Globally, public sectors have comprehensively moved to information digitisation. This has been proven to be the fuel of the public sector today, allowing them to understand trends, make decisions and better serve citizens. With this, though, comes the tremendous responsibility of managing and protecting data – in terms of privacy as well as safekeeping. This has been done through policy, process and infrastructure.
Governments are focusing heavily on improving data quality, data governance and data compliance as well as security because of this recent surge in digital information. It is critical to upgrade or add advanced technology mechanisms for gathering, analysing and disseminating accurate information to improve citizens’ understanding of government activities.
Process and infrastructure are the other two pillars upon which a good data strategy is built. Information management enables data processing techniques in the public sector to become more secure and integrated while maintaining data quality.
Governments must improve decision-making, demonstrate accountability and openness with the right information management solutions. Properly managing public sector information, will ensure that it remains reliable, trustworthy and promotes the use and reuse of data by both public sector entities and the public.
Agencies will be able to interpret structured and unstructured data insights into actions and outcomes through mastering information management methodologies. Analytics and trends will generate information-driven, actionable insights and simultaneously speed up decision-making.
Further, the risk of data being tempered or distorted can be mitigated if the information is automated to adhere to governance and compliance protocols.
The question is: How can information management improve processes in the public sector?
Enterprise content management technologies ensure secure and instant access to information when, where and how it is needed. Obtaining this actionable result will increase decision-making speed and transparency, as well as add value to the data when it is transformed into recommendations for change.
Suitable automation and integration tools can also offer appropriate proper data management that empowers compliance as well as diminishes risk, thereby ensuring that public sector regulatory compliance- these are critical to managing information based on value.
With the right information management, the public sector will be able to gain insights from data to make better decisions for citizens’ economic and health benefits. Agencies must be quick to demonstrate information accountability and openness by retrieving citizen data knowledge captured in unstructured text.
This was the focus of OpenGovLive! Virtual Breakfast Insight held on 11 March 2022, which aimed to provide the latest information management tools to improve public sectors governance, compliance, and security at an accelerated speed. This is a closed-door, invitation-only, interactive session with top-level public sector executives from Singapore and Malaysia.
Demonstrating government accountability and transparency by accelerating information
Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director, and Editor-in-Chief, OpenGov Asia, kicked off the session with his opening address.
Culture has shifted drastically because of Covid-19, Mohit asserts. “We have changed!”
He acknowledges that the world ramped up its deployment of digital technology when the pandemic hit but considers these “band-aid solutions ”. Now, there is a need to fundamentally relook at approaches and strategies. Another crisis will inevitably hit, Mohit feels, and, as such, it is imperative for organisations to think ahead, reimagine the needs of their employees and future-proof their organisations.
Moreover, in this increasingly digitally dependent world, expertise is vital. “How are organisations keeping talent?” Mohit asks.
He points out that with the newfound flexibility of working, a large portion of the workforce is looking for arrangements that suit their lifestyles. They are no longer interested in a 100%
in-office role. Organisations and agencies must keep up with that shift, he warns. Employee-centricity must be looked at if the private and public sectors are to tackle the massive challenge of attracting and retaining talent.
When managing a massive collection of information properly, he believes, the importance of avoiding data breaches and maintaining that security is ensured. Using the example of an F1 race car, he says that the vehicle is designed to go at the top speed and not slow down – similarly, digital transformation must continue in earnest and not decelerate. However, “the driver needs to be kept safe,” meaning that organisations need to put in measures that provide security, safety and trust for the driver and the team. This is the security around data – literally, the driver of digital transformation data.
Aware of the mounting challenges, such as legacy applications and lack of skill sets for true digital transformation, he is firmly convinced that transformation should not be done alone. He urges delegates to partner with organisations that have the expertise to facilitate digital transformation. Partners bring a wealth of expertise and experience that will make the journey far easier to manage and navigate.
Harnessing information management tools to deliver effective services
Randy Goh, Regional Vice President, Southeast Asia, OpenText introduced the delegates to OpenText and the solutions that OpenText can offer.
OpenText is a leader in the field of information management and has customers across various industries such as banking and insurance, manufacturing, healthcare, and the public sector in their EIM journey. With an arsenal of experience in industry solution-based best practices, along with experienced delivery and advisory resources, both OpenText’s global and local teams in Southeast Asia have helped customers achieve huge success in their EIM projects.
“Trust and quality are the core principles of OpenText,” Randy opens.
OpenText has been delivering trusted and quality solutions for 30 years, the go-to solution for 80% of the Fortune 1000 companies who use OpenText to manage information in their enterprise. Incredibly, OpenText has over 3 exabytes of information under their management.”
