The 4th Annual EmTech Asia opened in Singapore today with a presentation on Smart Nation: Innovations and Collaborations by Mr. Khoong Hock Yun (above), Assistant Chief Executive (Development), Infocomm Development Media Authority (IMDA). EmTech Asia is an annual global emerging technologies conference hosted by MIT Technology Review. IMDA is a hosting partner.
“Everybody participates in co-creating what they want”
Mr. Khoong started his presentation saying that many of the initiatives being undertaken in Singapore under the Smart Nation Programme are related to global challenges, not unique to Singapore. For instance, the problem of ageing population. Or limited resources. Limitations of land, people, energy, water are issues faced by many cities around the world. But they are possibly faced by Singapore in a more acute fashion.
Despite being resource-poor, Singapore has prospered over the past 50 years. The question then is how does Singapore continue to grow as a nation in economic and social terms, while not consuming the same amount of resources as in the past. How can technology be used as a force multiplier to solve problems and achieve continued growth?
Mr. Khoong used the example of a project in the area of urban logistics launched last year to demonstrate the way in which technology is being used in Singapore. Urban logistics aims to apply best practices from international logistics in an urban setting. For example, the equivalent of port facilities in shipping would be loading-unloading bays for trucks in an urban setting. A time study revealed that the average turnaround time for trucks entering the shopping malls, unloading their goods, completing documentation and leaving was 65 minutes. And the goods delivery happens during a 6 hour window between 10 am and 4 pm, as the shopping crowds would surge post 4 pm. This inefficiency results in more trucks being needed, resulting in traffic congestion and pollution. It also increases the number of drivers required.
If the planned steps are implemented, it would lead to 25% increase in truck utilisation, 14.2 metric ton reduction in yearly carbon dioxide emission by trucks and $65 million annual manpower savings.
The idea is to bring about a structural change in the process by placing a dedicated in-mall operator. This operator would handle the unloading of the trucks and related documentation and deliver the goods to the individual retail shops. Delivery truck vehicle parking times went down from 24 minutes to 7.
But now what if things get lost? Going back and checking the entire chain would eliminate all the gains made. This is where technology comes in. The goods to be delivered to a specific shop in the mall would be containerised and a smart lock would be put in place. The container and lock can be tracked from the warehouse to the mall. If the lock loses its signal at any point, it would deem itself compromised. If the lock maintains its integrity and stays green, the truck delivers the goods, scanning is completed, and the goods delivered to the retail shop. If there is any discrepancy, then it is an issue between the shop and the warehouse.
Other parts of the process are also being reconfigured. For instance, the possibility of an off-site consolidation is being explored. All the items to be delivered to one mall can be consolidated into fewer trucks, reducing the number of trucks and trips. For this, the container would need to have the destination stored in the smart lock, so that the goods can be automatically directed to the right truck delivering to the right shop.
Another idea deals with the process at the consumer end. What if customers go the shop, make their purchases and then items could be delivered to the customer’s house from the shop or even directly from the offsite consolidation centre. would be to deliver the purchases. The delivery could be to a federated locker, common lockers at convenient locations island-wide. This would also solve the problem of customers not being home. Productivity of logistics service providers, the reach of retailers and customers’ convenience would all improve.
The next step could be the use of autonomous, driverless trucks, further reducing manpower requirement.
Mr. Khoong said that the whole point of narrating this story is to show how innovation benefits us when it solves real-world problems. The government can play the role of better articulating what some of those problems are.
The Singapore is creating test-beds to look at new ways of doing things and changes in systems, processes, methodologies and people. As an example, Mr. Khoong talked about the collaboration between IMDA and Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) to provide an Integrated Guest Experience. Under the project, companies have successfully developed prototypes for facial recognition, pocket tour trails, wearables, cashless payment, analytics and digital virtual assistant.
Mr. Khoong underlined the importance of cybersecurity in this new world, ensuring that the innovative services are delivered securely. He concluded his presentation talking about the ‘Ecosystem’, made up of government, corporates, startups, risk capital and universities and the citizens at the centre of it all. The government alone cannot plan and implement the Smart Nation strategy. All members of this ecosystem have to participate in co-creating what they want and solve the problems they face.
“Do we have the courage to take risks?”
