The MOUs were focused on boosting collaboration between both organisations for training and innovating to create more opportunities for workers and other organisations in both countries.
“Singapore’s strong technical capabilities, intellectual property protection and highly-skilled talent pool will enable companies like Bosch to innovate and develop new ventures from Singapore, capturing opportunities emerging in the region for long-term growth,” Gian Yi-Hsen, Executive Director, Conglomerates, EDB.
One of the MOUs signed was for the provision of training attachments to ITE students by Bosch Rexroth, which will take place at Bosch Rexroth’s Academy campus. The partnership is focused on encouraging cross border vocational education exchange in areas such as Industry 4.0, IoT and connected hydraulics.
This exchange program will centre on the field of mechanical and mechatronics engineering. This will allow for students of Bosch Rexroth and ITE to acquire technical skills and expertise beyond the common knowledge shared in the present environment.
They will also be made aware of the different approaches to Industry 4.0 and gain a better cultural perspective while enhancing their language skills.
Over a five-year period starting from 2020, the exchange program will see ITE students given the opportunity to take on a two to three weeks assignment at various Bosch Rexroth locations in Germany.
While at that, ITE will provide and arrange training attachment places at its Singapore location for students of Bosch Rexroth Academy. The training programmes will include the implementation of practical examples from various production areas such as manual workplaces and fully automated production.
Furthermore, the students will also benefit from state-of-the-art e-learnings and training systems of the Bosch Rexroth Academy.
Another MOU saw the signing of agreement between Enterprise Singapore and Munich Network to set an innovation hub for GROW, Bosch’s global in-house innovation and start-up incubation network, which will enhance networking between Singapore and Germany.
Tech start-ups in Singapore and SMEs may also gain bigger opportunities for entering the German market.
It will also be made available to external corporates whom are keen on using Bosch’s agile business model development methodology which provides the validation of innovative ideas in a fast, structured and cost-efficient way.
“Singapore has developed a thriving start-up ecosystem in recent years and it is our goal to further strengthen the entrepreneurial landscape by becoming the go-to innovation launchpad for local and foreign Bosch entrepreneurs.”
The signing of these two MOUs were witnessed by Singapore’s President Halimah Yacob with Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung, President of Bosch Southeast Asia Martin Hayes and Member of the Bosch board of management Peter at the Bosch Internet of Things (IoT) Campus in Berlin.
This was Madam Halimah’s Yacob’s first state visit to Germany. It marks a historic milestone, as the first state visit to Germany by a Singapore President since both countries established diplomatic ties 54 years ago.
“I believe that this partnership will create new ventures in the digital field that enable us to stay ahead of the innovation game and shape Bosch’s future business development in the region,” said Mr. Peter Tyroller, member of the Bosch board of management.
The role that technology plays in society is becoming an increasingly urgent topic of discussion today as the COVID-19 pandemic takes its toll. The advancements in technology are lightning-fast, which is evident as more and more data becomes available through cloud technology. As the digital landscape continues to evolve at a rate that seems to outpace our innate, online culture, organisations without sufficient digital foundation and cybersecurity measures are at risk.
Worldwide digital transformation and the paradigm shift to cloud tech is imperative and it continues to gather momentum with the pandemic accelerating the transition. This is a timely opportunity for organisations to pause and reflect on their current digital makeup.
These were the focal points discussed by digital executives from various tech sectors during the OpenGovLive! Virtual Breakfast Insight held on 24 February. The topic – Start Small, Scale Fast, Transform Securely: Embracing a Paradigm Shift in Cloud-Native Applications and Protection Strategies – was highly pertinent and relevant to the current times.
The pandemic’s effect on digital transformation and cloud migration
To kickstart the session, Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief at OpenGov Asia explained that cloud technology has been around, but it has been magnified today because of COVID-19.
The paradigm shifts towards cloud-native are here to stay, he asserted. The public sectors around the region have been juggling numerous applications to keep the services going. In today’s new normal, citizens no longer have the luxury of walking up to a government office to ask for assistance – it has all been moved to the digital space.
