The pandemic has fundamentally shifted the way we organise our lives and continues to drive change even now. In response, organisations have massively adopted digital technologies to enable people to learn, work or receive care regardless of distance.
Given that the digital space dictates the new normal, it is mission-critical to re-think how technology can support an organisation’s workforce strategy, employee experience, talent acquisition and development programmes. At the same time, an organisation must re-imagine how it reaches and better serves partners and serves customers digitally.
For organisational leaders, the emerging hybrid workplace introduces several challenges that require change at both the strategic and tactical levels. The post-pandemic workplace has significant implications not only for workers but IT (Information Technology), which will need to adapt user-supporting processes and play a more significant role in partnering with HR (Human Resource) on the policies and approaches that underpin work processes and changing culture. IT will also need to reprioritise its technology investments as a result.
The implications for HR, Operations and Transformation leaders regarding employee workspaces and hybrid setups are many:
- Levels of engagement, interactivity and participation during web-based employee communication, remote onboarding, online teamwork, and virtual training sessions
- Struggle to make connections, develop trust and build a sense of belonging when working remotely
- Turning the organisation into a hybrid workplace that attracts, develop, and retain talents regardless of work style or location preference.
- Designing safe learning and working spaces that are built for the hybrid world and that creates more engagement
- Collaboration between local and remote employees partnering more closely with decision-makers for policy enablement and enforcement and appropriate monitoring
When confronting these new challenges, organisations need to carefully consider how to comprehensively transform their operations amid the new normal. This was the central discussion during the OpenGovLive! Virtual Insight held on 10 November 2021.
Enhancing corporate culture in a digital age
Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief, OpenGov Asia, set the context for the session with his opening address.
To kickstart the event, Mohit asked the delegates to vote on whether they would want to continue working from home in 2022 for 60% of their time. To that, a substantial majority (60%) of the delegates indicated that they prefer to do so.
The result is consistent with OpenGov Asia’s other polls, where 82% of the workforce prefers to continue to work from home. It is clear that companies must cater to the changing nature of work. The key to attracting and retaining talents lies in building a strong organisational culture.
Rethinking organisational platforms, workspaces, tools as the digital space becomes a new reality is not an option, but an imperative. Work culture has genuinely changed and companies that successfully migrate to a true hybrid culture will have the upper hand, Mohit is convinced.
More so than ever, governments and organisations need to intuitively sense and respond to new technological opportunities to drive digital transformation. Investing in the development of new competencies will increase trust, better engagement, smoothen ease of use and accelerate ways of responding to a request
The hybrid workspace is here to stay, Mohit believes, yet companies continue to get their people “zoom-ed” and “team-ed” out. The platforms and technology organisations use will determine the employee experience. It comes down to details such as having the ability to distinguish a zoom call from a high-level meeting.
To cut out the noise and establish a USP for employee and customer experience, a citizen-centric approach is necessary.
“What is your USP for your employees?” Mohit asks.
It is crucial to build on the employee experience for continuous growth and to ensure that employees do not lose motivation or passion in their role. Building and managing a conducive environment is key. Developing and spreading a healthy corporate culture is possible with the right technology platform.
Harnessing future-proof technology to build company culture
Following Mohit’s presentation, Marc Remond, Vice President of Sales, Meeting & Learning Experience Solutions, Asia Pacific, Barco, spoke on how Barco helps companies harness technology to grow human capital in a hybrid workspace.
The future is hybrid, Marc agrees with Mohit, and a reinvention of the employee experience is necessary. Data shows that by July 2020, 67% of the companies pivoted into a hybrid or virtual model and Barco become the leading solution for Executive Education and Corporate L&D.
While video meeting solutions are aplenty, the crux of the matter is how many are truly interactive and sustainable in the long term? How do organisations manage video conferencing fatigue? How do they keep people engaged, productive and efficient?
These are fundamental challenges that must be strategically addressed if companies are to thrive – not just survive – in the new normal.
