In his opening speech at the 2nd Digital Government Exchange (DGX), Mr. Peter Ong, Head of Singapore’s Civil Service, talked about the the Smart Nation Sensor Platform (SNSP) and the aim of converting all 110,000 lamp posts in Singapore into an interconnected network of wireless sensors.
SNSP, previously known as the Smart Nation Platform, is one of the three large, complex, cross-cutting projects currently in focus for the Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech), the other two being National Digital Identity and E-payments.
SNSP will enable agencies to collect, analyse, and share data from sensors deployed island wide. Agencies can share common sensor communications backhaul and share the collected data to gain deeper insights. It would include a range of initiatives from smart metering in residential areas to provide consumers with timely information on their utility consumption to planning public transport using vehicular counting on a video analytics platform.
Along with software to enable sensor data exchange, and data and video analytics, the platform includes hardware in the form of public cameras and lampposts.
In January this year, it was announced that the Land Transport Authority (LTA) is installing energy-efficient Light Emitting Diodes (LED) for Singapore’s street lights and will replace the existing timer-based street lighting system with a Remote Control and Monitoring System (RCMS). The press release also stated that GovTech would leverage LTA’s smart lighting infrastructure to test the feasibility of deploying a shared network for low bandwidth.
The Singapore government plans to make all 110,000 lampposts in the country into an interconnected network of wireless sensors. In Singapore the lampposts are separated by an average distance of 20 to 40 metres.
For this network, the lampposts will be looked at as a clusters, rather than individual lampposts. This means that not all lampposts in a cluster would have the same connections or sensors. One lamppost could be connected to the nearest NGBN (next generation boradband network) point, acting as a 'base' lamppost and providing connection for bandwidth devices and the base of a meshed network. Other 'spoke' lampposts could connect through Wi-Fi meshed network for fixed frame rate CCTV, while others could extend connectivity by rebroadcasting to other sensors. Each could contain different sensors. Not every sensor would be required for every single lamppost, with the cluster approach.
GovTech will build in standard connectivity and power sources into the lamp posts, and then different devices can be plugged into it as required. The devices could be CCTVs or environmental or motion sensors.
The network will factor in the power in the lampposts which can be utilised for connectivity and IoT devices. Though the LED lights will reduce power consumption, there are limits on the amount of power which can be pumped into the lamppost without replacing cables. The network will take this into account and leverage existing infrastructure, using the power saved by use of LEDs for the sensors. Designing the backhaul for transferring the collected data to data centres is another challenge being tackled.
Data from the sensors will be used for urban and operational planning and also for maintenance and prompt response to incidents. Mr. Ong provided an interesting example of a potential application, by having lampposts communicate with connected cars to alert drivers when an ambulance or pedestrians are nearby. An accompanying Factsheet provided more details, adding that the vehicles could make way for the ambulance, once notified of an emergency and the ambulance’s presence. The smart lampposts could also host navigational beacons to guide autonomous guided vehicles, adjusting their route for road cleaning or grass cutting purposes.
The proof-of-concept development and trials are expected to start soon.
In addition, GovTech has deployed some CCTVs in public areas, environmental sensors and connectivity infrastructure in Yuhua, Civic District, Orchard Road and some other areas.
GovTech is also developing a video analytics platform which will be part of SNSP. Under this initiative, GovTech is working with various interested agencies for anomaly detection, studying human traffic patterns etc. Feeds from public cameras could be shared and the insights obtained from analysis could be used for improved planning and incident response. The pilot for the platform is targeted for the second half of 2017.
To achieve its targets to become a modernity-oriented industrialised nation by 2030 and a developed country with high income by 2045, Vietnam must succeed in the digital transformation process, in which agriculture is one of the priority areas, the Minister of Foreign Affairs stated at the Vietnam Agricultural Digital Transformation International Forum 2021.
The event was co-organised via videoconference by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Vietnam Digital Agriculture Association (VIDA), and an e-newspaper outlet under the theme “Keeping up with market trends, ensuring the pivotal role of the economy during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.” The forum was an activity within the framework of the Vietnam International Agricultural Exhibition 2021 (AgriTech Expo 2021).
