Supercomputers allow researchers to carry out experiments that would otherwise be impossible because they are too small or too large, too fast or too slow, or simply too expensive. Combining supercomputers with large data allows researchers to solve problems by analysing Big Data and enabling exploration of new areas.
Supercomputers have become very important in medicine and public health issues. Researchers are using a combination of experiment and molecular simulations to understand how, at a molecular level to replicate how diseases work.
Simulating these systems in realistic biological environments for the long timescales required to understand viruses like COVID-19 has not previously been possible.
The additional speed and capacity of supercomputers allows the researchers to gain a more detailed understanding through realistic simulations, allowing them to shorten the time between research and real impacts for everyone.
Computer Simulations Speed Up Time- Intensive Lab Processes
Computer simulations can examine how different variables react with different viruses. Each of these individual variables can comprise billions of unique data points. When these data points are compounded with multiple simulations, this can become a very time-intensive process if a conventional computing system is used.
Viruses infect cells by binding to them and using a ‘spike’ to inject their genetic material into the
host cell. To understand new biological compounds, like viruses, researchers in wet labs grow the micro-organism and see how it reacts in real-life to the introduction of new compounds. This is a slow process without powerful computers that can perform digital simulations to narrow down the range of potential variables.
IBM’s Summit is one of the world’s most powerful high-performance computing facilities. The Summit supercomputer has tens of thousands of processors covering an area that is as large as two tennis courts at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). This lab has more computational power than one million top-of-the-line laptops.
Scientists are using supercomputers to run digital stimulations of 8,000 molecules interacting with the virus to find candidate molecules that might work. They have found 77 that might and those are currently being tested in labs.
“It took us a day or two, whereas it has traditionally taken months on a normal computer,” said Jeremy Smith, director of the University of Tennessee/ORNL Centre for Molecular Biophysics and principal researcher in the study.
While simulations alone cannot find a treatment that will work, this project was able to find 77 candidate molecules that can now be tested in trials.
Accelerate Understanding of Diseases
Using a mix of AI techniques, researchers will be able to identify patterns in the function, co-operation, and evolution of human proteins and cellular systems. Greater understanding of how these patterns work will help the the drug discovery process.
“Summit was needed to rapidly get the simulation results we needed. It took us a day or two, whereas it would have taken months on a normal computer,” said Jeremy Smith, director of the lab’s Centre for Molecular Biophysics.
The results obtained from the Summit supercomputer does not mean that a cure for the new coronavirus has been found but it is hoped that the computer’s findings will assist with studies in the future giving scientists a focused framework to further investigate the identified compounds. After further investigation it will reveal if any of them have the required characteristics to attack and kill the virus.
“We are very hopeful, though, that our computational findings will both inform future studies and provide a framework that experimentalists will use to further investigate these compounds. Only then will we know whether any of them exhibit the characteristics needed to mitigate this virus.” said the Director of the lab’s Centre for Molecular Biophysics.
The National Super Computing Mission (NSM) of India is making significant headway in boosting the high power computing capacity in the country. The nation is rapidly expanding its supercomputer facilities and developing the appropriate capacity to manufacture its supercomputers in the country.
The NSM is jointly steered by the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) and Department of Science and Technology (DST) and implemented by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Pune and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru.
The National Super Computing Mission is deploying a phased strategy through its various arms to meet the increasing computational demands of academia, researchers, MSMEs, and startups in areas like oil exploration, flood prediction as also genomics and drug discovery.
With the infrastructure planned in NSM Phase-I already installed and much the infrastructure of Phase-II in place, the network of supercomputers through the country will soon reach to around 16 Petaflops (PF). Phase-III, to be initiated in January 2021, will take the computing speed to around 45 Petaflops.
Param Shivay, the first supercomputer assembled indigenously, was installed in IIT (BHU), followed by Param Shakti and Param Brahma at IIT-Kharagpur and IISER, Pune, respectively.
Thereafter supercomputing facilities were set up in two more institutions, and one is being set up in Phase-I, ramping up high power computing speed to 6.6 PF under Phase-1. In Phase-II, 8 more institutions will be equipped with supercomputing facilities by April 2021, with a total of 10 PF compute capacity. Work on Phase-III will start in 2021 and will include three systems of 3 PF each and one system of 20PF as a national facility.
