, prioritise and locate at-risk citizens? Do the agencies have the know-how to determine if there is an adequate localised capacity to administer the vaccine and monitor adverse events? What can they do when faced with the unprecedented logistical / supply chain problems of vaccination programmes?
This was the focal point of the OpenGovLive! Virtual Breakfast Insight held on 06 May 2021 and aimed at imparting knowledge on how government agencies, hospitals and healthcare organisations can optimise COVID-19 vaccination distribution, administration, and management effectively and efficiently.
The session served as a great peer-to-peer learning platform to gain insights and practical solutions to understand how to optimise medical resources to reduce mortality rate, infection rate and stopping pandemic quicker.
Utilising Technology to Fight COVID-19
To kickstart the session, Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief at OpenGov Asia delivered his opening address.
The tail end of 2019 got hit by COVID-19, a crisis so devastating that it brought the world to a standstill almost overnight and has kept on relentlessly till now. Countries all over the world are looking to find ways to keep people safe, healthy and protected – in the short term and for the long haul. While major adjustments – band-aid solutions, or ad-hoc measures, et al – have helped most countries to have a semblance of normalcy, the focus has always been on the development of a vaccine.
And, as a testament to human perseverance and technology’s power, this has been achieved in an incredibly short time.
With the vaccines on hand, the public sector started to look at technologies such as data analytics and artificial intelligence to improve their vaccine rollout – management, administration and distribution. Mohit conceded that adoption of these technologies can help the public sector and healthcare front liners in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic more efficiently and effectively, especially when it comes to vaccination programmes.
But, Mohit asks, do governments honestly know how to fully utilise these disruptive technologies to reap their true benefits? Can they thoroughly understand its purpose in vaccine programmes?
In closing, Mohit emphasised that the utilisation of the tech must go hand in hand with the right partnerships. He urged delegates to find suitable partners in their COVID-19 vaccination endeavours. They must find the right people who do what they do best -and this will allow governments to deliver the much-needed vaccines to communities across all borders.
Data Analytics and AI in Vaccine Distribution
After the opening address, the session heard from Dr Steve Bennett, Director – Public Sector and Financial Services Practice, SAS. He discussed how data analytics and AI helped in various initiatives and response efforts to combat the pandemic.
Steve defines analytics as the scientific process of transforming data into insights for decision making. Data analytics can help leaders make decisions more efficiently and effectively both in their response and recovery efforts.
First, data analytics helped governments in their responses against the pandemic through Epidemiological Modelling and Medical Resource Optimisation. Governments used data analytics to flatten the infection curve while preserving limited resources crucial in the COVID-19 era. Simultaneously, data analytics assisted governments in contact tracing efforts by connecting and understanding data available to help mitigate the spread of the virus. Technologies helped identify specific communities vulnerable to a possible contagion outbreak while Machine Learning and AI helped with accurate projections to anticipate future waves.
Second, AI and Data Analytics aided governments in the recovery phase, specifically in delivering citizen services and benefits. Citing the example of the United Kingdom, Steven said the British government had a range of benefits available to people in need. Like other governments, the nation, too, wanted to make sure that benefits were delivered to the right people – and that’s where technology helped. Similarly in Brazil, AI and data analytics were successfully deployed to quickly score and validate the right beneficiaries that resources needed to go to.
In terms of citizen centricity, Steve gave the example of a city in Europe that wants to get people back to work in 13 weeks or less if they lose their job. Machine Learning and AI optimally matched the mix of programmes to the right citizens. Knowing the background of people and by having AI/ML map appropriate programmes, the government has seen great results in terms of getting people back to work.
As vaccination programmes are being rolled out across the world, the pandemic seems to be on its tail-end. However, the implementation of a vaccine rollout is “the greatest logistics mobilisation since World War II and (we are) trying to move things on an unprecedented scale”. Steve conceded that creating and evolving a data-driven mass vaccination plan presents exceptional challenges, including risk identification, provider enrollment, and vaccine administration.
Centrally, governments must classify and locate at-risk citizens and other critical populations, requiring significant data integration and geospatial capabilities. They need to monitor capacity so there adequate localised ability to administer the vaccine and recruit providers even as the supply chain is optimised.
Local governments will be assuming responsibility for managing and approving orders from enrolled providers based on unknown federal allotments. Vaccine providers must prioritise and identify populations.
Ongoing analytics of vaccination programme is vital and necessary. New and existing data must be integrated and analysed to identify administration problems, monitor gaps in care and update vaccine need projections.
Steve emphasised that a phased approach should be applied to vaccination strategies. The first is planning agencies must have the data and analytic tools to effectively plan vaccine administration strategies. The second is the implementation where they use existing data assets and new collection mechanisms to efficiently vaccinate critical populations. Thirdly, necessary adjustments must be made – decision-makers must constantly adjust based on new information, changing supply and unpredictable demand.
Understanding the COVID-19 Vaccine Supply Chain
The delegates moved to a presentation from Dr Robert de Souza, Executive Director, The Logistics Institute Asia Pacific, who discussed the different factors that affect and make up the COVID-19 vaccine’s supply chain management.
Robert started his presentation by pointing out that the vaccine supply chain might look uncomplicated but is laden with ambiguity. There are several projected challenges due to its scale and complexity. Over 16,000 Boeing 777 flights are needed to ship a double dose vaccination which translates to 7.59 billion vials dose. And to move vaccines end-to-end, over 1.5 trillion data ports are required.
Other factors that complicate the chain are extreme temperature requirements, shelf-life concerns, verifications of unbroken cold chains and the supply of peripherals for vaccine distribution. The ecosystem of actors and policy drivers in an effective vaccine management programme must include the optimisation of storage and locations for cold storage and distribution must be determined. The vaccine routing mix must be prioritised as well as the infrastructure needed for transportation such as modality, multi vs intermodal links for coordinated scheduling.
Governments must be able to match supply and demand and plan for disruptions including the impact of pandemic suppression measures. Inherently, there is an increased need for risk management when it comes to vaccine distribution.
Robert stressed that the COVID-19 vaccination supply chain is unique because it is global and has disturbed equilibrium. It has put globalisation in the spotlight and governments in the centre. Unfortunately, it has created artificial demands and shortages due to demand shocks and supply shocks.
To improve the COVID-19 vaccine’s supply chain performance through greater visibility, governments and organisations must ask the following questions:
- How distant are distribution centres from strategic infrastructures such as ports and airports?