To put that into perspective, Amazon Web Services had 1.3 exabytes of consistently managed data at the end of 2019.
Add to that 60M secure IDs, 40M endpoints and 100M end-users and OpenText’s install base translates into a world-class information ecosystem, which OpenText customers can integrate into and leverage to their advantage.
Before closing, Randy emphasised that OpenText has a team of experienced and dedicated staff who will be able to help organisations work out the best way to manage information according to their needs.
He invited delegates to reach out to him and the team to explore ways they could assist on their digital journeys.
Digital modernisation for future-ready governments
LaRel Rogers, Senior Industry Marketing Strategist US Public Sector, OpenText spoke next on the challenges in the public sector and how governments can strategise to address the issues.
She asserts that the priorities of governments in the next 12 months would be in figuring out how to triple their digital services to improve citizen experiences using digital platforms and setting up a robust cybersecurity framework.
The key drivers of adoptions are the elimination of paper, support of digital transformation initiatives within the organisation, followed by the provision of digital services to citizens and provision of efficient e-government platforms.
Apart from citizen experience, the next area of priority is in data and application integration is the next trend and factor driving the adoption of content management, LaRel posits.
Referring to Mohit’s point about the changing DNA of culture, LaRel asserts that the culture is changing in governments – there are new norms that digital governments must consider in their workflow and processes.
Citing global government case studies, LaRel shared that an Open Government programme has helped the Canadian government analyse public opinion with AI-powered Voice of the Customer from OpenText Magellan. In Madrid, the OpenText Cloud platform has helped to improve performance and citizen engagement on the City of Madrid’s award-winning web properties.
Conversations on strategies of information management
Moving to the next segment, Mohit had an in-depth conversation with David Graham, Chief Innovation Officer, City of Carlsbad, CA and Ole Nielsen, Director, Enterprise Digital Delivery, Geoscience Australia.
Wanting to set the context and establish a fundamental understanding of the discussion at hand, Mohit begins by asking both speakers, “What is information management for your organisation?”
David points out that there is the technical aspect of being able to bring data together and make it accessible and integrated so that people can use it. For him, it is about the usability of data and the training of users. He adds that people need to understand their role in the collection and distribution of data – everyone in the organisation has a touchpoint to data.
Circling back to the issue of talent and employee management, Ole and David share their strategies for retaining people and talent.
It comes down to trust in the employees, feels Ole. It is important to have a truly agile mindset in a rapidly changing world. Valuing people and helping people understand their value to the organisation are important principles in retaining talent.
“How do employees see that their own personal goals and experiences connect with the organisation?” David asks.
It boils down to the mission and letting people know why they are there and why they are important. People must feel valuable the moment they step into the organisation – they want to feel that they have an impact and can continue to gain value.
On the topic of remote work and the strategies, Mohit was keen to know what the speakers thought about ways to keep employees going – motivated, productive, and engaged.
Ole believes that people are motivated by working from home. When given trust, autonomy and flexibility, people are encouraged to stay. It becomes even more fruitful when employees can find their role and purpose amid that.
He is convinced that people are attracted to organisations where they know they can gain skills that will make them more employable. The natural cycle of that is that people will not stay for long after they have acquired the vital skills.
“Losing people is a good thing, “Ole points out because it means that the organisation is offering value to employees.
Remote work is here to stay, David asserts and concurs with Ole’s point about the importance of training people. It means that the focus must shift towards creating high impact in-person engagements. “How are organisations intentional about in-person engagements and meetings?
David strongly feels that those who are doing remote work long-term feel that the organisation values them.
Remote work also saves time that can be channelled into achieving a work-life balance, Ole highlighted. “Trade the morning commute for an afternoon cycle!”
Steering the conversation to the topic of security, Mohit inquires what the speakers think about security in the age of remote work. “How can organisations ensure that their data is compliant, accurate, and secure?”
Ole has observed a shift towards a collective responsibility for security. Using firewall as an example, he explains that, in the past, people built a firewall around the organisation; now, firewalls are around every single application. Automation from cloud technology is enabling that.
For David, remote work is an impetus for data quality and management and ensuring that those systems are in place. It is crucial to build good cyber hygiene and help people understand what their role lies in data management. In fact, remote work makes it easier to track, understand, secure and move data.
Ole concurs that data management is easier when it is better remote – people are working on the same documents on cloud, for instance.
David adds that there is a different nature to these virtual platforms that creates an immediacy to the access and connection with people.
