An innovative start up in China has deployed over 40 boats in the rivers of China in a bid to stop pollution at the source and to stop anymore waste from reaching the ocean.
Founded in 2017, ORCA-TECH uses urban and coastal waters as scenarios, supported by many scenario iterations and ultra-long surface driving data, to create a series of surface environmental service robots.
The company has extended its product functions and applications and has now formed three major businesses that focus on water surface cleaning, as well as water security and water data.
There are many ocean clean up projects going on in the world, but ORCA-TECH’s vision is to clean up the rivers and waterways at the source so that it never gets as far as the ocean, and so that the ocean will not be further polluted.
High Efficiency Robot for City Waterworks
The concept was first brought to life as a university project, designing a robot to be able to identify garbage autonomously, and that it could identify densely polluted water areas and differentiate types of rubbish without human supervision.
ORCA-TECH combines robotics and AI to launch robots that can automatically clean the water surface.
The boat can be controlled using remote control or the boat can also be used as a self-driving robot. It can identify what areas of the river are most polluted and how to collect waste most efficiently.
The boat also uses cameras and sensors. It can check the water environment and can be used to measure the distance between the boat and the rubbish to be collected.
Added features on the boat can monitor water quality or act as security on the waterways.
The boat is also using Machine Learning through the enormous amount of data and images it collects, to better identify the different types of garbage it collects.
The boat also separates the garbage by garbage type on board the boat, rubbish is dived into separate bins by material type.
Technology in the fight against river pollution worldwide
The next phase of their plan is to increase their presence in mainland China, focusing on increasing the client base and growing their fleet of boats. They are looking to place 100 boats in the rivers of China in the next coming year. With more investment they aim to upgrade the technology used on the boats in the future.
ORCA-TECH are mainly working with private sector companies in the environment and water treatment sectors, but they are aiming to garner interest internationally.
To date, they have mass produced the robots and successfully promoted them to more than 30 cities in China, Spain and UK.
They have partnered with international manufacturer IKEA for a campaign which saw them launch 3 branded boats on the Thames in London to help clean out the capital city’s river. They also supplied a boat for a major exhibition in Barcelona in Spain.
The ‘Data Brain of the Water’
It is believed that the robot is six times more efficient than manual cleaning with 50% less cost.
It was selected as the best intelligent sanitation equipment in China in 2019.
The company collects information from various waterways to build ‘the data brain’ of the water environment through their robots.
In the future, they aim to upgrade the robots’ self-driving algorithm and launch water transportation, water logistics and other services, and make the water environment a major part of the smart city.
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 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.
JTC and the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) signed a Memorandum of Understanding yesterday to support manufacturers, especially SMEs, to kick-start their Industry 4.0 journey or to scale their current efforts through the adoption of technologies and solutioning for business operations through the new JTC-SBF Industry Transformation Initiative.
This initiative will provide companies that are keen in furthering their Industry 4.0 ambitions access to relevant Industry 4.0 related resources.
These include curated workshops, capability building initiatives tailored to companies’ digital readiness, and link-ups to a larger pool of technology partners and its consortiums, for solution matching to help companies develop the expertise to implement and scale Industry 4.0 solutions in their operations.
Over 300 companies are expected to be supported under this initiative and undergo Industry 4.0 transformation in the next two years. This will help them to develop new capabilities for their workforce, enhance its productivity and ensure long-term competitiveness.
Mr Tan Boon Khai, CEO of JTC, said, “SBF is an instrumental partner to drive the next phase of Industry 4.0 transformation by companies. With our large base of customers, strong network of partners, and robust advanced manufacturing ecosystem in Jurong Innovation District, more companies can become the forerunner in Industry 4.0. With this new partnership, we hope to see more businesses in Singapore transform and capture new growth opportunities in the region.”
Mr Ho Meng Kit, Chief Executive Officer of SBF, said, “The COVID-19 situation has brought disruptions to economies, making businesses rethink strategies, relook operating models and recalibrate resources. This has led to an accelerated need for a better understanding and adoption of Industry 4.0 to help local enterprises emerge stronger from the pandemic.
With the present downturn expected to be protracted, we hope that through this JTC-SBF partnership, we can further encourage more companies to take a holistic view at how Industry 4.0 solutions can help their businesses transform and thrive in the future economy.”
New initiatives to support and accelerate the next phase of Industry 4.0 transformation
This new collaboration will allow JTC and SBF’s combined network of companies to more easily access relevant Industry 4.0 resources across JTC and SBF’s networks and platforms.
Together with partners, joint engagement sessions will be carried out to further strengthen the various initiatives and encourage higher adoption of solutions for businesses to scale up their Industry 4.0 capabilities.
Companies can participate in curated training workshops and capability building programmes tailored to their level of Industry 4.0 readiness, and develop roadmaps to guide their implementation.
