The world still faces many challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, however, in the middle of these difficult times lay new opportunities. The present era is critical for Taiwan to join the global technology race. In recent years, Taiwan’s government has been actively planning their blueprint of 2030 “Innovation, Inclusiveness and Sustainability”. By taking preemptive preparations, accelerating industrial transformation and promoting innovation, Taiwan is expected to lead in the global supply chain restructuring process and become a key force in the future global economy.
To be a leader in technological innovations, both academia and industry play a vital role. The Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) collaborates with the Academia Sinica, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Health and Welfare to hold an exhibition that serves as a bridge connecting academia, research and development, and industry. It attracts top-class technology and scientific research.
In search of targeting technology that fits industrial needs, the event begins to accept applications until July 7, 2021. All projects supported by the grant programs of all the aforementioned ministries are qualified to compete for the award. Technology in the field of precision health, pandemic prevention, and aerospace are highly encouraged to apply.
This award will be evaluated in two criteria: (1) scientific breakthrough: the technology is in the world-leading positions, novel scientific research different from existing thinking, and technological breakthroughs. (2) industrial practicability: the technology is compatible with market demand, can create future economic benefits, and has the potential in industry-academia collaborations, interdisciplinary applications as well as establishing innovative models. The final technology will be selected through a rigorous selection process. The tech award winners will have the opportunity to display the technology and the research and development results.
Destructive and innovative thinking is critical when responding to the post-epidemic era. Taiwan will showcase innovative technology from the academia and research community in diversified formats. They focus on the digital transformation theme and technology such as precision health, aerospace, 5G, AI and semiconductors, and other technologies that can drive industrial innovation and promote international collaboration.
Taiwan has been at the forefront of technological innovation as the country proves its digital prowess by winning two awards for innovative new products and services. As reported by OpenGov Asia, Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) collected two awards under the support of the Department of Industrial Technology (DoIT) under the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA). With these accolades, ITRI has delivered again with MetabColor as well as the AI-Based High-Density Shuttle Rack Delivery System.
The ITRI is a government-funded applied technology research institute with more than 6,000 employees. ITRI’s AI-Based High-Density Shuttle Rack Service System wins a gold medal in the Innovative Services, AI Applications category. The institute also took home a silver award for its MetabColor microbial textile dyes produced via a non-toxic, environmentally friendly and renewable process.
The Director-General of DoIT stated that it was no easy thing that ITRI’s AI technology won a gold medal in the Innovative Services, AI Applications category. The automated vertical warehousing system is developed for space-starved cities and the rack can be 14 stories high, saving at least twice as much space storage. Moreover, ITRI has been working with several companies to develop AI technology. The AI-based warehousing system optimises logistics efficiency to meet the increasing needs of e-commerce, cutting shipping time by 60% and helping to increase logistics performance during peak season.
The silver winner, MetabColor, uses modified microbes and the fermentation, separation, and purification processes to create natural dyes that are more environmentally friendly than chemical dyes. ITRI has been cooperating with leaders in textile manufacturing and speciality chemicals on the preliminary verification of the technology.
Amid the social restrictions and quarantine policies imposed during the global spread of COVID-19, human mobility patterns changed dramatically. To better understand the relationships between human mobility, government policies and cases of COVID-19, U.S. researchers have developed an interactive web application that illustrates the connections between human mobility, government policies, and cases of COVID-19.
The app was built with data from three independent sources: a map, which provides data on human movement via walking, driving and public transportation; COVID-19 Government Response Tracker, which provides data on government policies implemented during the pandemic; and global cases of COVID-19. Users can select a specific state or county in the U.S. as well as another country and see how mobility and COVID-19 cases changed over time or in response to government policies or social circumstances.
At a macro level, understanding movement patterns of people can help influence decision making for higher-level policies, like social gathering restrictions, mask recommendations, and tracking and tracing the spread of infectious diseases. At a local level, understanding the movement of people can lead to more specific decisions, like where to set up testing sites or vaccination sites.
