During the COVID-19 Circuit Breaker period, HTX supported the Singapore Police Force’s resources on the ground by operating long-distance Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) flights for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for patrolling operations around the industrial areas at Tuas South to ensure security. These autonomous flights enabled long distance and large area patrols, requiring only a very lean team to operate remotely.
Because of HTX’s success, the Home Team is now able to use this technology in areas such as saving lives and protecting properties, and enhancing public safety and security.
Beyond Visual Line of Sight Flights useful for Emergency Services and First Responders
These Beyond Visual Line of Sight flights for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are particularly useful for carrying out patrols and security operations in areas which may be inaccessible or where situations are too risky for manual operations.
Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police (SAC) How Kwang Hwee, Director of Operations Department, said, “The Singapore Police Force (SPF) continues to work with HTX and industry partners to embrace new technologies to enhance our operational capabilities. The development of BVLOS drones is the next phase in SPF’s UAV operations. Recently, BVLOS drones have been successfully deployed to complement officers on the ground in various operations.”
They can be used as a first responder to provide a situational picture of an incident site, such as a big-scale or high-security event with large crowds, and for sustained and routine patrols. As videos from the UAVs can be streamed to the Police Operations Command Centre, the Police can rapidly view and assess the situation before deciding on the appropriate resources to send to the ground.
Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law, viewed a BVLOS UAV flight demonstration at the Tuas View Fire Station. He said: “This development is a key milestone in the Home Team’s use of cutting-edge technologies to transform the way we operate. HTX and the Home Team Departments must continue to innovate and find ways to harness technology to enhance the Home Team’s effectiveness in keeping Singapore safe and secure.”
Other situations where BVLOS UAVs can play a critical role include the detection of hazardous materials, the monitoring of fire scenes, and the delivery of essential supplies, which can include Automated External Defibrillators (AED) during critical missions like building collapses to help achieve a shorter response time for life-threatening cardiac arrest cases.
The ability to commission BVLOS flights will increase the efficiency of Home Team operations and empower frontline officers to focus on higher-order tasks.
PHOTO: The HTX RAUS team involved in the development of this advanced drone capability: (from left) Vanessia Choo, Low Hsien Ming, Cheng Wee Kiang, Chua Song Heng, Looi Xinglun
(Photo Credit: HTX)
The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) recently held a ceremony to promote the VNPT electric know your customer (eKYC) solution, which can detect abnormal features on ID cards and other personal documents.
It is part of a series of events aimed at introducing Vietnamese-made services in the nation’s national digital transformation until 2025 with a view to 2030. VNPT stated that among several other capabilities, eKYC can spot fake IDs, validate documents, authenticate portraits, detect invalid papers, and identify customer video calls, thanks to a large Vietnamese-specific database and the high accuracy of its optical character recognition.
According to a news report, the company says that the solution can warn about ID cards that have been tampered with, helping to reduce risk, shorten check-in times, and enhance security in information validation. eKYC has been developed based on cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and biometric recognition.
At the ceremony, the Director of the Authority of Information Technology Application, Nguyen Huy Dung, praised the solution as a passport for entering the digital world.
Ngo Dien Hy, the General Director of VNPT-IT, noted that eKYC can be applied in many sectors such as banking and insurance whilst noting that the identity verification might not be completely accurate but can significantly minimise fraud.
The country has been prioritising the development and implementation of industry 4.0 technologies, including 5G. Earlier this month, the military-run Viettel High Technology Industries Corporation and VinSmart Research and Manufacture Joint Stock Company signed a cooperation agreement to create a 5G gNodeB base station system at a ceremony in Hanoi.
The signing ceremony took place under the direction of MIC. The Viettel Group and VinGroup plan to research and develop 5G technologies to successfully commercialise 5G broadcast stations owned by Vietnamese people. Accordingly, VinSmart is responsible for developing and supplying an 8T8R radio unit (RU); an 8T8R antenna; and a Massive MIMO Radio 64T64R (integrated with both RU and Antenna); VHT research and development of signal processing equipment (CU-DU); 5G core network system; providing 5G service and new technologies such as Beamforming and Multi-User Massive Mimo, which also provides high-speed services to many users.
