Government and enterprises, in an unprecedented period in history, have been compelled to accelerate and bring forward their digital transformation strategies. The pandemic has vaulted the governments and businesses into the next stage of digital transformation and online services.
Personalisation, efficiency and effective services are only possible with a comprehensive, 360o view of citizens and customers. This understanding is built on and powered by data. More than ever, data has become integral for organisations interested to get ahead of the curve, gaining a competitive advantage and engaging their customers more effectively.
To become a truly data-driven organisation that operates in real-time, agencies must deploy multiple modernisation initiatives, including application modernisation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, cloud, edge computing and analytics.
In that regard, Singapore has taken the lead in championing the use of data. Singapore has unveiled two new programmes to drive the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) in the government and financial services sectors. It also plans to invest another SG$180 million ($133.31 million) in the national research and innovation strategy to tap the technology in key areas, such as healthcare and education.
The fund is on top of SG$500 million ($370.3 million) the government already has set aside in its Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) 2025 Plan for AI-related activities, said the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO) in a statement in November 2021
These investments have been earmarked to support various research in areas that address challenges of AI adoption, such as privacy-preserving AI, and of societal and economic importance including healthcare, finance, and education. The funds also will facilitate research collaborations with the industry to drive the adoption of AI.
The future lies in harnessing data to deliver more effective and personalised services and the government has signposted the future with their policies. Agencies need a platform that draws together disparate applications, systems and teams with data being the backbone and making it easier to gain actionable insights. This platform should be able to unlock and repurpose the existing data for countless modern applications and use cases securely and efficiently.
The focus of the first day at the OpenGov Leadership Forum was aimed at unpacking the importance of data in empowering the public and private sectors to power mission outcomes, better serve citizens, ensure security and compliance, enhance IT efficiency and maximise productivity.
Powering a new world reality through data
Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief, OpenGov Asia, kicked off the session with his opening address.
“We are in the age of Metaverse,” Mohit opens. “While cryptocurrency was once viewed with suspicion – banks denounced it and people called it a hoax. Yet in 2022, it has become the currency of the future.”
The fact is that the world is rapidly changing and there is a need to stay ahead of the curve and stay relevant – and people are capable of accelerating things. Organisations were able to rapidly change governance and personalise information for customers and citizens.
Today, responsive citizen engagement is more important than ever. Organisations can deliver faster, more personalised and interactive experiences for citizens and other agency stakeholders with event streaming. “Data, and universal access to it, is the key to transforming organisations,” Mohit asserts.
Citing the example of Regeneron, Mohit points out that after developing a COVID-19 treatment in mere months, Regeneron adopted a data catalogue and is developing a data governance framework to speed up its drug development pipeline.
“Information and insights are all there only if you have data at the drop of a hat,” says Mohit. Empathically, he points out that while organisations are talking about the importance of Artificial Intelligence (AI), the key lies in utilising the new technology and truly embracing it.
“Habits are not shifting enough,” says Mohit. “The real challenge is getting people to truly understand how to make decisions through intelligence and not emotions.”
Mohit acknowledges that there are costs involved in having data in real-time but asserts that it is also the future. When the tools, people and technology are aligned, the big question is: what is the next step and how can organisations be more relevant?
In closing, Mohit urges delegates to partner with organisations that can help them strategise ways to leverage data. Data is the most essential ingredient and catalyst of our time and partnerships can allow organisations to transform their operations. Experts can assist organisations in delivering responsive citizen engagements and making their digital transformation journey smoother, cost-effective and impactful.
The value of connected data in digital transformation
Robin Fong, Regional Director – ASEAN, Neo4j spoke next on the use of graph data to contextualise and reveal connections, especially indirect connections among dispersed data.
“Having data and being able to run business intelligence and analytics is not enough,” Robin comments. “The next step is to be able to identify relationships.”
Data relationships create context and interrelationships create structure. Graph data adds context by capturing and storing relationships natively and processing them efficiently. That is how knowledge is created – when data is contextualised.
Governments and enterprises have been amassing lots of data and allocating large budgets to store them. It is now time to make sense of all the collected data to uncover hidden gems of insights, knowledge and wisdom by connecting them in a graph data platform.
Connectivity and networks require organisations to move from collected data to connected data, he explains. While organisations can take data and add some basic organising principles to create a knowledge base, the context is shallow and quickly ages because the underlying infrastructure is not built for relationships. However, if organisations can combine data, semantics and a graph structure, they will end up with a knowledge graph that has dynamic and very deep context because it is built around connected data.
Robin shares that Neo4j is in the business of helping the world make sense of the data. In fact, they are the founder of the graph data category and the world’s leading Graph Data Platform adopted by thousands of organisations globally. Moreover, Neo4j is the only Graph Data Platform vendor in the Govtech Data bulk tender for Data Science & AI.
Graphs are not new, Robin acknowledges. They are already deployed in a lot of situations today among leading companies – in banking and e-commerce. Graphs are extensively used across a wide range of sectors and use – fraud detection, supply chain management, customer experience, compliance and privacy management, personalisation and recommendations, employee or customer or patient or product 360, medicine research and cybersecurity.
Doctor.ai is a great use case from the healthcare industry as an example. Neo4j powers the Voice Chatbot for Doctor.ai in their work with Singapore Healthcare AI Datathon and EXPO 2021 with NUHS-NUS.
Graph Data enable fast access of patients to their private health records, monitor health and provide advice while it also creates alerts and makes doctor appointments. For doctors, Graph Data has enabled quick access to patients‘ health histories, assists in the decision-making process, makes machine learning predictions and pushes the newest research.
