Earlier this week, the Ministry of Electronics and IT said that over the past two years, digital payment transactions have registered tremendous growth in India.
As per data released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), last month, digital payments in the country reached an all-time high of 965 million transactions.
New payment modes have transformed the digital payment ecosystem by increasing person-to-person (P2P) as well as person-to-merchant (P2M) payments.
Payment methods like the Bharat Interface for Money-Unified Payments Interface (BHIM-UPI), Aadhaar-Enabled Payment System (AEPS) and the National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) have helped popularise digital payments and made payments easy to use and track.
The Unified Payment Interface was developed under the Digital India initiative and is run by the RBI. The UPI is a system that powers several bank accounts into a single mobile application (of any participating bank), merging several banking features.
The AEPS is a bank-led model that facilitates online interoperable financial transactions at PoS (Point of Sale or micro ATMs) through the business correspondent (BC) of any bank using Aadhaar authentication. Aadhaar cards are 12-digit unique identification numbers linked to a citizen’s basic demographic and biometric information.
According to the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) website, the National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) program was developed to meet the electronic tolling requirements of the Indian market. It offers an interoperable nationwide toll payment solution including clearinghouse services for settlement and dispute management.
A press release stated that the number of digital payment transactions rose to nearly INR ₹245 crores (about US $33.5 million) in August 2018 as compared to almost ₹80 crores (around US $10 million) October 2016.
In 2016, The Government announced a ban on old IN ₹500 and IN ₹1,000 notes, to curb black money in the system. The Ministry claims this move has encouraged the adoption of digital payment methods.
More citizens from smaller towns and cities are using online payment modes for goods and services. Payment company executives say that card transactions in towns with populations of up to one million have doubled since demonetisation, two years ago.
The release also noted that existing payment modes such as debit cards, credit cards, Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) and Pre-Paid Instruments (PPI) have registered substantial growth.
For the first time, the number of monthly transactions under the BHIM-UPI during September of this year surpassed those of any other existing payment mode.
According to a report by Google and the Boston Consulting Group, the digital payments industry in India is estimated to reach US $500 billion by 2020, contributing 15% to India’s GDP.
The report said non-cash payment methods will, including cheques, demand drafts, net-banking, credit and debit cards, mobile wallets and UPI, will double to 40%.
It noted online payments are convenient and this is the biggest factor responsible for the growth of digital transactions in the country. This is followed by the offers and discounts available while using digital payment methods.
75% of Indian merchants expect digital payment methods will accelerate future sales, the report said.
Slips, trips, and falls (STF) are the leading source of severe injuries in the workplace. Daily, over a million workers across the world suffer injuries from slips and trips, which are the most frequent causes. Early identification of STF risks is essential for improving workplace safety and health, especially in industries such as construction, maritime, manufacturing, transportation, and storage.
Researchers from the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Department of Biomedical Engineering have collaborated with an NUS start-up to develop a smart insole that can track workplace STFs in real time. It is the first of its kind that can detect a person’s balance. The insole enables companies to identify the location of an incident and highlight STF risk areas so that appropriate measures can be taken to minimise these hazards. The insole can also be custom fitted where necessary through foot scanning and 3D printing production.
According to a statement by NUS, the smart insole uses sensors to monitor foot pressure and an inertial measurement unit sensor to measure changes in motion. When an STF occurs, the body will initially try to maintain balance by exerting pressure on the feet to break the STF. The smart insole identifies these changes in pressure exerted by the feet, and a person’s orientation, to determine if an STF has occurred.
These pressure and motion changes due to an STF are then recorded and measured in real-time to generate balance profiles of different users. This will help employers assess which workers are more suitable for various tasks. Additionally, falls from height can be detected by the smart insole as they have distinct velocity profiles compared to falls on level ground.
Data collected by the smart insole can be easily accessed by employees through a mobile application and by company management through a dashboard. The digitisation of slips, trips, and falls incidents leads to more prompt reporting and increased transparency, eliminating the need for workers or safety officers to submit manual reports.
