Transition to renewable energy poses an identity crisis for the oil and gas industry that is currently facing new challenges in efficiency and profitability in the new normal. Entities across the oil and gas value chain spectrum – exploration, production, midstream operators, wholesale, downstream distribution, trading and even retail operations – face entirely new and uncertain realities. These include ever-changing global hydrocarbon market prices, increased pressure from authorities on the environment and a fluctuating investment climate due to global uncertainty driven by dynamic and uncontrollable external forces.
To deliver a high level of profitability that is required to underpin hydrocarbon-based economies, particularly in Indonesia, both oil and gas companies and government bodies are seeking much higher operational efficiency rather than increased output. Transforming operation across the value chain through digital technology investment is increasingly gaining traction.
Companies that are prepared to leverage cutting-edge technologies will have a far more optimistic outlook. Investing in cloud computing infrastructure, sensor networks, IoT, edge computing, streaming messaging, open architectures, open standards and API’s are all on the cards. Open-source along with massive advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) have the power to enhance oil field processes digitally.
These technologies will help companies make data-driven decisions on critical issues with tighter processes and information integration across the entire oil and gas value chain. The opportunity for fully integrated groups from oil and gas companies addressing the whole value chain in this scenario is promising.
AI has been utilised across industries to predict trends, manage stock levels and handle massive amounts of data. The energy industry has only started to harness the power of AI to automate processes, predict trends, improve performance and generally make their operations more efficient and cost-effective. Other non-conventional ways that AI can be deployed are in resources exploration by mapping and identifying petroleum deposits beneath the earth or detecting equipment failure or gas leaks.
The sector has to deal with continuous change, even as they endeavour to increase profitability, operational efficiency and reduce costs. The sector must embrace the inevitable realities of energy market transition, decarbonisation and lower hydrocarbon prices with both lower upstream output and leaner trading margins.
Breakthrough innovations are the need of the hour that can only be had by leveraging advanced technologies. This was the focal point of the OpenGovLive! Virtual Breakfast Insight held on 10 June 2021 which was sponsored by Red Hat and Intel.
The session aimed at imparting knowledge on how tech can make a significant impact on oil and gas businesses and help drive operational efficiency and profitability whilst reducing the cost and implementing digital oilfield 2.0 innovation.
This session served as a great peer-to-peer learning platform to gain insights and practical solutions to integrate cutting-edge tools and technologies for public sector communication and to scale these, as necessary.
How Oil and Gas Industries Benefit From Digital Transformation
To kickstart the session, Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief at OpenGov Asia delivered his opening address.
Mohit acknowledged that the oil and gas industry is one of the leading sectors that generate huge income. However, this industry has been negatively impacted over the last decade due to supply-demand factors and, more recently, the pandemic. While there are some uncontrollable factors, Mohit emphasised, there are others that companies can control, and they can control them effectively to achieve the desired goals.
The current use of technologies to mitigate the pandemic is not actual digital transformation as agencies have been deploying band-aid solutions and ad-hoc platforms to stay afloat. Digital transformation is more intentional, with strategy. It involves processes, technologies and people that facilitate business objectives of revenue, operational efficiency and cost containment.
Nevertheless, the core of transformation is people – the challenge Is how to get organisational culture on the same page with industry.
Digital transformation can bring a plethora of benefits to oil and gas industries such as improving operational efficiency, providing real-time data, increasing revenue, giving real-time analytics and report, increasing safety and decreasing risks.
Mohit encouraged the delegates to rethink how they harness the power of technology. This drive has to come from every unit, not just a few departments.
To effectively utilise technologies, partnerships are paramount to assist agencies in their digital transformation journey. Having competent partners is one of the keys to drive positive, effective, sustainable change.
Utilising Red Hat’s Technologies
Rully Moulany, Country Manager at Red Hat Indonesia was the next speaker who elaborated on the various technologies that Red Hat offers.
Red Hat Indonesia has been operational for seven years but globally it has been operating for over 20 years. The company is the biggest software enterprise in the world that focuses on open source technology.
Several Indonesian companies have been using Red Hat’s technologies particularly the Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system. This system is the foundation on which agencies can scale existing apps and roll out emerging technologies across all types of cloud environments.
It provides a versatile environment and the necessary tools needed to deliver services and workloads faster for any application. It reduces deployment friction and costs while speeding time to value for critical workloads, enabling development and operations teams to innovate together in any environment.
The company also has multiple other technologies and currently focuses on open hybrid cloud, infrastructure automation and cloud-native application development and platform.
