A research team at the University of Washington (UW) has developed a wearable device to detect and reverse an opioid overdose. The device, worn on the stomach like an insulin pump, senses when a person stops breathing and moving, and injects naloxone, a lifesaving antidote that can restore respiration.
The opioid epidemic has become worse during the pandemic and has continued to be a major public health crisis. We have created algorithms that run on a wearable injector to detect when the wearer stops breathing and automatically inject naloxone.
– Justin Chan, Lead Author and PhD student, UW’s Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering
Co-author Jacob Sunshine, an associate professor of anesthesiology and pain medicine at the UW School of Medicine, said one of the unique aspects of opioid overdoses is that naloxone, a benign drug, is highly effective and can save lives if it can be administered in a timely fashion.
The UW team is looking to make these devices widely available, which would first require approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA is currently working to accelerate efforts to address this critical public health problem and has recently released special guidance on emergency-use injectors.
In a multiyear collaboration, the UW investigators worked on the prototype with West Pharmaceutical Services of Exton, Penn, which developed a wearable subcutaneous injector that safely administers medications. The research team combined this injector system with sensors and developed an algorithm to detect the life-threatening pattern of respirations that occur when people experience opioid toxicity.
Co-author Shyam Gollakota, a UW professor of computer science and engineering, said the device could help people at different stages of opioid-use disorder to avoid accidental death. This wearable auto-injector may have the potential to reduce fatalities due to opioid overdoses.
The pilot device includes a pair of accelerometers that measure respiration and an onboard processor that detects the halt of motion associated with breathing. The wearable system, which has received regulatory approval in the United States, activates the injector in the presence of prolonged apneic events. The device also can transmit data about breathing rates and apneic motion to a nearby smartphone via Bluetooth.
To test the device, a clinical study was conducted with volunteers in a supervised injection facility in Vancouver, B.C., and a parallel clinical trial was conducted in a hospital environment among volunteers who manifested signs of apnea by holding their breath. The injection facility deployment was crucial, the researchers said, to help develop breathing algorithms involving real-world, opioid-induced breathing changes.
Twenty-five participants were recruited. The sensors were able to accurately track respiration rates among people with opioid-use disorder. Further, the device was able to detect non-medical, opioid-induced apnea, a breathing pattern that commonly precedes a potentially fatal overdose. The testing in Vancouver measured breathing patterns only to develop the respiratory algorithm and did not involve an injection of naloxone, which was administered only in the second study involving healthy human volunteers who did not take opioids.
In the second study, 20 participants simulated overdose events in a hospital setting by breathing normally, then performing a breath-hold for 15 seconds to mimic an apneic event. When the wearable system detected that the subject had not moved for at least 15 seconds, it activated and injected naloxone into the participant.
Researchers said further studies are needed to assess the comfort and discreteness of the device over longer time periods, particularly in unsupervised settings. And, they said, additional study of the device is needed to evaluate naloxone injection in people who use opioids for nonmedical purposes.
A new class of wearable sensors that interacts wirelessly without the need for onboard chips or batteries has now been developed by American engineers -paving the way for wireless sensors without chips.
“Chips require a lot of power, but our device could make a system very light without having any chips that are power-hungry,” says Jeehwan Kim, principal investigator in the Research Laboratory of Electronics and a corresponding author. To remotely monitor the pulse, sweat, and other biological signals, it could be applied to the body like a bandage and coupled with a wireless reader on the cellphone, he explained.
The team’s sensor is a type of flexible, semiconducting material called “e-skin,” which adapts to the skin like electronic Scotch tape. Gallium nitride, a substance recognised for its piezoelectric capabilities, which allow it to both emit an electrical signal in reaction to mechanical strain and vibrate mechanically in response to an electrical signal, forms the sensor’s core in the way of an ultrathin and high-quality film. Gallium nitride has two-way piezoelectric capabilities that can be used by researchers to use the substance for sensing and wireless communication at the same time.
To enhance any incoming or outgoing electrical signal, the team created pure, single-crystalline samples of gallium nitride. They then combined these samples with a gold conducting layer. They demonstrated that the material’s vibrations produced an electrical signal that could be detected by a nearby receiver and that the gadget was sensitive enough to react to a person’s heartbeat and the salt in their sweat. The system did not require a chip or battery to wirelessly transmit sensor data in this manner.
