The digital economy grew rapidly in 2020, as the pandemic drove businesses to ramp up their online offerings. Similarly, the “new normal is forcing the public sector to speed up digital transformation initiatives to ensure that citizens continue to have mission-critical services uninterruptedly and seamlessly.
Governments and agencies around the world are implementing a slew of digital transformation strategies to enhance citizen satisfaction and experience as well as to cut costs. These initiatives have been accelerated by the pandemic and, in some cases, it has helped clean up systems. While the pandemic has revealed flaws, it has also created opportunities to strategise and strengthen economic, societal and infrastructure resilience, effectiveness, and responsiveness.
The public sector is currently focusing on improving service delivery by deploying digital technologies to broaden its scope and quality. This includes improving e-government portals to become more efficient through monitoring and progress analysis.
The adoption of cloud technologies has seen a significant uptake, as it plays a critical role in enabling the rapid transition to remote working and scaling up services to meet surging demand.
Like other countries, Malaysia is also still facing significant challenges as a result of the crisis. It has impacted Malaysians of all ethnicities and social classes, as well as both the public and private sectors. Entire industries have been disrupted and many day-to-day interactions are now virtual.
The Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint has been developed to set the direction, outline the strategies, initiatives and targets to drive the growth of the digital economy, including bridging the digital divide. By capitalising on existing opportunities, the Blueprint will ensure that the country is ready to embrace digital technology and realise the aspirations of MyDIGITAL.
It has compelled the public sector to optimise IT architecture and processes, as well as hastened the adoption of cloud technologies, managing technological risks and scaling up government services to the uptick in demand.
The government now collects performance data regularly that can provide insights to be used for future planning and decision-making. This will result in a forward-thinking public sector that uses relevant citizen data to move toward more proactive and, possibly, predictive service delivery.
It is evident that a successful Digital Transformation programme will improve transparency, accuracy, and accountability, ensuring Malaysian citizens benefit from an improved democratic process.
This was the focal point of the OpenGovLive! Virtual Breakfast Insight on 23rd September 2021 – a closed-door, invitation-only, interactive session with Malaysia’s top government agencies. The session is focused on imparting the current advancements and measurements in the Public Sector’s digital transformation journey towards efficiency.
Citizen-centric solutions for future-ready government
Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief, OpenGov Asia, kicked off the session with his opening address.
During the pandemic, he acknowledges, the demand for online services skyrocketed. As a result, many businesses offered a plethora of personalised options which has made customers more discerning and demanding. According to Mohit, the rate of this acceleration is driven and underpinned by technological advancements. Certain platforms empower organisations significantly – which is ultimately what organisations and governments seek.
In addition to digital offerings, there has been a paradigm shift in the way people think about and adopt any technology. Moreover, there has been a radical change in the culture after the pandemic. The approach to new platforms, new solutions and new applications are far different from the pre-pandemic era. People, organisations and governments see the need for and are willing to take the risk to adopt new ways of doing things online, digitally and remotely.
The main challenge for governments as they endeavour to meet the changed demands of citizens is juggling many things at once – infrastructure, processes, security and upskilling. With the amazing job that retail and banking have done compounded with the ubiquity of smart devices and the transition to becoming digital-natives, citizens are far more tech-savvy. Every household in every country now uses technology in their daily lives and data plays a critical role in this digital landscape.
Citizen requirements are evolving – they demand more, faster and easier services – and are growing by the day. To manage these expectations and meet the demands, governments need to become more tech-dependent and agile; but there is much opposition to change.
This resistance can be overcome if organisations collaborate intentionally and proactively. Planning a digital strategy involves engaging and collaborating with multiple stakeholders. This requires not only time and technology but expertise.
Mohit believes that finding the right partner is critical to success. Working with experts frees agencies to concentrate on their core mandates and deliverables.
The new normal needs a new way of thinking
Eric Quah, Country Manager, Red Hat Malaysia, in his opening address emphasised how digital transformation, driven by COVID-19, has irreversibly changed people’s lives and daily activities.
He emphasised the importance of being a citizen and the responsibilities that go with being one. People need to have clear and realistic expectations of transformational change from the government. There must be an accurate and reasonable understanding of what a government can and should do in the light of what is essential and required to thrive in the current scenario.
