Drones are now becoming essential tools in the fight against the new Coronavirus outbreak in China. People are using drones to carry out tasks like spraying disinfectant over villages, dispersing public gatherings and facilitating construction.
Drones could dramatically improve how China attempts to kill the virus in public areas. They can cover far more ground than traditional methods, while reducing risk to workers who would otherwise spend more time potentially exposed to both the virus and the disinfectant.
Monitoring Public Gatherings and Keep Public Informed
Local governments are mounting speakers on small drones to disperse public gatherings. They have also been used to warn people regarding quarantine curfews or if they are seen out in public without wearing a mask. Drones have also flew banners to educate people on how to take the necessary precautions.
Thermal cameras on drones were also used to monitor body temperatures so medical staff can identify new potential cases. In Shanghai, drones have been deployed on city roads for monitoring while officials check travellers’ temperatures.
To contain the spread of the virus, drones are also used to monitor activities such as traffic and waste disposal. In Zhongshan, drones are used to oversee the disposal of medical waste coming out of hospitals.
People across China are mounting disinfectant tools on their crop-spraying drones. Drones are being used in Chinese villages also to spray disinfectant throughout their villages to help fight the spread of the virus.
Lighting drones were used in Wuhan when two large temporary hospitals had to be built in a matter of days as the city ran out of beds in the hospitals. Without the street lamps and construction lights at the site, six large lighting drones hovered above the ground so that the construction workers could work 24 hours a day to get it completed in record time.
Another use for drones is Drone delivery. The outbreak has kept millions of families in their homes to avoid contact with others. Contactless delivery would be a huge help to these households that have been quarantined. Organisations can send food, supplies and medicine to anyone in need. At the same time, avoiding face-to-face contact will cut the risk of infection.
This crisis has created an opportunity to discover new ways of using drones to curb the spread of Covid-19 not only in China but globally.
Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) is recently unveiled the Experience Centre as an immersive sensory journey to showcase Hong Kong’s world-class innovation and ambition in Biomedical Technology, AI & Robotics, FinTech and Data & Smart City.
Visitors to Science Park today can explore and be inspired by HKSTP’s thriving I&T ecosystem of over 1000 partner companies, who are fuelling Hong Kong’s rise as a leading global I&T hub within the Greater Bay Area.
The Experience Centre will be the new premier touchpoint at Science Park for local and global visitors to get a full sense of Hong Kong’s largest and most advanced I&T ecosystem, while also opening new I&T career possibilities to young talent in Hong Kong. The standout innovations on show are a testament to HKSTP’s impactful support across the entire I&T value chain – from R&D to commercialisation and re-industrialisation.
The 370 square-meter immersive experience features an inspirational and interactive journey of seven zones, 300+ tech components powering 30+ multimedia exhibits to present Hong Kong’s innovation stories in truly original and stimulating ways. The state-of-the-art thematic space uses innovative technological tools such as facial recognition, panoramic video, hololens, real-time data dashboards, spherical projections and transparent touch-screen technology to create an immersive visitor experience.
The CEO of HKSTP stated that the Experience Centre is the ideal multi-dimensional showcase of the Park’s thriving world-class I&T ecosystem that sits at the heart of the huge GBA innovation and technology opportunity. The tech-inspired experience is a reminder of the remarkable achievements and the powerful co-creation potential of HKSTP’s partner companies, but is also a taste of the transformative innovation yet to come from the city’s brightest talent and proof that HKSTP is where innovation starts and Hong Kong’s future is being forged”.
Art-Tech crossover explores human-tech relationship
Beyond acting as a showcase of inspiration, the Experience Centre provides a practical shared space for HKSTP partner companies and the larger I&T community to co-create. The centre will act as a “digital den” to take this innovation spirit into new areas of potential growth. One area is Design and Art Tech which is a prominent theme throughout the Experience Centre and highlights technology’s potential to drive cross-sector collaboration opportunities that transform culture and industry.
