The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is calling for local and international companies to join the Singapore Tourism Accelerator. The pilot programme, which will run for two years, aims to develop solutions to long-standing issues, as well as developing new ideas that will transform the tourism sector.
Mr Poh Chi Chuan, Director, Digital Transformation, Singapore Tourism Board, said: “With increasing disruption faced by the tourism sector, we are committed to help our industry partners meet the challenges and stay ahead of the competition. The Singapore Tourism Accelerator gives us a platform to work with companies with innovative solutions that can be applied across the industry and to enhance the overall visitor experience.”
STB looking for innovative prototypes or start-ups
The Accelerator was first announced during 2019 Tourism Industry Conference as the Singapore Tourism Incubator. However, it has been renamed to reflect that the programme fast-tracks the development and scaling-up of promising solutions within a fixed period of time. This means targeting start-ups already at the prototyping or business development stage, as well as those that have piloted a breakthrough solution in another city and are looking for opportunities to scale their solutions in the Singapore and Asian markets. STB will work with the Accelerator’s appointed partner Found8 to select start-ups to participate in the programme. To qualify, companies must already have prototype solutions or have piloted their solutions elsewhere.
Businesses will have the support of leading industry players
The Accelerator, located on STB’s premises, will take in its first batch of 12 companies in October. During the first stage of the programme, companies go through workshops and informal sharing sessions, to help refine and adapt their solutions to meet the needs of Singapore’s tourism sector. They will also be working with established industry players that include Expedia Group, Sentosa Development Corporation, SingEx Holdings, Singapore Airlines and Marina Bay Sands.
Winning solutions will be rewarded with investment for testing
At the end of three months, the solutions will be evaluated by a panel of industry members. Selected companies will move on to the next stage where they’ll receive funding support of 70% of qualifying costs, up to $25,000 per company, to testbed their solutions with an industry partner. The programme concludes with a showcase, which is where they get to pitch their business plans to industry stakeholders and investors.
Rehabilitation services have gained increasing significance, as highlighted by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat during RehabWeek 2023. The demand for rehab services is growing worldwide due to an ageing population and a rising incidence of chronic diseases. To meet this demand and improve outcomes, the field of rehabilitation is embracing innovation, particularly through advancements in technology, robotics, and digitalisation.
Rehabilitation plays a crucial role in enabling individuals, regardless of age, to regain independence and participate meaningfully in daily life. With the World Health Organisation estimating that 1 in 3 people globally may benefit from rehab services, the importance of this field cannot be overstated.
Beyond individual well-being, rehabilitation contributes to productive longevity and reduces downstream medical costs when integrated into holistic care plans. Thus, it aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of “healthy lives and well-being for all at all ages.”
Deputy Prime Minister Heng shared his personal experience as a stroke survivor, emphasising the pivotal role that therapists and early rehabilitation played in his recovery journey. Early rehab interventions were instrumental in mitigating the debilitating effects of extended bed rest in the ICU. Dedicated therapists, combined with intensive rehab, enabled him to regain full functionality, underscoring the transformative potential of rehabilitation services.
Innovations in rehabilitation leverage broader trends like robotics and digitalisation. These innovations offer precision rehabilitation, tailoring treatment plans to individual needs. They also mitigate manpower constraints by augmenting human efforts with technology.
For instance, robotics-assisted physiotherapy and games-based cognitive exercises are becoming increasingly prevalent. Moreover, virtual rehabilitation has gained prominence during the COVID-19 pandemic, enhancing convenience and empowering patients to take charge of their rehab journeys from home.
Many societies are facing the dual challenge of an ageing population and a declining workforce to provide rehabilitation services. Technology is critical in augmenting these efforts to meet growing demand. Innovations in rehabilitation enhance its effectiveness and accessibility, ensuring that patients follow through with and benefit from rehab programs.
