Singaporeans are soon to experience a much quicker process for clearing the immigration at Changi Terminal 4.
The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) announced today of a new face and iris scanning system at a designated automated lane in the terminal.
With this new feature, passport and thumb print scans will not be required. This allows for a “contactless” and seamless process for clearing immigration.
This reduces obstacles faced in the traditional method of fingerprint scanning such as verification issues as a result of faded fingerprints due to ageing, dryness or scarring said the authority.
Singaporeans who are six years of age and above and are holding a passport issued after Jan 1, 2018, with IDs beginning with the letter K, are eligible to use this new system.
This is because these citizens have their biometric information already saved onto the national database and hence no prior sign-up is needed.
This new immigration clearance procedure is undergoing a six-month trial, which started on November 25.
It was observed that this contactless process allowed for faster clearance, few seconds quicker than the current process.
At the contactless lane, a traveller will have to walk through two gantries. The first gantry requires the individual to stand on a footprint mat. A scanning machine will show the animated instructions that will capture images of the iris and face.
Upon the opening of that gantry, the next one will feature another machine that will confirm the identity of the individual based on the information produced by the scans before the gantry opens.
Tuas Checkpoint has a similar system but just featuring one machine and two gantries.
There are plans for setting up a second contactless clearance lane using the system at Tuas Checkpoint will be set up at Terminal 4 to assess the feasibility and efficiency of both systems.
Based on the results, ICA will determine which system to further embark on for other checkpoints.
Factors such as ease of use, physical and environmental factors will be considered.
There were some challenges faced with the system at Tuas Checkpoint, such as the unfamiliarity with iris and facial imaging and individuals not removing their headgear or eyewear.
This led to ICA working with the Home Team Science and Technology Agency to create a more effective graphical user interface. Its features include the system detecting if someone is wearing a cap and displaying the instructions for them to remove it.
Other challenges include the system being unable to identify coloured or patterned contact lenses.
The current measures are to direct such travellers to alternative lanes for immigration clearance.
While this system is designed for Singaporeans at the moment, ICA has plans for making it useable with foreigners too. It aims to roll out this contactless clearance system for all eligible travellers from 2022.
The Hong Kong Smart Government Innovation Lab recently announced that one of its incubatees launched a new solution which is now ready to be acquired by companies and institutions.
The firm’s AI chatbot solution can be used in various teaching and learning scenarios that can be scaled up to teaching or training large groups of students or employees. One breakthrough for the firm was the development of the software that enables online classroom flipping, which greatly enhances the experience of remote teaching due to COVID-19 pandemic. The research ideas behind the firm’s technologies have been published in academia venues and the filing of trademarks and patents are in the process. The benefits to end clients (students/employees) are supported by real data collected over three years.
The solution was designed to be applied in the areas of Broadcasting, Education as well as Training.
The solution employs Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cloud Computing, Data Analytics, Deep Learning, Machine Learning and Mobile Technologies.
The firm’s AI Chatbot is a complete solution aimed at empowering students of all abilities to learn effectively reaching their full potential while enabling scalable personalized learning on a real-time scale using Artificial Intelligence (AI) software technologies. It is common knowledge that the one-size-fits-all common education system that focuses on rigid assessment and pressurized competition leads to high dropout rates and stressed-out teachers and students.
Stakeholders such as parents and school management often lack the understanding of problems faced by classroom teachers who in turn lack the knowledge on how their students perform in classrooms individually or across groups (within and across schools). Over years, disinterested students would have either given up already at an early stage or lag in foundational subjects like mathematics, thus leading to persisting education equity problems.
With pedagogy as the driver, tech innovations in education need to be relevant to the generations of students and teachers. Educational software — fuelled by the proliferation of mobile devices — creates the very tools needed to solve the education equity problem.
Technology can and must be mobilized to make the process of teaching and learning more efficient and engaging to curtail the critical decline of quality teachers in the industry, as well as unlock a fascination within students for intellectual subjects, inspiring students to pursue lifelong learning.