Each exhibit zone in the centre features thoughtfully curated art pieces that tell timeless stories of the human experience through modern, tech-enabled media platforms. Inspired by technology but made by man, the Art-Tech exhibition “Man-Made”, features a selection of art pieces from six Chinese artists, represent the convergence of culture and technology and the vision of technology as a dynamic man-made tool that drives the world forward.
HKDI is partnering with HKSTP to nurture new ways to fuse design and technology in new expressions while also nurturing new talent.
It was noted that the launch of the Experience Centre and this partnership with HKSTP is a prime example of how design, art and technology create a powerful synergy that fuses two distinct communities and sectors, the Principal of Hong Kong Design Institute Vocational Training Council said.
Initiatives arising from the HKDI partnership include The “Master x Students” Talent Nurture Programme within the HKSTP Ecosystem; The Co-creation Charrette–Hackathon to promote academic-industry knowledge exchange; Design Competitions to bring to life design concepts stemming from HKDI talents; and Student Attachment and Internship to match qualified students nominated by HKDI with HKSTP partner companies.
The Seven Zones of the Experience Centre include:
- The “Reception” greets visitors via the virtual personal assistant in an automated welcome experience
- The “Immersive Room” highlights via immersive visuals HKSTP’s mission to spearhead Hong Kong’s I&T development by supporting the entire I&T value chain – from R&D to re-industrialisation.
- The “Hall of Fame” showcases standout achievements and ecosystem highlights from the 1000+ partner companies and 2 unicorns within the HKSTP ecosystem
- The “Discovery Area” is where visitors take a deep dive into our four strategic focus areas where Hong Kong is leading the way: Biomedical Technology, AI & Robotics, FinTech and Data & Smart City, and
- The Visionary Table is a showcase of the innovation culture at HKSTP told through innovators and industry pioneers
- Flexible Space is a place for co-creation and networking in groups of up to 30 people
- The Infinity Room is an interactive close to the experience where we celebrate Hong Kong’s incredible I&T journey to date and future potential
The transaction value in Vietnam’s science-technology market posted an average annual growth of 22% during the 2011-2020 period, according to data from a recent conference reviewing the ten-year development of the market.
The conference focused on assessing the achievements and shortcomings in the development of the science and technology market over the last decade and set orientations for the next ten years. Vietnam currently has over 800 market intermediaries and the number of transaction platforms rose from eight before 2015 to 20 in 2020.
Along with traditional intermediaries, new-style organisations have developed strongly, with 69 business incubators and 28 business promotion programmes. In the 2020 Global Innovation Index (GII), Vietnam ranked 42nd among 131 economies. Among those making the most significant progress in their GII innovation ranking over time, Vietnam led 29 lower-middle-income countries and was third in Southeast Asia. Last year, it moved up 13 places from the previous year to 59th in the rankings of 100 economies with the best start-up ecosystems.
According to a news report, Tran Van Tung, the Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, said that during the 2021-2030 period the Ministry will focus on completing the legal environment and promoting scientific and practical research for the development of the science and technology market. It will also work to remove barriers facing development, improve human resources training, and develop national infrastructure for the market.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) plans to accelerate the implementation of the national e-commerce development master plan of 2021-2025 to keep up with the growth of digital trading activities. Recently, the Head of the MoIT’s E-Commerce and Digital Economy Department said that by 2020, 53% of the population participated in online shopping. Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, local e-commerce revenue grew 18%, reaching US$11.8 billion, accounting for 5.5% of total retail sales, consumer goods, and services nationwide.
With the support of electronic payments, the Ministry will focus on developing e-commerce infrastructure, building, and perfecting institutions and legal frameworks for e-commerce, creating a transparent and favourable legal environment for businesses and consumers in the country.
Vietnam is considered one of the fastest-growing e-commerce markets in Southeast Asia. Industry insiders say that e-commerce will continue to strongly grow this year. It will create a new impetus for economic growth, creating an opportunity for Vietnamese businesses to build new business strategies, and approach modern distribution channels to expand markets to recover from the pandemic.
MoIT’s E-Commerce and Digital Economy Department plans to implement the GoOnline programme this year to accompany local businesses. The programme will include telecommunications, technology, and e-commerce systems, manufacturers, traders, and individuals nationwide.
