The implementation of TraceTogether-only SafeEntry (TT-only SE) will be brought forward to 17 May 2021 from the previously announced 1 June 2021.
This means all venues that are required to enforce SE check-in will be required to implement TT-only SE from 17 May 2021. These venues are those that experience higher throughput of visitors such as malls, workplaces, places of worship, schools and educational institutions, as well as places where people are likely to be in close proximity for prolonged periods like dine-in food and beverage outlets and gyms.
This move aims to achieve greater coverage and active participation in the TT Programme, especially for venues or settings where community spread is most likely to occur.
It will strengthen digital contact tracing and help the government better manage the recent rise in community cases, some of which are currently unlinked and have resulted in the formation of community clusters. With more effective digital contact tracing, the speed of isolating close contacts will be improved.
Implementation of TT-only SE
With the nationwide implementation of TT-only SE on 17 May 2021, SE check-in must be performed using a TT App or Token by: using the TT App to scan the venue’s QR code; displaying a TT Token so that a venue staff can scan the TT Token’s QR code or tapping the TT App or TT Token at a SafeEntry Gateway device.
Other modes of SE check-in such as launching your phone’s camera to scan a venue’s QR code and using Singpass App will be discontinued from 17 May 2021. To help ease the transition, scanning of barcodes on personal IDs will be retained until 31 May 2021.
SEGW required to be deployed at more venues
From 15 June 2021, more public-facing venues where people are likely to be in contact for prolonged periods, such as food and beverage dine-in outlets, hotels, and sports and fitness centres, will be required to deploy SafeEntry Gateway (SEGW) to facilitate SE check-in, and help users check that their TT Token is working. The SEGW will not light up or emit a beep sound if the TT Token is not working.
Venue operators can either download the SafeEntry (Business) App to use the SEGW function, or set up the SEGW Box. Venues that are required to deploy the SEGW will be able to apply for free SEGW Boxes. More information on how venue operators can apply for the SEGW Box is available on the SE Website.
TT App Update and TT Token Battery Replacement
As effective contact tracing requires the active usage of the TT App and Token, TT App users should ensure that their App is updated to the latest version, turn on their Bluetooth, and keep the App active in the background; while Token users should ensure that their Token has not run out of battery and always have the Token with them when they leave home.
TT Token users can check if their Token is working by looking out for a green light that blinks about once every minute. If the Token is blinking red, or if there is no light at all, users should replace their Token at any Community Club/Centre (CC), or at Token replacement booths set up at selected malls. Those who have not collected the Token can also do so at any CC islandwide. More information can be found on the TokenGoWhere website.
Importance of TT and SE
The TT Programme and SE are important digital tools that enable contact tracers to quickly identify and isolate close contacts of COVID-19 cases.This also helps to break transmission chains and prevent community outbreaks. While TT data identifies an initial list of close contacts, SE data provides the list of places visited by COVID-19 cases to help Singapore’s contact tracers establish cluster links. The combined use of these digital tools has enabled us to reduce the average time taken to contact trace from 4 days to less than 1.5 days.
These digital tools enable close contacts to be quickly isolated, and the general public to be alerted if they had been to places visited by COVID-19 cases, such as through the TT App or at wereyouthere.safeentry.gov.sg (with Singpass login).
They would then be able to take the precaution of monitoring their health closely for 14 days from the date of visit. Recently, more than 18,000 SMS alerts have been sent to individuals identified by SE as having been to places visited by COVID-19 cases linked to the Tan Tock Seng Hospital cluster.
With the recent community cases, active participation in the TT Programme is crucial for effective contact tracing. Singapore government urges co-operation to use either the TT App or Token, and to remain on guard in the fight against COVID-19.
The Chief Minister of the state of Tamil Nadu recently launched an artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled panic button and CCTV surveillance project to make travel safer. The initiative will be implemented in phases, aiming to cover 2,500 buses in Chennai city. Under the first phase, 500 buses in the metro city have installed four panic buttons, an AI-enabled mobile network video recorder (MNVR), and three cameras each.
According to a report by the government’s AI portal, the MNVR will be connected to a cloud-based control centre via a 4G GSM SIM card. In case of inconvenience, discomfort, or threat, passengers will be able to press the panic button and record the incident. At the same time, an alarm will go off at the control centre along with a video recording of the incident on the bus. The operator at the control centre will be able to monitor the situation and facilitate, in real-time, the next course of action, the report said.
