A digital twin is a digital model of a physical asset. It collects information (via sensors, drones or other IoT and Industrial IoT tools) and applies advanced analytics, machine-learning and artificial intelligence in order to receive real-time insights about the physical asset’s performance, operation or profitability.
For Digital City Twins, hundreds of IoT systems and public databases are consolidated into a single portal creating a “digital twin” of the city. The simulation allows users to monitor construction progress, traffic, environmental conditions, public safety, energy consumption and building occupancy.
Such technology looks set to play an increasingly important role in the creation of smart cities around the world and in addressing major public health, safety, environmental and natural disaster issues. Bringing the virtual and physical worlds together in this way can help to better inform decision-making, reduces risk and also acts as a citizen engagement tool.
In the realm of smart cities, a digital twin is a virtual model of a city, a replica of the physical world. They are rapidly becoming indispensable tools to visualize the pulse of the city in real-time with layered data sources of buildings, urban infrastructure, utilities, businesses, movement of people and vehicles.
Rotterdam: Delivering Better City Operations
Rotterdam, Amsterdam has been developing and applying a variety of smart solutions to urban problems in recent years. A smart thermal grid is being constructed, for example, that will facilitate heat exchange between buildings and make entire neighbourhoods more energy efficient. Smart parking and intelligent (electric) mobility are supporting better traffic flow, and a range of other benefits are helping make life better for inhabitants.
Improving Citizen Living in France
Rennes Metropole in France has developed a digital 3D model covering the city’s entire territory. This online model is used in various ways, for urban mediation with citizens, and for urban development purposes such as sunshine simulation, noise modelling, tree shadow impact on buildings
Using the Digital Twin for Virtual Tourism
Helsinki using a Digital Twin as a testing tool open to the public, also for mitigating climate change and improving energy efficiency. But Helsinki is also using the digital twin to become leaders in Virtual Tourism. Virtual Helsinki is a digital experience that enables users to visit the city’s digital twin created in high-quality 3D. They will be able to visit all tourist attractions and this can be done at any time of the year, simply by using virtual reality glasses and an app.
Digital Twin to Help Provide World-Class Logistics
The city of Columbus, Ohio in the USA which won the US-wide Smart City Challenge in 2016. The Smart Columbus campaign aims to improve people’s quality of life, drive economic growth, provide better access to opportunities, become a world-class logistics leader, and foster sustainability by interconnecting infrastructure services, starting with transportation, housing, and healthcare, to model how new technologies work in a real city.
Singapore: The Most Advanced Digital Twin to Date
Singapore is widely recognised as one of the more advanced of the smart city digital twins. Virtual Singapore, project which was overseen by Dassault Systémes using its 3DEXPERIENCE platform is already well developed. The project offers four main capabilities to stakeholders: Virtual experimentation, test-bedding, decision-making and research & development.
Amaravati: A City Created from a Digital Twin
The first entire city within India, born with a digital twin is Amaravati, the new capital of Andhra Pradesh. Amaravati is proposing a digital twin user ID scheme for every citizen that will serve as a single portal for all government information, notifications, forms and applications.
These are just a few cities solving their unique challenges and improving urban life through digital twinning and the trend seems to be that more and more cities will soon create their own digital twins. Portland in the US has a Digital Twin activated by residents’ cellular data. Dubai in the Middle East is using a Digital Twin project focusing on user experience and Yingtan in China has its’ 5G Digital Twin.
A digital twin is an invaluable tool that is set to become a cornerstone of the 4th Industrial Revolution. The digital city brings together the physical and digital worlds through Internet of Things technologies but also ties in the social world by creating a platform for all stakeholders. Starting with the digital twin, cities can begin to develop a new range of applications that will optimise, enhance, and improve all aspects of urban life.
Digital transformation made remarkable progress last year, with technology awareness among state agencies, businesses, and citizens significantly improving, according to the Deputy Minister of Information and Telecommunications, Nguyen Huy Dung. He stated that digital transformation has become a trend in the wake of COVID-19. It is a new engine driving the country’s socio-economic development and facilitating virus response and economic recovery. Digital technology has found its way into every governmental, economic, and social activity.
According to a news report, there has been a surge in digitisation across the country. In Da Nang, residents can register for electricity supply and pay power bills via their smartphones. Village chiefs in Lang Son are leading community-based technology groups that teach the villagers how to develop digital shops on e-commerce platforms, helping raise sales of agricultural products 174 times. In Quang Ninh, the chairman of the provincial People’s Committee has deployed a digital system to check the progress of public administrative services delivery.