According to a news report, the forum consisted of two discussions that focussed on policy orientations and the theme “Shaping Vietnam’s digital agriculture until 2035” with the presentation of 20 speakers representing local authorities and leaders of businesses and corporations. Participants at the event shared scenarios of Vietnam’s agricultural digital transformation; key issues in Vietnam’s agricultural development strategies towards digitalisation given the complicated effects from the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain disruption, and climate change.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs noted that the Vietnamese government should proactively and actively participate in the fourth industrial revolution and speed up the digital transformation process. The country must consider it a vital solution and an opportunity to make a breakthrough in socio-economic development.
Speaking at the event, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development pledged to offer all resources and the most favourable policies for businesses, aiming to bring added value to Vietnamese agricultural products and improve their trademarks. The Ministry will strongly support the digital transformation process and replace agricultural technology models as the Vietnamese agricultural sector is not only the “backbone” of the economy in difficult times but also a measurement of sustainability, the Minister said.
Representatives of foreign diplomatic agencies in Vietnam and from research institutes and socio-economic organisations attended the event. Also, domestic and foreign experts in the field of agricultural digital transformation from Japan, the Netherlands, Israel, and the World Bank as well as those from business associations and enterprises.
In August, the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) unveiled a plan to put farming households on e-commerce sites. Farming households will be supported to enter e-commerce sites to connect, advertise, and introduce their products. This will help them access new distribution channels and expand to domestic and international markets. Vietnam has nine million agricultural production households and four million private business households. All the households will be brought onto e-commerce sites, and this will be the first breakthrough to be made in developing the digital agricultural economy.
As OpenGov Asia reported, through e-commerce sites and digital platforms, farming households will receive useful information about farm produce markets, predicted demand and production capacity, weather forecasts, and seed and fertilizer supply. High-quality input materials and tools for agriculture production will be introduced to farmers via the platforms. Overall, MIC will put 12-13 million agricultural production and private business households on e-commerce sites. The targeted figure is five million households by the end of the year.
The President of Indonesia had unveiled a three-pronged strategy to boost Indonesia’s economic growth, providing insight into the direction of government policy for the remainder of his term. The green economy, the digitalisation of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), and the development of downstream industries are the three key aspects. Regarding the first of those three, he mentioned that the government intends to construct a “green industrial park” by October 2021 to produce “green products” using only renewable energy.
We know that the future of green products looks promising, and we have a great opportunity in this.
– President of Indonesia
The government also wants all 60 million MSMEs to be able to sell their goods and services on e-commerce and other digital platforms. Elaborating on the third key point, the President stated that the government began downstream industrial development in early 2020 with a ban on one of an ore export, which increased steel exports to US$10.5 billion. The scheme would be expanded to include additional goods and services such as bauxite, gold, copper, and palm oil.
The President’s speech represents the next step in a long-term shift in economic policymaking for a government that has previously appeared to be focused on short-term gains from extractive industries with little regard for environmental consequences. As per the Finance Ministry, the main sources of revenue from export levies and non-tax income are coal, crude palm oil (CPO), and raw mineral exports.
OpenGov Asia in an article reported that in recent years, the Indonesian government has taken concrete policy steps to advance its digital transformation agenda, and while steady progress has been made in that direction, the good news is that the pace of change is expected to accelerate. To address this, Indonesia’s President has pledged to press ahead with economic reform plans, despite the heavy burden that COVID-19 has imposed on the country since the outbreak began.
In his speech, the President stated that in today’s disruptive world, the spirit to change, the spirit to make changes, and the spirit to innovate has become the foundation for building an advanced Indonesia. In this context, the president’s agenda remained focused on structural reforms designed “to promote inclusive and sustainable economic development.” Repeating the promises made at the beginning of his second term, he added that the development of “quality human capital” and infrastructure development will remain priorities, the latter a hallmark of his seven years in power.
