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A global digital AIoT technology company headquartered in Singapore has been tapped to develop the first smart grid for Thailand’s major energy company, which contributes to approximately 16% of the country’s GDP.

The contract involves developing an AIoT smart grid at Vidyasirimedhi Institute of Science and Technology (VISTEC), powered by the Singapore firm’s AIoT operating system EnOS.

By integrating floating solar panels, rooftop solar panels, energy storage system, and electric charging stations in the campus with the Singaporean firm’s Enlight and Ensight digital analytics software, the smart grid project will help the Thai firm to achieve its 2020 strategic objective: Zero increase of absolute emission growth rate.

The contract follows a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two companies in April 2019 to work together on multiple initiatives around new energy and digital transformation.

The project at VISTEC is part of the firm’s efforts in digital transformation and energy transition. Not only will it contribute to CO2 emission reduction, but it will also serve as a sandbox for the Thai firm and its researchers at VISTEC to do their R&D activities around electricity value chain and smart city development, which we hope can later be applied for commercial uses.

The AIoT smart grid for VISTEC is targeted for completion by the end of 2020.

It is the first project of its kind in Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor of Innovation, a specialised sector focusing on innovation under the Eastern Economic Corridor, which has increasingly grown important region for ASEAN trade and commerce. It will serve as a pilot for similar projects across PTT’s other assets in Thailand.

The application of AIoT smart grid technology offers huge potential for the Thai firm and other major infrastructure operators, communities and companies across Thailand in promoting energy efficiency and transition.

The transition to less carbon-intensive energy sources is critical to meet the emissions reduction targets of the Paris Agreement; which Thailand has ratified.

AIoT technology constitutes a key enabler for this smart transition. The Singaporean firm’s team are pleased to partner with the Thai energy leader to jointly address this challenge.

Investing in renewable energy resources

OpenGov Asia earlier reported that Thailand introduced the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) initiative to transform three Thai provinces into smart cities during the 2019 ASEAN Summit.

Thus far, this move has proved to be a successful one. The EEC was established to create a centre for trade, investment, regional transportation, and a strategic gateway to Asia, with Thailand confident that the move would promote a seamless ASEAN.

The focus on smart cities is a core pillar of the government’s Thailand 4.0 initiative which aims to transform Thailand into a high-income nation with vastly improved quality of life in urban centres.

The country, which relies on the industries of agriculture and tourism, wants smart cities to be the ecosystem to promote both of these, which in turn will afford to close the income gap and accelerator much-needed growth in the economy of the country as a whole.

Two most important sectors are the environment and economy. The country places the environment as the most important sector because it only makes sense for a city to be smart if it does not deteriorate the environment.

Pollution and drought are the two most critical environmental issues facing Thais. Thus, the main idea is to deploy to the local governments by equipping them with the technology; such as sensors, integrated data system, digital twin, to monitor and predict foreseeable disasters. Efficient energy consumption is also a major factor in this area.

The establishment of a smart city transformation framework and Thailand’s already successful pilot cities could be one of the reasons why its cities are suitable candidates for implementing and promoting smart city living.

Agricultural communities in the country region of Victoria, Australia will be able to better manage their crops with the new digital network being administered as part of the State Government’s Internet of Things (IoT) trial.

According to a recent press release, Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes announced that NNNCo will work with Agriculture Victoria to provide network connectivity to trial sites in the Maffra, Tatura, Serpentine and Birchip regions.

The Minister added that Internet of Things trial has the potential to revolutionise farm businesses, putting Victorian farmers at the forefront of agricultural innovation.

Benefits

Moreover, the exciting technology will keep the farmers connected and help them work smarter – not harder.

The new long-range network (LoRaWAN) will allow for thousands of sensors to be securely connected to the internet.

This will provide the farmers with real-time data to improve their on-farm productivity, efficiency and sustainability.

The delivery of network connectivity is an important part of the Government’s ongoing On-farm IoT trial.

It will address key barriers that farmers have identified to investing in technology, such as a lack of access to reliable network coverage.