Answering these foundational issues requires choosing a platform that can provide a more immersive, interactive and integrated employee experience that will result in increased engagement and collaboration regardless of whether the context is virtual, hybrid or local.
Unlike other platforms, Barco provides a richer experience where the presenter is “centre stage,” and every participant sits in the first row. The platform allows speakers to see people “life-size” on screen, read facial expressions and locate the active speaker.
Apart from that, the flexible interface allows users to select a preferred view “On Demand,” choosing from multiple streams or staying “On Screen” during breakouts. All these details contribute to an engaging experience.
Barco ensures a collaborative experience where groups are visible during breakouts, allowing facilitators to join any breakout room to interact and collaborate. It offers an integrated experience with the on-screen display of results, real-time insights to measure engagement and post-session data download.
Regardless of function and format (virtual, hybrid or local), Barco provides a versatile tool for any type of meeting – onboarding, training, meeting, brainstorming sessions.
Marc is convinced that the key to success in talent attraction and retention in a company is to transform the experience of the digital workspace. Technology is the enabler that can elevate digital platforms to another level. Knowing when and how to utilise it to build healthy cohesive company culture is important.
Creating a human-centred work experience
The next speaker, Temitope Sadiku, Global Head of Digital Employee Experience, The Kraft Heinz Company, elaborated on the considerations when creating a human-centred work experience.
Temitopw opines that the way forward hinges on three basic concepts: creating a borderless space, defining effective collaboration and understanding your corporate uniqueness
Temitope began by getting the delegates to ponder a borderless space, “No longer do we need to be in a physical location to achieve an objective.”
Drawing parallels to the realm of space, she feels that organisations should think of the workplace as a borderless “workspace”.
The digital workspace is “whatever it needs to be,” meaning that it is an open area that can be crafted to the needs of an organisation. Organisations must not conceive the digital workspace with a predefined shape and form but an area that is up for organisations to reimagine, redesign and remake.
At Kraft Heinz, they are constantly thinking about the experience around a video conferencing room – the environment. How can a meeting room be designed to optimise work? How can workers be empowered to be effective irrespective of the space they are in?
Regardless of the solution, the key is about making sure that work is connected. “What is your foundation to connect people irrespective of the space they are in? How can corporate culture be communicated through the channels you employ?”
To design an effective work environment, one must first define collaboration and the means to measure it. Like the tree root system, organisations navigating remote work need to think about “how to enable information to flow.”
Kraft Heinz introduced a collaborative tool and put in place a culture of working at any place, any time, using any device. Knowledge is stored to enrich communication. The measurement for collaboration reflects that value placed on the employee experience of collaborating:
- How much time do we spend in meetings?
- How many attendees are in meetings?
- How many meetings have an agenda?
- How much of the workday is spent in meetings?
- How often do you work with others in your direct and indirect team?
Finally, Temitope emphasised the need for organisations to grapple with their corporate uniqueness in terms of the digital experience of their employees. Organisations need to recognise that one size does not fit all. Organisations must appreciate their own uniqueness, much like a family with its distinctive quirks.
To truly design a seamless experience, it is imperative to gain, quantitative, qualitative and observational (also known as ethnographical) insights into the employee base. One strategy would be to create “a space to respond and listen” or a feedback loop to actively learn what people say.
The future of work will move from function to cluster working teams, increasingly feature fluid working spaces and focus on work-life balance. Instead of thinking of employees in terms of their functions, the focus ought to be on the communities formed – “tribes.”
Currently, the issues that hamper organisations include the complicated experience of digital workspaces and the inability to implement digital transformation quickly.
For Kraft Heinz, the focus is to design spaces for more effective collaboration, establish a seamless experience, enable workspace fluidity, as well as facilitate the generation and retention of knowledge.
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 facilitate discussions that impart professional learning and development for participants.
The first question asked delegates how many hours their employees spend per day using video conferencing and streaming for meetings, learning and on-boarding on average in their organisation. Half of the delegates (50%) indicated that they spend more than 6 hours per day on meetings, while the remaining were spent more than 8 hours (25%), 4 hours (20%) or 2 hours (5%).
