Singapore remains on track to deploy two nationwide 5G standalone (SA) networks by 2025, with 5G SA capabilities covering at least half of Singapore by end-2022.
5G SA networks are completely independent of 4G networks, and can deliver a full suite of 5G capabilities including network slicing to support different use-case requirements, significant improvement in speeds, as well as ultra-reliable and low latency communications.
In the interim, Mobile Network Operators have indicated an interest in using Non-Standalone (NSA) networks as a short-term and transitory arrangement, while the SA networks are being deployed.
5G NSA networks are built over existing 4G networks. Its features are limited to faster speeds, instead of the full suite of 5G capabilities that SA networks can deliver.
Mr Lew Chuen Hong, Chief Executive, IMDA, said “We have made good progress on our journey to roll out the future-ready full-fledged 5G SA networks critical to maintaining Singapore’s competitive edge. We welcome, and are supportive of our operators’ interest to make incremental investment in the meantime and leverage 5G NSA technology to offer their customers some early 5G benefits such as faster mobile broadband experience while they build their SA network. These 5G NSA capabilities will also enable them to work with industry to develop early innovative business use cases to meet early demand.”
Riding on existing 4G networks, the 5G NSA networks will enable consumers to enjoy some 5G benefits such as faster mobile speeds on 5G-enabled devices. Upon IMDA’s approval, operators will be allowed to conduct market trials and offer some early commercial 5G services to consumers.
Meanwhile, IMDA will work closely with MNOs to develop a regulatory framework that ensures a smooth transition from NSA to the eventual SA networks.
The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) will support Mobile Network Operators’ (MNOs) plan to ride on existing 4G networks to deploy 5G Non-Standalone (NSA) networks as part of trials to allow consumers to enjoy partial 5G experiences in the short-term, with faster mobile speeds as a key feature.
When ready by 2025, 5G SA networks will support the growth of a thriving innovation ecosystem that fuels the creation of a diverse range of 5G applications and use-cases across various industries, including remote surgery, autonomous vehicles, and cloud gaming.
The digitisation and digitalisation of the Malaysian economy is an important factor in the changing society today as most countries are re-emerging by adopting new norms due to pandemics affecting various sectors. This unprecedented situation has led to irregular structural changes in past lifestyles.
However, a majority of the population does not have much choice because they have to adapt to the new paradigm as past practices have to be changed forever. It is important to acknowledge that this crisis is causing the emergence of change agents that trigger a new digital era.
The industrial revolution that bloomed about 200 years ago has exposed humans to technology has now entered a new phase which is the leap into the Industrial Revolution 4.0 or IR 4.0. Despite the belief that IR 4.0 will remain, the implementation of these technologies will determine which societies will progress and which ones will be left behind.
Just as steam engines trigger the use of fossil fuels to aggravate the current climate crisis, the power of IR 4.0 technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, material internet (IoT), robotics and crypto will determine the quality for human beings whether they provide well-being or vice versa.
Taking on the responsibility of digitising Malaysians who are ‘affected’ by this transformation, the role of Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) is being implemented accordingly. The agency is responsible for ensuring the widespread dissemination and use of IR 4.0 tools in advance so that the community is aware of the challenges that are inevitable not only in Malaysia but also globally.
Considering that more than 90 percent of businesses in Malaysia are categorized as Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), it is an essential requirement for this group to be given ‘digital power’. Therefore, the focus is also given to MDEC for the digitization and digitization of family-based businesses.
Investment through training, subsidies, incentives, grants and loans are all important to achieve the goal of digital participation, especially during these challenging times, MDEC is in a unique position to encourage grassroots engagement by sharing resources that fairly involve all stakeholders in society.
The main philosophy that drives the penetration of IR 4.0 technology in the Malaysian digital economy is to achieve common prosperity for all citizens. The current global crisis is an opportunity to place the country in a position from where it can prepare for a better future with greater possibilities as well as by placing the community at the centre of IR 4.0 technology.
Another article notes that MDEC aspires to firmly establish Malaysia as the Heart of Digital ASEAN, a regional digital powerhouse launching global champions to lead the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). It also aims to ensure the digital economy will drive shared prosperity for all Malaysians by accelerating our digital economy growth, ensuring it is inclusive and rewarding for all, focused on the key drivers: empowering Malaysians with Digital Skills, enabling Digitally-Powered Businesses, and driving Digital Sector Investments.