An official from the NUS start-up explained that STFs are significant cost drivers for most companies due to a loss of productivity, medical expenses, and administrative costs. The smart insole will reduce human and financial costs before serious accidents happen.
Apart from monitoring and reporting STFs, the smart insole recognises everyday activities like walking, standing, and sitting. This enables employers to detect potentially hazardous actions like when a worker should be walking instead of running, and evaluate a worker’s sense of balance by measuring the centre of pressure.
The researchers were awarded the Maritime Innovation and Technology-STARTUP Grant by the Maritime Port Authority of Singapore in May 2022 for prototype development and test-bedding of the smart insole for worker safety. They are collaborating with the Workplace Safety and Health Institute and Association of Singapore Maritime Industries to upgrade the smart insole for the maritime sector.
The statement noted that over time, the data collected from the smart insoles worn by workers, along with other worker-related metrics, can be used to implement best workplace practices on safety and health. The team is also looking into future applications and commercialisation of the smart insole to reduce STFs in construction, aviation, and manufacturing.
According to Trade Minister Zulkifli Hasan, the crypto asset industry in Indonesia is growing by nearly 50%. Based on Commodity Futures Trading Regulatory Agency (CoFTRA) data, there will be 11.2 million consumers or users of crypto assets by the end of 2021. This figure had climbed by 48.7% since the end of November 2022, when it stood at 16.55 million individuals on the market.
Surprisingly, that number is dominated by millennials aged 18 to 30. According to Coinfolk research, the six provinces in Indonesia with the highest crypto interest are Bali, DKI Jakarta, Banten, Yogyakarta, Riau Islands, and West Java.
“All of these conditions show that the potential for the crypto asset market in Indonesia is still huge, and Indonesia can become one of the world’s leaders in the crypto asset market,” Zulkifli expounded elaborated during the launch of the ‘Crypto Asset Literacy Month’ Programme in Central Jakarta.
Meanwhile, Indonesia’s physical exchange for crypto assets achieved a transaction value of IDR 296.66 trillion in 2022. This figure is lower than the figure for 2021, IDR 859.4 trillion. In contrast, the transaction value in 2020 was IDR 64.9 trillion.
“Although in 2022, the value of crypto asset exchanges will cause a drop in the market, which will undergo a sluggish (bearish) stock trend, on the other hand, more and more companies, such as Meta, Google, and Twitter, are starting to merge blockchain solutions into their business operations. This demonstrates that the cryptocurrency asset exchange will expand fast this year,” he added.
The Ministry of Trade also hopes that by mid-2023, Indonesia will have a crypto asset exchange organisation that will serve as a hub for crypto asset trading. Crypto asset exchange institutions are required since it is predicted that by 2023, crypto assets will have experienced rapid expansion from the standpoint of blockchain technology, which is the foundation of crypto asset technology.
Blockchain technology, including crypto assets, is still evolving. However, the Indonesian government has attempted to keep up with these advancements by altering numerous legislations to control a fair and equitable crypto asset management environment and emphasise consumer rights. Nevertheless, CoFTRA’s authority still includes supervision and regulation of crypto asset trading as referenced in CoFTRA Regulation No. 13 of 2022, which amends CoFTRA Regulation No. 8 of 2021, which is about Guidelines for Organising Crypto Asset Physical Market Trading on Futures Exchanges.
Furthermore, to meet future difficulties in blockchain technology, such as crypto assets that may affect the financial sector, Law Number 4 of 2023, about the Development and Strengthening of the Financial Sector (UU P2SK), was adopted this year. The P2SK Law is intended to coordinate with one another and strengthen the role of ministries/institutions in the future regulation and deployment of crypto asset trade.
Because cryptocurrency asset trading is highly volatile, the government organised the ‘Crypto Asset Literacy Month’ initiative to raise awareness about the issue. The event was organised in collaboration with the Indonesian Crypto Asset Traders Association by the Ministry of Trade’s Commodity Futures Trading Supervisory Agency (Aspakrindo).
Zulkifli Hasan, Minister of Trade, hopes that the ‘Crypto Asset Literacy Month’ Programme will increase literacy in crypto asset trading by providing the right and appropriate awareness in the community, ensuring the implementation of crypto asset physical market trading conforms with statutory regulations.