Robin strongly suggests delegates consider potential business problems/use cases where Connected Data (Graph Technology) may be useful and relevant. To get started, he provides steps on how organisations can get started and encourages delegates to contact Neo4j for a Discovery Workshop.
Before bringing the presentation to an end, he invited delegates to connect with him and the team if they would like to explore ways Neo4j can help and support agencies in transforming their organisation.
Harnessing Graph Data Technology in establishing a Smart Government
Damien Wong, Vice President, Asia Pacific & Japan, Confluent elaborated on the use of Graph Data in powering smart governments.
Event streaming is a real-time infrastructure revolution that is fundamentally changing how governments think about data and build applications. Rather than viewing data as stored records or transient messages, data could be considered to be a continually updating stream of events. Event-driven architecture is the future of data infrastructure.
“The world is changing,” Damien opines. “The world has changed for the current generation because technology is shaping how businesses need to respond to these changing expectations. The younger generation has never walked into a bank branch, and likely will never understand why anyone would ever need to do so since everything can be done online today.”
Most organisations today, are “becoming software.” Ride-hailing, he said, was an excellent example. Not too long ago, people needed a taxi, they would call a taxi dispatch service, wait for the ride to be confirmed and look out for the vehicle to arrive – there was no information on how long the taxi would take to arrive or the ETA to destinations. Today, all that information is given almost instantaneously on apps.
Today, software is the interface, Damien is convinced. It was not that it was not there before but rather than being an adjunct to the business, it has become the business. However, to make this transition, organisations have had to move on from relying solely on traditional data architectures. New architecture needs to be fast and responsive while batch processing has moved to real-time processing.
“Data systems need to be connected not treated in silos,” Damien emphasises. “In the new reality, services would be fast, in real-time and connected.”
This transformation is happening everywhere, and it is drastically causing people to rethink their approaches and systems:
- Cloud: Rethinking Data Centres
The cloud has changed how organisations think about data centres and running technical infrastructure. Today, every company is moving to the cloud.
- Machine Learning: Rethinking Decision Making
Machine learning has changed how decisions are being made, and this happens increasingly in an automated manner, driven by software that communicates to other software.
- Mobile: Rethinking User Experience
Mobile devices and internet connectivity have dramatically changed the user experience of how customers interact with organisations and have raised the bar for expectations.
- Data in Motion: Rethinking Data
Event streaming has changed how people think about and how people work with the data that underlies all the other trends.
“Data in Motion is the central nervous system for today’s enterprises,” he asserts. “And Apache Kafka is the event streaming technology powering Data in Motion.”
For Damien, the traditional use of data at rest is to consolidate data into a warehouse and apply analytics. Data in motion is, on the other hand, understanding the predefined actions that will be taken when encountering a specific event or data stream.
The rise of event streaming can be traced back to 2010 when Apache Kafka was created by the future Confluent founders in Silicon Valley. From there, Kafka began spreading throughout Silicon Valley and across the US West Coast. In 2014, Confluent was created to turn Kafka into an enterprise-ready software stack and cloud offering, after which the adoption of Kafka started to accelerate. Today, tens of thousands of companies across all kinds of industries the world over are using Kafka for event streaming.
If Kafka is the engine (the core technology), then Confluent is the ready-to-use product around that. Confluent is a natural candidate for real-time operations like command and control, cyber security and other anomaly detection solutions. It can enable event-driven architecture that helps modernise IT applications and hasten the addition of new citizen services or capabilities. Apart from that, data infrastructure for data in motion, Confluent will help organisations move towards multi- and hybrid- cloud and DR operations.
In conclusion, Damien encouraged delegates to consider some questions as they navigate through the paradigm shift:
- Are you looking to become a real-time smart agency? If so, how mature are you in leveraging data-in-motion platforms to support this?
- What are some of the use cases you’re implementing around this?
- Are there challenges that are holding you back from successfully making this transformation?
Damien affirmed the need for organisations to embrace the importance of real-time data if they want to stay relevant. Data in Motion is the ultimate key when it comes to delivering better services and empowering business missions.
Throughout the session, delegates were polled on different topics.
In the first poll, delegates were asked to vote on their priority in 2022. Half of the delegates indicated digital acceleration as their priority, followed by workforce transformation (33%) and tech modernisation (17%).
On what their biggest challenge was, a majority of the delegates (35%) indicated the lack of skilled staff who understand big data analysis. The remaining were split between the lack of quality data and proper data storage (30%), not able to synchronise disparate data sources (15%), not able to derive meaningful insights through data analytics (15%) and the inability to get voluminous data onto big data platform (5%).
Concerning the maturity of their organisations in using data and analytics, (38%) indicated that their organisations use performance dashboards to slice, dice and drill down. Other delegates indicated that they distribute static reports regularly (24.8%), combine data with predictive modelling, AI and machine learning techniques (24%) and use self-service analytics (14%).
The delegates were asked if they are familiar with the advantages of graph technology and how it will enhance their daily decision-making process. Just over half (53%) were familiar but are currently not using this it while about a quarter (26%) were not familiar but interested to know more. The remaining delegates are familiar and currently using this technology (21%)
On the common Data Integration/Connection challenge faced by delegates, most (35%) indicated disparate data formats and sources as the main challenge, while others expressed that low-quality or outdated data (29%) was. The remaining delegates face the challenge of data that isn’t available where it needs to be (24%), followed by the issue of having too much data (12%).
