Critical events are becoming more common for businesses to manage. From significant weather events, natural disasters and global pandemics, they create operational disruptions and have an enormous financial impact.
OpenGov had the opportunity to speak with Graeme Orsborn, VP – International CEM Business Unit, Everbridge, whose company mission is to keep people safe and help organisations avoid, reduce the impact of, and recover from disruption to operations when a critical event occurs.
The discussion revolved around the value of Critical Event Management for any organisation as well as the basics steps to take in order to put in place a successful critical event management plan and how that applies in the global COVID-19 crisis today.
Everbridge, Inc. is a global software company that provides enterprise software applications that automate and accelerate organisations’ operational response to critical events.
A report recently published by Everbridge explained how global health crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, crippled several industries from manufacturing to travel with the expected impact in the trillions.
Comparatively, the 2003 SARS outbreak had a 10-year impact on the Hong Kong and China economy and decreased the real GDP growth of all major economies. Coronavirus is expected to have a wider effect yet to be fully realised!
In light of these crises, the need to create a proactive and efficient Critical Event Management programme has become a top priority for all organisations regardless of size.
“Critical event management is the evolution of how to now manage critical events in a much more structured way for organisations. Historically organisations worked in a siloed approach – the business continuity team, instant response team, life safety team, HR functions, supply chain functions – all managing critical events but they weren’t doing it in a holistic fashion.”
Senior Management Looking at Critical Event Management as a Priority
Graeme explained that due to the increased occurrence of critical events in day-to-day business as well as those across the world, like COVID-19, along with rapid changes such as digitalisation, has made senior leaders look at Critical Event Management as a priority.
Management is changing and management is now being forced to change. This is now a board-level discussion. When looking at things like cyber-attacks that happen, or even currently, the change in the world where people are having to cope with new ways of working – these are bringing critical event management to the forefront.
There has been a huge evolution which has happened over the last 19 years; and there has been a huge change regarding culture. Bricks and mortar organisations, in comparison to online ones, have to adapt themselves because things have changed so quickly.
Prescriptiveness and Predictability
Graeme highlighted two keywords when talking about Critical Event Management – prescriptiveness and predictability.
“When we look at critical events, the key for every single organisation is how predictable can we be in regard to our response and how prescriptive can we make that.”
Graeme gave the example of a Chief Executive from a Finance Institute in New York who always believed that there was a potential adverse event that could happen to their location. Therefore, every single month they practised evacuating the building. He took the potential threat so seriously that the management went out and got everybody a pair of pumps which sat underneath their desk.
The key behind good critical event management is, actually, familiarity – which requires organisational change.
Quick Assessment & Action
This really the simple value proposition of critical about management is bad things happen to good things that people care about – that constitutes a critical event.
And organisations need to take action.
When we bring those two together, it’s really about understanding very quickly what the impact is – the assessment phase
After the initial assessment phase, organisations move into the action phase.
When organisations do an assessment, they have to determine whether it comes from a reliable source. What is the disruption? Where is it?
“It is amazing when we look at how long this takes organisations just to be able to assess the current incident that they are being alerted to.”
If the assessment cannot be done in a timely fashion, then it is no longer incident management – it transitions to recovery.
The recovery phase is how an organisation can identify or communicate to the correct people at the correct time during that incident.
Everbridge is seeing transformation because of how people are doing this; because of the companies that are doing it and the people that are being spoken to are seeing the value.
Identifying Pain Points Fundamental to Critical Event Management
For organisations who are starting to develop their critical event management plan, the Everbridge team shared that taking note of the businesses core pain points are the starting blocks to building a critical event management plan.
“Every single organisation is suffering from some type of incident every single day, and what we are focused on is Where is the most pain? We really try to identify where that pain point is coming from and how to best benefit business.”
It is imperative to have senior management buy-in because it is essentially the senior leadership team that has to drive the initiative. At the starting point, it is a value-add proposition for the organisation which is a senior management decision.
The Everbridge teams have to pick a painful experience that an organisation has experienced and one that the organisation is able to identify that they have faced some challenges.
The beginning phase is helping the organisation understand how Everbridge consolidates all of the alerts to their biggest challenges – this is referred to as alert velocity.