Singapore is at the forefront of innovative rehabilitation practices. Its acute hospitals offer excellent rehab care services and conduct research to improve care. Notably, Tan Tock Seng Hospital is a pioneer in rehabilitation medicine. Changi General Hospital houses the Centre for Healthcare Assistive and Robotics Technology (CHART), facilitating the synergy between clinical needs and technological innovation.
The One-Rehab Framework is a recent innovation in Singapore, ensuring timely access to rehabilitation care. This framework enables seamless care coordination across different settings and care team members through a common IT portal and harmonised clinical outcomes. It streamlines the sharing of relevant patient information and encourages right-siting of care within the community, reducing the burden on acute hospitals.
According to Deputy Prime Minister Heng, RehabWeek serves as a platform for delegates with diverse expertise and a shared commitment to advancing rehabilitation care. It encourages the sharing of best practices and useful technologies to strengthen collective impact, especially when addressing global challenges.
Singapore stands ready to collaborate with international partners, offering its strong ecosystem in research, innovation, and enterprise to advance the field of rehabilitation for the benefit of people worldwide.
He added that rehabilitation is evolving and embracing technological innovations to meet the increasing demand for its services, especially in ageing societies. “Collaboration, innovation, and a focus on the last-mile delivery of care are crucial for ensuring that individuals can live well and maximise their potential through effective rehabilitation,” Deputy Prime Minister Heng said. “Singapore’s commitment to these principles makes it a valuable partner in advancing the frontiers of rehabilitation on a global scale.”
The Vietnamese government has said that digital transformation and green transformation are inevitable global trends. They have a crucial role in enhancing economic growth, labour productivity, competitiveness, production, and business efficiency. They also reduce reliance on fuel sources that cause pollution and minimise carbon footprint.
To discuss digital and green transformation for sustainable development and to foster networking opportunities for businesses to accelerate their green transitions, the Ministry of Science and Technology held a forum in the northern province of Quang Ninh.
Domestic and international scientists, along with representatives from organisations and technology companies, deliberated on strategies to speed up green and digital transformations. They underscored the importance of advancing technological innovation and implementing reforms in human resource management, training, and quality enhancement to create new products and processes. This, in turn, will boost business value, aid in the delivery of better goods and services to society, and expedite Vietnam’s industrialisation and modernisation processes.
Participants suggested the establishment of a support mechanism for industries implementing green and digital transformation solutions in Vietnamese businesses. They also stressed that it is necessary to promote Horizon Europe’s international cooperation programme on joint research and innovation for Vietnam and have comprehensive digital transformation solutions for businesses.
During the forum, Quang Ninh province representatives, the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA), businesses, and organisations exchanged memoranda of understanding regarding collaboration in the domains of digital transformation and green transformation.
Vietnam has been introducing emerging technologies in the agricultural sector to promote sustainable growth. Earlier this year, the government announced plans to introduce artificial intelligence (AI) for the optimisation of farming practices, including weather prediction, monitoring of plant and livestock health, and enhancing product quality.
AI can improve crop productivity and help control pests, diseases, and cultivation conditions. It can improve the performance of farming-related tasks across food supply chains. Advancements in the manufacturing of AI-controlled robots are assisting farmers worldwide in utilising less land and labour while simultaneously boosting production output.
Vietnam’s commitment to technological advancements in agriculture extends beyond AI, as highlighted by the government’s plans to harness biotechnology. In September, the Politburo issued a resolution under which Vietnam aims to be among the top ten Asian countries in biotechnology production and services by 2030.
As OpenGov Asia reported, the biotechnology sector is on the verge of becoming a significant economic and technological industry, with an expected 50% rise in the number of companies in terms of investment size and growth rate. Additionally, it is projected that half of the imported biotechnology products will be substituted by domestic production. This sector is anticipated to make a 7% contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Vietnam aims to establish a thriving biotechnology sector by 2045, positioning itself as a prominent centre for smart production, services, biotechnology startups, and innovation in Asia. This sector is expected to contribute 10% to 15% to the GDP by that year.