On that note, some delegates pointed out that remote work has also resulted in burnout, difficulties in securing endpoints and managing user behaviour – all of which compromises security.
In response, Ole opines points out that burnout often results – not from remote work itself- but trust. On compromised security and phishing, he notes that production systems and data should not sit on the same network as emails.
After the informative sharing, delegates participated in interactive discussions facilitated by polling questions. This session is designed to provide live-audience interaction, promote engagement, hear real-life experiences, and impart professional learning and development for the participants. It is an opportunity for delegates to gain insight from subject matter experts, share their stories and take back strategies that can be implemented in their organisations.
The first poll asked what delegates felt is the key business initiative for the next 12-18 months. The majority (42%) felt that improving employee productivity through digital technology was the key focus of their organisation. Other delegates were equally split between improving agility and delivery through Cloud Migration (21%) and enabling real-time performance visibility and analysis (21%). The rest of the delegates are focused on embedding compliance transparently in applications (11%) other priorities (5%).
Returning to the conversation about productivity in remote work, a delegate pointed out that there is an issue of parity that arises because there are employees who might find it unfair that they are not able to work from home. He added that there is a challenge to data privacy. Using the issue of information in Trace Together being used and shared among government agencies for various purposes outside of contact tracing, he flags out the important ethical considerations of data sharing.
To the point about parity, Ole pointed out that the other side is also true – one can be unproductive in the office and that it is also unfair if people can only work remotely. Concerning privacy, the notes that it is important for people to also recognise that the government sharing data is not the same as publicising it.
David reiterates the concept of trust – what are organisations doing to build trust in data management and employees? It is vital to focus on it as a core value in everything that organisations do. Focusing on a culture that deals with trust and risk assessment are foundational, David believes.
On that note, Mohit highlights that culture has shifted but while people are now able and capable to work from home, some mindsets have not changed.
On the most important IT priority for delegates, almost half (46%) prioritise better innovation and agility through digital maturity. The remaining delegates were evenly divided between improving efficiencies and reducing maintenance costs (27%) and building a more resilient infrastructure and business (27%).
A delegate pointed out that inefficiencies are a priority because IT inefficiency adds up over time and makes it difficult to implement new things. To that end, working with partners is beneficial because partners have workflows and systems that have been optimised.
Another delegate opines that innovation is the key focus. “We should focus on fixing tomorrow’s problems rather than yesterday’s problems,” he claims.
Mohit posits the importance of rethinking how to do business and finding new ways of delivering services of capability.
On the challenges organisations face in managing change-related data/business requirements, most delegates (36%) faced challenges in employee skillsets. Others face issues of reluctance to consider or adopt new technologies (29%) and the lack of flexibility/agility in current systems (21%). The remaining delegates went evenly with challenges of time involved to make changes (7%) and the uncertainty around future needs (7%).
In response to the polling results, a delegate opines that on the data transformation journey, people need to learn how to use and make sense of data on the data transformation journey. Another participant concurred with the view that building the capability of employees is key. While technology is a great tool, it is the people who can write business cases and build processes that will determine how businesses operate.
In the final poll for the day, delegates were asked about their biggest challenge when it comes to information management. Well over half (60%) of the delegates found the information context – knowing why they have it, where to use it and how it should be managed – the biggest task at hand. A fifth (20%) found the ability to analyse data in real-time concerning while 13% felt data security and loss prevention to be the main issue. Regulatory compliance was seen as concerning by 7%.
Some delegates expressed the view that understanding information context is the foundation of information management. On that note, David adds that it is vital for organisations to ask themselves what challenges they face before delving into the technologies that they should be negotiating with.
In closing, Randy Goh, Regional Vice President, Southeast Asia, OpenText acknowledged the importance of trust on the journey of digital transformation. He emphasised that information management is a key strategy that can alleviate the mounting pressures governments face in keeping up with citizen demands.
Having accumulated decades of experience, he is confident that OpenText is well-poised to help agencies undertake the challenging task of helping organisations build trust.
Before ending the session, Randy thanked the delegates for the highly illuminating sharing and invited delegates to reach out to him and the team if they wanted to understand how they could get started on this journey with OpenText.
The Victoria University of Wellington’s division of Science, Health, Engineering, Architecture, and Design Innovation (SHEADI) will inaugurate a Centre of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence in the first half of 2023.
According to a statement from the University, the centre will offer areas of expertise in modelling and statistical learning; evolutionary and multi-objective learning; deep learning and transfer learning; image, text, signal, and language processing; scheduling and combinational optimisation; and interpretable AI/ML learning.