Mohit reiterated that a digital system should be as seamless and innovative as possible, creating a user-friendly experience. Yet, many government agencies are grappling with mission-critical legacy applications and therefore, it is vital to have a clear strategy and overall framework to modernise these applications. While doing that, a cloud system must be incorporated – providing accessibility from any device, any where, any time.
At the same time, scalability must be at the forefront of this digital shift. The modernisation of critical applications can be gradual, and organisations can start by streamlining the current portfolio of applications to achieve scalability. As technology advances, so does the level of cyber risk that organisations must manage; security must be built into the process.
However, with time pressure to get a project up and running, the lack of sensible security measures will create a hindrance for governments to achieve true cyber resilience and vigilance.
In conclusion, Mohit advised delegates and organisations to find the right partners in this ever-evolving journey of digital transformation and application modernisation, instead of attempting to handle everything in-house.
Modernising digital solutions for today’s immediate needs
The COVID-19 pandemic created new norms in society, triggering significant pressure on organisations to provide modern digital solutions. This was the key premise, Sanjay Deshmukh, Vice President & Managing Director for Southeast Asia & Korea, VMware, elaborated on with fellow speakers and distinguished delegates from the Singapore public sector.
He started with the fact that VMware has been working with different agencies all over the world, especially during the pandemic, to build the right foundation for digital government. He acknowledged that there is unprecedented pressure on governments and digital service providers brought by the on-going pandemic.
The escalating pressure to modernise and the urgent need for mobile workplaces and services are just some of the community’s expectations. At the same time, protection from cyber threats is vital as these threats are on the rise. All these issues and needs have been compounded and accelerated by COVID-19.
Sanjay added that the biggest challenge lies in legacy systems. These systems create a digital divide between what the citizens are expecting and what agencies can deliver. Every agency wants to deliver and automate digital services, but legacy systems are a major hindrance. The lack of agility in response time from this system magnifies this issue.
Additionally, security and compliance are known factors in creating this digital divide.
Through a secure and flexible digital foundation – with consistent infrastructure, consistent operations, and intrinsic security, powered by digital infrastructure – agencies can enhance mission delivery and productivity; continually defend against cyberthreats, and meet dynamic mission requirements— all while relieving IT burdens.
Yet achieving these agency goals with a digital foundation requires rethinking the IT architecture.
Governments to act as solution providers, not as mere policymakers
Following Sanjay’s presentation, Adam Carthew, Chief Information Officer of Service Victoria to over. He started by sharing that Service Victoria was first instituted as a start-up aiming to provide a place where citizens can go digitally, irrespective of the structure of government. The company launched a successful pilot using lean methodology in government services, so citizens do not need to go out and conduct their businesses, which proved to more cost-effective for all concerned parties.
With the foundation set, the company went from start-up to scale-up. At first, they did not target infrastructure building nor even had a team to handle services right away. So, what they did was they partnered with someone with a plethora of digital capabilities that could run in a cloud environment, that could scale and be cost-effective.
Service Victoria eventually redesigned their digital transactions by making services such as identity identification, payment gateways, police check etc., all possible on the digital space.
Adam also said that the ones who are winning right now are marketplace organisations. These types of organisations do not care about brands, bricks and mortar, or any of these. They only care about the customer. Hence, from the government’s perspective, Service Victoria had to get away from thinking like policymakers and start thinking about what is best for customers.
Accordingly, Service Victoria picked up various products and services and integrated them into their standard way of operating in the cloud. They improved the products’ capabilities and flexibility. But then, COVID-19 struck, and as Adam described, it was like a 40kph wind behind them. Service Victoria needed to adapt once more and create leverage with this wind behind them. Even with the tech they had, as good as it was, it still was not fast enough, and it just could not take them to where they want to go.
With the government making swift policy changes, Service Victoria needed to be agile enough to keep up. They did away with the tech that they had and started to used servers. They also needed to scalable because of the high volumes of changes. Volumes that were not constrained to a single platform.