- What are the ideal locations for vaccination/distribution centres?
- Are vaccination/distribution centres located in disaster-prone areas?
- What is the geographic distribution of demand?
- How many customers can be served within specific timeframes?
- Can demand points be clustered based on geo-information and volumes?
In terms of demand clustering, demand points are not all the same. Some are more crucial and may require higher attention. Clustering enables the definition of effective customer-centric strategies. A dynamic simulation consisting of good methods, typically leveraging upon large datasets can be applied.
Strategic infrastructure such as ports and airports enable supply chains to function. A high-level assessment of distances between such infrastructures and supply chain nodes is vital. Notably, demand points carry different weights in terms of volumes. An understanding of demand patterns, on the time dimension, enables accurate planning of logistics capacities.
Robert urged delegates to think of a COVID-19 vaccination programme as an ecosystem and not a chain or a network. Decision-makers must ask all the right questions like the “what, from where and to where? Who, when and how”? They should remember that increasing data granularity yields more insights.
When it comes to the COVID-19 vaccination programme, Robert conceded that a wide array of tools and technologies are readily available to address supply chain problems at all levels including strategic, tactical and operational. But the identification of problem statements and data remains a challenge. Governments must embrace digitalisation to achieve operational excellence, supply chain transparency as well as boost financial and service level performance.
OVID-19 Vaccine Cold Chain Logistics Management
Kelvin Goh, APAC AI-IoT Business Development & Global Intelligent Logistics, SAS was the next presenter and discussed how the continuous monitoring and examinability of cold chain logistics of vaccines can help the public sector.
Right off the bat, Kevin noted that logistics – especially cross-border logistics – is already a complicated task. When coupled with cold chain management, its complexity doubles.
He expanded on the framework of the vaccine storage and handling toolkit for the delegates to better understand the process. Ideally, the vaccine cold chain flowchart always starts with the manufacturer and then moves to the distribution phase. Only then will it reach the provider/government facilities.
If the cold chain is not properly maintained, Kevin warns, vaccine potency may be lost, resulting in a useless vaccine supply.
In terms of cold chain storage and handling optimisation, there must be continuous monitoring, intelligent alerting and efficient decision making. Cold chain logistics monitoring, alerting and decisions can be directly applied to support the challenges of Vaccine Storage and Handling across the regulatory spectrum.
The regulatory guidance on Vaccine Storage and Handling is divided into 7 sections:
- SECTION ONE: Vaccine Cold Chain
- SECTION TWO: Staff and Training
- SECTION THREE: Vaccine Storage and Temperature Monitoring Equipment
- SECTION FOUR: Vaccine Inventory Management
- SECTION FIVE: Vaccine Preparation
- SECTION SIX: Vaccine Transport
- SECTION SEVEN: Emergency Vaccine Storage and Handling
To better handle the pandemic and post-pandemic realities SAS’ Cold Chain for Biologics solution provides monitoring, tracking and optimising capabilities to address the high dimensional and complex nature of biologics logistics. The solution is built on three pillars:
- MONITOR: Create end-to-end transparency for key assets to drive data-enabled action across the supply chain.
- TRACK: Ensure guidelines and protocols are followed for vaccine and biologic distribution/storage while maintaining the integrity of the supply chain for regulatory compliance and patient safety.
- OPTIMISE: Dynamically optimise the cold chain to manage risk, improve efficiency, prevent waste and maximise safety and outcomes.
Kelvin emphasised that vaccine providers must enable rapid and informed decision-making through real-time analysis of sensor telemetry used in monitoring equipment reliability and the supporting infrastructure critical to the distribution and storage of vaccines.
They must also learn to reduce human cognitive and physical workloads through digitisation and automation of associated workflows while maintaining real-time situational awareness of vaccine integrity and availability through intelligent alerting and decision-making technologies.
After the informative presentations, delegates participated in interactive discussions facilitated by polling questions. This activity is designed to provide live-audience interaction, promote engagement, hear real-life experiences and impart professional learning and development for participants.
The opening poll was about the major challenge the delegates face in the current COVID-19 vaccine distribution. Half (50%) of the delegates said that extreme storage requirements are the biggest challenges, while 39% said that transportation and delivery are their main obstacles. Only 11% said that nursing shortages hinder their vaccine distribution.
The next question focussed on delegates’ perception of data analytics supporting their organisations in the current vaccine distribution. Just over a third (36%) said data analytics can help in identifying the location and concentration of priority populations. The rest of the votes were almost evenly divided. Some felt that analytics could help measure changes in need and demand patterns to optimise supply-chain strategies, while others indicated it could be deployed to monitor the relative adequacy of providers capable of vaccinating critical populations.
Asked about the stage of readiness their organisations was in handling the vaccine distribution, just over a third (35%) said that target populations and vaccination strategies are almost ready. Over a quarter (26%) revealed that human resources management and training were in place, while 22% said that planning and coordination are set.
While all agreed that data analytics plays a vital role in vaccination programmes, delegates were asked which aspect of analytics solutions would be their priority for their country’s vaccine strategies. Half (50%) of the delegates said that analytics will greatly help in vaccination programme analytics, while 25% said it would optimise the supply chain. A fifth (20%) said it will improve prioritising and identifying populations.
To round off the discussion, delegates were polled on what their main strategy to encourage long-term growth after the COVID-19 pandemic would be. Over half (52%) said that a digital transformation strategy remains at the top. Other votes were almost evenly divided between improving workforce skillsets, preserving productive companies, supporting public R&D and tax incentives for corporate innovation investment.
Febrianto Siboro, Managing Director, SAS Indonesia closed the session with concluding remarks. He believes that the current pandemic situation is extraordinary and, therefore, the solution to recover the national economy must be equally extraordinary.
In line with the Indonesian government’s missions for technological innovation, SAS provides solutions based on data to answer the needs of all public sectors including healthcare. Key in this is clean, efficient data management. With good quality data, AI can generate key insights on trends and patterns that will eventually solve complex problems and accelerate decision making.
While COVID-19 may have forced all countries to restart, it has at the same time, presented the opportunity for all developing nations, including Indonesia, to transition into developed ones.
The global spread of COVID-19 has been a disaster of unparalleled proportions. Not only has it halted the world economy, but it has also made even the most optimistic leaders reconsider how soon things would return to how they were before the outbreak.