At the cusp of the 4IR, Malaysia is blessed with the chance of re-engineering the human experiment using technologies that decentralise authority and de-emphasise divisions along the lines of colour, creed and country – what the Japanese have coined as “Society 5.0” – and the nation has adapted as “Malaysia 5.0”.
The term describes the next stage of the evolution of societal communities. The quest for Society 5.0 is built around the needs of a human-centred society. MDEC envisions playing a leading role in catalysing this transition to Malaysia 5.0 as a new narrative for introducing emerging technologies which are essential tools in the new Malaysia 5.0 digital economy.
With Malaysia 5.0, it can contribute to a more sustainable and circular economy, where greater well-being is possible for all citizens regardless of age, ethnicity, and class.
The Indonesian manufacturing sector is seeing comprehensive changes in businesses across the spectrum, that is leading to accelerated progress to Industry 4.0 standards. This increased pace is being driven by efforts to increase productivity, efficiency and safety to adapt to the new normal brought about by the pandemic. Speaking at a virtual event, Webinar of Industrial Powerhouse in the Making: Invest in Industry 4.0, Director-General of Resilience, Territorial and International Industrial Access (KPAII) of the Ministry of Industry, Dody Widodo felt that current transformation efforts are critical to encouraging economic growth and competitiveness of the country.
Digitisation and technology have brought a marked improvement in the productivity of the domestic manufacturing industry after being hit by the COVID-19. As of September 2020, the utilisation of the manufacturing sector reached 55.3%, an increase of 15-25% from the previous 30-40% at the start of the pandemic. He was confident that efficient and effective digitalisation would connect companies with domestic and international markets through an integrated supply chain network. Countries that have low transformation performance characteristics will face high costs due to unreliable capacity and efficiency, as well as major barriers to integrating and competing in global supply and value chains.
Dody acknowledged the undeniable role of the internet has had in changing the way of doing business, including in the industrial sector. Industry 4.0 is driving the increasing trend of automation, such as through the Internet of Things (IoT), machine-to-machine and human-to-machine interfaces, artificial intelligence, digitisation in manufacturing, and other advanced technologies. According to him, the new paradigm shift in manufacturing today is the result of the use of the internet which allows real-time communication between machines and humans- leading to an era of smart products and smart services.
To prepare for the Industrial 4.0 era, the Indonesian government has launched a road map for Making Indonesia 4.0. Initially, there were five sectors that received development priority – food and beverages, textiles and clothing, automotive, electronics and chemicals. However, learning from the pandemic, the Ministry of Industry has added two critical sectors to be included in the Making Indonesia 4.0 program – pharmaceutical industry and medical devices. With this, there are seven priority sectors.
These seven sectors are key sectors in the world economy and Indonesia is striving to become one of the major global players in these. The main goal is to have Indonesia in the top 10 countries that have the strongest economy in the world by 2030.
OpenGov Asia recently reported on the Ministry of Industry’s launch of the Startup4industry programme as another concrete step to implementing the Making Indonesia 4.0 roadmap. The nation is confident that this strategic initiative will bridge the needs of industry and the community with the role of startups as technology providers. Startup4industry, built on the theme “Indonesia Is Confident in Domestic Technology” 2020 aims to deeply technology to have a positive social impact on citizens and mitigate the impact of the pandemic in the industrial sector.
Investment in Industry 4.0 technology will increase competitiveness and added value and, to that end, the government has carried out various strategic activities as part of the implementation of Making Indonesia 4.0. These include 2019 Indonesia Industrial Summit, preparation of Indonesia’s 4.0 Industry Readiness Index (INDI 4.0), the IKM e-Smart program and the appointment of an Industry 4.0 lighthouse company in Indonesia.
To attract investment related to industrial technology 4.0, the Ministry of Industry has proposed various incentives for industry players, including a super tax deduction of 300% for industrial companies investing in R&D (including technology 4.0) and 200% for industrial companies investing in vocational education.
Further, to maintain business continuity of the industrial sector in the country, the Ministry of Industry has granted an Operational Permit and Industrial Activity Mobility (IOMKI) for business actors who meet the requirements based on Circular (SE) of the Minister of Industry Number 4 of 2020, SE of the Minister of Industry No.7 / 2020 and SE of the Minister of Industry No.8 / 2020. As of October 2020, 18,183 IOMKIs have been issued for various industrial sectors with total employment of 5.15 million people.