Later in the day, the theme of innovation in Singapore and the ecosystem at its core was taken forward by Mr. Steve Leonard (above), CEO of SGInnovate, in a talk titled ‘#DOInnovate’.
Mr. Leonard asked if enough is being done with the resources and capabilities that Singapore has. He considered if there are shortcomings in different aspects which could impede innovation. Is it funding? Singapore has billions in innovation funding from government, venture capitalists and private equity players. Is it something to do with corporates? There are over 7000 corporations which consider Singapore their base. Is it something to do with universities, with science education? Education is not a concern with two of local universities ranked among the top 15 in the world. Is it research & development? In 2016, $19 billion was allocated for R&D over 5 years, till 2020. Singapore’s government has demonstrated a sustained, predictable, long-term commitment to R&D. Is it government support? The government realises the importance of science and technology and is highly supportive.
The answer Mr. Leonard proposed was ‘courage’, the collective courage to take risks. He asked, “Do we have the ability to embark on something that we don’t know the answer to, that almost certainly won’t work in the way that we hoped.”
That was the reason for the establishment of SGInnovate. Its efforts are directed at connecting the men and women in Singapore, who have the capability and the ambition.
With the presence of local sovereign investment funds and industry leaders on its board, SGInnovate can help obtain validation for someone developing a new idea. It is not about building the latest taxi-sharing or messaging app, though those might present valid economic models. SGInnovate puts money into advanced technologies which could make a real difference in areas such an ageing population, health, housing and transport.
These two talks showed a glimpse of how the Singapore government is working to promote innovation to solve problems in the city-state and achieve the Smart Nation vision through contributions from all stakeholders.
In the coming days, OpenGov will publish reports on the technologies of the future presented during the 2-day conference and the individuals behind them.
The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) announced the launch of a S$5 million Virtual Production Innovation Fund to support the local media industry in developing the capabilities needed to harness virtual production technology to maintain the local media industry’s competitiveness as the international partner of choice to create premium IP.
To enable the camera to capture actors and visual effects in real time, virtual production technology uses LED panels to produce realistic background landscapes for television or movie sequences driven by video game engines. The site, road closures, location costs, permits, weather, set construction, and space rental will no longer be necessary for production.
With the help of technology, Singapore has a rare chance to get over some of its physical constraints, like the lack of suitable locations for on-location filming and room for large sets.
The ability of the storytellers to reproduce historical sites or any other environment will allow them to generate content that was previously impossible. This will revolutionise the creative process of storytelling.
The adoption of virtual production by the media sector is further encouraged by the strong signals emanating from international media giants that this technology will be widely employed in the creation of movies and television shows and will become the standard in the next years.
To strengthen capabilities in virtual production and ensure that the media companies and talent can keep up with international production methods to remain competitive, IMDA will pursue a two-pronged strategy to prepare the media sector for the future.
The National Film and Television School (NFTS) in the UK has collaborated with IMDA to adapt the school’s Certificate in Virtual Production course to the requirements of the sector to train media professionals to use this technology.
From December 2022 to April 2023, fifteen professors, trainers, and media professionals from Singapore will participate in virtual lectures and undergo hands-on training at NFTS’s virtual production facilities.
Over the course of the following 12 months, several masterclasses and workshops given by professionals from the business will be offered. A Singapore-based firm that specialises in developing immersive experiences, held a display to exhibit how virtual production can enhance imaginative storytelling.
Hands-on demonstrations will be given by guest speakers from virtual production leaders. They will discuss and explore best practices in the workflow to inventive ways to use different technology in storytelling.
Local businesses can also test out virtual production to realise their creative ideas for brief pieces of content, such as music videos, short films, and brand advertisements, among others. Companies can submit their suggested content concepts from now until February 15, 2023.
The capacity to best utilise virtual production technologies to realise a project’s creative vision will be taken into consideration while evaluating proposals.
Additionally, IMDA is working to organise an industry challenge with an internationally renowned gaming company. This challenge will encourage organisations to experiment with and use the cutting-edge real-time 3D creation tool developed by this gaming company. Currently, the aforementioned tool powers globally popular video games.
Teams whose concepts are shortlisted will receive personalised coaching and training from the gaming company. In addition, they will receive prize money from IMDA to assist with content creation.
Since virtual production technology has advanced in recent years, the country is now able to produce visual effects in real-time without building actual sets, thereby overcoming the constraints of scale, complexity, and space.