As a result of its tropical climate and its economic shift away from agriculture, biotechnology plays a vital role in Vietnam’s industrialisation and modernisation efforts. It contributes significantly to ensuring food security, facilitating economic restructuring, and promoting sustainable development. Furthermore, in environmental conservation, biotechnology has brought forth numerous solutions. These include the breakdown of inorganic and organic pollutants, waste treatment, industrial waste processing, and the use of microorganisms to address oil spills and incidents of oil contamination.
Vietnam can focus on developing various aspects within the biotechnology sector, such as agricultural advancements in crop and animal breeding, manufacturing veterinary drugs, developing vaccines, and creating bio-fertilizers.
The agricultural sector continues to experience technological advancements. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a part of the modern agricultural industry. AI technology is used in various aspects, from production and management to marketing. Agriculture heavily relies on weather, soil, and the environment. Therefore, AI technology related to drones and sensors is essential to support precision agriculture
Drones’ ability to rapidly scan areas with high-quality sensors is beneficial in various applications, including crop mapping, soil analysis, environmental surveys, livestock monitoring, and infrastructure surveillance.
In light of this, the Food Crops Research Centre (PRTP) of the Agriculture and Food Research Organisation (ORPP) under the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) held an occasion regarding AI technology in the development of drones and sensors and its applications in agriculture.
Puji Lestari, the Head of ORPP BRIN, expressed that this occasion would benefit BRIN and other stakeholders. She emphasised that combining drone and sensor technology would create innovative solutions to address food availability challenges.
Furthermore, Puji also highlighted that precision agriculture is closely tied to the availability of tools. Implementing AI in rapid data analysis as a basis for decision-making, ranging from planting and feeding to irrigation and harvesting, is expected to benefit farmers.
The AI-based capabilities, including high-quality sensors and scanning, enable rapid work and real-time data processing, plant identification, and decision-making to support productivity targets. Therefore, the Food Crops Research Centre should provide more opportunities to utilise AI-based technology that supports increased crop productivity,” he emphasised.
At the same time, the Head of PRTP BRIN, Yudhistira Nugraha, also acknowledged that technological advancements have become inevitable. Through the science community, AI researchers are expected to actively contribute to utilising AI technology, turning it into a valuable science that can be applied to agricultural development in Indonesia.
“We can gain many benefits using AI technology for monitoring agricultural land, including fertiliser usage, fertility identification, plant growth, and with the help of AI technology, farmers can make decisions and take actions that can be applied in the farming system to increase productivity,” he explained.
Tri Surya Harapan, Research Manager at a company that provides sales of drones and surveillance services for agriculture, the environment, defence, forestry, and marine purposes, explained about multispectral cameras that provide information on plant health and management.
“AI is widely known for replicating human intelligence and can be simulated using computer systems. Automation sensors embedded in drones, such as camera sensors, LIDAR sensors, or other advanced sensors, provide valuable information as decision-makers in the field without direct human intervention,” he said.
“The use of AI with drone and sensor technology requires relatively high service costs, so in its implementation, collaboration with stakeholders on a large scale is needed,” Tri clarified.
Meanwhile, Senior Researcher at PRTP BRIN, Muhammad Aqil, discussed the Utilisation of Drone Technology in Food Crop Research. This is in line with the direction of the President of Indonesia in the 2021 National IPTEK Coordination Meeting, which emphasises the use of modern technology and contribution to the era of Industry 4.0, including the application of artificial intelligence technology to support all fields/activities, including agriculture.
“We have gone through several stages before reaching Industry 4.0, and now it’s time to use drone technology to monitor the nutrient status of plants, quickly detect pest attacks (OPT – Plant Pest Organisms), check strain contamination, inspect seed production data cells, and determine the harvest time,” said Aqil.