When asked about their top challenges with hybrid workplace models, the majority (55%) expressed that developing an engagement that builds up the corporate culture is the biggest challenge. The rest were split between organising meetings, presenting and collaborating most effectively (25%), inspiring and communicating with audiences locally and globally (10%) and setting an attractive virtual environment for employees to convince and impress customers or investors (5%).
A few delegates felt that culture is a big part of the employee experience and that an engagement strategy needs to be thought out to cope with the challenges of hybrid workspaces.
On the topic of who should take the lead (function/department) in workplace transformation, an overwhelming majority of the delegates (68%) indicated that the executive leadership team (C-suite) should take the lead. The remaining votes went to digital transformation (5%) and others (27%).
When asked, some delegates felt that workplace transformation is a function of all departments. Others opined that HR should take the lead in spearheading the tactical response to the changing nature of work.
Inquiring about how a Chief Information Officer should make the hybrid workplace a reality, just over a third (38%) felt that subscribing or developing technology to enhance the engagement strategy is the key. Another quarter (23%) indicated building or fully utilising technology to serve as a user-friendly communication platform was important while about a tenth (8%) opted for assisting employees to keep corporate information safe. The rest of the delegates were almost equally split between advising on virtual streamlined workflows to improve engagement (15%) and other issues (16%).
Some delegates believe that engagement is a vital aspect of the employee experience and an essential part of company culture. It is imperative that to translate company culture into the digital space.
On how to ensure that productivity and efficiency levels remain high in their organisation, a significant portion (29%) indicated re-designing workspaces and remote options for the future of work (29%) was key. A majority of the group was equally divided between providing full access to the right tools or systems for remote work (21%) and encouraging flexible work policies (21%).
On the strategies to use to attract and retain employees, half the delegates went with “others” followed by providing learning and development exposure to equip employees with the skills required (36%). The rest of the votes were evenly split between improving HR policies on virtual working (7%) and ensuring workspaces provide all the tools needed to complete the task efficiently (7%).
On that note, Mohit notes that there is a dearth of talent globally. People are able to work from any place, at any time. The options have expanded tremendously in the job market. This means that HR policies will need to step up in terms of their strategy to attract and retain talents.
The final poll was on delegates’ go-to method to upskill and reskill a distributed workforce. The majority indicated empowering employees to learn on their own time using collaborative tools (33%), conducting more engaging and effective training with proper visualisation (20%) and supporting equal skilling opportunities for all (7%).
In wrapping up the session, Marc acknowledges that the work culture has fundamentally changed. The hybrid workplace is here to stay and there is a need to remain competitive to avoid talent war.
It is an inescapable reality – part of the workforce will be remote. “Should we wait for the C-suite to realise that there’s a problem or should HR bring the problem to the table?” he asked, imploring delegates to consider pre-empting the future of work and getting prepared for what is to come.
Strategising for a digital workspace involves elevating the human-to-human experience in the virtual workspace and capitalising on the right tools to build a unique company culture. Standing at the crossroad of digital transformation, Marc expressed the need for HR to stay ahead of the game, anticipate the change and pre-empt the issues that can inform the C-suite.
He assured the delegates that Barco would be available to help organisations in their plans. He encouraged them to reach out to him and his team to explore ways they could be of assistance on their transformation journey.
The country’s think tank, the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog, has announced that it has prepared a draft policy for the Indian Railways to set up electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure at railway stations across the country. The move is an attempt to promote the use and development of the EV sector. The draft policy, which has been shared with the Ministry of Railways, also proposes the supply of renewable energy to the charging facilities in line with Indian Railways’ aim to become a net-zero carbon emitter by 2030.
According to a news report, the policy is under discussion with the Ministry of Railways. NITI Aayog has suggested that while the railways can plan to put in place EV charging facilities at all stations in a phased manner till 2030, the facility can be immediately provided at 123 redeveloped railway stations. The NITI Aayog CEO, Amitabh Kant, explained that railway stations are landmark locations, and they play a unique role in the entire transport sector, which makes them strategic locations to provide public charging solutions for EVs.
