Many years ago, adding a new technology or imaging modality in the operating room meant connecting devices like endoscopy cameras, computers, scanners and surgical displays through dedicated audio visual (AV) equipment. Operating room (OR) technology today is becoming increasingly digitised, and many hospitals in Singapore and around the world will have difficulties keeping pace. Even more drastic developments can be expected in the next decade and the groundwork for these changes is being laid today.
By adopting an OR-over-IP approach, which integrates devices over an IP network for the operating room, hospitals will be able to implement many of the emerging technologies that will shape the complex OR environment of the future.
Surgical data, images and video can be easily shared, stored and displayed on any screen inside or outside the operating room. Integration over IP also makes it possible to manage the multitude of imaging systems and devices from a single point and to streamline the OR workflow.
A future-proof OR
The digital OR is no longer a nice to have. The OR-over-IP approach will be the necessary foundation for the adoption of many innovative technologies, including 4K imaging and 3D imaging, which allows surgeons to perform surgery with the highest precision and enhances surgical efficiency and accuracy in laparoscopic procedures to shorten operating times. In the future, virtual and augmented reality, as well as artificial intelligence will be used to help surgeons and clinicians acquire proficiency in complicated technologies faster.
The same can be said of OR. A digital OR is essential to reduce complexity, simplify workflows, and increase efficiency and productivity.
Bringing more technology into the OR made set up and configuration before surgeries more complex and time-consuming. The OR-over-IP approach simplifies installation and reduces set-up time in the OR due to its standard architecture. These reductions in setup and turnover times are improving the productivity of surgical teams and efficiency in the use of ORs. Running OR technology over IP also reduces the number of cables and devices needed to run the navigation devices, machine-controlled applications, and PACS equipment, which creates a much cleaner and more comfortable working environment for surgeons to make quick and accurate decisions. Technical maintenance efforts are also simplified, and downtime minimised, with an IP-based OR platform due to its use of unified fibre cabling that connects directly to the devices.
Flexibility today and tomorrow
Technology continues to evolve and ORs need to be easily adaptable to meet future requirements. Its environment must be flexible enough to accommodate the most recent technologies, such as 4K and 3D imaging. IP-based video integration is an approach that will support this expansion of technologies well into the future.
In an environment where the patient’s stakes are so high and where every minute means money, digital technology can help improve the productivity and efficiency of today’s highly-skilled OR professionals. The OR of today and of the future delivers highly accurate images and provides the most ergonomic working conditions to enable surgeons do their best work.
Speaking at The Global BioIndia 2021, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu said that India’s biotechnology industry is built on the 4 core beliefs of entrepreneurship, innovation, development of local talent and demonstrating high value-based care. He acknowledged that the field has emerged as the backbone of several areas in recent times. With its strong tech and industrial capabilities, India is in a unique position to transition from the biotech industry to a bio-economy.
The Vice President exhorted upon scientists and researchers to be prepared to combat new and emerging diseases. He stressed the need to leverage the huge potential of the biotechnology sector to create and generate new interventions to address the challenges faced by agriculture and allied sectors. The current pandemic has reinforced the need to be ever vigilant to tackle an outbreak of sudden and unforeseen epidemics and pandemics.
In fact, in large part, the pandemic was a catalyst and accelerator of development in the sector. Major disruptions of supply chains including imports of critical products and raw material further concretised the resolve for the nation to become atmanirbhar (self-reliant).
The Department of Biotechnology deserves recognition for working relentlessly to mitigate the COVID-19-induced crisis through the development of high-tech diagnostics, innovative protection equipment and vaccines. It scaled up production capacity and streamlined regulatory response to ensure the rapid and safe rollout of necessary measures.
With the immense potential the biotech sector presents, the government has eased compliance and approvals for the ecopreneurs. The proactive initiatives have resulted in a multifold impact reflected in the number of innovators, technologies and products, incubation space and IPs generated in the last year.
Citing the attractiveness of India’s value proposition and comparative advantage in the bio-economy, the ‘Make in India’ initiative and Atmanirbhar Bharat ideology will help to achieve the paradigm shift from biotech to bio-economy.
Dr Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Health & Family Welfare, emphasised that the global impact of COVID-19 has brought greater recognition of the biotech sector’s influence on innovation and technology adoption in pharma, medtech, agriculture and allied areas, clean solutions, and industrial bio-manufacturing.
The industry is divided into five major segments: bio-pharma, bio-services, bio-Agri, bio-industrial and bioinformatics. The biotechnology sector in India has been growing at 14.7% year-on-year, with it being evaluated to about US$ 51 bn in 2018. While it may account for only 2% of the global market share, it is 3rd in the Asia Pacific region in terms of the number of companies.