In support of President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot mission to cure cancer, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced the establishment of the Agricultural Science Centre of Excellence for Nutrition and Diet for Better Health also known as ASCEND for Better Health.
This new virtual centre will hasten research into diet-related chronic diseases such as cancer. The centre’s long-term mission is to integrate research into actionable solutions that improve public health and well-being, particularly in marginalised regions.
ASCEND will bring together scientists, partner organisations, and communities to develop and deploy science-based solutions that improve the health and well-being of all Americans, particularly those living in underserved areas. As a result, the virtual centre will link existing resources, such as people and programmes, to harness the expertise and improve coordination and cooperation.
USDA is focusing more on precision nutrition science research to better understand the needs of marginalised groups. This study adds to the agency’s initiatives to enhance food and nutrition security, which involves having consistent and equitable access to good, safe, and affordable foods that are critical for optimal health and well-being.
In addition, the World Cancer Research Fund estimates that adopting a healthy diet and way of life can prevent 30% to 50% of all cancer cases. As part of its efforts to comprehend the links between nutrition and illnesses like cancer across various communities, the USDA is using fresh and ongoing research to inform its equity lens.
By 2030, hunger will be eliminated, and diet-related diseases will be reduced, all while reducing disparities, according to the National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health of the Biden-Harris Administration. In conjunction with the first White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health in more than 50 years, the National Strategy was unveiled.
The work of the USDA, which focuses more on resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy, and nutritious food in all communities, developing new markets and sources of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart forestry practises, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and more, benefits every American.
Meanwhile, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Programme for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) has made changes to the meals that are recommended to participants, according to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. These scientific updates include suggestions from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020–2025 and the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM).
The WIC food packages are specially made to complement the meals and drinks that participants already eat and drink while completing important nutritional gaps to support normal growth and development.
The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is recommending modifications to the food packaging to bring it into line with the most recent nutritional research and enable equal access to nutrient-dense foods during key times of development.
When taken as a whole, the modifications will raise the level of assistance while giving WIC state agencies more freedom to customise the packages to meet the needs of special dietary requirements, and cultural food preferences, and an increase in variety and choice for WIC participants, making the programme more alluring to both current and potential participants.
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Singapore Association of Convention & Exhibition Organisers & Suppliers (SACEOS) released the MICE Sustainability Roadmap, which outlines specific goals and plans for raising sustainability standards throughout the MICE sector in Singapore over the coming years.
The Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, and Exhibitions (MICE) industry is a type of tourism travel in which groups of people are brought together for a specific reason, usually well in advance. On the other hand, the MICE market refers to a subset of people who plan, arrange, and facilitate conferences, seminars, exhibitions, and other events.
Part of STB’s overarching plan to develop a sustainable tourism sector is the use of such roadmaps, which direct businesses in the sector to achieve specific sustainability goals. Following the launch of the Hotel Sustainability Roadmap earlier this year, the MICE Sustainability Roadmap is the second such project.
The Singapore Green Plan 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations (UN) serve as the roadmap’s guiding principles. Three goals are listed in the MICE Sustainability Roadmap to help Singapore become one of the most environmentally-friendly MICE destinations in Asia Pacific:
- By 2023, create a set of industry-acceptable sustainability standards with the goal of having them recognised internationally by 2024.
- For all six purpose-built MICE venues and 80% of SACEOS members to get internationally or nationally recognised sustainability certification, or both, by 2025.
- To attain net-zero emissions by 2050 in accordance with the country’s net-zero aim, the Singapore MICE sector must first track waste and carbon emissions by 2023, reduce waste in line with the Singapore Green Plan by 2030, and reduce waste overall by 2050.
The MICE Sustainability Committee (MSComm), established by STB and SACEOS in August 2022 to advance sustainability capabilities and create awareness of sustainability initiatives and best practices, will help the industry adopt sustainable practices and meet these goals.
The dedication to sustainability follows a robust MICE rebound in the wake of Singapore’s borders being reopened in April this year and a rising desire for environmentally friendly business travel. More importantly, the industry is aware of how crucial it is to lessen the environmental impact of MICE events.