Ongoing research in neuroscience has provided new insights into the intricacies of neural processes underlying learning, offering clues that engaging individualized instruction with feedback can nurture learning. The feedback loop between teachers and individual students must be closed and reinforced with pedagogical innovations. The feedback loop between stakeholders like management, parents and teachers must be closed and reinforced with innovations that equalize equity gaps and optimise learning.
The company provides a complete solution to innovate K-16 education learning based on integrated software products driven by mobile AI Chatbot technologies and proprietary techniques in cognitive cloud computing big data analytics. For K-12 students, the firm’s AI Chatbot running on mobile tablets connect students with educational contents curated by a creative gamification process.
For K-16 (covering tertiary students) and adult learners, the mobile AI Chatbot technologies provide in-classroom and remote learning based on pedagogical innovations like classroom flipping with peer instructions that allow at scale delivery to a large number of students worldwide, opening up the possibility to teach 21st-century skill-sets and to groom an AI workforce. Data analytics-driven by cloud computing and machine learning algorithms provide deep insights and real-time feedback on students’ learning process to stakeholders like school management, teachers and parents.
The Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) has been progressively implementing more secure and efficient immigration clearance, in collaboration with the Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX).
Since July 2020, all automated and manual immigration lanes and counters at the passenger halls of Singapore’s land, sea and air checkpoints have been equipped with iris and facial scanners.
Iris patterns and facial features will replace fingerprints as the primary biometric identifiers for immigration clearance. Fingerprints will be used as a secondary biometric identifier for travellers who are unsuccessful in their iris and facial scans.
Secure and Efficient Immigration Clearance
Since ICA implemented the enhanced-Immigration Automated Clearance System (eIACS) in 2006, fingerprints have been the primary biometric identifier for immigration clearance at our checkpoints. ICA started enrolling the iris images of Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents from 1 January 2017, as iris patterns have a number of strengths as a biometric identifier compared to fingerprints.
By using iris patterns in lieu of fingerprints for identification, issues with fingerprint verification, such as deterioration of fingerprints due to ageing, scarring or dryness, are avoided. This will enable travellers who currently have difficulty authenticating their identity using fingerprints to use the automated immigration
Second, iris patterns have a higher degree of variation and uniqueness than fingerprints, and are therefore more robust and reliable for use for identification purposes. An iris scan provides almost 250 feature points for matching, as compared to about 100 feature points for a fingerprint. In addition, specialised equipment is required to conduct the iris scan, which makes it less susceptible to misuse.
To further strengthen the identification process, authorities will employ iris and facial scans concurrently. Facial recognition provides a second check of a person’s identity. The use of two biometric identifiers – iris patterns and facial features, will provide even more reliable authentication of the identity of travellers, and further strengthen ICA’s ability to safeguard Singapore’s borders.
Transforming Immigration Clearance
For travellers, the new immigration system allows for simultaneous and touch-free capture of these two biometrics, and offers more hygienic, more convenient and more efficient immigration clearance.
Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents, long-term pass holders, as well as international travellers on our Frequent Traveller Programme (FTP) who have enrolled their iris and facial biometrics with ICA, are eligible for this new mode of clearance
When these travellers approach the automated immigration lanes, they will be prompted to use their iris and facial biometrics for immigration clearance. If authentication via iris and facial biometrics is unsuccessful or if they have yet to enrol their iris and facial biometrics with ICA, such travellers will be prompted to clear immigration using their fingerprints.
The use of iris and facial scans is part of Singapore’s plan to transform their checkpoints, to provide travellers with more secure and efficient immigration clearance. They aim to realise the New Clearance Concept (NCC) at checkpoints by 2022.
Beyond multi-modal biometric clearance, the NCC will eventually enable Singapore residents to clear immigration at checkpoints without the need to present a passport. They hope to enable the majority of foreign visitors, including first-time visitors, to clear immigration at the automated lanes on arrival, without the need for prior enrolment of their biometrics.
