In the dynamic landscape of the digital era organisations are undergoing a paradigm shift in communication strategies, with the adoption of Cloud Communications emerging as a crucial catalyst for success.
In the digital era, the evolution of communication demands a fundamental reassessment by organisations, and at the forefront of this revolution is Cloud Communications. Offering a flexible and scalable infrastructure that goes beyond traditional boundaries, it establishes a centralised platform for communication, collaboration, and information sharing, overcoming the limitations of geographical location and device constraints.
Cloud Communications, particularly within the realm of modern Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), unleashes transformative potential by fostering innovation and flexibility and enhances overall organisational agility in the creation of a collaborative workplace. UCaaS represents the evolution of communication technologies, seamlessly integrating diverse communication channels like voice, video, messaging and collaboration tools into a unified platform.
By providing features like instant messaging, presence, and integrated voice and video conferencing, UCaaS empowers teams to collaborate seamlessly, regardless of their physical location. It modernises workplace communication, fostering an environment where employees can more easily connect, share ideas, and collaborate in real-time. This not only enhances productivity but also contributes to the development of a more agile and responsive organisation.
At the core of Cloud Communications is the drive to cultivate a collaborative workplace, where UCaaS takes a pivotal role in breaking down silos and facilitating meaningful interactions. A significant advantage of Cloud Communications lies in its intrinsic flexibility and scalability, allowing organisations to adapt to evolving business needs by leveraging the scalable nature of UCaaS
Whether accommodating a remote workforce, expanding operations, or integrating new communication tools, UCaaS ensures that organisations can evolve without the constraints of traditional communication infrastructures.
The success of any communication platform hinges on a seamless and intuitive user experience, and UCaaS plays a pivotal role in achieving this by offering a unified interface for various communication tools. This simplification not only enhances user adoption but also streamlines the IT infrastructure, diminishing the complexity associated with managing multiple communication channels.
Security is a paramount concern in the digital era, and Cloud Communications addresses this concern through robust security measures. Encryption, multi-factor authentication and secure data transmission protocols embedded in UCaaS ensure the protection of sensitive information. These measures not only foster a secure collaborative environment but also instil trust in the reliability of Cloud Communications.
The OpenGov Tech Day on 21 November 2023 at the Sheraton Imperial, Kuala Lumpur Hotel discussed the latest cloud technology trends and benefits for key sectors in Malaysia, including public, enterprise, education, financial services and healthcare.
Mohit Sagar, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of OpenGov Asia states that “communication is at the heart of teamwork”. Particularly in the digital age, promoting teamwork and progress hinges significantly on maintaining openness and effective communication.
The ongoing evolution of innovation and the expanding, boundless nature of workspaces underline the necessity for humans to adapt not just to novel communication methods but also to the overall evolution of work itself. Technological progress has led to an open work environment facilitating cross-border collaboration, remote work, and real-time exchange of ideas, transcending physical limitations.
Mohit stresses that adaptability in communication is not only a need but also a necessity in today’s increasingly connected and dynamic environment. Team members should possess the ability to comprehend and utilise diverse communication platforms, be attuned to varying communication styles among colleagues, and enhance their adaptability to the ongoing shifts in information dynamics.
Sustaining constant innovation requires not just adaptability in communication but also flexibility, a comprehension of evolving work cultures, and an insatiable thirst for knowledge. This underscores the importance of cultivating flexible thinking and robust communication skills across various frameworks, such as meeting presentations, online collaboration, and assimilating information from multiple sources.
A pivotal force propelling the virtual communication era is the infrastructure supporting efficient communication, with User Experience (UX) playing a crucial role. A positive user experience, primarily reliant on an interface that is easy to use, intuitive, and understandable, directly contributes to seamless and effective communication.
The quality of the user experience on a virtual communication platform is significantly impacted by how people interact and collaborate. A user-friendly interface, as well as easily accessible features, ensure that users can focus on the message’s content or communication goals, rather than technical obstacles or platform confusion. The user-friendly interface reduces communication barriers, creates more efficient channels for information exchange, and promotes productive collaboration.
Additionally, features that support various aspects of communication, such as visual collaboration, document sharing, or online meetings, in a single integrated platform are critical. This provides a more holistic experience for users, reduces the need for multiple platforms, which can make coordination difficult, and ensures a focus on communication objectives.
The importance of employing video as a communication tool is steadily gaining traction in the contemporary workplace. The rapid growth of video communication is attributed to its capacity to introduce a new dimension to interpersonal interactions. It encompasses not only verbal communication but also incorporates visual elements, enabling facial expressions, body language, and visual context to enrich the overall communication experience.
“Video in workplace communications provides a richer and deeper platform for collaboration. This enables richer information sharing, deeper understanding, and the possibility of engaging in more dynamic and meaningful discussions,” explains Mohit. “Even in remote working situations, team members can feel each other’s presence through video.”