The Deputy Director-General of the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (Depa) in collaboration with Thailand’s largest GSM mobile phone operator and the leading source of all tech and business news in Thailand and Southeast Asia organised an online seminar Esports Summit – Pre-Event LIVE which featured a comprehensive overview of the gaming and e-sports industry.
The Deputy Director-General joined hands with the President of the E-Sports Association of Thailand (TEF) and the CEO of the mobile phone operator. The parties will come together to develop a new path for the game industry in Thailand. The partnership aims to increase the number of industry opportunities in the esports, a sector which many people still as lacking potential. Moreover, a case studies of the successful implementation of esports industry initiatives will be done and the results will determine the measures needed to apply them to the gaming industry in Thailand.
The Summit will take place on 28 October 2020 at Samyan Mitrtown, and will include a variety of e-sports-related seminars including those titled ‘How To Drive, Develop and Engage Global Branded Customers with eSports’, ‘Tips from the Developer of a World-Class Streaming Platform’, ‘Bachelor’s Degree of Gaming: Advice For Parents About E-Sports and more.
Propelling e-sports in Thailand
In August 2020, it was reported that mobile phone operator launched the AIS e-sports studio to support Thais training to compete at competitions around Southeast Asia.
Winners of competitions hosted by the operator will be able to practice e-sports at the studio. The studio brings together high-speed internet networks and equipment to support e-sports, primarily for training in preparation for the next regional competition.
AIS uses a caster and production zone with modern production techniques and full equipment to organise live events on high-speed internet networks for e-sports fans.
The company plans to organise two more e-sports tournaments this year beginning with its e-sports Thailand Campus Championship 2020 Season 2, and its e-sports Thailand Open Championship for players of all levels.
More recently, the Co-Founder and Chief Executive of a consulting firm stated that gaming is set to emerge as the next dominant technology platform much the way search engines, mobile phones and social networks redefined industries in previous decades.
Some games are transforming into digital hubs that offer people an array of services once only possible in real life. The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated gaming’s popularity, with overall time spent gaming rising by 29% during the outbreak, according to the firm.
People are increasingly using gaming platforms to view virtual concerts, for messaging, gambling, dating and even virtual celebrations of weddings and birthdays, the company found. The firm predicts the consumer gaming industry will reach a value of $198 billion by 2024, not including sales from hardware and devices, augmented reality, virtual reality and advertising.
The industry is turning from selling individual games to offering subscription services, with several tech giants offering gaming subscriptions and competing with major players. The consulting firm found that 58% of gamers use or intend to use gaming subscription services, while 38% use or intend to use cloud gaming services.
A wave of mergers and acquisitions involving gaming and tech companies has been predicted. Gaming will also connect industries, the expert said.
About 22% of people who bought their first virtual-reality headsets this year did so during the virus outbreak, the firm reported, with most users intending them for videogames.
The University of Wollongong’s (UOW) SMART Infrastructure Facility will play a vital role in the new Illawarra-Shoalhaven City Deal prospectus, which aims to provide a vision and program to drive the transformation of the region and its economic recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The Illawarra-Shoalhaven City Deal brings together four councils and eight partner organisations – including UOW and the SMART Infrastructure Facility – in a shared vision for the region.
It is a vision that will deliver transformative change to the region, generating more than 12,000 high value add jobs in areas such as advanced manufacturing, professional services and technology, and enabling a more robust, more diverse Illawarra-Shoalhaven economy.
The proposed Illawarra-Shoalhaven City Deal initiative provides an opportunity to build from the existing Western Sydney City Deal to accelerate this growth relationship while also delivering important local infrastructure, facilities and jobs for the 420,000 people who live right here in our wonderful coastal region.
In addition to delivering 12,550 jobs over the next decade, the Illawarra-Shoalhaven City Deal:
- Creates growth for the Illawarra-Shoalhaven economy, and supports the growth of Greater and Western Sydney;
- Provides targeted transformative infrastructure projects that support a connected, diverse and resilient economy;
- Unlocks a recovery of the bushfire-ravaged visitor-economy for Shoalhaven;
- Develops the Circular Economy with a world-class waste reduction project;
- Creates a pipeline of Smart City projects, improving our overall economic resilience;
- Supports enhanced liveability for 70,000 plus households in the region and to South-Western Sydney, including Wollondilly and Campbelltown.