When initially established, most cantonments and military stations were built on the edge of existing towns and cities. Over time, as these places have developed, the military areas are now in the middle of major population centres. Consequently, the land that the army owns has increased astronomically, as real estate within is now a very scarce resource. As the Indian expands to accommodate its growing ranks and capacities, infrastructure development has gained significant importance in many of the Army stations where major works are planned to replace vintage accommodation of the pre-independence era.
Presently a majority of functions for infrastructure development and management, including ascertaining the availability of land, planning and monitoring of works, environment conservation and responsive quartering policies are carried out manually. The process is time-consuming and involves multiple agencies. Additionally, unstructured data, storage and diversity of records and permissions makes the procedure cumbersome and inefficient.
Accepting that automation is the key to empowering all stakeholders and goes a long way in making the process efficient, transparent and accountable, the Indian Army has deployed software to digitise the entire system. The “Infrastructure Management System” (IMS) software which was inaugurated by the COAS on the sidelines of the Army Commanders Conference on 28 October 2020. The platform has been developed to:
- automate works initiation, preparation of list and its approval by the Ministry of Defence
- accord administrative approval and monitoring of execution by the CFA
- automate availability of CAO pool accommodation, plan vacations, re-allocation and undertake maintenance
- automate approval of accommodation allocation/extension for children education ground, special children and battle/physical casualty
- manage cantonment roads including emergency closure
- make land, works and quartering policies available on line
- monitor land encroachment, Old Grant Bungalows, VIP references and transfer/exchange of land
This is one of the various measures the army has taken on its digital front. As part of the nation’s Atmanirbhar Bharat (Self-reliant India) vision, the Indian Army has developed a simple and secure messaging application named the “Secure Application for the Internet” (SAI).
The application supports end-to-end secure voice, text and video calling services for Android platform over the internet. The model is similar to commercially available messaging applications like Whatsapp, Telegram, SAMVAD and GIMS and utilises end to end encryption messaging protocol. SAI scores over on security features with local in-house servers and coding which can be tweaked as per requirements.
The Ministry of Defence has reviewed the functionalities of the app and was impressed by the ingenuity it embodies.
The application has been vetted by CERT-in empanelled auditor and Army Cyber Group. The process for filing Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), hosting the infrastructure on NIC and working on the iOS platform is currently in progress. SAI will be utilised pan Army to facilitate secure messaging within the service.
These initiatives come in the backdrop of significant tech-enabled developments by the army. Notably, the indigenously developed Laser-Guided Anti Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) was successfully test-fired at the start of October. The ATGM employs a tandem HEAT warhead to penetrate Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA) protected armoured vehicles up to a range of 1.5 to 5 km.
Developed by Armament R&D Establishment (ARDE), Pune in association with High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL), Pune and Instruments Research & Development Establishment (IRDE), Dehradun, the ATGM has multiple-platform launch capability and is currently undergoing technical evaluation trials from 120 mm rifled gun of MBT Arjun.
In the same week, the Supersonic Missile Assisted Release of Torpedo (SMART) was effectively tested. SMART is a missile assisted release of lightweight Anti-Submarine Torpedo System for Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) operations far beyond Torpedo range.
All the mission objectives including missile flight up to the range and altitude, separation of the nose cone, the release of torpedo and deployment of Velocity Reduction Mechanism (VRM) were met perfectly.
The tracking stations (radars, electro-optical Systems) along the coast and the telemetry stations including down range ships monitored all the events.
A cloud-first strategy directs organisations to deliver applications and services from a cloud computing platform first before considering any on-premise alternatives.
While several considerations – like the threat of a data breach or data loss – could cause concern from using the cloud in sensitive industries, such as finance, the growing consensus is that a cloud-first approach has considerable advantages and in many cases is more secure for organisations than trying to protect their own infrastructure.