The two sides agreed to complete the set of specifications for 5G base station products and complete two laboratories for each side. In November, the two sides will make the first test call on the 3,600 – 3,800 MHz frequency band.
The goal of VHT and VinSmart is to successfully commercialise the 5G gNodeB 8T8R base station on 30 June 2021 and the 5G gNodeB 64T64R base station on 30 June 2022, these will be the first high-quality 5G broadcast stations that are jointly owned by two Vietnamese technology groups.
Addressing the event, Member of Party Central Committee and MIC’s Minister Nguyen Manh Hung, the Deputy Head of the Party Central Committee (PCC)’s Communication and Education Commission, asked VinGroup to focus on developing radio. Viettel will focus on signal processing, the core network, and integration into commercial products.
The WA Energy Minister Bill Johnston has congratulated Western Power on the successful deployment of 52 stand-alone power systems (SPS) at properties throughout the Mid-West, Goldfields, eastern Wheatbelt and Great Southern regions. The final SPS unit commissioned in this roll-out, in Wansbrough, is a trial unit that will supply two customers – another Australian first.
Stand-alone power systems are a more efficient option than traditional poles and wires, to supplying electricity to households or businesses, and typically includes solar panels, a battery and back-up generator.
The 52 units will replace around 230 kilometres of overhead powerlines, at an average of 4.5 kilometres per property, all of which would have needed to be replaced at a significant cost. This also results in improved land amenity for farmers and reduced risks of collisions or bushfire.
An SPS is part of Western Power’s service area but operates independently to the main network. The 52 unit roll-out follows a successful pilot involving six stand-alone power systems in 2016; it exceeded expectations with customers avoiding over 200 hours of power interruptions over the three-year trial.
Deploying stand-alone power systems has generated direct benefits for the State economy through supporting WA small businesses, and creating new jobs and training opportunities. The deployment beyond the trial phase was made possible by the McGowan Government’s Electricity Industry Amendment Bill 2019, which passed earlier this year.
The Energy Minister stated that the stand-alone power systems are a cost-effective and innovative approach to providing power to WA’s regional customers. Using SPS is part of the McGowan Government’s commitment to providing reliable and safe power to customers that are on the fringe of the grid. The government has made significant headway in transitioning towards a low carbon future with the recent release of the Whole of System Plan, DER Roadmap, the big battery and commissioning of SPS technology.
The basics of SPS technology
Murdoch University notes that Stand-alone Power Supply (SPS) systems are small-scale (<50 kW) self-contained units, providing electricity independent of the main electricity grid or mini-grid network. These systems are sometimes also known as Remote Area Power Supply (RAPS) systems.
In Australia, most electricity is supplied by utilities or electricity corporations from power stations via power supply networks, called grids. These main grids provide power to the majority of Australians using many large coal and gas-fired power stations, large hydro generation schemes and more recently, some smaller-scale wind farms and photovoltaic systems. Remote towns like Port Hedland, Mt Isa and Coober Pedy are not serviced by the main grid and have gas or diesel power stations or combined diesel/wind power stations to provide their power via a mini-grid.
SPS Systems (SPS) in Australia
In Australia stand-alone and hybrid power systems are used widely in remote areas to provide power for the following situations: small holiday homes and shacks, boats and recreational vehicles, small rural farms (single homes), large station homesteads (with multiple residences), remote aboriginal communities, small mining operations, and various telecommunications applications. While the total number of systems in Australia is not accurately known, it has been estimated as being more than 10,000 systems.
Main Component Technologies
SPS systems range from small petrol generators able to power appliances directly, to more complex installations using only renewable energy, with a combination of both also being possible. An SPS system that has a combination of energy sources is termed a hybrid SPS system.
Disabled people continue to be disadvantaged by their limited ability to engage with digital and online services, according to a new report: Digital inclusion user insights – Disabled people. The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) estimates that around 20% of all New Zealanders are digitally excluded. This essentially means that this community does not have the skills or access needed to participate in the online world.
