The established financial sector is implementing digital strategies to remain competitive and relevant in the face of rapidly evolving customer expectations. However, fintech start-ups and big tech firms have already begun to fill that void by providing customers with better and more engaging experiences via intuitive, simple-to-use services. These new entrants have eaten away the profit margins of conventional financial firms. Traditional establishments must now be more innovative and think more creatively if they want to not only survive but thrive.
New-age technologies have created several platforms and solutions that can ensure the immediate survival and long-term growth of such institutions. Social media, cloud, big data and analytics, machine learning (ML), and artificial intelligence (AI) can all contribute to improving processes and customer experience in the existing setup.
That apart, companies must simultaneously reconsider traditional innovation models and launch new offerings. An innovation mindset allows banks to create the right digital strategy to meet their short-term, as well as long-term goals.
Data is becoming increasingly important in economies and societies, not least in the financial services sector. Technological advancements have vastly enhanced financial service providers’ ability to capture, store, combine and analyse a much broader range of customer data, ranging from the current or previous location to customer habits and preferences.
Data is simply the most recent way for banks to deliver on their core promise: to listen to their customers, create services that benefit them, and personalised experiences. Critical banking technology architectures leverage this to include a frictionless process layer for banks of the future to deliver on the foundational pillars of digital customer experience.
This, in turn, will allow organisations to build, optimise and secure digital interactions from frontend to backend, across the entire technology stack in a multi-cloud future environment.
Special-purpose applications will become more adaptable and self-configuring as programmes and devices become smarter. Machine learning encompasses dozens of approaches and algorithms for improving the performance of advanced technologies. Algorithms will improve greatly as they are used, and they will include mechanisms to optimise them.
Overarching all this is the pandemic. The crisis’ acceleration of digital transformation has been responsible for rapid evolution in data architecture, allowing for the use of appropriate production and channel to provide better customer experiences.
This was the focal point of the OpenGovLive! Breakfast Insight on 3 September 2021 – a closed-door, invitation-only, interactive session with Singapore’s top financial institutions and organisations. The session aimed to provide the latest information on delivering an effective and efficient customer experience.
Finding Partners to leverage Data and Technology
To kickstart the session, Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief, OpenGov Asia delivered the opening address.
Mohit agreed that technology today is being used at a high speed by people. Now the retail, financial and public sectors are also rapidly rolling out new IT, tech software and solutions to survive and thrive in the digital age. Digital transformation is the ‘latest buzz word’ used by everyone across the world in every imaginable area and sector.
While the adoption of various technologies increased significantly during the pandemic, the solutions cannot be referred to as digital transformation. For the most part, organisations relied on band-aid technologies and ad-hoc platforms to stay afloat.
With remote working models in place early in the pandemic, people have grown accustomed to accessing information at any time, on any platform and with any device – courtesy of retail businesses.
The retail industry has embraced personalisation and transformed itself in a variety of ways, including accessibility, options, ease of doing business and security. Customer expectations, based on the retail service delivery model, have had a significant impact on the financial and public sectors.
Mohit emphasised the importance of partnership to leverage data and cloud computing in an organisation. By partnering with the right people, a company can accelerate its digital journey towards digital transformation.
Technology and Data Strategies for the New Normal
Delegates next heard from Dan Brassington, Chief Technical Advisor, APAC, Splunk. Dan agreed with Mohit’s premise, stating that digital transformation is widely used by organisations across all industries and that the future of organisations must be empowered by data running in a multi-cloud world.
He acknowledged that customers in Splunk have not changed; as consumers, they are still moving forward, and this is what organisations are attempting to achieve to ensure that the company is constantly evolving.
Dan agreed that there are fundamental shifts in data-driven decision-making as a COVID-19 forced unprecedented change at unprecedented speed.
The first is forced adoption is where online, mobile and call centre channels play critical roles in leveraging and communicating with customers. There was a clear tipping point when retail migrated to digital and contactless payments in conjunction with how businesses started to consider the data behind their customers’ journeys.