The New Zealand government Cloud-First requires its agencies to use public cloud services and to accelerate their adoption of public cloud services, in a balanced way, so they can drive digital transformation. This includes:
- enhancing customer experiences
- streamlining operations
- creating new delivery models
With massive investments made into digital infrastructure by major global software companies, hyperscale cloud providers are keen to make their services available in New Zealand. These developments could prove to be a ‘game-changer’ for the nation’s digital transformation journey. Hyperscale cloud and sophisticated infrastructure would have a significant impact on digital maturity and accelerate the use of cloud in government.
To support and guide these developments, the Digital Public Service (DPS) branch at the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) is working collaboratively with partner functional leads to chalk out a detailed strategy to update policy and system settings for cloud technology. This will include new guidance for the use of cloud by government agencies.
Developing an all-of-government Cloud Centre of Excellence
The New Zealand government cloud programme supports public service agencies to accelerate the use and benefits of cloud in line with government’s policy.
Under the Cloud-First policy, government organisations are required to use public cloud services as the go-to strategy. They are required to adopt these services individually for the various services and offerings on hand after assessing all possible issues. The Cloud First policy requires government organisations to:
- adopt public cloud services in preference to traditional IT systems
- make adoption decisions on a case-by-case basis following a risk assessment
- only store data classified as RESTRICTED or below in a cloud service, whether it is hosted onshore or offshore
The focus for the 2 years will be to establish an all-of-government Cloud Centre of Excellence, that would support agencies to successfully execute well-designed and governed cloud migrations. Currently, the Digital Public Service branch is working actively with agencies to assist them with their cloud adoption planning and to facilitate collaboration on common cloud-related challenges.
Cloud programme partnerships
The programme will also specifically explore engaging with cloud providers to refresh and continually improve New Zealand’s access to cloud services. Where necessary, public service policies will be adjusted suitably and will a range of agreed ‘Lighthouse’ innovation partnerships will be progressed.
These partnerships, early in their lifecycle, are in the areas of education, environment, business and land. The overseeing agencies will determine how best to couple hyperscale cloud with advanced technologies to deliver solutions that would have significant national impact.
To build further capability and capacity for these initiatives the DPS branch will be recruiting key positions for the programme.
The DPS also encourages digital innovation through its Digital Government Partnership Innovation Fund (DGP). The fund is a $5 million contestable fund that invests in digital and data innovation. It provides an opportunity for government organisations to collaborate and invest in early-stage, cross-agency pilots and prototypes. It’s administered by the Digital Public Service (DPS) branch at the Department of Internal Affairs.
Any proposed initiative under the fund should also demonstrate innovation (the fund is not for business-as-usual), cross-agency collaboration, benefits to the public service or sector that will support transformation and must align with relevant standards, such as the NZ Government Digital Service Design Standard.
The Digital Public Service (DPS) branch at the Department of Internal Affairs is also engaging with a selection of government organisations this month to get feedback on the current and future states of digital standards maintenance and development.
This work will result in an implementation plan and roadmap for standards which will be released to all public sector organisations for consultation in early December 2020.
The Smart Urban Co-Innovation Lab, Southeast Asia’s first industry-led lab for smart cities solutions development, initiated by CapitaLand and supported by the Infocomm Media Development Authority and Enterprise Singapore, was officially opened yesterday by Minister for Communications and Information, Mr S Iswaran.
CapitaLand and industry partners commit up to S$10 million in innovation lab
The Smart Urban Co-Innovation Lab will bring together leaders in the smart cities space to co-create and test innovations with local built environment and technology enterprises in a live environment at CapitaLand’s 5G enabled Singapore Science Park.
CapitaLand, together with its industry partners, has committed up to S$10 million in the Lab as a start to catalyse development and deployment of smart cities solutions in Singapore and overseas.
The Smart Urban Co-Innovation Lab, powered by the latest technologies and 5G connectivity, is set to benefit some 200 companies in Singapore over the next three years.