The network also has the potential to support the wider community, providing improved connectivity so everyone in the trial regions can benefit from Victoria’s growing digital economy.

About the On-Farm Internet of Things Trial

Victoria’s On-Farm Internet of Things trial is part of the State Government’s Commitment in improving rural and regional mobile coverage, coverage on train lines, mobile blackspots and public Wi-Fi.

The trial is part of the Victorian Government’s AU$ 45 million Connecting Victoria initiative to improve digital technology and infrastructure across regional Victoria.

Through the On-Farm IoT Trial, Agriculture Victoria will partner with up to 600 farms to trial on-farm IoT technology and evaluate the impact these technologies can have on-farm performance.

The On-Farm IoT Trial will support on-farm adoption of the IoT by addressing barriers to uptake, including:

  1. Lack of Connectivity
  2. Digital Literacy
  3. Capital to invest in on-farm IoT technologies

The impact of IoT on-farm performance will be assessed with the aim to provide the agriculture sector with a clear rationale for investment in IoT.

The company’s CEO Mr Rob Zagarella explained that the network and data platform roll-out is a commitment to every farmer in these regions to provide the coverage they need to better manage and run their operations.

Farmers now have a broad choice of devices and applications from the growing global IoT ecosystem.

This includes irrigation management and control, and real-time monitoring of soil health, rainfall, cattle movement, farm assets, worker safety, and water tank levels so that they can proactively respond to the needs of the farm.

Smart Farming Across the Globe

Countries across the globe have recognised the benefits of implementing ICT to improve their agriculture industry. OpenGov Asia had previously reported on such initiatives.

For instance, the adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to grow considerably in Malaysia as it embarks on various 5G use cases around the country.

The smart agriculture use case features an AI-driven automation platform, which allows predictive growth modelling. Remote global monitoring and control, thus, making farming possible anywhere.

5G will enable the country to produce and manufacture more high-quality goods and services while further benefiting the people with better products and services.

Meanwhile, Thailand is pushing for smart agriculture.

The Thai government will be applying Hokkaido’s development of technology for the farm and tourism sectors to upgrade Thailand’s community-based tourism and tackle poverty among farmers.

Thailand should learn to use more advanced technology in the agriculture sector because the country has become an ageing society and is facing a shortage of young workers in the sector.

A digital twin is a digital model of a physical asset. It collects information (via sensors, drones or other IoT and Industrial IoT tools) and applies advanced analytics, machine-learning and artificial intelligence in order to receive real-time insights about the physical asset’s performance, operation or profitability.

For Digital City Twins, hundreds of IoT systems and public databases are consolidated into a single portal creating a “digital twin” of the city. The simulation allows users to monitor construction progress, traffic, environmental conditions, public safety, energy consumption and building occupancy.

Such technology looks set to play an increasingly important role in the creation of smart cities around the world and in addressing major public health, safety, environmental and natural disaster issues. Bringing the virtual and physical worlds together in this way can help to better inform decision-making, reduces risk and also acts as a citizen engagement tool.

In the realm of smart cities, a digital twin is a virtual model of a city, a replica of the physical world. They are rapidly becoming indispensable tools to visualize the pulse of the city in real-time with layered data sources of buildings, urban infrastructure, utilities, businesses, movement of people and vehicles.

Rotterdam: Delivering Better City Operations

Rotterdam, Amsterdam has been developing and applying a variety of smart solutions to urban problems in recent years. A smart thermal grid is being constructed, for example, that will facilitate heat exchange between buildings and make entire neighbourhoods more energy efficient. Smart parking and intelligent (electric) mobility are supporting better traffic flow, and a range of other benefits are helping make life better for inhabitants.

Improving Citizen Living in France

Rennes Metropole in France has developed a digital 3D model covering the city’s entire territory. This online model is used in various ways, for urban mediation with citizens, and for urban development purposes such as sunshine simulation, noise modelling, tree shadow impact on buildings

Using the Digital Twin for Virtual Tourism

Helsinki using a Digital Twin as a testing tool open to the public, also for mitigating climate change and improving energy efficiency. But Helsinki is also using the digital twin to become leaders in Virtual Tourism. Virtual Helsinki is a digital experience that enables users to visit the city’s digital twin created in high-quality 3D. They will be able to visit all tourist attractions and this can be done at any time of the year, simply by using virtual reality glasses and an app.