They will gain access to successful case studies and embark on learning journeys at Factories of the Future, giving them greater exposure to Industry 4.0 solutions in real production facilities. This will further encourage companies to transform and remain competitive amidst the pandemic.
Building a collaborative community through Industry Connect to help businesses capture new Industry 4.0 opportunities
This partnership with SBF is part of JTC’s ongoing efforts to build a collaborative community that can help companies to stay ahead of the curve. In January this year, JTC launched the Industry Connect Initiative to help businesses across its estates grow through technology adoption while enhancing talent development and environmental sustainability.
With over 14,000 customers, JTC can effectively promote business transformation to these companies by connecting them to solutions providers, trade associations, and government agencies.
To date, over 1,000 businesses in JTC’s estates have been engaged through various Industry 4.0 outreach initiatives, with around 200 companies embarking on their Industry 4.0 journey.
Leading players in the business community are sharing relevant technologies and experience to address problems faced by various industries. This has created new opportunities for businesses and their workers.
The Singapore Government has announced that they will combine the power of TraceTogether and SafeEntry, two technologies dveloped by the government to help prevent or slow the transmission of COVID-19 in Singapore
In order to resume larger-scale activities and further reopen the economy in a safer manner, TraceTogether-only SafeEntry, known as TT-only SE, will be progressively expanded to more venues.
The use of TT-only SE will provide added assurance that everyone present at these largerscale activities is better protected by effective contact tracing through participation in the TraceTogether Programme.
“TT-only SE ensures that if a COVID-19 case is identified, we can quickly inform close contacts in those locations through the TT Programme. The close contacts can immediately take the necessary precautions to keep their loved ones safe.”
By end of this year, we plan for all popular venues that currently require SE to transit to TT-only SE. The current scanning on-site QR codes with a phone camera, using SingPass Mobile for SE check-in, and scanning of personal IDs, will be disabled at venues where TT-only SE is implemented.
Instead, SE is allowed only if one uses their TT App to scan the on-site QR code, or if they let the on-site entry staff scan the QR code on their TT Token.
Staged Rollout of TT-only-SE
Since August 2020, TT-only SE has been trialled at selected venues where people are likely to be in close contact for prolonged periods, or where human traffic is high, to ensure that individuals at these venues are covered by the TT Programme.
From now till mid-November, TT-only SE will be implemented in venues with activities that involve larger groups of people. These include live performances, business events, places of worship conducting congregational and other worship services with more than 100 people and cinemas. Members of the public who intend to attend these activities are encouraged to download the TT App or collect their TT Token as soon as possible.
By December, TT Tokens would already have been widely available for a substantial period of time. TT-only SE will be implemented at all popular venues where SE is currently mandatory. This would include workplaces, schools, shopping malls and F&B outlets. The latest list of venues which will transit to TT-only SE will be updated on an ongoing basis at www.safeentry.gov.sg/deployment.
TraceTogether Programme Crucial for Effective Contact Tracing
TT and SE are critical digital tools that allow us to quickly contain the spread of COVID19 the moment it is detected, so that we can safely ease our measures and continue to resume economic and social activities.
These tools help to stem multiple generations of spread and prevent large clusters from forming. We seek everyone’s cooperation in using SE and participating in the TT Programme, to make Singapore safer from COVID-19.
In collaboration with
The TraceTogether App was launched in March by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and GovTech, as part of the world’s first national digital contact tracing effort.
Since then, it has been used extensively by the MOH and the product team has been busy improving its effectiveness and building enhancements, without compromising on security. We took a look behind the scenes to learn more about the testing process:
The first thing we realised? They use a lot of phones. Like a lot.
How many smartphone models can you name? Our guess is not a lot, especially beyond the flagship models of Apple, Samsung, Huawei, and Google, am i right?
In reality though, the phone population in Singapore isn’t just made up of more prominent models (the iPhones, the Galaxies, the Pixels), but also less glamorous models – say, like the humble Oppo A5.
Why does this matter? Because for TraceTogether to work effectively, the team has to make sure that ALL devices can be detected by each other – not just the popular ones. To help with this, the team maintains a ‘device farm’ – a collection of over 100 different devices representing the majority of the devices used in Singapore by market share.
The new TraceTogether tokens also go through the same stringent testing
In case you’re wondering whether or not there will be compatibility issues between smartphones and the newly introduced Tokens, the team has also been working hard to ensure that this communication is smooth.
TraceTogether Tokens, also based on BlueTooth proximity tracing, are tested alongside the App to ensure interoperability. This is done by calibrating distances to account for close contact range.
As the team conducts more trials and in turn collects more data, they are able to make more refined estimates that help improve the accuracy of digital contact tracing when used by MOH.