Eric thanked Mohit for hosting the event and expressed the hope that it would provide knowledgeable and informative insights on advancing the digital transformation milestones.
My Digital Government for the Future – The Open-Source Way
Danielle Lee, Transformation Specialist, APAC Transformation Office, Red Hat acknowledged how everything had changed overnight when COVID-19 hit the world in late 2019. In the months that followed, practices, platforms and processes that were put in place – for the most part reactively and ad-hoc – have become the SOP for the “new norm”.
The pandemic, in her opinion, has put tremendous pressure on organisations to shift to digital and this new norm is required to operate with speed, scalability and stability. A few services have emerged as the new digital norm stand out in terms of transformation.
For instance, the Open API system has changed the way institutions think about technology and security. Organisations to interact digitally through the integrated and seamless Customer Experience methods. These have now become essential and are no longer merely ‘good to have’ – they are a top objective and expectation needed to provide a frictionless experience for end-users.
Currently, everything is online or via mobile and there is renewed pressure to transform how Malaysians interacts with the government.
Danielle agreed with Eric’s statement that agencies and organisations can play a role in leveraging data that they already have on citizens to interact, engage and communicate with greater speed and improved experiences using analytics.
From her experience and lessons learnt while creating a digital bank and other digital initiatives, she shared a few Key Differentiating Technology Capabilities that are necessary for digital leaders.
At the top are platform scalability, where modern, cloud-native systems can be scaled to meet growing customer demand, partner integration requirements and data processing needs while maintaining a cost advantage.
There are substantial difficulties when integrating legacy systems, especially where the legacy integration layers were not ready to be scaled and could not use cloud because bare-metal servers were used at the time. Those challenges, however, had taught the agency to be future-ready when implementing a cloud strategy.
In these scenarios, the importance of a scalable cloud-native container platform, such as Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, running on top of hybrid cloud infrastructure is easily seen. The Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform is a dependable hybrid cloud foundation for developing and scaling containerised applications. The platform provides a single pane of glass for managing workloads across servers in an agnostically.
“Having a right common platform right across multiple platforms, Danielle says,” I think that is kind of important foundation for us as an organisation to build our digital service.”
The advanced data analytics engine includes AI and ML capabilities to improve a personalised customer experience and also efficiency gains through processing services automation is the next pillar on the Key Differentiating Technology Capabilities.
Agile integration plays a role in these three capabilities. “The truth is that data integration, as Mohit mentioned earlier, is coming from all over the place,” Danielle said. This is where an open architecture platform that enables hybrid integration across application services both internally and externally can support rapid external growth such as through partnerships.
In closing, Danielle said that although technology is important, culture also needs to be reflected equally.
Enjoy transformation with continuous innovation and collaboration
David Graham, Chief Innovation Officer for the City of Carlsbad, the next speaker, has been working with the government and private sector for the past 20 years.
There is a lot to be said for the question posed by previous speakers, “How do you know when to bring technology and lessons learnt during the pandemic to truly make things better for the people or citizens we serve?”
To deal with that, David first shared a little about the country he works with. There are 18 cities in a county in the San Diego region, and Carlsbad has a population of about 1.4 million people; however, small and large cities alike are focused on how they can use data and technology to improve the lives of their residents.
San Diego is well known for its work on IoT and for its innovative companies that are part of the city’s innovation ecosystem – which has led to the county’s transformation journey. For example, the region has the world’s first all-electric car fleet and the largest deployment of smart streetlights and is consistently addressing climate change from all fronts. Adoption of technology in the county is high and the appetite for more keeps growing.
Carlsbad explored the development of digital tools for citizens and the insights were provided by the citizens or residents themselves – assisting the government to drive change using those insights.
David elaborated on a strategy they call “Connected Carlsbad” that is built on 5 pillars:
- Pursue community-wide digital transformation
- Build capacity for Data-driven Decision making
- Foster a vibrant civic engagement culture
- Enhance accessibility and transparency
- Promote safety and sustainability through connectivity
Ultimately, Carlsbad is still looking for its “moon-shot.” Some of the greatest things that have happened in the world today have occurred as a result of problems and challenges, but they have been done collectively, and that is the type of moon-shot that Carlsbad is looking for.
