Geographic information systems, or more commonly known as GIS, is a technology that combines location with real-time or static data.
This technology collects, manages, analyses, and shares data to achieve location intelligence. Rooted in the science of geography, GIS integrates many types of data.
It can use large data sets from different sources and represent them as meaningful real-time apps, dashboards and analytical tools.
Immediate visualisations can be produced, which give critical insights into fast-moving situations. By using this technology many situations or problems can be handled more efficiently by how it reduces the complexity of the situation. It’s purpose is to enable smarter decision making.
Governments and Public Health Agencies using GIS to Solve COVID-19 issues
Today GIS technology is being extensively used in the fight against Covid-19. Governments, public health agencies and other organisations are using this technology in their defence against the pandemic.
On the global scale, it is being used to show how, over time, the virus is spreading across the world. It is also being deployed for contact tracking and tracing.
GIS also helps predict health needs and spikes, supports the delivery of vital PPE and facilitates the delivery of medicines to vulnerable citizens.
Mapping data is also being used to provide local authorities with key information. It helps tailor data reports about local demographic, economic and health statistics which can help plan community response to COVID-19.
Maps and visualisations are an excellent way to present large amounts of information so it can be quickly and easily interpreted. As such, mapping is being used to collect, collate, integrate and share critical information with frontline healthcare staff, doctors and health authorities.
Transport organisations are using it to ensure appropriate services running for key workers.
GIS is critical to answering many Coronavirus related questions: Where are current cases in the community? Where is the virus likely spread? Where are the closest testing sites? Are there specific demographics that are at greater risk? Which areas or sectors are being most exposed? The numbers of hospital supplies and hospital beds on a regional or national basis. How quickly local and regional hospital resources are being depleted?
Government use GIS technology to Communication Purposes
Governments are using mapping technology for communication purposes through maps, apps, and dashboards. Examples include sharing a situation assessment with the media and the public to help the public locate healthcare facilities.
Many local governments are producing story maps to keep citizens informed on what’s happening in their area.
They also use GIS maps to communicate emergency information regarding school closures, public notices and other Coronavirus containment measures.
Accurate public information is critical for risk communication and behaviour changes such as appropriate hygiene measures and social distancing recommendations.
GIS technology has become part of mass notification systems, allowing leaders to send out messages to staff, partners, or the public based on geographic location.
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 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.
Building upon the ideation and directives and under the aegis of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), the National Informatics Centre (NIC), IEEE Computer Society and a tech giant have come together to announce Gov Tech-Thon 2020. The initiative is designed to incubate new ideas, boost innovation and use technology in agriculture and allied sectors.
Gov Tech-Thon 2020, a pan India 36 hours virtual Hackathon, to be organised from 30 October to 1 November 2020. The Hackathon will be facilitated by IEEE, a well-established institute for engineering, computing and technology information. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology announced the launch of the hackathon by activating the online portal signalling that registrations for Gov TechThon 2020 were open.
The virtual hackathon is open to students, working professionals, startups, freelance technologists, faculty, and other IT service firms in India. During the hackathon, participants will receive mentorship and advice from technical experts from NIC, IEEE and Oracle, as well as senior domain experts from the Ministries of Agriculture, Education and Transport Departments, Government of India.
Participating teams will have access to the latest tools from the tech company, its Autonomous Database, built-in and easy-to-use cloud security and compute – to help them develop prototypes that are practical and scalable. Additionally, they will be able to leverage open source technologies that bring benefits of high performance, reliability and data security.
The efforts of the National Informatics Centre, IEEE and tech partner incoming together to organise this hackathon have been greatly appreciated by the Ministry. India is keen to make digital transformation inclusive, widespread and comprehensive. An integral and essential part of this is youth. The ministry recognises that youth are an important part of India’s digital ecosystem and he looks forward to their participation in the hackathon and their solutions to the challenges.
Dr Neeta Verma, Director General, NIC in her address at the release of the online portal for ‘Gov Tech-Thon 2020’, said that the hackathon is a step towards developing a digital ecosystem with more emerging technologies. She was optimistic that Gov Tech-Thon 2020 would spur a lot of ideas, proof of concepts, working models for innovation and inclusion in government services.
