In coping with the current crisis, the need for accurate and actionable information is paramount for an effective response – but there has never before been a scenario like the current COVID-19 pandemic. In case of a critical event, whether it is an active shooter, natural disaster or pandemic, access to information is vital.
One crucial lesson that emergency responders have learned from simulations is that information is often too fragmented to provide actionable intelligence: the larger the incident, the more complicated it is to collect and assess information and coordinate a response.
There are, however, many tools available to tame this complexity for more rapid and effective response and to minimise impact on responders. These generally address four stages of response management.
In the first, they gather data from various sources to help assess the context and severity of a critical event, calling upon analytical tools to digest and correlate data to help response teams understand what is happening now and what could or will happen later. A second stage locates assets, employees or vital equipment. In a third stage, these systems offer emergency responders and organisations the tools to act by informing people of actions to take, mass-scale notifications for people in affected areas and tools for collaboration between response teams. The final stage enables responders and others concerned to review and evaluate the critical event so that future response can be improved.
Incident response management platforms are often homegrown among responsible agencies and organisations, but technology providers exist to support efforts. Some of these technologies consolidate functionality for all four stages into a single system. Everbridge, for example, began with a focus on multi-modal text messaging after the tragic events of 9/11 and expanded into a platform used in 2012 to notify 10 million people after Hurricane Sandy, and in 2013 by the city of Boston after the Boston Marathon bombings.
As reported, Increasingly these platforms are embracing IoT systems and devices, given the expanded capability among a wide variety of endpoints that responders can use to connect directly with critical information, guidance and communication with those affected by an emergency. In particular, IoT can play an essential part in the information-gathering process. In a 2019 study, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) examined the possibilities of the use of IoT in emergency situations and identified a number of use cases such as emergency calling, mission-critical communications for situational awareness or to protect responder personnel, essential logistics support public warning systems and automated emergency response.
In smart buildings and smart cities, sensors can provide details about temperature, toxic gases and other hazardous conditions. Smart streetlights can analyse traffic congestion and plan evacuation routes through AI analytics. Body cameras can relay live intelligence from public safety workers to the Incident Command Center (ICS), while crisis teams can use IoT wearables to warn and guide civilians.
Artificial intelligence technology is used in several ways to diagnose, respond to or predict coronavirus spread. The radiology department of the Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University in Wuhan, China, has modified its AI-driven software to detect cancer in CT lung scans to detect COVID-19-related signs of pneumonia. This is to aid the overworked medics in triage, while in the United States, the Boston Children’s Hospital has created an AI-driven coronavirus map.
The Chinese search engine Baidu has made its Linearfold algorithm available to researchers and medical teams to fight the outbreak to assist in the analysis of the virus, while across the world researchers are turning to AI technology to predict its spread.
Even when everybody understands that it is vital to track data on people’s condition and location during the current times, but it has a definite privacy impact.
The privacy issues are relevant to technology providers, which also see a growing trend among companies that want to know which employee is in which location. In the case of the COVID-19 outbreak, employers may want to see which employee has been in close proximity to a person who has tested positive for the virus.
However, technology’s role in containing and mitigating the virus in the absence of a rapid and reliable diagnostic tool cannot be undermined. It lets governments respond and recover from the global pandemic which would have been a more herculean task than it already is.
Technology providers who are seeking to improve response, stewardship of sensitive data and transparency of processes moving forward must understand that establishing trust and confidence amongst people is of paramount importance.
The Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) announced the launch of “HKSTP InnoAcademy” on 7 October 2020. The Academy is dedicated to the continuous nurturing of young technology talent to inspire and drive success in Hong Kong’s innovation and technology (I&T) industry.
The HKSTP InnoAcademy aims to boost Hong Kong’s I&T competitiveness with a sustained series of programmes, including training and value-added support to upskill technology talent from various sectors into future leaders. The day also marked the inauguration of eight high-potential talents from the first cohort of HKSTP InnoAcademy’s signature “Technology Leaders of Tomorrow” (TLT) programme, as they embark on an extensive 26-month journey within the Hong Kong Science Park ecosystem.
Since enrolment began in July 2020, the TLT programme received an overwhelming response with over 600 applications from graduates in Hong Kong and across the globe, which are the world’s top 50 universities in 2020. Among the many applicants, 60% of them were holders of a Master’s degree or PhD, majoring in Computer Science, Engineering, Biology, Information Technology or Data Science.
