Governments around the world are under great pressure to deliver services to citizens and businesses quickly, accurately, and efficiently. At the same time, citizens and businesses are demanding that government leaders uncover and minimise possible vulnerabilities in existing programmes, as well as investigate and prosecute crime when it occurs, as countries begin to recover from the pandemic.
This tension is driving innovation – using data analytics – to allow quick delivery with strong integrity. Programme Integrity can be implemented by altering current programmes or creating new ones that are sufficiently resilient against fraud, waste, and abuse.
When adopting new programmes, and allocating funding, governments can prevent harmful long-term impacts and be better prepared for future risks by focusing on monitoring, oversight, and design. This applies especially to those technology-inclined programmes or projects. As a result, the funds can achieve their goals and achieve the anticipated outcomes.
Governments have begun to invest considerably in analytics and data to explore and manage the dangers brought by digitisation, particularly as nations look to be more inclusive. There is a significant trend to invest in pandemic-related data analytics and innovative technologies to operate more economically, efficiently and effectively to prevent and detect fraud, waste and abuse in the government sector.
Data analytics boosts productivity, efficiency and revenue. Analysing data sets allows an organisation to know where it can optimise its processes to increase cost-effectiveness. Areas that are unnecessarily hoarding a company’s resources can be identified and decisions can be made about technologies that can reduce operational and production costs.
Shaun Barry, Global Director, Fraud & Security Intelligence, SAS, revealed in an exclusive interview with Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief, OpenGov Asia, that data and analytics are governments’ secret weapons to deal with fraud and scams in the digital era and is essential in any public sector fraud management strategy.
“There is no longer this trade-off between speed and accuracy; you can-do real-time fraud detection in sub-seconds. And you can also use analytics on the vector side, to be able to use artificial intelligence or machine learning to look for patterns that government leaders may have never thought existed or did not know were happening,” says Barry.
The heart of the response that government leaders should have is to adopt data and analytics in real-time to be able to enforce and promote integrity throughout society.
Agencies should roll out data and analytics initiatives to incorporate controls in their accounting and disbursement systems in real-time with great deliberation and must be able to keep up with the volume or number of transactions.
Countries that have performed well in terms of integrity are those who have planned for it – it does not occur by luck or by accident; they have built integrity into their systems. As governments roll out new programmes or evaluate how their present programmes are managed, they must ensure that honesty is at the forefront and the centre of everything.
“What does integrity do? It builds trust among people and it helps to make sure that these people and businesses trust the government and recognise that it is a force for good in society,” Barry emphatically states.
Governments around the world are under great pressure to uncover and minimise possible vulnerabilities in existing programmes, as well as investigate and prosecute crime when it occurs, as countries begin to recover from the pandemic. Programme integrity can be implemented by altering current programmes or creating new ones that are sufficiently resilient against fraud, waste and abuse.
When adopting new programmes and allocating funding, governments can prevent harmful long-term impacts and be better prepared for future risks by focusing on monitoring, oversight and design. This applies especially to those technology-inclined programmes or projects.
3 Vs that Increased Significantly because of Digitisation
According to Barry, 3 Vs were the main reasons for the drastic changes in the government sector – Volume, Velocity and Vector.
The Volume of transactions in and for governments has increased substantially as services move online; subsequently, the volume of fraudulent transactions is increasing as services are being digitised. Fraudsters attempt to use volume to their advantage – hiding bogus claims among the millions of valid transactions that governments process.
Velocity is the speed at which those transactions come. They are coming literally at the speed of light because of the digitisation of services that governments rolled out, especially during the pandemic.
Simultaneously, the speed of fraud is increasing exponentially. As governments undergo digital transformation – moving more services to electronic channels – fraud schemes can be perpetrated instantaneously.
Vector deals with where the threats are coming from. There are state actors who are targeting governments and programmes, there are non-state actors and there are organised crime syndicates. Primarily, these are not the result of mistakes made by individuals or corporations, even though these still exist wherever it is indicated that the vector has shifted.
Fraud schemes are now being perpetrated by criminal networks and organised crime syndicates. Fraudsters are creating synthetic identities with data stolen from breaches. They probe for control weaknesses and exploit vulnerabilities. This level of sophistication adds magnitude to fraud schemes and patterns.
Understanding the Context of Fraud, Waste and Abuse
Fraud in the government sector is a false representation or any deliberate misrepresentation intended to deprive a government.