Video has become indispensable in the contemporary workplace, where remote work and flexibility are increasingly embraced to preserve the personalised aspects of communication. Despite team members being geographically dispersed, the accessibility of video conferencing tools and advanced visual collaboration platforms enables interactions that closely mirror those of in-person meetings, thanks to the sophistication of evolving technology.
“Video is not only an effective communication tool, but also a medium for building closer team relationships, increasing engagement, and increasing collaboration across teams globally,” Mohit concludes.
Nathan Guy, Head of UCaaS, Asia Pacific, at Zoom, acknowledges the consistent challenges faced by support leaders across diverse company sizes, from SMBs to larger enterprises. These challenges centre around the need to achieve more with limited resources and the ever-growing demand for responsive and proactive customer service.
To navigate these challenges, support leaders strategically employ a blend of technology and automation while maintaining agility to adapt to evolving business landscapes.
In scaling their teams effectively, support leaders must prioritise the integration of innovative tools and technologies that deliver enhanced outcomes without incurring exorbitant costs. The goal is to optimise support operations, boost productivity, and uphold a high level of customer service, especially during peak periods like Black Friday or the holiday season.
In the realm of customer service, seamless support across multiple channels, such as phone, video, and webchat, is paramount. A negative experience can drive customers to consider switching to competitors, emphasising the critical role of technology in enhancing user and customer experiences.
“According to a Gartner survey, over 60% of customers would contemplate moving their business due to a poor customer experience,” Nathan explains. “This presents a significant risk for businesses, and technology is now driving a differentiation strategy to enhance user and customer experiences.”
Zoom’s AI innovation focuses on empowering individuals and teams, ensuring responsible use prioritising privacy and security, and adopting a federated approach that adapts to industry evolution. Their Customer Experience portfolio includes Zoom Contact Centre, Zoom Virtual Agent, and a new Workforce Engagement Management (WEM) offering, addressing the changing dynamics of the future workplace.
As businesses grapple with economic uncertainty and budget reductions, Nathan stresses the importance of establishing a robust technology foundation for stability and growth. Key elements include a cloud and mobile-first approach, prioritising employee engagement, fostering flexibility, enabling real-time collaboration, and promoting emotional well-being.
Zoom’s commitment to a solid technology infrastructure is evident in its communication and collaboration solutions tailored to diverse needs. The integration of AI further enhances the collaboration experience across Zoom’s solutions, aligning with their ultimate focus on serving customers and their employees to thrive in the new era of work.
Nathan recognises the critical role of customer-facing teams in providing exceptional experiences. Empowering these teams as subject matter experts enables businesses to deliver personalised and delightful experiences, aligning with Zoom’s overarching mission to facilitate success in the evolving landscape of work.
“Customer-facing teams need to address various challenges to provide an exceptional customer experience,” Nathan knows well. “By empowering these teams to become subject matter experts, businesses can deliver personalised experiences that delight customers.”
Jayraj Nair, Customer Experience Lead-ASEAN at Zoom, underscores the primary objective of amalgamating all product innovations into a unified solution. This holistic solution aims to empower knowledge workers and teams, fostering seamless collaboration internally and with external customers, ultimately propelling business growth.
The spectrum of employee collaboration activities spans calendar management, chat, email management, meeting collaboration, casual huddles, and task conclusion with phone calls. In contrast, customer collaboration encapsulates marketing events, webinars, sales processes, and delivering a unified customer experience, all within a singular interface.
The adverse impact of subpar customer experiences on businesses is substantial, particularly in today’s landscape where meeting customer needs demands personalised and insightful interactions despite limited resources. Studies underscore these challenges and highlight the escalating expectations of consumers.
A global Metrigy survey identifies “customer satisfaction” as the top business priority for 2022 and 2023, surpassing other concerns like product and service quality, information security, and revenue generation. Jayraj stresses the criticality of consistently delivering excellent customer experiences, as even a few negative encounters can result in a loss of 60% of customers.
Despite this, only 33% of customers believe that customer service organisations are improving. Recognising the need for digital engagement channels, customer service organisations are actively adapting to address emerging trends and priorities, aligning with Gartner’s predictions of increased spending on digital transformation, artificial intelligence (AI), and security.
Organisations providing a total experience connecting employees and customers are projected to outperform competitors in satisfaction metrics by 25% in both customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX) by 2024. However, delivering a consistently excellent customer experience becomes challenging when EX and CX strategies are developed independently.
Recognising the interconnectedness of EX and CX and aligning strategies accordingly can lead to more seamless and satisfying experiences for both employees and customers. The integration of employee productivity and customer experience is expected to emerge as a prominent trend for 2023.
A significant challenge in delivering excellent customer experience is the presence of teams working in silos with different tools, hindering effective communication and collaboration. A report suggests that by 2026, around 60% of large enterprises will leverage the concept of total experience to transform their business models.