The company also has multiple other technologies and currently focuses on open hybrid cloud. The greatest benefit of a hybrid cloud strategy is the ability to choose the optimal solution for each task or workload. It can become a necessity for many organisations as they grow. To fully enable the capability to adapt to change without costly rebuilding, a hybrid cloud should be built on a consistent foundation of open source code. Other technologies that Red Hat focuses on are infrastructure automation and cloud–native application development and platform.
Rully was confident that delegates would gain valuable knowledge from the speakers about open source technology. He was eagerly looking forward to a robust discussion, highly interactive, productive, and beneficial to everyone.
Driving Real Digital Success In Oil and Gas
David Forden, Director – Application Development Solutions at Red Hat Asia, was the next speaker who discussed how to use Red Hat and open source technology to drive digital success in the oil and gas sector.
According to David, oil and gas companies have mistakenly assumed that an engineering-savvy company can easily benefit from digital solutions. However, there is a prerequisite change that must happen to drive digital success.
In the current context, the sector has been dealing with uncontrollable external forces, such as the pandemic, the continued volatility of the oil prices and the impending transition to renewable energy sources apart from a host of regulatory, legal and financial hurdles.
As a result, smaller companies are forced to focus on short-term initiatives to survive while larger companies and fully integrated companies have an unprecedented opportunity to get to the next level on costs, efficiency and adaptability. Digital transformation is crucial to create a sustainable future but at the same time, it has been overhyped.
On the bright, research indicates a digital programme that implements narrow, deep, high-impact initiatives results in 2%-10% improvement and reduces costs by 10%-30%. This research suggests that digital inputs play a key role in generating more profits and increasing efficiency.
David believes that the major stumbling block for digital success is embedded notions and norms. Information technology already has existing culture and processes that are hard to change. The IT division has not been ready to address digital transformation problems. Hence, both cultural and technological changes are required to achieve digital success.
Nonetheless, there are various ways to accelerate cultural change such as team rotations, lighthouse service/team, embedded Minimum Viable Skills (MVS) resources, hackathons, MVS alignment and progression, communication/user groups, integration of culture, people and technology, communities of practice and design pattern.
It is also crucial to differentiate between sustaining innovation from disruptive innovation. Sustaining innovation means improving existing legacy systems to be more efficient whereas disruptive innovation implies a complete change in how to conduct businesses for higher advantages.
Chief Information Officers (CIOs) must separate sustaining innovation and disruptive innovation deliveries and address them both very differently. Be this the treatment of people, skills, processes, organisation structure, technology or centricity. These are the differences in characteristics between sustaining innovation and disruptive innovation:
Sustaining innovation: Cost-sensitive, reliability-centric, monolithic, ticket-centric, outsourced, minimal change, specialised based on function, upgraded in place, manual of functionally automated, technology-centric, incremental improvement in stability and performance, commodity-centric.
Disruptive innovation: Customer-sensitive, niche and/or unproven, distributed, independent, segmented, feedback-centric, collaborative expertise, rapid change, specialised based on service, rebuilt continually, service automation, user-centric, improved features with acceptable stability, new-capability-centric.
Hierarchical traditional practices are unsuitable for disruptive innovation, according to David. The focus must be on innovation, collaboration and guarding a coalition type model. They need to experiment with new and unproven technologies, but the potential of disruptive innovation outweighs the risks.
Open source is a disruptive innovation as it has permanently altered the way that business is conducted. Thousands of other open-source software projects completely dominate the enterprise software landscape. Such software is now the engine that is used to power a dominant share of the worlds digital transformation initiatives across all industries.
Technology in the oil field such as Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) has been around for a long time and is used for many metering and control use cases. The advent of the Internet of Things (IoT), sensors and edge computing is the next generation of SCADA. It holds unique advantages and opportunities for data collection, processing, AI/ML and real-time analysis that equate to efficiencies and profitability. Edge computing is a natural ally for the rollout of IoT as it brings the processing closer to the source for distributed applications architectures leveraging IoT.
In closing, David pointed out that Red Hat not only offers a digital transformation in oil and gas but also has strong thought leadership in technology transition. They have a deep understanding of solution needs and offer extensive professional services to help ensure companies’ digital transformation. David invited delegates to partner with Red Hat and engage in more discussions and open dialogue.
Digital Transformation in Oil and Gas Industry
He explained why digital transformation is necessary for the oil and gas industries, what areas that benefit from this transformation and how companies can successfully undergo digital transformation. Undoubtedly, profitability is the main factor that drives digital transformation in the sector and current statistics reveal the volatility of the industries’ profit.
As a consequence of price dips, the pandemic, climate change initiatives and global energy transition, prices will remain volatile for the foreseeable future. Digital transformation is the primary method to increase cost-efficiency to survive this unstable situation.
