There are few technologies which have captured the popular imagination in recent years as strongly as drones. A drone might bring to mind a friendly flying gizmo delivering pizzas to your doorstep, or a war machine raining death and destruction from the sky.
They are being used for surveillance, rescue missions, surveying and mapping, precision agriculture, insurance inspections and more. New applications are being found all the time.
OpenGov had the opportunity to discuss the future of drones with Mr. Arthur Holland Michel (above) on the sidelines of INTERPOL World in Singapore in June. Mr. Michel is Co-Director at the Centre for the Study of the Drone. It is a non-profit research and education institution founded in 2012 and a part of Bard College, a university in New York state. The Centre conducts research and produces educational content relating to challenges and opportunities that come from the proliferation and development of unmanned systems technology, both in the military and civilian domains. Within the civilian domain, that means both public use, safety agencies, governments, but also private use, whether recreational or commercial.
“The most important thing to note about the Centre for the Study of the Drone is that we are an inquiry driven organisation. We do not have a policy agenda. Our goal is to educate stakeholders about the technology and its implications so that they can then have a public debate and develop strategies and resources. We serve a wide range of stakeholders, in government, media, advocacy groups, the public at large,”Mr. Michel said.
Trends in drone technology
The technology is becoming smarter. Things like obstacle avoidance and detection, autonomous network behaviours, not just having one drone but having multiple drones that can behave in a coordinated fashion, drones that can perform mission planning among themselves, are all derived from advances in autonomy.
Mr. Michel pointed out that autonomy is always on a gradient. It’s not like there is a line between autonomy and lack of autonomy.
“A drone that can do automated obstacle avoidance has a degree of autonomy. In the commercial space, when we talk about autonomy that is commercially available, we are talking about things like automated tracking, automated obstacle avoidance, automated waypoint navigation,” he said.
The next generation of autonomy, advanced autonomy, things like network behaviour, swarm behaviour, things like automatic decisions based on sensor data analysis, so a drone recognises a person’s face and then takes particular action based on that, that is all still in the development stages.
The technology is getting smaller. Mr. Michel pointed out that DJI’s newest drone, the Spark, is small enough to fit inside your pocket. That is thanks to a range of advances in miniaturisation that did not exist a couple of years ago.
There is also miniaturisation of the sensors. So, the platform itself is getting smaller or you are able to do more with the same-sized platform.
“An infrared camera now is small enough to fit on a smartphone. All of that has a direct impact on unmanned systems technology because it means you can carry more capability in a smaller package. Weight is everything when it comes to drones,” Mr. Michel said.
There is an increasing interest in the military in having small drones that can provide squad level support. The US Marine Corps for example recently announced that they will be using 3D printed small drones in theatre in the coming months.
A third trendline is endurance. The technology is improving allowing drones to fly for longer periods of time. With that everyone is sort of waiting for a breakthrough. Lithium ion batteries are fairly heavy and they give a commercial drone about 20-30 minutes of endurance. The industry is trying hard to push that further. Because if the technology has greater endurance, you will be able to do all sorts of new things that currently aren’t possible.
Drones that don’t fly
When Mr. Michel mentioned that there is increasing interest in the military in drones that don’t fly, such as unmanned ground vehicles and maritime drones, boats and submarines, we asked if he looks at all these as ‘drones’ in his research.
He replied yes and explained, “We think it’s useful to consider drones as being not just aircraft. As the technology continues to evolve, the definitions are going to become more blurred. You are going to see drones that can both swim and fly. You are going to see drones that can operate on the ground and can also swim. We also think it’s useful to use this broad definition because a lot of the same issues arise from unmanned technologies across domains. Autonomy, regulations, these are all questions that you see for unmanned ground vehicles or unmanned undersea vehicles, just as much you see for drones in the sky.”
Barriers in the way
There are technological barriers and regulatory barriers and the two are related.
There are some barriers, such as endurance, that are sort of intrinsic to the technology.
If we have a large facility and we want to fly a drone for say perimeter security, it would be impossible to conduct persistent surveillance with a drone can fly for only 20 minutes.
We can get around the endurance problem by having a tethered drone, a drone that is attached to the ground by a thin cable. That provides unlimited endurance but limits the mobility. The drone can’t move around.
Mr. Michel gave another example, “You think about police operations where you are going to have a drone overhead. Unless the operation is less than 20 minutes long, the drone is going to have to come down to ground at some point.”