Zoom addresses these challenges by offering an end-to-end capability for both employee experience (EX) and customer experience (CX) through its cloud-based Zoom Platform. In 2022 alone, the company released over 1,500 new features and products, showcasing remarkable product innovation and expansion.
Zoom’s comprehensive collaboration solutions, including Zoom Phone, Zoom Events, Webinars, Meetings, Zoom Spaces, and developer tools, cater to both employee and customer experience. Their CX products, such as Zoom Contact Centre, Zoom Virtual Agent, and Zoom IQ, further emphasise their commitment to providing comprehensive solutions.
Jayraj highlights that Zoom’s Contact Centre, a video-first omnichannel Contact Centre-as-a-Service (CCaaS) solution, is included in the Zoom platform. It enables businesses to deliver prompt, efficient, and highly personalised customer experiences that drive loyalty and retention.
Zoom Contact Centre integrates unified communications with customer experience, allowing businesses to engage with customers naturally and efficiently. Advanced features like skills-based routing and an intelligent virtual agent enhance the ability to provide concierge-like experiences at scale.
Zoom Virtual Agent, operating 24/7 across multiple support channels, ensures fast and personalised customer experiences, reduces call volumes for human agents, and generates significant operational efficiencies. It can be seamlessly integrated with Zoom Contact Centre and other leading CRM and contact centre solutions.
“All these innovations showcase Zoom’s commitment to providing comprehensive solutions that cater to the evolving needs of organisations in enhancing both EX and CX,” Jayraj concludes.
Nathan Guy, Head of UCaaS for Asia Pacific at Zoom underscored the transformative potential of cloud communications and highlighted the pivotal role of UCaaS in fostering collaboration within the modern workplace.
The revolutionary shift was brought about by the seamless integration of communication channels – voice, video, messaging, and collaborative tools – into a unified platform. Cloud communications reshape how teams connect and collaborate, breaking down geographical boundaries and enhancing productivity.
Nathan recognises that promoting collaboration in the workplace is not merely a trend but an essential requirement, positioning UCaaS as a strategic facilitator to dismantle silos, boost productivity and cultivate an environment conducive to the flourishing of ideas.
Taking into consideration the paramount concern of safeguarding sensitive information in the digital landscape, the robust security measures embedded in UCaaS, including encryption and multi-factor authentication, ensure a foundation of trust for secure collaboration in the cloud. This emphasis on security underscores the commitment to maintaining a secure environment for sensitive data within UCaaS.
Nathan advocates for organisations to not only recognise the evolving landscape of the digital era but also to proactively embrace it by adopting the most fitting communication tools and strategic plans. In today’s dynamic business environment, adaptability is crucial for overcoming challenges and seizing opportunities.
Highlighting the importance of selecting appropriate communication tools, Nathan underscored the necessity for organisations to align their technology choices with their specific needs and goals. He repeated that a one-size-fits-all view is inadequate in a diverse and rapidly changing digital ecosystem, urging decision-makers to meticulously assess and choose tools that meet their unique requirements. This ensures a seamless integration that enhances collaboration, productivity, and overall operational efficiency.
Nathan stressed the importance of strategic thinking in tandem with adopting these communication tools. He concurs that technology alone cannot guarantee success; it requires a well-thought-out strategy that aligns technology implementation with broader organisational objectives. This approach involves considering factors such as scalability, security, and future-proofing to ensure that the chosen communication tools can adapt and grow along with the organisation.
Mohit underscored the critical importance of not only embracing technological advancements but, more significantly, strategically integrating these innovations into operations. Moreover, integration should be conducted in a manner that closely aligns with the specific objectives and goals of the organisation. This strategic alignment is essential for organisations to harness the full potential of technological advancements and navigate the evolving landscape of technology effectively.
Mohit underscored the paramount importance of adaptability in navigating the complexities of the digital era. Recognising the ever-evolving nature of the contemporary digital landscape, he acknowledges the strategic significance of aligning communication technologies with organisational goals.
Genuine transformation stems from a profound understanding of the dynamic nature of technology and its rapid evolution. As such, true success cannot be had merely in the adoption of advanced communication tools, Mohit believes, but in their thoughtful and seamless integration into the organisational framework.
Mohit reiterated the transformative impact of UCaaS, highlighting its capacity to transcend geographical boundaries and reshape the conventional notion of office spaces. The substantial shift from traditional setups to dynamic ecosystems has been facilitated by UCaaS connectivity, signifying a departure from the limitations imposed by physical locations. This empowerment allows individuals to contribute their expertise and talents irrespective of their geographic presence.
The collaborative power of UCaaS is exemplified by its capacity to create a virtual environment where teams can seamlessly communicate, collaborate, and innovate. The platform enables real-time interactions, breaking down barriers imposed by distance and fostering a sense of unity among individuals dispersed across various locations.