With STB and SACEOS leading the charge and offering support as necessary to further develop a sustainable business events landscape in Singapore, the MICE Sustainability Roadmap will ensure that MICE players move forward in pursuing relevant and achievable sustainability goals that are tracked at appropriate milestones.
Meanwhile, OpenGov Asia recently reported that the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) of Singapore is working with a large American technology company to address climate change-related challenges and enhance the sustainability of digital technologies.
The cooperation aims to hasten the local and international development of software applications and solutions to assist businesses in using their resources more efficiently.
The tech giant and IMDA will exchange best practices, standards, learnings, and certification pathways for accurate measurement and reporting of carbon emissions resulting from software applications. Through this relationship, the nation hopes to speed up the application of the ideas and resources needed to create green technologies.
According to IMDA, Southeast Asia is well-positioned for the region to take the lead in digital sustainability. This collaboration will produce cutting-edge digital sustainability solutions that can be used by multinational corporations, bringing about positive change for the environment worldwide and ensuring a sustainable future for all.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade has concluded the National E-Commerce Week and Online Friday 2022 event. The first programme offered opportunities for enterprises operating in the fields of e-commerce and digital technology to introduce their products, services, and solutions to advance the country’s digital economy. The Online Friday 2022 event aimed to promote the sustainable growth of e-commerce and the application of solutions to boost domestic firms’ revenue.
An opening ceremony was held earlier this month in Ho Chi Minh, jointly organised by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Vietnam E-commerce and Digital Economy Agency, and the municipal People’s Committee. According to Duong Anh Duc, the Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, a Concentrated Promotion Month has been implemented in the city for many years with the participation of many businesses across the country. The programme is a part of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s goals to stimulate domestic consumption, expand the domestic market, and support production and business.
Along with the programme, the National E-Commerce Week and Online Friday 2022 provided domestic consumers and international visitors with opportunities to have enhanced shopping experiences in the online environment during the big year-end shopping festival. The Ministry of Industry and Trade worked with the largest affiliate marketing platform in Vietnam to share and offer solutions to help businesses use technology to increase profits. Businesses were able to take advantage of and optimise support tools and features on e-commerce platforms, expand access to a wide range of customers and raise online revenue.
As of 29 November, the second Concentrated Promotion Month (which will run from 15 November to 22 December) attracted the participation of 3,326 businesses with 6,981 promotions offered. The first Concentrated Promotion Month (which ran from 15 June to 15 July) witnessed the participation of 151,298 firms and 5,488 promotion programmes.
In Vietnam, the use of digital platforms, e-commerce sites, social networks, and specialised applications has increased sharply, and the country is expected to become the fastest-growing e-commerce market in Southeast Asia by 2026. Global e-commerce is estimated to grow by 28.4% annually between 2020 and 2027. Meanwhile, revenue from business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce in Vietnam is expected to increase by over 20% each year. As OpenGov Asia reported, over the last ten years, e-commerce in the country has continually grown by 25-30% while its size increased to US$ 13.7 billion in 2021. It has made up over 7% of the total flows of consumer goods and services and become an important distribution channel, in addition to traditional ones.
Despite the pandemic’s impacts in 2020 and 2021, e-commerce has still been flourishing in Vietnam. It is forecast to post double-digit growth this year to rank third in Southeast Asia. In fact, the pandemic fueled a significant uptick in e-commerce, which recorded a 16% growth last year. Although the pandemic drove the e-commerce market, it slowed down economic growth, which was the lowest in 30 years last year (2.58%), with key services sub-sectors experiencing a downturn. Data from the General Statistics Office showed that retailing and wholesaling declined 0.21% year-on-year, causing the economy to decrease by 0.02 percentage points. Warehouse and logistics dropped by 5.02% and lodging and catering services by 20.81%, leading to a drop in contribution by 0.3% and 0.51%, respectively, to the GDP growth.
Meanwhile, the share of turnover from e-retailing to last year’s total retail sales of goods and services was 7%, a year-on-year rise of 27% from 2020. E-retailing is forecast to surge 20% this year to US$ 16.4 billion, compared to US$ 5 billion in 2015.
Communication remains the backbone of organisational operations and has been bolstered by cutting-edge technology. Many organisations have migrated from Public Switched Telephone Networks (PTSNs) to cloud communications, which resulted in faster and more efficient communications with vastly increased reach.
