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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 latest solution by a firm within the Hong Kong Smart Government Innovation Lab is now ready to be acquired by companies and institutions.

Solution description

The platform, called DragOnce, allows both IT and non-IT users to digitise their processes, including workflows, without coding, and it supports both web or mobile apps. In addition, the company provides implementation services which can help the Government to digitise the processes in a rapidly using the DragOnce platform.

The platform allows users of different roles to streamline the business approval process, control records access permission control, set scheduling jobs, notifications, reminders, upload or download files, pre-defined tailor-made reports or charts, etc. It supports better controlling for Government staff to manage internal processes at scale. The deployment supports both cloud or on-premises use. The solution’s existing clients consist of several governmental agencies including OGCIO, HKPC, Cyberport, HK Electric, HKUST and more.

Application Areas

The solution was developed to applied in the areas of Broadcasting, City Management, Climate and Weather, Commerce and Industry, Development, Education, Employment and Labour, Environment, Finance, Food, Health, Housing, Law and Security, Population, Recreation and Culture, Social Welfare as well as Transport.

Technologies Used

The solution uses the latest in Cloud Computing, Internet of Things (IoT), Mobile Technologies and no-coding platform/HPaPaaS.

Use cases

Public Sector Use Case 1:

The firm helped digitise over 100 forms in 3 months instead of one year by coding. The e-forms and processes are maintained by the organisation’s staff. After being deployed with the DragOnce platform, the IT team can easily digitise all paper forms with an agile methodology and consolidates all forms in a unified platform. A unified platform allows organisations to centralise all forms into one single data source, lowering the data integrity problem caused by the manual error.

Since there is no one-size-fits-all solution in terms of a single org chart structure for every enterprise, the DragOnce platform is designed to handle any structure of org chart and allows administrators to set permission controls on each level of user. With the permission controls, organisations can easily control the data accessibility on all end-users and ensure data security. This costs between HK$500,000 to HK$1.3 million.

Public Sector Use Case 2

The firm in need approached the tech company seeking an internal procurement system that could emancipate them from the manual purchasing process (excel spreadsheets, email, phone calls, sign-on print-out papers, etc). The system needed to be able to handle vendor management, quotation requests, purchase requests, purchase orders, approval processing, delivery schedule checks, purchase invoice checking and inventory management.

The platform developed by the tech firm met these requirements and allows for multiple-level approval, permission controls on end-users and dynamic workflows. After implementation, the system speeds up processes three times and allows users to easily monitor the status of procurement processes and vendor management. The cost is between HK$500,000 to HK$1.3 million.

Private Sector Use Case 3: Electric Utility Company

This electric utility company requires massive amounts of workflow data to be handled daily business processes. Thanks to the effort of the firm’s IT Team, the workflow request from the employees can be managed, but still, there are plenty of IT application requests from various Business Units and it is time-consuming to get through the traditional Software Development Life Cycle to deploy one application.

The company needs a solution to lower the workload for the IT team. DragOnce offers end-user computing solutions to them. This company needs a no-code platform to tackle the problem of numerous workflow requests on IT.

With a no-code platform, all employees can build their internal mobile applications easily without spending lots of developing time and no programming language is required.

End-user computing empowers the companys’ employees. When everyone, even non-IT employees, can build their application with few clicks, the IT team can finally focus more on critical projects. This not only results in higher productivity of the IT team but also encourages innovation in the company. All employees can now make use of their innovative ideas to build their own systems based on their understanding of the business flow. Thanks to end-user computing, the system created is 100% suitable for the end-users. The cost is between HK$500,00 to HK$1.3 million.

Thailand is looking to develop a better ecosystem to support the Internet of Things (IoT) which has been heralded as an important tool. This technology will help the government attain its ambitious goal of building smart industries following the Covid-19 period.

5G wireless technology, which promises super-fast exchange of data, is crucial but was not emphasised when a multinational networking and telecommunications company looked at how the country can move towards the fourth industrial revolution focusing on technological advances.