Threats are accompanied by some indicators like a sudden spike or an unexpected surge in expenditure or unexplained entries or manipulated records in a certain programme area. The absence of substantiating documentation, unauthorised dealings or transactions using non-serialised numbers are reliable indicators of wrongdoing as well. Cash payments in abnormally huge amounts are red flags as is a lack of internal controls.
High employee turnover could lead to or indicate fraud. People may also notice posts on social media, where people are communicating about a method to cheat the system, a means to acquire money when they should not be able to.
Of course, it is vital to understand if these signs of poor operation practices, systemic issues or staff challenges. The answer is often a mix of all. Fraud can take place due to poor operational practices, systemic issues or staff challenges. However, even a robust internal control environment cannot guarantee that no fraud will take place within an organisation.
Traditional fraud management is no longer sufficient, and intelligence technology is needed to mitigate fraud. It would be best to combine technologies such as AI, behaviour analytics and data mining, combined with the auditor’s experience and policy checking to help mitigate risks.
SAS uses industry-leading data analytics and machine learning to monitor payments and non-monetary transactions, as well as events, enabling you to identify and respond to unwanted and suspicious behaviour in real-time.
The Pandemic and Trends in Cybersecurity
Barry is quick to point out that the pandemic has not caused an increase in fraud, but the digital response to the pandemic has created opportunities that fraudsters have taken advantage of it. Bad actors certainly were aware of the significant digitisation in governments and have exploited vulnerabilities.
In their haste to serve people and control the pandemic, governments around the globe rolled out relief programmes quickly and without normal controls, opening up a wider attack surface for bad actors. It is pertinent to note that the pandemic also accelerated the pre-existing trend of digital transformation in government – yielding more opportunities for fraud.
COVID-19 caused huge disruptions which organisations across all sectors are still dealing with – all while fraud chances have multiplied and become more difficult to detect.
Bad actors are quickly growing in strength and effectiveness. Nearly 70% of organisations experiencing fraud reported that the most disruptive incidents came via an external attack or collusion between external and internal sources.
Many employees are now working in a less secure setting as a result of the unexpected move to remote and hybrid working environments. This has resulted in a dramatic increase in internet activity, making it harder to monitor and restrict fraudulent activities.
According to the Cybersource 2021 Global Fraud Report, there has been an increase in fraud attacks and the rate of fraud, especially for organisations based outside of North America. Companies based in the Asia Pacific region have been hit hardest, prompting an increased focus on fraud management and increased spending in this region.
Barry understands that citizens want good information – relevant and timely – not just raw data. They are looking to give leaders actional intelligence and deep insights at the right time. This allows for better decision-making that considers the risks and rewards comprehensively. The public sector must now implement and strengthen controls with robust cyber resilience initiatives.
Public Sector Fraud Management in the New Normal
PwC’s Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey 2022 revealed that across organisations of all sizes, including the government and public sector, cybercrime poses the most significant threat, followed by asset misappropriation and customer fraud.
Even before the pandemic, the Asia Pacific region faced the highest incidence of medical claims fraud, according to a global claims fraud survey by reinsurance firm RGA. “Survey results suggest that the global incidence of claims fraud is 3.58%, with high claims fraud incidence in the Asia Pacific region.” That trend is widely expected to have increased during the pandemic.
The rise of digital fraud has forced organisations to work hard to enhance technical capabilities and implement more robust internal controls as well as reporting measures.
In the government and public sector, this fraud trend also makes the need to upgrade the government’s fraud management and technology even more crucial to prevent losses and misuse of funds and safeguard the government’s integrity as fraudsters are moving targets and becoming more specialised and professional. As soon as an agency identifies a scheme and puts in controls to mitigate it, the fraudsters quickly find new ways to exploit the system.
From a market growth perspective, the global market size of fraud detection and prevention solutions is predicted to grow from US$ 30.65 billion in 2022 to US$ 129.17 billion in 2029. Governments across countries, including countries in the Asia Pacific region, invest in implementing advanced fraud prevention solutions.
Investment in government fraud technology for detection and prevention can deliver big payoffs – typically 10 to 100 times ROI.
Border Protection During the Pandemic
“I believe that governments have increased their response to the pandemic to safeguard their borders. They must know the commodities and services entering or leaving their country,” Barry observes.
