The National University of Singapore (NUS) launched the first new-build net-zero energy building in Singapore yesterday. Mr Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Finance and Chairman of the National Research Foundation, visited the building and officially launched SDE4.
The new SDE4 building is energy efficient and environmentally friendly, with a suite of innovative building strategies to improve the comfort and well-being of building users, and is situated within the School of Design and Environment (SDE).
Professor Tan Eng Chye, NUS President, said, “NUS is proud to be home to the first new-build net-zero energy building in Singapore. This is testament to our continuous efforts in incorporating sustainability in various aspects of our campus life – from operations, planning, construction, research and education.”
The SDE4 is designed to be climate responsive with net-zero energy consumption, the building features a range of sustainable building designs, such as solar roof installations, a hybrid cooling system, as well as approaches to optimise natural ventilation and lighting.
The SDE4 building houses a mix of research laboratories, design studios, as well as teaching and common learning spaces over six floors, covering a gross floor area of 8,588 square metres.
Key features of this new sustainable building include:
Professor Tan Eng Chye, NUS President added The conceptualisation and construction of SDE4, which is also our very first net-zero energy building on campus, involved a collaborative partnership between our resident experts at the NUS School of Design and Environment as well as external consultants, builders and developers.The result is a dynamic living laboratory, showcasing the latest ideas and solutions in sustainable development.”
“The School will continue to push the boundaries of innovative design as it embarks on the next phase of transforming three other buildings in the precinct to embrace a ‘well and green’ philosophy. We hope that this novel concept will inspire future high-performance buildings and sustainable development designs in Singapore and beyond,” Professor Tan added.
The completion of SDE4 marks the first milestone in realising the School’s vision of creating a ‘well and green’ zone, called the Engineering and Design & Environment precinct, that will be a prototype of human-centric approaches to future sustainable development in NUS. Two existing buildings are currently being renovated. One more building will be redeveloped, and this new building will demonstrate the ambitious goal of being net-positive energy, net-zero water, wellness certified and low carbon construction.
The Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) announced the launch of “HKSTP InnoAcademy” on 7 October 2020. The Academy is dedicated to the continuous nurturing of young technology talent to inspire and drive success in Hong Kong’s innovation and technology (I&T) industry.
The HKSTP InnoAcademy aims to boost Hong Kong’s I&T competitiveness with a sustained series of programmes, including training and value-added support to upskill technology talent from various sectors into future leaders. The day also marked the inauguration of eight high-potential talents from the first cohort of HKSTP InnoAcademy’s signature “Technology Leaders of Tomorrow” (TLT) programme, as they embark on an extensive 26-month journey within the Hong Kong Science Park ecosystem.
Since enrolment began in July 2020, the TLT programme received an overwhelming response with over 600 applications from graduates in Hong Kong and across the globe, which are the world’s top 50 universities in 2020. Among the many applicants, 60% of them were holders of a Master’s degree or PhD, majoring in Computer Science, Engineering, Biology, Information Technology or Data Science.
The CEO of HKSTP stated that talent development, attraction and retention are crucial factors in sustaining the growth momentum of Hong Kong’s I&T sector. HKSTP recognises that grooming quality talent into inspiring and standout leaders is a critical ingredient to maintaining the city’s global competitive edge.
The mission at HKSTP InnoAcademy is to build the ideal I&T breeding ground to nurture future technology leaders and pioneers. With HKSTP’s extensive ecosystem, the Park and its partners will work together to develop forward-looking learning and training programmes tailored to young graduates and mid-level professionals.
HKSTP InnoAcademy will focus on developing young talent across HKSTP’s strategic technology areas, including Artificial Intelligence & Robotics, Biomedical Technology, Data and Smart City and FinTech, as well as establishing partnerships and connections with key industry leaders, training providers and tertiary education institutions. The continuous learning approach provides talent with multiple career pathways to join the I&T industry while supporting future skills acquisition.