The Indonesian leader also expressed hope that reform would help the country begin the transition to a more sustainable economy. “A significant change in our economy will be the transition to new and renewable energy, as well as the acceleration of an economy based on green technology. The President believes that using clean energy and green technology will contribute to the development of a more environmentally friendly economy. As a result, efforts will be made to strengthen national research to align with the country’s development agenda.
Meanwhile, according to the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry, renewable energy sources accounted for 11.2% of the national energy mix in 2020, with the remainder coming from fossil fuels. As per the executive director of the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), the idea of environmental economics should be accompanied by responsibilities to reduce emissions, waste, and natural resource extraction.
“The term ‘green’ must not just be a slogan; there is a lot to do to [justify] such a claim,” IESR executive director told. The concept, he said, should be incorporated into a clear transition for all industries in Indonesia, reducing reliance on natural resources and extractive industry exports. He went on to say that one industrial park is insufficient to [declare] a green economy. As a result, the entire industry must follow suit.
Minnesota is among the latest states to introduce a secure digital option for residents to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19. Using an app called Docket, Minnesotans can now view and share their immunisation records with local businesses, restaurants and other public venues where COVID vaccination is required.
The release of the app comes after the state Department of Health has been flooded with requests for vaccination records. So far this year, there have been more than 33,000 vaccine record requests, with 19,000 coming since July 1.
We recognise the importance of having a secure and convenient way to find, view, and share people’s their your family’s immunisation records, such as needing records for school or child care.
– Minnesota Department of Health, Infectious Disease Division Director
Residents who were vaccinated within the state can use the app to pull up their records through the Minnesota Immunisation Information Connection (MIIC), a confidential system that stores electronic immunisation records. The app then gives users the option of saving and distributing a PDF document of the record as they see fit.
The app allows residents to access a digital copy of their vaccination records without having to sign up for an app specifically intended for verifying COVID-19 vaccines. Docket uses two-factor security and searches for immunisation records based on a person’s name and date of birth.
The app also gives state residents a faster way to access their immunisation records. The volume of recent records requests to the health department means it is taking weeks for people to get their vaccination records back, but the app gives an option for people to more directly and quickly access their immunisation information.
Efforts to provide U.S. residents with digital versions of their immunisation records have picked up steam in recent months as employers and retail businesses increasingly require such proof. Reports of individuals providing fake COVID vaccine records have pushed states to launch their own verification apps to give residents a state-verified digital option for proving their vaccination status.
Residents who do not have a smartphone or do not want to use the app can still request a record of their vaccinations from the state or their health care provider. Those requests are currently taking weeks because of increased demand.
Virginia has also announced the addition of QR codes to its vaccination records. The code, which can be scanned using a smartphone, provides the same information as the paper records – however, since it is digitally signed by the Virginia Department of Health, it cannot be altered or forged. Virginia is the fifth state to adopt the secure SMART Health format.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, the COVID-19 pandemic revealed how big data and analytics technologies are being used in the public health sector. For example, governments and organisations developed contact tracing, where phone numbers and location data from mobile devices were combined with lab results in public health systems to issue alerts when an individual came in contact with a confirmed COVID patient. This information empowered people to preemptively self-isolate and/or head for rapid testing.
Public health agencies must understand how to use data effectively as the use of big data during the pandemic is essential. They should start working on plans to protect the privacy of the end-user and comply with the evolving laws around personal data privacy.
Additionally, organisations should determine what they will do with the data they are gathering. Data is only worthwhile if the organisations use the right tools to read and interpret it. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is vital for processing the vast amounts of data collected by today’s technology.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has introduced a revised circular requiring designated payment systems (DPS) to embrace the Principles for Financial Market Infrastructure (PFMI) to ensure the country’s national payment system’s continued safety, the efficiency of the flow of funds, and reliability (NPS).
The BSP Governor, who signed Circular No. 1126, asserted in the memo that the mandatory adoption of the PFMI will necessitate the adoption of its principles by all DPS participants. As of July, of this year, the BSP’s Peso Real-time Gross Settlement System (PhP-RTGS) is the country’s first DPS.
