The Seniors Go Digital programme has made good progress, with more than 16,000 seniors benefitting from the programme since it was launched in May 2020.
The Infocomm Media Development Authority – IMDA, launched the Seniors Go Digital programme to help seniors embrace digitalization so that they can lead more engaged, informed and fulfilling lives.
IMDA and the SG Digital Office are on track to reach out to and raise the skills of 100,000 seniors by Mar 2021.
Through one-on-one help and small group learning sessions at the more than 30 SG Digital community hubs island wide, SDO’s Digital Ambassadors have helped seniors pick up skills such as using smartphones to communicate online and access government digital services.
In addition, IMDA’s Mobile Access for Seniors scheme for low income seniors, which was rolled out to complement the Seniors Go Digital programme, has benefitted more than 800 low income seniors with smartphones and data plans.
IMDA is also working with partners like the Ang Mo Kio Family Service Centre Community Services Ltd and the Youth Corps Singapore, to provide the smartphones and to guide these seniors through a four-week programme to pick up digital skills so that they can use their smartphones meaningfully.
95% of the seniors who received training were satisfied with the sessions, and about 80% continued to apply the digital skills they have picked up in their everyday lives.
Teaching Senior Citizens to Make Payments Online
To further support seniors in their digital learning, IMDA and SDO will be introducing e-Payment Learning Journeys for seniors. This thematic learning journey helps seniors who are keen to learn how to use e-payments in a more enjoyable and engaging way, via live demonstrations and hands on experiences.
IMDA has also collaborated with corporate partners to roll out the Supermarket Learning Journey, to guide seniors in using commercial apps such as the FairPrice app to make purchases in NTUC FairPrice stores.
These skills complement the growing number of hawker stalls that have adopted e-payment capabilities to improve productivity and competitiveness.
To encourage seniors to continue their learning journey and better keep track of their progress, each senior will receive a Seniors Go Digital Activity Pack for them to collect stamps to redeem for prizes by completing the learning activities. Stamps can be used to redeem prizes such as cooler bags, mugs and reusable containers.
Digital transformation made remarkable progress last year, with technology awareness among state agencies, businesses, and citizens significantly improving, according to the Deputy Minister of Information and Telecommunications, Nguyen Huy Dung. He stated that digital transformation has become a trend in the wake of COVID-19. It is a new engine driving the country’s socio-economic development and facilitating virus response and economic recovery. Digital technology has found its way into every governmental, economic, and social activity.
According to a news report, there has been a surge in digitisation across the country. In Da Nang, residents can register for electricity supply and pay power bills via their smartphones. Village chiefs in Lang Son are leading community-based technology groups that teach the villagers how to develop digital shops on e-commerce platforms, helping raise sales of agricultural products 174 times. In Quang Ninh, the chairman of the provincial People’s Committee has deployed a digital system to check the progress of public administrative services delivery.
An industry expert stated that at an early stage, the national digital transformation and the journey towards a digital economy and society still have a long way to go. Every person and business is increasingly aware of how digital technologies are profoundly changing the delivery of public administrative and healthcare services. The national portal for public administrative services has been operational for over a year, with nearly 3,000 services made available.
The remote medical consultation and support network Telehealth, which connects around 1,000 clinics nationwide, has bridged the gap in service quality among regions and reduced overloads at centralised hospitals. Many hospitals now provide digital health records, remote health services, and e-payments.
Do Cong Anh, the Director of the Ministry of Information and Telecommunications’ Information Technology Application, emphasised that it is not only about technology and equipment but also regulatory frameworks, policies, awareness, and personnel. Technology contributes some 20% to an organisation’s successful digital transformation while the remaining 80% depends on its awareness and how its personnel translates digital plans into reality, according to Anh.
By 2030, Vietnam sets to develop an e-government and digital economy which contributes around 30% to the GDP. The country also aims to be among the top 50 countries in e-government development and the third in ASEAN by the end of this decade. Vietnam is expected to be the fastest-growing e-commerce market in Southeast Asia by 2026, with e-commerce gross merchandise value (GMV) reaching US$56 billion by 2026, 4.5 times the estimated value of 2021.
Vietnam is at the forefront of driving change and seizing opportunities to thrive based on digital transformation in a post-pandemic future. A study surveyed about 16,700 digital consumers and more than 20 C-level employees in six Southeast Asian countries, including 3,579 survey participants from Vietnam. The report described Southeast Asia as a leader of digital transformation in the Asia-Pacific region and Vietnam as one of the best performers.
Four research projects led by scholars at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) received grants worth HK$20.26 million in total from the inaugural Green Tech Fund under the Environmental Protection Department, Hong Kong SAR Government.