About 40% of these are in the biopharma segment and the rest are in agribiotech, bioinformatics, industrial biotechnology and bioservices. India has the tremendous potential to become a global player in the biotechnology sector because of its cost-effective products and services.
The Global BioIndia 2021 showcased India’s strength in the biotechnology sector. India’s biotech sector has the ambitious target of US$ 100 billion bio-manufacturing hub and becoming a US$ 150 billion industry by 2025.
As the nation strives to become a knowledge- and innovation-driven economy, it is imperative its development is holistic – academia and industry must collaborate. India needs to focus on developing skilled manpower – all stakeholders must actively look at training and upskilling the workforce. In addition, the country must address infrastructure, quality compliance, venture funding and regulatory and IPR issues.
Registering a corporation with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and tax transactions with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) are now simpler, faster, and more convenient as the government launched the first phase of its Central Business Portal (CBP).
The CBP is an online system that offers a single site/one-stop-shop for all business-related information and transactions, such as registering a corporation, registering a business, and securing business permits/certificates, licences from said government agencies. It is created under RA No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business Act and is a project spearheaded by the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), in collaboration with the Department of Information Technology (DICT), BIR, SEC, PhilHealth, and Pag-IBIG.
For its initial implementation (Phase 1), the CBP shall be available to the domestic corporations, particularly one-person corporation, corporations with two to four incorporators; regular corporations whose incorporators are juridical entities and/or the capital structure is not covered by the 25%-25% rule, who intends to register their businesses.
The portal provides a Unified Application Form (UAF) for all agencies involved in the business registration process. Thus, citizens who are registering a corporation no longer need to accomplish and file several registration forms in different government agencies.
Also, the Commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) expressed his optimism that with the recently launched online registration platform, more taxpayers will find it easier and faster to comply with the registration requirements of the government. He hopes that it will put delays, bureaucratic gridlocks, and inefficiencies behind them. It will likewise put more taxpayers into the tax net thereby strengthening revenue collection efforts and eventually pump more lifeblood into the veins of government operations, the Commissioner added.
Among the BIR-related features of the CBP are online generation/issuance of Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) of new corporations; identification of the national internal revenue taxes which the new corporations will be liable to; online payment of the annual registration fee (ARF) of PHP500 and Documentary Stamp Tax (DST) of PHP30 and generation of BIR Electronic Certificate of Registration (COR). The electronic COR bears a Quick Response (QR) Code that serves as a security feature to prove the authenticity of the COR.
New corporations registering through CBP are likewise given an option to pay their ARF and loose DST manually. However, when they choose this option, they shall complete their business registration at the respective Revenue District Office (RDO) by submitting the printed CBP-generated documents, and other documentary requirements prescribed by the Bureau in its Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 15-2021.
Taxpayers that opted to pay electronically through the CBP shall, after securing/printing the BIR electronic COR through the CBP, proceed to the RDO indicated in the electronic COR, to buy its BIR Printed Receipts/Invoices (BPR/BPI) to start its business operation immediately after its registration. Otherwise, it may apply for Authority to Print (ATP) its receipts/invoices to be printed by BIR Accredited Printers.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, DICT has committed to eliminate bureaucratic red tape as well as streamline business registration processes in the country through the CBP.
The Director-General of the Anti-Red Tape Authority is also positive that the CBP will suppress corruption in the government. He further said that this will be possible by the lack of human intervention in the process. Every signature, every stop in the process, wherein there is a need to speak with a government employee is an opportunity for corruption. Therefore, streamlining the process online removes the stress caused by lining up and removal of fixers and corruption. It is also envisioned to cover the Department of Trade and Industries (DTI), social agencies in the country.
Leading digital workflow company, ServiceNow, launched the first of its’ global service offerings to Singapore organisations in highly regulated industries – with the Now Platform available on Microsoft Azure.
Singapore customers are among the first in the world to use the Now Platform on Azure, to deliver business-wide transformation, while meeting data residency requirements for how sensitive information is stored, shared, protected and used. The level of digital adoption and market readiness has been a catalyst for ServiceNow’s continued growth and investment in Singapore, supporting the nation’s digital agenda.
ServiceNow Managing Director and Asia Vice President Mr Wee Luen Chia said, “ServiceNow is highly committed to supporting Singapore’s Smart Nation agenda. This announcement is a major milestone in support of this agenda; and is an outcome of regular, open conversations on how to help Singapore organizations leverage digital transformation to deliver smart experiences and improve productivity.”