The government’s FAME-II (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and EV) scheme targets boosting the adoption of EVs, particularly in public and shared transportation, in a big way. The aim is to support nearly 7,000 e-buses, 500,000 electric three-wheelers, 55,000 electric four-wheeler passenger cars, and one million electric two-wheelers through subsidies. To achieve this, providing a good and accessible EV charging infrastructure network is critical. Apart from the already-existing government initiatives to scale up EV charging facilities, railway stations can provide a secure and accessible charging infrastructure to city residents.
Earlier this month, researchers from several Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) developed new technology to charge EVs, which costs about half of the current onboard charger technology. It can help considerably reduce the cost of two-and-four-wheeler EVs. As per a report, the lab-scale development of the technology is complete and up-gradation and commercialisation are in progress. One of the country’s leading EV manufacturers has also shown interest in this new technology and is ready to develop a full-fledged commercial product that can be applied to existing electric vehicles, the team claimed without naming the company.
The technology has been developed at IIT (BHU), Varanasi, in collaboration with experts from IIT-Guwahati and IIT-Bhubaneshwar. A representative explained that amidst the rising cost of petroleum products and increasing pollution levels, EVs are the best alternative to conventional IC engines. However, the lack of a high-power off-board charging infrastructure forces automakers to incorporate onboard chargers into the vehicle itself.
In the proposed onboard charger technology, the team is reducing an additional power electronics interface required for the propulsion mode and, therefore, the components involved are reduced. The technology will cut costs of the onboard charger by almost 40-50% in comparison with the existing one. The cost reduction in the chargers will subsequently reduce the cost of the EVs as well. An official noted that the technology will be entirely indigenously developed and will have a significant impact on the EV market.
A team of scientists from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has developed a predictive computer programme that could be used to detect individuals who are at increased risk of depression. In trials using data from groups of depressed and healthy participants, the programme achieved an accuracy of 80% in detecting those individuals with a high risk of depression and those with no risk.
Powered by machine learning, the programme, named the Ycogni model, screens for the risk of depression by analysing an individual’s physical activity, sleep patterns, and circadian rhythms derived from data from wearable devices that measure his or her steps, heart rate, energy expenditure, and sleep data.
Activity trackers are estimated to be worn by nearly a billion people, up from 722 million in 2019. To develop the Ycogni model, the scientists conducted a study involving 290 working adults in Singapore. Participants wore devices for 14 consecutive days and completed two health surveys, which screened for depressive symptoms, at the start and end of the study.
Our study successfully showed that we could harness sensor data from wearables to aid in detecting the risk of developing depression in individuals. By tapping on our machine learning programme, as well as the increasing popularity of wearable devices, it could one day be used for timely and unobtrusive depression screening.
– Professor Josip Car, Director, Centre for Population Health Sciences at NTU’s Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine
This is a study that can set up the basis for using wearable technology to help individuals, researchers mental health practitioners and policymakers to improve mental well-being. But on a more generic and futuristic application, the researchers believe that such signals could be integrated with Smart Buildings or even Smart Cities initiatives: imagine a hospital or a military unit that could use these signals to identify people at risk.
Besides being able to accurately determine if individuals had a higher risk of contracting depression, the researchers successfully associated certain patterns in the participants’ behaviours to depressive symptoms, which include feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, loss of interest in daily activities, and changes in appetite or weight.
From analysing their findings, the scientists found that those who had more varied heart rates between 2 am to 4 am, and between 4 am to 6 am, tended to be prone to more severe depressive symptoms. This observation confirms findings from previous studies, which had stated that changes in heart rate during sleep might be a valid physiological marker of depression.