According to PwC Indonesia’s survey on digital transformation, the five most popular technologies used in oil and gas companies include Manufacturing Execution System (MES), cloud computing, energy analytics, connectivity or IoT and ML. These technologies are applied to areas such as predictive maintenance, digital process optimization, smart energy, transportation risk management and integrated planning. These areas have the biggest potential to yield huge benefits.
Research showed that the industry leaders expect a 10% revenue increase and an 8.5% cost reduction from digitalisation. Nevertheless, well over a third of respondents said that they are still digital novices and digital followers. Only a fifth are confident that they are digital innovators and digital champions. To achieve the goals, companies need to be digital innovators or digital champions.
Widita went on to explore ways to implement a digital transformation framework. Companies need to determine their business priorities and what areas to focus on for digitalisation. Five typical areas for oil and gas companies to focus on are subsurface evaluation, development or engineering, production operation and maintenance excellence, connected supply chain and smart health, safety, security and environment.
Digitalisation must be driven by businesses not technologies. As such, companies need foundational capabilities that include technology architecture, digital talent, data management and governance, as well as partnerships.
Widita ended his presentation by stressing the importance of agile culture. Digital transformation does not usually happen by building a grand plan and taking actions later on. It has inherent agility in which companies experiment with potential technologies and either repeat or discard the effort. With every iteration comes a learning experience for companies.
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 first question in the opening poll was about the criticality of digital oil field transformation to the company’s near term success in the oil and gas value chain. Three quarters (75%) of the delegates agreed that digital transformation in the oil field is extremely critical while a quarter (25%) felt that it is somewhat critical.
The next question focused on how delegates characterise the current stage of digital oil field transformation in their company. The delegates were equally divided between pilot projects already rolled out (40%) and that their companies have already applied full-scale implementation of more than one project (40%). Just a fifth (20%) said that their companies have been planning the transformation but they have no implementation.
Mohit added that transformation can be bite-sized pieces in a form of a quick fix of a particular problem, it does not always have to be a grand gesture.
Asked if delegates view edge computing as part and parcel of their digital oil field transformation strategy, half (50%) felt it is somewhat critical and almost half (44%) said that the technology is supercritical. Only 6% thought that edge computing is marginally critical.
Inquiring about the percentage of their overall IT investment to digital oil field transformation strategy over the next 3 years, a little over a third (38%) said that the IT division gets less than 50%. A quarter (19%) said their IT team gets 30% of overall investment. More than one-fifth (12%) said the IT division gets less than 20%. Only 6% said their IT investment is over 50%.
The last question was on the role that open-source software plays in their companies. Half (50%) said that open source plays a somewhat critical role while a little over a quarter (26%) felt the technology is marginally critical. Interestingly, more than one-fifth (13%)thought open source plays a key role, the same number (13%) believed that open source is not critical at all
The Virtual Breakfast Insight ended with the closing remarks from David. After hearing the interactive discussion from the delegates, he was looking forward to working with them. He stressed the importance of edge computing and urged everyone to think more deeply about the strategy that needs to be in place. He encouraged people to lobby the group to get a better profile of investment for the IT division in digital transformation.
Before bringing the session to an end, Rully thanked everyone for their active participation. He encouraged the delegates to exchange ideas and gain more information about open source.
AI and other digital technologies could help solve some of the world’s most important social problems, like climate change, biodiversity loss, food insecurity and risks to public health, among others. Harnessing digital capabilities to promote a transformative system could be a game-changer for a sustainable and equitable global future.
Today’s consumers expect more than great products and services, and businesses are well aware of this. Clients want to feel like they are investing in a reputable, responsible brand. Consequently, the most market-dominant businesses are not merely profitable and have good products but those that have multiple alternate bottom lines – social, environmental and sustainable.
More than 90% of business executives agree that sustainability is crucial to their success. As consumer groups continue to publish reports on the increased desire for more environmentally friendly corporate practices, it is simple to see why green marketing strategies are gaining such importance.
The environment and sustainability are vital components in the strategy and operations of enterprises looking to be more conscientious. Organisations have been taking proactive steps to develop a greener future with their consumers, partners, stakeholders and workers. These efforts include environmental initiatives, community outreach efforts and business practices.
Advancing Environmental Sustainability and Resilience
“Everyone is becoming aware of the necessity for action to attain sustainability,” says Vivek. “There is a growing interest in corporate sustainability and how corporations can strive for it to meet the needs of stakeholders for social, economic, and environmental implications.”
Most businesses are considering ways to contribute significantly, which will need robust investment and efforts. “We see businesses quickening their momentum and considering effective climate innovations. A case in point is how electric mobility companies can be affected by the huge reductions in costs for climate technology.”