Since the initial launch, the researchers have continued to update the application with appropriate data at regular intervals. The web application produces interesting visualisations that can reveal fascinating trends specific to a given area that might otherwise not be recognised.
During their exploration of the data, the researchers found a handful of case studies that suggested interesting trends. For example, in New Orleans, the application shows a spike in human mobility at the end of February 2020, which coincided with Mardi Gras celebrations. Coincidentally, there was a corresponding spike in COVID-19 cases almost a month after the event.
Although the application is specific to the pandemic, the framework could be modified rather easily to create a similar application for natural disasters as long as appropriate data sets are available. Understanding historic mobility patterns are needed for policymakers to make informed decisions regarding transportation systems and other areas both under normal circumstances and in response to extreme events like a pandemic or a natural disaster.
According to a page, this data shows the number of COVID-19-related policy responses taken by the government on a given day. Indicators include containment and closure policies such as school closures, workplace closures, public event cancellations, restrictions on gatherings, public transportation closures, stay at home requirements, restrictions on internal movement, and international travel controls. Other indicators include health system policies such as public information campaigns, testing policies, contact tracing, and facial covering policies.
Other U.S. researchers have also been using data by an online tool to provide insights into people’s online behaviour, specifically people’s response to COVID-19. As reported by OpenGov Asia, A research project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) develops an online tool called CitizenHelper. This tool can sort through millions of tweets to identify behaviours that could assist emergency agencies and give them an understanding of the population’s attitudes. The tool uses artificial intelligence (AI) techniques to filter the posts and then determine the relevance and information level of each tweet.
The tool helps these researchers to scale work that would be difficult for humans to do alone. The head of the research team says that humans are good at contextual understanding to filter content but they cannot scale. Machines, on the other hand, are good at scaling, but they do not deeply understand the context very well. Hence, a human-AI teaming approach is invaluable. The algorithms need humans to help them improve their accuracy. CitizenHelper allows this very seamless interactive mechanism for humans and computers. The humans can provide feedback to the machine on what the machine has predicted.
A tech firm operating under the Hong Kong Smart Government Innovation Lab announced that it has launched a new solution that is now ready to be acquired by companies and institutions.
SOLUTION – DIGITAL BUSINESS PORTAL
The Digital Business Portal (“the Portal”) is an integrated knowledge solution designed to be used in tax, legal, and compliance matters. The platform can act as an online one-stop solution for internal knowledge sharing and support the daily operational needs of different departments within the HKSAR government.
There are three modules in the Portal, and the Learning Module is one of them. Through this module, users can access online learning videos that cover various professional business topics such as tax and legal updates to keep the staff and relevant individuals with up-to-date business knowledge.
A customised, secured training program can also be tailor-made for every Government department’s specific request and be provided via the Portal.
In addition to the Learning Module, there are two other modules in the solution that are commonly used by the users and could also be used by the government for their daily work. These include:
- Compliance Tool Module – provides Hong Kong tax compliance, company secretarial, and legal templates for general business use or to support staff with day-to-day operations.
- Business Information Module – provides useful information for Government departments that regularly interact with corporations
The solution was developed to be applied in the areas of Broadcasting, City Management, Climate and Weather, Commerce and Industry, Development, Education, Employment and Labour, Environment, Finance, Food, Health, Housing, Infrastructure, Law and Security, Population, Recreation and Culture, Social Welfare as well as Transport.
The solution uses the latest in Low Code Development Platform.
The Portal’s learning module was used to successfully deliver an end-to-end training programme equipped with online video playback and FAQ to facilitate the relevant business users in conducting their daily work and receive updated professional training materials.
To facilitate staff’s daily work, the company has developed a set of FAQs and the FAQs will be uploaded to the Portal. It enables the staff to locate the right answers much faster and much easier for them to refer to the answers prepared.