Even as the pandemic disrupted businesses and services around the world, a sudden and dramatic increase in internet consumption was observed. Businesses had to shift to digital communications and tools as the key medium for maintaining productive and interesting relationships with their many stakeholders – internal and external.
While the private sector was quicker to alter procedures in the early phases of the pandemic, the public eventually successfully adapted and innovated to continue citizen service delivery. Of course, early on, most governments rapidly put into place digital communication and emergency response platforms.
By allowing users to access their data and applications from any internet-connected device, cloud computing expands the scope of digital transformation beyond simple technology adoption to encompass a comprehensive redesign of all related procedures, resources and user interactions.
The cloud and digital transformation are now inextricably linked. Organisations across the board need to adopt a cloud-first strategy if they want to ensure the longevity of their operations and realise their transformation objectives.
Most organisations and agencies have benefited from the digital change, but some industries are behind the curve. To keep up with the fierce competition in their industries, they must guarantee the reliable operation of the cloud communication platforms that serve as a direct line of contact between the organisations and their consumers and aid in the promotion of their offerings.
The OpenGov Breakfast Insight on 25 November 2022 at M Hotel Singapore provided Singapore’s public, education, financial and healthcare sectors with the advantages of the most recent cloud technology.
Simplifying Things via Cloud Communication
Mohit Sagar, CEO & Editor-in-Chief, OpenGov Asia believes that the cloud has transformed the way organisations communicate, cooperate and carry out many other critical business and service functions.
Cloud communications are voice and data communications solutions that organisations employ to manage cloud-hosted applications, storage and switching.
“Cloud communications services are becoming an increasingly intrinsic choice for organisations looking to streamline their operations and enable their remote workforces to stay connected and productive,” observes Mohit.
Cloud communications enable organisations to interact with their employees and customers over many channels, including email, audio calls, chat and video. All of these leverage internet-based connectivity to minimise faulty connections and lag in communication.
This communication model has become the go-to option for addressing the growing need for efficient internal communications in the hybrid workplace. As numerous workers are returning to the office, and for many of those who have remote work capabilities, hybrid work arrangements are swiftly becoming the new standard.
Organisations are figuring out ways to make hybrid work as interesting and effective as they can. Leaning into what is working, changing what is not working and adapting as lessons are gained are the first steps in creating an effective hybrid strategy, work environment, and culture.
Employee access to the system from anywhere on any device is the need of a mixed work environment. Regardless of the apparatus they are using or their location, employees need to be able to connect to the system.
“User-friendly features in cloud communications make it simpler for staff to become used to the technology,” Mohit explains. “Up until now, better work-life balance, more effective time management, control over working hours and location, prevention of burnout and higher productivity have been the main benefits of hybrid work.”
Having the appropriate tools to be productive at work, feeling less a part of the organisation’s culture, poor cooperation and relationships, and disturbing work processes are some of the biggest obstacles to hybrid work.
Apart from the initial expenditure, virtual meetings result in reduced expenses because of the decline in maintenance and transportation costs. Moreover, integrations of cloud telephony enable companies to place and receive calls from any device that is connected to the Internet.
This means that cloud communications can potentially maximise resources for organisations. Procedures, implementation and adaptability can all be accelerated with a cloud communications strategy, which also offers limitless high-volume information transmission.
According to Mohit, cloud communications must have robust security components to ensure compliance with data privacy laws and the security of all stakeholders. “To assist in safeguarding data in the cloud, emerging cybersecurity tools should also be taken into account.”
These include Artificial Intelligence (AI) for IT Operations (AIOps) and Network Detection and Response (NDR). Both programmes gather data on the security and stability of cloud infrastructure. After data analysis, AI notifies administrators of any unusual behaviour that might represent a threat.
Ultimately a well-thought-out cloud communication strategy with strong security features can serve organisations and gain a competitive advantage in an increasingly digital landscape and VUCA environment.
According to Lucas Lu, Head of Asia, Zoom, if communication fails to give the greatest possible experience, everyone suffers – from employees to consumers to investors. And neglecting to address this essential avenue has ever-worsening implications.
Organisations are going through some significant changes, he explains. The first is in the general business environment. Organisations are under tremendous pressure to boost efficiency, adapt fast as competition rises and keep up with the rapid pace of innovation and technological advancements.
This problem is becoming even more pressing because of economic uncertainties. Furthermore, solving these problems requires effective communication between consumers, prospects and staff.
The workforce is likewise seeing a paradigm shift. People desire the option of remote employment and are asking for the cutting-edge equipment and communication systems they need to do their jobs.
HR managers concur that a high-performing workplace’s future requirements would include collaboration, regular communication and a mentorship culture between managers and teams. “You run the risk of losing the ‘War for Talent’ if you don’t deliver,” Lucas asserts.
With every new tool and software that is made available, communication becomes more difficult and complex. Employees, clients and potential consumers are just a few of the stakeholders who have preferences and expectations about how, when and where they conduct business.
Due to this, many businesses choose their battles carefully when it comes to facilitating communication. They follow a variety of routes, including:
- Maintaining already-established systems that are deemed adequate
- Making use of the fundamental, built-in communication capabilities that are provided with other software packages, even if they don’t entirely satisfy the organisation’s demands
- Using different approaches based on the circumstances. You might, for instance, employ one communication tool for internal cooperation and another for clients, investors, and outside events
“All these strategies are meant to provide organisations with fundamental communication,” says Lucas. “These methods provide some flexibility, but they also change the environment for prospects, employees and consumers. People are compelled to alternate between various options based on their needs as a result.”
This causes unneeded annoyance, rework, expenditures and misunderstanding. Employees may feel alienated and impatient. Customers’ interactions with the brand are disorganised and unprofessional. And various instruments frequently make business slower.
In this uncertain business environment, organisations that can move beyond basic communication into universal communication have extraordinary potential. They can develop intuitive connections to all parties, employees, customers and investors, regardless of location, technology or business activity.
This will be accomplished by integrating the individual and organisational connection demands that will result in a) Delivering a consistent and quality experience for all participants, b) Making human connection effortless, and c) Enabling rapid innovation to maintain relevance.
These results may:
- Satisfy both the primary business requirements and the consumers’ expectations
- Redirect internal resources from managing communications to new services and capabilities; and
- Increase the marketability and perceived agility within the organisation and in the market.
An organisation’s reputation is directly related to the quality of its communication services. In addition to the fact that employees, clients and customers can work remotely, those returning to the office do not t want to compromise on the at-home office environment to which they have grown accustomed.
