Sustainable cities and communities of the future were discussed at the 14th Singapore-Zhejiang Economic and Trade Council (SZETC) meeting in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province today, co-chaired by Senior Minister of State for Communication and Information, & Culture, Community and Youth Ms Sim Ann, and Zhejiang Vice Governor Zhu Congjiu.
Singapore companies will see more opportunities in key sectors including urban development, logistics and e-commerce in Zhejiang, as the province moves towards a future of urban sustainability, innovation, and modern living.
Singapore’s strengths in city infrastructure and connectivity as well as experience in community development can contribute to the common goal of Singapore and Zhejiang to develop innovative and sustainable solutions for the next generation of urban clusters.
According to Enterprise Singapore, The Singapore-Zhejiang Economic and Trade Council has seen good progress in collaborations under its five Working Groups: Oil Trade and Maritime Services; Technology and Innovation; Youth and Cultural Exchange; Financial Connectivity, Legal and Professional Services; and Sustainable Urban Development. At the meeting, Singapore companies signed 15 Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) in line with these areas.
Key highlights include:
Urban development: Collaboration between a Singapore consortium (represented by GSH Properties (PRC) Pte Ltd and KOP Properties Pte Ltd) and the Jiaxing Municipal Government to develop an integrated township project, incorporating Singapore’s experience in urban planning to feature an integrated community living hub with innovative commercial and retail for MICE and tourism-related activities.
E-Commerce: MOU between Shopee and the Hangzhou Cross-Border E-Commerce Comprehensive Pilot Area Committee to develop a cross-border e-commerce ecosystem through establishing an information and knowledge sharing channel, co-constructing a one-stop solution includes logistics, incubation, custom clearance, etc. for Zhejiang sellers to access Shopee’s e-commerce platform, provision of ecommerce training programmes and co-building a cross-border e-commerce industry belt in Hangzhou. Shopee also officially opened its Hangzhou Operation Centre in the Pilot Area this morning.
Youth and cultural exchange: Agreements between National University of Singapore (NUS) and Zhejiang University to collaborate on joint educational framework in Biomedical Engineering and more; MOU between National Youth Council and Zhejiang Youth Federation to organise exchange programmes such as immersion trips.
Ms Sim Ann said, “We see great synergy for Singapore and Zhejiang to partner each other as both strive towards a sustainable urban future and quality living for our people. Singapore companies can ride on developments such as the Zhejiang Greater Bay Area Development, Zhejiang Pilot Free Trade Zone, and Hangzhou Cross-border E-commerce Pilot Zone to pilot their solutions in Zhejiang. Zhejiang enterprises can also tap on Singapore’s strengths as an international trade and financial hub to access the Southeast Asian market.”
According to a press release by the Ministry of Information and Communications, database sharing between management agencies at both central and local levels is key to the process of developing e-government. MIC is compiling an e-government development strategy, which serves as a pillar in Vietnam’s socio-economic development model.
Under the draft strategy, which has been made public for comments, the development of e-government will be associated with the process of digital transformation, smart urban development, and ensuring network safety and security. Accordingly, all operations of state management will be digitalised to lead the national digitalisation process.
Citizens and enterprises will be the centre of the digitalisation process, which will aim at improving transparency, simplifying administrative procedures, and creating convenience when accessing public services. The most important thing was developing a database system and data sharing mechanism between state management agencies, according to the Ministry’s Authority of Information Technology Application.
The strategy aims to link the development of e-government with Vietnamese digital technology enterprises that have core technologies and open platforms to serve digital government services. Notably, enterprises could participate in providing public administrative services.
By 2025, 100% of national databases to serve e-government, including the database about population, land, business registration, finance, and insurance, are hoped to be completed, connected, and shared on a nationwide scale.
A representative from Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group said it was important to develop databases and data sharing to launch the digital government services. It was also necessary to carry out reviews on the process of transition from paper-based to digital and develop procedures for digital government services.
According to the United Nations’ recent report themed ‘Digital Government in the Decade of Action for Sustainable Development’, Vietnam ranked 86 out of 193 countries in the e-government development index, moving up two spots from 2018. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has approved the list of members of the National Committee on e-government, which came into effect on 30 July. The PM chaired the committee.
The committee is in charge of studying and proposing policies, strategies and mechanisms to create a legal framework for the development of e-government towards a digital government, digital economy and digital society to create favourable conditions for implementing Industry 4.0 in the country.
