Thailand introduced the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) initiative to transform three Thai provinces into smart cities during the 2019 ASEAN Summit. This move has proved to be a successful one, one report notes.
The EEC was established to create a centre for trade, investment, regional transportation, and a strategic gateway to Asia, with Thailand confident that the move would promote a seamless ASEAN.
Under its Thailand 4.0 model, the country is working to achieve 100 smart cities by 2022, a goal that is well on its way to completion especially now that the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA) and the City Possible global network inked an agreement.
Pioneered by an American multinational financial services corporation, 27 Thai smart cities have been inducted into the City Possible program which is designed to make technology work for people by aligning key stakeholders to address urban issues.
The corporation’s new public-private partnership model, City Possible, is focused on meeting the needs of people in cities.
It provides members unrivalled access to a global community of urban leaders, businesses, NGOs and academics and is regularly invited to a series of knowledge-exchange forums where participants identify common challenges, exchange learnings and establish holistic urban solutions.
The focus on smart cities is a core pillar of the government’s Thailand 4.0 initiative which aims to transform Thailand into a high-income nation with vastly improved quality of life in urban centres.
The Senior Executive Vice President of DEPA stated that as a country that relies on the industries of agriculture and tourism, Thailand wants smart cities to be the ecosystem to promote both of these, which in turn will afford to close the income gap and accelerator much-needed growth in the economy of the country as a whole.
Two most important sectors are the environment and economy. The country places the environment as the most important sector because it only makes sense for a city to be smart if it does not deteriorate the environment.
Pollution and drought are the two most critical environmental issues facing Thais. Thus, the main idea is to deploy to the local governments by equipping them with the technology; such as sensors, integrated data system, digital twin, to monitor and predict foreseeable disasters.
The establishment of a smart city transformation framework and Thailand’s already successful pilot cities could be one of the reasons why its cities are suitable candidates for implementing and promoting smart city living.
DEPA is a trailblazer as the first cohort of cities to join City Possible, but they are indicative of a larger trend. The country has had many discussions with networks of cities who are looking to benefit from the insights and resources City Possible provides.
Through City Possible, city leaders can identify the pain points and challenges that are hindering their growth.
However, the implementation of new infrastructure comes with its challenges and resistance.
Three significant challenges arise in terms of effectively utilising resources and technology – the mindset of leaders in a city, existing regulations, and the capacity to act.
Many city leaders do not have adequate technological literacy to pivot the role into innovators. Among those who do, they are sometimes too timid to pose a technological vision.
The Minister explained that local agents of transformation in each city are needed to play a critical role in moving the cities toward becoming “smarter.”
Thus, the Chief Smart City Officer (CSCO) Program will play a pivotal role in building the essential mindset; hands-on knowledge on regulatory, communication and technical skills, to connect the sense of being global and the local.
Thailand is fast becoming what was envisioned by the ASEAN Smart City Network when it was launched by Singapore in the 2018 ASEAN Summit.
While very little collaborative efforts have been made to achieve this, individually, countries such as Singapore is progressing towards tech-driven cities.
While other ASEAN cities may face similar challenges as Thailand, the country’s government shows strong commitment – an essential for achieving the smart city vision.
Marsdya TNI Donny Ermawan Taufanto, Secretary-General of the Indonesian Ministry of Defense formally inaugurated the ongoing 2022 Defense Research and Development Week with the theme “Research, Development, and Innovation of Defense Technology in Realising the Independence of Defense Equipment Tools.”
The Secretary-General urged all citizens to love, appreciate, and be proud of the innovations created by the nation’s youth. He cited that the activities have an important role in publication and scientific information to understand and produce the best solutions in the form of constructive and innovative suggestions for R & D development in the defence sector.
The activity was organised by Indonesia’s Ministry of Defense – Research and Development Agency in the form of an exhibition that displays defence equipment resulting from research and development of universities, R & D agencies, and domestic industries.
On the other hand, the Secretary-General acknowledged the exhibits of the innovative defence types of equipment, and his attention was focused on the Moto EV, a two-wheeled vehicle with an electric engine. The Moto EV is perfect for silent operation because the noise level has been minimised.
Also, the activity exhibited innovative creations in the IT sector like the Pasupati, a Pindad Simulation Product of Virtual Reality, which is a technology for digitally simulating shooting activities using weapon products.
Using VR principles, users will be invited to interact with the virtual world environment using the console, as if they were using and shooting with real weapons. With a level of ease that has a sensation like playing video games, Pasupati offers easy and real use of weapons while minimising the level of danger.