Organisations must adapt to this new hybrid environment to guarantee that everyone receives high-quality service regardless of circumstance or location. Expectations are simply greater and it is unacceptable if a session fails due to dropped participants or subpar audio or video.
“With Zoom, you may use a top-notch infrastructure that is specially made to prevent failures to safeguard your company from communications disruptions. You eliminate a work-limiting unpredictability risk by doing this,” Lucas says confidently.
When communications are down nowadays, it is impossible to conduct business. Hence, organisations may provide a controlled experience by enabling their staff to work without being concerned about the underlying technology. Additionally, they can analyse the underlying cause of any problems in their surroundings and take preventative measures.
With this, employees can concentrate on their work without unneeded interruptions or ambiguity and will have faith that the communication solution their organisation has deployed will work as planned.
“Partnering with Zoom enables quick innovation to keep up with the times. You can take advantage of a constant flow of fresh features that correspond to actual user requirements,” Lucas says. “Moreover, by frequently communicating with their support group, organisations will rapidly realise what is possible.”
Fireside Chat: How to Prepare for the Transition to the “Cloud Culture”
Geetha Gopal, Head of Infrastructure Projects Delivery and Digital Transformation, Panasonic Asia Pacific believes that every day, new technologies emerge and the culture of change is driving a paradigm shift for which an organisation must be prepared.
“As the COVID-19 outbreak rocked the world and we were unsure of what to do, our investments in technology became our strength,” says Geetha.
As the trend toward digitisation of remote work transforms the traditional office culture, a cloud culture has evolved. Likewise, cloud computing has become a competitive advantage for these organisations.
Every step toward better efficiency in the manufacturing sector increases competitiveness. Because of this, the industry’s embrace of cloud communications has become a crucial turning point. Cloud communications have changed the game for manufacturing by enabling increased efficiency while lowering IT expenditures.
“Cloud computing is the future, and organisations are successfully transitioning from the traditional office culture to the cloud culture,” Geetha says firmly.
Streamlining operations using scalable technological solutions for essential tasks and process optimisation not only helps reduce costs but also frees up time for businesses to devote to value-adding endeavours.
This is crucial now more than ever as operations teams struggle to keep up with the quickening speed of product and investment strategy development being observed among clients.
The new service-focused, client-centric operating model for investment operations will be made possible by technology, data and scalability. Organisations need to realise that the greatest way to prepare for the future is to create it as they deal with this period of constant innovation.
As a result, operations leaders who are taking steps to redesign, reinvent and adapt their operations may ultimately be in a stronger position.
Geetha emphasises that collaboration, communication and connectivity are crucial for success in today’s work environment. The key to maximising these contacts is digital communication. “For efficient communication and productivity, your company primarily depends on specific systems, platforms, and applications.”
More organisations are understanding the enormous advantages of migrating their systems to the cloud as technology continues to progress. In addition to allowing organisations to remain relevant in a competitive market, innovation plays a vital role in economic growth. Innovations are required to solve key problems.
One of the tactics that may be employed to save money while maximising organisational resources and extending communication skills and reach is advance planning.
An advantage of cloud communications for aiding staff members in a hybrid workforce is the reduction in time spent travelling to the workplace. Employees can save time travelling with the hybrid model simultaneously offering the chance to be more productive.
Despite the importance of enabling technology, it is the human workforce that will not only execute the organisation’s digital transformation strategy but also ensure its long-term success.
Guaranteeing that personnel are up to the task, however, needs not only technical training but also a radical transformation in thinking and decision-making.
It is important to focus on organisational culture by changing the management programme and making concerted efforts to close the gap between the internal aspect and employees.
Organisations that are unable to develop and achieve new goals that will assist their employees and business to thrive are those that are unwilling to alter existing practices.
“The pandemic can no longer be an excuse or the reason – remote work is here to stay. If we want skilled employees then we need to concentrate on their needs – we must empower our employees,” Geetha concludes.
Lucas believes that every problem has a solution since most organisations fail to connect their strategy to their innovation objectives. “Change is a constant process, and what we say today might leave a legacy tomorrow. Any plan for digital transformation, in our opinion, must be built around digital innovation.”
The road of digital transformation must involve a competitive advantage that can only be sustained by introducing innovations and contemporary methods if it is to stay modern and please clients with cutting-edge goods and services.
For every change, there is a call for managerial backing to be successful and transformative. Zoom is happy to discuss how digital transformation budgets differ from traditional business or IT budgets to meet the demands of any organisation.
Lucas believes that cloud computing is transforming not only how many organisations access and store data, but also how many of these businesses run. It provides greater protection, flexibility, data recovery, minimal to no maintenance and ease of access.
“Although many people used to hesitate the cloud computing, they have now realised how important it has become to organisations,” Lucas has observed.
Mohit believes that changes in computers and how technologies are distributed are altering the ecosystem, especially for those who work in a hybrid environment. He encourages delegates to start establishing a strategy to utilise the cloud’s benefits for their businesses and services. “Organisations should determine the types of cloud services for which you require solutions, then meet with cloud service providers to determine the best long-term match.”
Both public and private organisations benefit from the adaptability, efficiency, scalability, security, improved collaboration and cost savings that cloud computing offers. “The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated cloud adoption, but it is anticipated that cloud computing is here to stay, especially since hybrid work assumes a central role,” Mohit concludes.
The Australian National University (ANU) is hosting a new training centre aimed at upskilling the next generation of researchers in cutting-edge 3D imaging and analysis technology to help repair bones, safely store CO2, deactivate viruses on surfaces and recycle car parts among a range of critical applications.
The ARC Training Centre for Multiscale 3D Imaging, Modelling and Manufacturing, M3D Innovation, is using a “disruptive” digital imaging, analysis, modelling and manufacturing technology developed at ANU for more than 15 years.
The micro-imaging technology provides users with 3D “supervision” into a range of materials at scales ranging from metres to 10 nanometres – a measurement 1,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair.
The technology was originally developed by a team of researchers with M3D Innovation Director, Professor Mark Knackstedt, who has won a Eureka Prize as well as an ENI award – the ‘Nobel prize’ for energy resources research – for his innovation.
He noted that the aim is to gather researchers from ANU and Queensland University of Technology, 15 industry partners and end users to harness the ‘super-power’ of advanced imaging and analysis technologies. He added that a vibrant research training environment is being built and a workforce that is expert in applying the new technology to a range of new industry sectors is being created. Moreover, PhD students and early career researchers in industrial collaboration and commercialisation are being mentored.