TLT Programme Offers Diverse Opportunities
The eight selected talents from the first cohort of the TLT programme will first enter a two-month HKSTP internship and enjoy valuable exposure to Hong Kong’s leading I&T ecosystem. From there, each talent will take a 24-month full-time R&D role at one of HKSTP’s partner companies for continued career mentoring and development.
Beyond the current TLT programme, InnoAcademy will continue to roll out an extensive range of talent development and training initiatives, in collaboration with major academic and industry partners to unleash the potential of young graduates and equip them to become a driving force in the future of Hong Kong’s I&T sector.
In July 2020, HKSTP launched the Technology Leaders of Tomorrow Programme (TLT Programme) which aims to nurture future technology leaders in Hong Kong and has been designed in collaboration with 11 leading HKSTP’s partner companies at the pilot stage. The programme is now calling for ambitious graduates across the city who are committed to an I&T career to submit applications.
The HKSTP CEO had stated that The Park is committed to accelerating the growth of Hong Kong’s innovation and technology through supporting the development of local start-ups and introducing young people to the promising career prospects and rich opportunities in the industry.
Disabled people continue to be disadvantaged by their limited ability to engage with digital and online services, according to a new report: Digital inclusion user insights – Disabled people. The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) estimates that around 20% of all New Zealanders are digitally excluded. This essentially means that this community does not have the skills or access needed to participate in the online world.
The purpose of this research was to understand the perceptions and feelings about digital inclusion from people with disabilities as they go about their daily lives. The goal was to understand the key pain points for individuals, what they liked about the current system and what improvements could be made to ensure a more equitable digital environment for all.
For disabled people, one of the most vulnerable communities, this research highlights how the experience of engaging with digital services could be leaving disabled people behind, increasing the number of people who cannot easily and confidently use the internet and online services.
Adam Stapleton, Programme Delivery Manager, Digital Public Service branch at DIA said, “The report highlights issues that have impacted disabled people’s ability to easily and confidently use the internet and digital services. COVID-19 has exacerbated some of these issues and yet also produced an environment where new insights to improve digital inclusion can be embraced and used. This is a real opportunity to create traction.”
The research report gives disabled people a voice and outlines their lived experience in terms of being digitally enabled. It outlines 5 key findings which could help improve the design of websites and online services, making an impact on how disabled people experience the digital.
The report includes insights from disabled people and 5 recommendations for Government on how to increase digital inclusion.
- a need to enforce or incentivise application of the Web Accessibility Standard
- a call to increase the co-design of accessible, digital services
- strong demand for digital skills training from within the disability community
- demand from the disabled community for affordable access to digital tools and technology
- a call to explore employment and post-employment support for the disabled community.
The findings highlight that vulnerable communities like those of the disabled people community will continue to be disadvantaged by their ability to engage or not engage with digital services. The report shows that government agencies can design and provide services differently to be more inclusive for disabled people.
Making digital inclusion a priority
In 2019, the New Zealand government laid out the Digital Inclusion Blueprint and Action Plan, a vision and roadmap working to ensure that all New Zealanders can participate in, contribute to and benefit from the digital world. The Blueprint sets out 4 roles for government in building a digitally included New Zealand: lead, connect, support and deliver.
That vision continues to come to life in the 2020 Digital Inclusion Action Plan which outlines the range of government activities underway and planned to make a more digitally inclusive New Zealand. For example, focusing on closing digital skills gaps for whānau (extended families and communities), iwi (Maori community or people) and small businesses to support them in being able to better engage digitally. Another key part of the work is the user experience research work — a series of 7 user experience reports to understand the perceptions and feelings about digital inclusion.
The goal is to understand the key pain points for individuals of vulnerable communities. What they liked about the current online environment, what they do not, and what improvements could be made to make it a more equitable digital environment.
These reports are more than words on a page. These reports will be used to inform, advise and help people in government and the community who design and provide services so that they can be more inclusive for disabled people.