The activities of the 2022 Defense R&D Week honour the 27th National Technology Awakening Day, which aims to accommodate brilliant ideas from academics and researchers to contribute to the development of defence technology and attain future defence equipment independence.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with the Information and Communication Technology Training and Development Centre Research and Human Resources Development Agency of the Ministry of Communication and Information (Kominfo) held a Regional Workshop On Digital Diplomacy with the theme “The Essence of Information and Communication Technology for Government Leaders.”
The activity is intended for Government Officials for the e-government implementation of countries and territories in the Pacific region such as the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, New Caledonia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, French Polynesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
Hence, the activity was a follow-up to the International Conference on Digital Diplomacy (ICDD) with the theme “Unmasking Digital Diplomacy in the New Normal” which was held by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2021.
The ICDD 2021 activity was attended by 20 countries and produced the Bali Message on ICDD which has identified five focus areas, namely:
- Government Policy Framework to Support Digital Diplomacy;
- Crisis Management Through Digital Diplomacy;
- Data Management to Support Digital Diplomacy;
- Innovation to Support SMEs; and
- Capacity Building and Digital Inclusion.
The ICDD follow-up series will continue to be carried out by the nation’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the cornerstone of Digital Diplomacy. In the next activity, the Ministry will hold a Regional Government social media (GSMS) Conference, a scientific discussion forum on the use of digital media among governments to share new perspectives and experiences, which provide solutions to challenges in digital diplomacy through government social media.
Promoting digital transactions
Traders at Ha Long 1 and Ha Long 2 markets in the Quang Ninh province are now able to go cashless using digital payment services under a 4.0 market model. State-run enterprise Viettel Quang Ninh is the supplier of non-cash payment services in the two markets.
All small traders in the markets will make digital payments through Viettel Money, a digital payment platform. Payments can be made via phone numbers, QR codes, or bank transfers. Fees for electricity, water, and environmental sanitation can also be paid with a Viettel Money account.
According to an official, to achieve the government’s target to have electronic payment rates reach 50% by 2025, digital payments must become part of daily life in both urban and rural areas. Viettel Quang Ninh has readied technology and human resources to coordinate with Hạ Long city’s authorities to deploy cashless applications.
In April this year, Ha Long city issued a plan to develop non-cash payment methods for the 2022-2025 period, under which the city aims to have 90% of citizens 15 years and older own transaction accounts and have non-cash payments in e-commerce reach 50%. The average growth in the volume and value of non-cash payment transactions is expected to expand by 20-25% per year, while 100% of the tuition fees of educational institutions and schools in Ha Long should be paid through cashless methods.
Ha Long city’s public administration centre has guided and supported citizens in making payment transactions on the National Public Service Portal. By July, over 1,400 citizens had paid taxes and other fees through the system, with a total amount of over US$ 727,400, accounting for 84% of total transactions.
Quang Ninh authorities are promoting comprehensive digital transformation, especially in administrative reform, hoping to attract investment into the locality. Since June, digitisation and data extraction platforms have been piloted at the provincial public administration service centre and in the sectors of justice; labour, invalids, and society; education and training; health care; and information and communication.
Over 9,300 enterprises in the region have registered to use e-invoices. Quang Ninh has so far provided 1,712 Level-4 online public services out of the 1,832 administrative procedures. The rate of administrative procedure documents received and processed online via the online public service portal reached 62%. Up to 1,180 online public services at levels 3-4 of the locality have been synchronised on the national public service portal.
Local authorities are developing modern and synchronous infrastructure facilities and enhancing regional linkages to promote economic growth. As of early June 2022, the province’s non-budget investment attraction reached over US $1.6 billion. Last year, Quang Ninh topped Vietnam’s Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) and the Satisfaction Index of Public Administration Services (SIPAS). It also ranked second in the public administration reform (PAR) Index. The locality posted an estimated growth rate of 10.66% in the gross regional domestic product (GRDP) in the first six months of this year, which is 2.64 percentage points higher than the rate in the same period of 2021. Quang Ninh collected over US $1.17 billion for the state budget, an increase of 18% year-on-year.
Cloud adoption, software modernisation, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity, according to Lily Zeleke, Acting Deputy Chief Information Officer for Information Enterprise, Department of Défense, are crucial to all Defence Department missions.
“Our ability to deliver information at resilience and speed, as well as [delivering] secure information to our people, is paramount to staying ahead of adversaries,” says Lily.