Of course, borders are only one of the many areas in which nations are beginning to invest in response to the pandemic. Governments across the world are beginning to extensively deploy analytics and big data solutions to assess the risks they may face at the border or within.
From the citizen’s viewpoint, people are concerned with financial fraud and want to be confident that the government collects the required customs duties, so those funds can be ploughed back into ongoing national development.
On the immigration side, people are aware of the potential risks associated with illegal immigration, overstays, as well as the risks of terrorism and contraband. Barry shared many nations are undergoing massive reformation that involves examining the entirety of their Immigration and Customs procedures. It employs and integrates real-time analytics to precisely identify these types of risks.
“There is certainly a very big trend that we’re seeing in the market, where government leaders, especially at borders, are investing in analytics coming from the pandemic,” Barry acknowledged.
Customs and border control are important operations not only because they have wide-ranging implications for a country, but also require close cooperation between many organisations to be truly effective.
Long before the pandemic, the ASEAN region has always been one of the world’s largest trading blocs, placing its member states at greater risk of various transnational crimes. The ASEAN Political-Security Community Blueprint 2025 prioritises and encourages ASEAN countries to strengthen cooperation on border management in accordance with respective domestic laws, rules, regulations and policies and to jointly address matters of common concern, including forgeries of identification and travel documents, as well as to explore the use of relevant technologies to manage borders to stem the flow of potential terrorists and criminals, and to coordinate border patrols and inspections.
When COVID-19 emerged in 2019, many countries imposed strict border control measures to mitigate as well as slow the spread of the virus. As global travel restrictions begin to ease and countries reopen their borders, governments expect border control measures to be different in the post-pandemic world.
The effects of the pandemic will remain as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and experts predict that the disease will presumably become endemic. Border control systems are facing more complex challenges, and border officials have the monumental task of managing dynamic health control measures to ensure safer travel to protect their citizens. Therefore, governments have to rethink and redesign how border controls operate.
Advanced data analytics and automation technologies can support government agencies by giving them relevant information to make better decisions on a real-time basis. Once data is collected from multiple sources, artificial intelligence or machine learning is applied to collected and historical data to develop real-time watchlist management, risk assessment and investigation management systems. The automated system can accommodate unstructured data in different forms and from multiple sources.
Adopting a risk assessment engine that allows automation as part of the modernisation, therefore, helps governments ascertain the risks and give them relevant information to make better decisions on a real-time basis while adjusting to the new reality and strengthening recovery.
Automation is not to replace customs inspectors and immigration officers, but to enhance border control management. Data analytics help turn the data into meaningful information quickly, so immigration officers can focus on the outcomes of the analysis.
SAS Support for the Public Sector
SAS has the tools, expertise capability and experience to determine the best strategy for effective fraud detection and prevention in agencies. They are one of the leaders in the space of advanced analytics and AI supporting the public sector. SAS helps governments in predictability and manage risk and identify opportunities by leveraging AI and Analytics. Everything SAS does is designed to empower better decisions.
As fraudsters get more sophisticated with their tactics, agencies are also required to get more sophisticated at fighting back. Digital fraud needs an approach with a faster, more accurate response to new threats.
The key strategy is to move from a reactive to a proactive approach. The SAS Detection & Investigation for Government Solution proactively prevents fraud, waste, abuse and improper payments. It provides a holistic view of fraud based on multisource data points and takes a multifaceted approach to detect hidden relationships and seemingly unrelated events.
Advances in fraud detection technologies can give agencies a more accurate and efficient arsenal than ever for attacking fraud and financial crimes. Sophisticated technology-based approaches can eradicate fraud and find it before the losses mount. Whether it’s contract fraud or Medicaid fraud, a criminal act or the sole attempt of a dedicated fraudster, fraud can be discovered and prevented.
Here are 3 essentials for winning the battle against fraud, waste and abuse:
- Find the patterns: Once agencies can bring together the relevant data, they can develop more complete views of the individuals, providers and businesses in the programs. The more information they have about these entities, the better they can determine what kind of behaviour is typical and what behaviour warrants closer scrutiny.
- Put advanced analytics to work: Traditional rules and outlier detection methods are proper to address known fraud patterns but are not very good at handling sophisticated and evolving fraud schemes today. Three forms of advanced analytics are taking centre stage in the war on fraud:
- Predictive capabilities: predictive modelling allows agencies to see the patterns or interrelationships among various data elements that point to potential fraud, waste and abuse. It enables agencies to move more into fraud prevention mode versus pay-and-chase or detect-and-recover mode.