With regard to processing real-time data, most (65%) felt that they were emergent (some processes and knowledge, non-standardised), followed by limited: ad-hoc, unstructured, uncontrolled, reactive (29%), and structured: standardised, governance, scale, proactive (6%)
When asked about what would be important for a successful AI adoption in their organisation, an overwhelming majority (94%) indicated that starting small and building the business case by demonstrating initial wins would be important. The remaining delegates indicated aligning all departments on the single vision and garnering support (6%)
Inquiring about being the essential tenet for ethical AI to work, most delegates (40%) believe in the need for an effective and practical ethical framework/ Governance model for AI. The other delegates were split between AI solutions that should allow for auditability and traceability (26.7%), guaranteeing privacy by design in machine learning systems (26.7%), and the iimportance of training AI models with carefully-assessed and representative data (6.7%).
In the final poll for the morning session, delegates were asked what they would invest in, if they had an unlimited budget. Just over a third (35%) said they would spend on integrating disparate systems, followed by spending on resources to improve delivery timeline (29%), updating legacy technologies (18%), improving security and compliance (12%) and staff training / upskilling (6%).
Data Virtualisation in supporting advanced analytics
Elaine Chan, Regional Vice President Sales – ASEAN & Korea, Denodo spoke about how data virtualisation can help with advanced analytics and cloud modernisation.
As data analytics and data-driven intelligence take centre stage in today’s digital economy, logical data integration across the widest variety of data sources, with proper security and governance structure in place has become mission-critical.
Based on a Denodo Global Cloud Survey 2021, cloud adoption is on the rise with a 25% increase year-over-year in advanced cloud workloads. This indicates that more complex workloads are moving to the cloud and that COVID-19 has perhaps driven that increase.
Today, the hybrid cloud model remains in the lead, with more than one-third of users leveraging that architecture. Private cloud also saw some good gains, with nearly 25% of their workloads still being run on-premises.
One of the key benefits that cloud technologies provide is the ability to scale faster, although performance and ease of data management also provide strong benefits, identified by 31% and 20% of participants, respectively.
Data Virtualisation allows for flexibility, access from anywhere and lowers the costs of operations. However, there are also concerns about how the transition to cloud might create new data silos, security and latency.
Elaine believes that there is a need for logical data architecture. “Data Fabric is the best path to data management automation,” Elaine opines. In layman terms, it can be broken down as follows:
- “Integrate data” from disparate data sources, on-prem and in the cloud
- Securely deliver an “integrated view” of the different data objects
- Consume the “integrated data” for analytics and operational purposes
- Automate the entire process using AI/ML
According to Elaine, Denodo logical data fabric sits between the data sources and the consumers and have a few characteristics:
- Unified Data Integration and Delivery
- Allows reusing existing analytics systems
- Allows using the best system for each need
- Abstraction: No Lock-In
- Evolve / Optimise infrastructure without affecting data consumers
- Dramatically Increased Productivity
- Minimise data replication: virtual or smart, selective data replication
Breaking down the essential capabilities of data virtualisation, Elaine highlights five aspects
- Data Abstraction: Decoupling applications and data usage from data sources and infrastructure
- Zero Replication, Zero Relocation: Physical data remains where they are
- Real-Time Information: Most reporting and analytical tools can easily connect for real-time data
- Self Service Data Marketplace: A Dynamic Data Catalogue for self-service data discovery and data services available in the virtualisation layer
- Centralised Metadata, Security & Governance: Manage access across all data assets in the Virtualisation layer for enterprise data security and supports dynamic data anonymisation
- Location-agnostic Architecture: For hybrid and multi-cloud acceleration
Delving into the use case of Statistics Netherlands, Elaine elaborated about the requirements that the data management team was looking for:
- Create tailored reports for government agencies that want to change public policies for people who need extra support
- Add new data sources without affecting the continuity of other public service agencies and at the same time making them more agile in the process
- Expand the data services supporting more teams without increasing infrastructure costs for storage and servers.
With Denodo, the logical data warehouse created using data virtualisation enabled Statistics Netherlands to create one access point to explore and access all data, bringing data to its fingertips. It also created a self-service culture for data consumers that is easy to use, while enabling Statistics Netherlands to implement security and governance by centralising authentication and authorisation.
Summing up the presentation, Elaine pointed out good infrastructure in place is necessary to support more advanced analytics. Data virtualisation helps to complete enterprise information, combining Web, cloud, streaming, and structured data. It promises ROI realisation within 6 months, with the flexibility to adjust to unforeseen changes, and an 80% reduction in integration costs, in terms of resources and technology. Most importantly, there is real-time integration and data access, enabling faster business decisions.
She encouraged delegates to reach out to her directly if they have any queries about the journey towards data virtualisation.
Generating incisive insights through Graph technology
Tony Tan, Co-Founder & Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Imperium Solutions spoke about why graph analysis is possibly the single most effective competitive differentiator for organisations pursuing data-driven operations and decisions after the design of data capture.
“Optimising supply chain is tricky,” Tony opens. “Even after over 50 years with billions invested and R&Ds and building of complex ERP systems, and advancements in operation management, we are still facing a supply chain problem.”
For example, in Singapore, many people like to own cars, but the recent BMW models do not come with touch screens, satellite radios, digital keys and the stop-and-start engine. Manufacturers are good at supplying first-tier suppliers but many of the problems are further downstream.
This begs the question – is there a technology that will bring everyone closer to solving issues? And if so, where are the opportunities in the bottlenecks? Tony believes that creating a breakthrough in solving recurring issues requires methods outside of what has been tried.
Drawing a parallel to the issues with the supply chain, Tony says that fraud has many facades. PWC published a report last year based on a survey they conducted with over 5,000 respondents between 2019-2020. They claimed that 42 billion dollars were lost in financial fraud.
