On 8 February, President Halimah Yacob launched the Digital for Life movement at the President’s Challenge 2021 event. This year, President’s Challenge seeks to build a digitally inclusive society where digital technologies are accessible to all, and no one is left behind.
President Halimah launched the new national movement – Digital for Life to strengthen the community to help Singaporeans embrace digital as a lifelong pursuit, and to enrich their lives through digital.
President Halimah Yacob launched the President’s Challenge 2021 (PC2021), which will raise funds for a record total of 92 benefitting agencies. In line with its focus for this year, PC2021 will also lay emphasis on efforts that equip groups like seniors, persons with disabilities and low-income families with digital tools, skills and connectivity so that they can remain socially and economically active in Singapore’s digital-first way of life and work.
President’s Challenge 2021
President Halimah highlighted that as our society capitalises on the opportunities arising from digital technology, it is important that all segments of society stand to benefit and that no one gets left behind. As such, the focus of this year’s President’s Challenge is ‘Building a Digitally Inclusive Society’. PC2021 will also continue to support a broad range of social causes this year, including raising funds for a record total of 92 benefitting agencies, to help them tide through the difficult times caused by COVID-19.
TOUCH Community Services’ “Digitally Ready Families” is one of the programmes supported under PC2021. It supports low-income individuals to more effectively and efficiently use digital technology as well as navigate family relationships within a digital environment.
Digital for Life Movement
The newly launched Digital for Life movement will look to bring the whole of nation together in collective efforts to help all Singaporeans have the necessary digital tools, skills and habits to succeed in the future.
It will build on the momentum of many community efforts seen during COVID19, and mobilise more community partners and resources to help all Singaporeans embrace digital, and live enriched lives with digital.
The movement will serve as a platform to bring together corporates, community organisations, government agencies as well as individuals to play a part, coordinating efforts, cocreating solutions and catalysing change.
The movement aligns well with the PC2021 theme of “Building a Digitally Inclusive Society”, and the overall theme of Empowering for Life, a direction charted for PC to uplift and help vulnerable groups to upgrade their skills and capabilities using digital technologies and solutions.
The Digital for Life Fund has also been established to support digital inclusion projects and activities to help all Singaporeans embrace digital, and enrich lives. As announced by President Halimah, the Patron for Digital for Life, the President’s Challenge will provide a seed funding of $2.5 million in donation to the Fund.
President Halimah Yacob said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has hastened Singapore’s digitalisation efforts, but also has the potential to widen the digital divide. The President’s Challenge hopes to support efforts to build a digitally inclusive society, where all Singaporeans feel excited, empowered and enriched by digital technologies. The Digital for Life movement and Fund brings us a step closer to achieving Singapore’s vision of becoming a digitally-inclusive society.”
The new fund set up by IMDA will support projects initiated by the community for the community, through to 2023. It will also serve as a channel for community contributions.
With the government matching dollar for dollar, the target for the Fund is to grow to $10 million over the next three years. Community Chest, the fundraising and engagement arm of the National Council of Social Service, will facilitate contributions towards this Fund.
The Digital for Life Fund will support projects and activities promoting:
Digital Technology and Inclusion – which will focus on building digital resilience, and excite different segments of society on how new digital technologies can enrich their daily lives.
Digital Literacy and Wellness – which will focus on promoting good digital habits as society engages in the digital domain, including in the areas of cyber safety, media literacy and mitigating the risks of online harms.
PHOTO CREDIT: https://www.imda.gov.sg
The Philippines’ Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) once again announced that it fully supports the Philippine IT and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) sector through its various initiatives to establish a nurturing ecosystem for innovative development.
The DICT’s Digital Cities 2025 Programme aims to develop the potential of the IT-BPM sector as an engine of growth to bridge the progress gap in the countryside and strengthen local economies. Previously termed Next Wave Cities, the Digital Cities 2025 programme aims to strengthen the industry-readiness of new centres by creating and developing ICT hubs in identified locations.
The programme is being implemented in cooperation with the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) and Leechiu Property Consultants (LPC).
The IT-BPM posted remarkable employment and revenue growth for 2020 despite the challenges brought by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The IBPAP reported a growth of 1.8% compared to 2019 and revenue of $26.7 billion in 2020, amounting to a 1.4% increase from 2019.
Additionally, the IT-BPM sector also recorded an increase in the number of full-time employees in the sector by 23,000, bringing the total to 1.32 million employees in 2020.