Digital Twin to Help Provide World-Class Logistics

The city of Columbus, Ohio in the USA which won the US-wide Smart City Challenge in 2016. The Smart Columbus campaign aims to improve people’s quality of life, drive economic growth, provide better access to opportunities, become a world-class logistics leader, and foster sustainability by interconnecting infrastructure services, starting with transportation, housing, and healthcare, to model how new technologies work in a real city.

Singapore: The Most Advanced Digital Twin to Date

Singapore is widely recognised as one of the more advanced of the smart city digital twins. Virtual Singapore, project which was overseen by Dassault Systémes using its 3DEXPERIENCE platform is already well developed. The project offers four main capabilities to stakeholders: Virtual experimentation, test-bedding, decision-making and research & development.

Amaravati: A City Created from a Digital Twin

The first entire city within India, born with a digital twin is Amaravati, the new capital of Andhra Pradesh. Amaravati is proposing a digital twin user ID scheme for every citizen that will serve as a single portal for all government information, notifications, forms and applications.

These are just a few cities solving their unique challenges and improving urban life through digital twinning and the trend seems to be that more and more cities will soon create their own digital twins. Portland in the US has a Digital Twin activated by residents’ cellular data. Dubai in the Middle East is using a Digital Twin project focusing on user experience and Yingtan in China has its’ 5G Digital Twin.

A digital twin is an invaluable tool that is set to become a cornerstone of the 4th Industrial Revolution. The digital city brings together the physical and digital worlds through Internet of Things technologies but also ties in the social world by creating a platform for all stakeholders. Starting with the digital twin, cities can begin to develop a new range of applications that will optimise, enhance, and improve all aspects of urban life.

The adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to grow considerably in Malaysia embarks on various 5G use cases around the country.

With 5G-enabled precision farming, for example, the agriculture industry stands to reap the amount currently lost to imports.

According to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, the smart agriculture use case features an AI-driven automation platform that allows predictive growth modelling. Remote global monitoring and control, thus, making farming possible anywhere.

The 5G technology is also enabling the country’s smart city use case. It is an Integrated Command Centre equipped with advanced security features for real-time surveillance large scale monitoring by local authorities and backed up by analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet-of-Things (IoT) and data-driven insights.

The Malaysia Minister of Communications and Multimedia stated that said 5G will enable the country to produce and manufacture more high-quality goods and services while further benefiting the people with better products and services.

He noted that recognising its potential, the government of Malaysia, through the MCMC, is leading the way by proactively taking the necessary steps to develop this new and emerging ecosystem.

The Minister made these statements during his opening speech at the first 5G Malaysia International Conference in Langkawi.

The conference focused on 5G technology’s potential as a catalyst for the achievement of sustainable development goals, digital inclusivity and the global roadmap for the technology among other topics.

By 2025, Malaysia is expected to add RM12.7 million to its GDP through the implementation of 5G, creating 39,000 new jobs.

The site of the conference is positioning itself as the first 5G island in the world, with 35 of the 5G use cases in Malaysia being based there.

These use cases are collectively known as the Langkawi Trials, which comprised of a third of all of Malaysia 5G use cases.

There are another 72 5G use cases involving nine industry verticals at 56 live sites across the country, with a total investment of RM 143 million from industry players.

International Collaboration

In December 2019, OpenGov Asia reported that The Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii) announced that it is collaborating with a consortium consisting of Malaysian and South Korean companies to bring an integrated large-scale livestock farming and renewable energy (RE) generation project to Sabah that could generate an investment of up to RM8.34 billion over the next five years.

The proposal was presented to the Minister of International Trade and Industry by the companies involved in a meeting organised by MARii.

The meeting was held in conjunction with Prime Minister two-day official visit to Seoul which begins on 4 December 2019.