The Governor stated that the BSP will use PFMI assessment methodology to determine the DPS’s adherence to relevant principles, as well as identify potential risks and induce changes in the NPS. In terms of non-designated payment systems, he stated that the BSP could evaluate DPS participants’ practises and operations using key considerations under relevant principles such as credit and liquidity risk management and settlement.
The adoption of the standard is very timely given the surge of digital payments in the country, as it ensures payment systems to have safeguards in place which are at par with global practices.
– Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas
The deployment of PFMI is in accordance with the Payment System Oversight Framework (PSOF) of the BSP and the National Payment Systems Act (NPSA). Implementation of the PFMI may be subject to cooperative arrangements with other regulatory authorities in cases involving non-payment system financial market infrastructures (FMI) and cross-border payment systems, according to the governor. The circular also established expectations for critical service providers (CSPs) as defined by the PSOF. It provides guidance and assistance in ensuring that a CSP’s operations are held to the same standards as the DPS’s.
The Bank for International Settlement and the International Organisation of Securities Commissions formed the PFMI. PFMI is essentially a collection of international standards for financial market infrastructures such as payment systems, central securities depositories, securities settlement systems, central counterparties, and trade repositories. Adoption of the PFMI will ensure that the payment system operates in accordance with global best practices in terms of safety, efficiency, and reliability. With the DPS conforming to the PFMI to be more resilient to financial crises and participant defaults, the public interest is better protected, promoting trust in payment systems.
All DPS, whether a systemically important payment system or a prominently important payment system, will use PFMI to design and conduct its operations. “Each DPS is expected to demonstrate adequate governance and risk management arrangements covering areas including access of participants to the system, management of liquidity, credit, operational, settlement and general business risks, efficiency, and transparency,” said the BSP.
The NPSA empowers the BSP, as payment system regulator, to designate a payment system if it determines that the payment system poses or has the potential to pose systemic risk, or if the designation is required to protect the public interest. The PhP-RTGS is the Philippines’ only payment system that allows for settlement with central bank money.
In an article, OpenGov Asia reported that the government of the Philippines has made e-commerce and electronic payment methods a priority in efforts to boost both financial and digital inclusion throughout the country. In line with this, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) recently reaffirmed that they will continue to promote the digitalisation of financial products and services in the country even after the restrictions forced by the pandemic are lifted.
Last year, the central bank released the Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap (DPTR) for 2020-2023. Under the DPTR, the BSP aims to increase customer preference for digital payments by converting 50% of total retail payments to digital form and increasing the number of financially included Filipino adults to 70% by onboarding them to the formal financial system via payment or transaction accounts.
The BSP’s open market operations, issuance of its securities, the Philippine Peso leg of the PhP-US Dollar transaction, and domestic securities transactions are all settled via the PhP-RTGS. It also provides deferred net settlement for retail payment systems such as checks, ATMs, and E-payments.
China developed a miniaturised quantum satellite ground station. The ground station is light and portable and can be installed within 12 hours, allowing users in remote areas to use quantum communication conveniently. The piece of quantum key distribution equipment is about the same size as a laptop, which can greatly reduce the cost of quantum network building and maintenance.
In recent years, China has achieved a series of breakthroughs in quantum technology, including the world’s first quantum satellite, a 2,000-km quantum communication line between Beijing and Shanghai, and the world’s first optical quantum computing machine prototype.
With the active participation of leading enterprises and the guidance of the government, an industrial chain that covers the equipment, network, safety and standards of quantum communication has been basically formed in China.
– Quantum Scientist, University of Science and Technology, China
A hub for China’s quantum technology is home to over 20 quantum technology enterprises and achieved an output value of some 430 million yuan (about $66.5 million) in 2020. The quantum information technology is to be further integrated, convenient and low-cost, allowing more people to have access to it.
China’s quantum company has tried out the quantum encryption calls in 15 provinces and has garnered some 10,000 users. The users can have secure calls and messages encrypted with quantum keys after inserting a SIM card and installing a related app, which can ensure information security.