Over the next year, the team hopes to explore the impact of smartphone usage on depressive symptoms and the risk of developing depression by enriching their model with data on smartphone usage. This includes how long and frequent individuals use their mobile phones, as well as their reliance on social media.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, NTU Singapore has produced more advanced COVID-19 tools, hitting another milestone in the country’s efforts to combat COVID-19. A group of university scientists recently developed a laser-powered device that can trap and move viruses using light. Since it can precisely ‘move’ a single virus to target a specific section of a cell, the device, which can manipulate light to act as ‘tweezers,’ could contribute to the development of new approaches to disease diagnosis and virus studies.
The technology would also benefit vaccine development as it allows scientists to identify damaged or incomplete viruses from a group of thousands of other specimens in under one minute, compared to present techniques that are time-consuming and inaccurate, according to the scientists.
Associate Professor from NTU’s Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, a medical geneticist who co-led the research, said: “The conventional method of analysing viruses today is to study a population of thousands or millions of viruses. We only know their average behaviour as an entire population. With our laser-based technology, single viruses could be studied individually.”
Digital transactions in the Philippines are expected to further increase as regulators and other stakeholders continue to strengthen the system and put additional safeguards to thwart financial transaction-related cyberattacks. The central bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), aims for 70% of adult Filipinos to have bank accounts by 2023 as part of its digital transformation and financial inclusion bid.
During a recent briefing, the BSP Governor, Benjamin Diokno, said that as of the first quarter of 2021, around 53% of adult Filipinos owned electronic money (e-money) accounts, higher than the 29% in 2019. He also said it was encouraging to see the rise in the use of digital payments after the central bank hit its target to have 20% of financial transactions be done digitally by 2020. The BSP continues to introduce innovations on electronic payment systems in the country, particularly for PESONet and InstaPay, the two electronic fund transfer facilities under the central bank’s National Retail Payment System (NRPS).
While the central bank has received more complaints pertaining to online banking transactions compared to those related to automated teller machines (ATMs) and credit cards, since the pandemic started in 2020, Diokno stated that he does not consider the lack of public confidence as a major constraint to the use of online transactions. The biggest challenges in encouraging Filipinos to adopt digital payments are financial exclusion, lack of substantial savings to put in an account, lack of awareness of the need to maintain an account, and inability to meet documentary requirements to open an account. He noted that these issues are aggravated by problems with Internet connectivity, which is among the primary tools needed for digital financial services.
Last week, the BSP, along with the Philippine Payments Management Inc. (PPMI), launched a multi-batch settlements (MBS) facility that will increase the allowed daily transactions through PESONet. The MBS increases to two cycles the PESONet settlements in a banking day instead of the previous one settlement at the end of the day. The feature aims to incentivise customers to use PESONet for greater convenience, faster settlements, and better liquidity management.
According to a report, the volume of PESONet transactions rose by 26% year-on-year by end-2021 to seven million amounting to around PHP502 billion (US$9.7 billion), up by 37%. During the same period, InstaPay transactions rose by 47% to 45 million, amounting to PHP289 billion (US$5.6 billion), higher by 64% compared to the end-2020. PESONet is for bulk and recurring transactions while InstaPay is for low-value payment transactions. The MBS for PESONet is expected to drive up both the volume and value of transactions.
The average monthly value of PESONet transfers in 2021 was around PHP380 billion (US$7.4 billion). Based on the government’s projections, this figure could increase by more than 50% as it implements MBS in the next 24 months. As of 2021-end, there were 94 BSP-supervised institutions that provide PESONet services, and these include thrift banks (TBs) and non-bank electronic money issuers (EMIs).
The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) in collaboration with a fintech group recently announced a strategic partnership to enhance initiatives aimed at scaling up Malaysian fintech companies. Their collaborative efforts will focus on three key areas, namely deal flows, fintech ecosystem support and joint amplification.
MDEC will curate deal flows and funnel potential Malaysian fintech companies to the fintech group. The group, through its regional network, will explore funding facilitation opportunities for Malaysian Technology companies, especially Fintech start-ups, for potential investment and acquisition.
