Enterprise Singapore announced the expansion of the Global Innovation Alliance (GIA) network to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) yesterday, helping Singapore technology startups move into the emerging innovation scene in Vietnam, boosting startup collaborations between Singapore and Vietnam, and creating more internship opportunities for Singapore students in startups and innovative companies in Vietnam.
Memorandum of Understanding to boost collaboration between Singapore startups and Vietnamese counterparts
Enterprise Singapore, Quest Ventures and Saigon Innovation Hub (SIHUB) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to boost collaborations between Singapore startups and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), and their counterparts in Vietnam. Under the MOU, the three partners will organise curated programmes to introduce Singapore startups to the innovation ecosystem in HCMC, and connect them to partners, investors and customers in Vietnam.
GIA was launched in 2017 as part of the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE) recommendations to strengthen Singapore’s connections to major innovation hubs around the world. This will create more opportunities for Singaporeans, students, entrepreneurs and businesses to gain overseas experience, connect, and collaborate with their overseas counterparts.
Quest Ventures is a Singapore-based leading venture fund for companies that have scalability and replicability in large internet communities. Officially opened in 2016, SIHUB is a government-backed agency under the Department of Science and Technology of Ho Chi Minh City focusing on establishing the city into a startup and innovation hub of Southeast Asia.
This will help Singapore startups set up, test-bed and commercialise their solutions, as well as form business partnerships in HCMC and Vietnam. It will also support Vietnamese startups to set up in Singapore.
Targeted to commence in September 2019, the first part of the programme will involve up to ten Singapore startups, with another two runs of the programme expected to take place over the next twelve months.
Singapore Students to participate in Internship programmes in Vietnam
As part of the GIA, Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) signed six MOUs with Vietnamese startups. Under the MOU, NP aims to send 100 students over the next two years through its Global Entrepreneurial Internship Programme to undertake internships with their MOU partners, and expose them to the vibrant innovation ecosystem and business scene in HCMC. To support this initiative, NP will also be setting up its first GIA office in HCMC this August.
Vietnam is a growing market for technology startups and SMEs, given the young and increasingly tech-savvy population and strong government support. With the expansion of our GIA network to Ho Chi Minh City, Enterprise Singapore will help Singapore enterprises and startups plug into one of the largest innovation ecosystems in Asia. Said Mr Png Cheong Boon, Chief Executive Officer, Enterprise Singapore.
“Similarly, we encourage Vietnamese startups to leverage Singapore’s established innovation ecosystem, to connect with multinational corporations (MNCs) and leading Asian enterprises based here to scale their business further.”
Startup exchanges are already happening between Singapore and Vietnam. Last week, a group of 22 Vietnamese students were in Singapore for a startup immersion programme organised by Lead The Change Community, a global community for youths and startups empowering young people by exposing them to entrepreneurship training, mentorship, and networks. The students interacted with the startup community here, and also had the opportunity to pitch ideas to a panel of mentors.
The GIA network now has connections to 11 cities globally – Bangkok in Thailand; Beijing, Suzhou and Shanghai in China; Berlin and Munich in Germany; Jakarta in Indonesia; Paris in France; Tokyo in Japan; San Francisco in the US; and now HCMC in Vietnam.
To achieve its targets to become a modernity-oriented industrialised nation by 2030 and a developed country with high income by 2045, Vietnam must succeed in the digital transformation process, in which agriculture is one of the priority areas, the Minister of Foreign Affairs stated at the Vietnam Agricultural Digital Transformation International Forum 2021.
The event was co-organised via videoconference by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Vietnam Digital Agriculture Association (VIDA), and an e-newspaper outlet under the theme “Keeping up with market trends, ensuring the pivotal role of the economy during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.” The forum was an activity within the framework of the Vietnam International Agricultural Exhibition 2021 (AgriTech Expo 2021).