Already, incredible strides have been made through a range of exciting projects. This includes using the technology to investigate green steel production via hydrogen-based processes; safely storing CO2 in aquifers to fight climate change, recycling car parts for a circular economy, regenerating bones with biodegradable scaffolds and designing custom bone implants.
Partners at QUT have developed new technology during the COVID-19 pandemic, using etching techniques to roughen surfaces to deactivate bacteria and viruses. This is a technique that could be used to deactivate COVID-19 on metal surfaces in hospitals and clinical settings.
M3D Innovation is funded by the Australian Government under the Australian Research Council Industrial Transformation Training Centres scheme. Professor Knackstedt said they are grateful for the Australian Government’s investment and support for this important field of science and for the translation to industry partners.
ANU and Australia are world leaders in this space. Their work at M3D Innovation will boost the country’s capacity and deliver new graduates and researchers with critical skills and knowledge across novel manufacturing, modelling and imaging.
The global 3D imaging market size was valued at US$25.7 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.2% from 2022 to 2030. 3D imaging is the procedure of rendering a three-dimensional image to create the optical illusion of depth.
During the 3D imaging process, two or more motion cameras are employed to capture a three-dimensional object for these 3D images to be produced. High-resolution images are created by combining 3D image sensors, cameras, and screens. As a result, 3D imaging is widely used in hospitals, the entertainment industry, architecture, construction, and automotive.
While the COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted market growth, ongoing technological developments in the field of 3D imaging and the widespread adoption of and need for 3D imaging systems in different sectors are expected to drive the market in the coming future.
The growing prevalence of chronic diseases worldwide coupled with increased awareness of the benefits of 3D imaging technology are also factors contributing to the growth in demand for 3D imaging solutions.
The public sector across the world is undergoing the most extensive digital transformation ever. The urgency with which citizen services must be updated and improved during the previous two years is a direct result of global events. Moreover, the expectation for instantaneous, significant, and individualised digital experiences has also been increased by the epidemic.
As a result of the pandemic, governments have had to rethink services with more innovation and creativity to meet the increased need for faster time-to-value structures that are more agile and collaborative. On the other hand, many organisations in the public and nonprofit sectors felt pressured to improve their digital services to meet rising expectations.
Singaporean government agencies have done an excellent job of providing citizens with cutting-edge, trustworthy digital services in the fields of healthcare, education, and social support. These agencies provided residents with seamless service by utilising cutting-edge digital tools and services such as telemedicine, intelligent chatbots, mobile apps like TraceTogether and distance learning.
While there is still a way to go in transforming many offline services, there is much potential to innovate and provide residents with more user-friendly services. When looking for government services, citizens do not want to fill out numerous forms and browse multiple websites. People have come to anticipate a level of service that is both consistent and easily accessible via the internet.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that government agencies need to better use innovative digital tools and platforms to foster more strategic and all-encompassing community interaction. While this transition is underway, efforts are being made to make sure that those folks who are not technologically savvy are not left behind.
The OpenGov Breakfast Insight on 23 November 2022 at the M Hotel Singapore provided the most up-to-date information on how government agencies may develop seamless, personalised, citizen-centric digital experiences.
Digital Government Provides Simple, Secure, Citizen-Centric Services
According to Mohit Sagar, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of OpenGov Asia, the ultimate test of digital government success is the importance of simple, seamless and secure citizen-centric services.
Adopting a human-centred strategy for every step of the digitalisation process, making sure that the citizens were served with compassion rather than being overly thorough when digitalising every analogue process cannot be overstated.
“We must strive for human-centeredness in our digital government by incorporating service journey mapping and reimagining services and processes along the way to meet citizens and businesses where they are,” believes Mohit.
By adopting agile technological development, organisations are better able to respond to rapid changes and provide better solutions for the current situation.
To ensure that no citizen is excluded, governments are adopting an omnichannel approach to provide seamless, personalised delivery and/or communication of key government services across multiple agencies via digital, phone and physical channels that integrate high-tech functions.
In meeting the public’s expectations for inclusive, equitable and accessible digital services, government agencies are modernising their technology infrastructures. Access to equal and inclusive online and in-person services is a significant focus as they increase their emphasis on the customer experience.
Having rich analysis, content management and hyper-personalisation tools allow both private and public organisations to make their services accessible to everyone.
The public deserves an intuitive digital experience, so the government organisation must make its services available to everyone using tools for hyper-personalisation, content management and rich analysis.
“The Singpass app is the best example of this in Singapore which the government made to ensure a more inclusive and diverse public service,” Mohit shares. “With such solutions, platforms and apps, Singapore’s public sector enjoys high levels of citizen satisfaction, which bodes well for the future.”
A successful digital government will measure citizen satisfaction through key digital services provided by the government and pinpoint areas that need improvement. The main goal is to promote an innovative culture and use new technologies to improve the lives of the citizens.
It is becoming increasingly important that a government comprehends the user experience and impact of its digital services as more people interact with it through websites and mobile applications.
Governments are placing extra emphasis on digital transformation. Offering a seamless digital experience makes sure that the public sector can continue to serve the citizens and be useful and accessible in the future. “An organisation can easily stagnate without a concerted effort when it comes to digital transformation.”
Shashank Sharma, Head – Digital Experience Business, Adobe South East Asia recognises that the pandemic increased the need to modernise and innovate more quickly than ever before. It also raised the bar for agile open team structures across all industries, including telcos, intending to have faster go-to-market than in the financial and public sectors.
“We’ve been pushed to think creatively and with ingenuity. But the biggest problems we face in the public sector or public service agencies are outdated systems,” says Shashank. “There are legacy systems and databases that are siloed between various government agencies.”
The COVID-19 crisis highlighted the importance of a broad-based strategy for digital transformation. The trade-offs between policy goals may have changed as the health and economic crisis developed.
The fact is that most local governments rely on siloed software systems with data stores that are frequently redundant for decades. The systems never interact with one another or exchange data. Although it might have appeared that this was the best way to maintain the accuracy of the data in each system, in practice it results in duplicate data, errors and workflow issues.
Citizens now have high expectations for government services because they have been enjoying an exceptional digital experience in the private sector where their needs are met immediately – anywhere, anytime on any device.