An industry expert stated that at an early stage, the national digital transformation and the journey towards a digital economy and society still have a long way to go. Every person and business is increasingly aware of how digital technologies are profoundly changing the delivery of public administrative and healthcare services. The national portal for public administrative services has been operational for over a year, with nearly 3,000 services made available.
The remote medical consultation and support network Telehealth, which connects around 1,000 clinics nationwide, has bridged the gap in service quality among regions and reduced overloads at centralised hospitals. Many hospitals now provide digital health records, remote health services, and e-payments.
Do Cong Anh, the Director of the Ministry of Information and Telecommunications’ Information Technology Application, emphasised that it is not only about technology and equipment but also regulatory frameworks, policies, awareness, and personnel. Technology contributes some 20% to an organisation’s successful digital transformation while the remaining 80% depends on its awareness and how its personnel translates digital plans into reality, according to Anh.
By 2030, Vietnam sets to develop an e-government and digital economy which contributes around 30% to the GDP. The country also aims to be among the top 50 countries in e-government development and the third in ASEAN by the end of this decade. Vietnam is expected to be the fastest-growing e-commerce market in Southeast Asia by 2026, with e-commerce gross merchandise value (GMV) reaching US$56 billion by 2026, 4.5 times the estimated value of 2021.
Vietnam is at the forefront of driving change and seizing opportunities to thrive based on digital transformation in a post-pandemic future. A study surveyed about 16,700 digital consumers and more than 20 C-level employees in six Southeast Asian countries, including 3,579 survey participants from Vietnam. The report described Southeast Asia as a leader of digital transformation in the Asia-Pacific region and Vietnam as one of the best performers.
Four research projects led by scholars at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) received grants worth HK$20.26 million in total from the inaugural Green Tech Fund under the Environmental Protection Department, Hong Kong SAR Government.
Established with an allocation of HK$200 million from the Government’s 2020/21 budget, Green Tech Fund aims to boost the research into and development and applications of decarbonisation and green technologies. Addressing issues on decarbonisation, energy efficiency, green transport and air quality, CityU joined with local industries and government departments to expedite low-carbon transformation in Hong Kong.
The project led by Chair Professor of Electrical Engineering received funding worth approximately HK$6.69 million. The objective is to develop a smart power conditioner (SPC) by reusing obsolete electric vehicle (EV) batteries, termed second-life batteries. The overall aim is to improve the power quality and energy efficiency within the electrical distribution network and meet the growing demand for charging EVs.
With an artificial intelligence (AI)-empowered diagnostic framework, the SPC system can estimate the remaining useful life of batteries and the health condition of major power components in the SPC through online monitoring. In addition, the system can help reduce electronic waste by controlling the charging and discharging profiles of the batteries to prolong their life. It can also reduce the power loss of the entire electric distribution network, and solve the frequent failure problems experienced by the power capacitor in the passive harmonic filter and capacitor bank.
A grant of approximately HK$ 5.69 million was awarded to the project led by the Dean and Chair Professor of Atmospheric Environment in the School of Energy and Environment (SEE). The research team will develop two types of portable low-cost sensors for the real-time monitoring of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air. Poisonous VOCs are key precursors of the ozone and suspended particulates that generate photochemical smog.
The two sensing systems that the team plans to develop will be mini metal-organic framework-based photoionisation detector sensors and metal oxide semiconductor sensors; and a portable thermal desorption-gas chromatograph-photoionisation detector system. These systems, which entail lower production costs than existing commercial monitoring devices, will help Hong Kong achieve decarbonisation targets and enhance air quality by controlling the emission of VOCs. In addition, they can be easily installed and are flexible enough for various mobile platforms that monitor VOCs at different horizontal and vertical scales.
The project led by the Director of Hong Kong Institute for Clean Energy and the Professor of Materials Science received funding worth HK$5.03 million. His team will develop highly efficient printable perovskite solar cells (PSCs) to help Hong Kong become a leading city in developing technologies for solar energy.
By developing perovskite as appropriate “ink” for printing films directly on crystalline silicon solar cells, the team aims to produce high-performance perovskite/crystalline silicon tandem solar cells that have 30% higher power conversion efficiency than conventional silicon cells. This technology can enhance the efficiency of photovoltaic systems installed on rooftops. In addition, the team will develop semi-transparent PSCs that can be used as solar windows for building-integrated photovoltaics.