Country Manager for Singapore Karen Chong said highly-regulated customers won’t be getting a new platform, but rather a new option to scale digital offerings at speed and this has been adopted quickly by leading organisations in Singapore.
Karen said organisations in highly regulated industries can now access the same Now Platform – the platform of platforms – that is already helping so many Singapore customers scale their digital investments and make work better.
“For organisations to embrace this workflow revolution they need to leverage one platform, one data model, to deliver business efficiencies and drive productivity. Integrating software applications at scale means you can reach your business’ transformation goals, faster and without added complexity. ServiceNow offers a platform that connects all your workflow and software applications across customer service, IT, supply chains, ERP, finance, employee and more.”
To help Singapore’s highly-regulated industries better understand this opportunity, Karen shared that ServiceNow has teamed up with various agencies in the public sector.“We work closely with Singapore government authorities by having the Multi-Tier Cloud Security (MTCS) test-ready, we received level 3-certification, the highest in MTCS. We also achieved strict data security compliance in accordance with government regulations and standards to ensure we meet the needs of highly-regulated industries in Singapore.”
“Most organisations considering transformation investments look closely into the availability of physical data infrastructure when investing in technology,” Karen said. “ServiceNow’s investments in local data storage ensures that it can support seamless, secure workflows to meet the breadth of products and services offered by Singapore’s enterprises.”
ServiceNow’s collaboration with Microsoft Azure in Singapore will enable the city state’s public sector to be among the first in the world to take advantage of a potent mix of automation processes, connectivity and seamless experiences to deliver smart, simple ways to work. Several Governments, including GovTech, use ServiceNow’s Now Platform. Also, NCS, a ServiceNow and Microsoft technology partner to Singapore Government and highly regulated industries such as banking, healthcare and transport have a proven track record in digital transformation for government and enterprises.
NCS Managing Director, Global Delivery, Keith Leong said, “With ServiceNow and Microsoft, NCS is able to offer best of breed solutions for our clients to enable them to accelerate the implementation of secure, digital workflow automation, especially for highly regulated organisations that rely on local data residency.”
Healthcare providers can now access a new digital platform that will facilitate the upload of COVID-19 vaccination records to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).
The Clinician Vaccine Integrated Platform (CVIP) will support the Australian Government’s COVID-19 vaccination program which started in February. It provides the technology needed for vaccination providers to meet their legislative requirements to report the vaccinations to the AIR.
Agency Chief Digital Officer Steve Issa said, “CVIP is expected to be particularly useful for vaccination providers who don’t currently have digital systems in place to report to the AIR.”
NT Health was the first jurisdiction to start using CVIP in their Alice Springs vaccination clinic. The Agency is having discussions with other jurisdictions about how it might be used at clinics within other states and territories, while they are upgrading their clinical systems to meet the new AIR reporting legislative requirements.
Vaccination information reported to the AIR is uploaded automatically to My Health Record.
The latest upgrade to My Health Record delivered in late February included a consolidated immunisation view so people can easily see details of all immunisations, including their first COVID-19 vaccination, received, and next vaccination due date. Immunisation history statements are also available from Medicare Online and the Express Plus Medicare Mobile app.
There are also two complementary mobile apps, Healthi and HealthNow which can provide people with new ways to understand and use the information in their My Health Record, and ultimately, to make better-informed decisions about staying well or managing their health conditions. Both these apps allow people to easily view My Health Record and their immunisation status.
About the Australian Digital Health Agency
When it comes to improving the health of all Australians, the role of digital innovation and connection is a vital part of a modern, accessible healthcare system. Against the backdrop of COVID-19, digital health has seen exponential growth in relevance and importance, making it more pertinent than ever for all Australians and healthcare providers.
Better patient healthcare and health outcomes are possible when you have a health infrastructure that can be safely accessed, easily used and responsibly shared.
To achieve this, the National Digital Health Strategy is establishing the foundations for a sustainable health system that constantly improves. It underpins and coordinates work that is already happening between governments, healthcare providers, consumers, innovators and the technology industry.
About the National Digital Health Strategy
Digital information is the bedrock of high-quality healthcare. The benefits for patients are significant and compelling: hospital admissions avoided, fewer adverse drug events, reduced duplication of tests, better coordination of care for people with chronic and complex conditions, and better-informed treatment decisions.
The outcomes citizens can expect to see are covered by seven high-level strategic priorities or ‘pillars’ of digital health improvements detailed in the strategy. These outcomes will be delivered to all Australians by 2022, following the Framework for Action implementation plan.
They will form part of a new sustainable ecosystem of digital health technology well into the future. The National Digital Health Strategy was formed after detailed consultations with patients, consumers, carers, healthcare professionals, industry, organisations and innovators. It’s based on evidence of clinical and economic benefits identified from sources both in Australia and overseas.