The Chief Executive Officer of MARii stated that the consortium had secured US$50 million in funding for the first phase of the project to build a solar power plant that could generate 200 megawatts (MW) of electricity over 5,000 hectares.

At its maturity stage, the project would span across 25,000 hectares to accommodate a maximum of 150,000 cattle and generate 1,000 MW of power through rooftop solar panels installed on the roof of barns and warehouses.

The project will create a new concept of smart farming in which the primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary industries, including livestock farming business and industrial complex, manufacturing and service industries, grow.

More importantly, the project would also collaborate with local farmers on the cultivation of forage crops such as kenaf, corn, wheat and hay for livestock.

Malaysia appears to be headed down the right track with its massive rollout of 5G and widespread application areas it is being tested in.

GovTech and SLA are testing the use of television white space for data transmission over long distances. This would pave the way for remote aerial drone operations and IoT deployments on Singapore’s Southern Islands.

The Islands have recently become testbeds for connectivity solutions that could allow maintenance inspection works of all the Southern Islands to be managed remotely from mainland Singapore in the near future.

While mainland Singapore is almost completely covered by 4G networks, the Southern Islands are not, the internet connection is not great in areas. Therefore one suggestion is to bring internet access to the Southern Islands via television white space (TVWS) – the unused radio spectrum in the television broadcast bands -which can be tapped on to transmit and receive data wirelessly over distances of up to 10 kilometres.

Singapore – Frontrunner in the Development of TVWS Technology

Dr Oh Ser Wah, founder and CEO of connectivity solutions firm Whizpace Pte Ltd said that “In 2006, I had been working on TVWS at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR),” adding that his research group had developed a functioning prototype by 2008. That same year, the US Federal Communications Commission put out an international call for testing of TVWS technology, and Dr Oh’s team was invited to the US to see how their device would fare.

“We were the only non-US organisation invited, and the other companies involved in the test included big names like Microsoft, Motorola and Philips,” he said. His team’s prototype ended up outperforming all the others in terms of being able to detect the presence of digital TV signals—a necessity for TVWS technology.

Government and Industry Collaborating to Solve Communications Issues on Islands

Now, his company is working with the Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech), the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) and Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore in a trial to use TVWS for transmitting video data from an unmanned aerial vehicle (drone) to a laptop. The six-propeller drone, custom-built by ST Engineering, houses a high-definition camera and a module that allows it to tap into TVWS for sending video feeds wirelessly.

Discussions for this trial began in October 2018, when officers from SLA and GovTech got together to define problem statements and aspirations surrounding the management of the Southern Islands. Currently, SLA officers have to travel by boat and on foot to carry out manual inspections on the general maintenance of the islands, for example, grass cutting, housekeeping, pest control, arboriculture and horticulture works.

“SLA wants to leverage technology to help our officers perform their work more efficiently. Using automated aerial drones to carry out maintenance inspection works on the Southern Islands is one approach, but that is contingent on stable connectivity,” said Mr Vincent Aw, head systems and support, land management at SLA. “TVWS seemed like a good way to achieve those goals,” he added.

TVWS Connectivity Could Provide More Solutions for Government Concerning Southern Islands

After six months of trials, Mr Jack Toh, executive manager of the Smart Nation Sensor Platform solutions division at GovTech noted that the trial has allowed GovTech and SLA to validate certain operational parameters of TVWS technology.

“For example, we have validated that signal transmission over TVWS is possible without direct line of sight, which means that we can deploy our TVWS stations in vegetation without worrying too much about interference,” he said.

The findings of the trial will help inform how the eventual TVWS infrastructure on the Southern Islands will look like. It is thought that TVWS connectivity will further enable SLA to operate a range of Internet of Things (IoT) sensors on the Southern Islands.

For example, the water tanks on the Southern Islands need to be topped up from time to time; and currently, water level sensors that trigger alerts to officers before the water runs out are in place. It currently relies on 4G network that is intermittent on islands and having TVWS as a means of connectivity will help to ensure they are operationally ready at all times.

All government agencies —GovTech, SLA and private company Whizpace—are committed to making TVWS work. They all have future plans for what could be tested next on the Southern Islands.