Adam revealed that with the on-going pandemic, they improved their digital permit system so that it did not force citizens to navigate from one place to another during lockdown situations. Adam added that with the cloud-native approach and advanced tech applications, various projects from frontend to backend, ones that can stem from 3 months to accomplish, can be achieved in 3 weeks or even just a matter of days.
Polling questions and discussion
After the engaging and informative presentations by the speakers, the session transitioned to an interactive discussion with polling questions posed to the audience. The questions revolved around the main challenges and drivers of application modernisation.
When asked what the current state of their organisation’s public cloud adoption is, 42% of the delegates said they currently have small workloads in the cloud. A delegate from the health sector said that most of their data, like patient details, are still on their private cloud. But they are pushing for the migration of data containing useful clinical information to the public cloud.
The next question focussed on their main challenges in cloud migration. Most of the delegates said that digital processes are the biggest challenge because government policies hinder full migration. Sanjay from VMware reiterated that infrastructures must complement the cloud to achieve benefits in the long run. For him, the future is hybrid and multi-cloud heavy.
However, 43% of delegates said that re-factoring or developing new cloud apps is preferred, rather than migrating existing apps to the cloud. Some delegates also said that re-platforming their apps or utilising Kubernetes is also appreciated.
Mohit on the other hand suggested that retiring processes/apps that prove to be outdated are also useful for governments for them to focus on what is effective and not get disoriented by multiple platforms and applications.
For over 70% of the delegates, the lack of developers and operator skills is the top challenge when adopting Kubernetes in their organisations. Resources are also limited, so they need to get partners on board. Compounding that, unfamiliarity with the tech bothers some of the attendees – primarily because of its security capabilities.
On the topic of security, the delegates were asked which of the following security strategies namely, Endpoint, Workload, Workspace, Network and Cloud are on the companies’ radar for the next 12 months. About 21% of the delegates voted for Workload and Endpoint securities, while the same number of attendees voted for Network and Cloud securities. Only 16% voted for Workspace security.
The session ended with the closing remarks by Adrian Hia, Country Manager, Singapore for VMware. He closed the session by emphasising two points.
The first was the need for continuous production of modern applications for training and learning in the digital world. The second was the current trend where fresh graduates are mainly interested in cloud technology. This should prompt and inspire organisations to adapt and migrate to the cloud as soon as possible, taking advantage of the available talent and skill. Together, they could create an effective and cost-efficient digital government.
He encouraged delegates to reach out to them and explore ways they could collaborate for a better, efficient and resilient government for the benefit of all.
Technology has been central to Singapore’s COVID-19 response, and more broadly to its government’s work. The government has progressively built up the digital infrastructure and engineering capabilities of the country to combat the effects of the pandemic. This enables them to respond decisively and swiftly to the COVID-19 outbreak with a wide array of digital tools to help disseminate timely and accurate information to Singaporeans and to enable other agencies to better manage the crisis.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong recently said that while the country has a supportive environment for technology, the key factor is talent. Therefore, to further aid the national effort against the pandemic, an application developed by a Singapore start-up conducts mini-medical check-ups just by using a smartphone. In just 45 seconds, the app can tell the user of their heart rate, oxygen levels and even his/her stress levels. It can also tell the user if he/she should see a doctor.
It offers a diagnosis of the user’s health condition, relying solely on a smartphone camera that can measure heart rate by picking up changes in the reflectivity of light on the user’s skin between heartbeats according to blood flow underneath.
Workers at various sites have used the application as part of a government-initiated programme that provides companies with trial-stage technology to help them adjust to the new pandemic-era norms. The construction firm that used the app believes that a medical check-up is the first line of defence against another outbreak of the novel coronavirus. The city-state has kept a tight lid on its infections and wants to avoid a repeat of last year when a series of clusters emerged in migrant worker dormitories.
The tech’s founder said that the government was very interested in the technology, and they see the most traction coming from healthcare providers, both private and public, which will help further help in the country’s mission of containing the virus. The app is still undergoing local review but the Director of the National University of Singapore’s Institute of Health Innovation and Technology said it could have a big impact if approved by regulators.