These technological themes will be applied across a wide range of areas including primary industry, climate change and environment; health, biology, medical outcomes; security, energy, high-value manufacturing; and social, public policy, and ethics applications. On top of traditional research, the centre will also establish a pipeline of scholarships/internships for Maori students, train early career researchers, and focus on industry, intellectual property, and commercialisation.
The centre will build on the current success and international leadership in this space at the University, the Pro Vice-Chancellor of the division, Ehsan Mesbahi, stated. The institute is continuing to grow its national and international partnerships to create local and global value. The centre will provide a distinctive identity for the growing excellence and innovation in data science and AI research at the University, capabilities which domestic and global partners are increasingly demanding across a vast array of application domains.
In May, the University announced it would offer the first undergraduate major in Artificial Intelligence in the country. It provides students with knowledge of AI concepts, techniques, and tools. They learn how to apply that knowledge to solve problems, combined with programming skills that will enable them to build software tools incorporating AI technology that will help shape the future.
Students studying AI at the University are taught by academics from its internationally renowned AI/ML research group, which is one of the largest in the southern hemisphere. The major is designed to open doors for graduates to opportunities nationally and around the world. There has been an increase in the adoption of AI technologies globally, and a growing demand for people who can apply AI techniques to address a wide range of problems, which the University aims to address.
After completing their degree, graduates will have a wide variety of career options, such as AI scientist, business consultant, AI architect, data analyst, machine learning engineer, and robotic scientist among others. They will also have the option to further their study through the University’s Master of Artificial Intelligence.
OpenGov Asia reported earlier that New Zealand’s Education Technology (EdTech) is set to become one of the country’s key industries. Worth NZ$ 173.6 million in 2020, EdTech software is poised to grow to NZ$ 319.6 million by 2025. At the heart of the digital transformation of education technology has been the pandemic. COVID-19 is seen as the driving force behind the digital transformation of learning, permanently changing the way education is consumed and delivered — right from preschool through post-tertiary education and lifelong learning. The global EdTech market size was valued at US$ 254.8 billion in 2021. Experts believe the market will reach US$ 605.4 billion by 2027.
With the introduction of its Kooha Version 2.0 during the recently held 2022 National Science and Technology Week celebration, the Department of Science and Technology-Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI) showered photo enthusiasts with helpful tips on interactive smartphone photography.
Kooha is a photo-sharing app derived from the Filipino word “kuha,” which means “to take.” It capitalises on the Philippines’ status as “the selfie capital of the world,” with thousands of photographs shared on various social media platforms every day.
With the help of the camera app Kooha, users may take pictures that go beyond simple snapshots. Multiple sensors are embedded into mobile devices; Kooha uses these sensor data while users snap pictures and embeds them in the image.
Users will be able to quickly learn the location where the photo was shot, the background noise when they shoot a selfie, the network provider’s signal strength, the device battery level, camera settings, environment sensor data, motion sensor, and more. All the photographs captured by the app are shared on Kooha Community. Users’ photos become more than just images when they post them to the community; they become contributions.
When the sensor data from the images is combined with the large pool of sensor data from other users, the data becomes societally important. The data can assist data scientists in generating insights and fresh knowledge that can be used by decision-makers across the country. Kooha is a free app that can be downloaded from Google Play.
According to the DOST-ASTI, Kooha uses the built-in sensors of a mobile device to gather real-time data like sound level, temperature, and humidity and embeds it into a snapshot, making it particularly valuable in research operations across industries thanks to the fresh knowledge it produces.
It added that even more useful Kooha features include the ability to contribute images to the community section, rate shared photos based on “awards” from other users, map the locations of pinned photos, and unlock “badges” by completing specific “achievements.”
As a useful tool application, Kooha reflects the reality that science and the arts may collaborate effectively to produce meaningful results. In addition, the DOST- ASTI’s Quality Management System (QMS) was recertified in accordance with the ISO 9001:2015 standard.
Director of DOST-ASTI Franz A. de Leon stated that the ISO recertification demonstrates the DOST-ASTI’s dedication to continuously enhance its operations and assure successful service delivery – bringing science and technology closer to the people.
He added that their partners and stakeholders can be confident that the institute will constantly offer high-quality products and services because they adhere to the quality policy of developing relevant, timely, and impactful ICT- and electronics-based innovations.
The ISO certificate was the result of the DOST-ASTI management and staff’s collaborative efforts to expand its technologies and ensure the smooth execution of its mandate and functions. Reviewing and improving processes is critical to achieving the agency’s purpose of contributing to the achievement of national development priorities and the growth of Philippine firms through the provision of creative solutions centred on ICT and electronics technology.