The Vietnam Internet Network Information Center (VNNIC) recently kicked off a course for the first 34 personnel chosen for a program on training 500 experts on internet protocol version 6 (IPv6). The advanced program, lasting from 2020 to 2025, targets technicians of IT units under ministries and public sectors and aims to support public agencies in completely switching from IPv4 to IPv6 in 2025.
According to research, internet connections using IPv6 are 1.4 times faster than IPv4. Vietnam’s internet has been upgraded to operate well on IPv6, in preparation for the country’ e-government development and national digital transition. As of June, it was ranked 10th globally in IPv6 adoption, with more than 36 million users.
The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) recently launched a communications programming platform called Stringee in Hanoi.
The communications platform-related comprehensive technology solution allows businesses to communicate with customers on mobile phone apps or websites without the use of another app such as Zalo, Skype, or Messenger. Businesses also need not invest in building software with communications features.
Stringee is among other Made-in-Vietnam digital platforms selected by the ministry with the aim of promoting comprehensive and wide-ranging digital transformation in terms of economy and society, contributing substantially to realising goals in the National Digital Transformation Program.
According to the Deputy Minister of Information and Communications, Nguyen Thanh Hung, Stringee is the only platform in Vietnam that can provide full infrastructure and features similar to solutions from foreign countries.
The platform currently provides about 2.2 million minutes of calls a day to some 45 million users nationwide. In the context of the problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses are accelerating digital transformation efforts in order to cut costs and maintain operations to survive and recover, the Minister noted.
He called on Vietnamese digital businesses to fully tap into opportunities and develop more digital platforms serving comprehensive digital transformation in different fields. The formation of communications platforms in general and Stringee, in particular, is expected to drive Vietnamese businesses to improve the quality of their customer care and competitiveness.
In line with its mission to shift to e-governance, in June, debuted a corporate governance platform, 1Office, at a ceremony in Hanoi.
1Office is one of the Made-in-Vietnam platforms introduced to enterprises in the national digital transformation process. The ministry hoped Vietnamese digital tech companies would grasp opportunities and develop more platforms to fully serve national digital transformation.
The ministry previously introduced other Made-in-Vietnam platforms used for e-government building such as distant training, health check-ups and treatment, postal codes, webinars, and cloud computing.
It also called on its units to popularise digital platforms to create favourable conditions for Vietnamese enterprises to succeed in domestic and global markets.
Last month, MIC developed a national portal, PayGov, designed to promote electronic payments for public services.
As OpenGov reported, PayGov is not a payment service but acts as a platform to connect public service portals and single-window systems with intermediary payment service providers. Once connected with the platform, online public service portals of ministries and local authorities will be provided with a single interface to use all the services of the intermediary payment providers.
At the same time, intermediary payment companies can provide their services to all ministries and local authorities through PayGov.
In addition to public services, PayGov can provide payment services for other utilities such as electricity, water, healthcare, and education, all in one place.
The MIC Deputy Minister explained that PayGov is just the beginning of a process to promote electronic payments for public services. The Vietnamese government is aiming to raise the ratio of public services that can be delivered online to at least 30% by the end of 2020. As of June, the ratio had doubled to 14.6% from the end of last year but remained far behind the target.
The launch of PayGov is anticipated as one of the measures to accelerate the delivery of online public services and meet the above target. The platform is also expected to help Vietnam realise the target of 50% of the population having electronic payment accounts by 2025, and 80% by 2030 as part of the national digital transformation program.
Due to COVID-19, access to the operating theatres in hospitals is restricted, which means medical training must balance practical learning experiences while ensuring the safety of their students.
NUS have released how they are enabling their medical students from the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine to experience the process of patient safety and immersion in operating theatre procedures through virtual reality (VR).
The students have been able to learn about the entire flow of the peri-operative setting: from dental clearance to anaesthesia evaluation, to the handling of sharps during surgery and the safe conduct of operations in a simulated environment through VR headsets and hand-held controllers.
The system, called PAtient Safety aS Inter-Professional Training (PASS-IT), is a digital gamified environment that allows students to learn about hands-on techniques in the operating theatre.
“PASS-IT’s gamified style lets multiple learners be immersed in situations where they are given the opportunity to participate in what would usually be a highly restricted environment,” said Associate Professor Alfred Kow, a surgeon and Assistant Dean (Education) of NUS Medicine.
