There are many things that make faster internet makes better. Not only can one communicate better but it would mean faster and more effective transactions in business. World-class Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) is now available in Haast, one of New Zealand’s most remote West Coast towns, Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications, David Clark announced recently.
A reliable, fast and secure internet connection is an important asset in the digital economy and that is why the government is boosting rural connectivity.
We extended the UFB rollout through the Provincial Growth Fund to include more rural communities in the scheme and ensure rural businesses are equipped with the tools to be more innovative and productive – which is what we need as the economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. We promised to continue to boost rural connectivity at the 2020 election – and we will continue delivering on that commitment.
– David Clark, Minister, Digital Economy and Communications
He shared how the government struggled for nine long years to roll UFB outside of urban centres but that the country is on track to reach its goal of 87% of all New Zealanders having access to UFB by the end of 2022. On the West Coast alone, the population with access to UFB has surged from 23% to 71% since 2017.
Alongside its fibre connection, Haast now has a new 4G mobile tower replacing an old 3G site. This will cover around 90 households and businesses as well as 14km of State Highway 6. Ultimately it will bring significantly improved mobile connectivity to the area.
As such, all of these connectivity boosts are going to be a great driver for business in the region. As Damien O’Connor, the Minister for Rural Communities, detailed this is a huge milestone for the Haast community and South Westland. This will greatly benefit many people and businesses, as improved connectivity is a key driver of economic growth, he added.
The nearby settlement of Hannah’s Clearing will benefit too. They received 4G coverage for mobile and broadband services and a further 4G mobile tower covering the settlements at Neil’s Beach and Jackson’s Bay will be commissioned at a later point in time.
The ongoing work will see existing cell towers upgraded and new towers built in rural areas experiencing poor performance, as well as fibre, additional VDSL coverage and other wireless technology deployed in congested areas.
Separate to the UFB rollout, by the end of 2024 around 47,000 rural households and businesses will experience faster internet speeds and better reception than they do right now courtesy of the Rural Broadband Initiative. This unlocks further opportunities for economic growth and improved services to rural communities in the digital age, as detailed by David Clark.
Digital transformation can indeed usher in positive change for the community. Faster internet should be a leg up for both businesses and families in the most remote of places such as Haast. That can certainly mean better protection in times of the virus.
A classic example here is the recent rollout of Rapid Antigen Tests (RATS). With millions of RATS to be deployed, people should be happy to receive them and protect themselves from the claws of a deadly virus. The problem is how to deploy such a huge number so everyone can have easy access. The answer, Wellington found out is in the use of the internet making ordering easy as reported on OpenGov Asia.
The National e-Governance Division (NeGD), under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) recently organised the first batch of a capacity-building programme for cloud computing. The initiative targets government officials from central line ministries, state/union territory departments, mission mode project officers, e-governance project heads, and state e-mission teams.
According to a press release, the two-day programme was held at the Haryana Institute of Public Administration. The initiative was designed to enhance capabilities within the government at the central and state levels by ensuring the availability of adequate knowledge and appropriate competencies and skill sets to optimally utilise the benefits of cloud computing in e-governance practices.
Projects with cloud computing offer integration management with automated problem resolution. The technology manages security end-to-end and helps budget based on actual usage of data. At a national level, cloud architectures enable the government to simultaneously utilise resources optimally and accelerate the delivery of e-services. Project Meghraj, for instance, is a government initiative that fast-tracks the delivery of e-services in the country and optimises the information and communications technology (ICT) spending of the government.
The workshop brought together experts from the industry, academia, and government to discuss key domain issues such as cloud fundamentals, India’s cloud journey, cloud building blocks, the procurement of cloud services, and regulatory and policy framework for cloud. Participants talked about challenges associated with cloud implementation and the future of cloud in digital transformation while using engaging presentations on successful cloud use cases.
Session discussions also featured essential training on various components of cloud computing such as custom bidding for cloud services and the establishment of pay-per-use and billing frequency with cloud service providers. Participants explored negotiation instruments for dynamic services under cloud, best practices in cloud procurement, and computing requirements. They also covered guidelines on cloud computing from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and MeitY as well as ITU global standards on cloud computing.
At the event, a NeGD official stated that technology has been leapfrogging over the past two decades, including cloud-based systems, which now drive businesses and touch every aspect of life. Anything that is available via the Internet is being delivered out of a cloud-based application and IT Infrastructure. Within this decade, cloud computing could replace the traditional data centres and emerge as the prominent solution for data analytics and storage, an industry expert noted.