According to a news report, the forum consisted of two discussions that focussed on policy orientations and the theme “Shaping Vietnam’s digital agriculture until 2035” with the presentation of 20 speakers representing local authorities and leaders of businesses and corporations. Participants at the event shared scenarios of Vietnam’s agricultural digital transformation; key issues in Vietnam’s agricultural development strategies towards digitalisation given the complicated effects from the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain disruption, and climate change.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs noted that the Vietnamese government should proactively and actively participate in the fourth industrial revolution and speed up the digital transformation process. The country must consider it a vital solution and an opportunity to make a breakthrough in socio-economic development.
Speaking at the event, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development pledged to offer all resources and the most favourable policies for businesses, aiming to bring added value to Vietnamese agricultural products and improve their trademarks. The Ministry will strongly support the digital transformation process and replace agricultural technology models as the Vietnamese agricultural sector is not only the “backbone” of the economy in difficult times but also a measurement of sustainability, the Minister said.
Representatives of foreign diplomatic agencies in Vietnam and from research institutes and socio-economic organisations attended the event. Also, domestic and foreign experts in the field of agricultural digital transformation from Japan, the Netherlands, Israel, and the World Bank as well as those from business associations and enterprises.
In August, the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) unveiled a plan to put farming households on e-commerce sites. Farming households will be supported to enter e-commerce sites to connect, advertise, and introduce their products. This will help them access new distribution channels and expand to domestic and international markets. Vietnam has nine million agricultural production households and four million private business households. All the households will be brought onto e-commerce sites, and this will be the first breakthrough to be made in developing the digital agricultural economy.
As OpenGov Asia reported, through e-commerce sites and digital platforms, farming households will receive useful information about farm produce markets, predicted demand and production capacity, weather forecasts, and seed and fertilizer supply. High-quality input materials and tools for agriculture production will be introduced to farmers via the platforms. Overall, MIC will put 12-13 million agricultural production and private business households on e-commerce sites. The targeted figure is five million households by the end of the year.
State-run carrier Viettel has successfully researched, tested, and established a 5G data transmission speed of more than 4.7Gb per second. This speed is 40 times higher than the 4G speed and more than two times the existing 5G speed, making Viettel one of the fastest 5G telecom networks in Asia.
According to a press release, the result confirms the outstanding capacity of the 5G ultra-short wave (mmWave) technology that Viettel is deploying in Vietnam. A 5G network with super high speeds is the foundation for building smart factories, agriculture, cities, healthcare, and education. To achieve a record data transmission speed, the research team of Viettel and a few other private players used the world’s most advanced E-UTRA New Radio Dual Connectivity (EN-DC) technology to increase speed and extend 5G coverage.
In the process of implementing technical solutions at Viettel Innovation Lab, Viettel used private player radio equipment and mobile devices using a state-of-the-art processor. Viettel has been a pioneer in deploying 5G in Vietnam and the only network operator in the world with the capacity to research and develop 5G equipment. The CEO of Viettel Networks stated that this breakthrough in speed helps increase the efficiency of Viettel’s 5G network. The organisation will continue to promote this technology so that people, businesses, governments, and society at large can experience the distinct benefits of 5G in particular and 4.0 technology in general.
An industry expert noted that this is an easy-to-install solution that promises to accelerate widespread 5G deployment in high-density urban areas with many preeminent features, ensuring the best user experience. The results of the trial confirm that Viettel’s 5G infrastructure is ready to deliver outstanding 5G services and experiences and promote the vision of digitising industries in Vietnam. This achievement enables large capacity, multi-Gigabit speeds, and low latency in solutions for individuals and businesses. The country has taken another important step in enabling Vietnamese people to access high-speed 5G equipment anytime, anywhere.
Earlier in July, Hanoi authorities announced a new postal telecommunications infrastructure development plan for 2025 with a vision for 2030. It aims to serve the city’s digital transformation programme. It defines postal infrastructure as an important factor of the digital economy, which contributes to promoting the development of a digital government and digital society.