Dr Savita Dawar, Deputy Director-General, NIC gave a brief introduction to the five challenges including AI-based crop recommendations, Blockchain-based seed certification, Automated vigilance in exams/tests, Automated fitness check process for commercial vehicles and Easy document uploads, from Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in India which require immediate solutions.
Shri Harish Mysore, Senior Director and Head of IEEE India Operations said, “IEEE has been empowering engineers for over a century, helping advance technology across sectors. This partnership with NIC and Oracle will help increase the use of technology, reduce the digital divide in agriculture, transportation and education and will help us deliver better governance to citizens of India.”
The Regional Managing Director of the tech company felt in order to transform India into a digital and knowledge economy, the nation must first digitally empower all its people, key economic sectors and allied communities. Join hands with NIC and IEEE for Gov Tech-Thon 2020 was a key step and the company was looking forward to supporting local innovation in all key areas identified.
Established in 1976, the National Informatics Centre is attached to the office of Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY). It has rich experience in providing ICT and eGovernance for the last 4 decades and helping bridge the digital divide.
NIC spearheaded “Informatics-Led-Development” by implementing ICT applications in social and public administration and facilitates electronic delivery of services to the government (G2G), business (G2B), citizen (G2C) and government employee (G2E). NIC, through its ICT Network, “NICNET”, has institutional linkages with all the Ministries /Departments of the Central Government, 37 State Governments/ Union Territories, and about 720+ District Administrations of India.
IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organisation dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. IEEE and its members inspire a global community to innovate for a better tomorrow through its more than 419,000 members in over 160 countries.
The IEEE Computer Society is the premier source for information, inspiration, and collaboration in computer science and engineering. Connecting members worldwide, the Computer Society empowers the people who advance technology by delivering tools for individuals at all stages of their professional careers.
The Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute Company Limited (ASTRI) and a wholly-owned subsidiary of a Hong Kong-based telecom, have introduced a jointly developed Augmented Reality (AR) solution designed to transform field engineers’ operations and maintenance processes.
Called DataHOUSE AR Remote Hand Service (AR Remote Hand), the solution leverages wearable Augmented Reality (AR) technology and brings the telecom subsidiary’s field engineers and its customers to a new era, enabling them to slash the time and cost of troubleshooting and maintenance for achieving better results.
The AR Remote Hand Service employs AR glasses to stream real-time intelligence, troubleshooting logs, graphics and encrypted data from back-end systems to on-site engineers and maintenance staff, boosting field productivity by up to 50%.
By wearing the glasses, field engineers do not have to stop their work to communicate with back-end support teams via a laptop or phone, nor to refer to a paper manual. The AR Remote Hand provides field engineers with a heads-up display for remote visualisation in real-time as they install, maintain or troubleshoot equipment, thus speeding up the whole process.
The solution enables field engineers across multiple locations to overcome the challenges of multiple languages and skillsets in multi-technology environments; as well as to manage installation and maintenance issues more efficiently and cost-effectively, resulting in improved customer satisfaction. This ability to work effectively from remote locations is also helping the telecom’s customers and staff stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
To ensure safe operations and maintain service infrastructure availability by the global remote service support teams, the subsidiary is using DataHOUSE AR Remote Hand Service in its China Data Center operations to assure regional customers’ business operations continuity.
The CEO of ASTRI stated that the strategic collaboration has demonstrated the success in leveraging next-generation technology in real-life applications that benefit Hong Kong’s people and society, in this case, smart industrial applications and field service management solutions for Hong Kong enterprises.
The CEO of the telecom’s subsidiary stated that DataHOUSE AR Remote Hand is an innovative remote maintenance service adopted in data centre scenarios, which leverages AR intelligent operations and maintenance technologies. Going forward, the parties, through further collaboration and more innovative thinking, expect to enhance the service to cope with more scenarios and bring more value and better customer experience to enterprises.