Cloud communications remain the primary solution for meeting the growing demand for effective organisational communications in the hybrid workplace. It is agile enough to adapt to ever-changing business environments while keeping mission-critical business functions unified on all levels.
Organisations can place and receive phone calls using cloud calling from phones and any internet-connected device, including computers and tablets, from any location with an internet connection.
Cloud communications’ inherent capacity enables organisations to expand as needed without regard to geographical boundaries quickly. It makes it simple for organisations to scale up to accommodate changing needs. Less capital expenditure means expansion can be undertaken and completed more quickly, resulting in increased
These possibilities make businesses more accessible and responsive to customers. Having scalability and flexibility in communications regardless is a vast advantage irrespective of a company’s geographical spread.
The OpenGov Breakfast Insight with the Philippines’ top public sector leaders on 6 December 2022 at the Dusit Thani Manila provided the current information on the benefits of the most recent cloud communications technology that can greatly empower the nation’s public, education, financial services and healthcare sectors.
Intensifying the Cloud’s Role in Fostering Digital Transformation
The adoption and implementation of cloud-based strategies are currently used by businesses of all sizes to boost growth and profits, says Mohit Sagar, CEO & Editor-in-Chief of OpenGov Asia. Moreover, cloud technology has drastically changed how businesses communicate.
Cloud technology is bringing massive change to how various sectors of modern-day digital communities interact with each other. Cloud communications vendors allow businesses to delegate management of their IT infrastructure by taking on provisioning, switching, data storage and security responsibilities. The cloud’s cutting-edge features and functionality facilitate unprecedented staff collaboration and communication across time and space.
These changes have transformed the way people work where employees experience increased levels of productivity. With the cloud, people have the option to follow the traditional work model, a hybrid one, or a purely remote work model. Such possibilities for workers also translate to added advantages for employers with geographical boundaries; hiring only locally has become passé.
A hybrid or remote work setting makes cloud communications a necessity. Collaborative technology like cloud communications allows employees to transition or shift from one work model to another without losing productivity, effectiveness or efficiency. However, Mohit cautions, remote and hybrid models can still fail if they are not built on the right technology.
As shared by one of the attendees, their company did not experience any downturn when the pandemic hit because they were prepared for remote work. The experience of this company highlights that preparedness with the right technology enables an organisation to weather a black swan event.
Having workers functional in various locations amid an unexpected situation will prevent work disruptions. Moreover, a company gets empowered to collaborate with other groups and individuals regardless of their geographical location. Globalisation is further strengthened with cloud communications technology.
Cloud communications allow businesses to maximise resources by facilitating rapid deployment, enhanced adaptability and unlimited high-volume data sharing. Additionally, the safety measures built into cloud communication ensure compliance with privacy regulations.
Cloud security refers to the set of tools, protocols, and best practices used to keep cloud-based servers, apps and data safe. The first step in protecting cloud services is gaining an awareness of what must be protected and what parts of the system must be managed.
The development of the backend to guard against security flaws is the responsibility of cloud service providers, in general. Customers’ primary focus should be on establishing a secure service configuration, developing secure routines for using the service, and choosing a service provider who takes security seriously.
“Nonetheless, clients should also confirm that any end-user networks and hardware are properly secured,” Mohit advises.
Cloud security goals include protecting against malicious data theft on networks and storage, preventing data leaks caused by human error or carelessness, facilitating data recovery in the event of data loss, and limiting the impact of any data or system compromise.
Since the advent of cloud computing, conventional methods of protecting digital assets have undergone extensive development. Although cloud models improve efficiency, constant online access requires innovative safety safeguards. Compared to traditional IT models, a few key features set cloud security apart as a cutting-edge cyber protection option.
There have been major shifts in the macro business environment, says Nathan Guy, Zoom’s Phone Leader for Asia Pacific. There is a lot of pressure on businesses to improve productivity, to be flexible in the face of intensifying competition, and to be more productive to keep up with the ever-quickening pace of technological innovation and advancement.
With the global economy in shambles, the urgency has only increased. It will be impossible to solve these problems if customers, prospects and employees cannot communicate effectively.
Nathan pointed out that a generational shift is also occurring in the labour force. Remote work is becoming increasingly popular. They have also requested state-of-the-art tools and communication infrastructure to carry out their duties better.