“One might wonder what there is to learn if we are already there?” David ponders. “Now that innovation has advanced, what do organisations do on their transformation journey?
He answerers that with a quote from Mark Zuckerberg – move fast and break things – and then exhorts the delegates, “Now you do good, and you can also break things.”
One way to assess how an organisation or country is doing is a digital maturity model that has levels of where organisations is that ranges from digital novice to best in class. Several factors contribute to the success of a digital transformation strategy and creativity. Skills, resources, infrastructure; even culture can be either an accelerant or a detriment to innovation.
Organisations, he believes, should put all of their learning in the context of what they are trying to achieve, taking an inclusive approach to development or innovation that is being implemented. It should not only be collaborative but have a greater level of inclusivity, equity, understanding and empathy.
David stresses that the common thread when governments and organisations have been successful is when they have put people first. “All of this collaboration and connection, followed by shared understanding and information, are really some of the best ways for us to be able to drive change in our organisation and communities throughout our country.
David concluded by stating that there is no end to this digital transformation journey and that it is always a continuous effort that must be adopted each day. “It’s best”, he says, “to continue and enjoy this transformation journey.”
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 asked is what external help organisations think is needed most to accelerate their digital transformation journey. An overwhelming majority (80%) of the participants answered mindset change and new ways of working. The remaining fifth were equally divided between building the framework and a standard platform (10%) and agile integration (10%).
The next poll was on their biggest challenge in digitalisation. More than half (53%) went with common framework and platform. About a quarter (26%) said people and skillsets were a challenge while 11% opted for scalability. The remaining delegates were evenly split between answered long release cycles (5%) and stated change could result in incidences and outages (5%).
When asked what their success factors for digitalisation were, 38% indicated customer experience and another 38% opted for speed to deliver. Stability was chosen by 12%, 6% said scalability and the balance 6% has others.
Delegates were questioned about their organisation’s cloud strategy. More than (56%) answered hybrid cloud, 28% said private cloud, 11% went with all on-premises and 5% chose multi-cloud.
When queried on what the top challenges in leveraging data are between the organisations, half said they were unable to do so because of security constraints. Just under a third (31%) considered data integration the biggest challenge while 19% had other issues.
In sharing what the key value and driver of a government cloud is, 59% agreed it was security while 29% opted for standardisation and governance. The remainder were balanced between the total cost of ownership/price (6%) and integration (6%).
On what their plans were to develop new applications and to modernise their legacy applications, 44% said they would outsource, 33% would opt for SaaS, 17% would re-write while 6% confirmed they would retire.
The final question asked how they would characterise the current stage of digital transformation in their organisation. 42% said they were planning but no work implementation or execution had been done yet. A third (32%) indicated that an MVP / pilot project had been rolled out and a quarter (26%) said a full-scale implementation of more than one programme or project had been undertaken.
As more organisations and agencies accelerate their digital transformation efforts, challenges and difficulties are unavoidable. Continuing resource constraints necessitates increased legislative priority, budget constraints and the preservation of an existing system. To address these and other issues, it is clear that the future of government will be digital.
Citizens’ expectations are important in all of this, and governments all over the world are working hard to meet them. Innovative technology must be used to empower and improve government agencies’ business practices while also lowering costs and making the citizen experience as smooth and efficient as possible.
In closing, Eric Quah, Country Manager of Red Hat Malaysia and Jovern Lim, Enterprise AE of Intel Corporation thanked the delegates for attending the event session. Eric praised the participants for providing useful information, “It is all about sharing one another’s thoughts to learn from the challenges and improve.”
He agreed that digital transformation was here to stay and that changes will inevitably occur. It is a radical shift that organisations should make a habit of. Red Hat is not only known for its open-source operating systems, but the company is always ready to help customers modernise their existing systems and build new infrastructure while adhering to budgets, following regulations and ensuring citizens have the best possible experience.
Jovern Lim, an Intel executive, was impressed by the delegates’ enthusiasm. The discussion was enlightening and would go a long way to informing their own strategies and thought processes when dealing with organisations down the road.
He noted that compute power is necessary for areas like multi-function IoT devices as mentioned by David. Today’s businesses are increasingly reliant on computing power and the development of better technology-enabled devices. Every connection and computer requirement is mission-critical with the integration of intelligence into every device we encounter.