Aqil concluded that the vegetation index-based model developed for the selection of corn genotypes, which are tolerant to both NDVI and NDRE, has proven capable of predicting harvest yields and the best genotype types in corn variety selection in the field.
“By integrating drones and image analysis, it could support research activities, especially in the field,” Aqil added.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has inaugurated several digital projects for the Defence Accounts Department (DAD) as part of its 276th Annual Day celebrations. The initiatives include:
The Summary of Accounts, Budget, and Expenditure for Raksha Mantralaya (the Ministry of Defence) tool aims to provide a more accurate and objective view of defence financial information like payment, accounting, and budgeting in India.
This analytics tool integrates, compiles, sanitises, and standardises financial data from various applications, data sources, and databases. It then offers a real-time, comprehensive platform with dashboard features, allowing users to visualise trends, display metrics, present graphs illustrating key performance indicators, and generate reports, among other functionalities.
SARANSH will function as a complete dashboard for higher management, offering a quick overview of all defence expenditures. It enables centralised monitoring and encourages data-driven decision-making for all defence organisations.
The Bill Information and Work Analysis System will function as a dashboard for various Principal Controllers of Defence Accounts (PCsDA)/ Controllers of Defence Accounts (CsDA), providing different infographics to monitor and analyse the whole process flow of bill management. It will also generate reports on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). It provides real-time detailed analyses of bill processing, with interactive visualisations of granular data flowing through the various office automation systems within a controller office.
E-Raksha Awaas is a centralised and comprehensive software package designed to enhance and streamline the process of generating rent and related charges for rentable buildings within Defence Services. It also facilitates the prompt remission of these charges to government accounts. This package acts as a unified online platform for all stakeholders engaged in the generation, recovery, and remission of rent and allied charges.
Minister Singh described the DAD as the guardian of defence finance and commended its efforts to strengthen the country’s defence capabilities through transparent and efficient systems, praising its prudent resource management and output optimisation.
He suggested ways to improve the department’s efficiency such as encouraging DAD officials to enhance their professional skills to address the challenges posed by “constantly evolving times”. He urged them to partner with organisations like the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) to create and implement customised training modules, as per requirements.
Providing financial advice is one of the DAD’s most crucial responsibilities, the Minister noted. The DAD should consider two key aspects when offering financial advice: a realistic assessment of the demands of the user agency and a thorough understanding of the product’s market.
He explained that it is important to evaluate whether there is a need to purchase a product and whether a similar product of equal or greater effectiveness is available in the market at a lower cost. This understanding will enhance the quality of financial advice.
Furthermore, to foster such an understanding, Singh suggested establishing an in-house mechanism—a standing committee of experienced individuals who can research and analyse market forces and offer valuable insights to field officers. “Big banks and financial institutions develop in-house economic intelligence and research teams. On similar lines, the DAD needs to develop an in-house team for market research and intelligence,” he stated.
It is also vital to strengthen the internal vigilance mechanism to detect and review suspicious activity. This will not only expedite addressing issues but also enhance public trust in the department, the Minister said.
In an exciting collaboration between LASALLE College of the Arts (LASALLE) and the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), the future of electric vehicle (EV) design is undergoing a remarkable transformation. This pioneering effort, a testament to engineering excellence and design innovation, has birthed an avant-garde electric vehicle prototype that is making waves at LASALLE College of the Arts as part of Singapore Design Week.
Led by Nathan Yong, Programme Leader of BA (Hons) Product Design at LASALLE and a recipient of the President’s Design Award, three students from LASALLE, namely Choong Yu Haun, Namjot Kaur, and Joel Yong, joined forces with SUTD’s Electric Vehicle Club (EV Club) to embark on a journey that reimagines the art of electric vehicle design.
At the heart of this transformative project lies the innovative use of 3D printing technology, a disruptive force that is reshaping the automotive landscape. Drawing inspiration from the intricate and efficient forms found in nature, particularly in insects, the collaborative team has pushed the boundaries of design to create a body shell that epitomises speed, agility and a new benchmark for future electric vehicles.