“Closing the digital divide is something we all need to work together on. Reading the report, consider how to use the findings applied to ongoing or new digital strategies is going to be key to creating the traction needed for disabled people to get the benefits of the internet, connectivity and connection,” confirmed Adam Stapleton, Programme Delivery Manager, Digital Public Service branch at DIA.
The Singapore Police Force (SPF) and HTX have developed, and are currently testing out, a training system known as the Enhanced Live Firing Range System – ELFRAS, that is aimed at enhancing firearm training delivery.
The system uses multiple sensors and analytics to improve the shooting performance of officers undergoing firearm training. This is also in line with the Home Team’s (HT) drive to better leverage technology to enhance learning outcomes for HT officers.
The sensors capture human factors such as weapon handling, breathing, shooting posture, gaze fixation and visual alignment. An embedded Advance Performance Enhancement & Analysis Range System (APEARS) software analyses data collected through these sensors and provides real-time recommendations to help improve the officer’s subsequent shots.
The features of the sensors are as follow:
Weapon Handling. A sensor attached to the weapon tracks the movement of the weapon before, during and after the trigger is pulled. It also identifies trigger pulling techniques applied by the officer.
Breathing. A sensor, fixed at the shooting lane, tracks and shows whether the officer’s breathing technique affects the movement of his weapon while firing.
Gaze Fixation. A sensor in the form of a pair of spectacles tracks the officer’s eyes during firing, including whether the officer focuses on his aiming or blinks his eyes while firing.
Shooting Posture.A body posture camera, fixed at the shooting lane, captures the officer’s body movement and compares it against the recommended shooting postures.
The Human Factors and Simulation Centre of Expertise (HFS CoE) of HTX worked with SPF to identify the full spectrum of performance-related human factors indices and to define the engineering design to instrument the shooting lane with these sensors.
Ying Meng Fai, Acting Director of the HFS CoE said, “The system provides information on the shots and real-time analysis of human factor indices such as weapon handling, breathing, shooting posture, and visual alignment. This way, timely and targeted feedback can be provided to the officers to improve their proficiency.”
The ELFRAS system also features a target sensor system that performs automated scoring, captures and displays the location where each shot lands on the target board in real-time.
This information, together with recommendations generated by the APEARS software, is presented on display panels placed beside and above the officer, to provide both officer and trainer immediate insights on the shooting performance.
This allows the trainer to provide comprehensive and timely guidance to the officer. The team has also designed an intuitive ‘one glance’ user interface for ELFRAS which enables the trainer and trainee to rapidly visualise and mitigate critical performance gaps.
Superintendent Joseph Yoong, Head of the Instructional Technology Division of the SPF Training and Capability Development Department, and member of the ELFRAS project team, said, “As part of our efforts to be a learning force with world class training, the Singapore Police Force leverages technology, such as ELFRAS during firearms training, to enhance our training delivery and effectiveness, so as to better prepare our officers for their work at the frontline.”
Currently, the project is undergoing a trial at the Home Team Academy live firing range. The trial which started in June 2020 is expected to end in February 2021. The trial is conducted with selected officers undergoing pistol and revolver training.
PHOTO CREDIT: HTX
The federal government announced the establishment of a new industry advisory committee to help guide the implementation of its Cyber Security Strategy 2020. The Industry Advisory Committee will provide advice to the government through regular meetings and report directly to the Minister for Home Affairs.
The 2020 Cyber Security Strategy is firmly focused on protecting families and businesses, especially as they spend more time online, both at home and in their workplaces, the Minister for Home Affairs said. The Committee brings a wealth of experience from both the public and private sector that will build on the success of the Industry Advisory Panel and ensure the industry will continue playing a vital formative role in shaping the delivery of actions set out in the Strategy.