Department of Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat allocated over S$24 billion of the Budget over the next three years to help businesses and workers to be well-equipped with technological resources. This budget also aims to enable firms and businesses to emerge stronger. About S$1 billion will be allocated to mature firms to get co-funding for the adoption of digital solutions and technological improvements.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, governments from all over the world, not just in Singapore are pushing for the development of these innovative apps to aid their effort in containing the coronavirus. One of which is a contact-tracing app. The public sector is keen to introduce a digital contract tracing as traditional methods are slow. Transmission of the virus is fast, many of the infected do not show symptoms straight away and by the time authorities have identified those who have been exposed, they have already transmitted the virus to others.
Motivated by these challenges and constraints, got Mohit Sagar, founder and CEO of Access Anywhere, envisioned a solution that would empower citizens to take responsibility for their wellbeing in their own hands. He partnered with industry leaders Microsoft, SAS and Confluent to create a cloud-based solution that gives people real-time risk assessment of their health: Liberty and Passage.
Liberty and Passage is a total outbreak management system application that offers users the ability to continue routine activities like going to work and socialising with friends without compromising their own or the health of those around them.
Gerard Mcdonnell, the Regional Solution Director of Fraud & Security Intelligence of SAS, said the Liberty App as a digital risk assessment tool can proactively warn organisations’ corporate management about the health risk status of employees.
The Augmented Creativity Laboratory at Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) and the Institute of Artificial Intelligence at Tsinghua University signed a collaboration agreement on 14 January 2021 to establish the Tsinghua-HKBU AI Laboratory for Creative Arts.
Under the agreement, HKBU and Tsinghua University will undertake collaborative research in the broad fields of science and the arts, and will jointly organise events such as conferences, symposiums and expert seminars to facilitate interdisciplinary interactions and foster knowledge exchange.
The two universities will combine their respective strengths to conduct impactful research on artificial intelligence (AI)-based art creation, especially music composition and music performance.
The Augmented Creativity Laboratory is one of the six interdisciplinary research laboratories established by HKBU last year to expand the University’s research strength and drive cutting-edge research in focused areas.
It was noted that the collaboration between HKBU and Tsinghua University will meet the fast-growing need for the application of AI in art creation. The establishment of the Tsinghua-HKBU AI Laboratory for Creative Arts will bring synergies to both sides and further contribute to the development of research in this area.
Hong Kong pushing I&T forward
In a recent press release, Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary proposed in his Budget to set aside more funds to nurture innovation and technology (I&T) talent in Hong Kong. Over $200 million will be allocated to extend the IT Innovation Lab in Secondary Schools Programme to primary schools.
In the coming three school years, funding of up to $400,000 will be provided to each subsidised primary school to roll out a Knowing More About IT Programme to enhance students’ interest and knowledge in information and technology through extracurricular activities.
The Government will also regularise the pilot scheme which subsidises students who study science and technology in local universities to enrol in short-term I&T-related internships.
To promote research and development (R&D), Mr Chan proposed to inject a total of $9.5 billion into the Innovation & Technology Fund by two yearly instalments.
The first batch of about 20 R&D laboratories under the InnoHK Research Clusters will begin operation progressively in the first quarter of this year.
For the air cargo sector, the Government will actively explore measures to facilitate trans-shipment through Hong Kong to maintain the city’s competitive edge as an international air cargo hub. It will also redevelop the Air Mail Centre at Hong Kong International Airport and aims to bring the centre into operation by the end of 2027 at the earliest to support the postal industry’s long-term development in the Greater Bay Area.
According to another article, Hong Kong will introduce HK$120 billion in fiscal measures to help businesses and residents impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, as it looks towards economic growth later this year following a recession in 2020.
The measures which include tax relief, loans for the unemployed and consumption vouchers are aimed at stabilizing the economy, Hong Kong Finance Minister said in his Budget speech. He forecast the economy is set to grow 3.5 per cent to 5.5 per cent this year, compared to the economic contraction of 6.1 per in 2020.