“Regardless of where individuals are situated, UCaaS ensures that each team member can actively participate, share ideas, and contribute their best efforts,” Mohit concludes. “This democratisation of collaboration not only enhances productivity but also nurtures a diverse and inclusive work culture.”
The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) is spearheading an initiative to propel the nation’s capabilities in healthcare, Industry 4.0-driven manufacturing, and supply chain and logistics through the transformative power of 5G. This groundbreaking endeavour, known as the S$30 million 5G Innovation Programme, is not just a step forward but a giant leap into a future where innovation reshapes industries.
Launched in 2021, the 5G Innovation Programme is a testament to Singapore’s commitment to embracing emerging technologies. IMDA has forged strategic partnerships with key enterprises, including the National University Health System (NUHS).
In the healthcare industry, Singapore’s forward-thinking tech innovators, in collaboration with NUHS, have harnessed 5G to revolutionise patient care. The introduction of Mixed Reality-based Holomedicine in operating theatres stands out as a groundbreaking achievement.
This innovative approach not only enhances patient care but also redefines the entire healthcare experience. Announced in 2022, the initiative marks the Asia Pacific’s inaugural deployment of indoor private Enterprise 5G mobile edge computing (MEC) for Mixed Reality and Holomedicine capabilities in health tech.
A significant stride in healthcare also involves a collaboration with Republic Power to deploy 5G-enabled unmanned medical booths. These “Medbots” represent Asia’s first 5G-enabled unmanned pre-screening and teleconsultation medical booths. Equipped with state-of-the-art hygiene and safety systems, these booths support remote health screening and video consultations, offering an enhanced user experience that aligns with the demands of a digital era.
The impact of 5G extends beyond healthcare, permeating the realms of Industry 4.0-driven manufacturing, supply chain, and logistics. Collaborations with ST Engineering and DB Schenker have given rise to groundbreaking applications.
For instance, Singapore’s first 5G-enabled Digital Twin has been implemented for a logistics and supply chain company transforming warehouse and manufacturing operations, quality control, and customer experience. Simultaneously, ST Engineering’s 5G-Enabled Industry 4.0 Smart Factory boasts one of Singapore’s first 5G-enabled collaborative robots, revolutionising manufacturing processes.
Dr Ong Chen Hui, Assistant Chief Executive of the Biztech Group at IMDA, emphasised the agency’s commitment to architecting Singapore’s digital future. The goal is to build capabilities in various sectors powered by emerging technologies like 5G. IMDA’s collaboration with forward-looking companies signifies a concerted effort to unlock the full spectrum of benefits that 5G offers across a wide range of sectors.
As Singapore propels itself into the future, the 5G Innovation Programme stands as a testament to the nation’s dedication to progress. The partnerships with key enterprises underscore a collective effort to reshape, redefine, and transform industries across the country.
Singapore is not merely embracing change; it is pioneering a future where technology catalyses innovation and progress. The journey has just begun, and Singapore is at the forefront, shaping the narrative of a technologically advanced and future-ready nation.
The comprehensive initiative serves as a catalyst, propelling Singapore into a new era of digital prowess. It is not merely an adoption of advanced technologies; rather, it is a strategic alignment with the needs of the future, recognising the pivotal role technology plays in shaping economic landscapes on a global scale.
The 5G Innovation Programme signifies Singapore’s commitment to sustainable economic growth. By embracing technology as a driver of progress, Singapore is not just securing its current standing; it is laying the foundation for a resilient and forward-thinking economy. The emphasis on sustainability in this digital transformation ensures that growth is not just rapid but also enduring, with an eye towards environmental and social responsibility.
The implementation of a National Digital Identity (Digital ID) system in Malaysia is poised to revolutionise the verification and distribution of aid during crises or natural disasters, ensuring swift and precise assistance to those in need.
According to the Chairman of the Malaysian Cyber Consumer Association (MCCA), Digital ID has the potential to streamline processes, reducing bureaucratic hurdles and optimising the impact of government subsidies by facilitating the efficient distribution of assistance to targeted groups with greater accuracy and effectiveness.
Digital ID, in this context, serves as a digital means of self-identification and authentication for individuals, designed for use in both public and private sectors to verify user identities during online transactions. The nation’s Prime Minister has conveyed that while the government will not mandate registration for Digital ID presently, civil servants are encouraged to do so, especially as the Rahmah Cash Aid (STR) and other targeted subsidies will be channelled through this system. MIMOS Berhad, Malaysia’s national Applied Research and Development Centre, has been appointed as the implementing agency for Digital ID, with an initial allocation of RM80 million.
The Former Principal Assistant Director at Bukit Aman emphasised the significance of Digital ID in enhancing cybersecurity. The technology relies on digital certificates to bolster security in online transactions, verifying identities by linking cryptographic keys with their owners through cryptography.