The Australian Digital Health Agency is the custodian of the strategy, its role being to evolve national digital health capability by innovating, collaborating and leading.
The Ministry of Communications and Information has made building an inclusive digital society one of their main priorities for 2021. Their aim is to ensure that ‘all Singaporeans can reap the benefits of digitalisation.’
In order to reach this goal, the National Library Board (NLB) is transforming libraries into hubs for digital learning.
The Libraries and Archives Blueprint 2025 (LAB25) looks at how NLB’s roles and priorities will evolve from 2021 to 2025, in response to social, economic and technological changes.
‘A key component of LAB25 is working with communities, individuals and industries to innovate and explore new solutions to address the needs of citizens.’
Since January 2020, NLB has carried out various types of public consultations to understand what Singaporeans would like to see in their libraries and archives.
The National Library Board has identified five areas to focus on:
Champion lifelong learning
NLB will prepare its patrons for a fast-changing world through programmes such as on career and personal development. These include the Future of Work series and the My Digital Life series, which promote public awareness of how technology affects our life.
NLB has also revamped its library makerspaces in 2020, with a rebrand from PIXEL Labs@NLB to MakeIT at Libraries, to reflect the need to shift Singapore’s DIY and innovation culture into the next gear. There are three makerspaces which comprise activities such as hands-on workshops in 3D printing and robotics, jointly organised by NLB and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).
Bridge the digital divide
NLB will continue to partner IMDA and other government agencies to help communities, especially our seniors, to be comfortable and confident when using digital services and technology. For example, Library Learning Journeys will be conducted monthly at 25 public libraries from late February 2021, with capacity of four participants for each session. Led by digital ambassadors, these sessions teach seniors how to use the NLB mobile app and other digital services in libraries, such as connecting to Wireless@SGx, accessing eNewspapers and scanning QR codes.
Document and tell Singapore stories
NLB will continue to involve the community in its efforts to build the nation’s contemporary collection and collect its history. An ongoing “Documenting COVID-19” collection drive organised by NLB and the National Museum of Singapore has so far received over 740 submissions of more than 3,600 photos, personal stories, videos, ephemera, webpages, blog, diaries and creative responses.
NLB has also recorded 61 in-depth audio interviews as part of the oral history component of Documenting COVID-19. NLB aims to record at least 120 interviews from now until 2022. The public will be able to access them on the Archives Online website.
Strengthen citizen engagement
The NLB will continue to step up efforts to ensure that libraries are safe and inclusive spaces for the community to interact with one another. Communities are encouraged to pursue their passion in learning through setting up their own interest groups and reading clubs at the various libraries, where they can interact with like-minded people from all walks of life.
Promote information literacy
NLB has been actively promoting information literacy through the Source. Understand. Research. Evaluate. (S.U.R.E.) campaign, which promotes the importance of information evaluation and discernment. Over 25,000 participants have benefited from S.U.R.E. programmes in the last three years, with increased interest during COVID 19.
In the coming years, NLB will step up its efforts on S.U.R.E. and will weave the campaign into programmes across interest areas, such as combining a love of reading with being wise consumers of information at NLB’s Read Fest 2021.
Revamping libraries – part of Libraries of the Future Masterplan
In line with the Libraries of the Future Masterplan, NLB will continue to develop public libraries with seamless access, both physically and digitally. Since 2015, six revamped public libraries have been launched. The revamped Choa Chu Kang Public Library will reopen in the second half of 2021.
Choa Chu Kang Public Library will be the first Libraries of the Future library to be redesigned with sustainability as its main theme, and will feature digital services which aim to encourage the appreciation of natural landscapes and biodiversity.
The Vice-Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee, Duong Anh Duc, recently approved a programme on artificial intelligence (AI) research and development in the city for the 2020-2030 period.
It aims to make the city a hub for AI research, implementation, and technology transfer in Vietnam and among the leading such facilities in Southeast Asia at large. Nine projects and tasks will be carried out to 2030, with a detailed timeline. AI is hoped to play a major role in building innovative urban areas and smart city development in the southern metropolis, facilitating sustainable economic growth.
According to a press release, HCM City aims to complete a portal for AI solutions and conduct a survey on demand for the application and development of the technology for 2021-2022. It has set a target of concluding projects on building digital infrastructure and AI-related policies and establishing centres for AI research, technology transfer, and human resources between 2021 and 2025. A day for information technology and AI businesses will be assigned in the time to come.
The HCM City Department of Information and Communications will be the coordinator of the programme. The budget will come from the city and sectors in science-technology, along with social sources.