MoUs have been signed with 14 premier institutions of India to establish supercomputing infrastructure along with assembly and manufacturing capacity within the country. These include IITs, NITs, National Labs, and IISERs. While some of these have already been installed, more will be done by December this year. The Phase-II installations will be completed by April 2021.
The three phases will provide access to High-Performance Computing (HPC) Facilities to 75 institutions and thousands of active researchers and academicians working through Nation Knowledge Network (NKN) – the backbone for supercomputing systems.
HPC and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have converged together. A 100 AI PF Artificial Intelligence supercomputing system is being created and installed in C-DAC, which can handle incredibly large-scale AI workloads increasing the speed of computing-related to AI several times.
The mission has also created the next generation of supercomputer experts by training more than 2400 supercomputing manpower and faculties till date.
Powered by the NSM, India’s network of research institutions, in collaboration with the industry, is scaling up the technology and manufacturing capability to make more and more parts in India. While in Phase-I, 30% value addition is done in India, that has been scaled up to 40% in Phase-II.
Efforts are being made to design and develop parts like server board, interconnect, processor, system software libraries, storage, and HPC-AI converged accelerator domestically. India has developed an Indigenous server (Rudra), which can meet the HPC requirements of all governments and PSUs. This is the first time that a server system was made in India, along with the full software stack developed by C-DAC.
Experts said that the pace at which things are moving forward, we may soon have the motherboards and sub-systems manufactured in India, making the supercomputers indigenously designed and manufactured.
Such indigenously designed systems with most parts designed and manufactured in India will be installed at places like IIT-Mumbai, IIT-Chennai, and Inter-University Accelerator Centre (IUAC) at Delhi, C-DAC, Pune, which are covered under Phase-III and help move towards supercomputers developed and manufactured totally in India paving the way for self-reliance in the field.
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.
The Vietnam government strongly believes that ensuring safety in cyberspace will accelerate the process of national digital transformation as it is the key to a successful and sustainable digital transformation.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the ITU Digital World 2020, Minister Nguyen Manh Hung said that Vietnam considers digital platforms as a way to accelerate national digital transformation, considering cybersecurity a key factor to create digital trust and Institutional reform the decisive factor for digital transformation. Vietnam considers digital platforms as a way to accelerate national digital transformation, considering cybersecurity a key factor to create digital trust and institutional reform the decisive factor for digital transformation.
Vietnamese technology not only solves Vietnamese problems but also contributes to solving global problems. The platforms showcased in ITU Digital World 2020 online exhibition and the technological solutions in the prevention of Covid-19, such as Bluezone and Ncovi, are concrete examples. According to Minister Nguyen Manh Hung, digital infrastructure with “Make in Vietnam” digital products and platforms are ready for the digital economy and society, ready for a digital Vietnam.
Vietnam has conditions to become a technology country, to use technology as a driving force for national development, to go at the same pace as other countries, for global cooperation and together build a digital world. The government considers telecommunications and IT infrastructure development one of the top priorities, and digital transformation an important solution for the country’s fast and sustainable development.
However, spam messages, e-mails and calls have been a burning issue for years in Vietnam. The issues of how to prevent spam have and are a topic of discussion at many National Assembly’s sessions.
After one year of compilation with many amendments, Decree 91 was issued by the government on August 14. The latest decree has many positive developments as compared to decrees 90 and 77 addressing the same issue. Legislators and experts are confident that the decree will have a significant impact on reducing spam in the Vietnamese digital landscape.
The strong measures were designed after learnings from the experience of developed countries were applied to strategies. Case in hand: since Australia started a DoNotCall list, 50% of subscribers have registered not to receive ad messages.
Decree 91 gives new definitions about spam messages and emails and adds a new concept about a ‘spam call’, which helps set the criteria for recognizing spam messages, calls and emails. The new decree mentions new measures for users to protect themselves from spam, including DoNotCall, the list of subscribers refusing advertising messages.