Another significant fundamental shift that occurred as a result of the pandemic was overnight virtualisation. Every business shifted to remote working. Businesses needed to make data accessible and secure and, simultaneously, had to figure out how to enable the people involved in the process to run the organisation.
He observed that as technology evolution take place, businesses must become more resilient and take into consideration the market structure and the reality of national economics.
Speaking on digital channels, he emphasised how they have become the new drivers – the latest ways used to communicate with customers. The caveat is that companies must continue to expand, grow and manage these digital channels. Dan has had to resolve various challenges for their customers – how they plan to continue to evolve within their digital channel, how they will support it with data and what the future of it will be.
The fact of the matter is that all of the innovation and transformation is so that businesses can meet their customers’ expectations and provide smooth experiences in a bid to remain relevant and profitable.
Dan firmly believes that adopting a cloud strategy is essential for organisations to enjoy a better data experience. He claimed that organisations currently only use 60%-70% of their data, they must better leverage data if they are to offer digital services and experiences everywhere they operate. This will then ensure the organisation’s digital transformation.
Dan knows that success is dependent on a cloud strategy. To achieve their goals, organisations must consider visibility, control security posture, the ability to detect an issue before it occurs and observability by understanding the end processes around the application for a better customer experience.
Dealing with an Ecosystem
Simron Sharma, Director of Client Experience, Standard Chartered Bank, revealed that the bank is always looking to their customers or clients, listening to their needs and exploring ways to meet their needs and demands.
Nonetheless, Simron says it is no longer adequate in and of itself as customer demands have increased over time. It is no longer just about listening to them but about listening to an entire ecosystem. Despite all the methods and solutions for connecting with their customers – surveys, ratings, NPS and complaint forms – the question remains, “Is it enough?”
Simron elaborates, “At Standard Chartered Bank, we firmly believe that our relationship managers are probably the bank’s biggest critics because they interact with clients every day and provide us with insights on what the clients demand.”
Simron agrees that the right partners help significantly in providing insights as well as future trends that can guide the bank’s digital journey effectively.
After the informative presentations, representatives from the different organisations participated in interactive discussions facilitated by polling questions. This activity is designed to provide live-audience interaction, promote engagement, hear the real-life experience, and impart professional learning and development for participants.
Delegates were first asked how mature their organisation’s cloud strategy is. Over half (54%) answered that they have defined a cloud strategy and were starting to implement it. About a third (31%) said they are still evaluating cloud and experimenting with different options. 15% confirmed that they have a comprehensive cloud strategy and are well ahead in its practical implementation.
Interestingly, one of the companies said it had actually started its cloud journey a few years ago, had recently developed a cloud strategy and has ever since been working on furthering its cloud adoption.
Commenting on barriers, a representative from a Japanese Bank said that not all banks are ready to store data in the cloud environment as they worry about governance and the risk of exposing client’s data.
A delegate from an insurance company shared that they are in between these adoptions as their cloud system does not have an appropriate database. The cost of migration was also a concern for their company to fully adopt the cloud.
The second question asked what the main drivers for data analytics and data capabilities within their organisation were. Similar to the previous question, over half (54%) said it was to gain better insights and to create a personalised customer experience. Over a third (35%) indicated it was to help generate additional revenue through highly targeted marketing strategies and 11% use it for risk mitigation and improving the employee experience (as organisations think that risk and security play the most important part to secure customers data).
The third question inquired about the challenges their financial institutions’ face with getting data insights. An overwhelming majority (82%) agreed the issue is disparate data sources from multiple data silos. The remaining delegates were evenly split (7% each) between of shortage of staff who understand big data analytics and data storage and quality. The last group (4%) went with no proper software for data analytics.
With many financial institutions looking at digital transformation today, delegates were questioned on the importance of digital transformation to their organisations. Almost three fourths (73%) confirmed that it was very important, and they are undergoing transformation currently. Interestingly, about 15% acknowledged that it is important but said it came with certain constraints.