The Portal’s virtual training facility is particularly useful as employees may be under flexible work arrangements and stationed in multiple locations. It can also be used for further use and revision. This could largely increase the efficiency of their daily work.
It is crucial to keep the knowledge up to date. The company has provided comprehensive onsite and online training to the staff, offering business and professional knowledge-sharing over a wide range of topics including legal, tax, cybersecurity, industry updates, etc.
The firm believes that their professional knowledge can also be shared with other Government departments via the Portal. The company offer both tailor-made training courses for a particular topic and general courses available on the Portal.
About the Smart Government Innovation Lab
In 2018, the Government established the Smart Government Innovation Lab to explore hi-tech products such as AI and relevant technologies, including machine learning, big data analytics, cognitive systems and intelligent agent, as well as blockchain and robotics from firms, especially local start-ups.
The Lab is always on the lookout for innovation and technology (I&T) solutions that are conducive to enhancing public services or their operational effectiveness. I&T suppliers are encouraged to regularly visit the Lab’s website to check on the current business and operational needs in public service delivery and propose innovative solutions or product suggestions to address them.
The global economic impact has driven entrepreneurship with many women launching home-based businesses. That being said, the difficult economic environment and social distancing restrictions have had a negative impact on sales. Without a doubt, more tech skills are an entrepreneur’s best tool to develop their business to survive and thrive in these uncertain times.
An Indonesia-UK Tech Hub collaborated with a digital supply chain platform for Crafts Small Medium Enterprises (SME) and the Indonesian Ministry of Women Empowerment and Child Protection to launch a women-based programme. The programme is designed to provide digital literacy and entrepreneurship training to support women-owned ultra-micro and micro businesses. The programme also serves as COVID-19 crisis response support for women and under-represented groups who were disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
Of the 370 applicants, 102 were chosen to participate in the training programme, which was delivered from November 2020 to this year, including launch and graduation events. To ensure that as many marginalised women as possible were empowered, 56 women were kept on a reserve list to allow for any dropouts, and all of them were eventually fully included in the training programme, bringing the total number to 158.
Training was delivered virtually, with the support of local facilitators in each of Indonesia’s 6 targeted districts namely, Central Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara, Rembang and Kendal in Central Java, Central Bangka in Bangka Belitung, Cilegon in Banten and Palembang in South Sumatra.
The women-based programme consisted of 8 training modules that addressed supply chain, digital literacy, digital marketing, the use of apps, market access in partnership with local marketplace, and financial literacy (in partnership with BTPN Syariah Bank) among other topics.
The United Kingdom government collaboration could share its experience and expertise in the digital and technology sector as England is the home to more than 600,000 digital start-ups and also the birth of some of the most successful and famous unicorns in the world.
OpenGov Asia reported in an article that the Ministry of Communication and Informatics is targeting digital literacy to reach all districts and cities in Indonesia by 2024. The Directorate General of Informatics Applications of the Ministry of Communication and Information is working with related partners.
“By 2024, the ministry and its partners will carry out digital literacy in all 514 districts/cities in Indonesia,” explained Plt. Director of Informatics Empowerment of the Ministry of Communication and Information, Mariam Fatimah Barata in the Digital Literacy Webinar Towards Indonesia Digital Nation.
Mariam acknowledged that the use of the internet is currently so massive that it cannot be separated from everyday life. Therefore, digital literacy plays an important role in the journey towards the Indonesia Digital Nation. In terms of the number, the goal is to have 50 million literate Indonesians. Going in a phase-wise manner, they plan to reach the first 12.5 million people by 2021.
Women have played a prominent role in the digital era, as evidenced by the growing number of female entrepreneurs in the past 3 years. According to IWAPI (Ikatan Wanita Pengusaha – Indonesia’s premier association of women’s enterprises), in 2015, women represented 60% of the total 49.9m entrepreneurs in Indonesia – that number continues to grow by 20% annually.
Therefore, personal initiative skills development is important for women. Nevertheless, exposure to male-dominated industries is also important. Another article said that implementing this provides an opportunity to find women in growth sectors and tell their stories, allowing women to see themselves in those shoes.