David Graham noted that ultimately, it all comes down to putting people first. He was delighted to have conveners such as the OpenGov Asia team, Red Hat and Intel, as it demonstrates that there will always be people who are passionate about transforming the world.
Mohit concluded the session by thanking thanked everyone and expressing his hope that this session was beneficial. He advised organisations to continue pushing for digital acceleration and to not stop transforming.
The issuance of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) on broadening the provision of internet service through satellite services is seen by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) as further promoting financial inclusion and digital finance in the country. The IRR, issued in September by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) under Department Circular No. 002, Series of 2021, aims to promote the development of an inclusive and vibrant satellite industry by liberalising access to satellite systems.
Increased access to satellite services is expected to hasten the rollout of internet connectivity for the country’s unserved, underserved, geographically isolated, and disadvantaged areas. With the issuance of the IRR, banks, fintech companies, and other financial sector entities will be guided even further in their exploration of ways to use satellite technology for their operations, particularly in expanding presence in underserved communities.
With enhanced countryside connectivity, we see previously unserved and underserved areas being reached by digital financial services, especially those designed for the lower-income segments, like remittances, bills payments and the opening of transaction accounts.
– Governor, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas
As financial transactions and services shift to online platforms, internet connectivity is recognised as a critical enabler of financial and economic inclusion. Banks and other financial service providers (FSPs) will be able to better serve rural areas with more access points, such as automated teller machines and cash agent services that rely on internet connectivity, as internet service is expanded.
Meanwhile, with the introduction of the Philippine Identification System and its electronic know-your-customer service, increased internet access will enable more unbanked rural clients and low-income communities to use digital financial services and benefit from digital innovations.
Republic Act 11055, or the Philippine Identification System Act, was signed into law by the Philippines President in August 2018. Its purpose is to create a single national ID for all Filipinos and resident aliens. The national ID must be a valid proof of identity that can be used to simplify public and private transactions, school enrolment, and bank account opening.
It will also increase efficiency, particularly when dealing with government services, as people will only need to present one ID during transactions. “These developments will contribute towards the BSP’s financial inclusion targets, namely that first, 70% of the adult population should own a transaction account, and second, that half of all retail payments should be in digital form by 2023,” the BSP Governor said.
Ultimately, The BSP encourages financial service providers to seek opportunities for innovation and market expansion from this policy reform to accelerate financial inclusion in the country.
In addition, the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved a US$400 million loan to support reforms that will assist the Philippine government in accomplishing a resilient financial sector and ensuring a more inclusive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
First Financial Sector Reform Development Policy in the Philippines, the financing loan is the first of two programmes that support three reform areas: strengthening financial sector stability, integrity, and resilience; expanding financial inclusion for individuals and businesses; and promoting disaster risk finance, which protects national budgets and businesses, as well as families’ lives and livelihoods, from the effects of disasters.
OpenGov Asia reported that the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) will move forward with Phase 1 of the National Broadband Programme (NBP), which will boost the development of supplemental infrastructure or a “resiliency route”. According to the DICT secretary, the establishment of a resiliency route serves as insurance or a safety net against any unforeseen problems or events that could reason a delay in the project’s completion.
The Philippine government established the National Broadband Plan to accelerate the deployment of fibre optic cables and wireless technologies throughout the country, particularly in remote areas, and to improve overall internet speed and affordability (NBP).
The post-pandemic world is entering a period characterised by restructuring and consolidation. Taiwan’s Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), with the backing of Academia Sinica, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health and Welfare are focused on six key strategic industries: IT and digitisation, cybersecurity, precision healthcare, renewable and sustainable energies, national defence and strategy, as well as civilian affairs and military preparedness.
With the rising popularity of the 5G infrastructure, asset security will be the next global battlefield. The synergy between Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), cloud and many other emerging technologies related to 5G is yielding a plethora of innovative cross-domain applications. With the popularity of 5G, asset security has become a critical issue that cannot be ignored.
Healthcare and technologies join hands to pave the way for the rise of precision healthcare. As the ageing society is creating a growing demand for medical services and management of chronic diseases, precision healthcare has become an irreversible trend worldwide. A number of leading medical institutions are utilising advanced technologies to enhance their smart healthcare and smart hospital services.