Despite its potential benefits, the Former Principal Ass
istant Director pointed out a critical concern: the possibility of Digital ID being exploited as a ‘mule ID’ by third parties for fraudulent or illegal activities. He stressed the need for the government to establish robust security measures to prevent misuse, safeguard the system’s integrity, and maintain public trust in the initiative.
Addressing potential concerns about the misuse of Digital ID, the Former Principal Assistant Director called for a thorough examination of security measures. The government’s commitment to preventing fraudulent activities and illegal exploitation is crucial for the success of Digital ID. The Former Principal Assistant Director’s experience in cybercrime and multimedia investigations underscored the importance of maintaining the integrity of the system.
Furthermore, the Former Principal Assistant Director highlighted the need for comprehensive digital education to ensure that all segments of society benefit fully from Digital ID. A focus on digital education can prevent digital divides and contribute to the long-term success of Malaysia’s digitalisation initiatives. By promoting digital literacy, the government can empower citizens to use Digital ID responsibly and stay informed about potential risks.
In conclusion, the implementation of Digital ID in Malaysia represents a significant step toward modernising and securing online transactions. While the technology holds great potential for enhancing the distribution of aid during crises, it is imperative for the government to address security concerns and invest in digital education to ensure the successful adoption of Digital ID across all segments of society.
The advent of Digital ID in Malaysia represents a pivotal moment in the nation’s journey toward a more efficient and secure identity verification system. The Malaysian Cyber Consumer Association’s unwavering support underscores the potential benefits of this technological advancement for the wellbeing of Malaysians. However, as the implementation progresses, the emphasis on system integrity, cybersecurity, and public trust becomes paramount.
The call for robust security measures and consistency resonates as a crucial safeguard against potential misuse, ensuring that Digital ID serves as a reliable tool for streamlined aid distribution and government subsidies. As the nation navigates this transformative phase, it is imperative to strike a balance between technological innovation and the preservation of public confidence to fully realise the positive impact of Digital ID on the Malaysian society.
The National Education Policy (NEP) of 2020 has ushered in a new era for education in India, advocating for a robust investment in digital infrastructure and technological tools. At its core, the policy emphasises the integration of technology into the educational landscape, embracing online teaching platforms, virtual labs, digital repositories, and assessments.
NEP’s visionary approach highlights the pivotal role of multilingualism and language in transforming teaching and learning methodologies. Para 4.23 of the NEP stresses the acquisition of essential skills, including digital literacy, coding, and computational thinking. These competencies are being actively promoted through a myriad of digital initiatives.
The PM e-VIDYA, launched under the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan in May 2020, aims to consolidate efforts in digital, online, and broadcast education, ensuring widespread access to education through multiple modes. Notably, PM eVidya is accessible to students across all states, free of cost, democratising educational resources.
The cornerstone components of PM eVidya encompass DIKSHA, serving as the nation’s digital repository for high-quality e-content tailored for school education across States/UTs. The integration of QR-coded Energised Textbooks, providing a unified platform for all grades, resonates with the ethos of ‘one nation, one digital platform’.
Expanding the horizons of education further, the initiative has scaled up from 12 to 200 PM e-VIDYA DTH TV Channels, enabling states to offer supplementary education in various Indian languages for classes 1-12. Leveraging radio and podcast platforms like Shiksha Vani, PM eVidya embraces a holistic approach to inclusive education, crafting specialised e-content for the visually and hearing impaired.
Driving the agenda of critical thinking and creativity, PM eVidya ambitiously aims to establish 750 virtual labs and 75 Skilling e-labs by 2023. These labs, designed for Science, Mathematics, and simulated learning environments, seek to foster hands-on learning experiences. The creation of a dedicated vertical on Virtual Labs within the DIKSHA platform and comprehensive training via PM eVidya DTH TV channels for educators underscore the commitment to capacity-building.
Moreover, the ICT and Digital initiatives within the centrally sponsored scheme of Samagra Shiksha extend support to Government and Aided schools, focusing on classes VI to XII. Financial aid facilitates the establishment of ICT Labs and Smart Classrooms, enhancing the technological infrastructure within educational institutions.
India is committed to deploying locally designed and made digital tools, platforms and solutions to better serve citizens, more comprehensively and inclusively.
OpenGov Asia reported on India Stack, a set of domestically created digital solutions implemented nationwide. It includes APIs and digital public assets that enable the widespread use of digital identity, data, and payments as fundamental economic elements. Key components include Unified Payments Interface (India’s instant payments system), Aadhaar (the government’s digital identity card), and DigiLocker (a secure document access platform on a public cloud).
India Stack enhances access to and the delivery of public services, with the overarching goals of achieving widespread connectivity, promoting digital inclusion, and ensuring seamless access to public services. Built on open technologies, these solutions are interoperable and crafted to encourage active participation from industry and community stakeholders, thereby fostering innovation.