As the compiler of Decree 91 on fighting spam SMS, calls and messages, an official with the Authority for Information Security, Dang Huy Hoang, said he was happy that he could contribute to reducing ‘garbage’ in digital space, “All my enthusiasm and 8-year experience in fighting against spam are shown in the content of the decree.”
Hoang began working on the anti-spam segment in late 2012 and early 2013 when he had the chance to work with an expert at VNCERT. Since then, he has been fighting against spam. Hoang said over the last 10 years of working at the Ministry of Information and Communication, his colleague and he have been working determinedly to resolve the issues at hand. In addition to compiling Decree 91, he was also one of the compilers of circulars and other legal documents and set the criteria applied to technological solutions that recognize and authenticate genuine subscribers using artificial intelligence for prevention of spam messages.
Decree 91 also stipulates that mobile network operators have to improve techniques to prevent and filter spam, using modern technologies such as AI, Big Data, Machine Learning and behaviour analysis technology. The decree also sets new sanction methods to deter violators and protect users.
Soon after the decree was issued, Hoang and his colleagues put in place a plan to bring the decree to fruition. The new management mechanism is hoped to help mitigate spam and promote the legal advertising market and create a more secure digital ecosystem for the nation.
Recently OpenGov Asia reported don the sharp decrease in virus-infected computer networks in Vietnam. The initiative is a large-scale campaign aiming to ensure the safety and benefits of communities, businesses, individuals and families that use internet-connected devices that are networked in a cyber environment.
The Australian Government has updated the National Security Science and Technology Priorities, to strengthen the country’s national security.
The update identified six priority areas, including cybersecurity, intelligence, border security and identity management, technology foresight, investigative support and forensic science, and preparedness, protection, prevention and incident response.
The update has given greater consideration to recent challenges such as national resilience and biosecurity. These priorities will help to drive strategic advantage by developing, adapting and delivering science and technology solutions to current and future national security challenges.
The National Security and Defence community will work closely to shape and harness the national science and technology enterprise, to achieve a cohesive innovation system as outlined in the 2020 Defence Strategic Update.
Given the commitment and capacity of adversaries to engineer smarter, more agile and increasingly innovative technologies to threaten Australia’s national security, and the growing challenges arising from its natural environment that test the resilience of its society and national systems, the country must remain at the forefront of science and technology to remain agile and anticipative of new and emerging threats.
Currently, Defence, specifically Defence Science and Technology (DST), is responsible for coordinating national security science and technology. DST is recognised as having expertise across key areas of science and technology delivery, experience in establishing and managing diverse research programs, and strong connections with domestic and international science and technology providers.
The six national security science and technology priority areas are:
- Technology Foresighting
The ability to monitor, analyse and evaluate the implications of scientific and technological developments to prevent strategic and tactical surprise.
The ability to collect, analyse, integrate, assess and disseminate intelligence with the accuracy, scale and speed required to support timely national security and intelligence decision making.
- Preparedness, Protection, Prevention and Incident
The ability to appropriately equip and prepare Australian agencies to effectively address national security threats and natural or man-made destructive events, including mass-harm and mass-damage incidents, either by preventing their occurrence, or responding and recovering effectively if they have occurred.
- Cyber Security
The ability to strengthen the cybersecurity and resilience of critical infrastructure and systems of national significance through the conduct of research and development, and the delivery of advanced cyber technologies, tools, techniques and education.
- Border Security and Identity Management
National security community’s ability to protect and secure Australia’s borders from disease outbreaks, hazardous material and threats to our community, including maximum disruption effect on illegal activity and migration with projected growth in people and cargo movement across Australian borders.
- Investigative Support and Forensic Science
Law enforcement’s ability to prevent, disrupt and prosecute terrorist and criminal activities in a complex transnational and evolving digital environment.
Fostering academic and industry partnerships
The NSSTC continues to strengthen national science and technology partner capabilities to enhance targeted delivery to the Australian national security agencies. NSSTC participated in the May 2018 Civil Security Congress and Exposition which provided an opportunity to widely engage with Australian industry.
Of particular note, two Australian companies have produced equipment in the areas of explosive trace detection and stand-off detection of improvised explosive devices following receipt of NSSTC development funding.