The fifth poll asked if customer-centric organisations are structured around the experiences of their customers. To answer this, delegates had to indicate which statement (presented to them) they most agree with.
A third (33%) opted for design and offer the right services, products and experiences to the right customers. Another 33% said they ensure that their customer requirements are filtered through to capabilities – as such, processes, capabilities, and systems are systematically aligned to customer needs. A fifth (21%) agreed that they understand who “banks with us “– the market, types of customers and how the needs of customers differ. Just over a tenth (13%) indicated that they are a collaborative organisation, where top-down and bottom-up decisions are aligned.
The final question asked what the main challenge was they faced when implementing a digital strategy. Over a third (35%) felt it was legacy technologies lacking integration capabilities – even though they understood that legacy issues are always going to be here. Under 30% went with inflexible business processes and teams while 22% opted for regulatory constraints. About 13% said it was the lack of properly skilled teams.
The Breakfast Insight concluded with remarks from Dan Brassington, who re-emphasised the role of data technology and the need for businesses to begin adapting to it. He urged organisations to become data-driven, digital organisations and advised them to accelerate their digital transformation.
In closing, he clarified that Splunk was not there to sell their products but to assist organisations in leveraging data and the cloud. He invited the delegates to reach out to his team to explore ways they could work together to assist them on their journey.
Researchers from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) have invented a microsize-gap multiple-shot electroporation (M2E) device that has the potential to increase the efficiency with which cancer treatment is offered at a cheaper cost. The researchers came to the conclusion that the instrument would benefit from having transparent electrodes installed in it so that it could better visualise anti-cancer medications.
According to Desmond Loke, an assistant professor at SUTD and the primary investigator of this research, the scientific community wants to create a simple, low-cost cancer treatment system. “The narrow gap between electrodes allows us to achieve a sufficiently strong electric field using a few volts rather than several tens of volts applied in traditional electroporation.”
Assistant Prof. Loke revealed that the device that was built by SUTD did not require any specialised components, expensive materials, or a tedious fabrication process. He stated that this was one of the most important aspects of the device.
The M2E device, which is connected to the development of cancer treatments, was put through its paces by researchers utilising a variety of substances. Because of this new technology, cancer cells can now display a two-hour window in which they are able to take in chemicals.
The time frame offered by conventional electroporation equipment is approximately 400% shorter than what is supplied. In addition to that, it may be utilised more than once. According to the results of the study, the M2E system has the potential to be beneficial in the treatment of COVID-19 when combined with associated drugs.
Electroporation is a technique that involves the application of a very weak electric pulse to cells in order to momentarily create holes in the membranes of such cells. The goal of this technique is to transfer genetic material across cells. The goal of using this method is to facilitate the movement of chemicals into and out of the cells.
This method has the potential to increase the likelihood of drug delivery for the treatment of cancer patients. The chemotherapy and radiation therapies for cancer can be administered through these holes if they are large enough. It is possible that the effectiveness of cancer treatments, as well as patients’ access to those treatments, could be improved through the integration of electroporation into treatment protocols.
This contrasts with how electroporation was traditionally performed, in which several tens of volts were applied. This low voltage, together with the transparent electrode, serves to minimise energy use and facilitate visibility, avoiding dangerous drug use and restricted imaging of drug transport during drug testing, both frequent concerns with conventional electroporation devices. Low voltage also prevents dangerous drug use.
In addition, the permeability of tumour cells can be improved through the utilisation of electroporation in the treatment paradigm of electrochemotherapy to achieve the desired outcomes. Because of this, the cancer cells can more effectively absorb chemotherapy drugs like bleomycin and cisplatin.
After the researchers have finished working on ways to improve the M2E system, they anticipate that it will be a few years before the device finishes the clinical study and is ready for widespread use. The M2E technology has the potential to pave the way for much-enhanced delivery of cancer medicines and a more uniform distribution of cancer treatments to under-resourced and underserved places all over the world.
Under the Energy Efficiency Fund (E2F), the National Environment Agency of Singapore has increased its grant for Energy Efficient Technologies up to 20% starting last month, the supported maximum was raised from 50% to 70% of qualifying expenditures per project.