The work of the committee will be essential in light of the key role connected technologies are expected to play in Australia’s post-COVID recovery. While daily life is increasingly connected by digital technologies, more abundant and better-resourced cybercriminals and cyber-activists and increasingly sophisticated and emboldened state actors mean Australia is quite literally under constant cyberattack.
Meeting that challenge requires Australia’s cyber defences to be strong, adaptive and built around a strategic framework that is coordinated, integrated and capable — the 2020 Cyber Security Strategy provides that framework.
The committee will be chaired by the CEO of an Australian telecommunications company fresh off his stint as chair of the industry advisory panel that shaped the development of the new strategy. Meanwhile, the Chair of Australia’s sovereign cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider will serve as Deputy Chair.
The new committee also has two other industry advisory panel members and joining these experts on the panel will be Cyber Security CRC CEO, the CEO of an Australian cloud, data centre, government cybersecurity and telecom company, and the Chairman a firm that provides real-time detection and ranging of objects and events.
Boosting cybersecurity government-wide
On a state level, the NSW government aims to streamline and standardise how agencies go about sourcing cybersecurity contractors by establishing a series of government-wide buying arrangements.
The Department of Customer Service this week approached the market to set up cybersecurity purchasing arrangements (CSPAs), as the need to secure the state’s digital services continues to increase. The arrangements will seek to overcome undisclosed “issues associated with the procurement of cybersecurity professional services to date”, and “ultimately facilitate cybersecurity uplift” across government.
Services expected to be covered by what will in effect be a panel include incident response, vulnerability assessment, maturity assessment, digital forensics, penetration testing and generic cybersecurity professional services.
This move comes in preparation for the government’s parliamentary inquiry into its handling of cybersecurity following a series of high-profile breaches, including an email compromise that saw 738Gb of data, or approximately 3.8 million documents, lifted from Service NSW.
The CSPAs will give agencies the confidence that they are procuring services from “capable suppliers” that have met a set criterion that ensures services are “fit for purposes” while minimising complexity.
This will involve “standardising the definition of services such that they are more easily understood by both buyers and suppliers allows for better comparison”, tender documents state.
The arrangements will also build on the government’s IT consultant fee caps introduced earlier this year by ‘locking in’ pricing. Suppliers will be expected to agree on “cost structures at the establishment of the CSPAs” to provide “confidence in the cost of engagements”.
The CSPAs will sit alongside the whole-of-government Cloud Purchasing Arrangements (CPAs), which were introduced by the department earlier this year to simplify public cloud procurement.
The SG Women in Tech movement (SGWIT), an initiative by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), industry, government and community partners to attract and develop girls and women in tech, celebrated its 1st year of advancing diversity in the tech sector in Singapore this week.
Some of the key milestones include:
- Connecting girls in schools with female tech leaders through a series of StudentsAsk videos that have since reached out to over 115,000 people in the community
- Bringing together over 600 women in the tech workforce for networking and mentoring activities
- Launching the inaugural SG 100 Women in Tech List to honour women who have achieved outstanding accomplishments and made significant contributions in tech.
Study finds women in tech in SE Asia is higher than global averages
To provide more insights on the strategies that companies, governments, schools and individuals can take to advance gender diversity, The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has partnered with SGWIT and IMDA on a new study which surveyed 1,650 women in tech in Southeast Asia.
The study found that the participation of women in tech in Southeast Asia is slightly higher than global averages, and about 65% of respondents agreed that the tech sector does better than other industries in offering programmes specifically tailored to recruit, retain and promote women.
“More talent will drive the fast growth of our burgeoning tech sector and spearhead digital transformation for the Singapore economy. It is heartening to see the strong interest and support for the Singapore Women in Tech movement from schools, industry and community. We are glad to see tech companies and leaders taking action to attract, retain and develop girls and women in tech, and look forward to bringing on board even more stakeholders to develop an exciting and enabling environment for women in tech,” said Mr Lew Chuen Hong, Chief Executive, Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).