Focusing on these sectors also limits financial opportunities, as banks see these businesses as less of a risk to invest in. Grown explained that SMEs were particularly important because they play a significant role in job creation in all economies around the world. Thus, encouraging more women to own SMEs increases job prospects.
Vietnam has introduced an artificial intelligence (AI) application that issues warnings when facemasks are not being worn on public transport. The computer vision app alerts authorities of passengers who are not wearing or improperly wearing masks. The app is connected to surveillance cameras on public transport vehicles and can access image data and automatically analyse it. It sends appropriate notifications to the server of the transport company if it detects someone not wearing a mask or wearing one incorrectly.
The app, which was introduced earlier this month, was developed by the Binh Anh Electronic Technology Development Co. (BA GPS). The company’s Chairman said AI technology not only brings about many benefits to public transport owners but also helps improve safety for passengers. According to a news report, other apps developed by BA GPS are to be piloted on public transport soon. The country is promoting technology in the form of health declaration sites, contact tracing, and testing applications to fight against the virus. Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh recently affirmed that technology is one of the three prongs of the COVID-19 response strategy in the new period.
The Deputy Minister of Science and Technology and head of the quick information response team at the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control said the team has continually applied technology to evaluate the situation. They use it to make a forecast on the pandemic’s developments in Vietnam and the world, set up mechanisms for monitoring people entering Vietnam and those under quarantine, and gear up response plans for special circumstances.
A group of scientists from the Medicine Faculty at the Vietnam National University Ho Chi Minh (HCM) City has unveiled a technological solution that combined the internet of things (IoT) with AI to concurrently manage people in quarantine sites and crowded places. Further, medical and delivery robots have been put into use at quarantine sites to replace health workers in transporting food, medicine, and essential goods and collecting waste, thus minimising direct contact. Many other organisations have also created a number of high-quality scientific and technological products such as testing kits and vaccines and commercialised them to help with the pandemic combat.
BKAV, a cybersecurity and software company, developed Bluezone- a contact tracing application. Bluezone is believed to be the most effective tracking solution in the fight against the virus. The latest report of the Authority for Information Technology Application (AITA) shows that as of 24 May, there were 33.06 million Bluezone downloads, which meant an increase of 2.5 million Bluezone installations compared with 28 April, when the fourth wave broke out.
Of the 33 million Bluezone users, more than 20.58 million people have entered their mobile phone numbers on the app. As such, the number of people providing their phone numbers to state agencies had increased by 1 million. Hanoi and HCM City are leading the country in the number of Bluezone downloads, with 3.1 million and 2.83 million, respectively.
Taiwan government has taken steps to improve gender inequality in Taiwan, but progress in increasing women’s participation is still slow. According to recent research entitled “Digital Media: Empowerment and Equality”, digital media empowers female users and fosters gender equality in Taiwan. The study investigated the use of digital media, specifically social media, in the workplace in Taiwan.
The data for this study were collected through an online survey. Participants both female and male employees responded to questions asking whether social technologies could be a source of empowerment, leading to equality. The research discovered that both genders use social media platforms for business support, experience benefits, and believe that these technologies could provide empowerment for success.
Moreover, the finding revealed that the differences between women and men using social media were significant. Women in Taiwan have a higher awareness of the benefits of social technologies for business support and empowerment. Digital technologies can support female empowerment for tasks such as creating awareness, marketing, or building relationships. Women experience huge benefits from using these digital technologies, however, education was deemed to be a key factor for success in this area.
While digital platforms offer huge opportunities and benefits, women would benefit even more if they have access to education to help them be successful on social media. For example, the Taiwan Women Up program has helped middle-aged and older women learn information and communication technology to support their organisations and empower themselves.