This lowers the barrier for industrial enterprises, including SMEs, to adopt energy-efficient solutions that will help them save money on energy and cut their carbon emissions. The E2F grant application and pay-out process were simplified to save time and money for applicants.
The Energy Efficiency Technology Centre (EETC), which provides low-cost energy evaluations for SMEs, will also be developed in collaboration with the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT). These policies will assist manufacturing SMEs in identifying and funding energy efficiency projects, as well as preparing for a low-carbon future.
The E2F was introduced in April 2017 and is administered by the NEA. It helps industrial organisations, including small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), increase their energy efficiency. The E2F supports a variety of energy efficiency and low-carbon activities, including energy assessments and resource-efficient facility design. Currently, the E2F grant scheme co-funds up to 50% of such projects’ qualifying costs.
The E2F has financed 27 energy-efficient technological initiatives as of January 2022. LED lighting, high-efficiency air-conditioning systems, variable-speed air compressors, and boiler systems are among them. These projects have saved an estimated 1,600 tonnes of carbon each year, which is the equivalent of taking 500 cars off the road.
The amount of money given to projects will depend on how much carbon is saved. Higher financial funding is available for projects that deliver greater carbon reduction. From April 1, 2022, E2F applications accepted by NEA will be eligible for this higher support cap. The sector is encouraged to take advantage of the increased funding and invest in energy-efficient solutions as soon as possible.
NEA is also making it easier for businesses to use the E2F to save time and money. The procedure of measuring and verifying energy savings will be simplified, the same with the grant application and payment processes for conventional retrofit projects involving LED lights or small energy-efficient air conditioners.
Companies just getting started on their energy efficiency journeys should take advantage of the EETC’s affordable energy evaluations, which have been available since 2020 as a collaboration between the NEA and the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT).
The energy assessments will assist businesses in obtaining an accurate view of their present energy profile, allowing them to make informed decisions about the energy efficiency improvements they may make.
Aside from energy assessments, the EETC is also working to grow Singapore’s workforce, including training a pipeline of engineering students in industrial energy efficiency and upskilling existing engineers or energy efficiency practitioners.
As Singapore transitions to a low-carbon economy, NEA will collaborate with SIT to build the next phase of the EETC, which will focus on developing human capacities in energy efficiency. The EETC will be improved by the establishment of a training and simulation centre, which will allow learners to study and practice their craft in a controlled and safe environment while simulating real-world settings.
The grant aims to encourage manufacturers, particularly small and medium-sized businesses, to invest in energy-efficient equipment or technology by co-funding up to 70% of eligible costs, such as external labour, equipment, or technology, as well as professional services.
The award is available to any Singapore-registered owners or operators of existing or planned manufacturing facilities with a group annual sales turnover of less than S$500 million. The project’s implementation facility must be located and operational in Singapore.
The project must include the installation and usage of energy-efficient equipment or technology at an industrial facility with a documented track record of energy savings. The project must result in energy savings that can be measured and verified.
The Ministry of Communication and Information of Indonesia will take advantage of its internet connectivity to drive the development of the country’s digital ecosystem with the aim of creating more opportunities to promote the expansion of its digital economy.
Philip Gobang, Special Staff to the Minister of Communication and Information for Political Communication is ensuring that the proposed stages of implementing the Analogue Switch Off (ASO) run according to the government’s plan for 2022. He acknowledged that the migration of analogue broadcasts to a digital one offers many benefits for the community and the country. “The benefits we will get from the migration of analogue TV to digital TV are related to the internet and more integrated economic activities.”
He added by utilising access to internet services, various creative ideas can be generated for the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) businesses that can avail the opportunities and convenience to access a larger market by using the internet.
According to Gobang, the sooner people migrate to digital television, the more available the radio frequency spectrum will be for internet services. The spectrum that was previously reserved for analogue broadcasts can now be utilised to promote the digital economy. The Ministry of Communication and Informatics will continue to provide stimulus to the public so that the benefits of the ASO program can decrease the digital gap among the localities.