Everbridge has done a lot of different exercises for a number of different organisations where a simple thing such as the fire drill poses a huge issue because people actually don’t know who’s in the building at that time.
From an Everbridge perspective, in the fire drill scenario, they do that (determine who’s in the building) through connecting things such as the visitor management system and access control systems.
Using information from these systems allows them to have a unified data set immediately. This makes it so simple that when the organisation’s management team sees the data set, they get an overview immediately. And then they know the change(s) that need to be done.
These types of value-adds are what really drive the speed of response and also a culture change – because people understand the value of what Everbridge is doing.
COVID-19 highlights the need for Critical Event Management
When looking at the evolution of COVID-19 across the world, it seems that the world has learnt a huge amount. Going through the crisis has actually opened eyes in a much more stringent way.
This is giving people a huge amount of focus in regards to what they prepared to do – what they understand needs to be done to be able to respond to the next event.
Graeme used the example to show how Taiwan has coped with COVID-19 after being traumatised by the SARS experience.
On the very first day Taiwan got the news from Wuhan, they applied everything that they learned from SARS. At the time the count of cases in Taiwan was less than 400, and the number of casualties less than 10.
Taiwan has never gone under lockdown, and are informing their population on a very regular basis without any alerting fatigue.
From their experience with SARS, they have defined a set of best practices, which is independent of the World Health Organization.
Taipei is the capital in the world that is the most prone to earthquakes, typhoons and potential invasion by China. So there is the super preparedness, not only from the government but also from the mindset of the people.
They have started wearing some masks from day one without it being imposed, knowing that this is to protect others and not to protect themselves.
The government had taken measures but not total measures to disrupt the flights from mainland China immediately and especially from Wuhan.
It is possible to convince people to adopt best practices and hopefully with software that supports these best practices at the government level and at a company level.
Graeme also told of another learning to come from the current global crisis, which is the danger of misinformation, lack of strategy and communication.
The biggest education is in the absence of a transparent strategy there is an information vacuum. People will make their own decisions or will seek out information themselves from the easiest sources – which tend to be online social media.
They will come to their own conclusions about what they should do next and that is a more frightening danger than a government coming up with an incorrect strategy.
At least if it’s a strategy, you have everyone pulling in the right direction or at least a single direction. If you have that lack of information and sort of feel that some of the countries in the world are sorted out on this teetering edge unless those strategies are made clear very, very quickly.”
This leads us to the second installment of our exclusive interview: How Communication is Key to the Success of a Critical Event Management Plan
The National Super Computing Mission (NSM) of India is making significant headway in boosting the high power computing capacity in the country. The nation is rapidly expanding its supercomputer facilities and developing the appropriate capacity to manufacture its supercomputers in the country.
The NSM is jointly steered by the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) and Department of Science and Technology (DST) and implemented by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Pune and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru.
The National Super Computing Mission is deploying a phased strategy through its various arms to meet the increasing computational demands of academia, researchers, MSMEs, and startups in areas like oil exploration, flood prediction as also genomics and drug discovery.
With the infrastructure planned in NSM Phase-I already installed and much the infrastructure of Phase-II in place, the network of supercomputers through the country will soon reach to around 16 Petaflops (PF). Phase-III, to be initiated in January 2021, will take the computing speed to around 45 Petaflops.
Param Shivay, the first supercomputer assembled indigenously, was installed in IIT (BHU), followed by Param Shakti and Param Brahma at IIT-Kharagpur and IISER, Pune, respectively.
Thereafter supercomputing facilities were set up in two more institutions, and one is being set up in Phase-I, ramping up high power computing speed to 6.6 PF under Phase-1. In Phase-II, 8 more institutions will be equipped with supercomputing facilities by April 2021, with a total of 10 PF compute capacity. Work on Phase-III will start in 2021 and will include three systems of 3 PF each and one system of 20PF as a national facility.
MoUs have been signed with 14 premier institutions of India to establish supercomputing infrastructure along with assembly and manufacturing capacity within the country. These include IITs, NITs, National Labs, and IISERs. While some of these have already been installed, more will be done by December this year. The Phase-II installations will be completed by April 2021.