“Investing in crypto assets is fraught with danger. The value of crypto assets is erratic by nature, and it can see a significant gain or reduction in value in a short period. As a result, a thorough awareness of the community and the rewards, possibilities, and hazards of trading crypto assets is required. “Crypto Asset Literacy Month 2023 is undoubtedly one strategy to promote public literacy in crypto asset trading,” he concluded.
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) provided production technologies and system innovations to seven MSMEs in Central Luzon. The programme assisted seven MSMEs in food processing, agriculture, and metals and engineering to escalate their productivity, efficiency, and competitiveness in domestic and global markets.
The initiative was brought through Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Programme (SETUP), which continuously supports micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in The Philippines. DOST-3 Regional Director Julius Caesar Sicat said that the seven MSMEs could acquire production technologies and systems innovations as SETUP beneficiaries to upgrade their businesses. He particularly cited the case of Fiona’s Farm, which operates as a farm resort and produces tomatoes and other green leafy vegetables through an aeroponics system with high electricity consumption.
“The assistance they will be getting from SETUP is that the Fiona’s Farm will be able to switch into solar (photovoltaic) technology that will radically cut their energy cost and make their day-to-day operation more efficient,” the DOST official clarified in an interview.
Sicat cited the importance of adopting technologies to address business-related problems and encouraged the owners of the seven firms to avail of other DOST-3 services.
“The DOST would be very much willing to help them. Our engagement with each other does not end in SETUP. We also have technical consultancy training and the regional science technology laboratory (RSTL), which can help further elevate the efficiency of their businesses,” he added.
He noted that the DOST-3 had allotted a total of PHP7.4 million (US$140 thousand) as SETUP iFund for the seven MSMEs. SETUP iFund is open to manufacturing MSMEs needing technology to improve productivity and efficiency and has been operational for a minimum of three years. The assistance includes acquiring machines and equipment financed by the programme and payable in three years with no interest.
The government has streamlined the booking and payment process for Quezon City’s traditional market merchants. They will now use the Market One-Stop Shop (MOSS) portal to register for and lease spaces and booths online. According to City Administrator Michael Alimurung, the platform would pinpoint “legitimate” vendor premises that are free of barriers. It is also part of Mayor Joy Belmonte’s goal of making Quezon City a desirable commercial destination.
With the new system, the city government guarantees a simple application process for renting a stall, including payment and collection of market charges. This will also make life easier for the city treasurer’s office, as they will no longer have to collect rent in person.
The local government installed free Wi-Fi access points in barangay halls and hundreds of other public places to ensure that the new system is widely used. A caravan will be created to assist present and new vendors with registering with the platform.
The method, according to Margarita Santos, director of the Quezon City Business Permits and Licensing Office, will not substitute any roles, such as market masters or market managers, but will make their jobs simpler. She asserted that the MOSS would adopt a “first in, first out” waiting line and award a five-year lease to the first vendor registered for the space or stand. They will, however, be relegated to the bottom of the line if they do not meet the standards within a certain number of days.
Furthermore, in mid-2022, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) MIMAROPA – a district comprising of the provinces of Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan – gave food-based micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) a digital boost for their businesses. DOST provided a Web-based Inventory Monitoring and Logistics Management System (WIMLMS) to expedite their operations for improving output.
The digitalisation project aims to assist MIMAROPA MSMEs in adopting digital technology capabilities to better business operations and meet customer demands. One of the project’s critical parts is creating an enterprise inventory and logistics management system.
The Ministry of Communication and Informatics (Kominfo) will organise the Digital Leadership Academy (DLA) Training Programme (US) in conjunction with Stanford University in California. Hary Budiarto, the Ministry of Communication and Informatics’ Human Resources Research and Development Agency chairman, declared that the collaboration would add to the list of cooperating world-class colleges.
The DLA programme was initially a collaboration between eight international campuses, including the National University of Singapore (NUS), Harvard University, Oxford University, Tsinghua University, Cornell University, Imperial College London, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Cambridge.