SMART’s Chief Operating Officer stated that the facility already works closely with industry and local government on projects that enhance the economic value across the region, such as Smart Waterways Management Project and the South West Illawarra Rail Link (SWIRL) report.
This City Deal states a clear vision moving forward and provides a roadmap for everyone to work towards, she said. The prospectus includes a pipeline for implementation and delivery of smart city projects which will deliver high liveability impacts for the region.
The vision and program outlined represent a considered and confident package of initiatives that can drive the transformation of the Illawarra-Shoalhaven and position the region for economic and employment recovery, he said. Considerable effort and collaboration by key organisations, including UOW, has been applied to define and agree on a suite of initiatives that address transport infrastructure, the visitor economy and economic resilience across Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama and the Shoalhaven.
Federal and State Governments rightly encourage regional communities to take charge of defining their aspirations and charting a course of action. Leaders in the Illawarra-Shoalhaven have risen to that challenge. Now the team seeks the support and investment of the Government as well as their collaboration in delivering jobs growth and improved liveability for communities.
Job creation in Advanced Manufacturing is targeted through the expansion of the Albatross Aviation Technology Precinct at Nowra. Better road and rail access resulting from the Illawarra-Shoalhaven City Deal will attract investment in manufacturing, green energy, ICT and tourism in the bushfire affected South Coast.
The delivery of the projects in the proposed Illawarra-Shoalhaven City Deal will have a transformative impact on the regional economy. The strategic objectives of the Illawarra-Shoalhaven cities are to create over 12,550 high-quality jobs in the next decade by delivering investment in key industries that attracts new businesses and retains employees as residents in one of Australia’s most liveable regions.
The growth potential is currently constrained by a lack of investment to unlock the local economies. Additional investment from Federal and NSW governments in transformative infrastructure will allow the Illawarra-Shoalhaven to reach its full potential as a much needed ‘release valve’ for a congested Sydney.
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.
The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and the Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC) in partnership with the Malaysian branch of an American multinational technology company have launched the “Highway to a 100 Unicorns” initiative, which is part of a joint initiative to empower local start-ups and strengthen Malaysia’s start-up ecosystem.
Eligible start-ups will gain access to focused workshops on business and technology, as well as monthly knowledge-sharing webinars with the global start-up community. Additionally, the top start-ups from Malaysia will stand to gain from a year-long mentorship program, access to enterprise clients, as well as engagement opportunities with the firm’s experts and industry leaders.
The Managing Director of the tech firm’s Malaysia arm stated that the country has a vibrant start-up ecosystem, and they play a vital role in the economy as innovators, disruptors. In partnering with MDEC and MaGIC, the firm introduced the ‘Highway to a 100 Unicorns’ initiative in Malaysia.
The initiative is part of the firm’s collective commitment to empowering local start-ups with the right technology and expertise, enabling them to scale and achieve more globally. The start-ups could potentially become tomorrow’s unicorns, helping to shape economic recovery and resilience and build a stronger long-term future in Malaysia.
The Chief Executive Officer of MDEC stated that Kuala Lumpur has been ranked 11th among emerging start-up ecosystems in the world by Startup Genome, which adds to the confidence that Malaysia is primed to be the preferred land and expansion base for the best innovators and tech start-ups regionally.
As the spearhead of Malaysia’s digital economy, the CEO highlighted that MDEC is firmly committed to assisting tech start-ups in their fundraising journey, global market expansion, and forging corporate partnerships to entrench Malaysia, “as the Heart of Digital ASEAN.”
The CEO of MaGIC noted that the Highway to a 100 Unicorns initiative is in line with their commitment to driving the development of a sustainable start-up and social enterprise ecosystem in Malaysia.
While steady growth has been witnessed over the years, the entire ecosystem has been challenged to innovate and accelerate its growth at a much faster pace in recent times. This initiative presents an exciting opportunity for Malaysian innovators and founders to scale and move beyond borders, through global collaborations, as well as industry-led mentorship and guidance.
To be considered for the initiative, start-ups will first have to apply to the Emerge X competition. There are three criteria for Emerge X, which are:
- Business-to-Business companies with product-market fit, revenue-generating with at least 3-4 clients.