A piezoelectric material would simultaneously convert the inherent, “resonant” vibration or frequency of a gallium nitride-based sensor bonded to the skin into an electrical signal, the frequency of which could be detected by a wireless receiver. The electrical signal that the sensor automatically provides to the receiver would alter if the skin’s circumstances changed, such as if the heart rate increased.
The scientists created a tiny coating of high-quality, pure gallium nitride, and then combined it with a layer of gold to strengthen the electrical signal to verify their theory. They placed the gold in a dumbbell-like pattern that repeated, giving the usually inflexible metal a lattice-like structure that gave it some flexibility.
Their “sample of electronic skin,” which they refer to as gallium nitride and gold, is only 250 nanometers thick, or approximately 100 times thinner than the breadth of a human hair. They strapped the novel e-skin to the wrists and necks of volunteers and used a small antenna held close by to wirelessly record the sensor’s frequency without touching the sensor itself. The device was able to detect and transmit variations in the surface acoustic waves of gallium nitride on the skin of participants that were related to their heart rates wirelessly.
The team also combined the gadget with a thin sodium-selective ion-sensing membrane, a substance that selectively draws a specific ion. This improvement allowed the system to detect and wirelessly transmit changing sodium levels as a volunteer gripped a heating pad and perspired.
According to the researchers, the findings constitute the initial step toward chip-free wireless sensors. In addition, they believe the current approach might be used with other selective membranes to track additional significant indicators.
The Mor Prom mobile application, which was originally designed to track Covid cases, is being transformed into a national online health platform. The app has grown in popularity and now has 32 million users.
The Ministry of Public Health is working with private companies to transform Thailand’s national digital health platform, Mor Prom, into a mobile application. The updated app will provide Thais with a convenient and easily accessible health platform that includes 12 new features.
The app was initially designed for COVID-19 case tracing and registering people for Covid vaccination appointments. The new features will transform the app into a platform that connects to drug stores and a plethora of other public health service units. Approximately 15,000 service units and drug stores are currently linked to the app.
The security of the new Mor Prom app will adhere to worldwide safety requirements for electronic transactions and health information. This component is supported by the National Cyber Security Agency and the Electronic Transactions Development Agency.
The first of the twelve new capabilities are the COVID-19 vaccination certification service, which displays a traveller’s immunization record. The second function displays Covid test results obtained by the ATK and PCR techniques.
The third function allows users to search for a Covid testing unit near them, and the fourth feature enables site check-ins through a “beacon” mechanism. A digital health certificate display, money, organ donation services, a chatbot feature, and information on health policies are further features. Health history display, health appointment scheduling, health insurance policy verification, and telemedicine are the remaining features. The app will begin to receive additional functionality in August and September.
In the meantime, the collaboration between the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) and the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) marks a new milestone in the nation’s EV industry, as EV chargers are a vital part of the EV ecosystem.
The test ensured that the equipment used to service electric cars for both land and water transportation was safe. The test technique is based on the IEC 61851 standard for conductive charging systems for electric vehicles.
For electric buses, electric tractors, and electric ferries, the laboratory enables the testing of high-power DC chargers up to 150 kW. The availability of testing services in Thailand will significantly increase the competitiveness of local manufacturers, as they will no longer need to obtain testing and certification services from outside, hence reducing operating costs and development time.
In addition to EV charger testing, PTEC provides a variety of testing services to help the EV sector, including testing of lithium batteries, electric motorcycle battery modules, EV battery packs, electrification efficiency testing of electric motorcycles, and EV EMC testing.
Furthermore, for the sugarcane production industry, “Field Practice Solutions” (FPS) was developed as a precision agriculture system. FPS utilises drone footage for plantation area measurement, crop health monitoring, and weed/disease detection.
In addition, the system employs data processing to aid users in making educated decisions and effectively managing plantations, including fertilizer/chemical application and harvest schedules. NSTDA managed the public-private cooperation that led to the development of FPS.