Report identifies areas to boost the number of women in tech
With demand for digital talent growing faster than supply, the report identified three critical junctures for intervention to boost the number of women in tech. These “moments of truth” are the choice to pursue higher education in tech, the selection of their first job, and the decision to remain in tech over the long term.
Based on these, the report has also identified areas where companies, policymakers and academic institutions, and even women themselves, can work on, to further attract, retain and develop more women in tech.
BCG’s global leader for the Technology, Media & Telecommunications practice, Vaishali Rastogi, said, “Technology is radically disrupting businesses and industries, driving an urgent need for more digital talent across the region as demand for such profiles rises faster than supply. Women need to be part of the long-term solution.” Vaishali, who is one of the authors of the BCG report, further explained, “Our research shows that gender diversity can make companies more innovative and agile. For example, companies where women account for more than 20% of the management team have approximate 10% higher innovation revenues than companies with male-dominated leadership”.
Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information, Ms Sim Ann, also announced the extension of the MentorConnect programme for a second year at a webinar organised by SGWIT to commemorate its first anniversary.
The cross-company mentorship programme was started last year by Dell Technologies as a platform to guide and empower the development of women professionals in tech and promote best practices among participating companies from all industries. The programme will see four new companies, DBS Bank, VMWare, Aon, and BHP, joining the current ones – Dell Technologies, IMDA, Salesforce and ST Engineering.
JTC and the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) signed a Memorandum of Understanding yesterday to support manufacturers, especially SMEs, to kick-start their Industry 4.0 journey or to scale their current efforts through the adoption of technologies and solutioning for business operations through the new JTC-SBF Industry Transformation Initiative.
This initiative will provide companies that are keen in furthering their Industry 4.0 ambitions access to relevant Industry 4.0 related resources.
These include curated workshops, capability building initiatives tailored to companies’ digital readiness, and link-ups to a larger pool of technology partners and its consortiums, for solution matching to help companies develop the expertise to implement and scale Industry 4.0 solutions in their operations.
Over 300 companies are expected to be supported under this initiative and undergo Industry 4.0 transformation in the next two years. This will help them to develop new capabilities for their workforce, enhance its productivity and ensure long-term competitiveness.
Mr Tan Boon Khai, CEO of JTC, said, “SBF is an instrumental partner to drive the next phase of Industry 4.0 transformation by companies. With our large base of customers, strong network of partners, and robust advanced manufacturing ecosystem in Jurong Innovation District, more companies can become the forerunner in Industry 4.0. With this new partnership, we hope to see more businesses in Singapore transform and capture new growth opportunities in the region.”
Mr Ho Meng Kit, Chief Executive Officer of SBF, said, “The COVID-19 situation has brought disruptions to economies, making businesses rethink strategies, relook operating models and recalibrate resources. This has led to an accelerated need for a better understanding and adoption of Industry 4.0 to help local enterprises emerge stronger from the pandemic.
With the present downturn expected to be protracted, we hope that through this JTC-SBF partnership, we can further encourage more companies to take a holistic view at how Industry 4.0 solutions can help their businesses transform and thrive in the future economy.”
New initiatives to support and accelerate the next phase of Industry 4.0 transformation
This new collaboration will allow JTC and SBF’s combined network of companies to more easily access relevant Industry 4.0 resources across JTC and SBF’s networks and platforms.
Together with partners, joint engagement sessions will be carried out to further strengthen the various initiatives and encourage higher adoption of solutions for businesses to scale up their Industry 4.0 capabilities.
Companies can participate in curated training workshops and capability building programmes tailored to their level of Industry 4.0 readiness, and develop roadmaps to guide their implementation.
They will gain access to successful case studies and embark on learning journeys at Factories of the Future, giving them greater exposure to Industry 4.0 solutions in real production facilities. This will further encourage companies to transform and remain competitive amidst the pandemic.