Under the plan, the city targets 100% of communes to establish a post office with staff; all households register digital addresses; 4G/5G services and smartphones universalised, and fibre-optic broadband covering 80% of local households and every commune. Meanwhile, 80% of local industrial parks, high-tech parks and higher education facilities, hospitals, and public departments will be covered by 5G services. Also, about 95% of total households in Hanoi are expected to own and use at least one smartphone by 2025.
As OpenGov Asia reported, the city will prioritise high-quality broadband telecommunication infrastructure in high-tech parks, concentrated IT parks, industrial parks, export processing zones, R&D and innovation centres, schools, state agencies, hospitals, and tourism sites. Hanoi will also develop free WiFi networks in all tourist sites across the city. Apart from this, the city will speed up activities to promote the universalisation of smartphones and help local residents to access digital services easily. To this end, the municipal People’s Committee is encouraging economic sectors to build postal and telecommunication infrastructure systems and diversify telecommunication services.
Singapore Land Authority (SLA) has released a fully integrated 3D version of OneMap, Singapore’s authoritative national map. The tool is the certified national map of Singapore which contains the latest and most comprehensive information on Singapore’s landscape. A product of a collaboration between several government agencies, the map’s services are free to access.
The application, OneMap3D, was unveiled at the Singapore Geospatial Festival 2021, where SLA also signed separate memorandums of understanding (MOU) with the country’s logistics and real estate agencies to expand the industry’s use of OneMap.
The latest was created by converting the original format to 3D using open-source 3D geospatial technology and 3D city modelling. Initially, OneMap was first released in 2010, followed by an improved version in 2017 in 2D that included features such as real-time traffic data and an Application Programming Interface (API) for app developers.
It is built on our commitment to enhance our country’s geospatial capabilities and to provide new geospatial solutions for businesses, government and the wider public.
– Singapore’s culture, community and youth minister
OneMap is the country’s digital map service, and it is constantly updated with information from government agencies, such as where citizens can pick up a free face mask. Singapore’s Civil Defence Force also used OneMap to create MyResponder, an app that alerts all trained first responders to cardiac arrests in the area. The new OneMap3D upgrade will allow citizens to navigate through a neighbourhood in the first-person view, simulating what a route would look like in person.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, Geospatial Technology involves the use of technology for collecting and utilising geographic information. Some of these technologies include Geographic Information System (GIS), GPS, remote sensing, and geofencing.
On the prevalence of the use of geospatial information in Singapore, organisations such as Grab manipulate this data to be able to match drivers with passengers, in real-time. There is already an everyday use of geospatial technology with the likes of GPS for navigating around. It provides location-based services such as:
- Bus explorer: for information on bus routes and arrival timing
- Landquery: Finding out land ownership and land lot information
- Schoolquery: Searching for primary schools which are located within a 1-2 km radius from a location
- Trafficquery: Live traffic information, cameras, ERP gantries and availability of parking lots
SLA Chief Executive says the MOUs with the logistics and real estate agencies are part of SLA’s efforts to collaborate with industry leaders to promote growth and opportunities through geospatial solutions.
SLA’s MOU with the property or real estate company in the real estate space will result in the development of new feature data collection and customised Application Programming Interface (API) to improve the property company’s applications and OneMap geospatial information. As per the company’s CEO, the collaboration has the potential to be a “game-changer” in the real estate industry.
In contrast, the parties will collaborate on geospatial co-innovations to improve hyperlocal and granular data at the street level for last-mile delivery under SLA’s MOU with Singapore’s logistics company. “We are delighted to be SLA’s first express logistics partner for GeoWorks,” says the CEO of the logistics firm.
He went on to say that by having the company’s drivers contribute pictorial information to enable OneMap’s accuracy and data volume, the company could potentially set a new industry operational standard by improving the entire last-mile delivery process.