Vivek believes it is possible to adapt a company’s digital strategy to mitigate and deal with extreme climate change. Companies must include digitalisation and decarbonisation in their strategy, as industry 4.0 technologies will play a crucial role in meeting the emissions reduction goal.
Digital technologies can increase energy efficiency and decrease fuel consumption across multiple industries and sectors. Digitalisation has the potential to revolutionise the way people and technology interact by helping to analyse and calibrate necessary interventions.
By utilising digitalisation, businesses can identify the emissions sources, whether at the product level, manufacturing unit level, or equipment level. They can then determine the necessary interventions to reduce emissions, such as a change in the manufacturing or personnel settings, and then monitor whether the identified interventions are being implemented.
“Here is where I believe digitalisation and decarbonisation must go hand-in-hand, as this will ensure that industries undergo structural changes and reach their objective,” says Vivek.
Businesses need to be more conscious of the need to be prepared for the energy shift, and he has five relevant steps for how businesses should approach this:
- Develop an understanding of how energy shifts will affect your company;
- Think about a bold and ambitious target, such as considering how big of a carbon footprint reduction they intend to achieve with this energy transition;
- Consider various situations and their effects;
- Create a comprehensive plan that will serve as an overall strategy with well-defined and cascading targets;
- Think about implementation, where companies strike a balance between all the goals, e.g., carbon footprint and profitability
Right now, society is more conscious of sustainability and is calling for companies to shift their carbon footprint and be more conscious about emissions. This is causing profound changes in the corporate and government landscape.
Organisations can work toward more sustainable practices with the aid of corporate sustainability’s economic, social and environmental pillars. Businesses must alter their mindset from just profitability at the expense of the environment to a sustainable and profitable paradigm. There must be interdependence and a greater emphasis on operations and eco-innovation.
Adopting sustainable practices benefits the environment, but businesses have also demonstrated that these programmes can boost productivity, lower costs, make shareholders happy, and a host of other advantages.
“Corporate entities must take the initiative in determining pertinent technologies. Companies must implement technologies to decrease their carbon footprint. They are the ones that will bring about change. Governments can decide the legislation, but unless companies change, it will be difficult to achieve net zero,” Vivek firmly believes.
A green economy is the practice of sustainable development supported by public and private investment in creating an infrastructure that promotes social and environmental sustainability. A green economy refers to an economy in which individuals are increasingly aware of their carbon emissions and are taking steps to reduce them.
A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide and methane, that corporations and individuals generate.
There are numerous practical and effective approaches to implementing sustainable technologies at the national level. “I believe that each country will deploy different technologies; the mix of technologies, the adoption rate, and the deployment cost will all be very different. However, each country will need to consider what sustainable technologies are relevant to them, consider implementing them, and consider the reasons for doing so.”
According to Vivek, decarbonisation entails significant economic transformation. When new business opportunities arise in Asia, companies must contemplate how they will be the first to take advantage. To do this, they must seriously consider the technologies and industries they want to innovate in or implement and the various business models they should use to take these opportunities.
There will be an acceleration of the energy transitions if individuals in the nation change their behaviour, the government considers how the empowering regulations should be made, or how businesses decide how they will operate.
Vivek has led several large-scale transformations and new business builds across the region, such as for an energy conglomerate in Indonesia. From this experience, he is convinced that a fundamentally different way of thinking about any business problem is required.
It requires thinking about what the unique value proposition is going to be and thinking about getting new talent to build a business from the ground up. Some of his most memorable moments on this journey include realising the value of having the right talent.
Another thing he learned is that customer preferences change at very different levels. So, thinking about the organisation’s unique value propositions and how customers perceive them becomes very important. For incumbents, choosing different business models can also be essential.
Both private and public organisations are aware that change needs to occur quickly. Resources are becoming harder to come by while demand is rising, necessitating a balance to build a sustainable future. “Green technologies will help the world achieve sustainable levels and make the environment cleaner and safer for everyone.”
Urban Ideas and Solutions Through LKYGBPC
Vivek is on the International Judging Panel (IJP) of the Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition (LKYGBPC), a biennial global university start-up challenge held in Singapore.
As a member of the judging panel charged with driving, developing, and upholding the entrepreneurial spirit of the LKYGBPC participants, Vivek is focused on the innovativeness of the solutions, such as how effectively the technology solves the problem.
He also believes that feasibility and how the different technologies are correctly implemented can significantly change the world. “These two parameters will be quite useful in considering how we are selecting, or how I would select various technologies.”