Finally, there are limitations in terms of autonomy. If someone has invested 60,000 dollars in buying a drone, they would not trust it to execute a mission autonomously, without crashing into something, without messing up. That results in the need for a human operator for the drone.
Then there are regulatory barriers that have to do with the technology. Because the technology is not yet at a point where it is fully reliable and robust enough to do autonomous missions, swarms of drones are not legal in any country.
“So, in most countries, Amazon’s drone delivery programme is not legal at the moment, because for that to happen, they would need swarms of autonomous drones. Until the technology can actually evolve along these trendlines, some of those regulatory barriers will stay in place,” Mr. Michel said.
There are regulatory barriers limiting the size of the drone. In countries like the United States, the drone has to be less than 25 kilograms. If we want to carry a 25 kg package, we can’t do that with a 25 kg drone.
There are some other limitations which exist from a regulatory perspective. Such as you can’t fly at night in many countries. It’s a safety consideration.
There’s a conundrum here. “The regulatory bodies want to see that the technology is safe before they create regulations that enable it to do all of these things. But these technologies won’t be able to demonstrate that they are safe until they are used at a vast scale, which requires the regulators to open up. It’s a catch-22,” Mr. Michel explained.
Most countries are looking seriously at regulations for drones. In countries where there are no regulations yet, there is a really strong imperative for them to build regulations, because they are getting pressure from industry and from users.
International collaboration on regulation
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a UN agency recently is looking at unmanned aircraft system traffic management systems. The European Union (EU) has started to develop a proposal for an operation centric, proportionate, risk- and performance-based regulatory framework for all unmanned aircraft.
In the military area, there are serious concerns. Currently military drones always have a human pilot. In the future though, drones maybe autonomous. They may be able to make a lethal decision autonomously without a human operator. So, a drone identifies a target, uses computer visions, makes a decision that it is a threat and executes a kill on that target autonomously.
The UN’s Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) has had several annual meetings specifically looking at this issue. They have experts that are actively researching the issue with an eye to potentially developing an international agreement, similar to the international agreements for cluster munitions, land mines, for certain non-lethal weapons like blinding lasers. There has been a lot of international discussion and dialogue (here and here) to look at potentially developing regulations or a convention.
“There is some talk of potentially getting to that point. But there is a lot of disagreement. It’s a very, very complex process to establish a convention like this. It still remains to be seen whether it will actually happen,” Mr. Michel said.
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.
The Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW recently unveiled Our Vision for Regional Communities – a new strategy to ensure regional NSW remains an ideal best place to live, work, play and raise a family.
He noted that the release is a vision for the regional NSW we are building with local communities, backed by real action that will make a real difference in people’s everyday lives. Over the past decade, billions have been invested in the infrastructure NSW needs and in growing regional economies.
The vision shows how the Government plans to build on that foundation and ensure regional communities have access to the education and health services they deserve and attract the workforce needed to deliver these services. It will ensure families can find a home by tackling housing pressures and delivering the infrastructure and services they need in their local community, he added.
The strategy’s launch was also used to announce:
- A new welcome experience to be piloted across eight regional locations to support key workers to relocate to the regions and put down roots;
- An AU$5 million investment in scholarships to upskill existing health workers and attract new staff to regional communities;
- A trial of contactless payments on regional bus services in Dubbo and Bathurst to make services easier to use
Our Vision for Regional Communities is backed by a detailed three-year action plan that outlines key initiatives that will bring the vision to life. Initiatives already underway under the plan include:
- An AU$2.4 billion investment in strengthening the regional health workforce including innovative approaches to training and incentives;
- An AU$174 million investment in key worker housing that will deliver hundreds of new homes for teachers, police, and health workers over the next four years;
- An AU$98 million investment in a new AU$250 travel card for regional apprentices and university students to ease the cost of travel for training and classes;
- An AU$160 million investment in social and sporting infrastructure, and community programs like bike paths, playgrounds, and community centres through the Stronger Country Communities Fund;
- An AU$59 million investment in the next generation including $40 million for local initiatives shaped by youth for youth.
Our vision recognises that regional communities are diverse and need local solutions that work for them. Our Vision for Regional Communities and Action Plan 2023-2025 is a future-focused strategy with key priorities across healthcare, education, communities and places and regional homes.
Connectivity is the main pillar of the vision. Through the Vision, the Government will support high-quality physical and digital connectivity to enable access to quality services, delivered more efficiently, and with greater equity.
The global smart infrastructure market size was US$77.66 billion in 2020; it is projected to grow from US$97.20 billion in 2021 to US$434.16 billion in 2028 at a CAGR of 23.8% during the 2021-2028 period. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the smart infrastructure market witnessed a negative demand shock across all regions.