Some current projects include:
- Novel fingerprint detection techniques
- Developing CBRN risk protocols to ensure first responder safety
Fostering international collaboration
The NSSTC maintains bilateral Memorandums of Understanding with the following international partners:
- US Department of Homeland Security
- US Combatting Terrorism Technical Support Office
- UK Home Office
- Canadian Centre for Security Science
- New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
Building on the successful bilateral engagements between allied nations, a Five Nation Research and Development Initiative (5RD Initiative) has been established which seeks to create new opportunities to deliver more efficient and cost-effective access to results, expand research, development, testing, and evaluation capacity, and offset limitations in a constrained and fluctuating budget environment.
DST’s national security science and technology program
The NSSTC drives dual-use application of sovereign DST technology encouraging applicability in both military and national security environments.
DST has directly contributed to the nation’s security through the delivery of national security science and technology solutions in areas such as facial recognition algorithms, video analytics, vehicle survivability, decision support systems, blast modelling, cyber open-source training, home-made explosive characterisation and threat assessments, toxic chemical detectors and support to numerous operations.
Specific work includes assistance with the characterisation of the threat for the aviation security incident in Sydney July 2017 and recently working with Home Affairs to host a Chemical, Biological and Radiological Capability Exercise (CAPEX) in Queensland, which involved CBR specialists from Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and the United States.
In a major initiative, the Ministry of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in a major initiative onboarded its latest IT tools of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to provide assistance and solutions to micro, small and medium enterprises.
The ministry has implemented AI & ML on its robust Single Window System ‘Champions’ which was launched by the Prime Minister on 1 June 2020. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning analytics can be seen at the “AI Corner” on the portal.
The introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) has been done to strengthen the ministry’s Single Window System Portal ‘Champions’ that has been assisting MSMEs across the nation. This multi-modal system has virtual portals and technology-equipped physical control rooms at 69 locations spread across the country. It has emerged as one of the front runner platforms for the MSMEs in a very short span.
The ministry took the COVID-19 as an opportunity to deploy cutting-edge interventions. In this difficult period, the ministry not only whole-heartedly supported MSMEs but used it to break barriers and make a paradigm shift in operations for the sector. The ministry further is working aggressively to take the MSMEs, and the nation, in the direction of Industry 4.0. The ministry is itself, adopting technologies categorised as part of Industry 4.0 and is also encouraging MSMEs to similarly adopt the latest available technology.
Taking self-reliance a further step ahead, the ministry is aiding MSMEs to manufacture essential and enabling products like sensors, motors, computer displays and other animation technologies. In line with this strategy, the ministry has implemented Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning on their Champions portal. The entire concept, scope analysis and design were done inhouse by the Ministry with the help of NIC and under the guidance of their tech partner.
The ministry’s technology partner has been guiding the Ministry over the last five months in implementing some of the tools of AI & ML. The ministry confirmed that the technology partner implemented the entire domain of AI & ML on the Champions portal free of cost.
The ministry confirmed they have deployed the tools to enable and optimise the Champions portal with AI & ML Analytics technology to derive a wide range of insights. This is helping them understand the issues in real-time which includes information intelligence and sentiment analysis based on widely available social media and online data.
In this current phase, the AI and ML tools:
- give the MSME Ministry social media insights relating to MSMEs for its policy action through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Blogs, Forums and online news that were not available to earlier;
- enable the ministry to get the pulse of the entire MSME Sector even without the stakeholders going to our portal; till now, the ministry was dependent on the complaints and data which were seen on our the CHAMPIONS portal (for grievance redressal);
- make it possible to know the context and atmosphere of the people involved with or dependent on the MSME sector in real-time;
- present data-driven insights that are easy to understand. The tools can slice and dice data in many ways that were not available in traditional tools of Management Information Systems;
- empower all levels of staff, not just specialists, to easily discover actionable points;
- take over tedious work of preparing data for analysis, freeing up human resources to engage in more productive work.
- Allow data analytics to be easily shared as real-time live-data links with the teams at Central (Hub level) and spokes of CHAMPIONS Control Rooms spread all over India;
Ministry of MSME also said that now the next phase is relatively easier for which the trial is on. The second phase would be directed towards real-time grievance redressal and management.