With the Digital Cities 2025 Programme, the agency invests in the identified cities and provide all the necessary institutional development activities to prepare them for the demands of the global digital economy. The DICT is helping these cities grow into established ICT business hubs outside Metro Manila.
Through a collaborative approach with their partners, local government units (LGUs), regional clusters and ICT councils, the agency aims to develop these areas as focal points for the revitalisation of the country’s economy, and for sustained growth in the long-term, the DICT added.
To intensify these efforts further, as reported by OpenGov Asia, DICT said that the plan is for industry experts to be ambassadors through various interventions to help reinforce the role of the IT-BPM industry in economic growth.
The IT-BPM Ambassadors will be resource speakers in various events and awareness fairs, sharing their professional expertise as part of an industry marketing campaign, assisting in content creation to promote Filipino talent and working alongside the DICT and IBPAP to implement related initiatives.
To be potential ambassadors, persons must be currently holding managerial positions in the IT-BPM industry with at least a 5-year tenure. The role seeks IT-BPM leaders who can effectively build and manage stakeholder relationships. Applicants who had previously worked on countryside operations are preferred.
The IT-BPM sector continues to be a priority for DICT, and it is ready to support and take the lead in making the necessary interventions to ensure that these digital cities achieve their potential. By working together with other executive agencies, LGUs, industry leaders, and academic institutions, which will enable each location to grow into centres of excellence that spur the development of other business sectors, de-risk Metro Manila concentration, create jobs, and boost the local economy. This will involve the strengthening of ICT councils in the region.
The Department continues to provide the 25 Digital Cities for 2025 with the necessary support in four key areas: institutional development, talent attraction, infrastructure development, and marketing and promotion. These interventions aim to help these localities achieve their full potential because of the government’s pursuit for countryside progress and inclusive growth.
Additionally, the digitalcitiesPH portal will provide investors and locators with essential information on cities and municipalities all over the Philippines. It will help assess each location’s potential as a global business centre. The IBPAP said that it recognised locations that have been crucial to the continued and growing relevance of the Philippines as a global investment destination.
Vietnam’s Prime Minister, Pham Minh Chinh, recently urged the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) to finalise and submit a national strategy on developing the digital economy and society by August this year. According to a press release, several other countries have already introduced strategies and programmes on digital transformation in a bid to optimise opportunities from the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0).
In Vietnam, the digital economy and society have been growing rapidly, supported by the well-developed telecom and IT foundation, high Internet coverage, and a huge number of Internet users. The country is located at the centre of the Southeast Asian region and is poised to be a global hub of digital technology and the digital economy.
However, the country is coping with several limitations, including a favourable legal system for the digital economy, and especially a strategy on digital economy and digital society. The new strategy is expected to set a sound direction for ministries, sectors, and localities to get involved in the field.
In 2020, Vietnam kicked off a national digital transformation programme, under which the country will renovate management and administration activities of the government, production and business activities of enterprises, and the overall way of living and working. It aims to develop a safe, humane, and wide digital environment. The national digital transformation programme has the dual purpose of both developing the digital government and economy and establishing Vietnamese digital businesses with a global capacity.
In a press statement, MIC Minister, Nguyen Manh Hung, said that if Industry 4.0 is considered an institutional revolution, with changes in management and business models, Vietnam has many opportunities. It will be the revolution of new technologies in physics, biology, artificial intelligence, big data, IoT, and 3D printing, which can create landmark changes in the way people live. The Politburo has issued Resolution 52, which defines eight groups of policies for Vietnam to actively participate in the Industrial Revolution 4.0:
- Renewing thinking, unifying awareness, strengthening the Party’s leadership, State management over the Industrial Revolution 4.0
- Perfecting institutions to facilitate the 4th Industrial Revolution and digital transformation
- Developing essential infrastructure, especially digital infrastructure
- Developing the national innovation capacity
- Human resource development
- Developing priority industries and technologies
- International integration
- Promoting digital transformation
Vietnam’s digital economy will likely reach US$52 billion in value by 2025, as OpenGov Asia had reported. With the gross merchandise value (GMV) of its Internet economy accounting for over 5% of the country’s GDP in 2019, Vietnam is emerging as the most digital of all economies in the region.
Last year, the Vietnamese internet economy continued to record double-digit growth, at 16% year-on-year, the highest in Southeast Asia. All sectors except travel continued to grow in 2020, of which transport and food, and online media grew 50% and 18% compared to 2019. Only online travel dropped 28% in terms of GMV but is expected to grow 25% by 2025. This year’s seismic consumer and ecosystem shifts have advanced the Internet sector in unimaginable ways, putting it in a stronger position than ever.