The city is also working to develop more 5G products to meet the demand, which has been growing since the successful launch of 5G piloting programmes by Vietnam’s three major mobile network providers Viettel, VinaPhone, and MobiFone.
During a recent interview, the Deputy Director of the HCM City Department of Information and Communications, Le Quoc Cuong, explained that the programmes have opened the door for the city’s IT businesses to develop corresponding apps that use the Internet of Things (IoT) and AI. It is expected that more and more software pieces in the field of healthcare, traffic, and education will be introduced to the public shortly.
Currently, HCM City has nearly 10,600 Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) for 3G and 4G networks, ensuring the quality of calls and Internet access on mobile devices for users. Based on this, the city will be able to help telecom businesses install the 5G network in 2021. The new BTS for 5G will be eco-friendly and modern and will be shared among related businesses.
However, Deputy Director Cuong mentioned that not all areas in HCM City are the focus of 5G development. The priority should be in places like Saigon Hi-tech Park and the urban areas near Vietnam National University – HCMC, where high interactions and real-time communications are vital.
The municipal authorities encourage IT enterprises to invest money and labor in developing applications for smart traffic, construction management, environment monitoring, and tasks in the city’s AI programmes. State agencies can then hire available apps or order new ones to use.
The Deputy Director noted that the availability of the digital infrastructure is a critical factor that decides the success of both the digital transformation process and the creation of a smart urban area. Therefore, the city needs to make sufficient investment in this field to be ready for the use of 5G technology in forming internet connections and accessing data. These investments include a wider coverage of 4G and 5G networks, appropriate telecom equipment, powerful computers, and useful software.
The mobility restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have raised many challenges for companies that are still dependent on salespeople in the field to provide inventory information. Organisations started to realise their need for a distribution and retailer management system, turning to tech providers to help accelerate their supply chain transformation.
The rapid growth of e-commerce in Indonesia, especially during the pandemic, is placing increasing demands on its supply chain infrastructure. But the country’s logistics industry is highly fragmented, with companies usually relying on multiple distributors for one shipment, and many warehouses are still concentrated around major cities.
A report says that this fragmentation means higher expenses, logistics costs range is between 25% to 30% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Even neighbouring countries, like Malaysia, incur half the cost as a percentage of GDP for logistics expenditure.
Now, an Indonesian tech company, after closing a US$2.75 million funding, wants to ease the logistical burden of manufacturers with the usage of software technologies to make the whole supply chain and logistics easier to track.
To help make logistics more efficient for its clients, the tech company offers a Software as a service (SaaS) solution to monitor their entire supply and logistics chain, from warehouse inventory to generating delivery routes for drivers. It includes a product digitalisation feature that uses QR codes to track products and prevent counterfeiting and tools for salespeople visiting retail stores since that is still one of the most effective tools for manufacturers and importers to find customers.
The tech company’s new funding will also be used to launch an online-to-offline system for small to medium enterprises (SMEs) and grow its sales team. The online-to-offline system will allow sellers to integrate inventory and sales from all their channels, including brick-and-mortar, business-to-business, and e-commerce.
The tech company is among several tech start-ups that are taking different approaches to tackling Indonesia’s logistics infrastructure.
Accordingly, a report says that the country’s freight and logistics market is currently trading at an inflexion point. Being the world’s fourth-largest populated country with excellent growth potential, Indonesia is a key market in the global scenario. Given the scope of household consumption in a densely populated country and its strategic location on geographical terms, the country is currently a centre of attraction for global investment. There is an evident display of momentum in the economy, with steady prospects for higher growth and more ideal economic scenarios.
Moreover, the country’s economy accounts for two-thirds of the ASEAN economy, with a growing rate of around 5%. The development of its stagnant manufacturing sector may ignite structurally high economic growth for a sustained period. A flourishing manufacturing industry seamlessly exporting domestically manufactured products will accelerate economic growth and generate plenty of employment opportunities.
At the same time, similar efforts have been put in to aid the digital transformation of the sector. As reported by OpenGov Asia, Indonesian SaaS-based start-ups recently merged to create a platform that will support SMEs through digitisation and human resources and financial management. This move was in response to the Government’s plan of digitising SMEs.
The platform aims to increase the productivity of SMEs in the country through significant technology adoption. The merged start-up will also provide help in cloud-based human resources management. Moreover, it will focus on providing a more affordable SaaS option that would address the needs of the SMEs.
According to statistics provided by the Ministry of Communication and Information, only 6.5 million out of a total of 59.2 million SMEs have been digitised since last year. Modern solutions are needed to enhance the business of Indonesian SMEs.