In doing so, they have also made substantial strides towards sustainable transportation design, underscoring their commitment to environmental stewardship and technological advancement.
The result of this remarkable collaboration is the TITHONUS design, crafted by LASALLE students and based on the open-top tandem two-seater electric sports car initially designed and built by SUTD students.
This lightweight chassis houses a quad-motor electric powertrain capable of short 2-second bursts of up to 1,000Nm of torque. With double-wishbone suspension all around and 18-inch wheels regulated by disc brakes, TITHONUS is a testament to the fusion of creativity, engineering acumen, and digitalisation in the pursuit of a sustainable and thrilling automotive future.
LASALLE receives tuition grant support from Singapore’s Ministry of Education and is a founding member of the University of the Arts Singapore. Besides, the partnership between LASALLE and SUTD has not only pushed the boundaries of electric vehicle design but also showcased the transformative power of 3D printing technology and digitalisation in the realm of transportation.
Singapore’s commitment to sustainable mobility is evident in its ambitious goals to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate the impact of climate change. The government’s “Green Plan 2030” outlines a clear roadmap for transforming the country’s transportation sector. At the forefront of this transformation are electric vehicles, which are seen as a pivotal solution to reduce the carbon footprint of the transportation industry.
Digitalisation is the driving force behind Singapore’s electric vehicle revolution. The integration of digital technologies into every facet of the EV ecosystem is unlocking new possibilities and reshaping the way we perceive and use electric vehicles.
Also, central to the success of EVs is a robust charging infrastructure. Digitalisation has enabled the development of a smart charging network across Singapore. EV owners can easily locate charging stations through mobile apps, check availability in real time, and even make reservations. Additionally, predictive analytics help optimise the placement of charging stations based on usage patterns, ensuring convenience for users.
Digitalisation has transformed the way EVs are managed and maintained as advanced telematics systems allow for remote diagnostics, real-time monitoring of vehicle health, and over-the-air software updates. This not only enhances the overall reliability of EVs but also minimises downtime and reduces maintenance costs.
The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology is devising incentives to support the implementation of 5G telecommunications network technology in Indonesia. This step is taken as part of a strategy to optimise the 5G network to enhance internet speed significantly.
Minister of Communication and Information Technology, Budi Arie Setiadi has revealed that the government’s efforts are geared towards encouraging investment in this sector. One specific measure is to incentivise telecommunications operators to encourage them to make large-scale investments. With these incentives in place, operators can avoid making a substantial upfront payment, which can reduce their investment costs.
Budi Arie Setiadi also expressed his belief that internet speed in Indonesia will continue to increase in line with the advancement of digital technology. The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology is committed to making Indonesia one of the top 10 countries in the world in terms of internet speed by implementing a robust 5G network. Therefore, the government will continue to focus on developing the digital infrastructure to support this goal.
In addition, Budi Arie Setiadi emphasised the importance of establishing a strong digital infrastructure. He explained that includes the development of a reliable and extensive 5G network, which will help meet the needs of the public and industries as they navigate the ever-evolving digital era.
“5G in the future will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in shaping not just the telecommunications landscape but also the broader digital ecosystem,” Budi Arie Setiadi elaborated. As the world becomes increasingly interconnected and reliant on high-speed data transmission, Indonesia is positioning itself strategically to harness the potential of 5G technology for its growth and development.
The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology has embarked on a mission to position Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country, among the top 10 nations globally regarding 5G network deployment.
“When we discuss speed, it’s a measure relative to other nations, but what truly matters is our global ranking. We employ this benchmark because the world’s pace of internet adoption is not slowing down. Even if our target is to achieve 100 Mbps, if we observe that the global rankings are on the ascent, we remain steadfast in our pursuit,” he expressed.