This is DOST-ASTI’s second recertification since transitioning to the ISO 9001:2015 standard in 2018. Subject to regular surveillance assessments, the certificate is valid until November 2025.
Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) in education have the potential to enhance how education is provided, financed, and managed as well as offer easier access to the community.
A PPP system operates under the construct that market mechanisms, in conjunction with government inputs, are better for providing education. One of the rationales behind PPPs, which are supported by international organisations, development agencies and academics, is that competition between public and private education providers is a good way to improve the quality and efficiency of education.
PPP policy frameworks should therefore create real market dynamics in which education service providers continue to innovate and improve the quality of their services to attract learners, young and old, who are seen as benefit maximisers and well-informed consumers.
New Era of Partnerships, Building Talent Pipeline
“The structure and framework for any university to launch degree programmes can be fairly onerous, given the emphasis on quality assurance and relevance,” says Annie who is also a Professor Emeritus of Finance (Practice), Lee Kong Chian School of Business and Senior Advisor at the Business Families Institute in Singapore Management University (SMU).
However, academic-industry partnerships play a crucial role in building the future of students and facilitating the transition of young people from school to work. Students need to be exposed to a variety of jobs and workplaces to develop interest and discover where their studies and passion may lead.
Industry partnerships with different sectors offer a variety of experiences, such as simulated job interviews, career development activities, challenge-based learning projects, curriculum-aligned activities, and work-study programmes. In addition, internships have become a vital opportunity for candidates to distinguish themselves prior to full-time employment.
A PPP is mutually beneficial, allowing industry access to fresh talent and looking at the industry’s challenges from the perspective of future consumers or employees acknowledges Annie. In fact, the private sector has indicated to all institutions that they need future talent in the area of data analytics, so SMU has recently launched a track in data analytics hosted in both their business school and computer and info systems school so universities also benefit from the insights from the industry to stay relevant in our curricula.
With the help of data analytics tools, a company may take unstructured raw data and use this information to discover patterns, draw conclusions and turned into useful insights. Therefore, data analysis aids businesses in so many ways, including making educated judgments, developing a more successful marketing plan, enhancing the customer experience and streamlining processes.
Education is not only under the charge of the Ministry of Education but also needs the support of other ministries since future jobs and capacity building are expected of the Ministries of Trade and Industry, Finance, Maritime, Health and others. Partnering with the whole of government allows for students’ skillsets to be increased and all students become more relevant, valuable and workplace ready.
Prof Annie knows that no one has a monopoly on knowledge, and no one knows the exact skills which will be needed in the future. Thus, PPPs have the most value when it forms a part of “lifelong learning.”
The exciting thing about lifelong learning, Annie believes “…is that when you get your degree, you think you’re done, but you’re just getting started. Even as you gain experience and learn on the job, you’ll need to keep reinventing yourself and the skills needed to extend your runway will keep changing.”
Passion extends beyond degrees and ongoing learning is a crucial element to keep employees engaged That’s why higher education now permits a variety of pathways to marry passion with career aspirations and is no longer a paper chase, she explains.
Two good cases to illustrate the value of PPP in the context of SMU’s innovative programmes that Prof Annie is very proud of are the partnership approach in launching the International Trading track and the Maritime Business Operations track under the Finance and Operations majors in SMU’s business school.
In accordance with the creation of a strong Singaporean core, wholesale trade and maritime businesses have been focusing on both skillset development and attracting new talent supply to ensure a pipeline of sustainable human capital. So, the trading and maritime sectors do need to build a case for making the jobs in their sectors more appealing – particularly with the assistance of government grants and scholarships.
Companies can play a crucial role by showing how an organisation can provide a feeling of purpose with support and development opportunities available to make building a career in their organisations appealing and attractive to the candidate
A part of Annie’s challenge in the early days was to set up an International Trading Institute (ITI) where students could take for-credit classes under the business school and get a certificate of completion for the non-credit practice-oriented sessions, learning from practitioners in the evenings.
“My goal at SMU is to link external relevance to internal degree requirements while upholding the quality assurance requirements of the education system. Different industry partners help us with this mission to co-create and deliver the applied learning content with us.”
SMU is therefore a strategic asset for the country and both the tracks had, over the last decade, created a pool of more than 300 alumni who are knowledgeable about wholesale trading, largely in the commodities trading space and maritime operations. Now, there is available talent who are able to speak and work with more confidence up and down the trade value chain and contribute to Singapore’s relevance as a trade and maritime hub.