The budget for 2021 aims to alleviate the hardship and pressure caused by the economic downturn and the epidemic, Chan said. Unemployed residents can get loans capped at HK$80,000 Hong Kong in a program that postpones payments for the first year and charges 1 per cent interest. The measures come after Hong Kong last week reported a 7 per cent jobless rate between November and January, the highest since April 2004.
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for information technology (IT) hardware. The scheme proposes production-linked incentives to boost domestic manufacturing and attract large investments in the Indian IT hardware value chain. The target segments under the proposed scheme include laptops, tablets, all-in-one PCs, and servers.
According to a press release, the PLI Scheme for mobile phones and specified electronic components was launched last year, during the middle of the pandemic, in a move to establish India as a hub of electronic manufacturing. The release claimed it has been a huge success in terms of the interest received from both global and domestic mobile manufacturing companies. 16 companies were approved under the first round of the PLI Scheme for the large-scale manufacturing of mobile phones and specified electronic components.
Further, the employment generation from the initiative during last year stands at around 22,000 jobs. Another scheme for promoting the manufacturing of electronics components, called SPECS, has also received 22 applications involving investment in the areas of active, passive, and electromechanical components and displays and mechanics for mobile phones.
Based on the initial success of the PLI Scheme for mobile phones and specified electronic components, ten target sectors, along with specific product lines with high growth potential, were identified by the country’s think tank, the National Institute for Transforming India (NITI Aayog), for implementation of the scheme.
The latest edition of the scheme is a further step in that direction. It comes in the close wake of the PLI Scheme for Telecom and Networking Products that was approved by the Union Cabinet, last week. The PLI Scheme will extend an incentive of 4% to 1% on net incremental sales (over base year i.e., 2019-20) of goods manufactured in India and covered under the target segments, to eligible companies, for four years.
The scheme is likely to benefit five major global players and ten domestic champions in the field of IT hardware manufacturing, the release said. This is an important segment to promote manufacturing under the AtmaNirbhar Bharat, as India is hugely dependent on imports in this sector.
The release noted that the PLI Scheme was designed so that the incentives are payable by the government only after investments have been made, employment has been generated, and production and sales targets have been met.
The scheme will enhance the development of the electronics ecosystem in the country. India is expected to be a global hub for electronics system design and manufacturing (ESDM) on account of the integration with global value chains, thereby becoming a destination for IT hardware exports.
The scheme has an employment generation potential of over 180,000 (direct and indirect) over four years. It will also boost the domestic value addition for IT hardware, which is expected to rise to 20%-25% by 2025 from the current 5%-10%.
Currently, the laptop and tablet demand in India is largely met through imports valued at IN₹29,470 crores (US$4.21 billion) and IN₹2,870 crores (US$0.41 billion), respectively. The market for IT hardware is dominated by around seven companies globally, which account for about 70% of the world’s market share. These companies are able to exploit large economies of scale to compete in global markets, the release said. These companies must expand their operations in India and make it a major destination for hardware manufacturing.
Given the current global scenario, the world of manufacturing is undergoing a paradigm shift. Manufacturing companies across the globe are looking to diversify their manufacturing locations to mitigate the risk involved in depending on a single market.
With the accelerated shift towards digital transformation brought by the pandemic, New Zealand companies are steadily migrating their businesses to the digital space to adapt to the demands of the new normal.
Unfortunately, for some organisations, the shift came at a cost. According to a report, hundreds of the country’s businesses with online capabilities are now losing money to cyber-criminals. In the third quarter of last year, 281 Kiwis’ businesses reported cybersecurity breaches and many others are likely to have suffered the same fate, without reporting it. The average direct financial loss for small to medium business is still small, only a few thousand dollars, so, it often goes unreported.
However, it was also noted that at least 13 Kiwi businesses lost more than NZ$100,000 each near the end of last year. The most common crime involved in the unauthorised transfer of money, after a company’s email accounts was compromised. The criminals use phishing attacks to harvest credentials. The fake email looks like a real email and gets you to click on a link. This drops a piece of code onto the computer that looks for login and password details which it sends back to the criminal and businesses are not even aware of it. Other common scams which resulted in businesses losing money included new business opportunity emails, fake investment opportunities and fake rewards.