When a new app or device is released, it adds another layer of complexity to a complicated process. Stakeholders, including employees, clients, and potential customers, have individual preferences and expectations regarding the manner, frequency, and location of business interactions.
Therefore, according to Nathan, many companies are selective in the ways they invest in improving internal communication.
They might do this in several ways, including staying up to date with systems already in use that is judged to be adequate, using built-in communication tools that are part of other software packages or investigating a variety of potential solutions. These plans aim to improve the company’s ability to spread the word.
Although these approaches provide more leeway, they also alter the dynamics between businesses and their prospective clients, employees and customers. Depending on their predicament, people are forced to switch between several potential answers.
In the event of a communication breakdown, the firm will inevitably fail. An essential trait of effective leaders is the capacity to chart a course for their people, providing a sense of purpose and direction even when difficult situations arise.
In Nathan’s opinion, organisations need to expand their communication strategies beyond the bare minimum and into the global scope. An enormous advantage in today’s unstable business climate will go to the company that can always make seamless connections to all stakeholders, regardless of location, device, or business activity.
To achieve this, as Nathan puts it, “You deliver a consistent and quality experience for all participants, making human connection effortless, and enabling rapid innovation to maintain relevance by combining the connection needs of the individual and organisation.”
By taking these measures, businesses may be able to better respond to their customers’ wants and needs, free up internal resources that were previously spent on communications management and expand their capabilities and agility.
The credibility of a company rises or falls with its communication strategies. Since employees, clients, and customers can do their jobs from anywhere, the channels through which the message is sent must be fit for the times, the resources, and the ever-changing need of organisations.
The failure of a session owing to dropped participants or bad audio and video is now considered unacceptable. Businesses must adapt to a more complex hybrid environment and ensure that all clients, regardless of location or condition, receive the same high level of service.
Nathan recognises that “business transactions become impossible” when communications are disrupted in today’s world. In solving communications needs amid disruptive situations, an unpredictable risk that has the potential to impede productivity for businesses also gets removed. The result is a continuance of operations and avoidance of deterioration or decline of productivity.
Zoom will shield businesses from communications breakdowns because its top-notch infrastructure was explicitly designed to prevent failures. Examining the root cause of problems is essential in giving lasting and effective solutions. In the case of communications strategy and technology for organisations, addressing various approaches made by organisations and guiding them to dig up the root cause will allow them to focus on the now without overly worrying about the future.
However, some users may be unable to fully participate due to severe audio and video quality degradation due to differences in network performance and bandwidth. This is a reality in the Philippines, where many areas still lack fast internet speed.
Zoom allows businesses to host effective meetings even in the face of significant packet loss. If you’re doing business on a global scale, having this kind of consistent network and infrastructure in every country is a must.
The complexity of communications is increasing. Now, besides travelling or working from home, “you have workers returning to the office, frequently in a hotel setting,” acknowledges Nathan.
During the pandemic, people are often left trying to balance ad hoc, piecemeal solutions developed as the crisis unfolded. As a result, three significant environments have emerged: at-home/in-the-office and on the go. A personal mobile phone, a videoconferencing method for in-person gatherings of a few people, and something else for more momentous occasions all fall under this category.
Nathan believes that both staff and customers will need to adjust to a new user interface. “Communication platforms are undeniably crucial to the success of hybrid teams.” A cutting-edge communications platform like Zoom could help increase output, expand possibilities, and reveal levels of employee engagement.
Fireside Chat: How to Prepare for the Transition to the “Cloud Culture”
According to Dr Jennalyn Raviz, Director, Management Information Service, Department of Transportation, when it comes to promoting, developing, and regulating a dependable and coordinated network of transportation and communications systems, the Department of Transportation (DoT) is the primary policy, planning, programming, coordinating, implementing, and administrative entity within the executive branch of the Philippines. “Transport by air, sea, rail, and highway are all included.”
Since multiple parties are involved and a hybrid structure has been established, maintaining consistency may prove difficult.
“The pandemic has become a motivator for us, and we seek secure communication across many platforms, which is why we use cloud communication,” says Dr Jennalyn.
Despite some reservations, cloud communications are the preferred method of meeting the growing demand for efficient organisational communications in today’s hybrid workplaces. With cloud computing and communications, businesses can quickly expand or contract to meet fluctuating demand.