- Robust social network analysis: this analysis reveals connections among entities to expose organised fraud rings or collusive activities.
- Machine learning: machine learning: a form of artificial intelligence (AI), it is a powerful force for improving fraud detection accuracy and efficiency. It takes government fraud technology to an entirely new level.
- Empower staff for collaboration and efficiency: Responding to and tackling fraud requires the cooperation of multiple agencies and departments. While agencies need to ensure that the automation process runs and robust internal controls work effectively, employees need to be trained so that they can support agencies’ efforts by taking proper action based on insights extracted from the relevant data.
Barry is firmly convinced that utilising analytics in daily operations will spark innovative discoveries that propel the advancement of citizen outcomes and experiences – ones that dismantle siloes, deliver on mandates and offer efficiencies.
There are a plethora of ways that data analytics can be valuable – to what extent relies largely relies on the organisation. But at its foundation, Barry says, it’s all about assisting the organisation in making the best business decisions to serve citizens.
All organisations that use alphanumeric Sender IDs to send SMS are now required to register with the Singapore SMS Sender ID Registry (SSIR) as part of the measures announced by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) last October. This registration is intended to protect consumers from non-registered SMS that may be scams, a press statement has said.
Starting from 31 January, any non-registered SMS will be labelled as “Likely-SCAM”. This functions similarly to a spam filter or spam bin. Consumers might get non-registered SMS labelled as “Likely-SCAM” and are advised to exercise caution. If unsure, consumers are encouraged to check with family and friends. This will improve IMDA’s overall resilience against scams.
All organisations that use alphanumeric Sender IDs must register early with the SSIR. This is to give adequate time as non-registered SMS Sender IDs after 31 January will be labelled as “Likely-SCAM”. Organisations that have not registered their Sender IDs are advised to do so, the statement said.
As of January 2023, over 1,200 organisations have already registered with SSIR, using more than 2,600 SMS Sender IDs. These include financial institutions, e-commerce operators, logistics providers, and SMEs that send SMS to their customers who have registered with the SSIR.
In recent months, IMDA reached out to organisations through aggregators and associations such as the Singapore Business Federation, Singapore International Chamber of Commerce, and Association of Banks in Singapore, to encourage them to register with the SSIR. The mandatory SSIR regime is part of a broader effort to protect against scams, which also includes working with telecom operators to reduce the number of scam calls and SMS coming through the communication networks.
Since the implementation of the SSIR in March 2022, there has been a significant decrease in scams reported through SMS, with a 64% reduction from the last quarter of 2021 to the second quarter of 2022. Additionally, scam cases perpetrated via SMS dropped from 10% in 2021 to 8% in Q2 2022, down from 10% in 2021.
To effectively combat scams, a collective effort from society is needed. Despite implementing various measures, scammers may adapt their methods and tactics. IMDA will continue to collaborate with other stakeholders in the fight against scams, but individual vigilance and awareness are crucial. Consumers should remain vigilant and share scam prevention tips with friends and loved ones, the statement said.
IMDA leads Singapore’s digital transformation with infocomm media. To do this, IMDA is working to develop a dynamic digital economy and a cohesive digital society, driven by an exceptional infocomm media (ICM) ecosystem. It fosters talent, strengthens business capabilities, and enhances Singapore’s ICM infrastructure. IMDA also regulates the telecommunications and media sectors to safeguard consumer interests while fostering a pro-business environment and enhances Singapore’s data protection regime through the Personal Data Protection Commission.
Scams and unwanted commercial electronic messages and calls are an international problem with scammers continuing to prey on unsuspecting parties. Last year, IMDA and Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to boost cooperation and fight scams and spam. The agreement covers cooperation in information sharing and assistance in investigations relating to scam and spam calls and short message services. The two sides also agreed to mutual exchanges of knowledge and expertise and collaboration on technical and commercially viable solutions in relation to scam and spam communications.
The Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, has said that with the involvement of an artificial intelligence (AI) layer, the country’s architecture will become more sophisticated in the future.
He was addressing the first India Stack Developers conference, which aimed to facilitate the adoption of India Stack for countries that are keen to integrate it as per their requirements and to create a robust ecosystem of startups, developers, and system integrators working around it on next-generation innovation. He said the government wants to offer India Stack or part of the stack to those enterprises and countries across the world who want to innovate and further integrate, execute, and implement digital transformation. India Stack is a set of open indigenously-developed APIs and e-governance and public applications.