The purpose of this research was to understand the perceptions and feelings about digital inclusion from people with disabilities as they go about their daily lives. The goal was to understand the key pain points for individuals, what they liked about the current system and what improvements could be made to ensure a more equitable digital environment for all.
For disabled people, one of the most vulnerable communities, this research highlights how the experience of engaging with digital services could be leaving disabled people behind, increasing the number of people who cannot easily and confidently use the internet and online services.
Adam Stapleton, Programme Delivery Manager, Digital Public Service branch at DIA said, “The report highlights issues that have impacted disabled people’s ability to easily and confidently use the internet and digital services. COVID-19 has exacerbated some of these issues and yet also produced an environment where new insights to improve digital inclusion can be embraced and used. This is a real opportunity to create traction.”
The research report gives disabled people a voice and outlines their lived experience in terms of being digitally enabled. It outlines 5 key findings which could help improve the design of websites and online services, making an impact on how disabled people experience the digital.
The report includes insights from disabled people and 5 recommendations for Government on how to increase digital inclusion.
- a need to enforce or incentivise application of the Web Accessibility Standard
- a call to increase the co-design of accessible, digital services
- strong demand for digital skills training from within the disability community
- demand from the disabled community for affordable access to digital tools and technology
- a call to explore employment and post-employment support for the disabled community.
The findings highlight that vulnerable communities like those of the disabled people community will continue to be disadvantaged by their ability to engage or not engage with digital services. The report shows that government agencies can design and provide services differently to be more inclusive for disabled people.
Making digital inclusion a priority
In 2019, the New Zealand government laid out the Digital Inclusion Blueprint and Action Plan, a vision and roadmap working to ensure that all New Zealanders can participate in, contribute to and benefit from the digital world. The Blueprint sets out 4 roles for government in building a digitally included New Zealand: lead, connect, support and deliver.
That vision continues to come to life in the 2020 Digital Inclusion Action Plan which outlines the range of government activities underway and planned to make a more digitally inclusive New Zealand. For example, focusing on closing digital skills gaps for whānau (extended families and communities), iwi (Maori community or people) and small businesses to support them in being able to better engage digitally. Another key part of the work is the user experience research work — a series of 7 user experience reports to understand the perceptions and feelings about digital inclusion.
The goal is to understand the key pain points for individuals of vulnerable communities. What they liked about the current online environment, what they do not, and what improvements could be made to make it a more equitable digital environment.
These reports are more than words on a page. These reports will be used to inform, advise and help people in government and the community who design and provide services so that they can be more inclusive for disabled people.
“Closing the digital divide is something we all need to work together on. Reading the report, consider how to use the findings applied to ongoing or new digital strategies is going to be key to creating the traction needed for disabled people to get the benefits of the internet, connectivity and connection,” confirmed Adam Stapleton, Programme Delivery Manager, Digital Public Service branch at DIA.
The Singapore Police Force (SPF) and HTX have developed, and are currently testing out, a training system known as the Enhanced Live Firing Range System – ELFRAS, that is aimed at enhancing firearm training delivery.
The system uses multiple sensors and analytics to improve the shooting performance of officers undergoing firearm training. This is also in line with the Home Team’s (HT) drive to better leverage technology to enhance learning outcomes for HT officers.
The sensors capture human factors such as weapon handling, breathing, shooting posture, gaze fixation and visual alignment. An embedded Advance Performance Enhancement & Analysis Range System (APEARS) software analyses data collected through these sensors and provides real-time recommendations to help improve the officer’s subsequent shots.
The features of the sensors are as follow:
Weapon Handling. A sensor attached to the weapon tracks the movement of the weapon before, during and after the trigger is pulled. It also identifies trigger pulling techniques applied by the officer.
Breathing. A sensor, fixed at the shooting lane, tracks and shows whether the officer’s breathing technique affects the movement of his weapon while firing.