Cloud computing allows workers to do their jobs from any Internet-connected device; it has the dual benefits of increased productivity and expanding the geographical scope of their operations.
Since the cloud facilitates remote work, organisations will gradually reduce their reliance on outsourcing. As a result of the use of the cloud’s effect of reducing in-office and staff expenses, businesses are now able to hire more full-time workers across the globe.
Dr Jennalyn highlighted that getting cloud is cost-effective. Additionally, cloud computing can be particularly cost-effective for organisations due to the improvement in workforce efficiency in addition to direct labour savings. “Cloud software deployment is far quicker than a traditional installation.”
Because of this, more employment possibilities can be made available to people in the area who possess the necessary skills. As the popularity of self-sufficiency rises, organisations can select from a greater pool of eligible candidates for a wider variety of positions.
More efficient teamwork is one of the main advantages of cloud computing. The advent of the cloud has had a profound effect on teamwork, and this transformation will continue so long as the cloud undergoes progress and improvement.
Improved communications, cheaper technology, and the ability for smaller organisations to cooperate with worldwide partners and expand their reach in the global arena are all possible because of the cloud’s ability to provide capabilities that were previously only available to major companies.
Dr Jennalyn believes that to have the greatest possible effect, digital transformation must occur in tandem with a thoughtful cultural shift.
As most businesses are already utilising cloud computing in some form, Nathan emphasised the importance of cloud security. While cloud storage has many advantages, “organisations are still hesitant to move more data and applications to the cloud due to security, governance, and compliance concerns.”
Collaborating with Zoom could streamline human connection while also adding safety measures. Businesses can benefit from workers’ improved routines and skill sets over the past two years. They also guarantee uniformity in a wide variety of applications.
“The key to progress is providing the appropriate value in each solution,” Nathan asserts.
Businesses can stay competitive through Zoom’s partnership with rapid innovation, Zoom allows clients to have access to a continuous stream of new capabilities that reflect actual user requirements.
Mohit stressed the importance of communication in fostering collaboration. He concurred with an attendee that when their partners offer a secure platform for cloud communications, organisations become more powerful. Mohit believes that rather than just being providers, vendors are also the transformation partners of every organisation.
An important aspect of cloud security, in Mohit’s opinion, is making sure sensitive information like customer orders, confidential design documents and financial records are safe. Maintaining customer confidence and protecting strategic assets necessitates a solid data security programme. “Cloud security’s ability to safeguard data and assets makes it essential for businesses moving to the cloud.”
Through collaboration with development partners, businesses can better serve a diverse set of customers and expand their customer base. Therefore, it is important to incorporate platform or integration capabilities and a partner strategy when creating cloud-based applications.
It is important to consider business potential, engineering prowess, and platform marketing when formulating a strategy for your cloud partners. Mohit concludes that a well-rounded approach will allow for an expansion of the partner ecosystem, the delivery of more comprehensive customer solutions, and higher earnings potential.
The Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) and Tecnológico de Monterrey (Tec) through its Institute for the Future of Education, signed a research collaboration agreement to improve the cyber-physical learning of students and teachers in Singapore and Mexico.
The three-year agreement will see the two parties share practices and experiences in the configuration and usage of cyber-physical learning infrastructure to create new opportunities for educational innovation and research, resulting in new pathways for the future of education.
The SUTD-Tec’s Institute for the Future of Education agreement will foster the exchange and sharing of practices of cyber-physical learning and evaluation of the effectiveness of associated educational delivery models. Both parties will conduct joint experiments involving students and instructors to explore domains such as technology-enabled learning, translational pedagogical innovations, learning analytics, and personalised and engaging learning.
This research collaboration will have its focus on the SUTD campusX initiative, which focuses on the needs and experiences of students and instructors using data analytics and learning sciences with the purpose of creating a safe, inclusive, and enjoyable space for students to learn, interact and optimise their learning outcomes.
With regards to the campusX and its impact on the future of education, SUTD’s Provost stated that both Tec and SUTD share a common vision of cyber-physical learning, with similar interests and understanding of the challenges in areas of applying human-centric technology and design to the practice of pedagogy and andragogy in actual higher learning environments. This forms a strong basis on which many more projects can be conducted between Tec and SUTD. The current research collaboration is an important start and SUTD looks forward to furthering the partnership with Tec in years to come.