The SLA and homegrown robotics and automation solution company MOU will see the trial of automated data capture with robots, limiting the time and effort from manual data capture, to develop geospatial innovation in the area of robotics and automation solutions. This collaboration will also allow SLA and the company to develop standards for robotics-ready maps and map information interoperability for compatibility across multiple platforms.
Most aspects of everyday lives as consumers or employees have been embedded by Artificial Intelligence (AI) based systems. The further advancement and increased diffusion of AI capabilities pose risks of job replacement and even concerns of what this all means in terms of being human. Singapore Management University’s (SMU)Business Partnerships unit and International Trading Institute delved into the issue of “Working with AI-Enabled Smart Machines”.
University professors and thought leaders documented 30 examples of people doing their everyday work in real-world business settings in partnership with AI-enabled smart machines. These case studies will be used in their co-authored book The Future of Work Now: People Collaborating with Smart Machines.
The case studies covered a range of industry settings including insurance and financial services, knowledge work across other service sector industries, healthcare, factory floor production, and field operations across multiple industries.
One example cited was from one of Singapore’s banks who had massive migration to data analytics starting in 2010 and their follow-on progression into using machine learning. The system was able to draw on the bank’s existing data sources and external data to evaluate the probability of fraud or financial crime.
Before using this new system, the majority of the time spent by the bank employees who were doing transaction surveillance was on data amalgamation and sorting through the alerts generated by the prior generation of rule-based systems. The latter is an earlier type of AI application, with most of these alerts being false alarms.
With the new machine-learning-based system analysing and evaluating the rule-based alerts, the transaction surveillance employees can now focus directly on the alerts identified by the system as having a high or medium probability of being an actual problem.
The employee’s work time is allocated more efficiently, as they no longer need to look at large numbers of false alarms. Additionally, they no longer need to manually amalgamate all the supporting information use to evaluate each alarm as that background data access and integration work was automated as part of the machine learning application.
Another case study was on Southeast Asia’s largest e-commerce platform. They are a digital-native born company whose business is based on AI-enabled data analytics. The case study highlighted the role of their product managers. These are the people who orchestrate the complex process of developing, phasing in and scaling new Shopee e-commerce platform capabilities and feature enhancements.
The product manager’s challenge is to do this in a way that meets business goals, satisfies customer needs, deals with the constraints and problems faced by the technology teams developing the new AI-enabled capabilities and features, and addresses the many conflicting requirements and trade-offs that arise.
The case study highlighted that while product managers are overseeing the processes of bringing AI-enabled capabilities and features of the platform to market, the nature of their role is so multi-faceted and complex that very few of their engagement management, negotiation, coordination, and decision-making tasks can be automated by these same type of AI capabilities. This product manager example illustrates one of the important ways in which human roles are required to manage the implementation of AI-based change efforts within a complex company setting.
The threat is not about AI taking away human jobs. The real threat is when people choose not to team with AI. Organisations need to learn how to capitalise on what AI can do, go beyond just thinking about simple labour displacement and manpower cost savings, and find ways to use the technology to create value in ways that lead to new demand and correspondingly to new employment opportunities.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, AI is becoming more sophisticated at doing what humans do, but more efficiently, quickly, and cheaply. Scientists from Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and clinicians from Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) have used artificial intelligence to create a new method of screening for glaucoma.
The central banks of India and Singapore plan to link their digital payments systems to enable instant, low-cost fund transfers. The two sides will connect India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and Singapore’s PayNow in a major push to disrupt the cross-border transactions between the two nations that amount to over US$1 billion each year.
The move is targeted for operationalisation by July 2022, both nation’s central banks said earlier this week. Users on either of the systems will be able to make transactions with one another without having to sign up to the second platform. When implemented, fund transfers can be made from India to Singapore using mobile phone numbers, and from Singapore to India using UPI virtual payment addresses (VPA). The experience of making a PayNow transfer to a UPI VPA will be similar to that of a domestic transfer to a PayNow VPA, noted the Monetary Authority of Singapore in a press statement.