The company is no stranger to the fintech world as they are a venture corporation led by former founders/operators or C-suites of successful technology companies. By building an Integrated Fintech Value Chain through innovation, network and scale across four verticals; Payments, Lending/BNPL, Insurtech and Digital Wealth Management, the company increases interoperability of its current and future businesses.
The CEO of MDEC stated that by working closely with fintech ecosystem partners, MDEC is optimistic that the partnership will create more opportunities for these companies to advance their businesses with access to regional markets and funding.
The ‘synergistic partnership’ with MDEC will provide an opportunity for the tech company to propel start-ups and add value to the robust Malaysian fintech network through efficient capital provision, tech, infrastructure support, and an extensive network of key decision-makers and industry leaders from various sectors and companies.
The Executive Director of the company stated that Malaysia presents a conducive investment environment, backed by an abundance of talents and infrastructure and a thriving start-up ecosystem filled with high-potential ideas, products and services.
In addition, Malaysia recently launched its latest financial sector blueprint for 2022-2026 at MyFintechWeek 2022. Held virtually, the event themed “Advancing Digitalisation for Recovery, Sustainability, and Inclusion” was hosted by Malaysia’s central bank, Bank Negara Malaysia.
The blueprint’s implications are wide as it would affect both financial and non-financial sectors, particularly enterprises and businesses doing business in or with the country. The blueprint identified three broad themes that influence desired outcomes and targets for 2026 — finance for all, finance for transformation, and finance for sustainability.
Importantly, it proposes five strategic thrusts for 2022-2026. They include:
- Funding Malaysia’s economic transformation
- Elevating the financial well-being of households and businesses
- Advancing digitalization of the financial sector
- Positioning the financial system to facilitate the transition to a greener economy
- Advancing value-based finance through Islamic Finance leadership
Malaysia’s Finance Minister stated that the Malaysian government is committed to supporting local businesses through the Program Semarak Niaga Keluarga Malaysia (SemarakNiaga), worth RM40 billion; strengthening public healthcare facilities in managing COVID-19; and continuing the sustainability agenda, including the issuance of ringgit-denominated Sustainability Sukuk later this year.
Under Budget 2022, measures include:
- RM700 million for the nationwide digital connectivity initiative, JENDELA;
- RM1 billion under Bank Negara Malaysia’s SME Automation and Digitalisation Facility
- RM150 million for digital content creation for the creative industry
- RM200 million under the MSME Digitalisation Grant
Additionally, the MyDIGITAL Corporation has also been tasked to implement Malaysia’s Digital Blueprint with an emphasis on public sector digitalization efforts and nurturing digital talent. Further, the minister urged the financial sector to continue the inclusivity agenda while supporting the nation’s aspirations.
The key expected outcomes of the blueprint include:
- advancing digitalization of the financial sector;
- providing meaningful choice and access for consumers;
- increasing the vibrancy of the funding ecosystem to meet Malaysia’s economic needs;
- wider adoption of green finance and sustainability practices.
The Indian Institute of Technology in Madras (IIT-Madras) is collaborating with a private player to research 5G technology. Through the partnership, the two sides will innovate in the 5G space and enable 5G frameworks validation. They will promote research towards the development of a low-cost and low-frequency 5G network setup for better connectivity in far-flung parts of the country. The objective of this partnership is to create a 5G base station and a single-box solution to enable better connectivity in rural areas. The private player, a global technology consulting company, will provide its expertise on the research capabilities and offer relevant infrastructure to support this initiative.
An expert stated that 5G promises to facilitate the next level of innovation to build a smarter society, but it is important to ensure that these benefits reach every part of the country. The partnership aims to leverage the technology to connect people from remote parts of India in a better way. An official from IIT-Madras noted that the Institute’s 5G testbed project is an effort to encourage Indian start-ups and the industry to take an early lead in 5G. The goal of the project is to build a testbed that closely resembles real-world 5G deployment.
A representative from the Department of Electrical Engineering at IIT-Madras said that the 5G technology has immense potential and could prove to be the best option to bridge the digital divide in India. For evolved urban areas, it will help advance and enhance the benefits of digital technologies over a faster connectivity network. The partnership will build and validate use cases leveraging the 5G testbed for application in domains like smart manufacturing, Industry 4.0, smart cities, and media.