Established with an allocation of HK$200 million from the Government’s 2020/21 budget, Green Tech Fund aims to boost the research into and development and applications of decarbonisation and green technologies. Addressing issues on decarbonisation, energy efficiency, green transport and air quality, CityU joined with local industries and government departments to expedite low-carbon transformation in Hong Kong.
The project led by Chair Professor of Electrical Engineering received funding worth approximately HK$6.69 million. The objective is to develop a smart power conditioner (SPC) by reusing obsolete electric vehicle (EV) batteries, termed second-life batteries. The overall aim is to improve the power quality and energy efficiency within the electrical distribution network and meet the growing demand for charging EVs.
With an artificial intelligence (AI)-empowered diagnostic framework, the SPC system can estimate the remaining useful life of batteries and the health condition of major power components in the SPC through online monitoring. In addition, the system can help reduce electronic waste by controlling the charging and discharging profiles of the batteries to prolong their life. It can also reduce the power loss of the entire electric distribution network, and solve the frequent failure problems experienced by the power capacitor in the passive harmonic filter and capacitor bank.
A grant of approximately HK$ 5.69 million was awarded to the project led by the Dean and Chair Professor of Atmospheric Environment in the School of Energy and Environment (SEE). The research team will develop two types of portable low-cost sensors for the real-time monitoring of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air. Poisonous VOCs are key precursors of the ozone and suspended particulates that generate photochemical smog.
The two sensing systems that the team plans to develop will be mini metal-organic framework-based photoionisation detector sensors and metal oxide semiconductor sensors; and a portable thermal desorption-gas chromatograph-photoionisation detector system. These systems, which entail lower production costs than existing commercial monitoring devices, will help Hong Kong achieve decarbonisation targets and enhance air quality by controlling the emission of VOCs. In addition, they can be easily installed and are flexible enough for various mobile platforms that monitor VOCs at different horizontal and vertical scales.
The project led by the Director of Hong Kong Institute for Clean Energy and the Professor of Materials Science received funding worth HK$5.03 million. His team will develop highly efficient printable perovskite solar cells (PSCs) to help Hong Kong become a leading city in developing technologies for solar energy.
By developing perovskite as appropriate “ink” for printing films directly on crystalline silicon solar cells, the team aims to produce high-performance perovskite/crystalline silicon tandem solar cells that have 30% higher power conversion efficiency than conventional silicon cells. This technology can enhance the efficiency of photovoltaic systems installed on rooftops. In addition, the team will develop semi-transparent PSCs that can be used as solar windows for building-integrated photovoltaics.
The team consists of top perovskite scientists and experts in printable PSCs. It was noted, currently, more than 85% of energy in the world comes from non-renewable sources. Scientists should therefore bear the responsibility of developing new materials and technologies that will provide highly efficient and sustainable clean energy.
The Associate Professor of SEE was granted approximately HK$2.88 million for his project. Given the prevalent trend for developing green energy through the use of solar energy and water to generate hydrogen, the research team will develop a novel and large-scale photocatalyst panel for solar hydrogen evolution using water from various sources.
The team will put bismuth-based photocatalytic powder developed by Dr Ng on stainless steel plates with a transparent window as an outer frame for receiving sunlight. A thin layer of water (less than 1 cm) will be filled within the photocatalyst panels to generate hydrogen. The clean hydrogen produced by sunlight and water can generate electricity for small indoor devices.
China will promote the process of digitalisation in banking and insurance to heighten high-quality development of the sectors, the country’s banking and insurance regulator has said. Banking and insurance institutions should implement supportive digital development plans to better serve the real economy, according to a guideline recently issued by the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission.
Digital transformation of business management, industrial and personal financial services, and the financial market should be strengthened. Meanwhile, more should be done to improve the data governance system as well as management, quality control, and application of data. The guideline also said that institutions should tighten management against risks, enhance data security and improve privacy protection.
China’s latest plan to grow its digital economy will empower national digital transformation, shore up innovation and enable the government to offer more equitable public services. The State Council, China’s Cabinet, unveiled the first five-year plan on the digital economy on Jan 12, highlighting the sector’s role in reshaping the global economic structure and international competition, and rolling out targets for its development through 2025.
The plan laid out measures for upgrading national infrastructure, bolstering the role of data as a production element and promoting the digital transformation of industries. By 2025, the added value of core digital economy industries is expected to account for 10% of GDP, up from 7.8% in 2020.
The plan also pledged to further open up China’s service sector, explore measures to widen market access for new business models in the digital economy and promote globalized development for emerging services such as data storage and cloud computing.