Furthermore, social media has the power to increase female empowerment through political involvement. Hashtag activism gives women the ability to make a public issue a global issue and pressure lawmakers. Social media also offers a platform for gendered violence stories and holds communities in multiple countries accountable for gender equality. Unfortunately, women sometimes have barriers to using this powerful tool, including limited access to technology, language barriers and censorship.
Digital fluency helps countries grow closer to equality in the workplace. The digital fluency model reveals that countries with better digital fluency rates among women have higher rates of gender equality in the workplace. Women with better digital fluency also have more employment opportunities and flexibility. They can work from home and use technology to access more job opportunities.
The findings from this study apply to the Taiwanese respondents specifically, but can be used to help empower women across the world. Women must take responsibility to use the tools and information to find their voice, create a network, and help others enjoy empowerment, success, and economic equality. Achieving gender equality is a challenge around the world, but Taiwan’s efforts to close the gap between men and women push the country in the right direction while adapting to the digital world.
Taiwan has also created an environment for female entrepreneurship as the number of female entrepreneurs continues to rise. Increased access to technology, education and disposable income are the main factors that have led women to lead more independent, empowered lives. Taiwan launched a programme that aligns with calls for diversity in technology and opportunities for women to develop entrepreneurial and leadership expertise by supporting female technology entrepreneurship worldwide.
According to an article, the new models of working from home, and greater access to technology and the internet may point to how the gender divide can be bridged. Technological advances are helping level the playing field for young women. More and more young women and men are looking into e-participation and co-creation across sectors to create their own initiatives.
As global society will face new norms after the pandemic, there will be an opportunity to build different economic models through the internet or community models and create new ways for women to participate equally.
Emerging 5G networks feature lower latency, higher capacity, and increased bandwidth compared to 4G. These network improvements will have far-reaching impacts on how people live, work, and play all over the world.
New Zealand’s leading network provider recently announced the launch of its 5G network services in Hamilton, the ninth location in New Zealand to have 5G access for both wireless broadband and mobile usage. This follows launches in Christchurch, Auckland, Dunedin, Palmerston North, New Plymouth, Te Awamutu, Clyde and Alexandra, alongside four South Island towns covered by 5G wireless broadband service only. The 5G coverage in Hamilton will initially serve Hamilton Central, as well as parts of Claudelands, Chartwell, and Fairfield, with additional coverage expected by the end of the month.
As per the network provider, the company has been making progress on its 5G rollout, which is enabling faster home wireless broadband and mobile speeds while also paving the way for the emergence of new technology and experiences that require 5G’s speed, low latency and mass connectivity. The 5G coverage will also significantly enhance their smart waste bin by improving the speed of sorting the waste into landfill or recyclables.
local Hamilton innovators were selected as finalists in the network provider’s inaugural 5G Starter Fund for their product, an AI-powered recycling bin, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to automatically separate all categories of recyclables from waste when someone disposes of it into a rubbish bin.
With the implementation of 5G, the AI equipment will no longer need to be embedded in each AI bin and will instead be managed through edge computing, which brings data storage closer to the location where it is needed. This would make their smart waste bins less prone to theft and allow them to be deployed to consumers at a lower cost.
The AI-empowered recycle bin that was also launched by the network provider installed an IoT-enabled infrastructure at Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter, which includes 5G connected lighting, smart benches with charging capability and smart bins to tackle waste challenges
IoT applications powered by 5G, such as the smart-sensor technologies AI bin sensor, have been used to collect valuable data to address urban, economic, and sustainability challenges, as well as detect incidents and improve local health and safety.
Furthermore, the 5G network moves smart city construction from theory to practice, paving the way for the development and deployment of new applications ranging from monitoring air quality, energy use, and traffic patterns to street lighting, smart parking, crowd management, and emergency response.
OpenGov Asia has reported in an article, that approximately 75% of New Zealanders will have access to ultra-fast broadband over fibre as part of the public sector project. Feilding, Waiheke Island, and Rangiora are the other three regions that are part of the public sector project where the company has yet to install fibre to those areas.