The event was attended by officers from central line ministries and the state governments of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Goa, Mizoram, and Uttarakhand. Capacity-building programmes with the theme of cloud computing will move forward with physical programmes, which will be conducted in the east, west, and south zones of India this year, the press release added.
The large-scale adoption of cloud has the potential to contribute US$ 380 billion to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), creating 14 million direct and indirect jobs by 2026, according to a report by the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM). It stated that a concerted all-around effort could result in the sustained growth of 25%-30% of cloud spending in the next five years to reach US$ 18.5 billion.
The government has approved a national programme for smart rural development. The programme will focus on building new, modern rural areas through digital transformation. It is expected to boost the rural economy, improve rural living standards, and bridge the gap in service quality between rural and urban areas.
The initiative will be implemented in all rural areas across Vietnam by the end of 2025, including extremely disadvantaged communes in ethnic minorities and mountainous and coastal regions. By 2025, the government aims to have at least 90% of central, 80% of district-level, and 60% of communal public documents handled online. And at least 97% of communes should meet the new-style rural criteria on information and telecommunications.
Further, to boost the rural economy, the plan will promote the digital economy. Accordingly, at least 70% of communes will have cooperatives and 70% of districts will have agricultural business models, which will connect the production and distribution of key farming products using digital technology.
Additionally, at least 40% of communes and districts should be able to provide at least one essential public service in healthcare, education, community surveillance, security, environment, and culture. They must collect feedback on people’s satisfaction regarding rural development on a virtual platform. All centrally-run cities and provinces should have at least one trial smart rural commune model in the field, which holds advantages of, for example, economy, rural tourism, environment, and culture. The models will serve as a reference for the development of a new set of criteria for new-style rural building plans for the 2026-2030 period.
The government is also pushing for the digital transformation of urban parts of the country under its smart city initiatives. The overall goal is to accelerate digitisation in urban governance by building an electronic government including features such as digitised transport, energy, and society.
In January, Politburo issued a resolution on the planning, management, and sustainable development of Vietnam’s urban areas by 2030 with a vision until 2045. It is well established that smart cities can be effectively and successfully developed when digital transformation is comprehensively deployed across all areas of a city. Sustainable cities are built on a foundation of robust urban management that employs a host of digital and tech solutions. Simultaneously, both government employees and citizens need to be upskilled and trained.
As OpenGov Asia reported, Vietnam’s digital transformation is based on three pillars: digital governance, digital economy, and digital society, with an average point of 0.3 on a 1.0 grading scale. From a focus perspective, digital government is ranked higher point than both the digital economy and digital society primarily because of the e-government development process. As of June, a total of 59 out of the 63 localities in the country launched programmes on digital transformation, which will be rolled out over the next five years.
Vietnam is in the early stages of applying smart city services. There is still much more to be added in terms of smart urban planning and smart urban construction management. Smart city projects must have a comprehensive approach with the goal of not only solving urgent problems of cities but also striving for long-term socio-economic development.
The distribution of FM radio channels in the border regions of eastern Sumatra, the Malacca Peninsula, and the northern portion of Kalimantan, which shares a border with Sabah, Sarawak, was considered by Indonesia and Malaysia.
“These are the two main agendas in the Indonesia-Malaysia bilateral meeting. With this coordination, state administrations can maintain each other’s radio stations and the use of frequencies will continue to run without any interference,” explains Yudhistira Prayoga, Deputy Head of the Public Service and Spectrum Outlook (PSSO) Team.
The two nations agreed to pursue frequency standardisation. In addition, two more agendas were reviewed bilaterally such as channel updates, digital TV implementation, and Analogue Switch Off (ASO) issues, as well as other concerns.
Deputy Head Prayoga acknowledged that the issue that frequently emerges in frequency coordination is the disparity between the frequency channels agreed upon with Malaysia and the actual field conditions. Information on frequency use and interference in the field must involve the other sectors and certain agendas may not be completed for the moment due to the requirement for more time for analysis and review.
A prior meeting between the two neighbouring nations in February 2022 resulted in an agreement on fixed channels moving forward that would simplify long-term planning, radio station licencing, and registration in the two nations.
The Joint Committee on Communication (JCC) is holding this special meeting to talk about radio and mobile services in the Malaysian-Indonesian border region.
In 2022, Indonesia and Malaysia both intend to host an offline JCC meeting. Both decided to get a JCC delegation ready and invite a few connected operators. The two countries are hopeful that several issues and agreements relating to their respective radio frequency spectrum will be resolved.
Meanwhile, the organisation recognised the outstanding greenfield finance and financial deals in the Asia Pacific and gave the Indonesia Raya Satellite (SATRIA-1) the title of Telecoms Deal of The Year.