2020 was a year of transformation and accelerated disruption brought on by the pandemic. A critical lesson people learned was that every business needs to be a digital-enabled one. With this understanding, it is imperative to drive a sense of urgency among organisations towards accepting digital transformation.
During these testing times, empathy played a key role in the leadership style as it was critical to authentic and transparent communications. Ensuring the safety and well-being of the employees and looking out for their mental health became the foremost priority. Engaging teams effectively through frequent check-ins and reviews intermingled with fun engagement that encouraged sociability and bonding was fundamental to sustainability and continuity.
OpenGov Asia had the opportunity to speak exclusively to Olivier Croly, Senior Vice President APAC, Barco to discuss how the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated a cultural shift in the workforce across sectors and industries.
Barco develops visualisation and collaboration solutions to help companies work together, share insights and wow audiences. In his current role, Olivier is responsible for leading and growing Barco’s APAC portfolio across its three core segments: enterprise, healthcare and entertainment. He leads the company’s commercial strategy and works with his team to deliver great customer outcomes and sales growth. The global development of the education business for Barco is also under his purview.
For Olivier, the pandemic has, in many ways, altered priorities – new offerings are being developed, and new go-to markets being explored, all while ensuring remaining connected with the consumer and listening more intently to what they want. Going forward, the role of a manager/leader should focus on the 3C approach: Compassion, Coach and Care while encouraging the team to upskill and reskill.
The foundation to counter the effects of COVID-19 in the initial stage was survival. To make it through the storm, Olivier and Barco’s strategy involved ensuring the safety and well-being of their employees while driving business continuity to the extent possible. Primarily this was done through the adoption of virtual conferencing and other telework tools.
Their internal teams adjusted quickly to the work-from-home model and were able to weather several challenges because of the robust digital infrastructure already available within the company, like Microsoft Teams, One drive, Yammer, etc. Most of the teams were used to working from home and flexible work hours.
The lockdown led to some disruptions in the supply chain, which impacted manufacturing output and resulted in shipment delays. However, strong IT support enabled the company to maintain continuity and productivity.
Olivier explained that they focused on employee reskilling, retooling supply chains and go to market strategies to enable a more sustainable, future-proof growth model that can withstand such black swan events in the future. While they have opened their office now, they are strictly following all guidelines with regards to social distancing, site disinfection and others to ensure employee health and safety during this time.
Technology will define success or failure in the new normal
2020 has been a transformative year for organisations. Across the globe, people had to adapt to remote working, with only essential service providers being allowed to work on-site. This successful transformation to a digital workplace requires effective team collaboration, and trust, supported by real-time collaboration solutions to deliver results. Any business is as good as its people and Olivier believes that empowering them with effective tools not only brings out the best results but also gives them a competitive advantage.
With the ongoing wave of technology adaptation and the ensuing culture shift, organisations are increasing their reliance on innovative solutions to enable seamless visualisation and collaboration between on-site and remote employees. Adoption of emerging technologies within the workplace was already a part of the digital transformation process that companies were exploring to reinforce future preparedness and competitiveness. With the advent of social distancing, these technologies have become enablers of business delivery and continuity, while adhering to safety protocols.
The office but not as we know it
As hybrid becomes the new normal at workplaces and changes the way we meet, collaborate, engage and impress our workforce, and inspire and communicate to crowds, it led Barco to rethink the physical office. The company transformed its Singapore office into a hybrid workplace. The office is designed and furnished with the latest video technology to accommodate the new normal of hybrid working. Barco Singapore has invested in safe, efficient, and fully-equipped offices and meeting spaces that will enable better engagement between in-house and remote employees seamlessly and in the most effective way. At the same time, the company’s India software team has also moved to a state of the art, hybrid work environment.
Step into tomorrow’s new hybrid way of working with Barco
As companies redefine their digital capabilities and physical workspaces to facilitate hybrid collaboration and visualisation, Barco has you covered with its premium solutions to enhance workplace agility and efficiency, ensuring that enterprises are primed for the new normal. Barco’s premium visualisation and collaboration solutions transform enterprises by enhancing productivity and continuity for businesses while facilitating a hybrid and resilient model that can withstand future challenges.
Barco’s innovative solution ClickShare Conference boosts team collaboration by enabling seamless and secure communication and ensuring that all members of the team feel included in the meeting. It enables personalisation and efficiency in hybrid workplaces and users are not tied to any specific video conferencing apps as ClickShare Conference is software-agnostic. The solution offers the flexibility to “Bring your own meeting” as it supports the use of a wide range of cameras and speakerphones.