The majority of this is based on 4 types of customer fraud – cybercrime, asset misappropriation and bribery/corruption. However, there are others such as accounting fraud, procurement fraud, deceptive business practices, AML / sanctions, tax, IP theft and anti-trust. The problems are aplenty, Tony claims, which takes up time and energy investment to resolve.
Problems also abound in the metaverse. While blockchain is here to stay, Tony feels, and decentralised finance enables the open and transparent exchange of digital currency. However, such a new system, unregulated, can also be a breeding ground for criminals and hackers, ripe for exploitation. With scammers on the rise, there is a need to establish relationships between users to identify scammers more efficiently.
Tony acknowledges that technology is the key towards solving many of the issues that companies faced – and data is at the centre of it. The operations of major companies, Linkedin, Google, Netflix and as well as the largest bank in the US are powered by Graph Technology. Gartner says it is the top 8 technologies of the near future.
With Graph Technology, relationships between data points are established which enables people to swiftly locate information and redefines the way we are looking at data today. It allows going deep into the relationship and can be used for a variety of problems and domains such as:
- Companies, markets
- Countries, history, politics
- Sciences, art, teaching
- Technology, networks, machines, applications, users
- Software, code, dependencies, architecture
- Criminals, fraudsters, terrorists
TigerGraph is currently deployed by 8 of the largest banks in the world, including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Bank of America, and ICBC (China).
“The time to use graph is today,” Tony says. To face mounting challenges, there is a real need to harness the insights through graph technology which can amplify the connected data.
Polling Results for Afternoon Session
Throughout the afternoon session, delegates were polled on different topics.
In the first poll, delegates were asked to vote on their priority in 2022. Most of the delegates (48%) indicated digital acceleration as their priority, followed by tech modernisation (30%) and workforce transformation (22%)
When asked about what their biggest challenge is, a third (33%) indicated the lack of skilled staff who understand big data analysis as the biggest challenge. The remaining votes were distributed between not being able to synchronise disparate data sources (29%), the lack of quality data and proper data storage (17%), not able to derive meaningful insights through data analytics (8%) and the inability to get voluminous data onto big data platform (13%).
On organisation maturity in using data and analytics, a majority (41%) indicated that their organisations use performance dashboards to slice, dice and drill down. Other delegates have embedded visualisation into our process and transactional systems (23%), distribute static reports regularly (18%), combine data with predictive modelling, AI and machine learning techniques (12%) and use self-service analytics (6%).
The delegates were also asked if they are familiar with the advantages of graph technology and how it will enhance their daily decision-making process. Most (40%) were familiar but are currently not using this it while others are familiar and currently using this technology (33%) and the rest were not familiar but interested to know more (27%).
On the common Data Integration/Connection challenge faced by delegates, just over half (52%) indicated disparate data formats and sources as the main challenge, while others (18%) expressed that low-quality or outdated data was. The remaining delegates face the challenge of data that isn’t available where it needs to be (12%), followed by the issue of having too much data (12%) and the use of wrong integration software (6%).
On the maturity of their organisations in processing real-time data, the majority (44%) felt that they were emergent (some processes and knowledge, non-standardised). The rest were split between limited: ad-hoc, unstructured, uncontrolled, reactive (28%), and structured: standardised, governance, scale, proactive (28%).
When asked about what would be important for a successful AI adoption in their organisation, a huge majority (65%) indicated that starting small and building the business case by demonstrating initial wins would be important. The remaining delegates were split between aligning all departments on the single vision and garnering support as important (17.5%) and establishing clear lines of authority and ownership across the entire organisation (17.5%)
Asked about the essential tenet for ethical AI to work, about half (52%) believe in the need for an effective and practical ethical framework/ Governance model for AI. The others were split between the belief that AI solutions should allow for auditability and traceability (22%), the importance of training AI models with carefully-assessed and representative data (17%) and guaranteeing privacy by design in machine learning systems (9%).
In the final poll for the morning session, delegates were asked what they would invest in, if they had an unlimited budget. The majority of the delegates (35%) would spend on updating legacy technologies, followed by spending on resources to improve delivery timeline (36%), integrating disparate systems (21%), and staff training / upskilling (8%).
To conclude the day, Mohit emphasised the importance of understanding and harnessing data to derive insights that will help organisations stand out among competitors. Data is the new future that can help to improve services for an increasingly data-driven world.
The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) is spearheading an initiative to propel the nation’s capabilities in healthcare, Industry 4.0-driven manufacturing, and supply chain and logistics through the transformative power of 5G. This groundbreaking endeavour, known as the S$30 million 5G Innovation Programme, is not just a step forward but a giant leap into a future where innovation reshapes industries.
Launched in 2021, the 5G Innovation Programme is a testament to Singapore’s commitment to embracing emerging technologies. IMDA has forged strategic partnerships with key enterprises, including the National University Health System (NUHS).
In the healthcare industry, Singapore’s forward-thinking tech innovators, in collaboration with NUHS, have harnessed 5G to revolutionise patient care. The introduction of Mixed Reality-based Holomedicine in operating theatres stands out as a groundbreaking achievement.
This innovative approach not only enhances patient care but also redefines the entire healthcare experience. Announced in 2022, the initiative marks the Asia Pacific’s inaugural deployment of indoor private Enterprise 5G mobile edge computing (MEC) for Mixed Reality and Holomedicine capabilities in health tech.
A significant stride in healthcare also involves a collaboration with Republic Power to deploy 5G-enabled unmanned medical booths. These “Medbots” represent Asia’s first 5G-enabled unmanned pre-screening and teleconsultation medical booths. Equipped with state-of-the-art hygiene and safety systems, these booths support remote health screening and video consultations, offering an enhanced user experience that aligns with the demands of a digital era.