The three phases will provide access to High-Performance Computing (HPC) Facilities to 75 institutions and thousands of active researchers and academicians working through Nation Knowledge Network (NKN) – the backbone for supercomputing systems.
HPC and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have converged together. A 100 AI PF Artificial Intelligence supercomputing system is being created and installed in C-DAC, which can handle incredibly large-scale AI workloads increasing the speed of computing-related to AI several times.
The mission has also created the next generation of supercomputer experts by training more than 2400 supercomputing manpower and faculties till date.
Powered by the NSM, India’s network of research institutions, in collaboration with the industry, is scaling up the technology and manufacturing capability to make more and more parts in India. While in Phase-I, 30% value addition is done in India, that has been scaled up to 40% in Phase-II.
Efforts are being made to design and develop parts like server board, interconnect, processor, system software libraries, storage, and HPC-AI converged accelerator domestically. India has developed an Indigenous server (Rudra), which can meet the HPC requirements of all governments and PSUs. This is the first time that a server system was made in India, along with the full software stack developed by C-DAC.
Experts said that the pace at which things are moving forward, we may soon have the motherboards and sub-systems manufactured in India, making the supercomputers indigenously designed and manufactured.
Such indigenously designed systems with most parts designed and manufactured in India will be installed at places like IIT-Mumbai, IIT-Chennai, and Inter-University Accelerator Centre (IUAC) at Delhi, C-DAC, Pune, which are covered under Phase-III and help move towards supercomputers developed and manufactured totally in India paving the way for self-reliance in the field.
The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has expressed complete support for the vision of e-governance as outlined in the Senate Bill 1738 (E-Governance Act of 2020) as a means of institutionalising e-Governance in the Philippines to cope with the transition to the new normal and the challenges posed by the COVID-19 threat.
“In an age where almost everything can be done online and through other digital platforms, the government must harness the power of information and communications technology to better serve its purpose and bring the government closer to the people,” Senator Go, who filed the Bill on 27 July 2020.
The DICT was confident that the Bill when enacted, would complement and enhance the current efforts it has undertaken to transform public service delivery through prioritisation of digitalisation initiatives.
“We are ramping up our digitalisation plans to accelerate solid client-responsive reforms, and the filing of Senator Go of the Bill is a welcome development towards an apparently shared vision between the Executive and the Legislative when it comes to national digital transformation,” DICT Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II said. “Digital transformation should be done with interoperation as a long-term goal and with client experience always as a top consideration.”
The proposed legislation aims to establish an integrated and interoperable information system for the whole of government, an internal records management system, an information database, and digital portals for government services. The bill also aims to do away with paper-based and outdated models of bureaucratic work within government agencies and units to improve efficiency.
It envisions the establishment of the Integrated Government Network (IGN) which would serve as the primary mode of information and resource sharing among the government and function as the government’s focal information management tool and communications network.
DICT is currently focusing on interconnecting government agencies and integrating their services towards a long-term target of seamless interoperation. The Department is focusing on various digitalisation solutions under its ICT-enabled government agenda, which includes both a strengthening of existing platforms as well as looking into inter-sectoral initiatives to improve public service delivery for a recalibrated Digital Government.
DICT is enhancing government interconnectivity with the Philippine Government Network (GovNet), that provides government offices with high-speed broadband connection linked to a secure data centre, allowing the processing and transfer of sizeable data for more efficient public services. GovNet interconnects government agencies to promote better information exchange and improve the accessibility of resources.
Additionally, the department continuously provides efficient and quality services through the National Government Portal (NGP), a centralised platform where citizens can currently access 231 e-Government services online through www.gov.ph for easier navigation. Another key program to integrate government services is the National Government Data Center (NGDC) Project, which addresses the ICT system needs of government agencies by providing centralised locations where computing and networking equipment shall be housed.
DICT Department supports efforts to promote ease of doing business through the NationalBusinessOne-Stop-Shop(NBOSS), which was launched in partnership with the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), to allow for the simpler business registration process that can be completed within 7 and a half days. Similarly, the Central Business Portal (CBP) complements the NBOSS as the online platform that receives business applications and links registrants to the concerned government unit/agency to complete the transactions.