The CEO of HKSTP stated that talent development, attraction and retention are crucial factors in sustaining the growth momentum of Hong Kong’s I&T sector. HKSTP recognises that grooming quality talent into inspiring and standout leaders is a critical ingredient to maintaining the city’s global competitive edge.
The mission at HKSTP InnoAcademy is to build the ideal I&T breeding ground to nurture future technology leaders and pioneers. With HKSTP’s extensive ecosystem, the Park and its partners will work together to develop forward-looking learning and training programmes tailored to young graduates and mid-level professionals.
HKSTP InnoAcademy will focus on developing young talent across HKSTP’s strategic technology areas, including Artificial Intelligence & Robotics, Biomedical Technology, Data and Smart City and FinTech, as well as establishing partnerships and connections with key industry leaders, training providers and tertiary education institutions. The continuous learning approach provides talent with multiple career pathways to join the I&T industry while supporting future skills acquisition.
TLT Programme Offers Diverse Opportunities
The eight selected talents from the first cohort of the TLT programme will first enter a two-month HKSTP internship and enjoy valuable exposure to Hong Kong’s leading I&T ecosystem. From there, each talent will take a 24-month full-time R&D role at one of HKSTP’s partner companies for continued career mentoring and development.
Beyond the current TLT programme, InnoAcademy will continue to roll out an extensive range of talent development and training initiatives, in collaboration with major academic and industry partners to unleash the potential of young graduates and equip them to become a driving force in the future of Hong Kong’s I&T sector.
In July 2020, HKSTP launched the Technology Leaders of Tomorrow Programme (TLT Programme) which aims to nurture future technology leaders in Hong Kong and has been designed in collaboration with 11 leading HKSTP’s partner companies at the pilot stage. The programme is now calling for ambitious graduates across the city who are committed to an I&T career to submit applications.
The HKSTP CEO had stated that The Park is committed to accelerating the growth of Hong Kong’s innovation and technology through supporting the development of local start-ups and introducing young people to the promising career prospects and rich opportunities in the industry.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the upcoming rollout of 5G are expected to drive up the number of gamers in Thailand. However, economic difficulties still weigh on their spending per person, according to the promoters of Thailand Game Show 2020, scheduled for next month.
The Managing Director for Digital and Media Platform Online Station under one of the core businesses of Thailand’s fully-integrated digital service providers, which is a key supporter of the show, stated that the pandemic ushers in positive aspects and challenges in the game industry.
The global number of gamers has surged 36.9% since the outbreak, helping the home entertainment business, while game downloads have jumped 20%. While there is no official data on the segment in Thailand, it is likely to follow the global trend.
This is a challenging year for the country’s game industry, as gamers’ per-person spending is likely to fall in line with the economic woes. It is expected that the whole gaming market in Thailand to rise as the industry takes a smaller hit from the economic impact than other sectors.
Thailand has 27.8 million gamers or 41% of the population of 69 million. The industry’s market value is expected to reach THB27 billion in 2020, up 15% from 2019. In the worst-case scenario, the gaming industry would grow 10% following the postponement of the launches of new PC and console games.
Thai gamers spend an average of THB940 per person per year. Gamers aged 25-34 are the most willing to pay for games. In Thailand, mobile games account for 71% of the gaming industry’s revenue, followed by PC (22%) and console (7%). At the global level, mobile games represent 49%, trailed by console (28%) and PC (23%).
It was noted that mobile games are expected to increase momentum due to rising smartphone penetration, while console games will also thrive due to the upcoming launch of new game consoles. Cloud-based games are also projected to gather steam in the next few years.
The Thailand Game Show 2020 will be held as a hybrid offline and online event from 14 to 15 November 2020 at Siam Paragon’s Paragon Hall. The space will be divided into two zones: one for a stage show with a THB100 ticket for entry and another for 24 booths of game accessories vendors. The show lets gamers meet game idols, casters and cosplayers.
OpenGov Asia recently reported that Deputy Director-General of the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (Depa) announced a collaboration with Thailand’s largest GSM mobile phone operator and the leading source of all tech and business news in Thailand and Southeast Asia to launch an online seminar which will feature a comprehensive overview of the gaming and e-sports industry.
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.
Across the world, people are turning to gaming platforms to view virtual concerts, for messaging, gambling, dating and even virtual celebrations of weddings and birthdays in an increasing number, the company found. They predict that the global 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. Moreover, the firm found that 58% of gamers use or intend to use gaming subscription services, while 38% use or intend to use cloud gaming services. 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 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 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.