The so-called digital dividend, which is derived through the transfer of analogue TV transmissions to digital, is also an economic advantage for society. This boosts the digital economy’s growth all the more.
Since people were accessing and using internet services more frequently during the pandemic, digital economic growth grew every year. The ASO Programme, which is expected to be completed on 02 November 2022, will result in frequency savings that can be used as a digital dividend for cellular telecommunications services.
Digital TV broadcasting also creates a lot of job opportunities, as well as the formation of innovative firms that take advantage of the increasingly open digital arena, while the general people may enjoy digital broadcasts with a bigger network, faster access, and clearer picture.
Analogue TV Blank Spot Areas Will Be Reached by Digital TV Broadcasts
Meanwhile, Nursodik Gunarjo, Director of Media Management, Directorate General of Information and Public Communication (IKP), Ministry of Communication and Information announced that the digital TV broadcasts would reach the areas with “blank spots” or those places that TV transmissions have not filled.
According to Nursodik, the blank spot is caused by analogue TV broadcast technology’s inability to reach locations with varying geographical circumstances, such as the eastern part of Indonesia, particularly Papua, resulting in limited broadcast coverage.
As a result, after the ASO programme is implemented, the government, through its broadcasting institution has assured to establish digital TV broadcast network infrastructure in the leading, outermost, and underdeveloped areas, including the blank spots.
TVRI, the main national public television channel owned by the Republic of Indonesia plans to develop a network over the next two years so that the 226 blank spot regions can receive digital TV broadcasts.
The rise of community creativity in developing good and creative TV material with local expertise is also projected to be triggered by digital TV broadcasts. It will provide innovative content from local communities as digital TV broadcasts develop, and ASO hopes to decrease the challenges of TV broadcasting in Indonesia’s remote districts.
The first step of the transition from analogue to digital television transmission in Indonesia began in April of this year, with the second phase projected to be completed by August and is expected to finish before 2022 ends.
Digital transformation efforts by the Vietnam Social Security (VSS) have helped provide chip-based ID cards for health insurance at more than 4,000 medical facilities across the country. Over the years, VSS has improved its operational efficiency through IT applications to cater to 88 million people with health insurance. According to the Vice Director of VSS’s Information Technology Centre, VSS has been developing a national insurance database, while also sharing population data.
After the national population database was put into operation, VSS connected with the system and has been working with the Ministry of Public Security to link the demographic information. So far, the system has identified about 40 million people, the Vice Director stated. VSS has provided social and health insurance information for more than 21 million people to the national population database. VSS will continue to synchronise its data with the national population database to form a complete connection between insurance and population data.
The work is scheduled for completion by the end of 2022. In February, the Ministry of Health asked the health departments of localities and medical facilities across the country to pilot the use of chip-based ID cards for health check-ups and treatment services covered by health insurance. On 1 March, VSS started to implement the scheme in all of its branches nationwide.
The state aims to build an e-government, hoping to digitally transform its key operations, under the national digital transformation programme approved in 2020. Earlier this month, the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) issued electronic identification (eID) codes for its agencies and units. As reported by OpenGov Asia, the ministry gets the eID Level 1 code and the advisory units (the office, inspectorate, and authorities of the ministry) are issued Level 2 codes. Level 3 is for its departments and their subordinate centres, and Level 4 is for the Institute of Post and Telecommunications Technology and its subordinate units.
MIC has already launched a national data exchange platform (NDXP) to help connect, integrate, and share data among ministries, sectors, and localities nationwide. All 22 ministries, ministry-level agencies, and 63 provinces and cities are now connected with the NDXP. In the first quarter of 2022, more than 134.5 million transactions were made on the NDXP, surging 24-fold from a year earlier, according to MIC.