UPI is an instant real-time payment system that facilitates inter-bank transactions developed by the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI). It has become the most popular way users in India transfer money to one another and to businesses, a news report stated. The system, adopted by scores of local and global firms, is now processing over 3 billion transactions each month. Singapore’s PayNow also enables peer-to-peer funds transfer service, available to retail customers through participating banks and non-bank financial institutions (NFIs). It allows users to send and receive instant funds from one bank or e-wallet account to another in Singapore by using just their mobile number, Singapore NRIC/FIN, or VPA.
The Reserve Bank of India, the country’s central bank, described the project as a significant milestone in the development of infrastructure for cross-border payments between India and Singapore. It noted that the linkage closely aligns with the G20’s financial inclusion priorities of driving faster, cheaper, and more transparent cross-border payments. The linkage builds upon the earlier efforts of NPCI International Private Limited (NIPL) and the Network for Electronic Transfers (NETS) to foster the cross-border interoperability of payments using cards and QR codes, between India and Singapore. It will further anchor trade, travel, and remittance flow between the two countries.
Earlier in August, India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, launched a new digital payment system called e-RUPI. It is a QR code or SMS string-based e-voucher, which is delivered to the mobile of the beneficiaries. The users of this seamless one-time payment mechanism will be able to redeem the voucher without a card, digital payments app, or Internet banking access at the service provider. Any government agency and corporation can generate e-RUPI vouchers via their partner banks.
As OpenGov Asia reported, the e-RUPI initiative will be one of the programmes launched over the next few years to limit touchpoints between the government and the beneficiary and ensure that the benefits reach their intended beneficiaries in a targeted and leak-proof manner. The vouchers are person- and purpose-specific, which means that if they are released by the government COVID-19 vaccinations, for instance, then they can be redeemed only for that. It also ensures that the payment to the service provider is made only after the transaction is completed. Being pre-paid in nature, it assures timely payment to the service provider without the involvement of any intermediary. E-RUPI is expected to be a revolutionary initiative for ensuring a leak-proof delivery of welfare services.
By increasing government expenditure on healthcare and rapidly increasing demand for innovative medical technologies, Singapore medical devices market is expected to grow quickly, according to a leading analytic company.
Singapore aims to provide smart healthcare to people with the help of novel technologies, which is helping the country to withstand the impact of COVID-19 on its healthcare system. This report reveals that the Singapore healthcare market is a strongly growing market in the Asia-Pacific region, with a focus on health technology and research and development.
Telemedicine, electronic health records, patient solutions, medical diagnostics, health management solutions, personal health and fitness, and medical education are some of the areas where technology plays a major role.
The report reveals that government initiatives such as Diagnostics Development (DxD) Initiative and the Smart Nation initiative will support the increased demand for medical devices by the rapidly ageing population to drive the market in Singapore.
Singapore’s public and private healthcare expenditure, which accounts for about 5.3% of GDP in 2020, is expected to exceed 8.5% in 2030. This increase can be attributed to the Singapore government’s focus on raising the healthcare expenditure driven by the growing consumption of healthcare services by the general population.
Medical Devices Analyst stated that the Research, Innovation and Enterprise Plan (RIE2025), launched by the Singaporean government, holds a budget of around US$19bn with ‘Human Health and Potential’ as one of the major areas of focus. The plan is expected to strengthen the medical devices industry in the country.
To keep up with advances in biomedical science and encourage the development of new clinical treatments, The Ministry of Health, in partnership with Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and other governmental bodies, have increased their focus on investing in clinical and translational research.
Singapore provides universal health coverage to citizens and permanent residents. Almost 80% of the healthcare cost is subsidised by the government. Polyclinics in Singapore are also adopting new technologies such as virtual systems, and this is making healthcare delivery more accessible and affordable, especially during the pandemic.