Another great example of PPP was manifested during the last three years of the COVID-19 crisis which saw a spate of job cuts and many experienced PMETs were laid off. Annie worked with her teams at ITI and BFI to design a nine-month Business and Digital Transformation programme which combined in-class training modules with a capstone project for candidates who are matched to SMEs to also deliver a project for these sponsoring companies. Candidates have a chance to learn and apply the knowledge and sponsoring companies also benefit from the capstone projects delivered. In addition, 70% to 90% of the programme fees are supported by SSG grants, while WSG grants provide funding support towards the candidates’ commensurate salaries.
All these partnerships were possible because a pool of companies is available and can be accessed to match the candidates as a result of SMU’s external network of trusted companies, which was strengthened by the BFI that Annie had set up 10 years ago with the support of SMU’s senior leadership. Many of Asia’s SMEs are family owned with different sets of challenges and aspirations other than the usual business issues. In addition, many of these business families have longer horizons and they are the ones that countries depend on to build businesses sustainably as they think beyond current generations.
Therefore, business families with an entrepreneurial spirit, not only make money but also contribute to changing the world through their businesses and other new ventures, including building social enterprises and philanthropic activities.
By addressing business family-specific issues such as succession, family governance, entrepreneurship and wealth management, BFI aims to strengthen the ecosystem of entrepreneurial business families and stakeholders in their creation of sustainable impact by leveraging SMU’s core competence as a thought leader. In turn, BFI has been a strong partner to the LKYGBPC. Many of LKYGBPC’s sponsors are family-owned businesses, such as Wilmar International and Frasers.
In addition, many of these family enterprises have footprints beyond Singapore and are always on the lookout for quality start-ups to invest in or be part of their accelerator programmes. Innovation is essential for a company to improve its operations, introduce new and enhanced products and services to the market, raise its efficiency, and most crucially, boost its profitability.
Annie feels that her journey in academia is more about building entrepreneurship and Technology, Talent and Trust (3Ts) are important drivers in helping companies in their transformation journeys. As such, public-private-people partnerships are even more relevant in today’s challenging and uncertain times to build back better and broader for everyone.
According to Annie, the road to digital and business transformation success is paved with courageous actions by caring and forward-looking leaders. The right leaders will build a firm sustainably and attract the right people, the right leaders will inspire and motivate the right people to learn, improve and grow.
“Developing people is my calling but learning to develop people is everyone’s responsibility. And because the world is bigger than yourself, you need to be big-hearted, purpose-oriented, and have an open mind to be successful on any path you choose,” Annie concludes.
Cleveland train users will be the next to benefit as the rollout of the Smart Ticketing system continues. Customers travelling from Central station and Cleveland station will have access to the system from 30 November 2022. Queensland’s Minister for Transport and Main Roads stated that the AU$ 371 million project continued to gather pace, with Cleveland line customers now having more ways to pay.
He said that delivering better public transport services for Queenslanders is not just about acquiring more trains or buses but about making it easier for people to use the trains without barriers. This trial allows adult customers to use their credit card, debit card, smartphone, or smartwatch to pay for their train journey – meaning you do not need to think before hopping on a train, you can just tap and go.
The Member for Capalaba stated that the system would put Queensland on par with major cities like London, Singapore, and New York. He said that record levels of investment in the region mean that commuters can get home safer and sooner, spending more time with family and friends.
Meanwhile, the Member for Lytton encouraged commuters to use the new system. She said that there is no doubt this trial is proving to be immensely popular with public transport users. She looks forward to seeing the rollout extend onto local buses, which is set to take place next year.
The project will replace 1300 fixed devices and 12,000 onboard readers to bring 18 different payment systems across the regional bus network together under one Smart Ticketing umbrella. Whether commuters are visiting family and friends in Cairns, Bowen, Rockhampton or Bundaberg, there will be one seamless way to pay.
The Member for Bulimba praised the success of the trial, which had already clocked up more than two million trips. She said that commuters and tourists alike are finding it easy to use, and we’ve seen incredible numbers tap on and off using the system since it began.
The region will continue to develop the system to bring concession card holders onboard while also encouraging those who travel at a discounted rate to continue using the go card for the time being.
The Member for Greenslopes noted that the expansion added new destinations to the Smart Ticketing map, adding that this is another crucial step toward rolling out the system across the South East Queensland heavy rail network, following on from trials already underway.
Next, the South Brisbane and South Bank transport hubs will begin the rollout of the Smart Ticketing system. This will connect the area to the hospital and health precinct as well as South Bank businesses.