The Smart Government Innovation Lab has announced that it is looking for start-ups, SMEs or other companies that can provide I&T solutions in the field of VR technology.

Particularly, the Lab is looking for a team who can develop a virtual environment without a head-mounted wearable device to visualise 3D models.

It was noted that Virtual Reality (VR) is a popular technology used to interpret spatial data and to visualize 3D models for better analysis.

However, head-mounted displays often the mode adopted in many VR products. This brings up an issue of discomfort and disorientation of wearing a headset.

To help solve this issue the Lab is calling on local and international tech entrepreneurs, researchers, developers, scientists and other professionals.

Ultimately, the government plans to apply the tech solutions in City Management, Commerce and Industry, Development, Education and environmental initiatives.

The release stated that the expected outcomes must be similar to Cave Automatic Virtual Environment (CAVE) technology which provides a room-sized immersive 3D virtual reality environment for processing and presenting of building information modelling technology and 3D models.

In addition, the CAVE allows multiple people to collaborate and experience simultaneously from the first-person perspective, and people will not be isolated from the real-world surroundings.

Obviously, the technologies to be used must be Internet of Things (IoT) and Virtual Reality.

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.

OpenGov Asia reported that the Lab, which is under the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO), held its first technology forum on 26 June 2019.

The theme of the forum was “Smart City Infrastructure”. The event was organised in collaboration with Cyberport and the Hong Kong Science Park and attracted over 230 participants from government departments and the IT sector.

To be conducted at quarterly intervals, these technology forums aim to connect the service needs of individual departments with quality solutions from the IT sector.

A total of 14 companies focusing on networking technology and biometric technology joined the forum at Cyberport and presented their solutions and products – in an exhibition and on stage – to help government departments grasp the latest trends.

A representative from the Architectural Services Department shared details of the department’s experience in adopting innovative information technologies for service improvement and their way forward in engaging technology in services.

The OGCIO also briefed the audience on the Government’s pro-innovation procurement policy to enlighten the industry on the operational procedures of government departments.

The government procurement policy gives quality solutions with innovative suggestions a better chance of success.

In alignment with this new policy, the Smart LAB was established to actively connect government departments with the IT sector, so as to foster close partnerships and inspire more novel innovation and technology (I&T) ideas which are conducive to building a strong and vibrant I&T ecosystem in Hong Kong.

According to the Smart City Blueprint, Hong Kong is working to promote retro-commissioning and building-based smart/IT technologies.

The goal is to continue to include requirements, such as green building design, provision of smart water meter system, electric vehicle charging facility and real-time parking vacancy information for new land sale sites in Kowloon East, with a view to developing a green and smart community.

Engineers from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) are exploring how Internet of Things devices can change lives for the better.

Dr Hassan Habibi Gharakheili, a lecturer at the University’s School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications, is reportedly excited about the potential that the Internet of Things (IoT) can offer.

However, he is equally aghast at how insecure some IoT devices many people already have in their homes are.

Background

IoT is commonly associated with smart home and building automation, wherein several devices are linked together on a common wireless network that can be controlled remotely over the internet with the use of a mobile phone or PC.

The lecturer is part of a program called Smart Campus, which is examining low-cost and accessible ways to provide information about how public and commercial spaces are being used at any given time using real-time information.

Using the UNSW campus as a testing ground, his team is looking at patterns of how people use and move through the various campus spaces.

The use of lecture theatres, for instance, reveals a typical pattern of being chock-a-block full of keen students at the start of a term and then sparsely attended by the term’s end.

The spaces could potentially be managed more proactively if there are live records that were continually updated about the numbers of people using the theatres over time

The team discovered fairly cheap, ‘beam counter’ sensors that do the job perfectly.

These were mounted on the frame of each door, which counts how many people come in versus how many go out.

Similar technology can also be used to enable users to make planning decisions. Dr Gharakheili demonstrated this by installing sensors, built by his students from scratch, near a notoriously overcrowded bus stop.