Addressing the needs of students preparing for competitive exams nationwide, the development of the SATHEE portal in collaboration with IIT Kanpur stands as a testament to India’s dedication to empowering its youth.
The ongoing beta version is actively soliciting feedback from students across the country, aligning with a culture of continual improvement. It provides a comprehensive suite of resources tailored for NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test) and JEE (Joint Entrance Examination) aspirants.
These initiatives mark a significant stride towards a tech-driven educational ecosystem in India. As the nation embraces this digital revolution in education, it sets a precedent for inclusive and innovative learning paradigms.
Based on a study conducted in 2018, the Head of the Satellite Division of the Accessibility to Communication and Information Agency (BAKTI) of the Ministry of Communication and Information, Sri Sanggrama Aradea, stated that based, there is a need for internet access to 1Mbps for 150,000 public service points in the fields of education, healthcare, and government in remote, frontier, and outermost (3T) areas.
The Ministry of Communication and Information continues to uphold its commitment to implementing the agenda of equalising the progress of digital transformation across the entire archipelago of Indonesia. This commitment is realised by continuing the contract for Base Transceiver Station (BTS) 4G services, especially for Remote, Frontier, and Outermost (3T) regions.
This action signifies the seriousness of the Ministry in ensuring that the benefits of digital transformation progress are not only felt in major cities but also extend to remote and outermost areas of Indonesia. Continuing the BTS 4G contract for 3T focuses on equalising access and strengthening communication networks, ensuring that communities in previously connectivity-limited areas can enjoy the benefits of the digital revolution.
Minister of Communication and Information Budi Arie Setiadi emphasised, “Strengthening communication networks is the main focus, ensuring that communities in areas that may have been previously limited in connectivity can benefit from the digital revolution.”
Minister Budi Arie Setiadi stated that this aligns with President Joko Widodo’s directive during the handover of the Ministry’s Budget Execution Plan for the Fiscal Year 2024, emphasising that the utilisation of government budget allocations must be focused on results. Minister Budi Arie explained that the signed Operation & Maintenance Contract is intended to continue the operation of the already-built BTS 4G, which has become an asset of the Telecommunication and Information Accessibility Agency (BAKTI).
Arwoto Atmosutarno, Chairman of the Task Force of the BAKTI at the Ministry of Communication and Information, admits that completing the BTS 4G Project is challenging. The diverse topography of Indonesia and its often remote geographical locations create complexities that increase the difficulty in executing this project.
In overcoming these challenges, Atmosutarno highlighted the importance of collaborative and synergistic coordination among Task Force members, involving entities such as the Attorney General’s Office, Ministry of Finance, Supreme Audit Agency (BPKP), Procurement Policy Agency (LKPP), Ministry of Communication and Information, and various related industry stakeholders. This joint effort aims to overcome various obstacles and challenges from complicated geographical conditions.
This indicates that project completion requires technical expertise and active involvement from various sectors contributing to addressing Indonesia’s unique and complex landscapes. Although the task is not easy, the determination and good cooperation among Task Force members ensure the efficiency of the project, even in challenging geographical conditions.
Indonesia is indeed known as an archipelagic country with quite extreme topography. This poses significant challenges for communication networks, especially telecommunication infrastructure projects such as BTS 4G. With widely scattered islands, high mountains, and remote areas that are difficult to access, establishing a network that can cover the entire Indonesian territory requires meticulous planning and execution.
Based on data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), the number of internet users in Indonesia reached 292.3 million in 2022, equivalent to 77.02% of the total population. This figure increased by 2.6% from the previous year.
The increase in Internet access is driven by various factors, including economic growth, increased smartphone penetration, and government programmes to equalise Internet access.
Regarding telecommunication infrastructure development, the government aims to achieve 100% 4G network coverage by 2024. This target seems achievable, as in 2023, 4G network coverage in Indonesia has reached 98%.
The progress of telecommunication network development in Indonesia has brought various benefits to the community, including: Improving accessibility to information and communication, Facilitating economic transactions, Enhancing the quality of education and healthcare and Increasing the nation’s competitiveness.
Chengdu has placed its sights on catalysing digital transformation to connect with the dynamic landscape of scientific and technological innovation. With this, the Municipal Development and Reform Commission recently organised a major scheduling meeting for the Digital Transformation Promotion Centre, bringing together key participants in the province’s digital progress.
The recently held meeting convened influential figures from 19 provincial-level digital transformation promotion centres, district and county development and reform departments, and pivotal enterprises within the city. The goal was to enhance the city’s digital transformation promotion service capabilities and fast-track the realisation of a modern industrial system.
The proceedings unfolded with a comprehensive report from the High Technology Department of the Municipal Development and Reform Commission, shedding light on the progress of the city’s digital transformation promotion centre and unveiling the initial evaluation results.