Another technology enabling hybrid workspace is Barco’s media streaming solution SecureStream, which makes sharing content from control rooms to external stakeholders simple and secure. The solution allows control room operators to simply drag and drop content into a SecureStream channel and then provide the needed link to the receivers.
The company also facilitates efficient training and team collaboration through weConnect, a virtual classroom software dedicated to distance learning in real-time. With hybrid training and reskilling of employees being necessary for the new normal, employee engagement in training sessions can also be boosted through weConnect. The solution enables bright outcomes for learners as it optimises class engagement and boosts seamless contact between trainers and employees.
Work is not a place but rather, results and outcomes
Organisational leaders need to inculcate a sense of urgency in driving digital transformation which is now a necessity. A key reinforcement has been that the world can do more with less – less space consumption, less travel – and still drive efficient results.
Olivier acknowledged that the pandemic taught the world that profitability and sustainability are not necessarily conflicting goals; they can effectively come together to achieve equitable economic growth. Considering this, innovation, agility and flexibility are a must for business continuity and resilience.
In closing, Oliver shared his core belief that an organisation’s and its leadership’s outlook must be holistic, inclusive and equitable. Ultimately people will remember organisations that took care of ALL their stakeholders – not just employees, customers or shareholders.
The Philippines’ Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) is proposing to make the use of digital signatures mandatory in national government agencies (NGAs) and local government units (LGUs).
During the Ease of Doing Business Summit, ARTA urged NGAs and LGUs to subscribe to the Philippine National Public Key Infrastructure (PNPKI) of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to generate e-signature. The DICT can also accredit digital signatures of private institutions.
As per ARTA, the Commission on Audit (COA) is already drafting a circular to recognise the use of digital signatures in all government transactions as well as the crafting of the guidelines on the use of digital signatures.
Aside from the mandatory use of digital signature, ARTA is pushing for a unified online payment system for all fees, contributions, and taxes across NGAs and LGUs. They are already in initial talks and discussions with the concerned agencies, and they are proposing that the Land Bank of the Philippines as one of the government banks to be the payment aggregator of all these payments.
Along with the implementation of e-payment, the agency said that they are currently ironing out the guidelines in the issuance of electronic copies of receipts by the NGAs and LGUs. The use of e-signature and e-payment in government transactions is part of the administration’s push to automate services and processes in public offices.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, the government said that integrating information and communications technology in government service is the best way to prepare for the digital demands of the new norm brought by the pandemic.
With a mandate to promote public trust and efficiency in the delivery of public services, ARTA is well positioned to deploy this initiative as part of its strategy. The adoption of digital signatures complements the ARTA’s Advisory Nos. 1 and 2, s. 2020, that urge all government entities to fast-track public transactions through alternative online procedures and the use of e-signatures for official documents.
The Ease of Doing Business and ARTA Council, the policy and advisory body of ARTA previously convened a video conference to discuss initiatives during the COVID-19 pandemic. During the virtual meet, the council discussed strategies towards the digitisation of government functions as the country transitions into the new normal as it relates to the COVID-19 crisis.
The council agreed that all government agencies should significantly increase the adoption of technology for efficient and timely delivery of government services. Such adoption of technology and deployment of online services will minimise the risk of further spreading of the virus as well as better serve citizens in general.
These efforts are in line with President Duterte’s directive to ease government-to-citizen transactions during the ongoing state of a public health emergency, and in compliance with the directive of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for government agencies to minimise bottlenecks in the delivery of vital public services.
Previously, ARTA launched its flagship programme NEHEMIA or the National Effort for the Harmonisation of Efficient Measures of Inter-related Agencies. Programme NEHEMIA is a sectoral-based streamlining effort that is directed towards speeding up and realisation of the Socio-Economic Agenda of the government. It targets to reduce the time, cost, requirements, and procedures in sectors of economic and social significance by 52% within 52weeks.
The programme NEHEMIA is in line with ARTA’s mandate to adopt a whole-of-government approach in the streamlining of government services. It is also aligned with the recently released Administrative Order 23: Eliminating Overregulation to Promote Efficiency of Government Processes signed by the President.
Since 1987 the Edison Awards have recognised and honoured some of the most innovative new products and services as well as business leaders from around the world and recently announced this year’s winners.
Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) collected two awards under the support of the Department of Industrial Technology (DoIT) under the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA). With these accolades, ITRI has delivered again with MetabColor as well as the AI-Based High-Density Shuttle Rack Delivery System.
The ITRI is a government-funded applied technology research institute with more than 6,000 employees. ITRI’s AI-Based High-Density Shuttle Rack Service System wins a gold medal in the Innovative Services, AI Applications category. The institute also took home a silver award for its MetabColor microbial textile dyes produced via a non-toxic, environmentally friendly and renewable process.
The Director-General of DoIT stated that it was no easy thing that ITRI’s AI technology won a gold medal in the Innovative Services, AI Applications category. The automated vertical warehousing system is developed for space-starved cities and the rack can be 14 stories high, saving at least twice as much space storage. Moreover, ITRI has been working with several companies to develop AI technology. The AI-based warehousing system optimises logistics efficiency to meet the increasing needs of e-commerce, cutting shipping time by 60% and helping to increase logistics performance during peak season.
The silver winner, MetabColor, uses modified microbes and the fermentation, separation, and purification processes to create natural dyes that are more environmentally friendly than chemical dyes. ITRI has been cooperating with leaders in textile manufacturing and speciality chemicals on the preliminary verification of the technology.
ITRI President also stated that the honour demonstrates that the institute’s technological vision aligns with top global trends. ITRI will continue collaborating with industry leaders to offer efficient solutions aimed at minimising environmental impact while ensuring Taiwan is an integral part of green global supply chains. He also pointed out that the Edison Awards focus on the “real-world applications” of innovative R&D results. Winning two awards is a big achievement for their R&D teams.
2030 Technology Strategy and Roadmap
To innovate a better future, ITRI has drawn up its 2030 Technology Strategy and Roadmap, in which it enhances the development of “intelligentisation” enabling technologies and focuses on three application domains: Smart Living, Quality Health, and Sustainable Environment. The Institute strives to use technological innovation to shape new lifestyles, develop market-oriented solutions, and find uncontested spaces.
Digital transformation has become a driving force for global economic innovation. With the prevalence of IoT and AI, people are seeking a faster, easier, and smarter life with the introduction of intelligent devices/services and new business models.
Therefore ITRI is developing personalised devices and services, autonomous mobility systems, and smart industries and services for the Smart Living domain. ITRI is also working on human-machine interaction, enhanced imaging and perception systems, autonomous decision-making and control, and smart business technologies and services.
As many countries are moving towards hyper-aged societies, demands for medical personnel and healthcare resources are increasing. New business opportunities in the emerging diagnosis and treatment market are also created through integrated solutions that include smart long-term care systems, personalised/precision medicine, and healthcare models.
In the domain of Quality Health, ITRI leverages Taiwan’s strengths in ICT and medical care systems to develop smart medical and healthcare technologies. The R&D scope includes smart medical electronics, regenerative medicine, wearable devices, digital healthcare services, and many more.
Due to the current climate change, greenhouse effects, and limited energy sources and resources, how to coexist with Mother Nature has become an important issue when developing new technologies. A sustainable environment can be maintained by creating a circular ecosystem, cutting downtime and energy-consuming production processes, and discovering green energy sources.
ITRI is thereby enhancing the technology development in the circular economy, smart manufacturing, and green energy and environment fields by exploring high-value circular materials, smart manufacturing systems, and supply chain management to achieve ecological symbiosis.
As the pandemic propels restaurants and other businesses to keep their distance from customers, a Shanghai-based robotics firm looks to bring its automated helpers to Singapore and other markets across the globe. The robotic servers wait by the kitchen for meals to come out. Staffers load them up and tell them which tables to go to via touchscreen. Then they roll off, deftly avoiding obstacles in their way.
The AI company focuses on indoor intelligent service robot, in the field of indoor autonomous d and providing intelligent unmanned delivery solutions. They have developed a variety of commercial service robots to meet different customers requirement. Their products are mainly applied in fields such as catering, medical care, hotels, entertainment, retail, venues, government affairs, offices, real estate, communities, banking, posts, finance, insurance, airports, stations, etc.
The robots’ features are the following:
- Touch sensor. The robot can return quickly with a single tap
- UI that makes the human-robot interaction more friendly
- Smart voice recognition receives users ‘orders accurately and gives response quickly
- An infrared perception system that detects the status of goods in the pallet, the robot returns automatically as quickly as humans and help customers take away the empty disks
The robots are also equipped with an autonomous localisation and navigation feature. The multi-sensor fusion technology, based on LIDAR, machine vision, depth senor, etc., that can locate and navigate precisely. It can run smoothly and stably indoors even in a complex environment. The tech also has a vivid expression show that is based on an AI interactive engine, several bionic and vivid expression packages can be customised. The human-like emotions as happy, angry, sorrow etc., making communication more interesting.