Indeed, in the eyes of Team TraceTogether, there’s no Apple vs Android, Token vs App – all devices are the same.
The GovTech office doubles as a makeshift testing ground
When the team needs a conducive environment to simulate real-world conditions, it’s fortunate that they have the GovTech office at Sandcrawler! This space has a wide variety of different office layouts and is divided into different zones, each simulating different types of areas that TraceTogether needs to operate in.
The GovTech office as a testing ground
For example, one zone with wide-open spaces can simulate, say, a void deck or a mall’s atrium, while a more intimate space can simulate tight spaces, such as public transport.
Both phones and tokens are then placed randomly in each zone. The goal here is simple:
1) Devices in the same zone must be able to detect and classify other devices in close proximity via TraceTogether
2) TraceTogether should not deem other devices in different zones as being in close proximity.
This process is repeated again and again, with varying combinations of phones and tokens in each zone, until the team is satisfied. Intense!
The testing never stops:
“One of the mistaken impressions that people have is that TraceTogether is a static programme. It’s not. It was developed in a very compressed period of time. And we’ve been working hard with MOH contact tracers to support their workflow and processes, while also constantly making the app more convenient for citizens,” explained Jason Bay, Senior Director, Government Digital Services.
“We also urge users to continue using SafeEntry and TraceTogether, which are complementary products – and not substitutes. One focuses on the locations you have been to, and helps jog your memory if you are asked to help in contact tracing; the other looks at person-to-person interactions.”
So to keep safe, remember to update your app to the latest version, and keep it open in the background whenever you head out!
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.
An incubatee at the Hong Kong Smart Government Innovation Lab has announced the launch of a new solution. It is now ready to be acquired by companies and institutions.
The solution, called the NB-IoT/LoRa Dual-detection parking occupancy sensing system, can accurately sense the occupancy status of parking space or spaces through its fully integrated dual-detection from Radar/mmWave and magnetometer sensing.
Equipped with leading NB-IoT and LoRa WAN technologies, the end-to-end system is easy to use and can be rapidly deployed. The solution also provides cross-system integration for various payment methods including self-help automatic payment, membership payment, and on-site payment. Data is displayed on the parking operation platform including parking space status, vehicle status, turnover rate, illegal parking behaviour and much more.
The solution was designed to enhance areas including City Management as well as Transport.
The innovation is equipped with the latest Internet of Things (IoT) technology.
The solution has the following benefits:
- Privacy: the system does not use the camera data to identify license plates or individuals’ faces, thereby eliminating privacy concerns;
- Low-cost: the parking timer sensor installation and maintenance costs are much lower camera installation costs;
- Mobile app: an interconnected app has been developed to help drivers navigate the parking areas;
- Special Parking Management:
- Detects and alerts users of no parking zones and U-turn area.
- Can Interlink with a speaker those with disabilities and for enhanced night safety parking.
- Charges different commercials accordingly (the system can be set to charge vehicles by number, hour, and time – for example, taxis, vehicles in temporary parking, and those in loading zone parking can all receive different rates).
- Detects scooter and heavy motorcycle parking spaces.
- Detects and manages shared parking.
- Can confirm whether a VIP or special user has parked in the appointed space.
The smart parking market
The global smart parking market is expected to rise from its initial estimated value of US3.38 billion in 2018 to an estimated value of US12.60 billion by 2026, registering a CAGR of 17.85% in the forecast period of 2019-2026. This rise in market value can be attributed to the increasing concerns of parking amid growth in the number of vehicles. The high cost of implementing and subsequent increase in the cost of the vehicles is expected to act as a restraint to the market growth.
Known as the “super project“, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Zhuhai Port has the most complex technology and the most difficult implementation in the history of Chinese bridge construction. It has 18 lanes and about 2500 parking spaces so far.
Additionally, a smart parking management system has been developed for the port. The all-in-one smart transportation solution for the car park of Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Zhuhai Port includes a license plate recognition/card system, a video parking guidance system, and more to achieve unattended parking. It also has a license plate scan to go system, parking guidance and voice IP intercom. Car owners can experience rich multimedia functions, such as pictures, videos, animations, and instructional information.
Thus, as the number of vehicles continues to rise, so will the need for bigger, better, smarter parking and Hong Kong is at the epicentre of innovations in the field.
About the Smart Government Innovation Lab
In 2018, the Government established the Smart Government Innovation Lab to explore hi-tech products such as AI and relevant technologies, including machine learning, big data analytics, cognitive systems and intelligent agent, as well as blockchain and robotics from firms, especially local start-ups.
The Lab is always on the lookout for innovation and technology (I&T) solutions that are conducive to enhancing public services or their operational effectiveness. I&T suppliers are encouraged to regularly visit the Lab’s website to check on the current business and operational needs in public service delivery and propose innovative solutions or product suggestions to address them.