More importantly, the fundamental shift to home and remote working due to COVID-19 has caused a major headache for cybersecurity professionals. This is because many of them are accustomed to a much more controllable security surface area that office buildings and on-premises security infrastructure provide. With so many people working from home, the corresponding surge in app usage, unmanaged devices, web traffic and accessing internal resources is making security a much trickier prospect.
As the business world continues to adapt to the new way of working, the security mistakes of the past year should no longer be repeated. Rather than taking a panicked approach, organisations must take their time and select a consolidated solution.
Accordingly, as organisations accelerate their spending on cloud migration and digitalisation to manage the effects of the pandemic, many may be overestimating their ability to protect their systems and their processes thus making them vulnerable to attacks, as previously reported by OpenGov Asia.
At the same time, these problems are showing no signs of easing; supply chain threats are ramping up; the healthcare industry continues to be targeted; efforts to shift to a remote working model are, more than ever, complicated by the actions of threat actors, which found that attackers are doubling down on high-value targets and weaponising the software supply chain. Adding to challenges, cybersecurity is ranked by executives as the second-highest risk to enterprises, and attacks on critical infrastructure are rated as the fifth-highest global risk by the World Economic Forum.
A study by the government found that 66% of businesses attacked make no substantial changes to their cybersecurity measures to prevent future attacks. With criminals often only taking small amounts, the individual cost feels small, whereas the collective economic sum is huge.
Considering these existing threats, developing a strong cybersecurity culture is equally essential as deploying software solutions and technologies to protect systems from breaches, as stated by an international cybercrime centre. Prioritising regular training sessions for employees on cybersecurity approaches and tools and distributing frequent updates on the changing cybersecurity threat landscape, organisations can essentially build a human firewall to complement a digital layer of protection.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade asserted that the country’s dependence upon cyberspace means that securing their networks, systems, programmes and data from attacks or unwanted access is of vital and of increasing importance.
Ministry also said that the country is a champion of the international rules-based order and free, open and secure internet. The application of international law to state activity online is a critical component of the framework of responsible state behaviour in the digital space. It is essential for maintaining international peace and stability.
Several technology-based initiatives for governance were recently unveiled in Delhi, earlier this week. During the launch, the Minister for Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Ravi Shankar Prasad, said that the cities will become smarter only if technologies are properly leveraged and that the objectives of Digital India can be achieved through indigenous, developmental, low-cost, and inclusive technology.
National Urban Digital Mission
The National Urban Digital Mission (NUDM) will create a shared digital infrastructure to support cities and towns. It will institutionalise a citizen-centric and ecosystem-driven approach to urban governance and service delivery for 2,022 cities by 2022, and across all cities and towns in India by 2024. It will create a shared digital infrastructure that can consolidate and cross-leverage the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs’ various digital initiatives.
India Urban Data Exchange
The India Urban Data Exchange (IUDX) has been developed by the Smart Cities Mission in partnership with the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru. IUDX is a seamless interface for data providers and users, including urban local bodies (ULBs), to share, request, and access datasets related to cities and urban governance and service delivery.
IUDX is an open-source software platform that facilitates the secure, authenticated, and managed exchange of data among data platforms, third-party authenticated and authorised applications, and other sources.
IUDX is designed to address the problem of data silos, both within and across cities. Cities generate large volumes of data, which are recorded by a wide range of entities, both within the government and across the industry, academia, and society. The combination of these datasets can enable rapid innovation and offer a better understanding of and planning for urban needs and challenges.
SmartCode is a platform that enables all ecosystem stakeholders to contribute to a repository of open-source code for solutions and applications for urban governance. It will address the challenges that ULBs face when deploying digital applications to solve urban challenges, by enabling cities to take advantage of existing codes and customising them to suit local needs.
As a repository of open-source software, the source code available on the platform will be free to use without any licensing or subscription fees, thus limiting costs to those involved.
New Smart Cities Website and GMIS
To better connect with people on the Smart Cities Mission efforts and achievements, and to make it easier for ULBs and citizens to access resources related to their work, the Smart Cities Mission website has been redesigned to be a single stop for all smart city initiatives.
