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Pandemic Lessons Inform Taiwan’s Tech Innovation

Taiwan’s Minister of Science and Technology said that the global pandemic is accelerating digital transformation. The pandemic poses both challenges and opportunities to rethink technology development and supply chain management. Thanks to public and private efforts over the past year, Taiwan has largely withstood the ravages of COVID-19.

Infections spiked in mid-May, prompting various government restrictions. The number of COVID-19 cases is now declining. Taiwan has earned global praise for its effective campaign to limit the coronavirus, a program that includes an electronic fence that tracks residents via mobile phones to ensure that quarantined people remain at home. The effort is also seen as less intrusive than other tracking efforts.

Taiwan has shown its skills and expertise in public health and digital technology. With the belief that ‘Taiwan can help’, the government has been sharing resources and pandemic experiences with international partners. Many foreigners get to know about Taiwan in the process. The pandemic poses a challenge, but also creates an opportunity for Taiwan to highlight outstanding tech professionals and industry chains.

Digital Transformation

In the post-pandemic world, Taiwan will focus on six key industries: security, precision healthcare, digital transformation, semiconductors, space and 5G/6G Internet infrastructure. Taiwan has focused a lot on digital policies and, in the next few years, such as blockchain and the Internet of Things (IoT). Everything will be connected and everything will revolve around digital technologies. Due to the pandemic, Taiwan must speed up to move forward in the digital transformation process even faster.

Large enterprises are ramping up their digital transformation efforts. They have a lot of automated plans, and they are using a lot of big data. Besides AI, 5G, IoT, and other digital technologies, Taiwan focuses on supporting digital transformation in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and micro-businesses. Those companies and startups account for about 80%of Taiwan’s workforce.

Taiwan’s goal is to have a digital platform so that information service providers can work closely with all those small businesses. The government also wants to guide them through this transformation process. Because of the pandemic, they are encountering some problems. But the pandemic will be the boost to make this digital leap.

Information security is also critical to digital and smart development. As IoT connects everything, companies must take digital asset protection seriously. To that end, Taiwan is establishing a Security Center of Excellence for security professionals and technology innovation across Asia.

Privacy

The linking of devices and the information they store is both a convenience and a threat to privacy. Hackers increasingly search for unsecured digital assets. Contact tracing and other tracking platforms have heightened those concerns. Observers have praised Taiwan for those devices, but many have wondered whether the tracking process might invade the privacy of some people. Therefore, Taiwan is paying extra attention to make sure that when the data is used, privacy is also ensured.

Specific regulations that seek to ensure all data collected during the pandemic remains secure and must be removed or disposed of after a certain amount of time. While the government is safeguarding people’s safety and their lives, they also have to maintain democracy. So Taiwan needs to strike a balance between democracy and security. The minister stressed that digital technologies, human rights and democracy are all linked. How to use technologies to ensure convenience while maintaining human rights is always a fine balance.

Innovation

The minister defines innovation as an advance based on close observation of everyday life. In Taiwan, For the next 10 years, digital technologies will be integrated into the traditional industry. As digital technologies and cybersecurity improve, these will be essential for young people both now and in the future, when resources will be more precious. As resources on this planet are not indefinite, integrating technology, nature and society are essential

Taiwan Startups

Taiwan has long supported technology startups in fields ranging from telecommunications to AI, IoT and Virtual Reality (VR). Those efforts are beginning to bear fruit. For instance, a Taiwan-based startup invented a tool that uses AI to convert text into video. The startup is working with local media outlets and e-commerce retailers. Taiwan-based startups have won several awards. Startups need to connect technologies to life and its daily needs.

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