The Department is also gearing for e-Government interoperability for 2021 through a portfolio of inter-sectoral initiatives it is currently developing, in line with the recommendations of the “We Recover as One” Report of the IATF-MEID’s Technical Working Group (TWG) for Anticipatory and Forward Planning (AFP).
With these enhanced initiatives in place, the DICT affirms its commitment to lead efforts towards government digital transformation in support of the President’s directives and parallel to the legislative push for digitalisation of services.
“We are extending all efforts to transform how we deliver public services, how we transact with the people, and how we move forward in the new normal by maximising the benefits of information and communications technology,” Secretary Honasan said.
The Vietnam government strongly believes that ensuring safety in cyberspace will accelerate the process of national digital transformation as it is the key to a successful and sustainable digital transformation.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the ITU Digital World 2020, Minister Nguyen Manh Hung said that Vietnam considers digital platforms as a way to accelerate national digital transformation, considering cybersecurity a key factor to create digital trust and Institutional reform the decisive factor for digital transformation. Vietnam considers digital platforms as a way to accelerate national digital transformation, considering cybersecurity a key factor to create digital trust and institutional reform the decisive factor for digital transformation.
Vietnamese technology not only solves Vietnamese problems but also contributes to solving global problems. The platforms showcased in ITU Digital World 2020 online exhibition and the technological solutions in the prevention of Covid-19, such as Bluezone and Ncovi, are concrete examples. According to Minister Nguyen Manh Hung, digital infrastructure with “Make in Vietnam” digital products and platforms are ready for the digital economy and society, ready for a digital Vietnam.
Vietnam has conditions to become a technology country, to use technology as a driving force for national development, to go at the same pace as other countries, for global cooperation and together build a digital world. The government considers telecommunications and IT infrastructure development one of the top priorities, and digital transformation an important solution for the country’s fast and sustainable development.
However, spam messages, e-mails and calls have been a burning issue for years in Vietnam. The issues of how to prevent spam have and are a topic of discussion at many National Assembly’s sessions.
After one year of compilation with many amendments, Decree 91 was issued by the government on August 14. The latest decree has many positive developments as compared to decrees 90 and 77 addressing the same issue. Legislators and experts are confident that the decree will have a significant impact on reducing spam in the Vietnamese digital landscape.
The strong measures were designed after learnings from the experience of developed countries were applied to strategies. Case in hand: since Australia started a DoNotCall list, 50% of subscribers have registered not to receive ad messages.
Decree 91 gives new definitions about spam messages and emails and adds a new concept about a ‘spam call’, which helps set the criteria for recognizing spam messages, calls and emails. The new decree mentions new measures for users to protect themselves from spam, including DoNotCall, the list of subscribers refusing advertising messages.
As the compiler of Decree 91 on fighting spam SMS, calls and messages, an official with the Authority for Information Security, Dang Huy Hoang, said he was happy that he could contribute to reducing ‘garbage’ in digital space, “All my enthusiasm and 8-year experience in fighting against spam are shown in the content of the decree.”
Hoang began working on the anti-spam segment in late 2012 and early 2013 when he had the chance to work with an expert at VNCERT. Since then, he has been fighting against spam. Hoang said over the last 10 years of working at the Ministry of Information and Communication, his colleague and he have been working determinedly to resolve the issues at hand. In addition to compiling Decree 91, he was also one of the compilers of circulars and other legal documents and set the criteria applied to technological solutions that recognize and authenticate genuine subscribers using artificial intelligence for prevention of spam messages.
Decree 91 also stipulates that mobile network operators have to improve techniques to prevent and filter spam, using modern technologies such as AI, Big Data, Machine Learning and behaviour analysis technology. The decree also sets new sanction methods to deter violators and protect users.
Soon after the decree was issued, Hoang and his colleagues put in place a plan to bring the decree to fruition. The new management mechanism is hoped to help mitigate spam and promote the legal advertising market and create a more secure digital ecosystem for the nation.