“With the COVID-19 situation, students have also been removed from these settings of practical learning due to the risk of exposing them to aerosol-generating procedures. This VR system is a good tool to help the students consolidate their learning despite increased clinical restrictions,” he added.
Operating in the virtual training world
Medical students use VR headsets and hand-held controllers to interact with each other in real-time. Their physical movements and actions are also tracked and displayed in real-time for visualisation and evaluation.
The tool allows students “to make mistakes, learn in a safe environment and ensure that they are competent before they enter actual clinical environment to care for patients”, according to Assoc Prof Kow.
The PASS-IT programme was piloted with a cohort of 36 third-year medical students who had just completed their clinical rotations in surgery, as well as 56 fourth-year medical students during their Phase IV Anaesthesia posting.
Students showed improved understanding of peri-operative patient safety after the training. Results also showed that the VR training had elevated the students’ appreciation for effective communication between healthcare workers, and the majority of students also spoke positively of the use of VR technology to enhance their knowledge of patient safety.
Assistant Professor Terry Pan from the Department of Anaesthesia at NUS Medicine said the introduction of the PASS-IT VR system has been timely as it gave the students “a unique opportunity to continue the operating theatre learning experience virtually in a safe and structured manner”.
“This innovative VR tool can certainly complement the operating theatre learning experience when the current restrictions are lifted,” he added.
In recent years, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Hong Kong have adopted the concept of TimeBank to promote mutual help among elderly people and to encourage them to make good use of their free time.
By providing volunteering services, elderly people can earn and save time credit in exchange for services later such as escorts, household repairs, grocery delivery, etc. However, due to the lack of appropriate IT support, NGOs are burdened with the task of handling the related clerical work, such as data input and matching service recipients with volunteers.
Thus, a team of scholars at the Department of Computer Science at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) has developed a new system, namely “HINCare” (Heterogeneous Information Network for Elderly-Care Helper Recommendation), which helps to manage the workload and logistics. The system can also store useful statistics and help NGOs formulate long-term strategies and identify the needs of elderly people through data analytics.
By matching service requests with volunteers in the community intelligently, the system stretches elderly people’s potential in serving the community and helps them develop mutual help and support networks. It also facilitates the development and expansion of Time Bank community projects. The system came out of the lead Professor’s two recent projects supported by the Research Grants Council (RGC)’s General Research Fund (GRF).
The Professor stated that the implementation of the Time Bank project encourages mutual help and support relationship-building in the community. However, NGOs are much burdened by the amount of clerical work in maintaining the system. The HINCare system involves a gigantic heterogeneous information network (HIN) which gathers big data such as social networks and profiles of senior citizens at elderly centres run by NGOs.
Real-time transaction of the service time credit in an NGO’s Time Bank system is recorded automatically without the need for any manual input. This saves a lot of time and clerical work. Furthermore, the large amount of data in services provided can be used intelligently by the system to recommend potential full-time/part-time/voluntary helpers to NGOs.
The HINCare system comprises a web portal of an NGO’s backend administration and a mobile application for elderly clients and volunteers. The Time Bank system can also be extended to support the administration of healthcare vouchers and social service vouchers through further adaptation, hence enabling elderly people to have access to information on various medical and social services, make service bookings or payments through the enhanced one-stop mobile app.
NGOs will be able to track and understand from the system’s backend web portal the various medical and social services used and required by the elderly, the frequency of volunteer engagement, the participation level of community activities, etc. These statistics and information can allow NGOs to formulate better elderly services policy and evaluate if follow-up services for particular individuals are needed.
The team is now partnering with Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Tseung Kwan O Aged Care Complex (SKHTKOACC) and Christian Family Service Centre (CFSC) Elderly Service Sections in implementing the project.
SKHTKOACC is a pioneer in the Time Bank project and has launched a “Weaving of Wellness – Seniors Mutual Help Development Project” – a 3-year project in Tseung Kwan O. The Service Director of SKHTKOACC stated that the app can facilitate service matching and reduce clerical work. The complex intends to implement the project in more housing estates in the area. In the long run, it can help society rethink its elderly service policy and resource allocation.
The mobile app was launched since January 2020 and has now over 800 users who have issued 1,500 service requests, including accompanying services, transportation assistance (e.g., to hospitals), and participation in group events, etc.