On the other hand, the team created a data analytics system to estimate Brix content in sugarcane fields by combining multispectral images captured by drones with weather and sugarcane physiological data. With data on Brix and yield prediction, crops can be picked at the optimal moment for the most yield at the lowest cost.
With FPS, a harvest schedule may be properly scheduled to ensure that sugar mills receive sugarcane of optimal quality and quantity. This method has the potential to lower sugar production expenses by 20 per cent, or approximately THB 50 million per sugar mill annually.
It is difficult to conduct business in today’s world without a dependable website, which is where professional web creation services come in. Developing an online presence for a business or corporation does not end with the creation of a basic website for a company or organisation.
Developers can use Web Development Tools to deal with a range of technologies and should be able to deliver faster and less expensive mobile development. Responsive site design will improve the online surfing experience while also allowing for better SEO, decreased bounce rates, and less upkeep.
The tools that an organisation have selected should be able to give a good RoI. Hence, Cost-effectiveness, Ease of use, Scalability, Portability and Customisation are the factors that should be considered when choosing a Web Development Tool.
Neo4j’s Vice President of Global Cloud and Strategic Sales, Kesavan Nair or simply Kay discusses in-depth how big companies set up their growth engine drivers with Mohit Sagar, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of OpenGov Asia.
With his proven track record of entrepreneurial leadership in the open-source domains, cloud, SaaS, big data and analytics with both early-stage technology firms and large public companies, Kay is an authority on the topic.
On-Premise vs Cloud
The location of the data is the key distinction between cloud-based and on-premises (prem) versions. Cloud software is hosted on the vendor’s server and accessed using a web browser, as opposed to on-premises software, which is locally installed on the company’s PCs and servers.
When making a choice, a variety of factors must be considered in addition to accessibility – software ownership, cost of ownership, software upgrades, and additional services like support and implementation.
Kay explains that the cloud database as a service (DBaaS) market is one of the fastest-growing markets in enterprise software. “We need to make sure that we are being able to be where our customers want us to be, which is in the public cloud.”
As an example, he cited the use-case of Levis – one of their longstanding customers. Levis had been running on-prem for a long time and wanted to switch as part of their digital transformation strategy. They had eight different applications across various business units which were running on-prem and wanted to move all the services into a cloud service, running on Amazon. Neo4j helped them with the migration in about 3 months.
“That was an excellent example of how the Neo4j AuraDB Enterprise aided in the execution of Levis’ digital transformation,” Kay enthusiastically stated. “For Levis’ Neo4j became one of the main motivators for the enterprise to experiment and try new ideas, which accelerated their transformation quite quickly.”
Neo4j counts both start-ups and established companies in their fold. Their largest customers include the likes of Siemens and Dun and Bradstreet. They also have customers like PwC Australia, PwC U.S, BMW, Walmart and a neo bank in the U.S, Current Bank runs their core database system on Neo4j. The biggest healthcare insurance provider in Brazil, Qualicrop runs its mission-critical database systems in Neo4j.
Speaking of their journey, Kay shared that they started as a database company where most of their customers use the Neo4j database for transactional workloads. Now, interestingly, about 90% of their customers use either a public cloud or a cloud managed by Neo4j.
“We’ll soon cover all the major cloud service providers, so customers can choose where to deploy their apps and where to use the service. This will bring us closer to where our customers are growing,” says Kay confidently.
Graph Data Platforms: The First Choice for Application Development
According to Kay, their graph database promises data consistency, performance, and scalability. It can search for patterns and connections in data’s interconnected relationships. “Neo4j now includes a graph data science platform. Both data scientists and developers can use this platform to meet their demands. And I believe it gives us an extremely attractive product to the market at large.”
When governments had to locate community infections due to the pandemic, the benefits of the Graph Data Platform were most evident. The Graph Data Platform with AI has shown to be a great tool for data management in real-time, from tracking connections via complex social networks to understanding linkages.
On the other hand, graph data science assists organisations in addressing some of their most challenging and complicated problems. “Neo4j Graph Data Science is a platform for connected data analytics and machine learning that enables you to better anticipate the future by understanding the relationships in huge data.”