SATRIA-1 is known as Project Space Dream and is a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) between the government and business entities. The first multipurpose satellite’s goal is to connect more than 149,000 public service locations across the archipelago, which is the primary motivating factor.
To significantly improve the social and economic conditions in isolated areas of Indonesia, the initiative makes use of satellite-based communication. The only practical access solution for Indonesia to reach these remote areas affordably is a satellite-based connection.
With a throughput capability of 150 billion bits per second (Gbps), SATRIA has three times the throughput of Indonesia’s nine telecom satellites. The phrase “Project Space Dream” refers to a singular transaction that demonstrates Indonesia’s robust investment climate.
The largest satellite supply contract ever signed and the most significant and strategic investment in the history of the country was used to build the SATRIA PPP, the first multi-function satellite in Indonesia.
In addition, OpenGov Asia previously announced that three Indonesian satellites would be sent into orbit by a US aerospace company’s Falcon-6 rocket before the end of the following year. Johnny G. Plate, Minister of Communications and Informatics, stated that the Falcon-6 rocket would be used to launch the three Indonesian satellites before the end of the next year.
He also stated that the Falcon-6 rocket has already launched a satellite using it. Instead, the High Throughput Satellite (HTS) is launched into orbit and returned to Earth using a Falcon-6 rocket. The minister wishes for a smooth launch procedure and for the satellite to be placed in its orbit at the appointed time.
Singapore is well-known for incorporating science and technology into its economic and social fabric. The nation is typically glad to accept the technological revolution that they are now synonymous with, from planned self-driving buses to Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS).
However, the country must cope with the issue of an ageing population, a cohort that may not be as digitally savvy as its younger counterparts. With this, the Smart Nation initiatives in Singapore include those that have used technology to address healthcare concerns.
As part of their Year 3-course work, a group of students tagged as SITizens from the SIT-University of Glasgow Nursing programme recently collaborated on an applied research project to discover how older Singaporeans are coping with the digital urge.
The group conducted a study to identify the factors that promote and inhibit older individuals’ digital health literacy. According to them, there is an urgent need to equip senior citizens with greater cyber capabilities.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, internet communication was crucial for disseminating updates on the fast-evolving situation, thus, it was time to take a fresh look at how to engage elderly Singaporeans in the digital sphere.
As part of the team’s three-year initiative, students participated in an initial study over the course of three months in the first half of 2022. Two groups of six students each designed and implemented a digital health education programme for seniors at local Senior Activity Centres (SACs).
By interacting with SAC clients who serve the elderly in the locations where they are located, students had the chance to gain a greater understanding of the requirements of this demographic. In addition, it provided a unique opportunity to participate in real-world applied research, as it is an integral element of the nursing curriculum.
Elders welcomed the student, but not the health apps they introduced. It turned out to be difficult to encourage the elderly to be enthusiastic about using the HealthHub app because the older generation believed they had no demand for creative approaches because they were nearing the end of their lives.
Others couldn’t utilise the programme because they couldn’t speak English well enough. The elders are taught how to use the HealthHub app to schedule, change, and cancel appointments by the researchers-students.
Certainly, a Health Promotion Board leaflet was utilised to explain each step at the elders’ pace since the example film was too quick for them, yet, some elderlies were unable to log in during the hands-on attempt because they could not recall their Singpass accounts.
Likewise, the language barrier was an additional obstacle. The materials were also in Chinese, and most of them spoke Mandarin. But the total experience ended up being enjoyable and meaningful due to gestures and kind interactions.
On the other hand, the teaching package will be fully developed through an iterative approach that incorporates the nurses’ experiences. Students benefited from first-hand exposure to the actual process of data collection, which is challenging to simulate in a classroom setting.
Furthermore, health literacy is the motivation and ability to seek and utilise health information. It empowers a person to make choices that will improve their quality of life; and expanded to encompass media and computer abilities.
Across the globe, including Singapore, the elder population has a low propensity for digital health literacy. With this, students from various universities set out to develop instructional materials that would encourage senior citizens to access health information via mobile phones and the internet -initiatives supported by the government.
The Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU) recently launched a ground-breaking Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Psychology that incorporates technology modules with psychology, in an emerging field known as cyberpsychology.
According to the Programme Leader, “Cyberpsychology is the study of human behaviour and mental processes in the context of human-technology interaction. The focus of this module is on the psychology of online behaviour, to uncover how the internet and digital technologies affect attitudes, emotions, and the societal impacts of living in a digital age, such as the exploration of the motives and psychological makeup that contribute to Cybercrime, she said.