The funding of these technologies within the allocated budget, she continued, is a compromise between cost-effectiveness and mission effectiveness. “Zero trust is a key aspect in the success of the transition to the cloud.”
The DOD has a vast amount of data, and zero trust is about protecting it at all levels and granting the right people access to the data they need for mission success at the correct security levels.
As outlined in the DOD’s 2022 Software Modernisation Strategy, all the services and the department are currently trying to consolidate, streamline, and deploy information enterprise modernization.
Meanwhile, 50 states have joined an anti-robocall litigation task force to investigate the telecommunications firms who are mostly held accountable for introducing foreign robocalls into the US, according to Connecticut Attorney General William Tong.
The sole objective of this cross-partisan, national Task Force is to reduce illegal robocalls as 16 states, including Connecticut, make up the Executive Committee overseeing this task force.
Although gateway providers have a duty to verify that foreign traffic entering the American phone network is lawful, they are not doing enough to prevent robocall traffic.
The Task Force will concentrate on the telecom sector to lessen the number of robocalls that Connecticut residents receive and to aid the businesses that are operating within the law.
Over 33 million scam robocalls are placed on Americans every day, according to the National Consumer Law Centre and Electronic Privacy Information Centre. Among the various frauds targeting customers, especially some of the most vulnerable populations, are Social Security Administration fraud against the elderly.
The Task Force’s main goal is to close the companies that make money off this illegal scam traffic and won’t take any other action to reduce the number of scam calls. Attorney General Tong provides the following advice for avoiding con artists and telemarketers:
The first is to be cautious of callers who expressly request that you make a gift card, wire transfer, or cryptocurrency payment. The second is to be wary of telephone calls that have already been recorded from phoney government entities. In most cases, the Social Security Administration doesn’t call people.
Similarly, do not supply any personal information and quickly end the call if you suspect fraud; and support Connecticut’s investigations by filing a complaint about robocalls.
Furthermore, according to the Attorney General, to avoid receiving spam messages, customers should report fraudulent texts to their wireless service providers and refrain from replying to texts that seem shady or are sent from an unknown number.
In addition, he cautioned against providing sensitive personal or financial information and against clicking links in dubious texts.
In addition, he advised calling a company that sends a text message to confirm the connection using a legitimate number, stressing that con artists may use their fake numbers to appear in a search engine. It was suggested to utilise something other than a search engine to authenticate the phone number.
To boost India’s 5G ecosystem and achieve several objectives laid out in the Aatmanirbhar Bharat (Self-reliant India) and Make in India missions, the government recently announced it would allow stakeholders to use an indigenous 5G test bed for free for the next six months (till January 2023).
Stakeholders include recognised start-ups and micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). For a nominal fee, it is also available to 5G service providers, equipment manufacturers, and players from the industry, academia, R&D institutions, and government bodies. According to a press release, the Department of Telecommunications has urged stakeholders to utilise the 5G test bed and expertise to test and facilitate the speedy development and deployment of their products in the network. Interested parties can apply through the official government web portal.
DoT approved the financial grant to set up the multi-institute collaborative project in March 2018 with a total cost of US$ 28 million. The eight collaborating institutes in the project are the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) in Madras, Delhi, Hyderabad, Bombay, and Kanpur, the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bangalore, the Society for Applied Microwave Electronics Engineering and Research (SAMEER), and the Centre of Excellence in Wireless Technology (CEWiT) at IIT-Madras.
The 5G test bed is available at five locations. The Integrated Test Bed is at CEWiT and other test beds are at IIT-Delhi, IIT-Hyderabad, IIT-Kanpur, and IISc. CEWiT also offers end-to-end test beds with various testing services for RAN and PHY levels as well as other test equipment. IIT-Hyderabad has facilities for gNB Testing, UE testing, end-to-end interoperability testing, and NB-IoT testing. IISc hosts the V2X and 5G open-source testbed. IIT-Kanpur hosts the base-band test bed and IIT-Delhi hosts the NB-IoT and VLC test bed.
The end-to-end test bed is compliant with the global 3GPP and ORAN standards. The indigenous 5G test beds allow Indian academia and industry research teams to validate their products, prototypes, and algorithms and demonstrate various services. It provides complete access for research teams to work on novel concepts/ideas that hold potential for standardisation in India and on a global scale.
It offers the facilities of 5G networks to experiment and demonstrate applications and use cases that are important to India specifically, like rural broadband, smart city applications, and intelligent transport system (ITS). The government believes it will help Indian operators understand the working of 5G technologies and plan their future networks.