“What we have now is just [the] India Stack 1.0 version. It will evolve and become more sophisticated and nuanced,” Chandrasekhar explained. A smart dataset programme will be launched soon, and an AI layer will be built into the stack. Seven countries will sign up with the Indian government to use India Stack.
The conference was conducted to bring together the developer community, start-ups, corporations, and foreign governments who are inspired by the India Stack and want to adopt digital public goods like Aadhaar, United Payments Interface (UPI), and Digilocker. Senior officials from Aadhaar, GeM (Government e-marketplace), Diksha, a public ed-tech initiative, and the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission gave presentations on the strategies of each platform. Over one hundred digital leaders from industry associations, system integrators, and start-ups attended the event. It also saw participation from delegates of G20 countries.
Debjani Ghosh, President of the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), stated that India using digital means has achieved financial inclusion for 80% of the population in 6 years as compared to the projected figure of 46 years.
The CEO of Aadhaar, Saurabh Garg, spoke about the impact the biometric identification system has had in the country. It has recorded over 1.3 billion sign ups till now and handles around 75 million daily transactions. The transactions involve e-authentication by various organisations such as fintech, banks, and other Aadhaar-enabled payment services.
Aadhaar is a 12-digit unique identification card that serves as proof of identity and address for Indian citizens. As per the latest government data, in November, 287 million e-know your customer (e-KYC) transactions were carried out using Aadhaar, a 22% growth over the previous month. By the end of November, the cumulative number of e-KYC transactions had reached 13.5 billion. As OpenGov Asia reported, the Aadhaar e-KYC service is playing an increasingly crucial role in banking and non-banking financial services. It provides transparent and enhanced customer experiences.
An e-KYC transaction is executed, only after the explicit consent of the Aadhaar holder, and eliminates physical paperwork, and in-person verification requirements for KYC. Telecom operators and fintech firms, among others, have seen ease in the onboarding of new customers through eKYC. In November, 1.95 billion Aadhaar authentication transactions were carried out, 11% more than in October. Most of these monthly transactions were carried out by using fingerprint biometric authentication, followed by demographic and OTP authentication.
The Philippines has begun issuing individual electronic land titles (e-titles) to 1,839 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) in the Eastern Visayas region. The Department of Agrarian Reform will give the ARBs their personalised e-titles (DAR).
DAR stated that 2,591 electronic titles (e-titles) totalling 3,922 hectares of the agricultural property would be given on Jan. 26 as part of the Support to Parcelisation of Lands for Individual Titling (SPLIT Project). The first batch of individual titles developed by the SPLIT Project will be distributed in the Visayas State University-Tolosa Campus auditorium.
According to DAR Secretary Conrado Estrella III, this is per President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s direction to hasten the issuance of land titles to ARBs this year and to provide support services to help them better their living conditions.
“We will issue individual e-titles to preserve and affirm our ARBs’ property rights,” he explained.
The SPLIT initiative proposes fast-tracking the subdivision of national collective certificates of land ownership award (CCLOAs) of around 1.3 million hectares of land. The World Bank supported the SPLIT initiative to partition CCLOAs and tribute individual titles to ARBs.
According to DAR Eastern Visayas Regional Director Robert Anthony Yu, the SPLIT project includes approximately 17,496 CCLOAs encompassing a total of 220,473 hectares of agricultural properties throughout the region. Yu stated that the area has verified around 67,601 hectares, while 3,922 hectares have been granted with e-titles.
The SPLIT project seeks to fully implement the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Programme by allowing farmer-beneficiaries to have clear and defined ownership of the parcels of land they are tilling. The e-titling aim to stimulate farmers to grow their crops and make long-term progress on their ground. The award to ARBs was also established to stabilise requests, tenure ship, govern lands, and generate short-term economic opportunities for project workers who will be employed in the project.
Estrella stated in an earlier interview that farmers could not successfully use the land to make income because they needed to know the metes and bounds of the land assigned to each of them. Estrella believes that by granting farmers individual rights, more ARBs will be inspired to enhance their landholdings, resulting in higher agricultural output and household income.
The Philippines pushed land management digitalisation. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Land Management Bureau (LMB) has fully integrated the Land Administration Management System (LAMS) databases of 16 local and community environment and natural resource bureaus in the Philippines into their respective regional offices.