Smart infrastructure projects require funding from public and private resources. These advanced infrastructure models use ICTs services to communicate or optimise resources. Due to constant interaction, big data plays a vital role in developing and building a smart infrastructure.
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.
Two tech companies operating within Hong Kong’s Smart Government Innovation Lab announced the roll-out of solutions that are now ready to be acquired by companies and institutions.
Solution I – AI Autonomous Disinfection Robot
The solution, called Bubble Fish, is a disinfection robot that can effectively purify the air and precisely eliminate the coronavirus as well as a variety of common epidemic bacteria. It is equipped with a precise radar for automatic navigation and obstacle avoidance, based on the construction and data communication.
Robots can connect through a phone application, realise the transparency of work data (this includes disinfection logs, machine states, etc.), database storage, and remote control the robot. With this system, users can manage and trace the current and previous disinfection work in a closed loop.
The solution was developed to be applied across the areas of City Management, Commerce and Industry, Development, Education, Employment and Labour, Environment, Housing, Recreation and Culture, Social Welfare as well as Transport.
The solution employs the latest in Artificial Intelligence (AI).
The disinfection robot can be set to schedule and after the disinfection tasks are finished, the robot will be returned to the charger automatically. In this way, disinfection tasks can be conducted when the user needs them and the robot can be operational for 24 hours. Employing the disinfection robot can reduce the costs of janitor head counts and a janitor can be shifted to other cleaning tasks. Thus, productivity, efficiency and cleanliness would be increased.
Solution II – Certificate Creation and Authentication Management System
The second solution is a Certificate Creation and Authentication Management System. The process of certificate-making and issuance consists of the following pain points:
- Certificate issued by the institution
Traditionally, when issuing certificates, it is necessary to first design the content. This includes the trademark and certificate, which is usually handed over to the designer. After the design is completed, it is handed over to the printing factory to set the quantity and generate inventory. More certificate types will generate more inventory. To print the inventory certificate, the applicant’s name, date, and certificate number must be entered. Then, this is sent to the applicant via mail or self-pickup.
This process results in the wastage of paper, film, time, and money. The process of third-party verification inquiry and certificate re-issuance also requires labour to ensure that the certificates of institutions and brands will not be plagiarised.
- Certificate applicant
For most courses, exams, and activities it is very unlikely the certificate will be received on the same day. For lost documents, an applicant will need to file for a reissue, and store all previous certificates.
- Third-party verification
If the authenticity of the certificate cannot be identified, it needs to be checked with the issuing authority, and the result cannot be known immediately.
Thus, aimed at addressing these three pain points, the company has developed a set of clear, convenient, and practical ideas. This innovative approach can make the three aspects more coordinated. The following are the key points of change in the eCertApp:
- Certificate Management System
This application streamlines issuance, verification, storage and sharing. Each certificate is independently coded, and the block certificate has a fast authentication function. It can also convert old paper certificates into smart certificates, systematically archive them, reduce workload, and change the global traditional paper certificate issuance and verification ecology.
- Certificate collector
The company’s certificate platform cooperates with mobile applications. Through this, users can apply for and receive certificates issued by multiple institutions, store them permanently, never lose the certificates, facilitate management, and share them with people who may be interested at any time.
- Third-party Verifier
A QR code is assigned for code scanning and NFC authentication for quick authentication. All certificate codes are unique, and it takes less than a second to check the authenticity of the certificate, the background of the organisation’s registration and contact information.
This two-dimensional code is a non-contact way of using quick response code, while two-dimensional code (QR Code) and NFC use “near field communication” tags and radio frequency technology to implant chips into products without damaging their appearance. The encryption program can read the authenticity of the product and transfer it to the product owner.
The solution was developed to be applied across the areas of City Management, Development, Education, Employment and Labour, Environment, Health, Infrastructure, Law, and Security as well as Recreation and Culture.
The solution employs the latest in Blockchain, Cloud Computing and Mobile Technologies.
The Platform has a wide range of uses. In addition to certificates, it can also be used for certification documents, recommendation letters, membership cards, certificates with expiration dates, including product repair and warranty certificates, product certificates, ownership transfers and the app will update users when an expiration date is reached.
The platform can set up and open multiple branches and administrators and can manage certificates for each branch worldwide. Moreover, all future and currently issued certificates and design templates can be managed through an at-a-glance dashboard.
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.
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.