The term “citizen-centric” refers to a change in the focus of service delivery from the interests of the government to those of the citizens. Although the quality of public services may be comparable across socioeconomic classes, citizens may draw different conclusions about service because of differences in how those services are perceived and expected to perform.
To make digital transformation work for growth and well-being, policies are required. Cross-cutting concerns like gender, skills, digital governance, and data governance must also be considered.
A country can create a coordinated, whole-of-government approach to digital transformation with the aid of a government digital policy that takes into account all citizens’ needs and preferences.
Establishing a governance framework that supports coordination, articulating a strategic vision, evaluating important digital trends and policies and developing and implementing a comprehensive strategy are all necessary steps in the process of reevaluating current digital policies.
To ensure equity and inclusiveness in the projects and services that are delivered, the government is looking to change the policies that affect people’s lives. “As more and more digital services join the public sector, you can be sure that the guidelines will increase.”
John Mackenney, Practice Director – Digital Strategy APAC at Adobe, discussed the company’s creation of a Rapid Response Programme and COVID resources hub. These were designed to assist the government in adapting to the needs of their workforce and the people they serve when the pandemic hits in 2020.
“At Adobe, partnering across industries to improve digital customer experiences is a significant part of who we are. And we have partnered with governments to unleash creativity, accelerate document productivity, and power the digital business with our platforms,” John reveals.
They have accomplished a goal worth celebrating after a year. In all 50 states of the U.S., Adobe is now collaborating with the federal government as well as with specific agencies at the state, county and city levels – from e-signatures to powering customised communications to constituents.
According to John, citizens expect more individualised digital experiences since they demand more open, dependable, accessible and responsive service. Governments, therefore, must empower citizens and concentrate on increasing public satisfaction while lowering service costs.
Governments today have become more citizen-centric, data-driven, proactive, and responsive to help citizens and businesses, especially during difficult times.
“Making data available that can enhance experiences and economic outcomes is one of the government’s initiatives, as is ensuring that citizens receive consistent and understandable information,” John asserts.
Most countries are concentrated at the emerging level when it comes to customer experience. There is no centralised customer portal for any state, but leaders set themselves apart by customising the user experience (top services, searches, portals) and by digitising high-priority applications.
Moreover, countries are predominantly at the emerging maturity level, like customer experience. Overall, they discovered that most government websites are designed with desktops in mind rather than mobile. As most constituents will attempt to access government websites and information via their mobile device, this is at odds with an accessible strategy. Mobile site speeds typically lag desktop site speeds by 44%.
“We have the widest range of scores across all states in our digital social equity dimension,” says John.
In terms of digital equity, more than half of the states are in the early stages and by focusing on user experience (high contrast, readability, large text, text-only pages), as well as by providing a wide range of language options and services, websites can be made much easier to understand.
Three crucial capabilities are needed to deliver personalised experiences. The first is the data and insights about citizen journeys through both assisted and unassisted channels. Connecting data from various government agencies makes insights accessible to all.
The collaboration and content come in second. Creating content more quickly and widely across all channels (online and off) will maximise cooperation between departments and within agencies when reusing materials.
The third is the journeys – where governments customise the experience on the terms of the citizens and use context to make sure each journey is pertinent, unique, and accessible.
Personalisation of government services, according to John, is enabled by email and web personalisation tools. Both tools enable government agencies to better adapt to citizen needs.
Any personalisation strategy must provide genuine value to citizens and should ideally achieve the following: Make it easier for citizens to find relevant information: make useful information available to citizens who may not be aware of it; reduce information entry that is repeated or unnecessary and assist citizens with complicated transactions.
John suggests that governments should personalise the experience of their citizens for three reasons:
- Time savings due to content accessibility will result in increasing service usage due to streamlined application procedures;
- Time savings and compliance through the fusion of information from various government agencies;
- Time savings by delivering the most pertinent content.
Personalising citizen experiences will enhance the interaction with government services, resulting in quicker and more satisfying decisions and outcomes. “Increased use of government goods and services, then citizens satisfaction follows from this,” concludes John.
According to Lucy Poole, General Manager – Digital Strategy, Architecture and Discovery Division, Digital Transformation Agency, Australia, to facilitate improved decision-making, streamlined engagement, increased efficiency, and the rollout of a slew of new digital government services to citizens and businesses, it is essential to recognise data as a critical enabler and to share this data on a whole-government basis.
“Public service organisations must deal with too much complexity and rapid change to effectively respond with what they already have on hand,” Lucy feels.
However, these very same organisations are in a prime position to connect with ecosystem allies who have access to a wealth of resources and skills. This will lead to the operations, services and technologies being expanded into partner organisations.
The Australian government is looking into different ways to build trust, which is crucial as countries recover from the global pandemic and prepare for new challenges. This citizen trust is essential for ensuring the success of a variety of public policies that rely on the public’s behavioural responses.
In this context, the importance of data sharing cannot be underestimated. The pandemic has demonstrated that accelerated data sharing is feasible. The current challenge for government leaders is to institutionalise these data-sharing advancements to support the upcoming innovation wave and the general welfare.
“Governments should start by assuming that the public will find value in data and that it should be shared,” Lucy asserts.
The Australian government has pledged to lead the world’s digital economy and society by 2030 and rank among the top three digital governments by 2025.
With its vision for 2030, the way the government helps its people transition into adulthood, start higher education or training, start a family, retire, take care of a loved one and go through other significant life events is being reexamined and improved.
Additionally, the public will have the option to share information across pertinent services and personalise services. By pre-filling and submitting their forms upon request, pre-evaluating their eligibility and initiating automatic payments, will offer a seamless experience.
Personalised government services will benefit those who need them most while also being more convenient for everyone.
The country aspires to improve its ability to collaborate with its organisations and community to enable better service outcomes. “To streamline our engagement and free up the public to concentrate on achieving the results they are passionate about; we will use technology-enabled platforms,” Lucy opines.
To achieve this, the Australian government is looking to make the appropriate investments in digital and ICT-enabled infrastructure at the appropriate time and approach. The Digital Transformation Agency of Australia will help agencies to harness the true potential of advanced technologies.
The Digital Transformation Agency provides strategic advice and assurance to the Australian Government on its digital and ICT-enabled investments to help drive the transformation of public services.
Some of the benefits and challenges of coordinating investment across government are that government employees and contractors must possess the necessary skills to spearhead the government’s efforts to transform into a digital economy. Using both established and emerging technologies, they must aid in building better services.