He shared that those two key strategic products under the Neo4j Aura portfolio of cloud products are AuraDS (built for data scientists) and AuraDB (built for developers).
Graph Database Technology is specifically designed and optimised for identifying patterns and hidden connections in highly interconnected datasets. Graph data stores are easy to use because they mimic how the human brain thinks and maps associations using neurons (nodes) and synapses (relationships).
A graph database stores and queries connected data in a node-and-relationships format efficiently. As a result, graph technology excels at problems where there is no prior knowledge of path length or shape by efficiently finding neighbouring data using graph storage and infrastructure.
Kay listed some of the most typical graph usage cases:
- Fraud Detection & Analytics
- Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
- Real-Time Recommendation Engines
- Knowledge Graphs
- Network & Database Infrastructure Monitoring
- Master Data Management (MDM)
All of these have one thing in common – to be successful, an enterprise needs to use datasets that dynamically change over time and are connected to each other.
Neo4j offers four benefits of using graph databases:
- Natural and easy data modelling
- Ability to adapt to changing data structures
- Support for real-time updates and queries running simultaneously
- Storage and a natively indexed data structure
Connected data in property graphs enable the enterprise to illustrate and traverse many interactions and find context for the next breakthrough application or analysis.
Kay encourages businesses to choose a cloud strategy that fits their needs and look for a provider that lets them move their assets whenever they want as many enterprises themselves to have evolving cloud strategies. This is because flexibility is very important.
“With us, Neo4j, you find value. It was predicted that by 2025, all smart applications would use graph technology in some way. So, graph databases are a natural fit for any new application that is being built today. This is because it is much easier to get insights from them,” Kay believes.
Neo4j Graph Database Platform has developed into a common form of information technology and has benefited businesses in a variety of ways. Numerous corporate game-changing use cases in fraud detection, financial services, life sciences, data science, knowledge graphs, and other areas have been made possible by the Neo4j Graph Database’s speed and efficiency advantages.
In the current VUCA environment, data security is crucial, challenging and fluctuating, particularly when dealing with sensitive data and the laws that govern it. Neo4j offers both safety and compliance, and frequently updates, enhances and expands its platforms. They can secure data in a variety of methods, including access control, user roles, protected environments, and system design, among others.
Neo4j Graph Databases has emerged as a critical technology for hundreds of companies, government agencies, and non-governmental organisations and will continue to be there. Kay is optimistic about the future and confident that Neo4j will always be placed to offer the best services for both the public and private sectors.
Business not as usual
COVID-19 has affected everyone; it is a global phenomenon that has forced all sectors to rethink and strategise, prompting many businesses to implement emergency work-from-home plans and the use of various digital platforms.
Simultaneously, many organisations are looking for a solution that offers content design and development with data analytics that would speed up software adoption and serve clients more effectively.
A low-code software platform has been developed to enable organisations to measure, drive and act to maximise the efficacy of their digital transformation and accelerate the return on investment in software applications. This low-code software is a Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) that enables teams to add on-screen navigation hints to websites and apps without recoding them.
In an exclusive interview with Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of OpenGov Asia, Rafael Sweary, President and Co-Founder of WalkMe, elaborated on the latest trends seen in digital transformation and innovation. The explanation was accompanied by a website demonstration during the interview.
Because of the numerous intricacies involved, digital transformation used to be a lengthy process that could take months to complete for businesses. Nowadays, the transition can be completed in a couple of weeks or even days.
“The goal of technology is to help people. Instead of you trying to understand systems and know-how to run systems, you would tell the programme what to do and the platform would walk you through the process and do it for you, making you much more efficient and focused on your task,” said Rafael.
WalkMe guides end-users through business applications used in today’s workplace, identifying pauses and hesitations to provide real-time assistance onscreen without having to toggle between interfaces. Rafael shared that digital adoption has three main objectives: 1) Data – we must unlock visibility into the tech stack and into the workflows required to complete a business process through the use of software, 2) Action–take action right on top of the application to automate mundane tasks, allowing end-users to focus on their most valuable work, and 3) Experience – Data and Action will drive the perfect experience for the end-user, no matter where they sit within the organisation.