The impact of 5G extends beyond healthcare, permeating the realms of Industry 4.0-driven manufacturing, supply chain, and logistics. Collaborations with ST Engineering and DB Schenker have given rise to groundbreaking applications.
For instance, Singapore’s first 5G-enabled Digital Twin has been implemented for a logistics and supply chain company transforming warehouse and manufacturing operations, quality control, and customer experience. Simultaneously, ST Engineering’s 5G-Enabled Industry 4.0 Smart Factory boasts one of Singapore’s first 5G-enabled collaborative robots, revolutionising manufacturing processes.
Dr Ong Chen Hui, Assistant Chief Executive of the Biztech Group at IMDA, emphasised the agency’s commitment to architecting Singapore’s digital future. The goal is to build capabilities in various sectors powered by emerging technologies like 5G. IMDA’s collaboration with forward-looking companies signifies a concerted effort to unlock the full spectrum of benefits that 5G offers across a wide range of sectors.
As Singapore propels itself into the future, the 5G Innovation Programme stands as a testament to the nation’s dedication to progress. The partnerships with key enterprises underscore a collective effort to reshape, redefine, and transform industries across the country.
Singapore is not merely embracing change; it is pioneering a future where technology catalyses innovation and progress. The journey has just begun, and Singapore is at the forefront, shaping the narrative of a technologically advanced and future-ready nation.
The comprehensive initiative serves as a catalyst, propelling Singapore into a new era of digital prowess. It is not merely an adoption of advanced technologies; rather, it is a strategic alignment with the needs of the future, recognising the pivotal role technology plays in shaping economic landscapes on a global scale.
The 5G Innovation Programme signifies Singapore’s commitment to sustainable economic growth. By embracing technology as a driver of progress, Singapore is not just securing its current standing; it is laying the foundation for a resilient and forward-thinking economy. The emphasis on sustainability in this digital transformation ensures that growth is not just rapid but also enduring, with an eye towards environmental and social responsibility.
The implementation of a National Digital Identity (Digital ID) system in Malaysia is poised to revolutionise the verification and distribution of aid during crises or natural disasters, ensuring swift and precise assistance to those in need.
According to the Chairman of the Malaysian Cyber Consumer Association (MCCA), Digital ID has the potential to streamline processes, reducing bureaucratic hurdles and optimising the impact of government subsidies by facilitating the efficient distribution of assistance to targeted groups with greater accuracy and effectiveness.
Digital ID, in this context, serves as a digital means of self-identification and authentication for individuals, designed for use in both public and private sectors to verify user identities during online transactions. The nation’s Prime Minister has conveyed that while the government will not mandate registration for Digital ID presently, civil servants are encouraged to do so, especially as the Rahmah Cash Aid (STR) and other targeted subsidies will be channelled through this system. MIMOS Berhad, Malaysia’s national Applied Research and Development Centre, has been appointed as the implementing agency for Digital ID, with an initial allocation of RM80 million.
The Former Principal Assistant Director at Bukit Aman emphasised the significance of Digital ID in enhancing cybersecurity. The technology relies on digital certificates to bolster security in online transactions, verifying identities by linking cryptographic keys with their owners through cryptography.
Despite its potential benefits, the Former Principal Ass
istant Director pointed out a critical concern: the possibility of Digital ID being exploited as a ‘mule ID’ by third parties for fraudulent or illegal activities. He stressed the need for the government to establish robust security measures to prevent misuse, safeguard the system’s integrity, and maintain public trust in the initiative.
Addressing potential concerns about the misuse of Digital ID, the Former Principal Assistant Director called for a thorough examination of security measures. The government’s commitment to preventing fraudulent activities and illegal exploitation is crucial for the success of Digital ID. The Former Principal Assistant Director’s experience in cybercrime and multimedia investigations underscored the importance of maintaining the integrity of the system.
Furthermore, the Former Principal Assistant Director highlighted the need for comprehensive digital education to ensure that all segments of society benefit fully from Digital ID. A focus on digital education can prevent digital divides and contribute to the long-term success of Malaysia’s digitalisation initiatives. By promoting digital literacy, the government can empower citizens to use Digital ID responsibly and stay informed about potential risks.
In conclusion, the implementation of Digital ID in Malaysia represents a significant step toward modernising and securing online transactions. While the technology holds great potential for enhancing the distribution of aid during crises, it is imperative for the government to address security concerns and invest in digital education to ensure the successful adoption of Digital ID across all segments of society.
The advent of Digital ID in Malaysia represents a pivotal moment in the nation’s journey toward a more efficient and secure identity verification system. The Malaysian Cyber Consumer Association’s unwavering support underscores the potential benefits of this technological advancement for the wellbeing of Malaysians. However, as the implementation progresses, the emphasis on system integrity, cybersecurity, and public trust becomes paramount.
The call for robust security measures and consistency resonates as a crucial safeguard against potential misuse, ensuring that Digital ID serves as a reliable tool for streamlined aid distribution and government subsidies. As the nation navigates this transformative phase, it is imperative to strike a balance between technological innovation and the preservation of public confidence to fully realise the positive impact of Digital ID on the Malaysian society.
The National Education Policy (NEP) of 2020 has ushered in a new era for education in India, advocating for a robust investment in digital infrastructure and technological tools. At its core, the policy emphasises the integration of technology into the educational landscape, embracing online teaching platforms, virtual labs, digital repositories, and assessments.
NEP’s visionary approach highlights the pivotal role of multilingualism and language in transforming teaching and learning methodologies. Para 4.23 of the NEP stresses the acquisition of essential skills, including digital literacy, coding, and computational thinking. These competencies are being actively promoted through a myriad of digital initiatives.