The team consists of top perovskite scientists and experts in printable PSCs. It was noted, currently, more than 85% of energy in the world comes from non-renewable sources. Scientists should therefore bear the responsibility of developing new materials and technologies that will provide highly efficient and sustainable clean energy.
The Associate Professor of SEE was granted approximately HK$2.88 million for his project. Given the prevalent trend for developing green energy through the use of solar energy and water to generate hydrogen, the research team will develop a novel and large-scale photocatalyst panel for solar hydrogen evolution using water from various sources.
The team will put bismuth-based photocatalytic powder developed by Dr Ng on stainless steel plates with a transparent window as an outer frame for receiving sunlight. A thin layer of water (less than 1 cm) will be filled within the photocatalyst panels to generate hydrogen. The clean hydrogen produced by sunlight and water can generate electricity for small indoor devices.
Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (IIT-Guwahati) have developed 3D printed urban furniture using construction material made from local industrial wastes. The technology will cut down concrete use by 75%. According to a report, concrete 3D printing is gaining momentum in the building and construction industries. Recent developments in this field such as 3D printed modular houses, pedestrian footbridges, office buildings, public schools, and low-cost toilet units have the potential to initiate a paradigm change in construction.
A statement by the Institution said that the research group used specially developed printable concrete containing industrial wastes as binders to build 3D printed furniture with a seating height of 0.4 m, a width of 0.4 m, and arch-shaped support that was modelled and sliced using SolidWorks and Simplify3D, respectively. The entire unit was printed layer by layer at an 80 mm/s speed, with each layer having a 10 mm height. After the unit was printed, it was covered by moist gunny bags for seven days to cure before being used.
Traditionally, these structures were mould cast, which require more concrete material, labour, and formwork preparation. A representative from IIT-Guwahati noted that the Institute showcased how material-efficient structures can be produced in their lab-scale 3D printer. The goal is to design high-performance concrete mixes made from industrial wastes for printing such complex structures.
The team is now exploring underwater concrete printing and the possibility of printing functional reinforced concrete using low carbon materials. 3D printing of concrete can be a technological solution for reducing carbon footprint in the building and construction industry. The IIT-Guwahati Director explained that in the Indian context, techno-economic analyses must be carried out that not only accounts for environmental sustainability but also aspects relating to cost, quality, labour, and maintenance associated with 3D printing.
The research team believes that the on-demand, on-site 3D concrete printing will have a global impact on versatile construction applications and multi-billion-dollar markets worldwide. The future jobs will be marshalled into design, automation, servicing, and maintenance of digital systems.
Last August, scientists from the International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI) revealed that they successfully managed to repair aero-engine components using 3D printing technology called Directed Energy Deposition (DED). The research team discovered that the technology significantly reduced repair costs and overhaul time. The powders for the DED 3D printing process were created by scientists on their own.
In December, the Indian Institute of Technology in Ropar (IIT-Ropar) installed an EOS M 290 metal 3D printer in its facility. It uses additive manufacturing technology known as selective laser melting to create complex geometrical featured products from various metals and alloys. The metal 3D printer will be used for research and development. This technology is unique in its ability to address existing issues in the conventional powder bed fusion process such as thermal management and slow build rate. IIT-Ropar will focus on conducting workshops and hands-on training for researchers, students, and staff on the technology process.
China will promote the process of digitalisation in banking and insurance to heighten high-quality development of the sectors, the country’s banking and insurance regulator has said. Banking and insurance institutions should implement supportive digital development plans to better serve the real economy, according to a guideline recently issued by the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission.
Digital transformation of business management, industrial and personal financial services, and the financial market should be strengthened. Meanwhile, more should be done to improve the data governance system as well as management, quality control, and application of data. The guideline also said that institutions should tighten management against risks, enhance data security and improve privacy protection.
China’s latest plan to grow its digital economy will empower national digital transformation, shore up innovation and enable the government to offer more equitable public services. The State Council, China’s Cabinet, unveiled the first five-year plan on the digital economy on Jan 12, highlighting the sector’s role in reshaping the global economic structure and international competition, and rolling out targets for its development through 2025.
The plan laid out measures for upgrading national infrastructure, bolstering the role of data as a production element and promoting the digital transformation of industries. By 2025, the added value of core digital economy industries is expected to account for 10% of GDP, up from 7.8% in 2020.
The plan also pledged to further open up China’s service sector, explore measures to widen market access for new business models in the digital economy and promote globalized development for emerging services such as data storage and cloud computing.