“To make training, hiring and career development for the Australian Public Service easier, we will identify and describe the digital skills we need. This includes initiatives to find new talent through cadetships, graduate placements, and internships,” Lucy explains.
These digital skills are being ingrained throughout the government. The investment is a part of the modernisation fund established by the Australian Government in partnership with the Australian Public Service Commission.
“We anticipate that as new skill requirements materialise, this capability will change,” says Lucy. “Cybersecurity and cloud computing management, as well as design and research skills, are emerging needs. To support Australian small and medium-sized businesses in the future, the nation needs to pinpoint areas where they can develop new capabilities.”
The delivery of digital transformation will be led by Australian businesses and their workforce. They will purchase cost-effective technology from around the world and implement it using Australian skills and ingenuity.
“We will manage risks for the government and our business partners through the way we interact with our suppliers, and we are changing our sourcing policies to make the government more business-friendly,” Lucy says. “This method of modern procurement is collaborative and iterative. It enables the government to purchase goods and services with less risk and for a better price.”
Shashank noted that all delegates agreed to prioritise digital experiences and he encouraged them to begin their seamless journey. Data connectivity, he is convinced, enables governments to drive relevant, personalised interactions and is becoming increasingly important in the realm of innovation. “It adds value to citizens.”
Governments should put the interoperability of services to make sure that the data and citizens relate to the digital journey. Essentially, interoperability is the fundamental capability of various computerised goods or systems to connect and exchange data with one another without hindrance in either implementation or access.
Shashank reiterated that equity and accessibility considerations for a digital journey are vital to success as were empowering policies and trust in the government.
“A key component of the developing global economy, which is increasingly dependent on connectivity, data use, and new technologies, is digital trust,” says Shashank. “Technology needs to be secure and used responsibly to be trusted.”
Mohit underscored the importance of a skillset in the digital journey. Relevant expertise will assist businesses and services in generating leads, increasing demand and attracting traffic. “With the appropriate strategy and execution, the right skill set will help people in all roles understand how their contributions can more effectively drive success.”
Moreover, he recognises the importance of cloud technology. The cloud allows organisations to scale and adapt at a rapid pace, accelerating innovation, driving business agility, streamlining operations and lowering costs.
Finally, in this ever-evolving landscape and VUCA environment, partnerships are essential and inevitable. Through the right alliances, every organisation will be able to reap the benefits of digital transformation.
“Because digital partnership enables them to modernise legacy processes, accelerate efficient workflows, bolster security, and increase profitability,” Mohit concludes.
A team of synthetic biologists at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) discovered a new method that could increase the production efficiency of synthetic mRNAs by up to 10 times. This means the effectiveness of mRNA vaccines and drugs – including those used against cancer, Covid-19, or other genetic diseases – will be boosted with an even lower dosage of the mRNAs.
mRNAs can be synthesized to teach our cells how to make a variety of proteins, including antigens, enzymes, and hormones. These are essential in fighting infections and regulating bodily functions. Thus, mRNA is a preferred option for vaccines and treatment for many distinct kinds of diseases.
However, high dosages and repeated injections are often required for mRNA drugs and vaccines to generate enough protein in the body. Thus, enhancing the effectiveness of mRNAs – for example, by increasing their protein production efficiency – is a subject of much research and debate among scientists. This is because our immune system, for example, could work better with a greater number of certain antibodies.
Now, a team led by Prof. Becki KUANG Yi, Assistant Professor at the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at HKUST, discovered a way to enhance both the life span and efficiency of mRNA. By engineering the tail sequences of different mRNAs, the team eventually discovered the optimised sequences that could produce 3 to 10 times as many proteins than unoptimised tail sequences commonly used for synthetic mRNAs on both human cells and mice. The duration of protein production is also doubled.
This innovative technology will not only reduce the amount and the number of injections needed for mRNA drugs and vaccines but will also potentially lower the cost of treatments. It can also be used along with other mRNA enhancement technologies to synergically boost protein production.
Prof Kuang stated that increasing the protein production of synthetic mRNA is beneficial to all mRNA drugs and vaccines. He added that, in collaboration with Sun Yat-Sen University, the HKUST team is now exploring the use of optimized tails for mRNA cancer vaccines on animals. The team is also looking forward to collaborating with pharmaceutical companies to transfer this invention onto mRNA therapeutics and vaccine development pipelines to benefit society.
The team’s findings were recently published online in the journal of Molecular Therapy – Nucleic Acids. mRNA drugs and vaccines have attracted much attention in recent years due to their effectiveness in protecting us against severe conditions of certain communicable diseases such as COVID-19 and their high potential in treating chronic diseases like cancers.
The global mRNA therapeutics market size was valued at US$39.90 billion in 2021 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.7% from 2022 to 2030. RNA-based therapeutics have attracted a lot of attention in recent years owing to their high potential in treating chronic diseases.
In addition, with regard to production, distribution, and safety, RNA vaccines provide several benefits over DNA vaccines. They have also shown promise in human clinical studies, which has increased the demand for mRNA vaccines and therapeutics.
Moreover, the number of mRNA-based vaccine therapeutics in oncology clinical trials has dramatically expanded as a result of the success of Moderna’s and Pfizer- BioNTech’s vaccines against COVID-19. Furthermore, barring the COVID-19 trials in cancer patients, 2021 has seen the second-highest number of mRNA vaccine trials for cancer patients, thus propelling the industry’s growth.
The Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-Madras) has developed information technology tools to monitor and improve the health of rural disadvantaged communities in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. The tools, developed using open-source software, were deployed to gather detailed household-level annual health-related information.
According to a statement by the Institute, the tools are also used to make an objective assessment of the impact of medical treatment and dietary advice on priority health issues. This will enhance an optimal rural healthcare plan based on treatment efficacy and expenses.
The team will develop a mobile application to digitise the process and better analysis. Also, it will spread awareness around the use of mobile applications with the support of local youth volunteers. The Grameen Ayurveda mobile application is an Android-based smart manager of a person’s total health programme. The application provides online doctor appointments, maintains patent data digitally, and it will help to track patient health status and treatment records. It takes care of the follow-up routine of patients, and patients are reminded for routine re-check if required.
The project collects information from the residents of E. Paaguttapalli SC and the adjoining hamlets of Pakaja and Pulicherla mandals. It will help assess the impact of medical treatment and provide dietary advice. The tool is expected to benefit around 100 disadvantaged families, consisting of five or six members. A team of doctors from the S.V. College of Ayurveda visits the villages every two months and helps implement the project.