The plan has set a target of increasing China’s gigabit broadband users from 6.4 million in 2020 to 60 million in 2025 and promoting more commercial and large-scale use of 5G. According to the National Development and Reform Commission, China has developed the world’s largest optical fibre network and has the largest number of internet users, a total of 1.01 billion as of last June.
It also leads the world in the development of 5G, with a total of 1.39 million base stations and 497 million 5G device users as of last November, and it has been the world’s largest online retail market for eight consecutive years, with online sales volume hitting 6.1 trillion yuan ($961 billion) in the first half of last year, up 23.2% year-on-year.
A key focus of the initiative is to shore up innovation capacity in key technologies, as the country seeks to boost the research and development of sensors, quantum information, telecommunications, integrated circuits, key software, big data and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
China will continue to promote the healthy growth of the platform economy, encouraging companies to step up the integration and sharing of data, products and content and expand services such as online healthcare. New growth areas in the sector, such as smart sales, unmanned deliveries and smart manufacturing, will also be promoted.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, stronger tech innovation capabilities are facilitating industrial growth in China, which will help further the high-quality development of the nation’s sprawling manufacturing sector. The remark came after China’s industrial output increased 9.6% on a yearly basis in 2021, 1.5 percentage points higher than GDP growth, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
More capital is going to the high-tech sector, which will also fuel the in-depth integration of the digital and real economies, and facilitate the high-quality development of manufacturing in China. Last year, investment in high-tech industries increased by 17.1%, 12.2 percentage points faster than total investment. Among the total, investment in high-tech manufacturing and high-tech service industries increased 22.2% and 7.9% year-on-year, respectively.
The Directorate General of Higher Education, Research, and Technology (Ditjen Diktiristek) of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology (Kemendikbudristek) is working with a tech company to develop Indonesian digital talents in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI). The cooperation is stated in a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) signed by both parties through a virtual ceremony. This collaboration is an effort made by the Directorate General of Higher Education to accelerate the growth of AI talent in Indonesia.
The scope of the collaboration includes improving the competence of human resources at Indonesian universities, through various activities such as AI skills training for lecturers and students, AI curriculum development in universities, translation workshops and research discussions, as well as development and support for the AI startup ecosystem.
Acting (Plt.) Director-General of Higher Education, Research, and Technology Nizam said, the Directorate General of Higher Education is committed to improving the quality of human resources (HR) of higher education, especially in the field of digital technology. This is in line with President Joko Widodo’s direction to prepare millions of Indonesian digital talents to respond to digital transformation.
It is important for us to ensure that our young generation can face this era of the industrial revolution 4.0, especially with the competencies of AI, machine learning, deep learning, and other fields that this industry needs.
– Nizam, Acting (Plt.) Director-General of Higher Education, Research, and Technology
On the same occasion, Plt. Secretary of the Directorate General of Higher Education, Research and Technology Tjitjik Srie Tjahjandarie said that the process of signing this cooperation agreement was the first step to prepare the next generation who are ready to compete and contribute to the development of technology-based multidisciplinary education in Indonesia. Through this program, it is hoped that the development of technology-based education can be evenly distributed in all universities in Indonesia.
This cooperation agreement can be a motivation to develop the abilities of students and alumni as well as the quality of lecturers and teaching staff in universities. In addition, through this development, a superior university curriculum can be created and is suitable for facing challenges in the changing industry 5.0 and 6.0.
Everyone should understand the implications and impact of AI, regardless of the field of study they study because AI can change almost any sector of the economy. The challenge is, not only do people have to focus on science, but people have to bring awareness about AI more broadly across sectors and industries.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, the Minister of Communications and Informatics Johnny G. Plate encourages everyone to continue to improve their quality of life in line with the projected number and types of new jobs due to technology adoption. It is projected that there will be 85 million old jobs that may be lost and 97 million new jobs that may appear, this is due to the division of labour between humans, machines and algorithms. The new jobs require a high level of digital skills and soft skills.
A report shows that in 2025 there will be 43% of industry players who reduce or reduce the number of workers as a consequence of the application of technology integration. Increasing digital skills and soft skills in line with technological developments for the workforce, especially the younger generation of Indonesia, can be done through upskilling and reskilling.
In addition, the Government has also carried out massive infrastructure development, especially in the first period of President Joko Widodo’s leadership. According to the Minister of Communication and Informatics, entering the current era of digital transformation, the development of digital infrastructure has been and is being accelerated by the Government and its partners and needs to be balanced with improving the quality of human resources.