The plan has set a target of increasing China’s gigabit broadband users from 6.4 million in 2020 to 60 million in 2025 and promoting more commercial and large-scale use of 5G. According to the National Development and Reform Commission, China has developed the world’s largest optical fibre network and has the largest number of internet users, a total of 1.01 billion as of last June.
It also leads the world in the development of 5G, with a total of 1.39 million base stations and 497 million 5G device users as of last November, and it has been the world’s largest online retail market for eight consecutive years, with online sales volume hitting 6.1 trillion yuan ($961 billion) in the first half of last year, up 23.2% year-on-year.
A key focus of the initiative is to shore up innovation capacity in key technologies, as the country seeks to boost the research and development of sensors, quantum information, telecommunications, integrated circuits, key software, big data and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
China will continue to promote the healthy growth of the platform economy, encouraging companies to step up the integration and sharing of data, products and content and expand services such as online healthcare. New growth areas in the sector, such as smart sales, unmanned deliveries and smart manufacturing, will also be promoted.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, stronger tech innovation capabilities are facilitating industrial growth in China, which will help further the high-quality development of the nation’s sprawling manufacturing sector. The remark came after China’s industrial output increased 9.6% on a yearly basis in 2021, 1.5 percentage points higher than GDP growth, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
More capital is going to the high-tech sector, which will also fuel the in-depth integration of the digital and real economies, and facilitate the high-quality development of manufacturing in China. Last year, investment in high-tech industries increased by 17.1%, 12.2 percentage points faster than total investment. Among the total, investment in high-tech manufacturing and high-tech service industries increased 22.2% and 7.9% year-on-year, respectively.
As cyber threats increase, becoming ever more sophisticated and evolving to match cyber resilience measures, new approaches and strategies are needed. Traditional ideas and methods that protect a tangible periphery no longer work, more so in the increasingly common remote workforce. These plans cannot be static but must be revisited periodically, upgraded frequently and monitored constantly.
Organisations that support the public and private sectors must be far more proactive than before, keeping a vigil on bad actors, both internal and external, foreign and domestic. Cyber resilience systems must learn to adapt to ever-morphing and clever attacks against core systems, infrastructure and equipment.
The cyberattack on the SolarWinds software build environment in December 2020 emphasises how dangerous the current landscape is and how concerned cyber resilience teams should be. The risk is no longer limited to a department or organisation but now threatens entire national functioning.
There is no doubt broad consensus and common development of sound practices across industry and government. Firm in their belief that transparency and cooperation are the best tools to help prevent and protect against future attacks, SolarWinds remains committed to sharing their learnings from the attack. Secure by Design is their guiding set of principles, with a focus on people, infrastructure and software development.
Their whitepaper, Setting the New Standard in Secure Software Development: The SolarWinds Next-Generation Build System is an excellent resource. Read on the learn more on software development and the build process improvements they’ve made in an accelerated timeline this year.
The Directorate General of Higher Education, Research, and Technology (Ditjen Diktiristek) of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology (Kemendikbudristek) is working with a tech company to develop Indonesian digital talents in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI). The cooperation is stated in a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) signed by both parties through a virtual ceremony. This collaboration is an effort made by the Directorate General of Higher Education to accelerate the growth of AI talent in Indonesia.
The scope of the collaboration includes improving the competence of human resources at Indonesian universities, through various activities such as AI skills training for lecturers and students, AI curriculum development in universities, translation workshops and research discussions, as well as development and support for the AI startup ecosystem.
Acting (Plt.) Director-General of Higher Education, Research, and Technology Nizam said, the Directorate General of Higher Education is committed to improving the quality of human resources (HR) of higher education, especially in the field of digital technology. This is in line with President Joko Widodo’s direction to prepare millions of Indonesian digital talents to respond to digital transformation.
It is important for us to ensure that our young generation can face this era of the industrial revolution 4.0, especially with the competencies of AI, machine learning, deep learning, and other fields that this industry needs.
– Nizam, Acting (Plt.) Director-General of Higher Education, Research, and Technology
On the same occasion, Plt. Secretary of the Directorate General of Higher Education, Research and Technology Tjitjik Srie Tjahjandarie said that the process of signing this cooperation agreement was the first step to prepare the next generation who are ready to compete and contribute to the development of technology-based multidisciplinary education in Indonesia. Through this program, it is hoped that the development of technology-based education can be evenly distributed in all universities in Indonesia.