Located at The Galen at Singapore Science Park, the Smart Urban Co-Innovation Lab is envisioned to be a key nexus of business partnerships and opportunities. The Lab will function as a resource integrator of various ecosystem players – local technology startups, system integrators and global corporate enterprises – to co-create solutions for smart cities, from ideation to testing to commercialisation.
Ms Eunice Koh, Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Enterprise Singapore, said: “The COVID19 pandemic has accelerated the demand for sustainable urban solutions that contribute to the building of resilient and safe cities of tomorrow. Through the Smart Urban Co-Innovation Lab, smart tech providers can work on innovative solutions that have the potential to change people’s lives for the better. For instance, Smarten Spaces, a Singapore SME tech provider introduced by Enterprise Singapore, has been working with KONE on unique innovations that use contactless and other technologies to help building owners and managers provide a safe work environment for their tenants and employees. We will continue to work with our SMEs to tap on such opportunities and find the right partners to scale their solutions.”
Industry and government work together to co-create smart cities solutions
Currently, the Lab has secured 30 industry players such as Amazon Web Services, Cisco Systems, Johnson Controls, Microsoft, MooVita, NavInfo DataTech, Schneider Electric, SPTel, TPG Telecom and Vizzio.AI, to commit to partnering local firms to co-innovate, test ideas in the Lab or pilot trials at the 55-hectare Singapore Science Park, the largest site in Singapore for trials of smart cities solutions.
Ms Jane Lim, Assistant Chief Executive, IMDA, said: “The Smart Urban Co-Innovation Lab reinforces Singapore’s strengths as a deep innovation ecosystem where tech, industry and government work together to co-create and accelerate solutions for smart cities solutions.The Lab is starting strong with 30 partners including major industry players and promising local enterprises coming onboard along with CapitaLand. These are the new opportunities we are seizing in a digital economy, that will enable us to emerge stronger.”
The Lab will focus on six key industry verticals of advanced manufacturing, digital wellness, intelligent estates, smart mobility, sustainability, and urban agriculture.
A firm under the Hong Kong Smart Government Innovation Lab recently announced the launch of a new solution. The innovation is now ready to be acquired by companies and institutions.
The solution, called VR Fire Drill Training, is a disaster training device that can simulate disaster escape from a fire scene in VR (virtual reality) environment, suitable for people over 13 years old.
Information can be obtained through the VR experience which includes:
- Interactions with blurry surroundings in the event of a fire (black smoke)
- Users’ ability to follow the emergency lighting instructions to determine the correct escape route
- A simulation where users squat down and walk as much as possible to the nearest escape
- Alerts to remind users to not breathe directly, use a (wet) handkerchief or towel to cover their mouth and nose
Summary of experience:
- In the virtual experience, users will experience how to escape in a building full of black smoke and fire
- From the VR head-mounted display, they can experience a 360-degree realistic scene
- The viewing angle can be moved by the controller (the experience takes about 3 minutes)
The solution was designed to be applied in the areas of City Management as well as Environment.
The solution employs Virtual Reality.
The use of virtual reality to imitate fire situations to conduct fire escape drills can reduce the time for implementing real fire drills. For example, government departments do not need to leave the workplace. Users can take turns using portable VR devices to experience fire situations and learn how to escape skills. It can also be used in schools, gymnasiums and commercial organizations, etc.
Propelling CEM technology
According to Everbridge, a critical event is a disruptive incident which poses serious risk or threat to assets or people. An effective Critical Event Management program and strategy is an integrated, end-to-end process that enables organizations to significantly speed up responses to critical events and improve outcomes by mitigating or eliminating the impact of a threat.
This means business continuity, disaster recovery, active assailant, emergency response, natural disaster, IT incident risk management, and mass notification are all rolled up into an easy-to-execute, strategic plan with long-term benefits.
The aforementioned solution is an example of a Critical Event Management solution. A CEM platform uses technology to take manual processes and automate them. Amplifying ad hoc data feeds to provide richer intelligence and correlating threats with locations of assets and people, ensures more rapid and comprehensive incident assessment and remediation.