The development of the test bed is a key milestone step for India’s becoming self-reliant in 5G technology. The test bed is cost efficient and reduces design time, enabling Indian 5G products to compete in the global market more quickly. The test bed has also led to the development of many 5G technologies/IPs that are available for technology transfer to industry players, facilitating the smooth and speedy deployment of 5G services in India.
The country is working closely with and expecting that telecommunications providers who are committed to playing a key role in the 5G revolution to help Indonesia’s transformation programme would also engage in the development of telecommunication networks to promote tourism efforts.
Most recently, Minister of Communication and Information, Johnny G. Plate, lauded the launch of 5G telecommunication services as part of the G20 Indonesia Presidency series to support the realisation of the G20 Summit in Bali by November 2022.
Bali is the sixth city in Indonesia to launch 5G services, following Surakarta, Jakarta, Surabaya, Makassar, and Balikpapan.
The Minister believes that the introduction of 5G telecommunications services will aid the Indonesian G20 Presidency in meeting its objectives, which include post-COVID-19 recovery and connection, digital literacy and digital skills, and cross-border data flows.
“We believe that 5G technology can accelerate the realisation of all these priorities,” says Minister Johnny.
The introduction of 5G would not have been possible without the participation and support of numerous stakeholders, including the Ministries of Communication and Information and Tourism and Creative Economy.
In addition, various new ideas can be produced for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) firms that can take advantage of the potential and ease of accessing a bigger market by using the internet.
The government will use its internet access to fuel the development of the country’s digital environment, with the goal of creating more chances for the country’s digital economy to grow.
Meanwhile, President Joko Widodo’s programme to discontinue analogue transmissions, also known as analogue switch-off (ASO), aids in the pace of digital transformation. As a result, the Ministry of Communication and Informatics works with a variety of stakeholders to ensure the success of the ASO programme.
Geryantika Kurnia, Director of Broadcasting of the Directorate General of Post and Information Administration at the Ministry of Communication and Information, stated that the government has planned to accelerate digital transformation if the migration of analogue to digital broadcasts is completed.
The execution of the ASO programme, according to Director Geryantika, will offer digital dividends. With the radio frequency spectrum savings, broadband internet, or high-speed internet services, such as the 5G network that has been tested in various places, are possible.
He added that depending on the size of the channel, each analogue broadcast channel frequency can be used for 6–12 digital broadcasts. The digital dividend can also be utilised to expand internet network coverage to locations that have not been accessible by analogue TV transmissions, particularly in frontier, outermost, and disadvantaged areas.
Director Geryantika further explained that the availability of additional networks and internet speed, as a positive impact of the ASO programme, will have a multiplier effect adding if the internet is evenly distributed, the economic potential could be all over Indonesia. It’s not just an analogue to digital migration.
Moreover, the Ministry of Communication and Information declared that digital TV broadcasts would reach areas with “blank spots,” or locations where TV transmissions have not yet been completed.
The blank area is caused by the difficulty of analogue TV broadcast technology to reach locations with diverse geographical conditions, such as the eastern part of Indonesia, particularly Papua, resulting in limited broadcast coverage.
As a result, after the ASO programme is implemented, the government has promised to create a digital TV broadcast network infrastructure in the leading, outermost, and underdeveloped areas, including the blank spots, through its broadcasting institution.
Chaiwut Thanakmanusorn, Minister of Digital Economy and Society (DES) announced that the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society of the Kingdom of Thailand and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan have signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) to strengthen the area of information, communication, and digital technology.
The MoC in the field of Information, Communication and Digital Technology aims to promote cooperation on the principle of equality reciprocity mutual respect and mutual benefits between both parties.
In addition, the MoC will support the use of information and communication technology and related information in the field of weather inspection and disaster risk reduction. It also covers the issues of cooperation in postal affairs, the use of 5G; secure and promoting investment in Thailand of Japanese ICT companies, among others.
Likewise, knowledge sharing, innovation, services, and applications of personnel development in the field of information technology communication and digital including cooperation under the ASEAN-Japan Centre to develop cybersecurity personnel.
On the other hand, the MOC in Technology and Digital Innovation for Transformation aims to promote cooperation and exchange of experiences to maintain and develop an ecosystem for transformational innovation between the two nations.
The MoC framework is promoting cooperation among relevant stakeholders such as universities, private companies, and communities, and jointly implements related projects or activities to intensify their partnerships as well as exchange practices and knowledge.