LAMS is a computer-based information system consolidating the country’s land data and records. It is geared for quick and straightforward land information processing, tracking, and retrieval. As a result, the DENR-NCR and DENR-Calabarzon Regional LAMS datasets were combined to create LMB-LAMS.
LMB also pooled and assessed 19 towns undergoing Digital Cadastral Database Cleansing through different DENR regional offices. LMB Director Emelyne Talabis adds that the agency is happy with its accomplishments this year on critical programmes, which resulted in improved delivery of land-related services to Filipinos.
The Philippines generally attempted to improve its digital competencies after falling behind. The Philippines placed last among Southeast Asian countries in the 2022 World Digital Competitiveness Ranking. Furthermore, it is the 13th largest economy in Asia, trailing only Mongolia.
The Senate has rolled out an act to push the complete e-governance implementation in the Philippines. All government agencies, offices, and instrumentalities, including local government entities, are required under the bill to disclose all necessary information in both traditional and online formats. The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) will be the principal agency in enforcing the provisions of the Act.
A partner company of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) unveiled “ARIA-diabetes risks”, a retinal imaging tool for non-invasive pre-screening of diabetes. This solution aims to tackle the problem of millions of undiagnosed diabetes patients worldwide.
The International Diabetes Federation reports that in 2021, nearly half of all adults with diabetes were unaware of their condition, amounting to 239.7 million individuals worldwide. In Hong Kong alone, at least 600,000 individuals have diabetes and more than 110 million in mainland China. This is a significant issue that has both local and global implications, as people with diabetes are at an increased risk for serious and potentially life-threatening complications such as heart disease, kidney disease, and vision loss.
The Automatic Retinal Image Analysis (ARIA) technology uses artificial intelligence and machine-learning techniques to detect various health issues. The solution provides a non-invasive pre-screening tool for diabetes that delivers results within minutes and has an accuracy rate of over 90%. It does not require a blood test and offers a faster and more accessible way for early diabetes diagnosis.
The partner company formed a joint venture called “Oneness Health” with an HKSTP incubatee to capitalise on the potential for remote healthcare offered by the ARIA-diabetes risks solution.
The joint venture combines the partner company’s retinal analysis technology with the incubatee’s network of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners, as well as their software and hardware development capabilities. This creates a one-stop service platform under the name “Oneness Health” that provides high-risk patients seeking TCM treatment with added convenience and flexibility, with the goal of “disease prevention”.
The Oneness Health platform will offer features such as online appointments, mobile assessments, diagnosis, and personal health management in the first quarter of 2023.
In the near future, it will also provide prescriptions for traditional Chinese medicines that can be dispensed through auto-dispensing machines at over 100 convenient locations in 18 districts of Hong Kong or collected at various NGO centres. Additionally, door-to-door courier service will be available for single elderly individuals or needy families.
The CEO of HKSTP stated that the Park is dedicated to promoting innovation by providing a comprehensive support system for translational research, product development, and commercialization. The ARIA-diabetes risks solution from the two firms which is now being offered under the Oneness Health platform is a prime example of how innovative solutions can be developed in Hong Kong and at the Science Park.
The combination of breakthrough science, world-first technology, advanced software, and hardware to create an innovative primary healthcare delivery platform through Oneness Health, is a testament to the speed, talent, infrastructure, and innovation capability of Hong Kong’s I&T ecosystem.
In line with the HKSAR Government’s Primary Healthcare Blueprint announced in December 2022, the Oneness Health platform will contribute to the government’s goal of establishing a more community-based primary healthcare system. The platform will significantly improve healthcare convenience, expand treatment options, lower patient costs, and alleviate the burden on Hong Kong’s hospitals and clinics.
The Blueprint sets out a strategy road map towards establishing a primary healthcare system that can improve the overall health and quality of life for popular in a stable manner, under the challenges brought on by an ageing popular and increasing chronic disease prevalence.
Multiple local governments in China announced measures to increase digital economy growth in 2023. Some cities, like Shanghai, and provinces, such as Zhejiang, Fujian, and Hebei, have set goals for economic progress for this year.
They emphasised the importance of the digital nation’s growth. They advocated for attempts to create blueprints for future sectors such as the metaverse, an immersive virtual environment enabled by virtual reality and augmented reality.