Last November, the Minister of Communication announced that the government would indigenously design and manufacture telecom software and equipment to run 6G networks. The technology will also be exported to other countries. Apart from 6G, the government also plans to launch indigenous 5G technology, with the development of core software for the technology to be completed by the third quarter of next year.
As OpenGov Asia reported earlier, the auctions for the 5G spectrum are also likely to happen in the second quarter of 2022. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has reportedly started the consultation process for 5G spectrum auctions, and this is expected to be completed by February or March 2022. TRAI has granted an extension to the telcos for 5G trials, and the deadline has been shifted to 31 March 2022.
Earlier this year, the Cabinet had approved a set of nine structural and procedural reforms to address the short-term liquidity needs as well as long-term issues of telecom companies. As part of these reforms, the government had given the telcos an option to go for a four-year moratorium on payment of deferred spectrum and adjusted gross revenue dues. About 26% of the mobile subscriptions in India by 2026-end are expected to be 5G. 4G subscriptions could grow at a CAGR of 3%, going from 680 million in 2020 to 830 million by 2026. Currently, India ranks second in the average data usage in the world. The average data usage in India was 13 GB per month till the year 2019, which increased to 14.6 GB in the year 2020. By 2026, the average data consumption in India is expected to be 40 GB per month.
The Minister of Communications and Informatics Johnny G. Plate stated that the Government is preparing 4G as the backbone and 5G experience during the motorbike racing. This is part of the support for the telecommunications infrastructure sector to make the Mandalika 2022 motorbike racing sporting a success. In fact, the Ministry of Communication and Informatics has also increased bandwidth and prepared a 5G showcase.
At this time 4G will be the backbone of communication, but we are also preparing for a 5G experience. Some internet service providers are also ready for the 5G experience. In the Mandalika area, we have prepared and we will take good care of it. Also prepared for millimetre wave to showcase demo 5G high spectrum 26 and 28 GHz. Even then, we prepare for them to prepare a 5G experience.
– Johnny G. Plate, Minister of Communications and Informatics
Meanwhile, one telecommunications operator will also show a 5G case with fixed wireless access technology and immersive extended reality in the form of virtual racing. There will be a lot of 5G that will be placed in Mandalika for the experience using virtual reality that can be witnessed later. In essence, the cooperation between the Ministry and cellular operators as well as fibre optic operators is continuously coordinated.
To anticipate the increase in telecommunication users, the Ministry of Communication and Informatics has prepared an additional spectrum so that the Mandalika 2022 motorbike racing will run well. There will be 110 thousand visitors to Mandalika, which means the traffic bandwidth is high. We must prepare sufficient bandwidth so that the internet upload and download speeds are also smooth.
The average use of the lowest internet capacity between 2-3 Mbps speed must be prepared. Currently, the Ministry of Communication and Informatics has measured the availability in the Mandalika area above 10 Mbps. When a lot of people come, it will definitely have an effect. So that during the competition, everyone needs internet service, the Ministry will take care of this service properly so that they prepare 4G and 5G in massive areas.
With Indonesia set to become one of the world’s digital economic powerhouses, 5G will play an instrumental role in the economy going forward. To be among the world’s top five largest economies by 2045, the digital transformation is a crucial element for enterprises in speeding up growth to move away from a resources-driven economy to a knowledge- and digital-based economy. From smart factories to an AI-based new capital city in Kalimantan and digital-based agricultural businesses to the industrial Internet of Things (IoT), Indonesia has the potential to become Southeast Asia’s largest 5G market.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, Indonesia has one of the world’s highest percentages of internet users. Nonetheless, when compared to other Asian countries, it has a low internet penetration rate. In 2021, mobile internet penetration in Indonesia is expected to be 68%. Its reach is expected to increase to 79% by 2025. The penetration rate is the proportion of the total population that has internet access via a mobile broadband connection.