Singapore and the Republic of Colombia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to deepen economic ties between the two countries and promote closer collaboration between Singapore and Colombian companies. Businesses in Singapore and Colombia will have more opportunities to collaborate in areas such as technology and innovation.
This is the first bilateral MOU between ESG and ProColombia, the government agency in charge of promoting the export of goods and services, foreign direct investment, and tourism. Under the MOU, ESG and ProColombia will work together to facilitate business partnerships between Singapore and Colombian companies, in key areas of technology and innovation (emerging technologies such as Industry 4.0, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain and digital industries), trade, infrastructure (smart city and smart governance) and energy.
This MOU builds on Singapore’s economic relations with Colombia and affirms our commitment to work together. The consumer, trade and infrastructure sectors are important growth drivers of the Colombian economy. The country is also making inroads into technology and innovation. With Colombia also a part of the Pacific Alliance, this MOU will facilitate Singapore companies with aspirations to diversify to Latin America as well.
– Tan Soon Kim, Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Enterprise Singapore
Colombia is Latin America’s fourth-largest economy, with a gross domestic product (GDP) of US$683.9 billion (S$920 billion). It is expected to grow 5.5 per cent this year. The country was Singapore’s sixth-largest trading partner in Latin America and the Caribbean last year, with total trade in goods amounting to $327 million – a 17 per cent increase from 2020.
The Colombian government has a special interest in strengthening trade and investment ties with Singapore, a key partner for its expansion to the Asia-Pacific region. Singapore’s regional leadership and strengths in areas such as urban and airport infrastructure and logistics.
There are some examples of Singapore companies that have successfully expanded into Colombia. The company is among the top five coffee exports in Colombia with seven warehousing and three processing facilities in the country.
Technology solutions company was commissioned by the Inter-American Development Bank in 2016 to connect the Single Electronic Windows for Foreign Trade of the Pacific Alliance Countries. This involved developing a customised interoperable solution that allows the Pacific Alliance countries to exchange, validate and mutually accept data, permits and authorisations in real-time to increase the efficiency and transparency of the foreign trade in the region.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, Singapore and the Republic of Korea (ROK) have launched negotiations on a new Korea-Singapore Digital Partnership Agreement (KSDPA) last year. The agreement seeks to deepen bilateral cooperation in new emerging digital areas, such as in personal data protection and cross-border data flows, digital identities, fintech, as well as Artificial Intelligence (AI) governance frameworks. It also aims to support and foster greater collaboration between both countries’ SME communities in the digital economy.
Recently, Singapore and ROK have concluded negotiations on the Korea-Singapore Digital Partnership Agreement (KSDPA). The KSDPA will be Singapore’s fourth Digital Economy Agreement (DEA), and the first with an Asian country. The agreement will deepen bilateral cooperation in the digital economy between both countries, by establishing forward-looking digital trade rules and norms to promote interoperability between digital systems. This will enable more seamless cross-border data flows and build a trusted and secure digital environment for our businesses and consumers.
The KSDPA is part of a series of DEAs that Singapore has embarked upon. These agreements are an inter-agency effort led by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Communications and Information, and the Infocomm Media Development Authority, to advance collaboration in the digital economy and enhance digital connectivity.
The Internet infrastructure in the country is set to receive considerable investment in 2022 to meet users’ growing demands. The number of Internet subscriptions in Vietnam hit a record last year with nearly 71 million mobile broadband subscriptions and 18.8 million fixed ones. Respectively rising 4% and 14.6% from 2020. Internet users accounted for two-thirds of the population. Internet traffic also grew strongly, by over 40%, in 2021.
Telecom businesses stepped up developing broadband infrastructure. So far, the 5G network has been piloted in 16 provinces and cities, 4G covers 99.8% of the population, and cable Internet services reached 100% of communal-level localities. This is according to data from the Authority of Telecommunications, which runs under the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC).
Although there has been steady growth, repeated breakdowns of undersea international cables greatly affected the domestic Internet quality. There are five undersea cable routes currently operating in Vietnam, namely AAG, SMW3, IA, APG, and AAE-1. Two others, SJC 2 and ADC, are scheduled to be put into use in 2022 and 2023. Meanwhile, other countries in the region have more routes such as Singapore (30), Malaysia (22), and Thailand (10). Compared to them, international infrastructure serving internet connection in Vietnam remains modest, a report stated. Experts believe that it is crucial to develop infrastructure for international Internet connection on par with regional countries.