Taipei Veterans General Hospital President said that he intends to make smart healthcare the centrepiece of the next stage of development at the hospital, with the goal of reaching a peak utilisation of cutting-edge technologies that combine precision healthcare and big data.
Science and technology help improve military power by speeding up the transformation of the defence industry. When it comes to defence and strategy, Taiwan has accumulated substantial experience as a result of having developed the FORMOSAT-5 satellite and the FORMOSAT-7 satellite constellation, in combination with its existing complete supply chains and manufacturing capabilities in the semiconductor, information communication electronics and precision machinery sectors
These technologies assure Taiwan an ongoing capability to develop and manufacture satellites, as well as serving as an important R&D and manufacturing base for global satellite components, ground communications, ground terminals and other equipment.
Taiwan has long held an edge in display technology, and the sector is an economic powerhouse. To take full advantage of the nearly limitless opportunity presented by internet-connected devices and application services, and position display technologies and related applications as the engine for Taiwan’s next wave of economic growth, the government has released an action plan for display technologies and applications covering the years 2020 to 2024.
This strategy will move the sector beyond mere displays toward the 2030 vision of a smart-tech lifestyle incorporating emerging display technologies and applications, thereby keeping Taiwan’s advanced tech industry at the global forefront.
Three are three essential Taiwan tech strategies:
- Encourage demonstration applications and field testing: Drive domestic demand by building demonstration sites for exemplary solutions incorporating domestic products. Build Taiwan into the world’s top supplier of display technology products and solutions by 2030.
- Develop new capabilities for smart technology: Develop emerging technologies like intelligent sensors, online-offline convergence, and cybersecurity, as well as advance new technology through multidisciplinary cooperation. Elevate Taiwan’s international competitiveness and position on the value chain by producing a range of specialised and differentiated products by 2030.
- Build an environment for industrial development: Construct communications mechanisms and experimentation platforms for smart retail, smart transport, smart health care and smart entertainment. Nurture new talent capable of synthesising multidisciplinary research to create future-oriented display technologies and innovative applications, and promote cooperation with international counterparts.
Taiwan researchers have been inventing novel advanced technologies, including a bendable water-enabled portable power bank — a device that generates power from a few drops of water. As reported by OpenGov Asia, a team from the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology said that the gadget utilises membrane technology to generate electricity from water.
For the first time since 2005, New Zealand’s government intends to create a new digital strategy. The strategy aims to define the goals, priorities, and activities for the next 2 to 5 years, as well as the long-term outcomes through 2031 and beyond those years. According to the government, its vision is to enable all of Aotearoa New Zealand to flourish and prosper in a digital world.
To ensure that it will not be lacking in key the components of this implementation, the government has issued a discussion document and demands immediate feedback. The document, according to Infrastructure New Zealand’s Chief Executive, is a start. “The discussion document has a heavy focus on connectivity and how we use it, and inclusion. That’s good, but a national digital strategy needs to recognise that digital technology is a means to an end, not an end in itself – it needs to drive economic growth and development and leverage every opportunity.”
In infrastructure solutions, digital technology is already playing a significant role. The strategy must outline how New Zealand can capitalise on digital technology opportunities, such as how digital infrastructure can help address New Zealand’s infrastructure deficit while also contributing to environmental outcomes. It is also noted that a submission will be made to ensure that it covers all bases and is fit for purpose in the future. “We’ll be keen to see an implementation plan and monitoring framework to ensure the strategy is meaningful and outcomes-based, as opposed to yet another plan that isn’t realistic.” She then added.
More than ever, how New Zealand navigates the digital world is essential to the country’s long-term success. There are significant consequences if the government gets this wrong, given the rise of working from home and the contribution digital technologies can make to mitigating the impact of climate change. As per a report released this year, New Zealand’s digital competitiveness has dropped by 70 points. The pandemic, according to NZTech Chief Executive, has stressed the importance of digital technologies.
OpenGov Asia reported that in response to the crisis, digital transformation and technology alliances are two of several areas in which a multinational professional services network of firms based in New Zealand intends to create more than 500 new jobs over the next five years. The proposed job creation drive is part of the company’s global strategy aimed at “responding to fundamental changes in the world,” such as technological disruption, climate change, fractured geopolitics, and the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The programme, dubbed ‘The New Equation,’ was announced by the firm and was described at the time as “a revolutionary approach in how we see new opportunities to serve clients as they work to build trust and deliver sustainable business outcomes.”