With increasing mobile internet penetration in the country, there has been an increase in demand for lower data prices, greater coverage, and better service quality. As a key strategy to attract more customers, Indonesian internet providers have proposed attractive data pricing plans as well as optimised data-oriented mobile services.
Moreover, on the popularity of mobile internet, fixed broadband subscriptions in Indonesia have been increasing in recent years. As a result, broadband penetration rates among households in the country have increased.
After the transition of terrestrial television broadcasting from analogue to digital, the Ministry of Communications and Informatics anticipates a frequency spectrum allocation for fast internet. According to the Director-General of Information and Public Communication, the 700-MHz frequency band is a gold band for improving broadband internet.
The Digital Government Exchange (DGX) allows senior leaders from digital governments to discuss relevant issues related to digitalisation. Organised and hosted by the Smart Nation and Digital Government Group Singapore, DGX is a one-of-its-kind international platform that has developed a community of like-minded leaders, facilitating information exchange, sharing of experiences, mutual learning, and exploration of potential areas for international collaboration and cooperation.
The platform also features technical Working Groups (WGs) where countries and cities deep dive into specific subject matters pertinent to governments’ drive for digitalisation. Designed with the intent of providing an open conversation yearly, the DGX WGs bring together international experts in their respective fields to conduct in-depth analysis. The 2021 edition saw representatives share experiences and opportunities on the topics of Cloud, Digital identity, Data governance, and Digital maturity.
The cloud WG dwelled on the momentous shift in the delivery of private/public information systems, where a new service delivery model provides benefits including agility and velocity, innovation, digital transformation, scalability, resiliency, cost-savings, data security, and transparency. Policy approaches and technology strategies were shared on risk management with cloud adoption.
The data governance WG focused on key trends in data governance policies, data governance regulations, and data organisational structures in supporting member countries’ broader big data ambitions. The WG also produced valuable insights on data stewardship and how processes, people, and technology are key enablers of data governance.
The digital identity WG produced insights on how countries utilise digital identity and models that might enable mutual recognition and/or interoperability. Given the pandemic, information was shared openly on respective governments’ experiences with leveraging digital ID for appropriate COVID-19 responses.
The digital maturity WG developed a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) framework for understanding different levels of digital maturity and conducted research interviews with member countries to validate the 7 elements of digital maturity in reimagining and redesigning governments’ digital estate. These elements are user-centred design, a culture of digital by design, data-driven approach, appropriate technology and infrastructure, senior leadership buy-in and appropriate governance, appropriate institutional funding and capacity, and digital capability.
Given the COVID-19 pandemic, a special edition of the Digital Government Exchange Safe Travel Working Group was convened in 2021. Digital governments and smart cities discussed safe travel solutions such as the generation of digital health certificates, cross-border verification, and open-sourced technical specifications or frameworks.
Singapore’s National Digital Identity (NDI), is one of the Smart Nation strategic national projects. As a foundational digital infrastructure, the NDI is critical to achieving Singapore’s vision of improving the lives of citizens, creating opportunities for businesses, and transforming the capabilities of government agencies. Singpass offers Singapore residents greater confidence, convenience and accessibility when transacting with the Government and private sector, online and in person.
Moving forward, a wider variety of transactions will be conducted digitally, from verifying identity and health certificates to cross-border data transfers. The National Digital Identity is expected to support a growing range of use cases for digital identity. NDI is exploring new initiatives that build on the principle of adopting open standards which support interoperability with different digital services and international partners.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, Singapore and the United Kingdom will work more closely to facilitate digital trade between the countries by signing three Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) in the areas of Digital Trade Facilitation, Digital Identities and Cybersecurity. The partnership will make digital transactions by businesses easier, safer and cheaper.
Under the Digital Identities Cooperation MoU, Singapore and the UK will work more closely to develop mutual recognition of digital identities between the countries. The MOU is an important step in the route to achieve interoperability of digital identity regimes between different jurisdictions, which can allow for more reliable identity verification and faster processing of applications, among other things.