He noted that, similarly, SUTD also looks forward to working with more like-minded partners across academia and industry and from local and global landscapes to make cyber-physical learning a reality.
Speaking about the research collaboration between the two renowned higher education institutions, the Rector for Higher Education of Tecnológico de Monterrey expressed his satisfaction with the signing of the agreement and said that to advance in current-day education challenges and design the future of education, collaboration is key.
He noted that Tec has pioneered educational innovation in Mexico and Latin America, and they aim to expand their projects and initiatives to have an increasingly global relationship and impact. An initiative aimed at strengthening links with Asia is being developed; these collaborations with them will extend to the areas of research, education, and technology.
Furthermore, the Executive Director of the Institute for the Future of Education of Tecnológico de Monterrey emphasised the importance of this kind of agreement between both universities. He noted that conducting joint experiments to evaluate innovative cross-border educational models will be key to developing effective cyber-physical learning environments.
The collaborative project with SUTD’s campusX initiative will increase learning opportunities for global higher education audiences, capitalising on the intercultural exchanges between Singaporean and Mexican students and professors, and developing best practices with an international perspective, he added.
The research activities framed in this agreement are slated to begin in the first quarter of 2023 and the experimental and simulated learning environment trials will result in the identification of best practices in digital education delivery models supported by effective cyber-physical technology platforms.
China Provincial Development and Reform Commission announced the list of the second batch of digital transformation promotion centres in Liaoning Province. There are 13 additional provincial-level digital transformation promotion centres to help small and medium-sized enterprises improve transformation capabilities, reduce transformation costs, and shorten transformation cycles. There are currently 29 digital transformation promotion centres in the province, in addition to the previously announced first batch of lists.
The centres will assist the government in promoting digital construction in Liaoning and cultivating a digital transformation ecology. The programme is under the construction of the second batch of digital transformation promotion centres in Liaoning Province according to the Provincial Development and Reform Commission. The listed enterprises in this programme are based on self-declaration and recommendations from provincial and municipal departments. Experts then review the voluntary requests before being finalised and publicised.
According to the Provincial Development and Reform Commission, the digital transformation promotion centre should fully integrate resources to assist small and medium-sized enterprises.
The province government will provide transformation tools, products, technologies, and customised solutions to support business digital transformation and development. The centre promotes traditional businesses, internet platform enterprises, industry platform enterprises and financial institutions.
The government also promotes collaborative innovation in industries, education, medical care, employment, elderly care, and other fields. Companies participating in the programme will use the projects as a starting point to develop digital technology application scenarios. Participants in the programme are also permitted to complete personnel training with universities and colleges and vocational training and education.
The Provincial Development and Reform Commission will regularly evaluate provincial-level digital transformation promotion centres. The results will be used to recommend applicants for national-level digital transformation promotion centres.
China is currently driving the country’s digital economy. In early November, the General Office of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued the “Guidelines for the Digital Transformation of SMEs.” The regulation aims to fully implement the Party Central Committee’s and State Council’s decision-making deployment to encourage SMEs to improve their overall strength and core competitiveness through digital transformation.
The General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, Xi Jinping, stated that “small and medium-sized enterprises can do great things.” He also emphasised the importance of grasping the direction of digitisation, networking, and intelligence. Moreover, promoting the digitisation of manufacturing, service industries, agriculture, and other industries is also necessary.
The guidelines aim to implement Party Central Committee and State Council decision-making and deployment, strengthen policy coordination, strengthen scientific guidance, deepen transformation awareness, and gather work synergy. The report also needed to promote high-quality economic development through the digital transformation of small and medium-sized businesses. The effort also had to be consistent with the overall economic and social digital transformation trend.
Furthermore, China will use the guidance to increase specialisation and new development of small and medium-sized businesses. The government intends to expand the use of digital technology in various sectors, including research, production, supply, marketing, and clothing. They plan to empower and refine products, increase value, plus accelerate technological innovation and new development in small and medium-sized businesses.
Another role of guidance is strengthening the digital transformation system and the comprehensive path of small and medium-sized businesses. Digital transformation is a multifaceted, cross-cutting project. The guidelines thus aid transformation from the demand side, the supply side, and local governments at all levels. All interested parties can use the guidelines to clarify their positioning and path and strengthen the collective force of transformation.