Experts instead proposed an IoT ecosystem that requires a combination of key players such as technology service providers and the government to jointly facilitate factories connecting their machines, making them “speak” to one another and having them work automatically with a minimal amount of human involvement.

At a webinar on smart industries, it was noted that the local ecosystem was not ready for IoT. The webinar was co-organised by the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau, the Thai Chamber of Commerce, Post Today and Bangkok Post.

Some state regulations make it difficult for developers to design new equipment for use in certain industries. Procedures that need official approval are usually time-consuming and do not encourage product development in the country. Some entrepreneurs are also uncertain whether they should adopt high-tech equipment at their factories, the Managing Director of a holding company under the largest and oldest cement and building material company in Thailand and Southeast Asia.

An automated warehouse, for example, can help businesses better manage their stocks without the need to employ many workers, but factory owners view the technology as too expensive and tend to ask when they will see returns on investment if they decide to build it. Experts feel it is not necessary to look into the future and calculate what entrepreneurs will gain, because “the investment already paid them back yesterday”.

Building an automated warehouse, in which items are stored, sorted and picked along vertical space by a computer system, is a sound investment from the start because such management helps businesses reduce storage areas and better manage costs.

OpenGov Asia also recently reported that social distancing has made everyone more dependent on technology, and new health techniques highlight the power of 5G, cloud technology and artificial intelligence, the President of the Carrier Business Group of the Asia Pacific branch of a Chinese multinational technology company noted.

Thailand, which is striving to become the region’s digital technology leader, has also taken a very aggressive approach towards both mobile and fixed broadband development.

To stimulate the 5G development and alleviate some of the investment required for operators, the Thai government has introduced flexible payment terms that allow 700 MHz and 2600 MHz licenses to be paid over ten years.

In addition to long-term planning well underway, Thailand has also proactively accommodated the needs of users dealing with social distancing and financial uncertainty with additional support for users including providing upgrades of FTTH services to 100Mbps and xDSL services to maximum capacity.

Policies like this have allowed the country to easily accommodate the change in digital dynamics brought on by COVID-19 and these early investments will also better position the economy for faster recovery post-pandemic.

The ASEAN region is predicted to be one of the biggest, if not the biggest, economic entities in Asia. I light of this, proactive policies that accelerate the deployment and adoption of digital services are key to moving the economy ahead and ensuring continued reliable operation even in the face of adversity.

Thailand Post says it is switching to smart mailboxes in an effort to make the state enterprise more in line with the current digital landscape.

Thailand Post Co Ltd, a state enterprise under the Digital Economy and Society Ministry, is collaborating with CAT Telecom Plc to develop smart mailboxes for more efficient service provision.

Thai Post will work with state-owned telecoms company CAT Telecom to produce mailboxes that will use “Internet of Things” technology to detect when parcels are deposited.

Korkit Danchaivichit, Thailand Post president, says the initiative has been designed to postal collections being more efficiently managed.

The boxes will be fitted with special sensors. When someone drops a letter or package into a box, the data will be transmitted to the nearest Thailand Post office for action.

Staff will monitor the mailboxes’ status via personal computers, smartphones, or tablets.

The platform can also log the number of items being dropped in the box along with the date and time stamp. This will help collection staff manage their schedules more efficiently.

The system is also being introduced to promote users’ confidence that their mail is monitored and accounted for at all times, reducing the risk of lost mail.

Korkit said that the postal service currently deals with over 1.6 billion items each year and that the new initiative will eventually see up to 22,000 smart mailboxes installed around the country.

With Thailand Post handling billions of mailings and packages each year, Thai Post is planning to install 1,000 smart mailboxes in Bangkok and its perimeter areas within 2020 to streamline the collection process.

By the end of 2021, they aim to install up to 22,000 smart mailboxes nationwide to cover the increasing needs of customers, especially those in e-commerce and logistics industries.