Another report had also stated that digital transformation could boost the New Zealand economy by up to $46.6 billion per year by 2030. The report identified three main pillars of action for New Zealand to fully leverage the opportunities brought about by digital transformation: supporting technology adoption in key industries, upskilling the current workforce and future talent and promoting digital export opportunities.
The report also discussed eight transformative technologies and the economic benefits they bring to New Zealand, such as artificial intelligence (AI), which can be used to drive data-based public health interventions; mobile internet to help digitise retail distribution channels; and the Internet of Things (IoT) for supply chain tracking.
In addition, as per New Zealand’s last transformation strategy, accelerating the New Zealand Government’s digital transformation will enable people to access personalised services when and where they need them, participate in decisions about issues that are important to them, and have trust in an open, transparent, and inclusive government.
Wisconsin’s Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) is partnering with tech companies to enhance Wisconsin’s occupational licensure review and adjudication. The Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform will automate certain data entry tasks that are currently conducted manually. This will improve the customer experience and will expedite entry to the credentialed workforce in Wisconsin.
DSPS currently issues licenses for more than 240 occupational fields. The department issues credentials to most health care providers, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, physical therapists, and more. It licenses about 1.1 million people every two years.
Our credentialing process is almost 100% manual. That is because applicants fill out a paper form and mail it in, leaving department employees to decipher the handwriting and enter the data into the agency’s database. Automating that process is going to be a great step in terms of licensing applicants much more quickly and helping our process be much more accurate.”
– Dawn Crim, Secretary, Department of Safety and Professional Services
Currently, several teams handle data entry, but with the new solution by using their expertise in reviewing applications and processing and interacting with the customer. The tech companies are working to enable AI to automate data extraction from emails and attachments and send the information to DSPS’ database. It will also link necessary attachments such as degrees or certifications to the applications, with administrators being alerted to review any mismatches.
In addition to easing data entry, the technologies could help with customer service. For instance, virtual assistants could help in many permutations of the process. Because the process for each license is governed by statutory authorities and regulations, there tends to be a specific workflow for each industry. Virtual assistants could help point callers to the resources they need.
Although the different industries have different requirements, there are questions common to all licensing types. They use a natural language understanding platform that lets agencies design and integrate a conversational user interface into applications. The AI can comb through processes and statistics, such as how many calls virtual assistants deflect from staff. With those statistics, DSPS can make data-informed decisions about regulations, processes and procedures.
This modernisation effort is part of the second of a three-phase effort the state is pursuing. The first phase focused on the state’s construction industry, including replacing the regulated objects system, a 20-year old software application used for commercial building inspection permits, plan reviews and credentialing.
The third phase will address the complaint process. DSPS has more than 100 councils, committees and boards that govern the industry, so DSPS wants to use technology to study where complaints are coming from and whether they can be attributed to regulations or licensed professionals themselves.
Many U.S. Government agencies have leveraged the power of AI to achieve their goals more efficiently. As reported by OpenGov Asia, Yolo County District Attorney has had robust discussions with community members about the implicit or explicit bias that may occur in the criminal justice system. Prosecutors have nearly absolute discretion to charge or dismiss criminal cases. There is concern that these high-stakes judgments may suffer from explicit or implicit racial bias, as with many other such actions in the criminal justice system.
Yolo DA decided to address this potential problem by announcing the official launch of a first-of-its-kind Race Blind Charging (RBC) programme. The office then has been using the algorithm, developed by the Stanford Computational Policy Lab (SCPL).
By using a first-of-its-kind Race Blind Charging software program, Yolo County will ensure that their decisions on whether to charge someone with a crime are not infected by any real or perceived bias. This innovation will also help improve public confidence in the procedural fairness of the criminal justice system.
A report from the Jacobs Institute’s Urban Tech Hub at Cornell Tech showed that the main aspects that shape the future of urban technology are sustainable neighbourhoods, a supercharged infrastructure and inclusive innovation that strikes back at surveillance capitalism.