Earlier, the diet of the residents consisted of millets, plenty of milk products, fish, and other aquatic meat. However, their current diet is dry and poor, devoid of pulses, milk products, and meat, resulting in severe anaemia in women and children. Since the implementation of the project, the symptoms have been alleviated. IIT-Madras has also been organising live interactions on alternate months with special lectures on improving health. A detailed baseline survey and mapping of health status and expenses using IT tools was undertaken.
The project was intended to address priority health issues through medical treatment and dietary advice and its monitoring using IT tools. A post-intervention survey and mapping of health status and health expenses were also done, a representative from the team explained. Apart from the tools, the team plans to initiate a customised drug discovery on par with specific diseases like anaemia and weakness, regularly organise and monitor the patients as part of medical camps and encourage them to adopting healthy habits, and investigate specific disease-based parameters and evaluate them for further medications and treatments.
The government has been pushing to digitally transform the country’s healthcare sector. It launched the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) in 2020 for this purpose. It is a national-level digital health ecosystem that intends to support universal health coverage (UHC), through the provision of big data and infrastructure services, and by leveraging open, interoperable, standards-based digital systems. ABDM will connect the digital health solutions of hospitals and other health facilities across the country with each other. The digital ecosystem will also enable a host of other facilities like teleconsultation and paperless health records.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MietY) is deliberating on various aspects of digital personal data and its protection and has formulated a draft bill titled ‘The Digital Personal Data Protection Bill 2022’. The Ministry has invited feedback from the public on the draft Bill. The submissions will not be disclosed and held in a fiduciary capacity, to enable people submitting feedback to provide the same freely. The government has said no public disclosure of the submissions will be made.
According to a press release, the purpose of the draft Bill is to provide for the processing of digital personal data in a manner that recognises both the right of individuals to protect their personal data and the need to process personal data for lawful purposes and matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. The draft Bill employs plain and simple language to facilitate ease of understanding and is available on the Ministry’s website along with an explanatory note that provides a brief overview of its provisions.
There are presently over 760 million active Internet users and over the next coming years, this is expected to touch 1.2 billion. There is an increasing need to regulate content and data collection on the Internet.
The Digital Personal Data Protection Bill frames out the rights and duties of the citizen (Digital Nagrik) on one hand and the obligations to use collected data lawfully of the Data Fiduciary on the other. The bill is based on seven principles around the Data Economy.
The first principle is that usage of personal data by organisations must be done in a manner that is lawful, fair, and transparent. The second principle of purpose limitation is that the personal data is used for the purposes for which it was collected.
The third principle of data minimisation is that only those items of personal data required for attaining a specific purpose must be collected. The fourth principle of the accuracy of personal data is that a reasonable effort must be made to ensure that the personal data of the individual is accurate and kept up to date. The fifth principle of storage limitation is that personal data is not stored perpetually by default. The storage should be limited to such duration as is necessary for the stated purpose for which personal data was collected.
The sixth principle is that reasonable safeguards are taken to ensure that there is no unauthorised collection or processing of personal data. This is intended to prevent a personal data breach. The seventh principle is that the person who decides the purpose and means of the processing of personal data should be accountable for such processing.
The Bill will establish a comprehensive legal framework governing digital personal data protection in the country. The Bill provides for the processing of digital personal data in a manner that recognises the right of individuals to protect their personal data, societal rights, and the need to process personal data for lawful purposes.
To enhance digital-based governance, the government is getting ready to construct four National Data Centers (PDN). Hence, the implementation of data-driven policies is encouraged using digital government ideas and initiatives.
According to Semuel Abrijani Pangerapan, Director General of Informatics Applications at the Ministry of Communication and Informatics, PDN is a strategic move by the government to advance effectiveness, efficiency, the sovereignty of state data, and the consolidation of national data within the One Data Indonesia framework.
He said during the “Groundbreaking Ceremony for the Development of the National Data Centre (Strengthening of E-Government), in Cikarang, West Java, “The PDN is one of the instructions of the President of the Republic of Indonesia in order to expedite digital transformation within government agencies.
The National Data Centre is expected to result in smart and contemporary governance because the installed technology in the PDN ecosystem comprises cloud computing, big data analytics and artificial intelligence, blockchain, and the metaverse.
Director General Semuel noted that the groundbreaking represented the introduction of the Bekasi Regency PDN development project to the central government, local government, the private sector, and the community.
The establishment of PDN is also one of the primary factors boosting Indonesia’s digital innovation. Especially in the context of effectiveness, efficiency, consolidation of national data, security, and sovereignty of state information, as well as encouraging the implementation of One Data Indonesia.
The Ministry has designed four PDN development locations, including the Deltamas Industrial Estate (Jabodetabek) region, the Nongsa Digital Park (Batam) area, the new National Capital City (IKN) in East Kalimantan, and Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara.
The Ministry indicated that the initial PDN was constructed in Cikarang, West Java, namely in the Deltamas Industrial Estate region, around forty kilometres from Jakarta. The second PDN will be constructed in the Nongsa neighbourhood of Batam City, Province of the Riau Archipelago. A fibre optic network capable of connecting the area and its environs to western Indonesia already exists at this site.
The decision to locate a data centre in Batam is based on the comprehensiveness of the supporting infrastructure, which includes fibre optic infrastructure, electricity supply, water, and direct paths to the global internet backbone. IKN and Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara are slated to house the second PDN development location.
Meanwhile, Usman Kansong, Director General of Information and Public Communication at the Ministry of Communication and Informatics declared that the government intends to use metaverse technology to promote virtual tourism at the Borobudur Temple.
To safeguard the tourist attraction, Director General Usman claims that the discussion on the use of this metaverse technology began concurrently with the implementation of a ban or restriction on general visitors’ access to the Borobudur Temple edifice. According to the Ministry, using this technology allows tourists who visit the Borobudur Temple can still climb this ancient structure without being there with the help of the metaverse.
Led by the Minister of Communication and Informatics Johnny G. Plate, the Ministry is optimistic that the implementation of this cutting-edge technology will be realised. The government would also offer help and training for waste management as well as for distributing local handicrafts in the vicinity of the temple and growing tourist settlements. This tourist system has the potential to offset the pandemic’s significant economic impact on the travel and tourism industry.