Besides the smart mailbox project, CAT Telecom is additionally offering high-speed internet via Wi-Fi at all branches of Thailand Post free of charge. This is to allow users access to Thailand Post’s online services, such as tracking their packages.

Scientists at the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), Trivandrum, have designed a disinfection gateway and a UV-based facemask disposal bin in the fight against COVID-19.

The disposal device, BIN-19, was formally launched by the Ernakulam District Collector. A unit was installed at the administrative headquarters of the district.

The IoT (internet-of-things)-based BIN-19 is used for collecting and disinfecting used facemasks. The device has been subjected to a series of successful microbiological tests by the Sree Chitra Lab, a press release has said.

Sree Chitra is a testing agency for UV-based devices in the country, in line with the guidelines of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

This facility is the first of its kind in Kerala.

The used masks dropped inside a container of the bin will first go through a disinfection process. The disinfected masks will be transferred to another container inside the Bin. The person dropping the mask can sanitise their hands using the automatic sanitiser dispenser attached to the Bin-19.

There is no need to touch or operate any switches in the Bin. All functions are automated in the hands-free equipment for the safety of users and health workers.

Apart from the auto-sanitiser dispenser, other IoT features include a mobile application to navigate and find the Bin-19, a web portal for status alerts, power on/off alerts, and box open alerts.

The Chitra Disinfection Gateway is a portable system that generates hydrogen peroxide mist and has a UV-based decontamination facility.

Hydrogen-peroxide fumes will decontaminate the body, hands, and clothes of a person. The UV system will decontaminate the chamber.

The whole system is electronically controlled. The sensors mounted in the chamber will detect the entry of a person and start the hydrogen peroxide mist generation process. The person is required to walk through the chamber to its end. When the person exits, the system will shut off the hydrogen peroxide fumigation system and will turn on the UV lamp inside the chamber to decontaminate it.

After the UV light is switched off automatically after a prescribed time, the chamber is ready for the next person. The whole process takes only 40 seconds. The system has see-through glass panels on sidewalls for monitoring and is fitted with lights for illumination during use.

UV SPOT, which is the UV light-based multipurpose disinfector, has ultraviolet disinfection lamps. With internal reflective surfaces and UVC Lamps, the device disinfects a board range of microorganisms.

The device is mainly used for disposing of the contaminated or used facemasks and for reusing the UVC stable metallic products. This device is proven under a microbiological test conducted by the Sree Chitra Lab.

SCTIMST is an institute of national importance under the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

The country’s Technology Development Board (TDB) is providing financial support for the commercialisation of several new technologies to combat the COVID-19 virus.

Through funding, it is proactively supporting the efforts of scientists, technologists, entrepreneurs, and industrialists towards preventing and containing the spread of the pandemic.

Over the last few weeks, TDB has processed many applications under various domains. It has approved six projects that include thermal scanners, masks, and diagnostic kits, as OpenGov reported earlier.

Geographic information systems, or more commonly known as GIS, is a technology that combines location with real-time or static data.

This technology collects, manages, analyses, and shares data to achieve location intelligence. Rooted in the science of geography, GIS integrates many types of data.

It can use large data sets from different sources and represent them as meaningful real-time apps, dashboards and analytical tools.

Immediate visualisations can be produced, which give critical insights into fast-moving situations. By using this technology many situations or problems can be handled more efficiently by how it reduces the complexity of the situation. It’s purpose is to enable smarter decision making.

Governments and Public Health Agencies using GIS to Solve COVID-19 issues

Today GIS technology is being extensively used in the fight against Covid-19. Governments, public health agencies and other organisations are using this technology in their defence against the pandemic.

On the global scale, it is being used to show how, over time, the virus is spreading across the world. It is also being deployed for contact tracking and tracing.

GIS also helps predict health needs and spikes, supports the delivery of vital PPE and facilitates the delivery of medicines to vulnerable citizens.