Trends that drive the next normal
In his article – Focus on the Future: The Dawn of the Next Normal is Brighter Than You Might Think – Rafael discusses the transition from crisis to a new era. Long-term, he sees four significant shifts that will alter corporate conventions.
First is the new paradigm of business continuity planning (BCP). Continuity was typically done keeping in mind a short-term crisis, such as a data leak or an accident. Most businesses did not plan for an event on the scale of COVID-19.
The pandemic has altered the current context of planning, pushing organisations to accept and deal with a new reality. Most leaders, now, agree that BCP must address long-term type possibilities as well, ensuring that a company is agile and adaptable to any situation.
Second, remote capabilities are now an essential component of businesses to remain functional in any situation. When the pandemic began in 2020, most businesses were forced to implement a work-from-home policy, regardless of their readiness. Organisations quickly recognised that their reliance on technology was growing, and to assist their staff, they required the appropriate digital tools.
However, companies will need to examine their technology to enhance communication, onboarding and training, productivity, and employee engagement as the trend toward permanent remote work continues.
Rafael feels that the third major change is in corporate culture and that it will continue to evolve. Across the board, companies acknowledge that employees are their greatest asset. The more the investment and care for employees, the more likely the chances that a company will prosper in the next normal.
Undeniably, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a major and swift impact on the workplace, with companies making significant efforts to build a distinct culture that reflects their views and keeps the employees content, engaged, and feeling supported.
The fourth change, Rafael proposes, is that digital offerings will drive revenue in the future. Industries are entering into a contactless era where all goods and services can be obtained through technological means. To that end, companies will have to invest in digital offerings that are easy for their customers to navigate and their employees to use.
Businesses that cannot serve their customers digitally have suffered greatly and are struggling to recover. The Next Normal involves increasing the digitalisation of operations and the virtualisation of communication.
It is undeniable that technology priorities have shifted, Rafael opines. Companies may have dabbled with “nice to have” technology before COVID-19, but everything that isn’t critical to core business must go now. Budget cuts will affect all firms, requiring the need to make the best software options possible to maximise ROI. Companies that can find the best technology for their purposes will prosper.
Navigating the New and the Next Normal
Digital transformation is made up of several applications that must collaborate and focus on the outcomes rather than the implementing technologies. Rafael explained that most businesses fail to complete their digital transformation journey because they define it primarily by changing many software or platforms and they begin digitising everything simultaneously.
The fundamental changes in digital transformation are in how organisations work and, as a result, how value is added for customers. Rafael recommends companies begin with their desired results, deploy their chosen platform and understand what they want to achieve based on the benchmarks. He added that when considering digital transformation, avoid thinking about systems.
“Consider the bottlenecks, obstacles and financial opportunities. Then define success, act on it, start working on it, and evaluate whether you met your goal,” he advises.
Because there is a possibility of multiple outcomes, an organisation does not have to worry about just one transformation. Think about, as an alternative, the tasks that need to be completed and the aspects of their firm that they wish to alter.
Businesses employ new strategies and processes to stay relevant as technology rapidly evolves. This modification may need to be implemented promptly for the company to reap the benefits and it must constantly adapt, and experiment with new technology.
“We could help them manage the complete cycle, beginning with review and finishing with benchmarks identifying friction and detailing project action, among other things,” Rafael offers confidently.
WalkMe apart, he says, if businesses want to be more successful in their digital transformation, they must focus on outcomes rather than systems implementation.
Without a doubt, WalkMe is a highly successful option. Close to two thousand organisations around the globe utilise the system, from both the public as well as the commercial sector. Product managers and application owners can make use of the software and feature adoption tools, as well as the change management solutions, that this platform provides for internet, desktop, and mobile applications.
The platform aims to empower business leaders to achieve the potential of their people and technology investments, which he considers to be the most valuable assets of an organisation in the digital economy.
The enterprise-class guidance, engagement, insights and automation platform of WalkMe’s Digital Adoption Platform enables businesses to maximise the full value of their digital assets by providing executives with greater visibility into digital usage and making employees more efficient and productive.
“The Next Normal is different. We can’t ever ‘go back’, but we are being offered incredible opportunities for better business processes, better work experiences, and stronger companies and products. Jump on, the time is now,” Rafael advises.
The Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) an agency under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), has establishing its second LokaLTE Base Station in Looc Integrated School, Castillejos, Zambales. Project REIINN, or Resilient Education Information Infrastructure for the New Normal, is a project that focuses on the creation of application frameworks and infrastructures to enable the shift to remote learning and close the digital gap in the Philippines.
“In a nutshell, the LokaLTE component focuses on the local development and deployment of community LTE networks in the Philippines. Meanwhile, the RuralCasting component exploits the use of data broadcasting mechanisms in distributing educational resource materials in remote communities,” said Franz de Leon, Director, DOST-ASTI.
The LokaLTE Base Tower is one of the Philippines’ national government’s efforts to bridge the country’s digital divide. This tower will provide Internet connectivity and will aid in the continuity of learning in the Zambales community.
Project REIINN is funded by the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) and includes two initiatives: LokaLTE and RuralCasting.
The initiative is just the start of the project’s long-term goals, which include connecting everyone and making it easier for policies on spectrum management and community networks to be adopted.
It is anticipated that Project REIINN will reduce teachers’ difficulties, particularly in terms of communication between students and their parents – it can explore other avenues for the advancement of children.
In addition, the first LokaLTE Base Station was erected in Tanay, Rizal in May 2022. DOST-ASTI began Project REIINN in 2021 with the belief that access to the internet and information in unserved and underserved areas will become the norm because of technological interventions and appropriate policies.
The creation and deployment of small-scale, community-operated LokaLTE towers is one of the project’s objectives. This initiative is anticipated to have more groundbreakings in unserved and underserved regions in the Philippines until all students, regardless of location, have equal access to digital learning and reap the same benefits.
DOST-ASTI Strengthens the SARwAIS Project
Researchers from DOST-DATOS ASTI’s and Synthetic Aperture Radar and Automatic Identification System for Innovative Terrestrial Monitoring and Maritime Surveillance (SARwAIS) Project conducted an Introduction to Radar Remote Sensing training series in order to broaden the use of Remote Sensing in processing earth observation data and automating the detection of features from SAR satellite images.
The training was designed to further grow what DOST-ASTI has started in the race for space technology, and it was planned to do so with the normal backing from the Philippine Space Agency. In addition, the training was intended to acquaint the partner agencies, and the security sector, with the utilisation of SAR data to supplement their mission and efforts, particularly in marine domain awareness and resource monitoring.
Participants were informed, with a particular emphasis on the utilisation of SAR data, of the ways in which the available satellite resources (NovaSAR, Sentinel-1, and ICEYE) could potentially assist in the monitoring and asset deployment initiatives that they are engaged in. The programme lasted for four days and was filled to the brim with lectures and hands-on exercises that further armed them with abilities in remote sensing and GIS, which in turn enhanced their awareness of geospatial concepts.
Representatives from each agency presented their results at the conclusion of the training course, debating at length how to utilise this information in their individual offices. Participants also toured the DOST-ASTI facilities to examine infrastructures such as the ground receiving station and data centre.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) together with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has launched an open financial education and action initiative tag as SME Financial Empowerment (SFE) for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Asia and Africa.
To help MSMEs thrive in the post-pandemic digital economy, the SFE intends to help them establish their core digital financial literacy skills and gain a good understanding of cross-border financial services relevant to MSMEs. The programme was launched in collaboration with market partners in Asia and Africa, beginning with Ghana, India, the Philippines, and Singapore, and will benefit over 400,000 MSMEs in these regions.
An empowered MSME is essential to an equitable and sustainable digital economy. Such enablement begins with digital economy literacy.
– Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief FinTech Officer, Monetary Authority of Singapore
The affordable, bite-sized learning programme offered by SFE, he added, is the result of a collaborative effort between financial institutions and the public and private sectors. Through the foundational and global financial literacy programmes, micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Asia and Africa will gain new abilities to utilise networks, financial, and digital resources to expand their businesses abroad.
SFE is a global platform that connects domestic SME ecosystems and catalyses cross-border trade, financing, and digital services. It is an inclusive and organised programme that is conducted on a web portal.