Furthermore, the National Committee on Digital Transformation has approved a plan to increase the rate of online public services to 80%, the rate of administrative procedures dossiers processed online to 50%, and the rate of digitisation of dossiers and results of administrative procedures to 100%. Also, it will increase the rate of reports made online by state administrative agencies to 50% as well as the rate of state agencies providing full open data by category to 50%. There are 18 tasks assigned to the committee’s members, which include universalising smartphones, electronic identities, and broadband fibre optic cables. The committee will enhance network information safety and security, develop electronic health records, support online teaching, and digitally transform small and medium-sized enterprises.
Seeing how much the digital technologies sector has contributed to New Zealand’s overall economy, Wellington is putting the focus on boosting its digital sector by setting aside funds and strengthening emerging strategic weaknesses.
Mindful of achieving a high-wage yet low-emissions economy, the Aotearoan government has allotted a substantial portion of its budget in 2022 to the tech sector, as confirmed by David Clark, Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications.
In 2020, the digital technologies sector contributed NZ$ 7.4 billion to the economy. Since 2015 it has, on average, grown about 77% faster than the general economy. Budget 2022 provides an additional NZ$ 20 million over four years for two key initiatives in the ITP.
– David Clark, Minister, Ministry of Digital Economy and Communications
Moreover, the government leader mentioned the government’s digital road map, the Digital Technologies Industry Transformation Plan (ITP). He disclosed that they have been working with the digital sector so it can realise its massive potential as a source of high-paying jobs and export income generation.
However, it must be noted that New Zealand has a focus on what part of its digital economy needs a lift. The answer which should be attended to first lies in how much a particular digital sector has contributed to the overall economy. By that measure, it becomes apparent that Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is top of that list.
Clark echoed such focus. He said that SaaS and its growth are paramount. Already, New Zealand’s SaaS companies are making their presence felt in the global market and the country has seen how they’ve thrived despite the virus. Thus, Wellington wants to multiply these SaaS successes. Moreover, they prioritised the global market and want to make good on ‘New Zealand’s Tech and Innovation Story’ to the world.
Such a marketing initiative should bring New Zealand tech to key markets, specifically Europe, Australia and the United States of America. It’s important the country capitalise on digital as a strong digital economy.
One that is becoming apparent day by day is the need for more digital manpower. New Zealand needs the “right people”. To address the current “skills mismatch”, the government leaders are targetting the delivery of short courses to widen the digital skills of workers. To do that, they will be encouraging local workers to participate.
Additionally, Wellington is willing to attract the best to come up with better-trained workers. To have world-class digital talent, the country must attract world-class digital talent to teach. To make that happen, they are calling for a rebalance of the immigration system where local tech industries will be given a break from immediate pressures on hiring offshore talent.
A key example here is the possibility of senior roles in ICT being allowed to fast track towards residency in the country. Some of these roles considered are ICT manager, software developers, cloud and data analysts and ICT security experts.
It’s such a foundational technology that finding an industry where China’s indigenously built Navigation Satellite System satellite is not used is difficult. The system was conceived by Cheng Fangyun in the ‘80s and, today, after the first satellite was launched in 2000, the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) is deeply entrenched with the country’s ever-expanding ambitions forming the backbone of its digital economy.
It has become a powerful force that has been driving socioeconomic transformation all over the country as its application expands both in width and depth, the China Satellite Navigation Office (CSNO) detailed. Its massive adoption can be seen in how the navigation system has become a household word, affecting the daily lives of people.
Today, the BDS is part of China’s biggest and most promising industries. Chief of which is disaster prevention, transport, forestry, agriculture, fishing, and even power transmission and communication. The number of terminals itself speaks volumes – at the end of 2021, over 1 billion devices and terminals have tapped into the BDS, relying on it for positioning, the National Development and Reform Commission or NDRC disclosed.
One area of Chinese everyday life that the service has become most useful is how it sustained the country’s biggest socio-economic industries. In 2021, the BDS has been incorporated in nearly 8 million road vehicles nationwide. Plus, it has guided the country’s extensive railway network with about 8,000 BDS terminals. BDS applications have been also been front and centre of the COVID-19 response, remote monitoring, medical health and a host of other digital services all over the country.