Gaze Fixation. A sensor in the form of a pair of spectacles tracks the officer’s eyes during firing, including whether the officer focuses on his aiming or blinks his eyes while firing.
Shooting Posture.A body posture camera, fixed at the shooting lane, captures the officer’s body movement and compares it against the recommended shooting postures.
The Human Factors and Simulation Centre of Expertise (HFS CoE) of HTX worked with SPF to identify the full spectrum of performance-related human factors indices and to define the engineering design to instrument the shooting lane with these sensors.
Ying Meng Fai, Acting Director of the HFS CoE said, “The system provides information on the shots and real-time analysis of human factor indices such as weapon handling, breathing, shooting posture, and visual alignment. This way, timely and targeted feedback can be provided to the officers to improve their proficiency.”
The ELFRAS system also features a target sensor system that performs automated scoring, captures and displays the location where each shot lands on the target board in real-time.
This information, together with recommendations generated by the APEARS software, is presented on display panels placed beside and above the officer, to provide both officer and trainer immediate insights on the shooting performance.
This allows the trainer to provide comprehensive and timely guidance to the officer. The team has also designed an intuitive ‘one glance’ user interface for ELFRAS which enables the trainer and trainee to rapidly visualise and mitigate critical performance gaps.
Superintendent Joseph Yoong, Head of the Instructional Technology Division of the SPF Training and Capability Development Department, and member of the ELFRAS project team, said, “As part of our efforts to be a learning force with world class training, the Singapore Police Force leverages technology, such as ELFRAS during firearms training, to enhance our training delivery and effectiveness, so as to better prepare our officers for their work at the frontline.”
Currently, the project is undergoing a trial at the Home Team Academy live firing range. The trial which started in June 2020 is expected to end in February 2021. The trial is conducted with selected officers undergoing pistol and revolver training.
PHOTO CREDIT: HTX
The pandemic has caused widespread devastation across the world with cases inching towards 43 million even as the death toll crosses a million. The Philippines is also struggling to deal with the COVID-19. The country has recorded 370 thousand cases with fatalities touching 7,000 in this last week of October.
Researchers across the world are working ceaselessly to try and get a comprehensive picture of the virus, its epidemiology and management. Such large-scale, glocal research has been made possible with supercomputing facilities that can perform high-speed processing and computations.
Wide interconnectivity and global reach give it the capacity to empower multi-disciplinary efforts in medical and health research across facilities and experts spread across wide geographical areas. The incredible processing and analytic powers drive advancements in the development of treatments, vaccine and management of all diseases and pandemics, such as the COVID-19. Supercomputing facilities can process massive amounts of data, speed up simulations and provide large amounts of space need to store data and analytics. These capabilities allow access to virtual machines, massive cloud applications and coordination on a global scale – produce results a thousand times faster.
The Computing and Archiving Research Environment (COARE) is a supercomputing facility at the Department of Science and Technology-Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI). The facility provides free services to researchers, scientists and students who need high computational resources, access to virtual machines and data archiving services. Currently, COARE has allocated its resources to institutions and researchers dedicated to dealing with COVID-19.
FASSSTER and TanodCOVID
Developed by the Ateneo de Manila University’s Ateneo Center for Computing Competency and Research (ADMU-ACCCRe) and in collaboration with the University of the Philippines Manila-National Telehealth Center (UP-NTCH) and the Department of Health-Epidemiology Bureau, the Feasibility Analysis of Syndromic Surveillance using Spatio-Temporal Epidemiological Modeler (FASSSTER) is a pandemic intelligence monitoring that assists the government’s real-time decision-making processes for COVID-19.
FASSSTER’s data warehouse features multiple modules used for collating, storing and filtering real-time information sourced from various health records and reports. Data from the warehouse is fed to a dashboard that produces analytical projections and computations that help decision-making processes and disease response.
One component and data source of FASSSTER is TanodCOVID, which helps people track and monitor COVID-19 symptoms and report it to their local health authorities through a self-reporting tool. Since March 2020, the COARE facility has been of crucial help to FASSSTER and TanodCOVID, providing access to its virtual cloud services to help them in their complex mathematical models and data warehouse needs.