This cooperation agreement can be a motivation to develop the abilities of students and alumni as well as the quality of lecturers and teaching staff in universities. In addition, through this development, a superior university curriculum can be created and is suitable for facing challenges in the changing industry 5.0 and 6.0.
Everyone should understand the implications and impact of AI, regardless of the field of study they study because AI can change almost any sector of the economy. The challenge is, not only do people have to focus on science, but people have to bring awareness about AI more broadly across sectors and industries.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, the Minister of Communications and Informatics Johnny G. Plate encourages everyone to continue to improve their quality of life in line with the projected number and types of new jobs due to technology adoption. It is projected that there will be 85 million old jobs that may be lost and 97 million new jobs that may appear, this is due to the division of labour between humans, machines and algorithms. The new jobs require a high level of digital skills and soft skills.
A report shows that in 2025 there will be 43% of industry players who reduce or reduce the number of workers as a consequence of the application of technology integration. Increasing digital skills and soft skills in line with technological developments for the workforce, especially the younger generation of Indonesia, can be done through upskilling and reskilling.
In addition, the Government has also carried out massive infrastructure development, especially in the first period of President Joko Widodo’s leadership. According to the Minister of Communication and Informatics, entering the current era of digital transformation, the development of digital infrastructure has been and is being accelerated by the Government and its partners and needs to be balanced with improving the quality of human resources.
Singapore and the Republic of Colombia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to deepen economic ties between the two countries and promote closer collaboration between Singapore and Colombian companies. Businesses in Singapore and Colombia will have more opportunities to collaborate in areas such as technology and innovation.
This is the first bilateral MOU between ESG and ProColombia, the government agency in charge of promoting the export of goods and services, foreign direct investment, and tourism. Under the MOU, ESG and ProColombia will work together to facilitate business partnerships between Singapore and Colombian companies, in key areas of technology and innovation (emerging technologies such as Industry 4.0, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain and digital industries), trade, infrastructure (smart city and smart governance) and energy.
This MOU builds on Singapore’s economic relations with Colombia and affirms our commitment to work together. The consumer, trade and infrastructure sectors are important growth drivers of the Colombian economy. The country is also making inroads into technology and innovation. With Colombia also a part of the Pacific Alliance, this MOU will facilitate Singapore companies with aspirations to diversify to Latin America as well.
– Tan Soon Kim, Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Enterprise Singapore
Colombia is Latin America’s fourth-largest economy, with a gross domestic product (GDP) of US$683.9 billion (S$920 billion). It is expected to grow 5.5 per cent this year. The country was Singapore’s sixth-largest trading partner in Latin America and the Caribbean last year, with total trade in goods amounting to $327 million – a 17 per cent increase from 2020.
The Colombian government has a special interest in strengthening trade and investment ties with Singapore, a key partner for its expansion to the Asia-Pacific region. Singapore’s regional leadership and strengths in areas such as urban and airport infrastructure and logistics.
There are some examples of Singapore companies that have successfully expanded into Colombia. The company is among the top five coffee exports in Colombia with seven warehousing and three processing facilities in the country.
Technology solutions company was commissioned by the Inter-American Development Bank in 2016 to connect the Single Electronic Windows for Foreign Trade of the Pacific Alliance Countries. This involved developing a customised interoperable solution that allows the Pacific Alliance countries to exchange, validate and mutually accept data, permits and authorisations in real-time to increase the efficiency and transparency of the foreign trade in the region.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, Singapore and the Republic of Korea (ROK) have launched negotiations on a new Korea-Singapore Digital Partnership Agreement (KSDPA) last year. The agreement seeks to deepen bilateral cooperation in new emerging digital areas, such as in personal data protection and cross-border data flows, digital identities, fintech, as well as Artificial Intelligence (AI) governance frameworks. It also aims to support and foster greater collaboration between both countries’ SME communities in the digital economy.
Recently, Singapore and ROK have concluded negotiations on the Korea-Singapore Digital Partnership Agreement (KSDPA). The KSDPA will be Singapore’s fourth Digital Economy Agreement (DEA), and the first with an Asian country. The agreement will deepen bilateral cooperation in the digital economy between both countries, by establishing forward-looking digital trade rules and norms to promote interoperability between digital systems. This will enable more seamless cross-border data flows and build a trusted and secure digital environment for our businesses and consumers.
The KSDPA is part of a series of DEAs that Singapore has embarked upon. These agreements are an inter-agency effort led by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Communications and Information, and the Infocomm Media Development Authority, to advance collaboration in the digital economy and enhance digital connectivity.