The control centre has been linked to the distress response centre of the city police and Greater Chennai Corporation. The state government has noted that 31 bus depots and 35 bus terminuses of the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) have been brought under surveillance. The project will also help detect missing persons and identify criminals and other works of the GCC, transport department, and the police.
Other states across the country have also deployed technology-enabled solutions to better monitor traffic. In April, the Ministry of Electronics and Information developed and launched indigenous onboard driver assistance and warning system (ODAWS), a bus signal priority system, and a Common Smart IoT Connectiv (CoSMiC) software to improve road safety.
ODAWS uses sensors to monitor driver propensity and vehicle surroundings and send out acoustic and visual alerts. The ODAWS algorithm is used to interpret sensor data and offer real-time notifications to the driver. The bus signal priority system is an operational strategy that modifies normal traffic signal operations to better accommodate in-service public buses at signal-controlled intersections.
CoSMiC is middleware software that provides the standard-based deployment of the Internet of things (IoT), which follows the oneM2M-based global standard. It facilitates users and application service providers in vertical domains to use application-agnostic open standards and interfaces for end-to-end communication with well-defined common service functionalities. The CoSMiC common service layer is used to interface with any vendor-specific standards and to increase interoperability with smart city dashboards.
More recently, the Kerala state government announced it would deploy AI-based cameras on traffic-heavy roads in a bid to reduce accidents by half within the next two years. As OpenGov Asia reported, the government expects traffic rules to be more effectively enforced after the software is put in place, as it automates detecting road violations and issuing fines. Once the system captures the breach of the road rules, the footage will be sent to the central government’s server. The vehicle owner will receive an SMS regarding the fine, and, at the same time, the information will directly be sent to court. This will reduce corruption as it limits local authorities from waiving the penalty.
Researchers from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) have invented a microsize-gap multiple-shot electroporation (M2E) device that has the potential to increase the efficiency with which cancer treatment is offered at a cheaper cost. The researchers came to the conclusion that the instrument would benefit from having transparent electrodes installed in it so that it could better visualise anti-cancer medications.
According to Desmond Loke, an assistant professor at SUTD and the primary investigator of this research, the scientific community wants to create a simple, low-cost cancer treatment system. “The narrow gap between electrodes allows us to achieve a sufficiently strong electric field using a few volts rather than several tens of volts applied in traditional electroporation.”
Assistant Prof. Loke revealed that the device that was built by SUTD did not require any specialised components, expensive materials, or a tedious fabrication process. He stated that this was one of the most important aspects of the device.
The M2E device, which is connected to the development of cancer treatments, was put through its paces by researchers utilising a variety of substances. Because of this new technology, cancer cells can now display a two-hour window in which they are able to take in chemicals.
The time frame offered by conventional electroporation equipment is approximately 400% shorter than what is supplied. In addition to that, it may be utilised more than once. According to the results of the study, the M2E system has the potential to be beneficial in the treatment of COVID-19 when combined with associated drugs.
Electroporation is a technique that involves the application of a very weak electric pulse to cells in order to momentarily create holes in the membranes of such cells. The goal of this technique is to transfer genetic material across cells. The goal of using this method is to facilitate the movement of chemicals into and out of the cells.
This method has the potential to increase the likelihood of drug delivery for the treatment of cancer patients. The chemotherapy and radiation therapies for cancer can be administered through these holes if they are large enough. It is possible that the effectiveness of cancer treatments, as well as patients’ access to those treatments, could be improved through the integration of electroporation into treatment protocols.
This contrasts with how electroporation was traditionally performed, in which several tens of volts were applied. This low voltage, together with the transparent electrode, serves to minimise energy use and facilitate visibility, avoiding dangerous drug use and restricted imaging of drug transport during drug testing, both frequent concerns with conventional electroporation devices. Low voltage also prevents dangerous drug use.
In addition, the permeability of tumour cells can be improved through the utilisation of electroporation in the treatment paradigm of electrochemotherapy to achieve the desired outcomes. Because of this, the cancer cells can more effectively absorb chemotherapy drugs like bleomycin and cisplatin.
After the researchers have finished working on ways to improve the M2E system, they anticipate that it will be a few years before the device finishes the clinical study and is ready for widespread use. The M2E technology has the potential to pave the way for much-enhanced delivery of cancer medicines and a more uniform distribution of cancer treatments to under-resourced and underserved places all over the world.