He acknowledges that innovative entrepreneurship talent can be cultivated wider in the broader community through such competitions. These serve as an illustration of how they are fostering innovation and entrepreneurship across society.
The competition is also one example of instilling a culture where the next generation is thinking about how things can be done differently. Competitors explore creative ideas and have a forum where they can share their thoughts, which can be a great example of nurturing innovation.
The competition, which is run by the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Singapore Management University (SMU), is centred on urban ideas and solutions developed by student founders and early-stage start-ups. It is positioned as a campus innovation movement that seeks to establish a global startup ecosystem with financial backers, including venture capitalists, corporate oligopolies, and governmental organisations.
“I believe many of our leading schools are doing a great job of instilling a culture where children are thinking about how things can be done differently and what are creative ideas,” Vivek opines.
There are numerous instances throughout the world where the technologies or solutions used by youth or larger communities have truly made a meaningful difference. “But it does take some significant effort to raise awareness and establish a forum where people can discuss their concerns, share their ideas, and obtain the resources needed to solve them,” Vivek concludes.
Indonesia has great ambitions for its digital economy and has deployed strategies to achieve its ambitions with a goal to reach USD315 billion by 2030. The 2021-2024 Indonesia Digital Roadmap is set on 4 pillars, namely digital infrastructure, digital government, digital economy and digital society.
As part of its strategy, the government is promoting four important digital skills to accelerate its digital economy. The government believes that the future demand for digital skills will be focused on four areas Artificial Intelligence, Bitcoin, Cloud Computing, and Data Analytics (ABCD). The ABCD skills are projected to help the national economy hit its US$315 billion by 2030 target.
Therefore, the Indonesian government is encouraging young people to start businesses through a variety of free programs such as Beta School, 1,000 Startup Movement, Startup Studio, HUB.ID and IGDX.
“Aside from university disciplines, the ABCD is becoming increasingly important for everyone. I believe that all young people require ABCD,” stated Dedy Permadi, Expert Staff of the Minister of Communication and Informatics, in a discussion forum.
Mastering ABCD technical hard skills apart, Indonesian digital talents are also expected to be proficient in non-technical or soft skills known as the 4C’s, which are Complex Problem Solving, Critical Thinking, Creativity and Communication.
The Director of SDPPI Kominfo, Ismail, expressed his hope that the young generation in Indonesia would capture the golden opportunity for digitalisation. Digitalisation will transform Indonesia from a consumer country to a prominent player in the new normal.
The government recognises the importance of good infrastructure support in boosting the digital economy. As a result, the government is working to ensure an equitable distribution of internet connection networks across Indonesia, particularly in frontier, remote, and underdeveloped (3T) areas.
According to Ismail, the development of ICT infrastructure must meet three criteria: broad coverage, the deployment of a fibre-optic cable network on the backbone, and affordability, which means that the price is reasonable for the community.
Private operators focus on developing infrastructure in high-demand urban areas and, as a result, the digital divide between cities and towns has grown wider. Consequently, the government is beginning to develop 3T telecommunications in rural, underserved areas.
“We cannot rely solely on private-sector investment. To speed up and accelerate digital transformation, the government must invest in infrastructure,” Ismail said emphatically.
The Ministry of Communication and Information Agency and Telecommunications and Information Accessibility (BAKTI) have also worked to improve and expand internet access for public services throughout Indonesia. BAKTI is working with telecommunications companies to build Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) in remote areas of Indonesia.
“We hope to finish building BTS in all remote areas by 2023 and connect them to the 4G network,” Deddy stated.
Indonesia is a vast archipelagic country. So, relying solely on fibre optic cable networks will make it difficult to provide connectivity. As a result, the government is combining the fibre optic cable network constructed with the 150 Gbps SATRIA 1 satellite.
This multifunctional satellite can provide internet access to 150,000 public service locations in Indonesia, including educational institutions, local governments, defence and security administration, and health facilities. This satellite is scheduled to launch in 2023.
The government has begun construction of the first National Data Centre in the Delta Mas Region, GIIC, Cikarang District, Bekasi Regency, West Java Province, in connection with its digital strategy. It will then gradually expand data centres in Nongsa Digital Park in Batam, Riau Archipelago, the new National Capital City (IKN) in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, and Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara.
The creation of this government data centre is intended to promote efficiency, effectiveness, state data sovereignty, and national data consolidation as part of the One Data Indonesia initiative. “This (data centre) is critical because government data management is critical to developing society’s transformation into a digital society,” Deddy said.
The National Single Window System (NSWS) currently accepts applications for 248 government-to-business (G3B) clearances from 26 central ministries and departments, in addition to state-level clearances in 16 states and union territories.