The importance of a reliable internet connection has been highlighted during this COVID-19 pandemic. Some other broadband types may be more susceptible to stuttering, dropouts and noticeable delays. The fibre is currently now the next generation of internet connectivity, with the newly built network available to 83% of Kiwi homes and businesses, it is great for Kiwis now and would work well revolutionaries into the future.
While normal connections can sometimes worsen in crowded areas like stadiums, resorts, beaches, even with tens of thousands of connected devices, speed and latency do not worsen with the new network. With 5G, users will no longer experience density or sharing issues, as it will be possible to up to one million connections simultaneously for each square kilometre. As a result, 5G provides for greater device density. Cities in New Zealand will be profoundly transformed by the combination of high density and low latency.
Researchers at the University of South Australia have designed a digital tool to help the police, defence industry – and now child protection services – translate complex data into a visual story, saving hundreds of hours of time.
The narrative visualisation tool, developed by Dr Andrew Cunningham, Dr James Walsh, and Prof Bruce Thomas, has already allowed the Australian Federal Police (AFP) to create snapshots of crime by distilling mountains of case notes and briefs into image-based stories. The software helps prosecutors, lawyers and juries get up to speed in the courtroom so they can more easily understand complex facts, saving hours of admin and time.
Dr Walsh, a postdoctoral researcher at UniSA STEM, says the software identifies key events of a criminal case, selecting the most relevant data from case notes and presenting it in an easy-to-grasp snapshot, whilst still being able to dig into the details.
Another domain that has expressed interest is child protection. For each child coming into foster and emergency care, government departments are having to plough through years of their history. The tool can help to build a narrative of each child by identifying key dates, events, and an overall summary of their life.
The narrative combines text with images, video, scans, and voiceovers to present a snapshot that filters out the most critical information. It was noted that the tool is a marriage of computer science, statistics, graphs, artificial intelligence, artistic design and storytelling. For digital systems, the team is collecting more data, whether that’s from notes, automated sensors, spreadsheets, video, audio and even x-rays. The researchers have worked on the tool to integrate with data from different domains.
A new project with BAE Systems is also examining other narrative visualisation concepts to map the life cycles of defence machinery, tracking the operational and service histories of warships, combat vehicles and aircraft. The tool is useful wherever there is huge complexity – in logistics, transport, healthcare, and finance, for example – and need to summarise the most important elements.
“The beauty of it is that we can create specific models for each domain. For criminal cases, we can focus on pulling out information that relates to charges. For loan applications, we can identify a person’s financial history. Basically, we can rank the material to prioritise the information we care about and then present it in a visual form,” Dr Walsh says.
Dynamic graphics and interactive news stories have been part of the online media landscape for several years now, as a response to waning attention spans, the slow death of print, and a global embrace of digital media.
This trend is now spreading beyond the confines of newsrooms and becoming part of the fabric of many industries, the researchers say. The tool has been acquired by a Melbourne-based software company for commercialisation.
According to recent market research, the global data visualisation tools market is projected to grow from US$5.9 billion in 2021 to US$10.2 billion by 2026, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 11.6% during the forecast period.
Various factors such as the growing demand for an interactive view of data for faster business decisions and increasing developments in Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) to enable the interaction of companies with data in 3D formats are expected to drive the demand for data visualisation tools.
The data visualisation tools market has witnessed several advancements in terms of tools offered by the industry players. Verticals such as manufacturing, retail, and energy and utilities have witnessed a moderate slowdown, whereas BFSI, government, and healthcare and life sciences verticals have witnessed a minimal impact.
The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to the increased use of line charts, bar charts, and choropleth maps in the news. Simple data visualisations have become the key to communicating vital information about the coronavirus pandemic to the public.
While these terms might not be familiar to all, the visualisations themselves certainly are. One of the most interesting developments due to the current COVID-19 crisis is that organisations that excel at the developments of dashboards centralise analytics and decision-making approaches and scale them exponentially across all connected channels.