“We have partnered with eight foreign universities, and this year we are exploring a partnership with Stanford University,” he spoke at a press conference for the Kominfo Digital Talent Provision Programme at the Ministry of Communication and Information Media Centre in Central Jakarta.
According to Hary, the DLA Programme intends to include all government officials, State-Owned Enterprises (BUMN), Regional-Owned Enterprises (BUMD), private enterprises (CEO level), and digital company owners as members. Training for regional leaders, including governors, mayors, and regents, is provided by Ministry Kominfo in partnership with the Ministry of Home Affairs’ HR Development Agency (BPSDM Kemendagri). DLA will hold training and visits in 2023.
The initiative will bring 20 regional leaders to South Korea this year for international benchmarking. The Ministry of Home Affairs will define the qualifications for regional heads. They visited Singapore in 2022, and 20 regional leaders were present.
The Ministry of Kominfo, on the other hand, developed digital competence from beginner to intermediate levels for students, graduate students, and the community. The Professional Academy, Fresh Graduate Academy, Talent Scouting Academy, Vocational School Graduate Academy, Government Transformation Academy, Thematic Academy, and Digital Entrepreneurship Academy are all part of the DTS Programme.
For the Professional Academy training subject, The Ministry of Kominfo targets participants who have at least worked for the past two years. Meanwhile, the Fresh Graduate Academy is designed for recent college grads. The ministry also collaborates with the industry to fulfil its personnel needs. The training programme will continue with open job offers followed by training in a specific field. After that, they participate in apprenticeship or boot camp, after which they can contract employment with the industry.
Participants in the Vocational School Graduate Academy (VSGA) course can obtain an SKKNI-based certification. VSGA is meant for the community, with at least Vocational High School graduates eligible for D1, D2, and D4. The distinction between V FGA and VSGA is that the training is based on the Occupational Map or SKKNI, particularly for SKKNI in the communications, information technology, and telecommunications industries.
Another academy is the Talent Scouting Academy, which is meant for students as part of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology’s drive for the Freedom to Learn – Independent Campus (MBKM) programme. We provide students with training, after which they return to college and can convert numerous credits, typically 10-20 credits. Our goal for the Talent Scouting Programme in 2023 is to have roughly 5,000 students.
Thematic Academies are dedicated to specific communities throughout Indonesia, such as migrant workers, individuals with disabilities, women, children, and others.
Meanwhile, the Digital Entrepreneurship Academy training programme aims to prepare students to become digital entrepreneurs. There are four curricula in the DEA training, ranging from addressing the foundations of using digital platforms to how to manage marketplaces to employing data science, big data, or AI (Artificial Intelligence) to establish business production.
We also train ASN through the Government Transformation Academy, which provides training to make them more proficient in executing public services. All these DTS training sessions are accessible to the community, students, and workers; all required is to register to participate in this training online or offline.
In the context of World Safer Internet Day, the Deputy Minister of Information and Communications (MIC), Nguyen Huy Dung, highlighted the crucial role of a safe Internet in advancing progress in Vietnam. This year’s World Safer Internet Day was themed, “Want to talk about it? Making space for safe conversations about life online”.
According to MIC, over 175,000 children worldwide access the Internet daily and experience both its advantages and potential hazards. Providing children with knowledge about Internet safety and equipping them with the tools to protect themselves has become a global concern.
World Safer Internet Day aims to promote the safe use of digital technology and create positive effects on children and young people. It strives to encourage the youth, parents, teachers, police, and technology companies to work together to develop and implement initiatives that contribute to a safer online environment.
World Safer Internet Day was initiated in 1999. By 2004, many countries had joined the initiative to raise public awareness of cyber threats. The day aims to promote joining hands to fight threats from the internet, bringing people around the globe a safer online environment.
Last year, the Vietnam Network for Child Online Protection debuted its website to keep children safe online, where users can report incidents of child abuse. The Authority of Information Security, which is run by MIC, developed and deployed the website. The network is linked to 24 units, including representatives of the Ministry of Labour, Invalids, and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Education and Training, and the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism. Other representatives are from agencies, enterprises, and domestic and foreign organisations that specialise in child protection on the Internet.