In their collaboration, ASTRI focused on developing the software platform and customisation, while the subsidiary provided related information and opinions based on its experience with business cases in various scenarios and applications. This ensured the solution could effectively address enterprise customers’ needs across a range of industries. The result is a solution that offers a wide array of benefits in service provisioning and remote location visualisation and communication capabilities:
- Intuitive AR-Guided Installation, Troubleshooting and Maintenance: With AR Remote Hand, field engineers recognise any device with a designated QR code and access real-time intelligence, graphics, and encrypted data from back-end systems streamed on-site. Field staff can access virtual step-by-step guides or even 3D manuals via AR glasses, without the need to interrupt work to check information on a laptop or in a manual.
- Historical Records Analysis: Using a pre-set routine (e.g. gestures), on-site engineers can review a device’s historical record (e.g. customers’ network traffic or cloud CPU history), speed up data analysis and troubleshooting, while cutting downtime and cost.
- Seamless Communication and Collaboration with Back-end Support: Field engineers previously communicated with back-end support via email or phone, making it difficult to describe a troubleshooting situation. Removing distance and language barriers, back-end engineers now view real-time images streamed via AR glasses through an AR operations console, improving operational speed and quality. Its powerful video conferencing feature also offers engineers instant support and fosters off-site collaboration between global operations and maintenance teams. Also, back-end engineers can give field engineers clear instructions via 3D AR labelling.
In exceptional circumstances, such as the current pandemic, it is difficult for enterprises’ IT staff to travel to data centres and manage their equipment. Equipped with the latest AR glasses development, the DataHOUSE AR Remote Hand serves as customers’ remote hands. It not only shows the status of on-site equipment as customers watch in real-time from offices or other locations but also lets customers provide live instructions to the subsidiary’s on-site engineers as they troubleshoot equipment issues without physically being in the data centre.
The team has plans to extend the AR Remote Hand service for further customer use and will enlarge the list of equipment support. Adding AI applications for the AR glasses will be the next milestone as we work to deliver even more intelligent diagnoses.
For example, when a field engineer sees the status of the target-fixing equipment through the AR glasses, they will be shown several possible causes for the problem, with each cause ranked with a percentage according to how likely it is to be the source of the problem.
Indonesia is very serious about Intellectual Property rights and this is reflected in their policies and initiatives that have significantly revamped their IP landscape.
The Directorate General of Intellectual Property falls under the Ministry of Law and Human Rights DGIP Vision and Mission. With a vision to be an Intellectual Property Institution that guarantees legal certainty and a driver of innovation, creativity and national economic growth, it serves to achieve quality intellectual property services and enforcement.
There are three important pillars to improving intellectual property management in Indonesia including filing, commercialisation and law enforcement. The DGIP continues to communicate these three pillars to the regions and ministries of the relevant institutions, which in turn has had an impact on increasing IP applications with the DGIP, including patents, copyrights and trademarks.
Interestingly, Intellectual property registrations in Indonesia have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic
“It can be seen from the intellectual property registration income, that where we have implemented an online system, there were around Rp 250 billion (US$ 17 million) entries during March and April this year, up from the same period last year at only Rp 130 billion (US$ 8.8 million). This is beyond our expectations,” said Freddy Harris, the Director-General of the Intellectual Property, in the IP Talks From Home online talkshow via YouTube, as quoted from official information received by Kontan e-paper.
While only 3,000 copyrights were registered a few years ago, currently registrations have reached 21,000. Earlier domestic patent registrations formed about 10% of overall patent registrations but now makeup about 15%.
The DGIP has been successful in setting up virtual counters, the first virtual IP registration counters in Indonesia. “People have been very enthusiastic about the virtual counters, as seen from recent transactions. They no longer need to come to the physical counters because it is very risky for spreading the virus. With these counters, people are being adequately serviced and the DGIP’s acceptance rate has increased,” said Mr Harris.
Most recently, the Minister of Law and Human Rights, Yasonna Laoly graduated 139 new Intellectual Property Consultants (KIs). With this inauguration, Indonesia has 964 IP consultants. The inauguration of the batch of KI graduates is considered important by as IP consultants are a strategic piece to help protect the intellectual property rights of the community. Yasonna advised all KI consultants to always maintain integrity and trust – becoming consultants who maintain integrity, professional code of ethics, follow principles and obey the law.
The existence of KI consultant is intended to help and represent the public, especially intellectual property rights applicants such as creators, inventors, designers, rights holders or other parties who have the right to apply for registration in the field of intellectual property expounded Yasonna explained during the inauguration ceremony for KI consultants.