Using a virtual system, the attending nurse enters the details of the patient’s medical condition, and the computer algorithm in the device will recommend required tests and consultation with specialists at the National Heart Centre, Singapore. This will provide faster service to patients while eliminating incidental costs that accompany hospital visits, and help the physician attend to more patients each day.
Adherence to the ASEAN Medical Device Directive’s (AMDD) basic policies is expected to be followed by all ASEAN countries in the next few years. The AMDD system for registering and assessing medical devices requires ASEAN countries to follow uniform classification criteria for medical devices. This will provide medical device companies with a common market of more than 600 million people.
There has been an obvious and significant rise in the development and deployment of transformational technologies in the healthcare system during the pandemic in Singapore, and this demonstrates the commitment of the country in achieving its aim of providing technology-driven healthcare solutions to its citizens
As reported by OpenGov Asia, Digital Monitoring Solution is one of the examples of Singapore’s innovation in medical devices. The Digital Monitoring Solution is an affordable and fully integrated smart health platform comprising a tamper-proof smart wearable, mobile app, geofence locator, remote monitoring dashboard and automatic alerts.
The solution provides a holistic 360-degree view for round-the-clock monitoring and detailed record logs of a seafarer’s well-being, combining key vitals tracking (temperature, heart rate, SPO2, activity level and sleep patterns), highly accurate indoor geofencing with automated geofence quarantine monitoring and health symptoms monitoring. It analyses and triangulates information collected and can detect abnormalities and assess risks.
Implementing the government’s Resolution 78, which was released earlier in July, the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) and the Ministry of Health (MoH) have agreed to deploy an electronic medical declaration platform and check people’s information management with QR codes. Every citizen will be granted a personal QR code for all anti-pandemic apps and platforms.
Earlier in August, at a meeting with the Ministry of Public Security, MoH, and MIC, MIC said it had begun building the platform on managing and granting QR codes, which will be used for all anti-pandemic platforms and apps (QRQG Platform). The ministries discussed the usage of software to watch the movement of citizens in pandemic zones and manage vaccinations based on the national population database.
According to a press release, MIC on 11 September released a decision on guidance on the technical requirements for the personal QR code display module on anti-pandemic platforms and apps (version 1.1). The document stipulates technical requirements for the personal QR code display module and guides the granting and use of personal QR codes on platforms and apps. Each personal code can be used to read and trace relevant data to serve COVID-19 prevention and control.
The platforms and apps must satisfy the requirements shown in the document. They also have to comply with Regulation 733 dated 13 May 2020 of the National Steering Committee on COVID Prevention and Control on medical record management declared by people on software. It is expected that cities and provinces will loosen the lockdown and put some parts of the society back to a new normal. To keep the situation stable, the application of technological solutions, including QR code scanning, will be at the core.
People going to public places will have to scan their QR codes. Offices, businesses, shops, and service providing points, when reopening, must ensure entry/exit supervision with QR code scanning. The MIC’s guidance to display and use one personal QR code for all platforms and apps will create favourable conditions for every citizen and organization when implementing operations to prevent and control COVID-19. A representative of the Technological Centre for COVID-19 Prevention and Control said the platform to manage and grant personal QR codes is ready, but more time is needed for the apps to connect and synchronise data.
The same organisation had earlier launched the Help Me! Project to connect IT engineers and over 150 volunteers in Vietnam and around the world to support Vietnamese people affected by the pandemic. The project not only responds to people’s need for prompt support and advice but also pioneers applying technology to connect people who can help with those who need help, OpenGov Asia had reported. The volunteers can provide support around the clock. Bringing into full play the time and expertise of consulting volunteers across Vietnam will significantly reduce the load on the national health system in general, as well as medical facilities in pandemic-hit areas, in particular. The project is still calling on volunteers who are doctors, medical professionals of all specialities and ages across the country to join its work.