The portal is rapidly gaining traction among the investor community and as of date has over 370,000 unique visitors. Since its launch last year, more than 44,000 approvals have been facilitated on the portal and over 28,000 approvals are currently under process. Over time, the portal will onboard more approvals and licenses, based on user and industry feedback. According to a press release, the government is committed to reforming the system, making it a more conducive environment for business and investment.
In 2021, NSWS was soft-launched to all stakeholders and the public by the Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal. NSWS was created by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), following the government’s decision to create an Investment Clearance Cell (ICC). NSWS is a single platform that allows investors, entrepreneurs, and businesses to identify, apply for, track, and obtain approvals and clearances.
The system aims to reduce duplicities in information submission and compliance burden and promote sector-specific reforms and schemes. It reduces the gestation period of projects and strives to promote the ease of starting and doing business.
The release informed that the Know Your Approvals (KYA) service is live on NSWS with 544 approvals across 32 central ministries and departments and 2,895 approvals across 30 states and union territories. A total of 3,439 approvals are listed. A total of 132,510 investors have used the KYA module to find out the type of approvals they need for their businesses. 26 ministries and departments were onboarded with 248 approvals live. The 16 states and union territories onboarded on the platform are Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Nagaland, Odisha, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
The teams are working to integrate five more states by 15 December, namely Haryana, Andaman Nicobar, Tripura, Jharkhand, and Arunachal Pradesh. To date, a total of 71,000 approvals have been applied on the portal. The system has recorded visitors from 157 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates. The release said that the remaining eight ministries and departments will be onboarded by the end of the year.
A review of the progress and status of NSWS is set to happen on 5 December with ministries, states, union territories, and industry representatives. In this regard, preparatory meetings have been held to discuss the integration status of various regions and departments. These meetings have witnessed active participation from the stakeholders, the release noted. DPIIT and Invest India have been proactively holding regular reviews with the ministries, states, and industry associations in the process of setting up the NSWS to ensure an inclusive approach to evolving the national portal. Over 150 participants from states and ministries have participated in the review meetings.
The Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) affirmed its strategic co-incubation partnership with a Canada-focused venture capital firm to identify promising international start-ups seeking to expand their innovation journey to Hong Kong, into the GBA and beyond.
With a proven track record in life science start-ups, the VC firm will work with HKSTP to build an inbound stream of early and mid-stage ventures. The co-incubation programme aims to bring several strong-performing ventures to Hong Kong with a focus on biotech, but also on other deep-tech areas such as ESG, advanced materials, edutech and AI.
To date, as Hong Kong’s largest technological ecosystem, HKSTP has helped accelerate growth for hundreds of outstanding start-ups, raising over HK$80.2 billion in total funding in the past five years. During the 2021-2022 fiscal year, the total valuation of HKSTP’s acceleration programme start-ups grew over 250% while total investment funds raised have also doubled.
The partnership with the VC firm is the most recent of HKSTP’s series of strategic co-incubation programmes with global market leaders in the industry, investment, R&D and academia, which further elevate Hong Kong’s innovation and technology (I&T) ecosystem strength as a global springboard to success.
Riding on Hong Kong’s thriving biotech market and the city’s status as the world’s second-largest biotech fundraising hub, the co-incubation partnership also recognises HKSTP’s impact and success in building a vibrant biotech ecosystem in Hong Kong.
The Head of Incubation and Acceleration Programmes at HKSTP stated that the co-incubation partnership with an international player like the partnering firm validates Hong Kong’s unique and growing status as a global I&T hub helping international start-ups go beyond borders in their global growth journey.
She noted that with a pipeline of seed stage and series A start-up’s already in place, this proves the strength of the HKSTP innovation ecosystem and confirms that Hong Kong is open again for global business and an ideal launchpad for high-growth tech ventures seeking GBA, regional and global expansion.
The Managing Partner of the VC firm stated that the signing of this co-incubation agreement will allow the two parties to incubate and introduce promising global start-ups to scale their businesses in Asia. The firm will continue to leverage its unique cross-pacific networks and investment niches in transformative life science technologies to enrich Hong Kong’s innovation ecosystem with more ground-breaking technologies from North American start-ups.
The programme features co-incubation activities ranging from business development, consulting and training to mentoring sessions for qualified overseas start-ups. Participating entrepreneurs will also create proofs-of-concept and pilot initiatives.
The start-ups will tap into the investment and international business network reach of the firm while also formally joining the HKSTP innovation ecosystem to access product validation, commercialisation and go-to-market expertise from HKSTP and its wider network of partners.