The Ministry will strengthen the coordination, inspection, examination, and violation handling in e-commerce. It will step up training for State management officials and owners of e-commerce exchanges on protected trademarks to solve disputes. This will also help detect counterfeit products, goods of unknown origin, and goods infringing intellectual property rights.
Last year, the MoIT applied blockchain technology to trace the origin of goods for some agricultural products to improve the brand and promote exports of agricultural products to developed countries as the EU-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) was ratified.
The Ministry also built a total solution for logistics service exchanges between logistics businesses and shippers to facilitate e-commerce delivery services. It supported businesses to apply technology in digital transformation. Along with the national master plan, the MoIT will submit to the government an amended decree on e-commerce to enhance the integration, connection, and sharing of data between it and cities through the National Public Service Portal.
The Earthquake early-warning system called ShakeAlert is now available to residents of California, Oregon and Washington after 15 years of planning and development. It reaches 50 million people in the most earthquake-prone region in the U.S. People in these three states can now receive alerts from a wireless emergency alert system, third-party phone apps, and other technologies. Hence, the system will give them precious seconds of warning before an earthquake hits.
The ShakeAlert system aims to facilitate the delivery of public alerts of potentially damaging earthquakes and provide warning parameter data to government agencies and private users on a region-by-region basis.
The ShakeAlert system relies on sensor data from the USGS Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS). ANSS is a United States Geological Survey (USGS)-facilitated collection of regional earthquake monitoring networks operated by partner universities and state geological surveys on the West Coast and throughout the nation.
The mechanisms of the ShakeAlert system include during an earthquake, a rupturing fault sends out different types of waves. The fast-moving Primary (P)-wave is first to arrive, followed by the slower Secondary (S)-wave and later-arriving surface waves. Sensors then detect the P-wave and immediately transmit data to a ShakeAlert processing centre where the location, size, and estimated shaking of the quake are determined.
If the earthquake fits the right profile a ShakeAlert message is issued by the USGS. A shake alert message is then picked up by delivery partners (such as a transportation agency) that could be used to produce an alert to notify people to take protective action such as Drop, Cover, and Hold On and/or trigger an automated action such as slowing a train.
In addition to supporting public alerts to mobile phones, ShakeAlert system data has, since late 2018, been used to develop applications that trigger automated actions. Automatic actions can be used to prevent derailments, open firehouse doors so they do not jam shut and close valves to protect water and gas systems.
USGS works closely with ANSS partners and state emergency management agencies on the system’s development as well as public communication, education and outreach. ShakeAlert is a new ANSS tool in the USGS risk reduction toolbox.
Associate Director of the USGS said that the science of USGS is the backbone of hazard assessment, notification, and response capabilities for communities nationwide so they can plan for, and bounce back from, natural disasters.
Systems powered by ShakeAlert can turn mere seconds into opportunities for people to take life-saving protective actions or for applications to trigger automated actions that protect critical infrastructure. An effort like this takes the dedication, ingenuity and hard work of dozens of partners with the same vision. USGS is proud to have been part of a collaborative team that made this robust public safety system available for millions of citizens on the West Coast.
Studies in Washington, Oregon, and California have shown that the warning time would range from seconds to tens of seconds. ShakeAlert can give enough time to slow trains and taxiing planes, to prevent cars from entering bridges and tunnels, to move away from dangerous machines or chemicals in work environments and to take cover under a desk, or to automatically shut down and isolate industrial systems.
In addition to these Phase 1 implementations, technical improvements to the ShakeAlert system are also part of the story. The sensor network has reached target density in the Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay and Seattle metro regions and version 2.0 of the ShakeAlert production system has been deployed.
This version of the ShakeAlert system produces both point source and line source earthquake solutions. It has added ground motion estimation products, and the number of false and missed events has been reduced. ShakeAlert system version 2.0 has also satisfied government cybersecurity requirements and includes improved operational procedures.
The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), Malaysia’s lead agency in digital transformation, in collaboration with the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) had recently called on tech companies from both countries to participate in a virtual event that outlined programmes and initiatives which aim to boost bilateral digital trade and investment via the Australia-Malaysia Tech Exchange (AMTX). The webinar took place on 6 May 2021.