The PM e-VIDYA, launched under the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan in May 2020, aims to consolidate efforts in digital, online, and broadcast education, ensuring widespread access to education through multiple modes. Notably, PM eVidya is accessible to students across all states, free of cost, democratising educational resources.
The cornerstone components of PM eVidya encompass DIKSHA, serving as the nation’s digital repository for high-quality e-content tailored for school education across States/UTs. The integration of QR-coded Energised Textbooks, providing a unified platform for all grades, resonates with the ethos of ‘one nation, one digital platform’.
Expanding the horizons of education further, the initiative has scaled up from 12 to 200 PM e-VIDYA DTH TV Channels, enabling states to offer supplementary education in various Indian languages for classes 1-12. Leveraging radio and podcast platforms like Shiksha Vani, PM eVidya embraces a holistic approach to inclusive education, crafting specialised e-content for the visually and hearing impaired.
Driving the agenda of critical thinking and creativity, PM eVidya ambitiously aims to establish 750 virtual labs and 75 Skilling e-labs by 2023. These labs, designed for Science, Mathematics, and simulated learning environments, seek to foster hands-on learning experiences. The creation of a dedicated vertical on Virtual Labs within the DIKSHA platform and comprehensive training via PM eVidya DTH TV channels for educators underscore the commitment to capacity-building.
Moreover, the ICT and Digital initiatives within the centrally sponsored scheme of Samagra Shiksha extend support to Government and Aided schools, focusing on classes VI to XII. Financial aid facilitates the establishment of ICT Labs and Smart Classrooms, enhancing the technological infrastructure within educational institutions.
India is committed to deploying locally designed and made digital tools, platforms and solutions to better serve citizens, more comprehensively and inclusively.
OpenGov Asia reported on India Stack, a set of domestically created digital solutions implemented nationwide. It includes APIs and digital public assets that enable the widespread use of digital identity, data, and payments as fundamental economic elements. Key components include Unified Payments Interface (India’s instant payments system), Aadhaar (the government’s digital identity card), and DigiLocker (a secure document access platform on a public cloud).
India Stack enhances access to and the delivery of public services, with the overarching goals of achieving widespread connectivity, promoting digital inclusion, and ensuring seamless access to public services. Built on open technologies, these solutions are interoperable and crafted to encourage active participation from industry and community stakeholders, thereby fostering innovation.
Addressing the needs of students preparing for competitive exams nationwide, the development of the SATHEE portal in collaboration with IIT Kanpur stands as a testament to India’s dedication to empowering its youth.
The ongoing beta version is actively soliciting feedback from students across the country, aligning with a culture of continual improvement. It provides a comprehensive suite of resources tailored for NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test) and JEE (Joint Entrance Examination) aspirants.
These initiatives mark a significant stride towards a tech-driven educational ecosystem in India. As the nation embraces this digital revolution in education, it sets a precedent for inclusive and innovative learning paradigms.
Based on a study conducted in 2018, the Head of the Satellite Division of the Accessibility to Communication and Information Agency (BAKTI) of the Ministry of Communication and Information, Sri Sanggrama Aradea, stated that based, there is a need for internet access to 1Mbps for 150,000 public service points in the fields of education, healthcare, and government in remote, frontier, and outermost (3T) areas.
The Ministry of Communication and Information continues to uphold its commitment to implementing the agenda of equalising the progress of digital transformation across the entire archipelago of Indonesia. This commitment is realised by continuing the contract for Base Transceiver Station (BTS) 4G services, especially for Remote, Frontier, and Outermost (3T) regions.
This action signifies the seriousness of the Ministry in ensuring that the benefits of digital transformation progress are not only felt in major cities but also extend to remote and outermost areas of Indonesia. Continuing the BTS 4G contract for 3T focuses on equalising access and strengthening communication networks, ensuring that communities in previously connectivity-limited areas can enjoy the benefits of the digital revolution.
Minister of Communication and Information Budi Arie Setiadi emphasised, “Strengthening communication networks is the main focus, ensuring that communities in areas that may have been previously limited in connectivity can benefit from the digital revolution.”
Minister Budi Arie Setiadi stated that this aligns with President Joko Widodo’s directive during the handover of the Ministry’s Budget Execution Plan for the Fiscal Year 2024, emphasising that the utilisation of government budget allocations must be focused on results. Minister Budi Arie explained that the signed Operation & Maintenance Contract is intended to continue the operation of the already-built BTS 4G, which has become an asset of the Telecommunication and Information Accessibility Agency (BAKTI).
Arwoto Atmosutarno, Chairman of the Task Force of the BAKTI at the Ministry of Communication and Information, admits that completing the BTS 4G Project is challenging. The diverse topography of Indonesia and its often remote geographical locations create complexities that increase the difficulty in executing this project.
In overcoming these challenges, Atmosutarno highlighted the importance of collaborative and synergistic coordination among Task Force members, involving entities such as the Attorney General’s Office, Ministry of Finance, Supreme Audit Agency (BPKP), Procurement Policy Agency (LKPP), Ministry of Communication and Information, and various related industry stakeholders. This joint effort aims to overcome various obstacles and challenges from complicated geographical conditions.
This indicates that project completion requires technical expertise and active involvement from various sectors contributing to addressing Indonesia’s unique and complex landscapes. Although the task is not easy, the determination and good cooperation among Task Force members ensure the efficiency of the project, even in challenging geographical conditions.