Deputy Director of the Telecommunications Authority, Nguyen Phong Nha, stated that to improve broadband Internet quality, the government should focus on upgrading bandwidth and modem devices’ capacity, widening domestic and international bandwidth, and amending standards. Apart from investing in Internet infrastructure, telecoms services suppliers should also prepare backup plans. Developing digital infrastructure, including the Internet, telecoms, and cloud computing infrastructure, is set to be among the country’s top priorities between now and 2025. This will also create a big opportunity for service providers, infrastructure developers, and operators to compete equally with transnational enterprises in Vietnam.
The country had earlier set an ambitious target for the digital economy to account for 20% of the GDP by 2025. However, the Deputy Director of the Department of Enterprise Management, Nguyen Trong Duong, believes that with a breakthrough scenario, the Vietnamese digital economy could account for 26.2% of the GDP in the next three years. He stated that this will be possible if digital transformation and digital economy development are strongly deployed, accompanied by measures to ensure a market balance between domestic digital enterprises and foreign counterparts. The government would also formulate policies to support Vietnamese technology start-ups. 16% of the 26.2% would be from information communication technologies (ICTs), telecommunications, and the Internet economy.
At the beginning of the year, OpenGov Asia reported that the government aims to have ten technology firms with annual revenue of over US$1 billion by 2025. It plans to have 100,000 digital technology firms by 2025 and have at least ten firms compete in global markets. It also wants to have 10 localities with revenues of over US$1 billion from ICT and 10-12 IT zones. Last year, the total revenue of Vietnam’s ICT segment was estimated at an all-time high of VND3,462 trillion (US$151 billion), growing 9% year on year. The ICT segment alone contributes over US$136 billion to the sum, increasing by some US$11.5 billion from last year, according to MIC data.
The Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI) has established the FinTech Future Leader Academy, with a programme designed exclusively for undergraduates in their second or third year, or postgraduates, in relevant disciplines including I&T and Business.
The Academy offers young participants opportunities to get an in-depth look at FinTech development and gain insights into the FinTech industry by working as an intern in ASTRI.
This will be supplemented by field visits to the programme’s nine supporting organisations, which include Cyberport, Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) and others.
The programme is open for applications until 14 March 2022. Students selected for the programme will undertake an eight-week internship in ASTRI from June to August this year. They will be given the opportunity to participate in FinTech R&D projects, including conducting research on the issuance of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC); employing Federated Learning technology to promote alternative credit assessment; or applying Artificial Intelligence to the analysis of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reports.
Throughout the internship, ASTRI experts will provide professional guidance and share their rich R&D experience. During the internship period, students will also undertake two-week field visits to well-known institutions that support the programme, where they will learn directly from industry professionals and have the opportunity to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the impact of FinTech on society.
The programme is open to students majoring in Engineering, Technology, Science, Computer Science, and Business & Finance, who are aspiring to join the financial services industry; able to create technological solutions; creative, open-minded and visionary; and fluent in English.
The Chief Executive Officer of ASTRI stated that the demand for FinTech talent is surging across the world. The hope is that the FinTech Future Leader Academy will give young people practical FinTech experience by enabling them to take part in innovative FinTech projects, and equip them with the skills they need to enhance their professionalism and employability. It is believed that the programme will help expand the FinTech talent pool in Hong Kong and drive FinTech development here under the ‘FinTech 2025’ strategy.
The CEO of Cyberport noted that as the leading FinTech hub of Hong Kong, Cyberport is aware of the huge demand for talent in the FinTech sector from both financial institutions and start-ups. He noted that the new Academy will hopefully help build a solid foundation for the next generation of fintech talents to join the industry.
Meanwhile, the Chief Fintech Officer of the HKMA said that with fintech continuing to evolve at unprecedented speed, it is vital for Hong Kong to accelerate its talent development efforts to ensure that we have sufficient fintech professionals to drive the industry forward.
He noted that under its Fintech 2025 strategy, the HKMA continues to closely collaborate with various strategic partners to groom all-around fintech talent. He noted that HKMA supports the launch of ASTRI FinTech Future Leadership Academy, which echoes the government’s vision by equipping the financial services industry with more tech-enablers.
The CEO at HKSTP remarked that FinTech is one of the key areas that HKSTP is striving to push forward.
“We are pleased to be one of the supporting organisations of ASTRI’s ’FinTech Future Leader Academy’, joining hands with other ecosystem partners to nurture the next generation of I&T leaders through providing comprehensive training to bright young talent. We believe talent is imperative to fuel I&T growth and Hong Kong as the world’s leading international financial centre needs to nurture more FinTech talent to propel innovations with technologies, and accelerate the development of FinTech in Hong Kong, Greater Bay Area and beyond,” he said.