Zhang Yunming, The Vice-Minister of Industry and Information Technology, urged telecommunications companies to increase infrastructure construction and deployment. He pushed national telecom companies to deepen efforts in promoting an innovation-driven development strategy and accelerate the integration of digital and real economies.
As a result of the statement, connected business stocks surge. On Thursday, shares of nearly ten firms, including China National Software and Service Co, rose by the daily limit of 10%, demonstrating investors’ optimism about the rise of the digital economy in 2023.
Previously, consumer-oriented internet applications such as e-commerce drove China’s digital economy, but today business-oriented applications such as industrial internet play a far more prominent role. This demonstrates that the digital economic model has improved.
According to the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, a government think tank, China’s digital economy is predicted to exceed 60 trillion yuan (US$8.84 trillion) by 2025.
China has laid the groundwork for the digital economy’s next era. According to data from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, more than 2.3 million 5G base stations will have been completed in China by the end of 2022, and the country will be able to link over 500 million residences to a gigabit optical network.
Furthermore, according to the ministry, digital connectivity for the mobile internet of things in China reached 1.84 billion in 2022, making China the first leading economy in the world to have more mobile IoT connections than mobile subscribers. The internet of things is a network of devices, cars, and other items equipped with software or sensors that facilitate interaction and share data. According to Zhao Zhiguo, the ministry’s spokeswoman, China’s mobile IoT connections account for 70% of the global total and cover the 45 major sectors of the national economy.
According to Wang Zhiqin, vice president of the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, China has established a competent telecom infrastructure that will serve as a solid basis for China’s digital economy’s high-quality development. According to a forecast released by China’s Cyberspace Administration, the digital economy in China will be worth 45.5 trillion yuan in 2021, making it the world’s second-largest after the United States.
Liu, Vice Premier He said in a speech at the World Economic Forum’s annual conference in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday that China “must always make constructing a socialist market economy the direction of our transformation.
“We must allow the market to play a decisive role in resource allocation while also allowing the government to play a more active role. Some believe China will pursue a planned economy. That is not conceivable,” Liu remarked.
The remarks were consistent with the tone-setting Central Economic Work Conference, which concluded in December and underlined the importance of working “unwaveringly” to consolidate and strengthen the public sector and encourage, support, and guide private-sector development.
Tencent Holdings vice president Xu Yan believed that the government had increased its efforts recently to establish a world-class business environment for private enterprises. Tencent is stepping up its efforts to accelerate the merger of the physical and digital economies through innovation. The corporation has invested 150 billion yuan in R&D over the last three years.
Furthermore, the Chinese digital yuan has gained popularity. According to estimates from the country’s central bank, the quantity of digital yuan in circulation will reach 13.61 billion yuan (US$2.01 billion) by the end of 2022.
Digital yuan, like the physical renminbi, is a component of Chinese money as a legal tender in digital form. According to Xuan Changneng, vice governor of the bank, it is vital to integrate data and analysis while also undertaking general management of the two types of money.
The National Institute of Transforming India’s (NITI Aayog) Atal Innovation Mission, the Central Board of Secondary Education, and a private player are collaborating to improve the education sector by adding IT skills to the formal curriculum.
The larger aim is to align the National Education Policy 2020’s (NEP 2020) guidance to increase the pace of tech integration for youth, bridge the future skills gap in the country, and optimise the current infrastructure (including Atal Tinkering Labs) towards making India AI-ready. Together, they launched the AIoT Integration in School Curriculum in September 2022 and initiated a pilot.
A recent showcase, which was the outcome of the pilot programme, included a display of AIoT integration-based lesson plans created by teachers after they were trained by experts from the academic and technology sector. It also included a demonstration of AI and AIoT-enabled social impact projects built by students using tinkering and AI, with guidance from their teachers. The hosting organisations also released a compendium with 70 lesson plans to promote digital readiness.
The compendium is a collection of lesson plans created by the teachers and each one provides a comprehensive understanding of how AIoT integration can be used to enhance learning in a classroom. For example, one of the lesson plans for class 9, helps to guide the students to analyse the reason for back pain and develop an AI-led solution where an LED light glows every time it detects incorrect posture and green light glows once the correct posture is retained.
In another lesson plan for social science, a student is guided to first make use of the design thinking process to understand why plants die in winter. The student is given insight into using tinkering tools like sensors and Arduino UNO to record the moisture level of the soil and then supported to deploy a supervised AI model to predict the plant’s health by making use of the recorded data.