The announcement follows the comprehensive Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in December 2020 which is a core component of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) jointly announced as the elevation of diplomatic relations between both countries at the Australia-Malaysia Leaders’ Virtual Summit in January 2021 by both our Prime Ministers.
The MDEC CEO stated, “Australia is an important trading partner and we are looking forward to building closer bilateral trade relations in the areas of digital trade and investment via this programme. We are committed to providing our utmost support to strengthen the tech ecosystems in both countries for mutual success. Effective collaboration will improve innovation as we look to stimulate the growth of the digital economy in line with the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint (MyDIGITAL).”
To further enable the entry and expansion of Australian tech companies into Malaysian markets, MDEC offers the Malaysian Tech Entrepreneur Programme (MTEP) which provides a one-year pass to new entrepreneurs and a five-year pass to established ones. Moreover, the Malaysia Digital Hub (MDH) programme is also available to provide support with co-working spaces, thereby easing the market entry process.
MDEC and Austrade have also set up a one-stop platform to provide assistance and guidance to tech companies looking to make Malaysia their base for expansion into the wider ASEAN region and beyond. Interested companies will only need to fill up a form here and MDEC will revert accordingly to provide the necessary support.
It was noted that Austrade sees AMTX as a business-focused platform to support and enhance public-private partnerships between tech service providers and larger corporates with support from both Australian and Malaysian governments. The MDEC Vice President of the Digitally-Powered Businesses division noted that the agency is confident they can mutually benefit and grow both nations’ digital economies by creating an equitable, inclusive and technologically integrated society in line with Malaysia 5.0.
AMTX was introduced to drive digital collaboration among tech companies from both nations, facilitate and create pathways for bilateral trade and investment in the digital economy, provide platforms and avenues for collaboration and innovation in the digital economy reducing digital trade barriers and promote consistent and open digital trade rules in the region.
Both nations have cooperated closely on digital trade and investment for decades. Australian investments in Malaysia from 1997 to 2018, via the Multimedia Super Corridor, totalled RM2.53 billion (US$617 million), with 41 active companies in the market. Australian tech companies are drawn to Malaysia by its strategic location, attractive business environment, and reliable infrastructure.
Australia is a key market for many Malaysian tech companies for expansion, with the country being a key market for testing products before a European or North American expansion. In recent years, 11 Malaysian tech companies having been listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), making the country an appealing business destination.
Since its inception, MDEC’s market access programme has formed partnerships with over 200 parties globally and forged over 800 business matching opportunities for its portfolio companies. All of this has resulted in over US$1 Billion in digital export revenue. This new MoU will build upon that success and further strengthen the digital relationship between the two countries.
To date, MSC Malaysia has attracted a cumulative RM345 billion investments, creating close to 185,000 jobs. This mostly came from multinationals that have opened their global business services and regional operations here in Malaysia. Malaysia is also ranked second in ASEAN and 26th globally in the recent IMD World Digital Competitiveness Ranking 2020.
Malaysia’s diversified multi-lingual and digitally-skilled talent pool; ready infrastructure and thriving digital economy ecosystem has led it to be recognised as a first-mover for the high-value digital business services in the region.
An Indonesian ride-hailing tech company has announced plans to make every car and motorcycle on its platform an electric vehicle (EV) by 2030 in an ambitious three-pronged sustainability strategy.
Dubbed the “Three Zeros” agenda, the company aims to reach zero emissions, zero waste and zero socio-economic barriers by the end of the decade. The plans will see the 11-year-old company invest in a series of EV pilot programmes across Southeast Asia, as well as launching a “world-first” in-app carbon offsetting feature. However, the tech company said the plans would also require external support, highlighting the need for public and private collaboration to build the supporting infrastructure.
The tech company has seen strong interest from battery manufacturers, nickel providers and Indonesian authorities keen to assist with the shift to green energy in the world’s fourth most populous country and the surrounding region. Indonesia is one of the largest motorcycle-based transportation countries, so there is a lot of interest around this from a range of parties; the tech company sees itself as a primary facilitator in making this happen.