Recently OpenGov Asia reported don the sharp decrease in virus-infected computer networks in Vietnam. The initiative is a large-scale campaign aiming to ensure the safety and benefits of communities, businesses, individuals and families that use internet-connected devices that are networked in a cyber environment.
The Singapore Government has announced that they will combine the power of TraceTogether and SafeEntry, two technologies dveloped by the government to help prevent or slow the transmission of COVID-19 in Singapore
In order to resume larger-scale activities and further reopen the economy in a safer manner, TraceTogether-only SafeEntry, known as TT-only SE, will be progressively expanded to more venues.
The use of TT-only SE will provide added assurance that everyone present at these largerscale activities is better protected by effective contact tracing through participation in the TraceTogether Programme.
“TT-only SE ensures that if a COVID-19 case is identified, we can quickly inform close contacts in those locations through the TT Programme. The close contacts can immediately take the necessary precautions to keep their loved ones safe.”
By end of this year, we plan for all popular venues that currently require SE to transit to TT-only SE. The current scanning on-site QR codes with a phone camera, using SingPass Mobile for SE check-in, and scanning of personal IDs, will be disabled at venues where TT-only SE is implemented.
Instead, SE is allowed only if one uses their TT App to scan the on-site QR code, or if they let the on-site entry staff scan the QR code on their TT Token.
Staged Rollout of TT-only-SE
Since August 2020, TT-only SE has been trialled at selected venues where people are likely to be in close contact for prolonged periods, or where human traffic is high, to ensure that individuals at these venues are covered by the TT Programme.
From now till mid-November, TT-only SE will be implemented in venues with activities that involve larger groups of people. These include live performances, business events, places of worship conducting congregational and other worship services with more than 100 people and cinemas. Members of the public who intend to attend these activities are encouraged to download the TT App or collect their TT Token as soon as possible.
By December, TT Tokens would already have been widely available for a substantial period of time. TT-only SE will be implemented at all popular venues where SE is currently mandatory. This would include workplaces, schools, shopping malls and F&B outlets. The latest list of venues which will transit to TT-only SE will be updated on an ongoing basis at www.safeentry.gov.sg/deployment.
TraceTogether Programme Crucial for Effective Contact Tracing
TT and SE are critical digital tools that allow us to quickly contain the spread of COVID19 the moment it is detected, so that we can safely ease our measures and continue to resume economic and social activities.
These tools help to stem multiple generations of spread and prevent large clusters from forming. We seek everyone’s cooperation in using SE and participating in the TT Programme, to make Singapore safer from COVID-19.
Vietnam’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) under the Authority of Information Security, Ministry of Information and Communications announced the results of the implementation of its campaign on reviewing and removing malware nationwide for this year.
The results were released by Tran Quang Hung, director of the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) under the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC).
The initiative is a large-scale campaign aiming to ensure the safety and benefits of communities, businesses, individuals and families that use internet-connected devices that are networked in a cyber environment.
The goal of the campaign is to reduce the rate of malware infection by 50% and reduce the number of IP addresses of Vietnamese computer systems in globally popular computer networks infected with viruses by 50%overall.
Researches by a number of reputable security firms that conduct global surveys showed that although malware infection in Vietnam had decreased recently, it was still high compared to other countries in the world.
Statistics showed that Vietnam had about 16 million computer addresses following the 4th generation internet protocol (referred to as IPv4) in the middle of September 2020. Of these, about three million IP addresses were frequently blacklisted by many international organisations.
One of the key outcomes of the campaign implementation is to take Vietnam out of the top list of malware infection rates reported by major security and information technology firms in the world.
The campaign was hosted by the Ministry of Information and Communications and implemented by NCSC in co-ordination with corporations including VNPT, Viettel, BKAV, FPT and CMC.
Many individuals and organisations have joined forces to check and remove malware from thousands of infected computers of individuals and businesses free of charge. The number of individuals and organizations giving feedback to the campaign has reached over 17,000.
Of the 900,000+ computers involved in malware scanning, over 300,000 infected computers were pinpointed and attended to by units participating in the campaign.
Information technology units, participating in the campaign, provide tools to inspect, process, and remove malware to ensure user safety when using computers and internet-connected devices.