Estimates revealed that in the period 2016 to 2020, cumulatively referred to as the 13th Five-year Plan, the industrial value of the BDS is over 400 billion yuan (US$ 59.9 billion). That success has convinced China to open the BDS-3, a global navigation system in 2020.
Currently, the BDS has become more diverse, allowing the execution of a slew of powerful functions. In its global services, it serves up PNT, short for positioning, navigation and timing. Along with that is the global messaging services, not to mention search and rescue services worldwide. It’s becoming a key service player in the Asia-Pacific region giving out precise point positioning and short messaging communication. In short, it has expanded well beyond China.
The BeiDou is now fast becoming another GPS that’s capable of serving the planet. It has about 35 satellites in orbit, more than the 31 GPS satellites. This means that China has a robust ability for innovation and technology moving forward.
BDS is one of the pillars of China’s economy. Digital transformation has become the key factor in the rise of its economy. As per the plan, the country is bound to increase its digital economy by as much as 10% by 2025. China’s industries have made digital adoption a cornerstone. Recently, many have adopted the industrial internet, also dubbed the Artificial Internet of Things (AIoT).
Singapore’s Maritime and Port Authority has announced that the public could access its GeoSpace-Sea web portal starting August 2022. GeoSpace-Sea, a 12-agency effort launched in 2019, is the country’s national marine spatial data infrastructure, which gathers and combines marine and coastal geospatial data from various sources. It offers unified and comprehensive geospatial data for a variety of applications, including port, marine, and coastal planning and environmental management.
With about 70 per cent of our earth covered in water and over 80 per cent of international trade in goods carried by the sea today, water is an important global resource for humankind. Our waters provide spaces for transport, recreation, and natural resources such as food, energy, and minerals. It is critical that we understand this resource and take collective responsibility to protect it.
– Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Transport
The minister added that marine geospatial data can be beneficial for using water sustainably. The portal can assist the public in better understanding its marine environment and enable them to make data-driven and evidence-based policy decisions regarding the advancement of maritime technologies.
Users will be able to securely upload and download data using the web portal, which will facilitate collaboration between government, industry and academia in areas such as marine scientific research and development (R&D), marine conservation, and climate change adaptation. Following that, a broader set of features such as data visualisation, analytical tools, and reports will be made available.
GeoSpace-Sea has aided national sustainability projects such as climate change monitoring and understanding. The National Sea Level Programme, coordinated by the National Environment Agency’s Centre for Climate Research Singapore, aims to gain a better understanding of how rising sea levels may affect Singapore; and the Coastal-Inland Flood Model that is currently being developed, aims to enable holistic flood risk assessment and aid in the planning of coastal protection measures by simulating the combined effects of extreme sea levels and inland flooding caused by intense rainfall.
Senior Minister Tat acknowledged that having high-quality land-sea navigational and seabed data allows them to more effectively plan and make policy decisions, resulting in better outcomes such as more efficient transportation routes, lower fuel consumption, and safer navigation. It also allows for greater collaborations and new opportunities.
GeoSpace-Sea will also be used in digitalPORT@SGTM, a one-stop platform for port clearance and just-in-time services, to provide up-to-date information on vessel activity, optimise anchorage space use, and achieve faster turn-around times at ports, reducing the carbon footprint generated by vessels due to shorter port stays.
Having accurate maritime geospatial data is also a critical tool for achieving global environmental sustainability. Data on where people reside, what activities they engage in, and the influence on the marine environment, for example, will aid people in implementing more environmentally friendly methods.
High-quality and trustworthy land-sea navigational and seabed data enables more effective transportation routes, improved fuel efficiency and port design, all of which can assist reduce transportation’s carbon impact.
Many of the Sustainable Development Goals, including ‘Life below water,’ ‘Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all,’ ‘Climate action,’ and ‘Sustainable cities and communities,’ to mention a few, rely on such data.
Integrated maritime geospatial data can help the public respond more effectively to challenges like climate change and maritime disasters, allowing people to better preserve the oceans and share them with future generations.