The exchange of ideas extended beyond city borders, with experts from the Sichuan Provincial Digital Economy Development Centre offering insights, interpretation, and guidance on policies supporting the digital transformation initiative.
Highlighting the diverse facets of digital transformation, representatives from various sectors shared their experiences. These exchanges delved into the construction nuances of supporting, regional, and industry-specific digital transformation promotion centres, emphasising a multifaceted approach to catalysing change.
Concrete examples from food technology elucidated the transformative power of digitalisation in their respective industries, showcasing the tangible benefits accrued through embracing cutting-edge technologies. From enhanced processing efficiency in aviation equipment manufacturing to streamlined collaboration in biopharmaceutical production, the ripple effects of digital transformation were tangible.
Chengdu’s strategic position as a hub node in the computing power network has been pivotal in propelling the city’s digital drives. The initiative to construct a ‘smart Chengdu’ serves as the cornerstone for iterative upgrades and the demonstration of emerging technologies, products, business formats, and models. This concerted effort aims to foster innovative development within the digital economy.
The city’s proactive stance has yielded approval for 19 provincial-level digital transformation promotion centres. This includes 10 support centres, 2 regional centres, and 7 industry centres, collectively constituting over 50% of the total number in the province. The coverage extends across strategic areas like Tianfu New District and key industrial chains such as electronic information, equipment manufacturing, and medicine and health.
Success stories were brought to the forefront during the meeting, showcasing the tangible impact of digital transformation. For instance, the Chengdu Aircraft Digital Transformation Promotion Centre has significantly boosted the processing efficiency of the aviation equipment industry chain. Similarly, the Kelun Pharmaceutical Digital Transformation Promotion Centre has facilitated intelligent collaboration in biopharmaceutical production, reducing costs and optimising inventory turnover.
The initiatives underscored the imperative to align with national, provincial, and municipal mandates for deepening the integration of the digital economy with the real economy. A call to action resonated, urging a focus on the high-level construction of Sichuan Provincial Digital Transformation Promotion Centres.
Likewise, the emphasis on harnessing the transformative potential of computing power, algorithms, and data highlights Chengdu’s unwavering commitment to catalysing industry-wide development. The city recognises the pivotal role that advanced computing capabilities, sophisticated algorithms, and insightful data analytics play in propelling industries forward.
By leveraging robust computing power, industries in Chengdu can not only streamline their operations but also enhance their overall efficiency. This translates into faster processing times, heightened accuracy, and the ability to handle complex tasks with unprecedented precision.
The infusion of advanced algorithms further augments this initiative by introducing intelligent decision-making processes that adapt and evolve, ensuring that industries remain agile in dynamic market landscapes.
Hong Kong, a dynamic global financial centre and a historical node for the Chinese diaspora, stands as a vibrant hub for tech and trade. Hong Kong’s start-up ecosystem is thriving. In 2022, the number of start-ups in Hong Kong grew by 6% to 3,985, employing nearly 15,000 people.
Hong Kong’s innovation and technology sector together with that of Shenzhen and Guangzhou – the Shenzhen-Hong Kong-Guangzhou science and technology cluster – ranks as the world’s second performing according to the Global Innovation Index 2023.
Biotechnology, artificial intelligence, smart city and financial technologies were identified as the four key areas for Hong Kong’s innovation and technology industry. The city’s expenditure in absolute amount on research and development has almost doubled compared to a decade ago.
With opportunities brought by the Guangdong‑Hong Kong‑Macao Greater Bay Area development, Hong Kong is set to further capitalise on its advantages in R&D capabilities, technological infrastructure, legal system and intellectual property.
The region intends to spearhead the I&T industry and act as a business platform for companies looking to access the Asia market (and China in particular), or for innovative mainland companies seeking to go international.
There is a sharp focus on pivotal tech-driven sectors – healthcare, youth development, and the Greater Bay Area (GBA) – that have the potential to shape Hong Kong’s business trajectory. From cutting-edge healthcare advancements to fostering youth entrepreneurship and capitalising on the economic powerhouse that is the GBA, the pathways for innovation and collaboration will be determined.
Its pivotal role in the global business landscape is further accentuated by the Federation of Hong Kong Business Associations Worldwide (FHKBAW), a sprawling network uniting 47 associations across 36 countries and regions. With a membership boasting nearly 11,000 executives and professionals worldwide, this federation serves as a linchpin for a diverse global business community.
An annual Hong Kong Forum, jointly organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and the Federation, emerges as a pivotal event drawing in business leaders and tech innovators. Scheduled for 5th and 6th December, the 24th iteration promises an inspiring convergence of minds, ideas, and opportunities.
Sessions will explore the intricacies of navigating Hong Kong’s ever-evolving business landscape. Experts will elaborate on Hong Kong’s prowess as a global business platform and delve into how cultural exchange through the West Kowloon Cultural District could further elevate Hong Kong’s global cultural imprint.