Furthermore, the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS), and the Global FinTech Institute (GFI) are among the other important supporters of the SFE. The SFE’s goal for 2022 is to help MSMEs in three areas: essential financial digital skillsets, MSME financial services, and digital economy access and growth.
The first phase of the programme will consist of two learning modules that will focus on essential financial digital skillsets such as (a) Foundational Financial Literacy, which will cover basic financial concepts and financial products important to MSMEs; and (b) Global Financial Literacy, which will prepare MSMEs to connect to the digital economy and expand internationally by leveraging networks, financial services, fintech solutions, and digital tools.
Additional learning modules will be offered in subsequent instalments. Businesses will obtain a digitally verifiable certificate from SUSS and GFI upon completion of each module, granting access to financial services tools and information services via a resource portal.
Meanwhile, the SFE builds on a previous Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between MAS and IFC on the Financial Trust Corridor (FTC) initiative, which aims to promote greater financial knowledge sharing, financial trust, and financial inclusion for MSMEs and financial institutions in developing countries.
The FTC consists of a multi-party cross-border governance framework and trusted closed-loop digital infrastructure that governments and financial institutions from various countries can use to share verified information on foreign business counterparties and the financial institutions that support them. This information will facilitate funding access for companies engaged in international trade.
In many nations, SMEs account for up to 90 per cent of the business segment and up to 80 per cent of employment. However, the potential of SMEs is frequently hampered by knowledge gaps regarding digital processes and technologies. Through suitable training and digital finance skills, assisting SMEs to engage in the digital economy can generate productive and sustainable growth potential.
A unified approach is stronger than a single entity acting on its own. Taiwan, just recently, joined a host of other nations led by the United States to agree on the use of the internet to advance mankind’s positive transformation. Specifically, Taiwan joined dozens of countries in signing a declaration led by the United States to promote a free and open internet. This is a call towards an open flow of knowledge and to counter uncalled-for harmful, undemocratic actions.
Thus, on behalf of Taiwan’s government, Minister without Portfolio Audrey Tang made the country’s resolve for a better internet known by signing the Declaration for the Future of the Internet, an initiative launched by the United States recently. The signing of the agreement happened in a ceremony virtually held at the White House. There were 60 countries that signed the agreement. Among these are Australia, Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the European Commission.
Tang was affirmative of the call for a better internet. After the signing, she later took to social media to say that it remained an urgent task for democratic nations to build an internet environment where economic and social development is encouraged and democratic values and individual rights are protected. Thereby, Taiwan can contribute to the task up ahead as taken on by the declaration’s signatories, Tang added.
Meanwhile, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said the country’s participation in the initiative was the latest example of the close partnership between Taiwan and the U.S. and the U.S.’ support for Taiwan’s engagement in international affairs. Moreover, MOFA disclosed in its statement that Taiwan would continue working with like-minded countries to contribute to efforts to tackle global challenges.
Commenting on the declaration, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said in a separate statement that “the future of the internet is also the future of democracy, of humankind.”
Like-minded countries from all over the world are setting out a shared vision for the future of the internet, to make sure that the values we hold true offline are also protected online, to make the internet a safe place and trusted space for everyone, and to ensure that the internet serves our individual freedom.
– Ursula von der Leyen, President, European Commission
The White House detailed 60 countries have endorsed the declaration that aims to support a future for the Internet that is open, free, global, interoperable, reliable and secure and affirms our commitment to protecting and respecting human rights online and across the digital ecosystem.
Through this initiative, the U.S. and its partners will work to tackle what they described as “rising digital authoritarianism,” the statement said. This refers to some states that had acted to:
- repress freedom of expression
- censor independent news sites
- interfere with elections
- promote disinformation
- deny their citizens other human rights
Signatories are committed to protecting human rights and the fundamental freedoms of all people while strengthening a multistakeholder approach to governance that keeps the internet running for the benefit of all. In addition, countries that backed the declaration agreed to promote a global internet that advances the free flow of information and trust in the global digital ecosystem, including through the protection of privacy. They will also strive to advance inclusive and affordable connectivity so that all people can benefit from the digital economy.