Under the Energy Efficiency Fund (E2F), the National Environment Agency of Singapore has increased its grant for Energy Efficient Technologies up to 20% starting last month, the supported maximum was raised from 50% to 70% of qualifying expenditures per project.
This lowers the barrier for industrial enterprises, including SMEs, to adopt energy-efficient solutions that will help them save money on energy and cut their carbon emissions. The E2F grant application and pay-out process were simplified to save time and money for applicants.
The Energy Efficiency Technology Centre (EETC), which provides low-cost energy evaluations for SMEs, will also be developed in collaboration with the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT). These policies will assist manufacturing SMEs in identifying and funding energy efficiency projects, as well as preparing for a low-carbon future.
The E2F was introduced in April 2017 and is administered by the NEA. It helps industrial organisations, including small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), increase their energy efficiency. The E2F supports a variety of energy efficiency and low-carbon activities, including energy assessments and resource-efficient facility design. Currently, the E2F grant scheme co-funds up to 50% of such projects’ qualifying costs.
The E2F has financed 27 energy-efficient technological initiatives as of January 2022. LED lighting, high-efficiency air-conditioning systems, variable-speed air compressors, and boiler systems are among them. These projects have saved an estimated 1,600 tonnes of carbon each year, which is the equivalent of taking 500 cars off the road.
The amount of money given to projects will depend on how much carbon is saved. Higher financial funding is available for projects that deliver greater carbon reduction. From April 1, 2022, E2F applications accepted by NEA will be eligible for this higher support cap. The sector is encouraged to take advantage of the increased funding and invest in energy-efficient solutions as soon as possible.
NEA is also making it easier for businesses to use the E2F to save time and money. The procedure of measuring and verifying energy savings will be simplified, the same with the grant application and payment processes for conventional retrofit projects involving LED lights or small energy-efficient air conditioners.
Companies just getting started on their energy efficiency journeys should take advantage of the EETC’s affordable energy evaluations, which have been available since 2020 as a collaboration between the NEA and the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT).
The energy assessments will assist businesses in obtaining an accurate view of their present energy profile, allowing them to make informed decisions about the energy efficiency improvements they may make.
Aside from energy assessments, the EETC is also working to grow Singapore’s workforce, including training a pipeline of engineering students in industrial energy efficiency and upskilling existing engineers or energy efficiency practitioners.
As Singapore transitions to a low-carbon economy, NEA will collaborate with SIT to build the next phase of the EETC, which will focus on developing human capacities in energy efficiency. The EETC will be improved by the establishment of a training and simulation centre, which will allow learners to study and practice their craft in a controlled and safe environment while simulating real-world settings.
The grant aims to encourage manufacturers, particularly small and medium-sized businesses, to invest in energy-efficient equipment or technology by co-funding up to 70% of eligible costs, such as external labour, equipment, or technology, as well as professional services.
The award is available to any Singapore-registered owners or operators of existing or planned manufacturing facilities with a group annual sales turnover of less than S$500 million. The project’s implementation facility must be located and operational in Singapore.
The project must include the installation and usage of energy-efficient equipment or technology at an industrial facility with a documented track record of energy savings. The project must result in energy savings that can be measured and verified.
The Ministry of Communication and Information of Indonesia will take advantage of its internet connectivity to drive the development of the country’s digital ecosystem with the aim of creating more opportunities to promote the expansion of its digital economy.
Philip Gobang, Special Staff to the Minister of Communication and Information for Political Communication is ensuring that the proposed stages of implementing the Analogue Switch Off (ASO) run according to the government’s plan for 2022. He acknowledged that the migration of analogue broadcasts to a digital one offers many benefits for the community and the country. “The benefits we will get from the migration of analogue TV to digital TV are related to the internet and more integrated economic activities.”
He added by utilising access to internet services, various creative ideas can be generated for the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) businesses that can avail the opportunities and convenience to access a larger market by using the internet.
According to Gobang, the sooner people migrate to digital television, the more available the radio frequency spectrum will be for internet services. The spectrum that was previously reserved for analogue broadcasts can now be utilised to promote the digital economy. The Ministry of Communication and Informatics will continue to provide stimulus to the public so that the benefits of the ASO program can decrease the digital gap among the localities.
The so-called digital dividend, which is derived through the transfer of analogue TV transmissions to digital, is also an economic advantage for society. This boosts the digital economy’s growth all the more.