In addition, the company announced a series of social mobility initiatives, including establishing an employee-led council to push corporate diversity, equality and inclusion programmes as well as helping micro and small businesses digitise. It also pledged to only partake in gender diverse panels for speaking events.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, Indonesia plans to roll out new regulations that offer tax breaks for hybrid EVs, in the latest effort to promote the development of electric vehicles in the country. In a meeting with Parliament, Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani said that investors who build electric cars in Indonesia feel that the current framework is unfair as there is no difference in the tax rates between hybrid and fully electric cars.
While battery-powered EVs continue to be exempted from the luxury tax, the plug-in hybrid EV will see an increase to 5% from 0%. Full and mild hybrid types will be taxed at a rate of 6% to 12%, from a previous range of 2% to 12%. Also, the government will provide tax holiday incentives for up to 10 years if EV manufacturers make at least a USD 346.2 million investment in the country.
President Joko Widodo has expressed his interest in making Indonesia a top player in the global electric car market, especially given that the country is the world’s largest producer of nickel, an essential component to produce lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries that power electric vehicles. Indonesia aims to be a regional EV hub in 2030 and it has been rolling out various initiatives to boost its production in the country.
Tech companies have also expressed their commitment to the initiative. An international ride-hailing giant put over 5,000 electric cars, motorcycles, bicycles, and scooters across Indonesia. Meanwhile, another tech unicorn is planning to test electric motorcycles this year and is working with the state-owned gas and oil company for the commercial pilot in Greater Jakarta.
However, it will not be easy to make consumers switch on a large scale due to its high price, said the association of Indonesian automotive industries. Most consumers are buying cars at prices between USD 10,386 to USD 17,310, while electric cars are currently selling for about USD 34,620. According to the Association, there is a huge potential for electric cars, but prices must be lowered significantly so they will be more affordable for the wider communities.
Another challenge is the supporting infrastructure like charging stations. The state electricity company PLN currently only runs 37 stations across the country, although it targets to have 2,400 by 2025. Addressing these two major problems will get consumers more interested.
Two professors at the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) have invented advanced technology to reduce C02 emissions. They developed a series of low-cost, green, and efficient porous nano-SiO2/Al2O3 supported solid amine CO2 adsorbents using solid waste as the main raw materials. Their studies were supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), the National Key R&D Program of China, a tech company and have also been published in the well-known journals of Environmental Science & Technology and Chemical Engineering Journal in the environmental and energy fields.
Solid amine adsorbents are among the most promising CO2 adsorption technologies for biogas upgrading due to their high selectivity toward CO2, low energy consumption, and easy regeneration. However, in most cases, these adsorbents undergo severe chemical inactivation due to urea formation when regenerated under a realistic CO2 atmosphere. The porous nano-Al2O3 support was firstly synthesised from high-aluminium coal fly ash, and the active PEI was then impregnated on the nano-Al2O3 support to prepare the solid amine CO2 adsorbent, which possessed a superior CO2 adsorption capacity of 136 mg·g-1.
Significantly, this solid amine CO2 adsorbent showed stable adsorption capacity even regenerated under the pure CO2 atmosphere. Moreover, its CO2 adsorption capacity still maintained as high as 111 mg·g-1 adsorbent after 10 cycles, which was 5.5 times higher than that of traditional nano-SiO2 supported solid amine adsorbents.
This technical route can realise the high-value utilisation of coal fly ash and significantly improve the cyclic stability of solid amine adsorbent regenerated under the pure CO2 atmosphere. Therefore, it has broad application prospects in CO2 capture and separation processes such as industrial source CO2 capture and biogas upgrading.
On this basis, the research group continued to study in-depth the interaction mechanism of support-organic amine and the anti-urea chain formation mechanism of nano-Al2O3 supported solid amine CO2 adsorbents.