- Business-to-Consumer companies with a large customer base (upward of 100K customers) and are revenue-generating.
- Funding is a plus.
All Emerge X start-ups will be awarded free GitHub and Azure credits and focused business and technology workshops.
The top finalists from Malaysia will be announced in November, joining other shortlisted innovators and entrepreneurs from 16 other Asia Pacific countries, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam.
Additionally, the finalists will benefit from a year-long mentorship with technical and business deep dives, a Founder Bootcamp over 3 days, access to enterprise clients globally through Microsoft’s unique co-sell program as well as opportunities to interact with Microsoft experts and industry stalwarts.
The Highway to Unicorn programme was first launched by the firm for start-ups in India, where only 56 start-ups were selected to the Emerge X program from six states, which have over 15,000 start-ups. The Emerge X winners have greatly benefited from global market access support, a 3-day founder bootcamp with world-class mentors, access to funding, ongoing mentorship, and guidance on Azure, artificial intelligence, machine learning and more. Following the success, the programme has been extended to the Asia Pacific region.
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) in collaboration with a local tech reseller and an American tech manufacturer to launch a new technological learning space, the AktivUKM ruang space for students and the entire campus community. The Vice-Chancellor of UKM stated that the AktivUKM™ space is the first learning space in public universities in Malaysia, which involves strategic collaboration with industry.
The idea of establishing the AktivUKM™ space begun with the aim of aligning with the UKM Strategic Plan 2019-2021 with the concept of House of Quality where Teaching-UKM has been given the mandate to realize the Empowerment of Teaching and Learning and Talent Outreach.
In line with the mandate, the establishment of the AktivUKM™ space is expected to empower students with relevant and futuristic skills to face the era of the 4th Industrial Revolution. The space was created as a knowledge hub that connects students, lecturers and UKM staff.
Its location, located in the Tun Sri Lanang Library, makes it a bridge to connect knowledge in the physical world and the digital world. True to its name, AktivUKM™ is symbolic to drive digital teaching and learning activities among campus residents and the community.
Apart from that, he said, the skills cultivated in the space are expected to provide students, lecturers and UKM staff to share, inspire, impart knowledge and further be able to increase the marketability of graduates.
Through this learning space, students will join the two industry partners in gaining hands-on experience and live digital and futuristic skills for their future careers. Students can also work with digital experts in the space to apply active learning with an American multinational technology company technology as well as develop and create innovative digital materials with futuristic space and technology.
In addition, the AktivUKM™ space provides a hub for lecturers to further strengthen strategic alliances with Apple in transforming teaching and learning (PdP) approaches. With this network, technology experts will be with lecturers in redesigning teaching with Apple’s futuristic ecosystem technology in line with Education 4.0. Lecturers can also create and innovate in PdP and in turn drive education based on the 4th Industrial Revolution.
Preparing Malaysian youth with digital skills
The current COVID-19 pandemic has made it apparent that equipping the workforce with digital skills is imperative for economic recovery. To enable this, the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) has introduced a Digital Skills Training Directory during its recent #MyDigitalWorkforce Week, an initiative to assist youth job-seekers and the unemployed.
The CEO of MDEC said the directory would act as a guide for Malaysians in selecting digital courses that meet their career needs. The introduction of the directory is consistent with the agency’s focus on developing digitally-skilled Malaysians. It will be the go-to guide for all Malaysians and the workforce on what to look out for when it comes to digital tech up-skilling and re-skilling programmes.
Businesses that are looking to hire personnel and have plans to equip talent with relevant digital tech skills can refer to the digital-first focused directory catalogue as it lists down courses that address in-demand digital skills. In addition, most of the courses have been approved for funding – for organisations or talents – under the government’s National Economic Recovery Plan (PENJANA) Hiring Incentive that the Social Security Organisation (Socso) manages.
Should the candidates require training, up to RM4,000 training subsidy will be available for the unemployed who are selected for recruitment by Socso-registered employers.
This arrangement is also available for unemployed Malaysians who are registered with the Socso Employment Insurance System.
The directory covers all areas of digital skills training, from beginner up to advance level. The courses on the list consist of data science (50 courses); cybersecurity (44 courses); animation (19 courses); game development (five courses); and software development (55 courses). These include, but are not limited to, data science, cybersecurity, animation, game development, and software development for the new digital era.