Indonesia is indeed known as an archipelagic country with quite extreme topography. This poses significant challenges for communication networks, especially telecommunication infrastructure projects such as BTS 4G. With widely scattered islands, high mountains, and remote areas that are difficult to access, establishing a network that can cover the entire Indonesian territory requires meticulous planning and execution.
Based on data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), the number of internet users in Indonesia reached 292.3 million in 2022, equivalent to 77.02% of the total population. This figure increased by 2.6% from the previous year.
The increase in Internet access is driven by various factors, including economic growth, increased smartphone penetration, and government programmes to equalise Internet access.
Regarding telecommunication infrastructure development, the government aims to achieve 100% 4G network coverage by 2024. This target seems achievable, as in 2023, 4G network coverage in Indonesia has reached 98%.
The progress of telecommunication network development in Indonesia has brought various benefits to the community, including: Improving accessibility to information and communication, Facilitating economic transactions, Enhancing the quality of education and healthcare and Increasing the nation’s competitiveness.
Chengdu has placed its sights on catalysing digital transformation to connect with the dynamic landscape of scientific and technological innovation. With this, the Municipal Development and Reform Commission recently organised a major scheduling meeting for the Digital Transformation Promotion Centre, bringing together key participants in the province’s digital progress.
The recently held meeting convened influential figures from 19 provincial-level digital transformation promotion centres, district and county development and reform departments, and pivotal enterprises within the city. The goal was to enhance the city’s digital transformation promotion service capabilities and fast-track the realisation of a modern industrial system.
The proceedings unfolded with a comprehensive report from the High Technology Department of the Municipal Development and Reform Commission, shedding light on the progress of the city’s digital transformation promotion centre and unveiling the initial evaluation results.
The exchange of ideas extended beyond city borders, with experts from the Sichuan Provincial Digital Economy Development Centre offering insights, interpretation, and guidance on policies supporting the digital transformation initiative.
Highlighting the diverse facets of digital transformation, representatives from various sectors shared their experiences. These exchanges delved into the construction nuances of supporting, regional, and industry-specific digital transformation promotion centres, emphasising a multifaceted approach to catalysing change.
Concrete examples from food technology elucidated the transformative power of digitalisation in their respective industries, showcasing the tangible benefits accrued through embracing cutting-edge technologies. From enhanced processing efficiency in aviation equipment manufacturing to streamlined collaboration in biopharmaceutical production, the ripple effects of digital transformation were tangible.
Chengdu’s strategic position as a hub node in the computing power network has been pivotal in propelling the city’s digital drives. The initiative to construct a ‘smart Chengdu’ serves as the cornerstone for iterative upgrades and the demonstration of emerging technologies, products, business formats, and models. This concerted effort aims to foster innovative development within the digital economy.
The city’s proactive stance has yielded approval for 19 provincial-level digital transformation promotion centres. This includes 10 support centres, 2 regional centres, and 7 industry centres, collectively constituting over 50% of the total number in the province. The coverage extends across strategic areas like Tianfu New District and key industrial chains such as electronic information, equipment manufacturing, and medicine and health.
Success stories were brought to the forefront during the meeting, showcasing the tangible impact of digital transformation. For instance, the Chengdu Aircraft Digital Transformation Promotion Centre has significantly boosted the processing efficiency of the aviation equipment industry chain. Similarly, the Kelun Pharmaceutical Digital Transformation Promotion Centre has facilitated intelligent collaboration in biopharmaceutical production, reducing costs and optimising inventory turnover.
The initiatives underscored the imperative to align with national, provincial, and municipal mandates for deepening the integration of the digital economy with the real economy. A call to action resonated, urging a focus on the high-level construction of Sichuan Provincial Digital Transformation Promotion Centres.
Likewise, the emphasis on harnessing the transformative potential of computing power, algorithms, and data highlights Chengdu’s unwavering commitment to catalysing industry-wide development. The city recognises the pivotal role that advanced computing capabilities, sophisticated algorithms, and insightful data analytics play in propelling industries forward.
By leveraging robust computing power, industries in Chengdu can not only streamline their operations but also enhance their overall efficiency. This translates into faster processing times, heightened accuracy, and the ability to handle complex tasks with unprecedented precision.
The infusion of advanced algorithms further augments this initiative by introducing intelligent decision-making processes that adapt and evolve, ensuring that industries remain agile in dynamic market landscapes.
Hong Kong, a dynamic global financial centre and a historical node for the Chinese diaspora, stands as a vibrant hub for tech and trade. Hong Kong’s start-up ecosystem is thriving. In 2022, the number of start-ups in Hong Kong grew by 6% to 3,985, employing nearly 15,000 people.
Hong Kong’s innovation and technology sector together with that of Shenzhen and Guangzhou – the Shenzhen-Hong Kong-Guangzhou science and technology cluster – ranks as the world’s second performing according to the Global Innovation Index 2023.
Biotechnology, artificial intelligence, smart city and financial technologies were identified as the four key areas for Hong Kong’s innovation and technology industry. The city’s expenditure in absolute amount on research and development has almost doubled compared to a decade ago.
With opportunities brought by the Guangdong‑Hong Kong‑Macao Greater Bay Area development, Hong Kong is set to further capitalise on its advantages in R&D capabilities, technological infrastructure, legal system and intellectual property.
The region intends to spearhead the I&T industry and act as a business platform for companies looking to access the Asia market (and China in particular), or for innovative mainland companies seeking to go international.
There is a sharp focus on pivotal tech-driven sectors – healthcare, youth development, and the Greater Bay Area (GBA) – that have the potential to shape Hong Kong’s business trajectory. From cutting-edge healthcare advancements to fostering youth entrepreneurship and capitalising on the economic powerhouse that is the GBA, the pathways for innovation and collaboration will be determined.