Building a collaborative community through Industry Connect to help businesses capture new Industry 4.0 opportunities
This partnership with SBF is part of JTC’s ongoing efforts to build a collaborative community that can help companies to stay ahead of the curve. In January this year, JTC launched the Industry Connect Initiative to help businesses across its estates grow through technology adoption while enhancing talent development and environmental sustainability.
With over 14,000 customers, JTC can effectively promote business transformation to these companies by connecting them to solutions providers, trade associations, and government agencies.
To date, over 1,000 businesses in JTC’s estates have been engaged through various Industry 4.0 outreach initiatives, with around 200 companies embarking on their Industry 4.0 journey.
Leading players in the business community are sharing relevant technologies and experience to address problems faced by various industries. This has created new opportunities for businesses and their workers.
The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has expressed complete support for the vision of e-governance as outlined in the Senate Bill 1738 (E-Governance Act of 2020) as a means of institutionalising e-Governance in the Philippines to cope with the transition to the new normal and the challenges posed by the COVID-19 threat.
“In an age where almost everything can be done online and through other digital platforms, the government must harness the power of information and communications technology to better serve its purpose and bring the government closer to the people,” Senator Go, who filed the Bill on 27 July 2020.
The DICT was confident that the Bill when enacted, would complement and enhance the current efforts it has undertaken to transform public service delivery through prioritisation of digitalisation initiatives.
“We are ramping up our digitalisation plans to accelerate solid client-responsive reforms, and the filing of Senator Go of the Bill is a welcome development towards an apparently shared vision between the Executive and the Legislative when it comes to national digital transformation,” DICT Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II said. “Digital transformation should be done with interoperation as a long-term goal and with client experience always as a top consideration.”
The proposed legislation aims to establish an integrated and interoperable information system for the whole of government, an internal records management system, an information database, and digital portals for government services. The bill also aims to do away with paper-based and outdated models of bureaucratic work within government agencies and units to improve efficiency.
It envisions the establishment of the Integrated Government Network (IGN) which would serve as the primary mode of information and resource sharing among the government and function as the government’s focal information management tool and communications network.
DICT is currently focusing on interconnecting government agencies and integrating their services towards a long-term target of seamless interoperation. The Department is focusing on various digitalisation solutions under its ICT-enabled government agenda, which includes both a strengthening of existing platforms as well as looking into inter-sectoral initiatives to improve public service delivery for a recalibrated Digital Government.
DICT is enhancing government interconnectivity with the Philippine Government Network (GovNet), that provides government offices with high-speed broadband connection linked to a secure data centre, allowing the processing and transfer of sizeable data for more efficient public services. GovNet interconnects government agencies to promote better information exchange and improve the accessibility of resources.
Additionally, the department continuously provides efficient and quality services through the National Government Portal (NGP), a centralised platform where citizens can currently access 231 e-Government services online through www.gov.ph for easier navigation. Another key program to integrate government services is the National Government Data Center (NGDC) Project, which addresses the ICT system needs of government agencies by providing centralised locations where computing and networking equipment shall be housed.
DICT Department supports efforts to promote ease of doing business through the NationalBusinessOne-Stop-Shop(NBOSS), which was launched in partnership with the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), to allow for the simpler business registration process that can be completed within 7 and a half days. Similarly, the Central Business Portal (CBP) complements the NBOSS as the online platform that receives business applications and links registrants to the concerned government unit/agency to complete the transactions.
The Department is also gearing for e-Government interoperability for 2021 through a portfolio of inter-sectoral initiatives it is currently developing, in line with the recommendations of the “We Recover as One” Report of the IATF-MEID’s Technical Working Group (TWG) for Anticipatory and Forward Planning (AFP).
With these enhanced initiatives in place, the DICT affirms its commitment to lead efforts towards government digital transformation in support of the President’s directives and parallel to the legislative push for digitalisation of services.
“We are extending all efforts to transform how we deliver public services, how we transact with the people, and how we move forward in the new normal by maximising the benefits of information and communications technology,” Secretary Honasan said.