As OpenGov Asia reported, in the ‘Opinion Expression’ section of the website users, including children, can give their ideas and suggestions, which state agencies can consider when drafting new policies and schemes. The ‘News’ section includes updated information about Internet safety for children in the country and across the world as well as the new technologies developed to keep children safe online. Meanwhile, the ‘Tools’ section offers useful suggestions and software for young users to have healthy interactions online.
Apart from contacting the Child Affairs Department’s hotline through the portal, users can also send child abuse reports. The Vietnam Network for Child Online Protection then verifies the reports and takes appropriate action. The website was launched as part of a programme approved by the Prime Minister to protect and assist children in healthy and creative interactions on the Internet. It targets preventing and handling activities that take advantage of the cyber environment to abuse children as well as promoting and maintaining a healthy Internet environment.
The website contributes to an ecosystem of useful domestic apps and products to help children learn and be entertained online. So far, the programme has introduced various initiatives, tasks, and breakthrough solutions to exploit advanced technologies like big data to collect data and deliver early warnings for any potential content that violates laws or is not suitable for children.
In 2022, Vietnam’s digital technology industry reached a total revenue of about US$ 148 billion. The revenue from Internet security products and services in 2022 hit about VND 4.85 trillion (US$ 205.5 million), 26% higher than that of 2021. Domestic information security enterprises have mastered over 95% of information security products and solutions. Many new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and virtual reality technology (AR/VR) have been applied to ‘Made in Vietnam’ information security products.
A partner company of Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP), which is a leading surgical robotics company, recently signed a high-level Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a longstanding clinical partner and a multispecialty private hospital in Hong Kong.
The Memorandum of Understanding will enhance the partnership between the parties, with a focus on advancing patient care, promoting technological innovations in healthcare, and fostering a culture of innovation in Hong Kong.
The two parties have a long-standing friendship, and this Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) strengthens and harmonises their partnership. Over the course of a three-year consortium, they will collaborate on various significant activities, such as exchanging scientific knowledge gained from clinical validation studies of the latest surgical robots, promoting development, and fostering new technological innovations. The goal is to transform human-assisted surgery into precise, automated solutions, improving patients’ quality of life.
The MoU was signed by the CEO of the robotics company and the CEO of the hospital. In attendance were the Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry; the Founder, and Chairman of the company; the Chairman of Hong Kong Automation Technology Council and Associate Director (Innovation) of a hotel group in Hong Kong as well as the Director of Peritoneal Malignancy Treatment Centre at the hospital.
The Founder of the HKSTP partner company stated that the company is committed to revolutionising surgical technologies and elevating patient care in Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area. The support the Hong Kong government, through funding programs like the Enterprise Support Scheme and access to advanced facilities at the Science Park, has enabled PRHK to enhance its medical and surgical systems and cultivate skilled professionals. This partnership holds great potential for expanding the use of surgical robots for the benefit of patients.
Meanwhile, the CEO of the hospital noted that partnership provides both parties with a strategic platform to foster the development of technological innovations in healthcare. Drawing on the tech company’s outstanding experience in surgical robot development and implementation, we anticipate contributing to the successful transformation of our joint clinical research efforts into healthcare solutions that will offer improved care, greater precision, and more advanced options for patients.
FDA Clears SIRIUS Endoscope System for Use
SIRIUS Endoscope System, the flagship product of the robotics company, achieved 510k clearance from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December 2022, demonstrating its safety and efficacy in use, and meeting world-class quality standards.
The CEO of the company announced that the FDA 510K clearance and the clinical data acquired through the partnership with the hospital will facilitate the company’s ability to advance its medical robotics technology in Hong Kong and the Asia Pacific region. The company’s status as a prominent leader in the development of innovative surgical robotics solutions will also be strengthened.
The robotics company is a portfolio company of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) Venture Fund, which supports promising tech ventures by providing investment and attracting private capital. The Hong Kong Science Park is a hub for over 1,200 cutting-edge innovation and technology companies, including PRHK, in areas like artificial intelligence, robotics, biomedical technology, and more.