Smart Ticketing is already operational on the Ferny Grove, Ipswich/Rosewood, Springfield Central, Sunshine Coast/Caboolture, Redcliffe Peninsula, Doomben and Shorncliffe train lines. Next, it will launch at the Airport, Beenleigh, and Gold Coast lines, enabling customers to interconnect from the Gold Coast Light Rail through to Brisbane CBD and the airport, with buses and ferries set to follow next year.
Train users who prefer to pay with their go card will be able to continue doing so. Customers travelling on a child or concession fare should continue to use their go card for now, as should customers travelling to or from destinations not yet using the trial, or anyone using a connecting bus or ferry service.
What is smart ticketing?
Smart Ticketing is an innovative ticketing technology that enables more ways to pay for public transport across Queensland. Over time, more Queenslanders will be able to pay for travel with contactless payment methods using a Visa, Mastercard and American Express debit card, credit card, smartphone, or smart device. As a long-term project, the aim is to have more Queenslanders tap on and off to conveniently pay for everyday travel on train, tram, bus, and ferry.
The Second Minister for Trade and Industry, Tan See Leng, and the Republic of Korea (RoK) Minister for Trade, Dukgeun Ahn, have signed the Korea-Singapore Digital Partnership Agreement (KSDPA).
Under the agreement, the two sides will work to establish digital trade rules and norms to promote interoperability between digital systems. This will enable more seamless cross-border data flows and build a trusted and secure digital environment for businesses and consumers. A government press release wrote that KSDPA will also deepen bilateral cooperation in new emerging areas such as personal data protection, e-payments, artificial intelligence, and source code protection.
The Ministers also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Implementing the Korea-Singapore Digital Economy Dialogue, which will act as a platform to promote digital economy collaboration between industry players and academic experts from both sides. The MoU is part of bilateral efforts to develop cooperative projects to implement the KSDPA. Key features of the KSDPA include:
Facilitating end-to-end digital trade
Electronic Payments (e-payments): The two sides will adopt transparent and facilitative rules (e.g. encouraging open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs)) to promote secure cross-border e-payments.
Paperless Trading: Singapore and RoK will accept electronic versions of trade administration documents to support the digitalisation and seamless exchange of key commercial documents.
Open Government Data: Both countries will ensure that government data will be publicly available in a machine-readable and open format, with easy-to-use and freely available APIs.
Enabling trusted data flows
Cross-border Data Flows (including for financial services): Businesses in Singapore and RoK will be allowed to transfer information, including those which are generated or held by financial institutions, across borders if the requisite regulations are met and with adequate personal data protection safeguards in place.
Prohibiting Data Localisation: The two nations will establish rules against data localisation requirements so that businesses can choose where their data is stored and processed, and their cloud technology of choice.
Facilitate trust in digital systems and participation in the Digital Economy
Artificial Intelligence (AI): The countries will promote the adoption of AI governance and ethical frameworks that support the trusted, safe, and responsible use of AI-based technologies.
Cryptography: Neither country will require the transfer of or access to private keys and related technologies, as a condition of market access.
Source Code Protection: To ensure software developers can trust the market within which they operate and ensure that source code is protected, neither country will require the transfer of, or access to, source code as a condition of market access. This includes the algorithm expressed in the source code.
Online Consumer Protection: The two sides will adopt laws that guard against fraudulent or deceptive conduct that causes harm to consumers engaged in online commercial activities.
Small and Medium Enterprises Cooperation: Singapore and RoK will promote jobs and growth for SMEs. They will also encourage their participation in platforms that help link them with international suppliers, buyers, and other potential business partners.
Digital Identities: The countries will promote interoperability of digital identity regimes, which can lead to reliable identity verification and the faster processing of applications. This will enable businesses and consumers to navigate the digital economy with ease and security.
Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) and an IT service management company jointly launched the “Idea Launcher” co-ideation initiative to foster and accelerate innovation and technology (I&T) development in Hong Kong through extensive support, mentoring and coaching to help early-stage start-ups nurture innovative ideas and research projects.
The project is another addition to HKTSP’s co-incubation mission with sector leaders, with the Idea Launcher being the first partnership with a corporate leader under HKSTP’s IDEATION Programme. The IT service management company collaborate closely with HKSTP to specifically support the development of early-stage ideas from emerging start-ups and next-generation entrepreneurs.
The Idea Launcher continues the strategic collaboration that the two parties began earlier this year, covering the four key pillars of Research & Development, Technology Simulation, Co-incubation, and Talent and Culture Cultivation. It is a six-month co-ideation initiative that provides early-stage start-ups and entrepreneurs with technical training, business consulting, capabilities assessment as well as project feasibility to optimise start-up solutions and concepts.