COVID-19 Operations Center Monitoring System
The COVID-19 Operations Center Monitoring System is a data platform used by Local Government Units to help in management, tracking and monitoring of COVID-19 cases. The system consolidates COVID-19 data that is easily viewed on a dashboard. It includes visualisation features like heat maps and charts for monitoring at the municipality up to the barangay level and modules for encoding patient information and assigning patient records for contact tracing. COARE assists this platform by storing and analysing data through virtual servers.
Philippine Genome Center Research Initiatives
The Philippine Genome Center (PGC) of the University of the Philippines-Diliman is a genome-focused institution that currently prioritising research on COVID-19 – centred on phylogenetic analysis, computational studies, evolutionary analysis, molecular biology and in silico detection of COVID-19. COARE supports PGC by providing researchers access to the facility’s supercomputing services.
Folding@Home is an R&D project that helps combat worldwide diseases through research carried out through distributed computing. From March 2020, COARE offered its supercomputing resources to F@H research efforts by installing a dedicated folding node. Through this node, the project was able to utilise COARE’s resources for computational drug design, protein folding, molecular dynamics, and other COVID-19-related computer simulations.
University of the Philippines Cebu’s CovCheck Application
The Department of Computer Science and the FireCheck team of the University of the Philippines Cebu is developing a web application, CovCheck, that enables Local Government Units to manage and respond to the transmission of COVID-19 through the collection of data from constituents who have self-assessed and self-reported for COVID-19 symptoms. At present, COARE has helped by hosting the web application on its virtual servers.
ACCELER8 Project for SARS-CoV-2 Therapeutics
Faculty members and scientists from the University of the Philippines-Manila, Philippine Genome Center-Mindanao, and De La Salle University Manila are working on a research project – Advancing Antivirals through Combined Computational Design and Emerging Omics to Leverage Repurposed and Natural Drugs for SARS-CoV-2 Therapeutics (ACCELER8). COARE has given ACCELR8 researchers access to its supercomputing services to help them conduct simulations and data analysis on computational drug design and omics.
The federal government announced the establishment of a new industry advisory committee to help guide the implementation of its Cyber Security Strategy 2020. The Industry Advisory Committee will provide advice to the government through regular meetings and report directly to the Minister for Home Affairs.
The 2020 Cyber Security Strategy is firmly focused on protecting families and businesses, especially as they spend more time online, both at home and in their workplaces, the Minister for Home Affairs said. The Committee brings a wealth of experience from both the public and private sector that will build on the success of the Industry Advisory Panel and ensure the industry will continue playing a vital formative role in shaping the delivery of actions set out in the Strategy.
The work of the committee will be essential in light of the key role connected technologies are expected to play in Australia’s post-COVID recovery. While daily life is increasingly connected by digital technologies, more abundant and better-resourced cybercriminals and cyber-activists and increasingly sophisticated and emboldened state actors mean Australia is quite literally under constant cyberattack.
Meeting that challenge requires Australia’s cyber defences to be strong, adaptive and built around a strategic framework that is coordinated, integrated and capable — the 2020 Cyber Security Strategy provides that framework.
The committee will be chaired by the CEO of an Australian telecommunications company fresh off his stint as chair of the industry advisory panel that shaped the development of the new strategy. Meanwhile, the Chair of Australia’s sovereign cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider will serve as Deputy Chair.
The new committee also has two other industry advisory panel members and joining these experts on the panel will be Cyber Security CRC CEO, the CEO of an Australian cloud, data centre, government cybersecurity and telecom company, and the Chairman a firm that provides real-time detection and ranging of objects and events.
Boosting cybersecurity government-wide
On a state level, the NSW government aims to streamline and standardise how agencies go about sourcing cybersecurity contractors by establishing a series of government-wide buying arrangements.
The Department of Customer Service this week approached the market to set up cybersecurity purchasing arrangements (CSPAs), as the need to secure the state’s digital services continues to increase. The arrangements will seek to overcome undisclosed “issues associated with the procurement of cybersecurity professional services to date”, and “ultimately facilitate cybersecurity uplift” across government.