The results have shown that the unique cross-linking reaction between nano-Al2O3 support and organic amine molecules significantly inhibited the formation of urea chains in nano-Al2O3 supported solid amine CO2 adsorbents during the cyclic adsorption-regeneration process, thereby greatly improving the cyclic stability of CO2 adsorption capacity. The study further verified the long-term cyclic stability of nano-Al2O3 supported solid amine CO2 adsorbents, whose adsorption capacity decreased by only 29% after 100 cycles regenerated under the pure CO2 atmosphere.
This work not only clarifies the CO2 adsorption cycle stabilisation mechanism of nano-Al2O3 supported solid amine CO2 adsorbents, but also provides design ideas for the development of new high-stable solid amine CO2 adsorbents with anti-urea properties.
This technology is in line with China’s active participation in global climate governance and insists on promoting CO2 mitigation. General Secretary put forward the ambitious goal of striving to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060 at the 75th United Nations General Assembly.
The General Secretary stated that the COVID-19 pandemic reminds everyone that humankind should launch a green revolution and move faster to create a green way of development and life. Humans also need to preserve the environment and make Mother Earth a better place for all.
Humankind can no longer afford to ignore the repeated warnings of nature and go down the beaten path of extracting resources without investing in conservation. Humans cannot always pursue development at the expense of protection, and exploiting resources without restoration.
The Paris Agreement on climate change charts the course for the world to transition to green and low-carbon development. It outlines the minimum steps to be taken to protect the Earth. All countries must take decisive steps to honour this agreement. China will scale up its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions by adopting more vigorous policies and measures. China aims to have CO2 emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.
The COVID-19 pandemic has sped up the process of digital transformation in businesses and has urged companies to consider their own resources and conditions to ensure and increase efficiency, according to a news report. For instance, workers at a construction site in Hanoi use FaceID on their smartphones to register their arrival at work making it faster and more convenient to clock on. In the logistics sector, the application of technology is growing as drivers use their smartphones to track routes and shipments.
A recent study showed that the participation of SMEs in Vietnam in the digital transformation process could contribute US$24-30 billion to the country’s GDP by 2024, and significantly help with post-pandemic recovery. According to the Vietnam Logistics Association, 50%-60% of logistics enterprises are applying technology in their operations. At Sai Gon Newport Corporation, the application of an advanced management system helped reduce the time shipments stayed at the port by 55% and reduce delivery time by 75%.
An industry analyst noted that digital transformation is an inevitable trend of enterprises, especially during the current pandemic. If enterprises were slow in digital transformation, they would face difficulties when competing with others, especially in the rapid international integration. Digital transformation is not simply buying software or technology. Enterprises must pay attention to their resources and conditions to ensure the efficient process of digital transformation.
Under the digital transformation programme during the 2021-25 period, the Ministry of Planning and Investment wants 100% of enterprises to receive training in digital transformation to enhance their digital awareness. Micro and small enterprises, despite accounting for 96.7% of the total number of enterprises in Vietnam, contributed 40% to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and provided 60% of jobs. However, due to their limited budgets, they had not benefited much from the digital transformation, the report said.
Digital transformation solution providers often paid more attention to government agencies and medium and large enterprises that had a greater budget and were often located in major cities. Nguyen Van Khoa, CEO of FPT, said that there were about five million household businesses in Vietnam who were also subject to digital transformation at different levels. Statistics have revealed that 50% of SMEs went bankrupt in the first five years and 90% in the next five years, stressing that the competition would be much fiercer in the digital transformation.
Digital transformation is accelerating the transition to a digital economy, which is enabling enterprises to develop platforms to promote their operation and business. It is more convenient for big enterprises to digitally transform because they have their own ecosystems while SMEs do not have a budget to digitise their operations.
The government aims to be in the top 40 performers in the Global Innovation Index (GII), the top 30 in the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)’s Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI), and the top 50 in the United Nations’ e-Government Development Index (EGDI) by 2030.
The country also aims to raise the proportion of the digital economy in national GDP to 30% and boost productivity by 7.5% annually on average. Other targets for digital transformation are to achieve universal access to fibre-optic internet and 5G services; complete digital government development; and establish smart cities in key economic zones as well as connect with regional and global networks of smart cities.