Both nations confirmed to carry out activities under the two MoCs and will conduct additional discussions on relevant plans and programmes.
Newin Chochaitip, DES Assistant Minister congratulated the Romanian government to host the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2022 to be held on 26 September to 14 October 2022. There will be a delegation from Thailand and on the part of the ministry’s representative Dr Nattapon Natthasomboon, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Digital Affairs will attend the event.
The two nations agreed that they will jointly develop digital cooperation on various issues in the field of digital transformation, digital services, digital identity, information/data exchange, cybersecurity, and personal data protection.
Furthermore, Thailand has renewed its Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Telecommunications, Information and Communication Technology Cooperation and Digital Technology with Finland. This aims to add new ways to promote cooperation and expand the development of smart cities.
The MoU expands the cooperation of the two nations in ICT and digital technology, continuing partnerships from the previous three years (2018-2021). The scope of cooperation will cover nine areas:
- Policies and regulations on telecommunication and communication practices, ICT, and digital technology;
- Development and promotion of ICs and digital industries such as hardware, software, digital content, and technology for services;
- Development of broadband infrastructure services;
- Cooperation in digital innovation such as Big Data, the Internet of Things and AI;
- Digital ecosystem including Smart Cities;
- Digital opportunities such as Digital Literacy, Digital Inclusion and Digital Technology;
- Promotion of Digital Startups, entrepreneurs, and SMEs;
- Knowledge and experience exchange including personnel development and various cooperation; and
- Other cooperation that is of mutual interest between the two parties.
Both nations also had bilateral discussions on key issues such as guidelines for promoting cooperation, smart city collaboration and a visit to the Republic of Finland of the executive committee of the Ministry of Digital and the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA), which is part of the Digital CEO Programme for Drafting Leaders.
At this year’s Cultural Heritage Walk, about 360 students from 14 secondary schools went on a virtual tour to learn more about Singapore’s culturally important landmarks in Bukit Pasoh and Chinatown, like the Siong Leng Musical Association, Sri Mariamman Temple, and the Masjid Jamae.
“This year is the fifth time that we have held this event, and it is also the first time that we have tried to switch from the previous physical event to an online format. We hope to be welcomed and affirmed by everyone,” says Gan Siow Huang, Minister of State for Education and Chairperson of the Committee to Promote Chinese Language Learning (CPCLL)
She also encouraged the students to deepen their understanding of Singapore’s multicultural heritage and develop their interest in the Chinese language and culture.
Jointly organised by the CPCLL and Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations, the Cultural Heritage Walk aims to encourage students to further understand Singapore’s history and appreciate the multicultural heritage.
This year, students worked together to visit nine virtual stations that each showed a cultural site. They also took quizzes to test their knowledge of history and culture. The purpose is to encourage students to learn more about local history and culture and deepen their understanding of Singapore society.
The event has specially designed a “Climbing Game” and during the “Climbing” process, students can learn more about Chinatown, Bukit Pasao and other areas. These places are the core areas of Singapore’s early development and scenic spots with multi-ethnic and multi-cultural characteristics.
Minister Gan is hoping that the students will have a greater interest in Chinese history and local culture after increasing their knowledge of the cultural landmarks in those areas.
Over the years, every “out of the campus, into the culture” activity has been carried out quite smoothly and achieved certain results.
Meanwhile, at the first-ever Green Bootcamp @ North-West, over 70 young people from different colleges and universities who wanted to make a difference in sustainability and green living were given the tools and space to develop, sharpen, and pitch their green ideas in the hopes of putting them into action in the real world.
The winning group, Team Igloo which comprised a mix of budding doctors and engineers, shared their aspiration of eradicating inefficient energy usage. The team came up with a prototype for “Igloo”, a thermoelectrical device that simultaneously cools and circulates water through the mattress pad, keeping the surface cool for the user.
The team expected when the solution rolled out, a user could save over 4,000 watts per use, which is almost five times more energy efficient than regular air-conditioning.
On the other hand, long bothered by the increasing use of disposable utensils due to the Circuit Breaker and delivery convenience, the Team BYOC proposed a standardised set of reusable containers in different sizes to be used for dine-out customers at hawker centres.
Team BYOC Buddy predicts that the implementation of their proposal would result in a mindset and behavioural shift for Singaporeans, with the community coming together to create new social norms through a common local hawker culture.
The many new ideas that came out of the first Green Bootcamp @ North-West show that the programme was a success. This is part of the government’s ongoing work to build a holistic green ecosystem that will help the North-West Community develop a green mindset and change their habits.