Specialising in investing globally in science and technology-based start-ups, the VC firm has been active in Hong Kong and Asia with its specific focus on nurturing start-ups that aspire to expand to China and Asia. In 2019 it facilitated eight Canadian start-ups from prestigious start-up programmes to come to Hong Kong to gain deeper insights into strategic landing tactics and expansion into the Asian markets. This latest partnership with HKSTP has forged a new level of commitment to the Hong Kong I&T ecosystem.
Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has recently updated its platform known as Chief Technology Officer-as-a-Service (CTO-as-a-Service). The platform enables SMEs to self-assess their digital readiness and needs at any time and from any location, as well as access market-proven and cost-effective digital solutions and engage digital consultants for in-depth advisory and project management services.
This is for any business entity that wants to know how to start going digital, understand what type of solutions to adopt for its specific business challenge, or choose the solution that best meets its needs.
An enterprise can benefit from CTO-as-a-Service through:
- Conduct a self-evaluation of its digital readiness and pinpoint its gaps and needs in terms of digitalisation;
- Study other Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) that have carried out digitalisation projects successfully;
- Receive digital solution suggestions based on the business’s needs and profile; and
- Evaluate the features and costs of various digital solutions.
There are more than 450 subsidised digital solutions available for selection, including those that address industry-specific or general business needs, as well as those that serve to streamline operations, increase business sales revenue, or ensure business resiliency.
The business can also work with digital consultants from the designated operators through CTO-as-a-Service, for digital advisory to assist:
- Seek a deeper comprehension of its business priorities and needs;
- Create training plans and digital solutions specifically for its businesses;
- Include fundamental data usage, protection, and cybersecurity risks in the digitalisation process.
The business may also ask digital consultants to assist with project managing the rollout of its digitalisation initiatives.
Eligible businesses can use digital advisory and project management services for free for the first time. Should the businesses want to keep using digital consultants, future usage or service enhancement will be based on commercial agreements.
Any company that satisfies the requirements below is qualified to use free project management and digital advisory services for the first time:
- Licensed and active in Singapore;
- A minimum of 30 per cent local shareholding;
- Enterprise’s group employment size is no more than 200 employees, or the group’s annual sales turnover is no more than S$100 million;
- Has never previously used CTO-as-a-Service digital consultants.
Meanwhile, SMEs are the backbone of Singapore’s economy. They employ two-thirds of the country’s workers and contribute almost half of Singapore’s GDP. Since digital technology is changing every part of Singapore’s economy, SMEs need to take advantage of digital technologies to grow and do well.
The SMEs Go Digital programme, which was started by the IMDA in April 2017, is meant to make going digital easy for SMEs. More than 80,000 SMEs have used the programme’s digital solutions.
Enterprises can also use advanced and integrated solutions to improve their capabilities, strengthen business continuity measures, and build longer-term resilience. Solutions that are supported by government agencies solve common problems at the enterprise level on a large scale, help enterprises adopt new technologies, and make it easier for enterprises to do business within or across sectors.
IMDA works with sector-led agencies and industry players to find advanced and integrated digital solutions that can be supported and are relevant to their sectors. Companies that want to use these solutions can check the IMDA website to find out when they can apply for each one.
Costs for hardware, software, infrastructure, connectivity, cybersecurity, integrations, development, improvement, and project management can be covered by funding support. With this, the agency has kept helping businesses, and the list of solutions that are supported will grow, with an emphasis on AI-enabled and cloud-based solutions.
The Indonesian government disclosed four potential uses of Big Data and AI to improve its e-government programmes. These two technologies, they feel, have the potential to support disaster identification and preventive action, prevention of illegal activities and cyber-attacks and increase workforce effectiveness.
The Director General of Informatics Applications, Semuel A. Pangerapan, explained several scenarios for Big Data. According to him, the government can use Big Data to improve critical event management and the quality of the response by identifying problem points through Big Data Analytics. For example, the agencies can be better prepared to prevent and mitigate natural disasters such as drought, epidemics or massive accidents occur.
In addition, Big Data can also enhance the government’s ability to prevent money laundering and fraud through better surveillance to detect such illegal activities.
Furthermore, Big Data significantly reduces the possibility of cyber-attacks. Cyber-attacks can come from external parties, data leaks or internally for a variety of reasons. An analysis of patterns and unusual activities can help in preventing or managing such cyber issues.
Big Data and analytics can contribute to workforce effectiveness by increasing monitoring. In addition, it can be used for policy design, decision-making and gaining insights.
Semuel stressed the importance of data analysis after collecting all data in the right fashion. Data is only valuable if it is collected correctly and then analysed – data will only provide benefits if processed in the right way. “In its implementation, AI helps analyse existing Big Data, providing data understanding or insight to help make decisions,” he explained.