The CEO of HKSTP stated that the robotics company has been a consistent part of HKSTP’s ecosystem and a shining example of how research, with the right support, can lead to scalable commercial success. This collaboration represents a major milestone in their quest to improve the utilisation of robotics in healthcare, and they are thrilled to see the company’s continued growth and success.
The robotics company is dedicated to revolutionising the field of minimally invasive surgery through its innovative articulated camera system, providing advanced laparoscopic surgeries with precision, accuracy, and dependability. With the hospital’s expertise, clinical excellence, and top-notch facilities, the company aims to continue improving surgical robot applications for both surgeons and patients.
The Philippine Army (PA) confirmed its intent to digitalise the documentation process. According to PA spokesperson Col. Xerxes Trinidad, the digitalisation project is part of the PA leadership’s attempts to use technology to provide relevant and responsive services to soldiers.
“This digitalisation will assist the PA in expediting the processing of benefits due to meritorious people, particularly our KIA (killed in action), wounded, sick, and retirees,” said PA chief Lt. Gen. Romeo S. Brawner Jr.
At the Army Headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, the PA and technology solutions supplier master’s Stewards Information Technology (MIST) inked a digitalisation agreement under the Office of the Army Adjutant. The office is the repository for all Army officers and troops from commissioning or enlistment until retirement. The signing reaffirmed the agreement between the PA, represented by Army Adjutant Col. Danilo Estraero, and MIST Solutions, Inc., represented by its managing director, Mary Ann Cabal-Soleno.
Last year, PhilSA and the Department of National Defense (DND) signed an agreement to strengthen national security and development activities through Space Science and Technology Applications (SSTA). Before establishing a memorandum of understanding with DND, PhilSA collaborated closely with the defence and security industries.
PhilSA is working hard to safeguard the country’s sovereignty. Currently, the agency works with several AFP divisions to produce satellite data products for maritime domain cognisance, area monitoring, and other satellite operations for defence and security.
PhilSA has been educating the Philippine Navy and Air Force on using satellite pictures and AI for automatic object recognition. It also has a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Coast Watch Centre to improve maritime security through space-enabled technology.
Similarly, the United States has realised the significance of converting technology in the defence sector. As a result, the government has made significant technological advances for its army. It has even used its arm to establish the Cyber National Mission Force, the Department of Defense’s newest subordinate unified command.
The CNMF is the United States military’s joint cyber force entrusted with defending the country in cyberspace through full-spectrum operations encompassing offensive, defensive, and information operations. The classification of CNMF as a sub-unified command acknowledges the organisation’s long-standing purpose of combatting foreign harmful cyber actors, underlines its continuous success in advancing national priorities and formalises its organisational structure.
The army used games, simulators, and 3D training simulations to teach its forces. The United States Air Force has made the KingFish Agile Combat Employment game the capstone exercise for the Air Mobility Command’s Rapid Global Mobility Course 3. (RGMC 3). The game allows students to visualise, learn from, and comprehend the notions of ACE and Multi-Capable Airmen in a more tangible way.
In the meantime, the US Air Force has created a new training platform called the Weapons System Trainer Reconfigurable C-130J flight simulator (WST 12R). The new simulator includes block updates to boost software and hardware capability expansions aimed at improving aircraft flying skills.
These training profiles will be like the flying, weight, and climatic conditions that MAFFS aircrews will encounter on wildfire suppression missions. The new simulator will train aircrews to manage circumstances more effectively and successfully, improving safety and mission success.
The United States Navy developed MRTS 3D (Multipurpose Reconfigurable Training System) as a 3D training simulation that gives an interactive training experience via a multi-touch screen. By boosting achievement and operation readiness, the deployment of MRTS 3D onboard Lincoln aids in meeting future fleet requirements. The simulations immerse Sailors in a three-dimensional world geared to their job requirements.
MRTS 3D offers a variety of software simulations through realistic, virtual training on a variety of platforms. MRTS 3D trainers are intended to be employed on Navy ships in Sailor rate boot camps and pre-deployment group exercises.