Lastly, it has a multi robots collaboration programme. With a planning system, multiple robots can cooperate smoothly in the same working environment, elevating efficiency,
The tech company shared that they are responsible for roughly 85% of food-serving robots ever sold in China. The country has been a pioneer in service robots, thanks partly to relatively relaxed regulation that benefits budding businesses, and it already uses robots commercially in such fields as food delivery and security.
Production capacity was roughly doubled in 2020 to prepare for overseas expansion. The tech company stated that their factories all have extra space, and they plan to increase capacity to up to 200,000 units.
The tech has also gotten a big boost from the push to minimise the person-to-person spread of COVID-19. Its unit sales likely more than tripled to over 10,000 in 2020. Sales of service robots were to increase 34% to USD 2.94 billion in China in 2020, roughly twice as fast as for the world, according to one industry forecast.
The tech company and developer aim to have local units set up in at least 10 countries by the end of 2021. It opened a Japan arm in March with just under 10 staffers and is looking at South Korea and Singapore, as well as markets in Europe, North America, and the Middle East.
However, challenges are still at hand. While the developer is a relatively well-known company at home, it has little name recognition abroad. Clients appear more concerned about features than the price at this point. Many foreign markets also tend to focus heavily on the quality of customer service, meaning that robots and other automated solutions might not gain much traction among consumers seeking a more conventional experience.
An international tech company is testing out video analytics technology in the Singapore Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) to detect and reduce incidents like crowding and incorrect wearing of facemasks in real-time, as per news reports.
With a strong commitment towards creating digital railways of the future, the tech developer is working with one of Singapore’s public transport companies to employ new digital technologies to deliver a safer and more comfortable passenger journey for Singapore’s MRT commuters.
The Passenger Density Technology will provide real-time insights on passenger density which was co-conceptualised with the public transport company. The tech uses algorithms to detect and analyse silhouettes on video footage from CCTV cameras. It can trigger alerts or even count these silhouettes to accurately calculate crowding onboard trains and stations. The tech also automatically sends alerts to the station manager whenever it detects overcrowding.
The developer said that they have been continuously doing trials with local operators in the east and downtown lines. One consideration for the tech developer is how they can utilise current infrastructure such as the existing CCTV cameras to keep the costs down. Leveraging existing CCTV networks and live ticketing data, this new solution is ready to provide real-time information on passenger density at station platforms and on-board trains; eliminating the need for train weighing which is currently being used to measure density. With this solution, which can detect crowdedness and alert staff to the situation, station managers have heightened situational awareness to make informed decisions to ease congestion more efficiently and enhance comfort and the travel experience for commuters.
To get the solution to market quicker, the team is comprised of software engineers, data scientists and user experience designers. The team continues to explore new uses for the solution in safety and security, for instance by detecting unattended items, acts of violence and illegal behaviour such as vandalism in stations or on trains. Soon, it could even spot commuters who are not wearing masks during this pandemic.
Speaking of safe travels, as reported by OpenGov Asia, high-tech robot guards at the MRT stations were implemented as an addition to Singapore’s use of technology as part of boosting its security efforts. OB1FORC3 and the K3NOBI models of robots are two new robots, which have been deployed at Ang Mo Kio MRT station, equipped with intelligent surveillance cameras, sensors and video analytics capabilities. These robots were developed by a local tech security company.
The robots were deployed as part of Exercise Station Guard – an emergency preparedness exercise. The exercises were conducted by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and SMRT as part of their efforts for enabling operational readiness and strengthening security in public places. The robots were tasked to observe and identify suspicious-looking people and stray items. Security officers were able to survey the area remotely by viewing the surroundings through the robots’ cameras and video analytics capabilities.
Senior Minister of State for Transport, Janil Puthucheary, observed this exercise. Commuters at Ang Mo Kio MRT station were also involved in the exercise, taking part in security screenings where they had to walk through a metal detector and their items to be scanned by X-ray machines.
The security industry is starting to find ways of reducing manpower needs and investing more in the use of technology. This in efforts for reducing the dependence on manpower to carry out tasks. Such a system is ideal for combining the use of manpower and technology to achieve the most efficient outcomes.