The Ministry of Agriculture’s Indonesia Quarantine Full Automation System (IQFAST) innovation from the Agricultural Quarantine Agency (Barantan) is to be the Top 45 Public Service Innovations in 2020 as announced by the Ministry of Administrative and Bureaucratic (PANRB) online.
The Minister of Agriculture, Syahrul Yasin Limpo, had presented the Barantan’s application directly to the Sinovik independent jury. He was of the opinion that this initiative was at the forefront of public service innovation.
The Minister of Agriculture Syahrul Yasin Limpo appreciated the Ministry of Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform Ministry for organizing this competition as part of realizing an advanced Indonesia.
IQFAST made the coveted list after surpassing approximately 2,250 proposals from various ministries, institutions, BUMNs (state-owned enterprises) and BUMDs (provincially- or municipal-owned corporations) that entered and had passed the administrative selection stage and by an independent panel team.
Head of Barantan said the innovation was designed to be able to provide the widest possible opportunity for agripreneurs; providing information and inspiration for business and exports in agriculture.
The strategic position of Barantan is not only as a guardian for protecting agricultural resources but maintaining the smooth flow of goods at the port. It encourages the export of agricultural commodities considering that barriers are now no longer tariff-related but more on health aspects, namely sanitary and phytosanitary requirements. As such, quarantine systems strengthen the agri-sector both domestically and in cooperation with partner countries.
IQFAST is a digital innovation within export services. The digitisation of quarantine operations is a strategic choice that ensures accuracy, acceleration of services and health insurance and safety of products.
IQFAST is a large quarantine information system used by all quarantine technical units throughout Indonesia. This system makes it possible to monitor the flow of agricultural commodity traffic in real-time. This system is the starting point for the future development of quarantine big data. The Barantan staff have made preparations for structuring the cyber-physical system in the industrial 4.0 era. There are four steps it does:
First, structuring data using the Cloud Data Archive. It allows data to be managed electronically in a secure, validated and controlled manner.
Second, the use of a Quarantine Blank Certificate in paperless and digitally verified operational activities with the hope of being realized in the near future.
Thirdly, the development of e-traceability audits. This traceability check can reduce the rejection of agricultural product commodities in export destination countries.
Lastly, empowering structuring IQFAST data analysis. This step is to support import control policies.
Currently, besides focusing on automating services for service users through PPK Online (request for online quarantine inspection), IQFAST is also developing information on agricultural commodity maps.
IMACE is expected to provide updated information regarding agricultural commodities which are currently on an upward trend, including areas of origin and potential export destination countries. This is expected to open up opportunities for agribusiness actors to increase export and investment opportunities.
Apart from IMACE, IQFAST is also developing and increasing electronic certificate cooperation with partner countries so that it guarantees the acceptance of export products.
They are also working on a smooth flow of goods, both imports and exports, as well as the development of priority routes. In this plan, IQFAST system will provide a special route for compliant service users. Such users will receive priority services in the form of no physical inspection so that goods can immediately leave the port.
Barantan was committed to maintaining public services and any challenges with IQFAST and/or other Barantan services could be conveyed through various options such as social media, email, technical service unit offices and aid centres.
The Department of Science and Technology-Forest Products Research and Development Institute (DOST-FPRDI) is offering free online, webinar training in support of forest-based and allied sectors affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
DOST-FPRDI’s Chief Training and Manpower Delivery Services Section (TMDSS) Dr Maria Cielito G. Siladan emphasised the importance of online platforms in continuously providing technical assistance to DOST-FPRDI’s client.
According to a press release, she stated that DOST-FPRDI believes that the physical distancing the country is currently experiencing should not hinder learning. Thus, the Institute is shifting to the use of online platforms to continuously provide technical assistance and training to its clients.
The virtual technology training webinars are divided into three levels:
It is a lecture-type discussion that provides an overview of the DOST-FPRDI technology. It will discuss the science behind and the advantages of the technology, as well as its potential as a business venture. The session will last for not more than 1.5 hours and will be conducted via Google Meet.
It involves showing an audio-visual presentation detailing a step-by-step guide to the processes and technologies. This level aims to provide an opportunity for the participants to appreciate the technology by watching the processes involved and discussing them further with DOST-FPRDI experts afterward. Like Level 1, this session will last for not more than 1.5 hours and will be conducted via Google Meet.