For the report, the research team conducted a 10-year horizon scan, scouring thousands of published journals, news articles and blogs to identify the most relevant and important trends. The raw data were synthesised to reveal 217 unique perspectives and 49 trends that describe the direction of urban tech in the next decade.
The Horizon Scan is meant to create a conversation across the many areas that are a part of urban tech. The report describes the innovations that the field could produce in the coming decade. But it also lays out the ‘technical debt’ that’s already on the books due to hasty decisions about sensing, AI, and tech governance.”
– Anthony Townsend, Project Lead
Though the report covers a number of technological advances, from mobility solutions to the complexities of privacy related to facial recognition, the research team homes in on six key themes that will likely have the biggest impact on the future of cities.
First, smart city concepts have seen steady progress over the last decade, with more municipalities equipping their buildings with digital sensing. Improved real-time tracking of energy, waste and water has led to increased control and savings.
The report cites scaling sustainable building technology as another theme, as cities look to cut carbon emissions in efforts to contain the effects of climate change. Technology will play a critical role as political and financial capital is focused on megacities, where street-level solutions will be key in extracting the maximum value.
City infrastructure is also expected to play an important role in shaping the future of urban technology. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted how understanding the urban ecosystem can help anticipate outbreaks, as scientists used sewage sampling and microbiome sequencing in city transit systems to track the spread of the virus. Many cities are even wiring up waterways and parks to calculate the vitality of these ecosystems.
Artificial neural networks, which power some of the cities’ most sophisticated machine learning efforts, can provide incredible value to governments by predicting the movements of goods, people, resources and information. At the same time, by deploying such powerful tools society risks giving up individual freedoms, the report states.
The shift toward doing things remotely, from learning and health care to work and entertainment, reveals wealth and power disparities. Fostering technologies that empower the disempowered can help ensure an efficient, tech-powered future.
Finally, the researchers predict that in the decade ahead, “big tech will crack the code of the city and stitch together a planetary supply chain for urban innovation.” Governments are getting a clearer picture of the problems they want the industry to solve, and the challenges of realising smart city innovation is becoming clearer.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, a new report also revealed the trends shaping the future of local U.S. governments which include data, technology and Customer Experience (CX). “The Future of Local Government” report states that because the public interacts with local governments the most, those agencies are best poised to make a for constituents and businesses.
Using data to drive decision- and policymaking is becoming increasingly crucial. Historically, government data has been stored across an array of sources, databases, systems and departments; one in four local officials surveyed by Forrester Consulting said public datasets housed in multiple databases and lines of business systems are a significant obstacle to executing new customer-focused strategies. Bringing disparate data sources together to tap into the immense power of analytics and data-based business insights will play a critical role in reshaping local government for a new era.
According to new data released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Health Organisation (WHO), and the University of Oxford, COVID-19 vaccine inequity will have a long-term and profound impact on socioeconomic recovery in low- and lower-middle-income countries unless urgent action is taken to increase supply and ensure equitable access for all countries, including through dose sharing.
Despite lower growth projections for the next two years, Asean+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) economists in the Philippines said what is important is that the government has increased its vaccination programme against Covid-19. Whereas the Governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) stated that an increase in the number of people vaccinated against coronavirus will address the country’s pandemic-related unemployment.
Increased vaccination drive would help the country gradually win the war vs. the unseen enemy, which is Covid-19. Full vaccination sharply reduces the risk of Covid-19 infections, severe cases or hospitalisation, and deaths, thereby reducing the burden on the health care system and correspondingly reduces the risk of lockdowns, going forward.
– Commercial Banking Corporation
“I think it’s very important but to me, the key here really is our vaccine turnout and we have been doing very well now,” he said during a virtual event. The country’s unemployment rate rose to 8.1% in August, up from 6.9% in July. Economic managers predicted the increase due to the implementation of stricter quarantine restrictions following the increase in Covid-19 cases caused by the Delta variant. However, they reported that labour force participation increased to 63.6% in August from 59.8% the previous month as more people rejoined the labour force.
The chief economist of Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) noted that the continued vaccination drive and reopening of the economy bode well for the country’s economic recovery prospects in the coming quarters or even years, albeit gradually, given the need to reduce new COVID-19 cases amid risks associated with the unvaccinated.