The geospatial management information system (GMIS) has also been integrated on the website. Through a seamless and unified interface, it aggregates all mission-related information from various platforms. The website is a highly effective communication and outreach tool.
Since its launch in 2015, the Smart Cities Mission has made significant strides in its efforts to ensure that the benefits of technology reach all citizens. Over the last year, the mission has seen accelerated project implementation with Smart Cities focusing on grounding and completing projects. Also, over 50 smart cities have transformed their Integrated Command and Control Centres (ICCCs) into COVID-19 war rooms.
Further, the Climate Smart Cities Assessment Framework (CSCAF) was rolled out in 100 smart cities to help cities with climate change-based urban design and governance. The second round of annual assessment is currently underway. A Climate Centre for Cities (C3) has been established in the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA. Several national competitions like the India Cycles4Change Challenge, Streets for People, and Nurturing Neighbourhoods have also been implemented.
More Filipinos will get to experience the latest tech in mobile internet services as a Philippine telecommunications service provider will put up a 5G Experiential Zone to showcase the power of a 5G connection. 5G is the latest wireless internet connectivity that promises faster speeds, higher bandwidth, and more stable internet connections. This is the first in a series of caravans in the country.
The telco is at the forefront of the 5G revolution in the Philippines with the continued nationwide roll-out of its “ultrafast” 5G network, which includes strategic sites in Metro Manila, Boracay, Cavite, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, Laguna, New Clark City in Pampanga and Rizal.
Subscribers of the telco can also upgrade their SIM cards for free and participate in activities such as the VR experience powered by the 5G tech. Dubbed as the latest evolution of wireless communications, 5G offers advanced data speeds and low latency. Subscribers of the 5G tech will benefit from the speeds for uploading and downloading large files in seconds, streaming high-resolution videos seamlessly, and playing online games without noticeable lag.
In line with the national mission to provide citizens with up-to-date mobile internet connection and services, another telecommunications service provider in the country announced its plans to also expand its 5G network to cover 80% of the nation’s capital by yearend.
The telco’s Chief Technology and Information Officer said that they are in the two-thirds range right now. To complement this, they have also begun to roll out in six key cities in Visayas and Mindanao as part of the overall change they are making to bring 5G to more places and customers in the country. He added that its 5G network is now available in 17 cities across the country which includes several cities in the National Capital Region for Luzon; Bacolod, Boracay, Iloilo, Talisay, Lapu-Lapu, Cordova, Minglanilla, and Cebu City for the Visayas; and Davao City and Cagayan de Oro for Mindanao.
The Telco’s 5G rollout is part of the company’s three-pronged strategy for network upgrades and expansion—aggressive cell site builds, upgrading cell sites to 4G/LTE using many different frequencies, and fast-tracking its fibre network rollout for home broadband users. The company is committed to champion the 10 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG)—especially UNSDG no. 9 which recognises the importance of infrastructure and innovation as crucial drivers of economic growth and development.
In addition, the telco also inked a partnership with an international network tech provider to further aid their efforts. Under the terms of the agreement, the tech company will provide equipment and services from its comprehensive 5G portfolio to build out the Radio Access Network (RAN), including base stations and other radio access products. The Telco will also use the company’s high capacity “AirScale” Adaptive Antenna solution, which utilises the latest 64TR radios, to boost coverage and performance.
Using the new 3.5GHz spectrum band for dense urban coverage, The Telco will be able to provide end-users with high peak speeds typical on a 5G network. The deal will also see the expansion of the existing FDD/TDD LTE network infrastructure. These solutions will enable them to roll out 5G services across the two major islands of the country and offer customers superior speeds, capacity, and lower latencies while reducing complexity.
In perspective, as reported by OpenGov Asia, the country is now in 6th place in mobile internet speed among the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) according to a report from a global speed test. Globally, the country moves up to the 86th spot in the mobile internet speed rankings in January 2021. This is a marked improvement from its 111th rank in the same period last year.