Besides quantum communication, quantum precision measurement and quantum computation have also seen great breakthroughs in industrial applications. Quantum precision measurement instruments can achieve nanoscale high spatial resolution and single spin ultra-high detection sensitivity, which has been applied to study magnetic and superconducting materials.
Chinese scientists have set up an integrated quantum network that combines 700 fibre and two ground-to-satellite links and realised quantum key distribution between more than 150 users over a combined distance of 4,600 km.
Based on the laws of quantum physics, quantum communications have ultra-high security. It is impossible to wiretap, intercept or crack the information since the quantum state of a photon that transmits data along optical fibre will collapse once it is wiretapped.
In the quantum network, several services such as video call, audio call, fax, text transmission and file transmission have been realised for technological verification and real-world demonstrations, adding commercial use is expected in the near future.
A global quantum network can be realised by connecting more national quantum networks from different countries via ground connections or ground-to-satellite links. In the future, quantum communication will be applied in fields of finance, political affairs and national defence. A whole industry chain and eventually a truly secure quantum internet will be possible.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, China issued a guideline that detailed measures to promote the region’s economic growth, scientific and technological innovation, urbanisation, green development, opening-up, and people’s well-being. By 2025, the comprehensive strength and competitiveness of the region should be further enhanced, and marked progress should be achieved in innovation capacity, with its proportion of research and development input in the regional Gross Domestic Product (GDP) reaching the national average.
Regarding promoting advanced manufacturing, the guideline urges the building of industrial bases focused on sectors including intelligent manufacturing, new materials, new-energy vehicles and electronic information.
The supply of high-quality public goods, such as world-class universities and large-scale medical institutions, should be increased in the region, the guideline says, specifying that world-renowned universities will be encouraged to run schools in partnership with local institutions and conduct research and develop technology to solve problems. Large-scale comprehensive medical institutions are welcome to set up subsidiaries in the region.
Indonesia’s fintech industry is one of the most competitive and dynamic in ASEAN, as evidenced by the emergence of four unicorns and one decacorn. Despite its infancy, the country is home to 20% of all Southeast Asian fintech companies, which are expected to generate US$8.6 billion in revenue over the next five years. In Indonesia, fintech is classified as either conventional or sharia fintech. Islamic fintech growth in Indonesia is continuing, albeit at a slower pace than conventional fintech.
A banking and financial services platform has launched a research series to understand what people think about the key trends driving the development of financial services. In the third edition of the platform, the firm conducted a global survey of 2,000 members of the younger Muslim community, primarily Gen Z and millennials, to better understand what Islamic finance means to them and their expectations of this sector.
Moreover, Islamic finance, one of the fastest-growing financial industries, continues to expand in size and influence far beyond the Middle East, into Muslim-majority countries in Asia and Africa, as well as parts of Europe and beyond. Total assets have surpassed US$2 trillion as a sector and are expected to reach US$3.8 trillion by 2023.
Greater awareness of Islamic finance, combined with improved legal and regulatory structures in many markets, is assisting the sector’s growth. To date, the Indonesian Islamic finance market has struggled to compete with the country’s conventional financial services industry. The good news is that, according to the survey, embracing digital technologies can help to improve financial inclusion across Indonesia while also boosting the country’s Islamic finance market.
OpenGov Asia in an article reported that the chairman of the Indonesian Joint Funding Fintech Association (AFPI) said that sharia fintech services are growing rapidly and Indonesia is a market with significant growth. He feels that the large potential of the sharia fintech market in Indonesia is because of the large Muslim population and its attractive values. Data shows that Muslims in the country increased from 209.12 million in 2010 to 229.62 million last year.
In addition, the growth of sharia fintech in the country is driven by millennials. The share of borrowers aged 21-30 years reaches 47% of the total. The next age interval of 31-40 reached 36% and the remaining 12% were in the age bracket of 41-50 years or generation X. In addition, the association considers that there is quite a lot of interest in Islamic financing schemes in Indonesia. Consumption and exports of Indonesian halal products increased respectively by 3.6% and 19.2% in 2017 according to the State of The Global Islamic Economic Report.