This is supervised, face-to-face, hands-on skills training. After going through levels 1 and 2, those who have decided to learn the skills can progress to this stage. It will be conducted at DOST-FPRDI for a maximum of only five participants per session to abide by minimum health protocols and social distancing. The training will be arranged by the interested parties with the TMDSS staff.
Among the interesting topics featured is bamboo-framed face shield production held 30 June and the recent webinar training conducted on 4 August about the charcoal production and briquetting.
Electronic certificates of participation will be given to Levels 1 and 2 attendees, while a certificate of completion will be awarded to those who will undergo the Level 3 training.
The training schedule and registration details are posted at the DOST- FPRDI Facebook page.
The government has been rolling out skilling initiatives for various sectors in the country. OpenGov reported that DOST in partnership with the Department of Agriculture has been helping Western Visayas farmers, fisherfolk, and agribusinesses in improving the packaging of their products.
The partnership aims to enhance the market competitiveness of agriculture and fishery products in the Western Visayas region. Department of Agriculture (DA-6) had provided DOST-6 with a PH 7.5 million (US$ 152,915) funding support last month so it could aid at least 100 beneficiaries. The partnership helps in the technical and aesthetic parts, the Department of Agriculture is responsible for identifying beneficiaries.
The initiative works on the competitiveness of the businesses specifically in aesthetics, longer shelf life, better protection of the products, keeping the buyers informed of the nutritional label, and to better compete with imported products.
The training being provided is primarily aimed at the Department of Agriculture field workers. For the enterprises, it is more on packaging design, material selection, labelling, and actual product packaging for test marketing.
The funding is also being used to develop a technical manual for agri-fishery product packaging and capacity building of agribusiness enterprises, as well as the Department of Agriculture and local government personnel assisting farmers and fisherfolk.
The Enterprise GIS (eGIS) system collates and presents geospatial data from diverse sources in an integrated manner to allow the Police to have better situational awareness and effect a quick and informed response. With thousands of real-time GPS data being ingested into the eGIS system every minute, Police get a real-time view of events as they happen and plan for resources, keeping the public and officers safe.
This is a collaboration by Singapore Police Force and Home Team Science and Technology Agency. The team received the Esri Special Achievement in GIS Award in July 2020, for its innovative application of mapping and analytics technology. The team is the only one from Singapore to win this international award in 2020 out of over 300,000 candidates globally.
In a release by HTX it explained that the system contains over 800 disparate data sets including topographical maps, building locations, navigation routes, street views, terrains, locations of Neighbourhood Police Centres and police cameras.
The geospatial data from these diverse sources are stacked on top of one another on one electronic platform and allows the Police to look at this to get the ‘big picture’, and immediately identify crime hot spots, map crimes, deploy officers for emergency calls, and make data-driven decisions.
HTX Assistant Chief Executive Tay Yeow Koon said in a release that “With a quantum increase in data and information over the last few years, the Police required a system to help them see the data in a unified manner. The eGIS enables police officers to be ‘smarter’, react faster, and make data-driven decisions to prevent, deter and detect crimes”.
The eGIS platform also enables interconnectivity between systems, helps to develop new capabilities like blue force tracking, provides a visual context to location data and brings insights to the users with geospatial analysis and dashboards. Today, the eGIS exists as a map visualisation in Police command & control systems and other backend operational applications.
“The eGIS is one of the enterprise-wide solutions that HTX worked hand-in-gloves with SPF as an integrated joint ops-tech team to conceptualise, plan and implement capabilities to achieve SPF’s Capability Vision 2025 to safeguard Singapore. This project has also opened up opportunities to introduce the upcoming map hackathon (or internally known as SPF Mapathon) to proliferate the use of GIS among SPF officers to solve real-life problems at work”, explains Bernard Phang, Director/Policing Programme Management Centre (PPMC).
Some of the new capabilities such as 3D geodata and line-of-sight analysis were introduced to provide a new visual perspective to SPF officers when planning for significant events such as the National Day Parade. 3D models of buildings, when used with line-of-sight analysis, allow Police to analyse and plan for any visual obstructions before going for site survey. A heatmap analysis tool in the system allows ground officers to determine the areas around Singapore they should concentrate on a daily basis.
Today, the prototype has evolved into an enterprise level platform serving 16 SPF systems and various users from SPF, SCDF and HTX. In addition to SPF, SCDF and CNB have also implemented their own eGIS platforms.
Photo Credit: www.htx.gov.sg