As tech, innovation, and global business intertwine, Hong Kong is a testament to its unwavering commitment to fostering collaboration, innovation, and growth across industries that define the future.
The startup ecosystem is rapidly expanding and diversifying, stretching beyond conventional hubs like San Francisco and London to embrace emerging powerhouses like Hong Kong. Simultaneously, within the ASEAN region, burgeoning economies are evolving into significant nodes of innovation and entrepreneurship in their own right.
Acknowledging the borderless nature of the digital entrepreneurial landscape, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council unveiled Start-up Express International last year. This global iteration of its longstanding local entrepreneurship development programme acknowledges and taps into the interconnectedness of the worldwide startup community.
Hong Kong has launched multiple initiatives in line with its goal to expand its digital economy and propel technological advancements. Cyberport is Hong Kong’s digital technology flagship and incubator for entrepreneurship with over 2,000 members including over 900 onsite and close to 1,100 offsite start-ups and technology companies.
With a vision to become Hong Kong’s digital technology hub and stimulate a fresh economic impetus, Cyberport is dedicated to cultivating a dynamic tech environment.
This commitment involves nurturing talent, encouraging youth entrepreneurship, aiding start-ups, fostering industry growth through strategic partnerships with local and international entities, and driving digital transformation across public and private sectors, bridging new and traditional economies.
The game industry in Vietnam has emerged as a promising domain, yet it grapples with hurdles demanding immediate attention to unlock its full potential. In an era where global gaming numbers surged to nearly 3.2 billion players, generating a massive US$182.9 billion in 2022, Vietnam aims to solidify its stance in this evolving landscape.
Vu Quoc Huy, Director of the Vietnam National Innovation Centre (NIC), identifies the game industry as a pivotal sector crucial for the nation’s scientific, technological, and innovative growth trajectory. With an annual revenue surpassing US$500 million and a strong foothold as Southeast Asia’s fifth-largest revenue generator, Vietnam’s gaming landscape thrives. Over 50% of the population engages in gaming for entertainment purposes, signalling a robust market demand.
Huy underscores the industry’s capacity to foster high-value jobs in programming and design, presenting an opportunity to propel Vietnam’s global position within value chains. The country currently ranks second in game downloads within Southeast Asia, witnessing a steady annual growth rate of approximately 10%. Globally, Vietnam clinches a position among the top 10 for download numbers and the top 30 for revenue generation.
The country boasts a talented pool of programmers capable of creating games meeting the stringent standards for Google and Apple stores. Apple estimates approximately 180,000 Vietnamese are actively engaged in mobile app development, with the game industry housing the majority.
The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) emphasises Vietnam’s rank as the seventh-largest global mobile game distributor, attributing Vietnamese developers to nearly half of the world’s renowned games. Yet, there’s a push to increase the industry’s revenue from US$600 million to a lofty US$1 billion within the next five years.
Vietnam’s game industry, with its remarkable growth trajectory and burgeoning talent pool, stands at the cusp of a transformative phase. Despite this burgeoning success, challenges persist. Addressing hurdles in infrastructure, market expansion, and skill development will be pivotal to realising its immense potential and securing a formidable position in the global gaming arena.
At the fore, Vietnam’s game industry grapples with entrenched social stigmas and a host of structural deficiencies that hinder its growth. The prevailing societal bias against gaming, perceiving it as addictive, detrimental, and resource-intensive, casts a shadow over the industry’s prospects.
Le Quang Tu Do, Director of the MIC’s Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information, highlights critical issues, including policy inadequacies, limited financial support, and a dearth of local game competitiveness in the global market. Moreover, the absence of a robust ecosystem and collaborative efforts among businesses stifles the industry’s progress, hindering the discovery of high-quality Vietnamese games by distributors.
A significant obstacle lies in the shortage of skilled human resources, with estimates suggesting a need for up to 30,000 qualified personnel in the game industry. To transform the industry into a robust and competitive landscape, Vu Quoc Huy, NIC Director, advises cultivating an internationally adept workforce and fostering a cohesive ecosystem where stakeholders collaborate and uplift each other.
Others advocate official recognition of the game industry as an economic sector and a pivotal driver of the digital economy. Acknowledging the need for an appropriate management strategy and development roadmap underscores the necessity of societal and governmental acknowledgement to attract foreign investment and solidify the industry’s position.
The MIC has outlined a developmental roadmap spanning 2022 to 2027, centring on addressing critical issues such as policy frameworks, market regulation, and manpower development. Initiatives encompass facilitating partnerships between domestic developers and international counterparts, alongside efforts to entice foreign investment entities into Vietnam’s burgeoning gaming sector.
As the MIC steers the developmental trajectory and industry stakeholders converge to address these challenges, Vietnam’s game industry holds the promise of a transformative evolution towards global competitiveness and economic significance.