February 23, 2024

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Vietnam Pilots Virtual Assistant for Government Agencies

The Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) recently approved a programme to build and test virtual assistants in selected government departments. Several state agencies, including the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City, MIC, and the Ministry of Industry and Trade will be the first to use the technology.

Virtual assistants are the next generation of search engines that provide information from a specific field to users when they ask questions. Virtual assistants offer a concise, direct answer to the user’s question. According to a press release, the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee was the first state agency to use the virtual assistant, which was deployed on 1 August. Other agencies including the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuracy will apply the technology later in August and September.

MIC assigned the Vietnam Institute of Software Industry and Digital Content to lead and coordinate activities related to deploying and testing virtual assistants for state agencies. This institute will connect stakeholders to build requirements for each specific field to have the right virtual assistant.

Large domestic technology groups including Viettel, the Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT), FPT IS, VNG, and Vbee will coordinate with the government agencies to implement virtual assistants. The release added that the virtual assistant in this pilot programme will focus on specialised knowledge in a specific field. This is also the development strategy of Vietnamese virtual assistants: focusing on each area of specialised knowledge. Like any other AI-based computer system, the more virtual assistants are used, the more intelligent they become.

Apart from introducing virtual assistants, the government has explored other ways to digitise government operations and the delivery of public services. In June, OpenGov Asia reported that the country’s Prime Minister approved an e-government development strategy for 2021-25, with a vision to 2030. This was the first time that Vietnam had issued a strategy to develop the e-government.

Six major viewpoints were highlighted in the strategy, which serves as directions and orientations for the development of the digital government, economy, and society. The first is developing a digital government with safe operations in the digital environment, a redesigned operating model, and operations based on data and digital technology. It will help deliver better quality services, make more timely decisions, formulate better policies, use resources more optimally, and aid socio-economic development and management.

Other tasks include operating specialised network infrastructure securely, connecting four administrative levels from central to commune level, and building a government cloud computing platform. Under the strategy, the government will develop the National Data Exchange Platform and application platforms on mobile devices for all e-government services. It will also complete the National Public Service Portal, build the National Data Portal, and a platform for collaborating on the digital environment. The strategy will develop and complete the government reporting information system, the National Document Communication Axis, and the national bidding network system. Further, it will build a system for analysing and processing big data to ensure national cybersecurity as well as a support system to coordinate and respond to cybersecurity incidents. The strategy outlines the roles and responsibilities of ministries, industries, and local governments in leveraging digital technologies like cloud computing, big data, mobility, the Internet of things (IoT), AI, and blockchain.


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