According to an industry expert, the new methodology will enable the shift in teaching pedagogies from traditional to digital with several additional benefits and increased efficiency. Integrating AI with lesson plans and making them part of everyday teaching-learning activities can help enable the students to imbibe the digital-first mindset.
One of the objectives of the project is to empower teachers with skillsets, mindsets, and toolsets to integrate AI and Tinkering. Through this methodology, students are expected to gain a thorough understanding of how emerging technologies can be used impactfully and responsibly.
To bolster the rate of digital literacy in the country, state governments have been urged to offer courses and initiatives in AI and other emerging technologies. Last year, the Indian Institute of Technology of Madras (IIT-Madras)’s Robert Bosch Centre for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (RBC-DSAI) invited students to the national-level ‘Summer Internships 2022’ programme. The goal was to help students gain hands-on experience working on cutting-edge discoveries, with some of the country’s leading experts in data science and AI, as OpenGov Asia reported.
Last May, the Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) and the Indian Institute of Technology of Delhi (IIT- Delhi) jointly designed a curriculum for schools that include robotics, AI, machine learning, and data science. The curriculum was for grades 9 to 12 in schools affiliated with the CISCE board.
The Ministry of Administrative Reform and Bureaucratic Reform (PANRB) join forces with a government IT firm to create a digital Public Service Mall (MPP). The initiative is a follow-up to President Joko Widodo’s directive to establish MPP Digital.
According to Minister PANRB Abdullah Azwar Anas, the IT government company is more advanced in digitalisation implementation. MPP Digital incorporates numerous services into the hand to make it easier for people to access high-quality government services.
“MPP Digital provides effective and efficient service delivery while enhancing information security for government digital services. The government IT company team will expedite the President’s vision for MPP Digital,” he explained.
MPP Digital is also expected to increase investment by allowing for faster and easier licencing, leading to job possibilities. In addition, the local administration will not need to construct a massive MPP building but will rely on digitalisation that everyone can access.
MPP Digital is expected to be ready by May 2023, following the President and Vice President’s directives. The creation of MPP Digital is also under the government’s present implementation of the Electronic Based Government System (SPBE).
At the same time, Ririek Adriansyah, the Main Director of the government IT company, declared his willingness to support the government’s initiative. He conveyed that the construction of MPP Digital was proceeding as planned because the digitalisation of services has enormous potential benefits for both the government and the general public.
Additionally, the government is working hard to progress SPBE, including introducing Digital Public Service Malls (MPP) as one of SPBE’s expressions. SPBE is also a component of President Joko Widodo’s Thematic Bureaucratic Reform, which is aimed at digitising government services.
The next Electronic-Based Government System (SPBE) aims to strengthen unity by offering a single access system for the country’s digital services, resulting in higher public service quality. Nowadays, the state’s digital public sector is still fragmented by agency, sector, and silo-based systems. As a result, citizens are frequently required to submit similar data and register several accounts to access various digital-based public sector services.
As a result, Anas will pursue a single sign-on account for users to access various government services. Users can utilise their accounts to access all public services e-services, such as population issues, business permissions, and other certifications. Digital MPP has done so following President Jokowi’s and Vice President Ma’ruf Amin’s objective to achieve bureaucratic reform with simple, powerful, and quick replies to the community.
More MPPs have been built and inaugurated by the government. In the future, all regions will have physical and digital MPPs, with all government services based on demographic numbers (Digital ID). MPP Digital, on the guidance of the President and Vice President, has become the PANRB ministry’s short-term focus.
As of December 2022, 103 MPPs (20% of the total of 514 regencies/cities in Indonesia) had been inaugurated in regencies and cities. Thus, fewer than 80%, or approximately 411 districts/cities, still need MPP. The Vice President aimed for roughly 150 new MPPs in 2023, with all towns and regencies having MPPs by the end of 2024.
The Ministry of PANRB has evaluated 10-15 MPPs (Public Service Malls) for inclusion in the future Digital MPP development process. These MPPs were chosen for their uniqueness, benefits, and good qualities. In general, the MPP Digital application development will be divided into four stages: requirements, design, testing, and upgrading.
Anas emphasised that government digitisation is a critical driver in enhancing the quality of public services, which would increase people’s well-being. Bureaucratic reform must increase investment and streamline business services, boosting the economic level of society. Improving the community’s financial level will undoubtedly influence the lowering poverty rate.