Since people were accessing and using internet services more frequently during the pandemic, digital economic growth grew every year. The ASO Programme, which is expected to be completed on 02 November 2022, will result in frequency savings that can be used as a digital dividend for cellular telecommunications services.
Digital TV broadcasting also creates a lot of job opportunities, as well as the formation of innovative firms that take advantage of the increasingly open digital arena, while the general people may enjoy digital broadcasts with a bigger network, faster access, and clearer picture.
Analogue TV Blank Spot Areas Will Be Reached by Digital TV Broadcasts
Meanwhile, Nursodik Gunarjo, Director of Media Management, Directorate General of Information and Public Communication (IKP), Ministry of Communication and Information announced that the digital TV broadcasts would reach the areas with “blank spots” or those places that TV transmissions have not filled.
According to Nursodik, the blank spot is caused by analogue TV broadcast technology’s inability to reach locations with varying geographical circumstances, such as the eastern part of Indonesia, particularly Papua, resulting in limited broadcast coverage.
As a result, after the ASO programme is implemented, the government, through its broadcasting institution has assured to establish digital TV broadcast network infrastructure in the leading, outermost, and underdeveloped areas, including the blank spots.
TVRI, the main national public television channel owned by the Republic of Indonesia plans to develop a network over the next two years so that the 226 blank spot regions can receive digital TV broadcasts.
The rise of community creativity in developing good and creative TV material with local expertise is also projected to be triggered by digital TV broadcasts. It will provide innovative content from local communities as digital TV broadcasts develop, and ASO hopes to decrease the challenges of TV broadcasting in Indonesia’s remote districts.
The first step of the transition from analogue to digital television transmission in Indonesia began in April of this year, with the second phase projected to be completed by August and is expected to finish before 2022 ends.
Digital transformation efforts by the Vietnam Social Security (VSS) have helped provide chip-based ID cards for health insurance at more than 4,000 medical facilities across the country. Over the years, VSS has improved its operational efficiency through IT applications to cater to 88 million people with health insurance. According to the Vice Director of VSS’s Information Technology Centre, VSS has been developing a national insurance database, while also sharing population data.
After the national population database was put into operation, VSS connected with the system and has been working with the Ministry of Public Security to link the demographic information. So far, the system has identified about 40 million people, the Vice Director stated. VSS has provided social and health insurance information for more than 21 million people to the national population database. VSS will continue to synchronise its data with the national population database to form a complete connection between insurance and population data.
The work is scheduled for completion by the end of 2022. In February, the Ministry of Health asked the health departments of localities and medical facilities across the country to pilot the use of chip-based ID cards for health check-ups and treatment services covered by health insurance. On 1 March, VSS started to implement the scheme in all of its branches nationwide.
The state aims to build an e-government, hoping to digitally transform its key operations, under the national digital transformation programme approved in 2020. Earlier this month, the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) issued electronic identification (eID) codes for its agencies and units. As reported by OpenGov Asia, the ministry gets the eID Level 1 code and the advisory units (the office, inspectorate, and authorities of the ministry) are issued Level 2 codes. Level 3 is for its departments and their subordinate centres, and Level 4 is for the Institute of Post and Telecommunications Technology and its subordinate units.
MIC has already launched a national data exchange platform (NDXP) to help connect, integrate, and share data among ministries, sectors, and localities nationwide. All 22 ministries, ministry-level agencies, and 63 provinces and cities are now connected with the NDXP. In the first quarter of 2022, more than 134.5 million transactions were made on the NDXP, surging 24-fold from a year earlier, according to MIC.
Furthermore, the National Committee on Digital Transformation has approved a plan to increase the rate of online public services to 80%, the rate of administrative procedures dossiers processed online to 50%, and the rate of digitisation of dossiers and results of administrative procedures to 100%. Also, it will increase the rate of reports made online by state administrative agencies to 50% as well as the rate of state agencies providing full open data by category to 50%. There are 18 tasks assigned to the committee’s members, which include universalising smartphones, electronic identities, and broadband fibre optic cables. The committee will enhance network information safety and security, develop electronic health records, support online teaching, and digitally transform small and medium-sized enterprises.
Seeing how much the digital technologies sector has contributed to New Zealand’s overall economy, Wellington is putting the focus on boosting its digital sector by setting aside funds and strengthening emerging strategic weaknesses.
Mindful of achieving a high-wage yet low-emissions economy, the Aotearoan government has allotted a substantial portion of its budget in 2022 to the tech sector, as confirmed by David Clark, Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications.