“The country’s economy could return to pre-COVID levels as early as the latter part of 2022 or by 2023, but the recovery of other businesses/industries, especially those hard-hit by the pandemic last year, would take much longer,” he added.
In addition, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) recently launched the National Digital Vaccine Certificate to unify all LGU-issued vaccination cards across the country (VaxCertPH). VaxCertPH is a component of the DICT’s Vaccine Information Management System (VIMS), and its ultimate goal is to enable the National COVID-19 Vaccination Operations Centre to vaccinate as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time.
The system is claimed to be reliant on data given by the LGUs to the central VIMS data warehousing for the purposes of generating a digital certificate. All data is safeguarded by the relevant encryptions and can be validated by authorised agencies, groups or countries cryptographically.
OpenGov Asia reported in an article stating that the government is also intensifying the Prevent, Detect, Isolate, Treat, and Recover (PDITR) strategy during the lockdown periods to facilitate the reopening of the economy. To strengthen the ‘detect’ and ‘isolate’ pillars, NEDA, the Department of Health (DOH), and other local government units (LGUs), with the help of data scientists from the Asian Institute of Management, are working on a solution to automatically determine likely close contacts of COVID-19 positive cases and immediately notify these people via text message.
Speaking at the recent Philippine OpenGov Leadership Forum, Denis F. Villorente, Undersecretary for the National Information & Communications Technology Assets Index, Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), spoke about the potential of a robust national ID system that could facilitate multiple types of transactions necessary for digital ecosystems and societies, saving people, government and businesses time and money and unlock new drivers of economic value and growth.
Work has now started on the Australian Automation and Robotics Precinct in Neerabup, which will form one of the biggest test facilities of its kind in the world. The 51-hectare precinct, around 40km north of Perth, will be a major hub for testing and research into the latest developments in automation, remote operation and robotic systems.
A broad range of industries including mining and resources, defence, oil and gas, agriculture, space, logistics, construction, advanced manufacturing and the education sector are expected to use AARP.
It will provide suppliers and operators of automation and robotics equipment or systems with access to specialist infrastructure including:
- Common User Test Beds, with multiple areas and roadways for physical testing;
- A Common User Facility operation building; and
- Supporting research and development facilities.
The Government committed $20 million towards the precinct as part of its WA Recovery Plan announced last year to create jobs and diversify the economy.
The development of the facility will generate at least 70 construction jobs as the precinct is built over the next three years, and up to 5000 ongoing jobs in the fields of robotics, automation and remote operations. The facilities will enable companies and researchers the opportunity to accelerate technology and analytics testing and scaling without interrupting on-site production and activities.
The site has the potential to expand to 94ha to accommodate future growth and will not be sub-divided – remaining a long-term Common User Facility asset for Western Australia.
An Industry Advisory Group has also been established, while the AARP will collaborate with university and industry research sectors by offering Doctoral top-up scholarships for projects that support the WA economy and the precinct’s objectives. The precinct will also support the resources industry’s bid to transition to Net Zero Carbon status by providing facilities for the testing of new technologies.
The WA Lands Minister stated that the start of works on the Australian Automation and Robotics Precinct marks a huge step towards preparing our economy for the future. He noted that the creation of this technological hub will support innovation and underpin a diversified and future-ready economy that delivers secure jobs across a broad range of industries.
AARP will provide exciting opportunities for a diverse range of WA industries to collaborate, share skills and expertise, and undertake joint ventures. Importantly, the flexible nature of this innovative precinct will ensure Western Australian industries are ready to capitalise on emerging trends across the globe and continue to build local expertise, he said.
The region’s Innovation and ICT Minister stated that the will further enhance WA’s position as a world leader in the growing fields of robotics and automation, and puts us in the best possible position to meet the opportunities and challenges of the future.
He noted that Western Australia is a recognised world leader in the field of automation for the mining sector, and this new facility will see this same success mirrored across a range of industries. The precinct builds on the $100 million Investment Attraction and New Industries Fund announced in the recent State Budget to support and accelerate a range of emerging industries to diversify our economy and deliver the WA jobs of the future.
Meanwhile, the Wanneroo MLA said that the precinct will provide exciting job opportunities in the developing automation and robotics industry for young people right here close to home. Moreover, diversifying the economy to provide jobs for the future is happening right here in Neerabup in the northern suburbs.