Mapping data is also being used to provide local authorities with key information. It helps tailor data reports about local demographic, economic and health statistics which can help plan community response to COVID-19.

Maps and visualisations are an excellent way to present large amounts of information so it can be quickly and easily interpreted. As such, mapping is being used to collect, collate, integrate and share critical information with frontline healthcare staff, doctors and health authorities.

Transport organisations are using it to ensure appropriate services running for key workers.

GIS is critical to answering many Coronavirus related questions: Where are current cases in the community? Where is the virus likely spread? Where are the closest testing sites? Are there specific demographics that are at greater risk? Which areas or sectors are being most exposed? The numbers of hospital supplies and hospital beds on a regional or national basis. How quickly local and regional hospital resources are being depleted?

Government use GIS technology to Communication Purposes

Governments are using mapping technology for communication purposes through maps, apps, and dashboards. Examples include sharing a situation assessment with the media and the public to help the public locate healthcare facilities.

Many local governments are producing story maps to keep citizens informed on what’s happening in their area.

They also use GIS maps to communicate emergency information regarding school closures, public notices and other Coronavirus containment measures.

Accurate public information is critical for risk communication and behaviour changes such as appropriate hygiene measures and social distancing recommendations.

GIS technology has become part of mass notification systems, allowing leaders to send out messages to staff, partners, or the public based on geographic location.

IBM , the Infocomm Media Development Authority, M1 Limited and Samsung announced yesterday Singapore’s first 5G Industry 4.0 trial, to demonstrate the transformative impact of 5G for enterprises and drive the next bound of Singapore’s digital economy.

This partnership consists of the following three main areas:

5G Innovation: The trial aims to design, develop, test and benchmark 5G-enabled industry 4.0 solutions that can be applied across various industries.

5G Solution Showcase: Solutions developed will be featured at IBM’s Industry 4.0 Studio 5G Solutions Showcase. The showcase will feature Industry 4.0 solutions powered by 5G and leveraging capabilities such as Internet-of-Things and Artificial Intelligence. The aim is to help proliferate 5G solutions to different industry sectors in Singapore.

5G Solutions Roll-out: IBM and Samsung will evaluate successful solutions developed during the project for possible use in their operations in a broad range of markets and sectors.

5G’s capabilities such as faster data transfer and more-rapid response times, when coupled with other transformative technologies like AI, can enable significant improvements to manufacturing processes.

Industry 4.0 Trials to begin in Q2 2020

The trial at the Industry 4.0 Studio will commence in Q2, 2020 and will be conducted at IBM Singapore’s Centre of Competency for Smart Factory Operating Model for sharing of ideas and best practices. This makes IBM Singapore the ideal location for the trial, and solutions could be ultimately rolled out to other IBM Manufacturing sites, globally.

Successful 5G-enabled Industry 4.0 use-cases developed from this trial could be demonstrated for manufacturing enterprises and applied to production, service, quality control, and testing across a broad range of industries.

Industry Partnership between IBM, IMDA, M1 and Samsung

IBM will implement and test Industry 4.0 use cases that will leverage IBM’s AI, IoT, edge, and augmented reality technologies, and network architecture built on IBM systems using open solutions infrastructure from Red Hat.

“We want to complement Singapore’s Smart Nation and Digital Economy efforts and empower enterprises and industry players with a robust and versatile 5G launch-pad through this trial. This will allow businesses to leverage digital technologies to create next-generation solutions and be responsive to rapidly changing market and 5G adoption in Singapore.”

“IBM has built industry-leading hybrid cloud, AI and security capabilities underpinned by deep industry expertise. With support from IMDA and our strategic partners Samsung and M1, this collaboration will seed Singapore’s 5G capabilities and strengthen its position as a leading industrial innovation hub, and move us closer in fulfilling our Industry 4.0 vision,” said Martin Chee, Managing Director, IBM Singapore.