With the availability of live data on the number of people waiting for the bus, decisions on whether extra buses are needed during those peak times become much more responsive.

The Problem

IoT undoubtedly makes life easier for all. However, they discovered that popular IoT devices marketed at the home consumer are insecure, which means they can be hacked easily.

The reason behind this is the manufacturer’s primary concern of putting together something fancy that comes at a low price.

Security was not much of a priority as it entails additional parts, which is costly and takes time.

Unsecured IoT devices are accessible from anywhere on the globe, according to the lecturer. Hackers can launch cyber-attacks on companies by recruiting people IoT devices leaving their owners without a clue.

These devices communicate using plain text, which is not encrypted. Aside from being used as a launchpad for a cyberattack, these devices can also give away some of the personal data used to set up those devices.

The Solution

Dr Gharakheili is working on software that can be used to address these serious flaws of IoT devices. It can be introduced to the home and business network, thereby making IoT devices safe.

The first thing it does is an audit of all the IoT devices on that network, learning how many there are and which are still operational.

Unlike a laptop or smartphone, IoT devices have very distinct and unvaried ways of communicating that make them easy to identify.

They have prescribed functionalities by the manufacturer. If they are behaving differently, then something is definitely wrong.

With the use of AI and machine learning, this behaviour can be picked up which can lead to the isolation of the device that has been compromised.

The City of Greater Bendigo, in Australia, has made a commitment to fund six scholarships over the next three years in order for women to study the new Master of Internet of Things (IoT).

As reported, Australia Scholarships for Women to Master Internet of Things will be supporting female students who will be studying the Australian-first course, which is available at the Bendigo campus of La Trobe University in 2020.

Background

The University’s Head of Campus, Mr Robert Stephenson, explained that the scholarships were aimed at boosting the number of women who specialise in the tech industry’s fastest-growing sector.

The Internet of Things is emerging as key to future efficiency and competitiveness with all types of industry – so much so that recruiters cannot keep up with the demand for experts.

Similar to other science and tech-related industries, the Internet of Things sector attracts far fewer women than men.

Having this innovative new course, as well as initiatives that fund education like these scholarships, provide an opportunity to address some of the inequalities.

In addition, these will entice more women into an exciting career that specialises in IoT.

City of Greater Bendigo Director Strategy and Growth Bernie O’Sullivan shared that the scholarships were part of the Council’s commitment to the ongoing Internet of Things partnership between the City and the University.

Benefits of Scholarships for Women to Master Internet of Things

With talent from all over Australia and the world converging in Bendigo to study this new degree, it will provide fantastic opportunities for the city to work in partnership, which will address all kinds of civic problems using IoT.

Diversity provides greatly improved outcomes, more creativity and new innovations and ideas that otherwise may not have come to the fore.

Moreover, this is incredibly important in addressing the problems that the cities and regions are facing in the coming years and beyond.

About the Initiative

Two scholarships will support students to study at La Trobe’s Bendigo campus in 2020, with the remaining four being offered in 2021 and 2022.

Applicants can be Australian citizens or international students and must have completed an Australian Bachelor Degree (or its equivalent) with tertiary level subjects in mathematics, calculus or discrete maths.

The Master of Internet of Things will stand to meet the need for skilled IoT professionals particularly since smart technology, IoT, and connectivity are reshaping the world.

The course combines technical knowledge with practical learning opportunities. It will also provide students with the chance to help connect IoT technology to the world.

Students will also develop advanced programming and systems design skills as well as discover the key components of IoT, including platforms, protocols and protection.

They can learn the following:

  1. IoT cloud data

Discover how cloud data can be used as tool for brainstorming and informed decision making.

  1. Industry impact of IoT technology

Learn how IoT can be used to improve and innovate sectors like healthcare, construction and mining.

  1. IoT programming and systems design

Work with IoT technology first-hand and produce a prototype IoT solution or system for a real-world industry partner.

  1. Security protocols and privacy risks

Gain an understanding of IoT security and privacy risks by analysing the design of secure hardware and software.

GLF Forum 2018

OpenGov Government Leadership Forum – Empowering the Digital Business.