This includes increasing the performance of control rooms and officers through AI-enabled ChatBots for faster response to the query of portal users. It will also give real-time, detailed analytics across the entire workflow of its single window system and grievance redressal.
Building upon the ideation and directives and under the aegis of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), the National Informatics Centre (NIC), IEEE Computer Society and a tech giant have come together to announce Gov Tech-Thon 2020. The initiative is designed to incubate new ideas, boost innovation and use technology in agriculture and allied sectors.
Gov Tech-Thon 2020, a pan India 36 hours virtual Hackathon, to be organised from 30 October to 1 November 2020. The Hackathon will be facilitated by IEEE, a well-established institute for engineering, computing and technology information. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology announced the launch of the hackathon by activating the online portal signalling that registrations for Gov TechThon 2020 were open.
The virtual hackathon is open to students, working professionals, startups, freelance technologists, faculty, and other IT service firms in India. During the hackathon, participants will receive mentorship and advice from technical experts from NIC, IEEE and Oracle, as well as senior domain experts from the Ministries of Agriculture, Education and Transport Departments, Government of India.
Participating teams will have access to the latest tools from the tech company, its Autonomous Database, built-in and easy-to-use cloud security and compute – to help them develop prototypes that are practical and scalable. Additionally, they will be able to leverage open source technologies that bring benefits of high performance, reliability and data security.
The efforts of the National Informatics Centre, IEEE and tech partner incoming together to organise this hackathon have been greatly appreciated by the Ministry. India is keen to make digital transformation inclusive, widespread and comprehensive. An integral and essential part of this is youth. The ministry recognises that youth are an important part of India’s digital ecosystem and he looks forward to their participation in the hackathon and their solutions to the challenges.
Dr Neeta Verma, Director General, NIC in her address at the release of the online portal for ‘Gov Tech-Thon 2020’, said that the hackathon is a step towards developing a digital ecosystem with more emerging technologies. She was optimistic that Gov Tech-Thon 2020 would spur a lot of ideas, proof of concepts, working models for innovation and inclusion in government services.
Dr Savita Dawar, Deputy Director-General, NIC gave a brief introduction to the five challenges including AI-based crop recommendations, Blockchain-based seed certification, Automated vigilance in exams/tests, Automated fitness check process for commercial vehicles and Easy document uploads, from Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in India which require immediate solutions.
Shri Harish Mysore, Senior Director and Head of IEEE India Operations said, “IEEE has been empowering engineers for over a century, helping advance technology across sectors. This partnership with NIC and Oracle will help increase the use of technology, reduce the digital divide in agriculture, transportation and education and will help us deliver better governance to citizens of India.”
The Regional Managing Director of the tech company felt in order to transform India into a digital and knowledge economy, the nation must first digitally empower all its people, key economic sectors and allied communities. Join hands with NIC and IEEE for Gov Tech-Thon 2020 was a key step and the company was looking forward to supporting local innovation in all key areas identified.
Established in 1976, the National Informatics Centre is attached to the office of Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY). It has rich experience in providing ICT and eGovernance for the last 4 decades and helping bridge the digital divide.
NIC spearheaded “Informatics-Led-Development” by implementing ICT applications in social and public administration and facilitates electronic delivery of services to the government (G2G), business (G2B), citizen (G2C) and government employee (G2E). NIC, through its ICT Network, “NICNET”, has institutional linkages with all the Ministries /Departments of the Central Government, 37 State Governments/ Union Territories, and about 720+ District Administrations of India.
IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organisation dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. IEEE and its members inspire a global community to innovate for a better tomorrow through its more than 419,000 members in over 160 countries.
The IEEE Computer Society is the premier source for information, inspiration, and collaboration in computer science and engineering. Connecting members worldwide, the Computer Society empowers the people who advance technology by delivering tools for individuals at all stages of their professional careers.
The Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute Company Limited (ASTRI) and a wholly-owned subsidiary of a Hong Kong-based telecom, have introduced a jointly developed Augmented Reality (AR) solution designed to transform field engineers’ operations and maintenance processes.