Another advantage of AI is the ability to speed up new implementation services and corrections in real-time. At the evaluation stage, AI can also provide suggestions for adjustments and improvements to subsequent policies.
Currently, the encourages the improvement of the quality of Big Data and AI innovation through the development of e-government. The Indonesian government is also open to third parties to accelerate Big Data and AI use.
E-government has made progress in recent years and received appreciation from the United Nations in 2020. The UN said that Indonesia’s e-government development index rose to rank 88 from previously ranked 107 in 2018. Indonesia’s e-participation index has also increased from rank 92 in 2018 to 57 in 2022.
“The two rankings show an increase in the quality of Indonesia’s e-government and the level of community activity in using e-government services,” said Semuel.
However, the government faced challenges in implementing these two technologies. Overlapping and data replication is one of the main problems. “Regulatory obstacles in the procurement of government Big Data infrastructure also need to be overcome. Then compliance with international standards for the national Big Data ecosystem is also still the government’s homework.”
To optimise AI use, Semuel emphasised the need for a skilled workforce, regulations governing the ethics of using AI, infrastructure, and industrial and public sector adoption of AI innovations.
The government is implementing several solutions to overcome challenges. First, they have provided suitable facilities in the form of National Data Centres (NDCs) in four separate locations. The NDCs will accommodate Government Cloud and contain national data across sectors.
Optimisation of data centre utilisation needs to be supported by staff with qualified expertise. For this reason, the government is holding digital skills training on AI and Big Data through the Digital Talent Scholarship (DTS) and Digital Leadership Academy (DLA) programs.
Apart from facilities and upskilling, Indonesia is looking to develop a business ecosystem that utilises AI and Big Data. Support for this comes from the National Movement of 1000 Digital Startups, Startup Studio Indonesia (SSI) and HUB.ID.
Thailand’s Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA) has recently launched the AI Governance Clinic (AIGC) which will serve as a source of Thai and overseas knowledge and expertise on governance related to artificial intelligence (AI) and its adoption.
ETDA is joining forces with the nation’s National Electronics and Computer Technology Centre (NECTEC), the Ministry of Public Health’s Department of Medical Services, and the Department of Health Service Support. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) between ETDA and the three partners was signed during the nation’s “Building Trust and Partnership in AI Governance” event.
AI is currently having a significant impact on almost every aspect of people’s lives, including work, business, education, finance, health, and electronic transactions, according to ETDA Executive Director Dr Chaichana Mitrpant. “These issues all involve the application of AI.”
A six-year national AI implementation plan for national development between 2022 and 2027 was recently approved by the Cabinet. The adoption of AI with governance along with pertinent laws and regulations is one strategy outlined in the plan for ensuring that users understand social responsibility.
Thailand is getting ready to adopt AI, another cutting-edge technology that is gaining popularity and relevance. ETDA is an organisation that supports a secure and reliable ecosystem for electronic transactions.
To achieve the objectives outlined in the implementation plan, the agency is collaborating with NECTEC. A study on Thailand’s AI standard landscape to develop AI adoption measures and a study on measures to assess AI-based computer programmes to increase the capacity of Thai entrepreneurs in all industries in accordance with international standards are among their important joint projects.
To create a framework for AI governance regarding electronic transactions that are in line with Thailand’s context and international standards, ETDA and its partners – both in Thailand and abroad – established the Clinic.
The Clinic is collaborating with the Academy of Digital Transformation by ETDA to provide resources for capacity development at all levels. Additionally, the AIGC has a substantial library of knowledge sources on pertinent topics, as well as experts from numerous nations who are prepared to provide guidance on AI policies and governance.
An additional Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by ETDA and its partners NECTEC, the Department of Medical Services, and the Department of Health Service Support for the joint development of an AI governance framework that is appropriate for the Thai context for the country’s healthcare industry.
The collaboration aims to advance the sharing of innovation and AI technology knowledge among the participating agencies and to inform pertinent agencies about AI governance. Thailand’s AI strategy was inspired by a desire to boost the nation’s economy and the quality of life for its people as well as a competitive spirit.
Thailand strives to develop the human capacity and skills required for an AI ecosystem despite the difficulties it faces in developing AI capabilities. They created a formal network and consortium as a result. Thailand will train future AI professionals through structured academic programmes in Thai universities, in addition to bridging the gap between existing academic and industrial experts.
ETDA is the primary agency responsible for developing, promoting, and supporting electronic transactions and it is part of the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology. Its primary responsibility is to research, study, and support the operation of the Electronic Transaction Committee and other related agencies, hence, it contributes to the development and promotion of Thailand’s electronic transactions.