Furthermore, he also underscored that the government is committed to assessing and crafting strategic initiatives to deliver improved-speed 5G network services. He emphasised that they are poised to collaborate closely with various mobile operators and industry ecosystems to formulate the most effective strategies.
In pursuing high-quality internet network services, the government also remains acutely attuned to the evolving dynamics within the domestic industry.
Budi Arie further highlighted the significance of fostering an industrial ecosystem that enhances quality sustainably and competitively. He said that it is paramount as it will ensure the industry sustains its health and engages in fair competition.
Commercial 5G services are already operational in 49 cities across Indonesia. Furthermore, the development of 5G networks is actively progressing in five super-priority tourist destinations and is being showcased at various international events.
The Minister’s emphasis on global ranking highlights Indonesia’s determination to benchmark itself against international standards. It acknowledges that the digital landscape is dynamic and constantly evolving, and being among the top performers globally clearly indicates staying relevant in the digital age.
The Otago Regional Council (ORC) has taken measures to upgrade its regional air quality monitoring network, incorporating digital technology to adhere to new air quality guidelines. These efforts are aimed at maintaining compliance with stricter standards, improving air quality in Otago, and safeguarding public health.
Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (LAWA) introduced updated air quality monitoring procedures, which not only compare data to the National Environmental Standards for Air Quality (NESAQ) but also align with the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) more stringent standards. This shift in monitoring protocols underscores the importance of enhancing air quality assessment, and ORC has embraced digital technology to meet these new requirements effectively.
These upgrades primarily focus on monitoring small, airborne solid or liquid particles, specifically PM10 and PM2.5, with diameters smaller than 10 and 2.5 micrometres, respectively. The ORC recognises the significance of tracking these finer particles, which can originate from various sources, including natural ones like pollen and sea salt, and mechanical processes that produce dust.
To bolster its monitoring capabilities, ORC has undergone a series of network upgrades over recent years, installing new instruments at six out of seven monitoring sites. Notably, Mosgiel and Central Dunedin locations have been equipped to monitor both PM10 and PM2.5, allowing for more precise data collection.
Furthermore, ORC has implemented small air quality sensors at various locations, such as streetlights and power poles, to assess air quality more comprehensively. These sensors measure PM2.5 concentrations, particularly from combustion-related sources like wood burners, industry emissions, and traffic.
The ongoing studies and data collection efforts are intended to provide insights into where PM2.5 concentrations are highest and when peak levels occur during the day. The data generated from these sensors will serve as a basis for further investigation into possible sources of PM2.5 and strategies to reduce these levels, ultimately improving air quality.
Additionally, ORC has studied pollutants like nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulphur dioxide (SO2) in Central Dunedin. The results of these studies have raised concerns about NO2 concentrations potentially exceeding WHO guidelines, which are more stringent than the National Environmental Standard for Air Quality (NESAQ). This highlights the importance of thorough monitoring and digital data analysis to understand pollutant levels accurately.
To expand its monitoring efforts, ORC has also conducted spatial studies in various regions, including Ōamaru, South Dunedin, Alexandra, Ranfurly, Hawea, Luggate, and Kingston. These studies involve deploying temporary air quality sensors on infrastructure such as streetlights and power poles. The data collected will help identify areas with the highest PM2.5 concentrations and peak times, guiding decisions on permanent air quality monitoring installations.
ORC’s commitment to using digital technology and data analysis to enhance air quality monitoring reflects its dedication to meeting new standards and improving the overall air quality in Otago. Integrating advanced monitoring tools and techniques is a significant step toward safeguarding public health and mitigating the risks associated with air pollution.
As ORC continues to evolve its air quality monitoring network and embrace digital technology, it plays a crucial role in reducing the health risks posed by air pollution in Otago. The shift towards stricter monitoring standards and the utilisation of advanced instruments align with the intent to achieve cleaner and healthier air for the region’s residents.