Its pivotal role in the global business landscape is further accentuated by the Federation of Hong Kong Business Associations Worldwide (FHKBAW), a sprawling network uniting 47 associations across 36 countries and regions. With a membership boasting nearly 11,000 executives and professionals worldwide, this federation serves as a linchpin for a diverse global business community.
An annual Hong Kong Forum, jointly organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and the Federation, emerges as a pivotal event drawing in business leaders and tech innovators. Scheduled for 5th and 6th December, the 24th iteration promises an inspiring convergence of minds, ideas, and opportunities.
Sessions will explore the intricacies of navigating Hong Kong’s ever-evolving business landscape. Experts will elaborate on Hong Kong’s prowess as a global business platform and delve into how cultural exchange through the West Kowloon Cultural District could further elevate Hong Kong’s global cultural imprint.
As tech, innovation, and global business intertwine, Hong Kong is a testament to its unwavering commitment to fostering collaboration, innovation, and growth across industries that define the future.
The startup ecosystem is rapidly expanding and diversifying, stretching beyond conventional hubs like San Francisco and London to embrace emerging powerhouses like Hong Kong. Simultaneously, within the ASEAN region, burgeoning economies are evolving into significant nodes of innovation and entrepreneurship in their own right.
Acknowledging the borderless nature of the digital entrepreneurial landscape, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council unveiled Start-up Express International last year. This global iteration of its longstanding local entrepreneurship development programme acknowledges and taps into the interconnectedness of the worldwide startup community.
Hong Kong has launched multiple initiatives in line with its goal to expand its digital economy and propel technological advancements. Cyberport is Hong Kong’s digital technology flagship and incubator for entrepreneurship with over 2,000 members including over 900 onsite and close to 1,100 offsite start-ups and technology companies.
With a vision to become Hong Kong’s digital technology hub and stimulate a fresh economic impetus, Cyberport is dedicated to cultivating a dynamic tech environment.
This commitment involves nurturing talent, encouraging youth entrepreneurship, aiding start-ups, fostering industry growth through strategic partnerships with local and international entities, and driving digital transformation across public and private sectors, bridging new and traditional economies.
The game industry in Vietnam has emerged as a promising domain, yet it grapples with hurdles demanding immediate attention to unlock its full potential. In an era where global gaming numbers surged to nearly 3.2 billion players, generating a massive US$182.9 billion in 2022, Vietnam aims to solidify its stance in this evolving landscape.
Vu Quoc Huy, Director of the Vietnam National Innovation Centre (NIC), identifies the game industry as a pivotal sector crucial for the nation’s scientific, technological, and innovative growth trajectory. With an annual revenue surpassing US$500 million and a strong foothold as Southeast Asia’s fifth-largest revenue generator, Vietnam’s gaming landscape thrives. Over 50% of the population engages in gaming for entertainment purposes, signalling a robust market demand.
Huy underscores the industry’s capacity to foster high-value jobs in programming and design, presenting an opportunity to propel Vietnam’s global position within value chains. The country currently ranks second in game downloads within Southeast Asia, witnessing a steady annual growth rate of approximately 10%. Globally, Vietnam clinches a position among the top 10 for download numbers and the top 30 for revenue generation.
The country boasts a talented pool of programmers capable of creating games meeting the stringent standards for Google and Apple stores. Apple estimates approximately 180,000 Vietnamese are actively engaged in mobile app development, with the game industry housing the majority.
The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) emphasises Vietnam’s rank as the seventh-largest global mobile game distributor, attributing Vietnamese developers to nearly half of the world’s renowned games. Yet, there’s a push to increase the industry’s revenue from US$600 million to a lofty US$1 billion within the next five years.
Vietnam’s game industry, with its remarkable growth trajectory and burgeoning talent pool, stands at the cusp of a transformative phase. Despite this burgeoning success, challenges persist. Addressing hurdles in infrastructure, market expansion, and skill development will be pivotal to realising its immense potential and securing a formidable position in the global gaming arena.
At the fore, Vietnam’s game industry grapples with entrenched social stigmas and a host of structural deficiencies that hinder its growth. The prevailing societal bias against gaming, perceiving it as addictive, detrimental, and resource-intensive, casts a shadow over the industry’s prospects.
Le Quang Tu Do, Director of the MIC’s Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information, highlights critical issues, including policy inadequacies, limited financial support, and a dearth of local game competitiveness in the global market. Moreover, the absence of a robust ecosystem and collaborative efforts among businesses stifles the industry’s progress, hindering the discovery of high-quality Vietnamese games by distributors.
A significant obstacle lies in the shortage of skilled human resources, with estimates suggesting a need for up to 30,000 qualified personnel in the game industry. To transform the industry into a robust and competitive landscape, Vu Quoc Huy, NIC Director, advises cultivating an internationally adept workforce and fostering a cohesive ecosystem where stakeholders collaborate and uplift each other.
Others advocate official recognition of the game industry as an economic sector and a pivotal driver of the digital economy. Acknowledging the need for an appropriate management strategy and development roadmap underscores the necessity of societal and governmental acknowledgement to attract foreign investment and solidify the industry’s position.
The MIC has outlined a developmental roadmap spanning 2022 to 2027, centring on addressing critical issues such as policy frameworks, market regulation, and manpower development. Initiatives encompass facilitating partnerships between domestic developers and international counterparts, alongside efforts to entice foreign investment entities into Vietnam’s burgeoning gaming sector.
As the MIC steers the developmental trajectory and industry stakeholders converge to address these challenges, Vietnam’s game industry holds the promise of a transformative evolution towards global competitiveness and economic significance.