While psychology professionals work in human domains, students in this field must now develop a strong grasp of technological aspects, especially when the line between cyberspace and the real world is becoming increasingly blurred.
Globally, the adoption rate of emerging technologies – including cloud computing, connected devices, mobile, robotics and blockchain, have grown at an exponential rate over the past 10 years. As of April 2022, there were five billion internet users worldwide, which is 63% of the global population. Of this total, 4.65 billion were social media users.
Further, the arrival of the Metaverse will even reinforce the blurring of the lines between the physical world and the virtual one, the physical world will eventually merge with the digital – in fully immersive virtual reality.
As technology reshapes the way people live, think, and behave, the transformation of psychology studies has introduced new ways to provide treatment or therapy. This has affected the dissemination of knowledge and how research is conducted.
Within the programme’s modules, students will also be exposed to Psychotechnology, to understand user experience (UX), cognitive workload and use these results to solve practical problems. These updated, relevant modules allow students to develop vital skills and knowledge, enabling them to work in various sectors, such as e-sports, advertising, and more that require further study to determine their psychological impacts.
To create a conducive learning and studying environment mirroring the professional setting that supports both counselling and clinical psychology needs, APU has invested significantly to set up the Centre for Psychology and Well-Being at its campus.
The Head of the School who oversees the setting up of the Centre, explained that as a tech-centric and industry-driven university, APU has blended technology elements into conventional psychology teaching and learning. The University’s Centre for Psychology and Well-Being is an innovative facility that houses advanced equipment embedded with state-of-the-art technology that supports psychology learning and research – which itself has set us apart from our competitors.
The Centre aims to develop a professional-like high-tech centre which attracts students towards experiential learning coupled with a comfortable learning environment.
According to the Programme Leader, by placing psychological tools infused with modern technology to better predict and understand human behaviour such as Electroencephalogram (EEG), Eye Tracker, and Computerised Psychological Assessments, students can learn to make data-driven decisions.
Together with Eye-Tracking Laboratory, the design of the Centre includes Psychobiological Laboratory; Psychoanalysis Therapy Suites for both individual and group therapy; Psychological Testing and Measurement Room; Psychology Group Observation Suite that is complimented with a one-way mirror and AV capture equipment; Activity and Discussion Rooms; and teaching classrooms that are tied to instructional learning and research activities.
Some highlights of the training using the advanced setting and facilities mentioned include:
- The DSI-24 Electroencephalogram (EEG) – a wireless dry electrode EEG headset in the Psychobiological Lab enables students to learn about cognitive processes like attention and memory by placing conductive electrodes on the scalp which measure the small electrical potentials that arise outside of the head due to neuronal action within the brain.
- In the Psychological Testing and Measurement Room, the latest state-of-the-art Tobii Pro Fusion Eye Tracker which focuses on information processing such as scene perception, and visual searching, provides students with a first-hand experience in using the equipment.
- The Psychoanalysis Therapy Suite features the famous Freud psychoanalytic couch. This help students learn role-play skills or to conduct any activity relating to counselling or psychotherapy.
- The Psychology Group Observation Suite is equipped with a one-way mirror (semi-transparent mirror), brightly lit from one side, allowing students to inconspicuously observe people’s behaviour on the other side while maintaining privacy.
- Individual (and Group) Therapy Rooms are designed to provide a quiet, comfortable, energizing, and soothing space ideal for conducting individual or group counselling. Registered counsellors and educators will use the rooms to provide their respective services like consultation, teaching, and intern-related training.
With proficiency in using advanced technology, especially digital assessments, APU’s psychology graduates become tech-savvy and well equipped for the competitive world of the psychology industry.
The government has issued a national cybersecurity strategy to respond to challenges and crimes in cyberspace. The strategy sets objectives for 2025 as well as has a vision for 2030. Under the strategy, one of the main targets is to maintain or increase Vietnam’s ranking on the global cybersecurity index (GCI).
In a press statement, the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) laid out the major tasks and solutions in the strategy, including strengthening the overall management of the State over cybersecurity, completing legal frameworks, and protecting national sovereignty in cyberspace.
The government will also safeguard digital infrastructure, platforms, data, and national cyberinfrastructure. It will protect the information systems of state agencies as well as crucial sectors that need to be prioritised to ensure information security.
Through the strategy, the country will foster digital trust and build an honest, civilized, and healthy network environment. It will prevent and combat law violations in cyberspace and enhance technological mastery and autonomy to actively cope with cyberspace challenges.
The government will train and develop human resources in cybersecurity, raise awareness about cybersecurity skills, and work to secure funding to implement cybersecurity initiatives. The strategy also aims to improve national prestige and foster international integration.