Sharia fintech, with technological capabilities, can contribute to the growth of Islamic-based financial services, said the Lead Research Economist of the Islamic Development Bank. Digitisation has also become more massive during the COVID-19 pandemic, including financial services. Islamic finance contributed 8.69% of the total financial industry in 2019.
Compliance with Islamic law remains a challenge for Indonesia’s Sharia fintech companies. Despite the exponential growth of the Sharia fintech scene in Indonesia, only nine of the 165 fintech companies registered with the government through the Financial Services Authority (OJK) are Sharia-compliant. The Indonesian government has attempted to address this by establishing the National Committee of Islamic Finance (Komite Nasional Keuangan Syariah, KNKS), which is chaired by the president and vice president of Indonesia. The primary responsibility of KNKS is to invest in Sharia-compliant fintech companies and increase their compliance rate.
Nevertheless, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, KNKS’s budget was reduced by nearly 60%. This significantly hampered the government’s efforts to expand the country’s Sharia fintech scene. Nonetheless, the future of Sharia fintech firms in Indonesia remains bright. Indonesia’s massive market size, growing conservative Muslim population, low Sharia banking penetration, and government investment will almost certainly see the sector through this pandemic.
A new report showed that Artificial Intelligence (AI) has reached a critical turning point in its evolution. Substantial advances in language processing, computer vision and pattern recognition mean that AI is touching people’s lives daily—from helping people to choose a movie to aid in medical diagnoses.
With that success, however, comes a renewed urgency to understand and mitigate the risks and downsides of AI-driven systems, such as algorithmic discrimination or the use of AI for deliberate deception. Computer scientists must work with experts in the social sciences and law to assure that the pitfalls of AI are minimised.
The report – Gathering Strength, Gathering Storms: The One Hundred Year Study on Artificial Intelligence (AI100) 2021 Study Panel Report – aims to monitor the progress of AI and guide its future development. This new report, the second to be released by the AI100 project, assesses developments in AI between 2016 and 2021.
In the past five years, AI has leapt from something that mostly happens in research labs or other highly controlled settings to something that is out in society affecting people’s lives. The field is coming to grips with the societal impact of this technology. The next frontier is thinking about ways we can get the benefits from AI while minimising the risks.
– Professor of Computer Science, Brown University
Professor of computer science at the University of Texas said that what makes this report unique is the report is written by AI insiders – experts who create AI algorithms or study their influence on society as their main professional activity—and that they are part of an ongoing, longitudinal, century-long study. It also provides a wonderful template for future study panels to emulate by answering a set of questions that we expect future study panels to reevaluate at five-year intervals.
In terms of AI advances, the panel noted substantial progress across subfields of AI, including speech and language processing, computer vision and other areas. Much of this progress has been driven by advances in machine learning techniques, particularly deep learning systems, which have made the leap in recent years from the academic setting to everyday applications.
In the area of natural language processing, for example, AI-driven systems are now able to not only recognise words but understand how they’re used grammatically and how meanings can change in different contexts. That has enabled better web search, predictive text apps, chatbots and more. Some of these systems are now capable of producing original text that is difficult to distinguish from human-produced text.
Elsewhere, AI systems are diagnosing cancers and other conditions with accuracy that rivals trained pathologists. Research techniques using AI have produced new insights into the human genome and have sped the discovery of new pharmaceuticals. And while the long-promised self-driving cars are not yet in widespread use, AI-based driver-assist systems like lane-departure warnings and adaptive cruise control are standard equipment on most new cars.
Some recent AI progress may be overlooked by observers outside the field, but reflect dramatic strides in the underlying AI technologies, Littman says. One relatable example is the use of background images in video conferences, which became a ubiquitous part of many people’s work-from-home lives during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, in the healthcare field, U.S. Scientists have developed a new, automated, AI-based algorithm that can learn to read patient data from Electronic Health Records (EHR). The scientists, in a side-by-side comparison, showed that their method accurately identified patients with certain diseases as well as the traditional, “gold-standard” method, which requires much more manual labour to develop and perform.