Services expected to be covered by what will in effect be a panel include incident response, vulnerability assessment, maturity assessment, digital forensics, penetration testing and generic cybersecurity professional services.
This move comes in preparation for the government’s parliamentary inquiry into its handling of cybersecurity following a series of high-profile breaches, including an email compromise that saw 738Gb of data, or approximately 3.8 million documents, lifted from Service NSW.
The CSPAs will give agencies the confidence that they are procuring services from “capable suppliers” that have met a set criterion that ensures services are “fit for purposes” while minimising complexity.
This will involve “standardising the definition of services such that they are more easily understood by both buyers and suppliers allows for better comparison”, tender documents state.
The arrangements will also build on the government’s IT consultant fee caps introduced earlier this year by ‘locking in’ pricing. Suppliers will be expected to agree on “cost structures at the establishment of the CSPAs” to provide “confidence in the cost of engagements”.
The CSPAs will sit alongside the whole-of-government Cloud Purchasing Arrangements (CPAs), which were introduced by the department earlier this year to simplify public cloud procurement.
The SG Women in Tech movement (SGWIT), an initiative by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), industry, government and community partners to attract and develop girls and women in tech, celebrated its 1st year of advancing diversity in the tech sector in Singapore this week.
Some of the key milestones include:
- Connecting girls in schools with female tech leaders through a series of StudentsAsk videos that have since reached out to over 115,000 people in the community
- Bringing together over 600 women in the tech workforce for networking and mentoring activities
- Launching the inaugural SG 100 Women in Tech List to honour women who have achieved outstanding accomplishments and made significant contributions in tech.
Study finds women in tech in SE Asia is higher than global averages
To provide more insights on the strategies that companies, governments, schools and individuals can take to advance gender diversity, The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has partnered with SGWIT and IMDA on a new study which surveyed 1,650 women in tech in Southeast Asia.
The study found that the participation of women in tech in Southeast Asia is slightly higher than global averages, and about 65% of respondents agreed that the tech sector does better than other industries in offering programmes specifically tailored to recruit, retain and promote women.
“More talent will drive the fast growth of our burgeoning tech sector and spearhead digital transformation for the Singapore economy. It is heartening to see the strong interest and support for the Singapore Women in Tech movement from schools, industry and community. We are glad to see tech companies and leaders taking action to attract, retain and develop girls and women in tech, and look forward to bringing on board even more stakeholders to develop an exciting and enabling environment for women in tech,” said Mr Lew Chuen Hong, Chief Executive, Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).
Report identifies areas to boost the number of women in tech
With demand for digital talent growing faster than supply, the report identified three critical junctures for intervention to boost the number of women in tech. These “moments of truth” are the choice to pursue higher education in tech, the selection of their first job, and the decision to remain in tech over the long term.
Based on these, the report has also identified areas where companies, policymakers and academic institutions, and even women themselves, can work on, to further attract, retain and develop more women in tech.
BCG’s global leader for the Technology, Media & Telecommunications practice, Vaishali Rastogi, said, “Technology is radically disrupting businesses and industries, driving an urgent need for more digital talent across the region as demand for such profiles rises faster than supply. Women need to be part of the long-term solution.” Vaishali, who is one of the authors of the BCG report, further explained, “Our research shows that gender diversity can make companies more innovative and agile. For example, companies where women account for more than 20% of the management team have approximate 10% higher innovation revenues than companies with male-dominated leadership”.
Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information, Ms Sim Ann, also announced the extension of the MentorConnect programme for a second year at a webinar organised by SGWIT to commemorate its first anniversary.
The cross-company mentorship programme was started last year by Dell Technologies as a platform to guide and empower the development of women professionals in tech and promote best practices among participating companies from all industries. The programme will see four new companies, DBS Bank, VMWare, Aon, and BHP, joining the current ones – Dell Technologies, IMDA, Salesforce and ST Engineering.