Called DataHOUSE AR Remote Hand Service (AR Remote Hand), the solution leverages wearable Augmented Reality (AR) technology and brings the telecom subsidiary’s field engineers and its customers to a new era, enabling them to slash the time and cost of troubleshooting and maintenance for achieving better results.
The AR Remote Hand Service employs AR glasses to stream real-time intelligence, troubleshooting logs, graphics and encrypted data from back-end systems to on-site engineers and maintenance staff, boosting field productivity by up to 50%.
By wearing the glasses, field engineers do not have to stop their work to communicate with back-end support teams via a laptop or phone, nor to refer to a paper manual. The AR Remote Hand provides field engineers with a heads-up display for remote visualisation in real-time as they install, maintain or troubleshoot equipment, thus speeding up the whole process.
The solution enables field engineers across multiple locations to overcome the challenges of multiple languages and skillsets in multi-technology environments; as well as to manage installation and maintenance issues more efficiently and cost-effectively, resulting in improved customer satisfaction. This ability to work effectively from remote locations is also helping the telecom’s customers and staff stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
To ensure safe operations and maintain service infrastructure availability by the global remote service support teams, the subsidiary is using DataHOUSE AR Remote Hand Service in its China Data Center operations to assure regional customers’ business operations continuity.
The CEO of ASTRI stated that the strategic collaboration has demonstrated the success in leveraging next-generation technology in real-life applications that benefit Hong Kong’s people and society, in this case, smart industrial applications and field service management solutions for Hong Kong enterprises.
The CEO of the telecom’s subsidiary stated that DataHOUSE AR Remote Hand is an innovative remote maintenance service adopted in data centre scenarios, which leverages AR intelligent operations and maintenance technologies. Going forward, the parties, through further collaboration and more innovative thinking, expect to enhance the service to cope with more scenarios and bring more value and better customer experience to enterprises.
In their collaboration, ASTRI focused on developing the software platform and customisation, while the subsidiary provided related information and opinions based on its experience with business cases in various scenarios and applications. This ensured the solution could effectively address enterprise customers’ needs across a range of industries. The result is a solution that offers a wide array of benefits in service provisioning and remote location visualisation and communication capabilities:
- Intuitive AR-Guided Installation, Troubleshooting and Maintenance: With AR Remote Hand, field engineers recognise any device with a designated QR code and access real-time intelligence, graphics, and encrypted data from back-end systems streamed on-site. Field staff can access virtual step-by-step guides or even 3D manuals via AR glasses, without the need to interrupt work to check information on a laptop or in a manual.
- Historical Records Analysis: Using a pre-set routine (e.g. gestures), on-site engineers can review a device’s historical record (e.g. customers’ network traffic or cloud CPU history), speed up data analysis and troubleshooting, while cutting downtime and cost.
- Seamless Communication and Collaboration with Back-end Support: Field engineers previously communicated with back-end support via email or phone, making it difficult to describe a troubleshooting situation. Removing distance and language barriers, back-end engineers now view real-time images streamed via AR glasses through an AR operations console, improving operational speed and quality. Its powerful video conferencing feature also offers engineers instant support and fosters off-site collaboration between global operations and maintenance teams. Also, back-end engineers can give field engineers clear instructions via 3D AR labelling.
In exceptional circumstances, such as the current pandemic, it is difficult for enterprises’ IT staff to travel to data centres and manage their equipment. Equipped with the latest AR glasses development, the DataHOUSE AR Remote Hand serves as customers’ remote hands. It not only shows the status of on-site equipment as customers watch in real-time from offices or other locations but also lets customers provide live instructions to the subsidiary’s on-site engineers as they troubleshoot equipment issues without physically being in the data centre.
The team has plans to extend the AR Remote Hand service for further customer use and will enlarge the list of equipment support. Adding AI applications for the AR glasses will be the next milestone as we work to deliver even more intelligent diagnoses.
For example, when a field engineer sees the status of the target-fixing equipment through the AR glasses, they will be shown several possible causes for the problem, with each cause ranked with a percentage according to how likely it is to be the source of the problem.