HKSTP will offer HK$ 100,000 in seed funding and incubation training to selected start-ups, while the IT service management company will provide tailor-made AWS innovation culture workshops to help start-ups build up their innovation capacity. Programme participants will also receive up to US$ 25,000 in the IT service management company’s cloud resources, as well as technical support and training through their Program, set up especially to help start-ups optimise their business models and fuel future development.
The Head of Business Development at the IT service management company’s Hong Kong and Macau branch stated that with its established start-up ecosystems and investment development teams in Hong Kong and beyond, the firm gathers talent with investment institution backgrounds and entrepreneurial experience that is geared to supporting start-ups throughout their growth cycle. He noted that the company looks forward to deepening its partnership with HKSTP to advance local start-ups and propel Hong Kong on its journey to international I&T hub status.
The Chief Corporate Development Officer of HKSTP stated in partnering with one of the world’s largest and most iconic start-ups, HKSTP is ready to elevate Hong Kong’s talented entrepreneurs onto the global stage.
About the IDEATION programme
The IDEATION programme was launched by HKSTP in 2019, furthering its support for early-stage research and development projects and innovative ideas. Well-received in the start-up community, the number of participating members and teams in the programme has more than tripled from 60 to over 230.
Start-ups will receive help turning realising their ideas and beginning their entrepreneurial journeys with the Ideation Programme – an up to one-year start-up support programme for tech-focused entrepreneurs. Through the programme, participants can develop the fundamental skills they need to kickstart their businesses. All-round support will be provided from designing a business model to finding investment. Participants will receive guidance along every step of the way, to fine-tune their ideas for technical development.
The programme provides seed funding in the form of a grant worth up to HK$ 100,000; a mentor for business advice; training on a variety of topics including Hong Kong’s start-up ecosystem, business modelling, pitching and investment, and more; access to centre facilities like co-working spaces (subject to availability), and potential to bridging programmes which means participants will be prepared for admission into other HKSTP incubation programmes.
Singapore and the United Kingdom held the 7th UK Singapore Financial Dialogue, where they renewed their commitment to deepening their financial partnership, which was agreed upon in 2021. They also discussed sustainable finance, fintech, and innovation.
The two sides signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the UK-Singapore FinTech Bridge, which is based on an agreement signed in 2016, which removes barriers to fintech trade by opening new regular talks between regulators and businesses. The FinTech Bridge will build on the active interest of fintech players in the areas of payments, regulatory technology, and wealth management. It will also provide a structured engagement that will aid the development of policy actions, enhance assessments of emerging issues, such as the development of distributed ledger technologies and data sharing, and support trade and investment flow between respective markets.
According to a press release, the countries recognised the importance of the UK-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement (DEA), which was signed earlier this year. They exchanged views on recent developments in the fintech sector, including advancements in crypto-assets, and agreed on priority areas for further cooperation. They shared their latest assessments of market developments, opportunities, trends, and longer-term expectations for the crypto-assets sector.
Further, the risks and challenges relating to financial stability and regulatory arbitrage were discussed. They shared their progress in strengthening rules on consumer protection and developing the regulation of stablecoins. Both sides agreed there is a strong need to support the safe development of a digital assets ecosystem while ensuring that risks posed by digital assets are consistently managed.
They will continue to actively participate in the shaping of robust global regulatory practices through engagement within international multilateral fora such as the Financial Stability Board (FSB), the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI), and the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO).
Regarding digital payments, Singapore provided updates on the progress of its review of e-wallet caps and the expected next steps. The event covered the recently released consultation, with the UK providing views on the key proposals. Singapore also updated on the new digital banks that recently launched their operations in Singapore.
Moreover, the sides have agreed to a roadmap for activities in sustainable finance, fintech and innovation, and other areas of mutual interest, leading up to the next Dialogue scheduled to take place in London in 2023.
The Financial Dialogue was co-chaired by the Deputy Managing Director (Markets and Development) of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Leong Sing Chiong, and the Director General (Financial Services) of HM Treasury (HMT), Gwyneth Nurse.
Two industry-led UK-Singapore business roundtables on sustainable finance and FinTech took place on 24 November 2022. Industry participants from both countries participated in this discussion. The sustainable finance Roundtable examined the implementation challenges faced by corporates in meeting their net zero targets, and how the financial industry could help to address these challenges. The FinTech Roundtable discussed the opportunities and challenges faced by FinTech firms, and how these firms could better access overseas markets, including by partnering with financial institutions.