Not only in the intellectual property registration process, Yasonna said that IP consultants also have a moral responsibility to introduce the importance of IP protection to the public. IP consultants encourage Indonesians to protect their work as well as regional property through intellectual property registration.
KI consultants mobilise and encourage people to continue to be creative. According to him, research shows that the number of intellectual property applicants, be it brands, patents, industrial designs, or others, has a positive correlation with the economic growth of a nation. He exhorted the batch of consultants to encourage regions to register communal intellectual property as well as geographical indications.
In this connection, the Minister of Law and Human Rights (Menkumham) praised West Java’s contribution in terms of protecting communal intellectual property. West Java is one of the important economic pillars that contributes greatly to the field of intellectual property as a province with the largest brand ownership and geographical indication in Indonesia.
In addition, West Java is an exemplary province in developing regional regulations in the field of intellectual property, including communal intellectual property in the form of dances, traditional clothing and other cultures. These are all legacies that we must preserve because the progress of the times does not need to erode local wisdom.
Minister Yasonna is also optimistic that the Alam Santosa tourism village will further increase West Java’s contribution to the preservation and protection of communal intellectual property. With the Alam Santosa tourism village as a learning centre based on Indonesian culture to develop local policy insights as a contribution to the development of national cultural values, Kemenkumham is optimistic about West Java’s potential and contribution in the field of intellectual property in the future.
The year’s end will see the number of digital consumers in Southeast Asia reach 310 million. Currently, Malaysia is the country with the largest population of digital users.
A new joint study from an American global management consultancy and the world’s largest social media platform entitled Digital Consumers of Tomorrow, Here Today reportedly surveyed online users in Southeast Asia (SEA) to study their purchasing behaviour. One of the noteworthy findings is that the events of 2020 have inadvertently accelerated the growth of Southeast Asia’s (SEA) digital economy.
SEA had been initially projected to reach 310 million digital users by the end of 2025, in two parties’ 2019 digital consumer report, Riding the Digital Wave. Instead, the pandemic and its consequent effects have seen online behaviour in the region far outstripping the initial forecasts, to the extent the five-year expectation is now set to be reached by the end of this year.
For the first time, this will place SEA’s collective online retail market penetration ahead of India’s. Moreover, seven out of every 10 (or 70%) consumers in SEA that is 15 years old or older will complete a digital transaction by the end of the year.
Of that online purchasing age group of 15 years and above, Malaysia has the highest percentage of digital consumers in one country, with a clear majority of 83% have bought at least one item online in the past year.
Additionally, social distancing and other limitations that prevent physical contact in 2020 have had the added impact of swinging 48% out of the 83% in Malaysia into becoming first-time digital shoppers, further propelling Malaysia toward being the SEA nation with the highest digital penetration.
The report also found that online retail gross merchandise value (GMV) in Malaysia is expected to double from US$4 billion (RM16.6 billion) to approximately US$9 billion by 2025. In the meantime, Malaysians are spending more online and are buying from more segments online with an average of 5 categories purchased from in 2020, up from 3.8 categories in 2019.
Further, for the first time since 2018, online grocery purchases more than doubled its growth (2.2x) in Malaysia in 2020, causing the country managing director of the social media platform’s Malaysia branch to remark that the upswing in Malaysian digital adoption had never been more pronounced as it was in 2020.
In Malaysia alone, the company is expecting approximately 4 million new digital consumers in 2020. Online is no longer just one of many channels, for many businesses, it has become their main channel. It is crucial for businesses to connect with consumers in frictionless ways and to replicate in-person interactions through social platforms, messaging, and short videos as much as possible to drive discovery and loyalty.
A partner at the global management consultancy firm noted that, on the other hand, the digital consumption behaviour in fast-growing SEA is developing quickly, with online spending now expected to triple by 2025 to close to US$150 billion.
The rise of digital consumers in the SEA region has accelerated at a white-knuckle pace, and their discovery habits are changing. Reinforcing brand reliability and standing out from the crowd matters now more than ever, as consumers are more open to switching brands and rely more on e-commerce platforms.