IMDA will share the learnings and solutions developed through this partnership with Singapore businesses and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in the manufacturing sector, and 5G innovation ecosystem participants.

“5G will be the backbone of Singapore’s Digital Economy, strengthening our national competitiveness and reinforcing our position as a global business and connectivity hub.” said Tan Kiat How, Chief Executive, IMDA.

We are excited to work with IBM, Samsung and M1 to develop 5G capabilities and innovative use-cases, and look forward to sharing the learnings with the industry to help them build new capabilities, transform their businesses and tap new opportunities. We are committed to co-investing with the industry, and welcome all companies to join us on our 5G journey,” said Tan Kiat How.

Together with Samsung as network and mobile solution provider and M1 as the telco provider, 5G network framework and skillsets could be established, allowing the solutions and the 5G framework know-how to be rolled out from Singapore and commercialised in other countries.

“With the recent award of one of Singapore’s two nationwide 5G licence, we will build a cutting-edge 5G network infrastructure and bring new consumer, enterprise and government use cases to the market as soon as the ecosystem matures, which we are certain will help bring Singapore’s Digital Economy forward.” said Denis Seek, Chief Technical Officer, M1.”

“By combining Samsung’s end-to-end 5G Standalone network platform- including phones and devices at the edge, we are witnessing ground breaking new Industry 4.0 capabilities for enterprise clients. More importantly, work and productivity aside, 5G will be a key tool in entertaining and connecting people. We are excited to be partnering with IBM, IMDA and M1 to help make the promise of 5G a reality today and showcase this in Singapore.”said KC Choi, Executive Vice President & Global Head of B2B Business, Samsung Electronics.

Technologies such as Virtual Reality, the Internet of Things (IoT) and Autonomous Vehicles are quickly shaping the future digital interactions for economy and society. These technologies are underpinned by reliable and secure telecommunication infrastructure, which enables wireless and mobile communication technology to play a very important role going forward.

The mobile sector worldwide continues to invest in network improvements, in order to enhance its service offerings. Both the regulators and the telecoms industry globally are racing towards the deployment of 5th generation mobile networks, more commonly known as 5G.

The fifth generation of mobile broadband technology

5G is the fifth generation of mobile broadband technology, which many see as the next big leap in mobile communications. 4G was introduced in Singapore back in 2011.

5G will bring faster mobile broadband speeds, up to 20Gbps (20 times faster than theoretical peak 4G speeds), more reliable mobile broadband, with much faster response time, possibly as low as 1 millisecond (25 times faster than today) and multi-device support.

Companies will also be able to tap on 5G to bring new services and efficiency to citizens. With these performance improvements from 5G, businesses could unlock the potential of autonomous vehicles, smart factories, and many more innovations.

“5G has the potential to fundamentally transform our businesses and the way they operate,” said Mr Iswaran, Minister of Communications. These could include network connectivity for self-driving vehicles, industrial automation and the Internet of Things, and nationwide sensor networks, he added.

IMDA receive a total of three 5G network proposals

At the close of the 5G Call for Proposal on 17 February 2020, IMDA received a total of three submissions – one each from Singtel Mobile Singapore Pte Ltd, and TPG Telecom Pte Ltd, and a joint-submission from StarHub Mobile Pte Ltd and M1 Limited. IMDA is currently evaluating the submissions and will award by mid-2020.

According to IMDA, bids will be assessed based on a set of criteria that includes network security design and resilience, network performance and rollout, and spectrum offer price. The base price of one 100MHz lot has been set at SG$55 million.

Singapore striving for standalone 5G network by 2022

Singapore is expected to have two full-fledged standalone 5G networks covering more than half the island by end-2022, with deployments to begin this year. Full island-wide coverage is expected by 2025 and operators of the two nationwide networks will have to provide wholesale services to other operators.

GLF Forum 2018

OpenGov Government Leadership Forum – Empowering the Digital Business.