Good quality anti-malware software is updated and allowed for free use by the providers themselves on a dedicated website. There have been more than five million approaches to the campaign after three weeks of implementation.
The Vietnam government strongly believes that ensuring safety in cyberspace will accelerate the process of national digital transformation as it is the key to a successful and sustainable digital transformation.
Spam and fake calls are a global problem that has emerged in Vietnam in recent years, a representative of the Telecommunications Department said.
According to the Telecommunications Department under the Ministry of Information and Communications, mobile network operators in Vietnam locked 34,700 subscribers that made spam calls and prevented over 9 million fake calls in the last three months.
Since July this year, network operators have blocked outgoing calls of more than 34,700 subscribers who made spam calls, including 16,288 subscribers in September 2020 alone. Additionally, network operators blocked over 9 million fake calls since July of which and 3.3 million fake calls were in September.
After network operators sent messages warning subscribers about fake calls, the proportion of subscribers answering calls made by strange numbers decreased from about 40% in June and July 2020 to below 10% at present. Reports of fake calls to the police have also dropped by 70%.
To ensure better cooperation of mobile service users, the Telecommunications Department and network operators have appealed to the wider community to work with the government and operators.
The Australian Government has updated the National Security Science and Technology Priorities, to strengthen the country’s national security.
The update identified six priority areas, including cybersecurity, intelligence, border security and identity management, technology foresight, investigative support and forensic science, and preparedness, protection, prevention and incident response.
The update has given greater consideration to recent challenges such as national resilience and biosecurity. These priorities will help to drive strategic advantage by developing, adapting and delivering science and technology solutions to current and future national security challenges.
The National Security and Defence community will work closely to shape and harness the national science and technology enterprise, to achieve a cohesive innovation system as outlined in the 2020 Defence Strategic Update.
Given the commitment and capacity of adversaries to engineer smarter, more agile and increasingly innovative technologies to threaten Australia’s national security, and the growing challenges arising from its natural environment that test the resilience of its society and national systems, the country must remain at the forefront of science and technology to remain agile and anticipative of new and emerging threats.
Currently, Defence, specifically Defence Science and Technology (DST), is responsible for coordinating national security science and technology. DST is recognised as having expertise across key areas of science and technology delivery, experience in establishing and managing diverse research programs, and strong connections with domestic and international science and technology providers.
The six national security science and technology priority areas are:
- Technology Foresighting
The ability to monitor, analyse and evaluate the implications of scientific and technological developments to prevent strategic and tactical surprise.
The ability to collect, analyse, integrate, assess and disseminate intelligence with the accuracy, scale and speed required to support timely national security and intelligence decision making.
- Preparedness, Protection, Prevention and Incident
The ability to appropriately equip and prepare Australian agencies to effectively address national security threats and natural or man-made destructive events, including mass-harm and mass-damage incidents, either by preventing their occurrence, or responding and recovering effectively if they have occurred.
- Cyber Security
The ability to strengthen the cybersecurity and resilience of critical infrastructure and systems of national significance through the conduct of research and development, and the delivery of advanced cyber technologies, tools, techniques and education.
- Border Security and Identity Management
National security community’s ability to protect and secure Australia’s borders from disease outbreaks, hazardous material and threats to our community, including maximum disruption effect on illegal activity and migration with projected growth in people and cargo movement across Australian borders.
- Investigative Support and Forensic Science
Law enforcement’s ability to prevent, disrupt and prosecute terrorist and criminal activities in a complex transnational and evolving digital environment.
Fostering academic and industry partnerships
The NSSTC continues to strengthen national science and technology partner capabilities to enhance targeted delivery to the Australian national security agencies. NSSTC participated in the May 2018 Civil Security Congress and Exposition which provided an opportunity to widely engage with Australian industry.
Of particular note, two Australian companies have produced equipment in the areas of explosive trace detection and stand-off detection of improvised explosive devices following receipt of NSSTC development funding.