In 2020, the digital technologies sector contributed NZ$ 7.4 billion to the economy. Since 2015 it has, on average, grown about 77% faster than the general economy. Budget 2022 provides an additional NZ$ 20 million over four years for two key initiatives in the ITP.
– David Clark, Minister, Ministry of Digital Economy and Communications
Moreover, the government leader mentioned the government’s digital road map, the Digital Technologies Industry Transformation Plan (ITP). He disclosed that they have been working with the digital sector so it can realise its massive potential as a source of high-paying jobs and export income generation.
However, it must be noted that New Zealand has a focus on what part of its digital economy needs a lift. The answer which should be attended to first lies in how much a particular digital sector has contributed to the overall economy. By that measure, it becomes apparent that Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is top of that list.
Clark echoed such focus. He said that SaaS and its growth are paramount. Already, New Zealand’s SaaS companies are making their presence felt in the global market and the country has seen how they’ve thrived despite the virus. Thus, Wellington wants to multiply these SaaS successes. Moreover, they prioritised the global market and want to make good on ‘New Zealand’s Tech and Innovation Story’ to the world.
Such a marketing initiative should bring New Zealand tech to key markets, specifically Europe, Australia and the United States of America. It’s important the country capitalise on digital as a strong digital economy.
One that is becoming apparent day by day is the need for more digital manpower. New Zealand needs the “right people”. To address the current “skills mismatch”, the government leaders are targetting the delivery of short courses to widen the digital skills of workers. To do that, they will be encouraging local workers to participate.
Additionally, Wellington is willing to attract the best to come up with better-trained workers. To have world-class digital talent, the country must attract world-class digital talent to teach. To make that happen, they are calling for a rebalance of the immigration system where local tech industries will be given a break from immediate pressures on hiring offshore talent.
A key example here is the possibility of senior roles in ICT being allowed to fast track towards residency in the country. Some of these roles considered are ICT manager, software developers, cloud and data analysts and ICT security experts.
It’s such a foundational technology that finding an industry where China’s indigenously built Navigation Satellite System satellite is not used is difficult. The system was conceived by Cheng Fangyun in the ‘80s and, today, after the first satellite was launched in 2000, the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) is deeply entrenched with the country’s ever-expanding ambitions forming the backbone of its digital economy.
It has become a powerful force that has been driving socioeconomic transformation all over the country as its application expands both in width and depth, the China Satellite Navigation Office (CSNO) detailed. Its massive adoption can be seen in how the navigation system has become a household word, affecting the daily lives of people.
Today, the BDS is part of China’s biggest and most promising industries. Chief of which is disaster prevention, transport, forestry, agriculture, fishing, and even power transmission and communication. The number of terminals itself speaks volumes – at the end of 2021, over 1 billion devices and terminals have tapped into the BDS, relying on it for positioning, the National Development and Reform Commission or NDRC disclosed.
One area of Chinese everyday life that the service has become most useful is how it sustained the country’s biggest socio-economic industries. In 2021, the BDS has been incorporated in nearly 8 million road vehicles nationwide. Plus, it has guided the country’s extensive railway network with about 8,000 BDS terminals. BDS applications have been also been front and centre of the COVID-19 response, remote monitoring, medical health and a host of other digital services all over the country.
Estimates revealed that in the period 2016 to 2020, cumulatively referred to as the 13th Five-year Plan, the industrial value of the BDS is over 400 billion yuan (US$ 59.9 billion). That success has convinced China to open the BDS-3, a global navigation system in 2020.
Currently, the BDS has become more diverse, allowing the execution of a slew of powerful functions. In its global services, it serves up PNT, short for positioning, navigation and timing. Along with that is the global messaging services, not to mention search and rescue services worldwide. It’s becoming a key service player in the Asia-Pacific region giving out precise point positioning and short messaging communication. In short, it has expanded well beyond China.
The BeiDou is now fast becoming another GPS that’s capable of serving the planet. It has about 35 satellites in orbit, more than the 31 GPS satellites. This means that China has a robust ability for innovation and technology moving forward.
BDS is one of the pillars of China’s economy. Digital transformation has become the key factor in the rise of its economy. As per the plan, the country is bound to increase its digital economy by as much as 10% by 2025. China’s industries have made digital adoption a cornerstone. Recently, many have adopted the industrial internet, also dubbed the Artificial Internet of Things (AIoT).