Critical event management has come to the fore with the pandemic. Forecasting, planning and management of critical events help organisations and authorities prevent disruption of life and damage to property.
Governments rely on several, specific systems for critical event management. Such programmes are essential to national well-being especially with the increase in natural disasters. But, more often than not, they operate in isolation of each other. According to world experts in Critical Event Management – Everbridge, this siloed approach can create duplication in information and processes, data contradictions and, when unchecked, could lead to loss of life and damages.
Everbridge’s software automates the key steps for responding to a critical event. It aggregates threat data from third-party and internal sources so customers can assess risk, and locate people and assets at risk and those needed to respond.
It then enables customers to act by executing pre-defined processes based on the type of threat for who should be contacted and how what message to send, and who to escalate to if a responder is not available.
Everbridge’s platform then sends out notifications and instructions via text, voice, email—over 100 modalities—in 15 languages as needed, organizes conference bridges for people to collaborate, and analyzes return messages. Automating these steps enables them to be completed quickly, highly reliably and at scale at a time when minutes often matter.
Indonesia’s Ministry of Industry believes digital technology, such as cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) is it is critical to boosting the productivity of the manufacturing sector, including small and medium industries (IKM) during the pandemic and the new normal thereafter. Such tech deployment would be in accordance with the Making Indonesia 4.0 roadmap.
Director-General of Small, Medium and Miscellaneous Industries (IKMA) of the Ministry of Industry, Gati Wibawaningsih in Jakarta acknowledged that the pandemic had become a global issue for business, especially with the necessary social restrictions. Implementation of distancing normas has caused a shift in lifestyle, work models and business methodology.
In order to reduce the impact of the pandemic, the Ministry of Industry is looking at ways to maintain the activities of domestic business actors by utilising Cloud Computing and IoT based technology platforms. According to Gati, the development of digital technology has led to the creation of many breakthroughs for the manufacturing industry.
The advantages of these two technologies are considered useful in maintaining the business continuity of the IKM sector. Gati conceded that such technology would have a big impact on the SME sector business, especially during this pandemic.
The benefits of using cloud computing range from digital security to network, data centres and capable servers. Additionally, the use of IoT systems will easily interconnect technology, information and communication.
To accelerate the adoption of digital technology in the industrial sector, Gati urged cloud computing and IoT technology providers to support the production process more. This collaboration would be essential to form a solution ecosystem that would bridge the needs of industry and society.
Sutedjo Tjahjadi, Managing Director a cloud business, said the technology makes work very practical and does not need to use large infrastructure; cloud computing can also minimise company expenses. In a digital era, computers are increasingly touching all of our lives, especially during this pandemic and moving online is a critical strategy that must be carried out continuously in future as well.
In line with these trends, the Ministry of Industry launched the Startup4Industry program that would bridge the needs of industry with startup players as technology providers. This program was launched by the Minister of Industry, Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita under the umbrella of Indonesia Is Confident With Domestic Technology.
The Startup4 Industry program Directorate-General of IKMA of the Ministry of Industry, Endang Suwartini, said that the development of immersive technology needs the government’s attention because it is proven to be able to create new jobs and make the industry more efficient. For example, using Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality (AR / VR) during this pandemic has increased, initially being used for gaming has been effectively deployed for industry, education, training and tourism.
“The growing development of the AR/VR industry will encourage the electronics industry in Indonesia to start developing research and development for hardware development,” said Endang.
The Chair of the Indonesian AR/VR Association (INVRA), Andes Rizky, agreed this was the time for the Indonesian AR/VR industry to take grow and develop exponentially. Immersive technology as a new business field is recognised by the government through the publication of the 2020 Indonesian Standard Business Classification (KBLI) giving it formal legitimacy and a regulatory framework.
OpenGov Asia recently reported on the accelerated digital transformation of Indonesia’s Industry 4.0. The increased pace is being driven by efforts to increase productivity, efficiency and safety to adapt to the new normal brought about by the pandemic.