Some current projects include:
- Novel fingerprint detection techniques
- Developing CBRN risk protocols to ensure first responder safety
Fostering international collaboration
The NSSTC maintains bilateral Memorandums of Understanding with the following international partners:
- US Department of Homeland Security
- US Combatting Terrorism Technical Support Office
- UK Home Office
- Canadian Centre for Security Science
- New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
Building on the successful bilateral engagements between allied nations, a Five Nation Research and Development Initiative (5RD Initiative) has been established which seeks to create new opportunities to deliver more efficient and cost-effective access to results, expand research, development, testing, and evaluation capacity, and offset limitations in a constrained and fluctuating budget environment.
DST’s national security science and technology program
The NSSTC drives dual-use application of sovereign DST technology encouraging applicability in both military and national security environments.
DST has directly contributed to the nation’s security through the delivery of national security science and technology solutions in areas such as facial recognition algorithms, video analytics, vehicle survivability, decision support systems, blast modelling, cyber open-source training, home-made explosive characterisation and threat assessments, toxic chemical detectors and support to numerous operations.
Specific work includes assistance with the characterisation of the threat for the aviation security incident in Sydney July 2017 and recently working with Home Affairs to host a Chemical, Biological and Radiological Capability Exercise (CAPEX) in Queensland, which involved CBR specialists from Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and the United States.
In a major initiative, the Ministry of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in a major initiative onboarded its latest IT tools of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to provide assistance and solutions to micro, small and medium enterprises.
The ministry has implemented AI & ML on its robust Single Window System ‘Champions’ which was launched by the Prime Minister on 1 June 2020. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning analytics can be seen at the “AI Corner” on the portal.
The introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) has been done to strengthen the ministry’s Single Window System Portal ‘Champions’ that has been assisting MSMEs across the nation. This multi-modal system has virtual portals and technology-equipped physical control rooms at 69 locations spread across the country. It has emerged as one of the front runner platforms for the MSMEs in a very short span.
The ministry took the COVID-19 as an opportunity to deploy cutting-edge interventions. In this difficult period, the ministry not only whole-heartedly supported MSMEs but used it to break barriers and make a paradigm shift in operations for the sector. The ministry further is working aggressively to take the MSMEs, and the nation, in the direction of Industry 4.0. The ministry is itself, adopting technologies categorised as part of Industry 4.0 and is also encouraging MSMEs to similarly adopt the latest available technology.
Taking self-reliance a further step ahead, the ministry is aiding MSMEs to manufacture essential and enabling products like sensors, motors, computer displays and other animation technologies. In line with this strategy, the ministry has implemented Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning on their Champions portal. The entire concept, scope analysis and design were done inhouse by the Ministry with the help of NIC and under the guidance of their tech partner.
The ministry’s technology partner has been guiding the Ministry over the last five months in implementing some of the tools of AI & ML. The ministry confirmed that the technology partner implemented the entire domain of AI & ML on the Champions portal free of cost.
The ministry confirmed they have deployed the tools to enable and optimise the Champions portal with AI & ML Analytics technology to derive a wide range of insights. This is helping them understand the issues in real-time which includes information intelligence and sentiment analysis based on widely available social media and online data.
In this current phase, the AI and ML tools:
- give the MSME Ministry social media insights relating to MSMEs for its policy action through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Blogs, Forums and online news that were not available to earlier;
- enable the ministry to get the pulse of the entire MSME Sector even without the stakeholders going to our portal; till now, the ministry was dependent on the complaints and data which were seen on our the CHAMPIONS portal (for grievance redressal);
- make it possible to know the context and atmosphere of the people involved with or dependent on the MSME sector in real-time;
- present data-driven insights that are easy to understand. The tools can slice and dice data in many ways that were not available in traditional tools of Management Information Systems;
- empower all levels of staff, not just specialists, to easily discover actionable points;
- take over tedious work of preparing data for analysis, freeing up human resources to engage in more productive work.
- Allow data analytics to be easily shared as real-time live-data links with the teams at Central (Hub level) and spokes of CHAMPIONS Control Rooms spread all over India;
Ministry of MSME also said that now the next phase is relatively easier for which the trial is on. The second phase would be directed towards real-time grievance redressal and management.
This includes increasing the performance of control rooms and officers through AI-enabled ChatBots for faster response to the query of portal users. It will also give real-time, detailed analytics across the entire workflow of its single window system and grievance redressal.