Meanwhile, incident response teams of 11 priority sectors for network information security will be formed. The key areas include transport, energy, natural resources and environment, information, health, finance, banking, defense, security, social order and safety, urban areas, and the government’s direction and administration.
According to a report released by the ITU in June 2021, Vietnam jumped 25 places after two years to rank 25th out of 194 countries and territories worldwide in the GCI in 2020. Vietnam ranked 7th in the Asia-Pacific region and 4th among ASEAN countries in the field.
According to Vietnam Information Security Association (VINSA), there were over 5,400 cyber-attacks on Vietnamese systems in the first five months of this year. Of these, approximately 68% were malicious attacks. However, May showed a decrease in the number of cyber incidents, due to socio-economic stability and the resumption of more economic activities initiated around the Party’s solutions and guidelines, according to the Information Security Department, MIC.
Further, after MIC issued a warning, incidents were down 9.37% in April as compared to March 2022. The government has been proactive in raising vigilance, strengthening cyber information security as well as security and social order. This has made it difficult for bad actors to attack networks, spread infecting malicious code, and run scams to steal and destroy information of users and organisations.
In June, MIC stated that to ensure information security for information systems and Vietnam’s cyberspace, it would continue to strengthen monitoring and proactive scanning; it would evaluate statistics and promote propaganda and issue warning in the mass media so that users know and avoid the risk of cyber-attacks.
MIC also said it would address the situation by strengthening mechanisms for monitoring and proactive scanning, raising public awareness, and providing advance warnings of expected cyberattacks. Simultaneously, the Ministry would continue to urge the review of vulnerabilities and communicate signs of cyberattacks.
The Ministry of Heavy Industries (MHI) launched an Automated Online Data Transfer system to collect critical domestic value addition (DVA) data from a Production Linked Incentive scheme (PLI) applicant’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.
The PLI scheme was launched to boost domestic manufacturing, investments, and the export of telecom and networking products. The PLI Scheme for Automobile and Auto Component Industry in India (PLI Auto) proposes financial incentives to boost the domestic manufacturing of Advanced Automotive (AAT) products and attract investments in the automotive manufacturing value chain.
Through the new automated online data transfer mechanism, MHI’s PLI Auto Portal will receive data from the applicant’s ERP system. All approved applicants under the PLI scheme have their own ERP system, which is software that enables organisations to manage business activities.
According to a press release, the application programming interface (API) will be embedded with the applicant’s ERP system, making processes in the scheme automatic and paperless. An API is a set of rules that lets different programmes communicate with each other, exposing data and functionality across the Internet in a consistent format. It is an architectural pattern that describes how distributed systems can expose a consistent interface in a secure cyber environment.
Through the previous system, PLI applicants were required to file voluminous claims. The new system eliminates a large amount of paperwork through automation. It reduces the compliance burden for applicants and speeds up claim processing. The release stated that it was created after exhaustive stakeholder consultations with leading original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and auto component manufacturing companies.
MHI Minister, Mahendra Nath Pandey, noted that the system is an important step in enhancing transparency, ease of doing business, faceless and self-certification-based assessment, and the paperless delivery of services.
The government approved PLI Auto to enhance the country’s manufacturing capabilities for AAT with a budgetary outlay of US$ 3.9 billion. The scheme has been successful in attracting a proposed investment of US$ 8.5 billion against the target estimate of US$ 5.3 billion over five years. FY 2022-23 is the first financial year for which an approved applicant can claim incentives on the determined sales. Sales of AAT products with a DVA of 50% minimum, with sales from 1 April onwards, for a period of five years, shall be eligible for incentives.
Applicants should maintain a detailed DVA calculation for all their eligible products in their own ERP system. It will record the DVA calculation for each batch, product, and model with details of component-wise values, component-wise DVA, and final DVA at the AAT product level. Applicants’ ERP will push the product-wise DVA to the PLI Auto portal on a quarterly basis through the API.
Over the past year, the government has launched several portals and applications to automate the delivery of public services across several sectors. For example, in May, it launched a single national portal for biotech researchers and start-ups that seek regulatory approval for biological research and development projects. The Biological Research Regulatory Approval Portal (BioRRAP) allows stakeholders to see the approvals accorded against a particular application through a unique BioRRAP ID, as OpenGov Asia reported.
In June, the Department of Pension and Pensioners’ Welfare launched a mobile phone version of Bhavishya, an artificial intelligence-enabled common portal for pensioners and elder citizens. The portal aids the seamless processing, tracking, and disbursal of pensions.