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Minister of Information and Communications, Nguyen Huy Dung, said that the development of a smart city is the implementation of digital transformation for a city with three major elements, including digital government, digital economy and, digital society.

The summit will feature the participation of around 1,000 delegates via online platforms from 27 places of provinces and cities. Smart cities are a development trend for all cities around the world and the Vietnamese government has always emphasised that the development of smart cities is a breakthrough necessary to contribute to improving national competitiveness.

According to a media report, in addition to legal documents, Vietnam has proactively joined smart city networks in the region and around the world. Currently, Vietnam has three cities, having been in the ASEAN smart city network since 2018, and nearly 40 localities implementing smart city models.

Speaking at the summit, Dung noted that from a policy perspective, smart cities are a place to pilot the implementation of services, models, and policies through the use of new digital technologies. In recent years, the Ministry of Information and Communications has proactively coordinated with relevant ministries, localities, and several international agencies from Singapore and the Republic of Korea to enhance smart city development, he added.

The 2020 Smart City Summit is a great opportunity for management agencies, experts, speakers, and enterprises from Vietnam and abroad to share and contribute their valuable experience in the building and development of smart cities.

The country recently also held the Vietnam Open Summit to promote the use of open platforms and architecture. OpenGov Asia reported that the event gathered 200 participants, including senior officials of ministries and agencies, as well as IT experts from large high-tech corporations. A lot of countries have announced they plan to only buy open technologies, especially technologies used to build national infrastructure platforms. Vietnam is also following this trend. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, apps like Bluezone and CoMeet were open-source or developed with open-source software.

The Ministry of Information and Communications has also launched the national open data portal, which has registered over 10,000 data sets. Vietnam’s 5G network will also use the open standard Open RAN. Vietnam has chosen to develop open technology, open-source software, and open data for individuals and businesses to join the creation of new values.

Nearly 3 million organisations and businesses from 70 countries have joined the open-source community. 35 out of 50 top companies in the world sent their teams to participate in the open-source projects in the forum. Vietnam ranks third in Southeast Asia and is among the top 20 in the world in open-source applications, after Singapore (17), and Malaysia (18). The government aims to develop open technology with a focus on three pillars – developing a Make-in-Vietnam open ecosystem, promoting open culture, and developing an open community.

Vietnam’s cloud computing market is worth nearly VND3.2 trillion (US $133 million). The country is now home to about 27 cloud computing data centres, invested in by 11 domestic firms with more than 270,000 servers.

According to a press release, however, domestic enterprises only account for about 20% of the market share while foreign partners seize the remainder. Speaking at an event held earlier this week, the Deputy Director of the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC)’s Authority of Information Security Nguyen Khac Lich said cloud computing is a new-generation telecom platform in the next 5-10 years.

MIC considers cloud computing platform a digital infrastructure for the development of digital government, economy, and society. The market is forecast to be worth US$ 500 million by 2025, he said, adding that this year, the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed its growth by 40%.

Vietnam is of the few countries that issued a set of criteria and technical standards to choose cloud computing platforms in service of digital government and administrations. The Vice Director of Viettel IDC Le Hoai Nam said that the country only provides cloud computing infrastructure services while software services on cloud computing platforms have yet to be tapped though they bring huge revenues.

Participants at the event suggested MIC and leaders of departments assist Vietnamese firms in building policies and mechanisms conducive to information technology enterprises in the field of cloud computing, helping them switch to digital transformation more quickly and conveniently.

Earlier this month, MIC held an event to introduce, a corporate management cloud-based platform developed by Vietnamese company Base Enterprise. It was part of a series of events aiming to promote Vietnamese-made products and solutions to help realise Vietnam’s digital transformation programme towards 2025 with a view to 2030.

Base Enterprises Director Pham Kim Hung said the platform can provide executives with an overview of their firm through actual data to make the right decisions, enhance productivity, reduce costs, and increase revenue. For their part, employees can collaborate with their colleagues on the platform to fulfil their tasks more efficiently. is also able to connect with the services of other providers to create a comprehensive set of tools that can support a company’s sustainable growth.

According to its developers, the service can work on a multitude of smart devices and is compatible with both Android and iOS operating systems. The platform is currently used by more than 5,000 corporate customers of various sizes and across a wide range of business areas in Vietnam.

According to the report “Southeast Asia’s Digital Economy 2019”, Vietnam’s digital economy was valued at US$12 billion in 2019. Over the past 5 years, Vietnam’s e-commerce market grew by over 25% per year. Vietnam’s digital economy is forecasted to contribute 5% to the country’s GDP and is expected to reach US$43 billion by 2025.

Vietnam has made tremendous strides in its digital economy and tech-related industry and the country has managed to attract many big investors including numerous tech giants. The overall number of ICT firms in Vietnam (both domestic and foreign-invested) is 46,000 units. The Vietnamese ICT industry’s revenue in 2019 was US$ 110 billion, the B2C e-commerce contributed about US$ 10.8 billion, and the digital content industry’s revenue was US$ 850 million.

To accelerate the country’s national digital transformation programme, the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) organised the Vietnam Open Summit, last week.

The summit gathered 200 participants, including senior officials of ministries and agencies, as well as IT experts from large high-tech corporations. MIC Minister Nguyen Manh Hung noted that IT and digital technology are penetrating every corner of social life. Digital technology needs to be cheap and the key to this is open technology – open architecture, open standards, and open culture.

A press release explained that a lot of countries have announced they plan to only buy open technologies, especially technologies used to build national infrastructure platforms. Vietnam is also following this trend. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, apps like Bluezone and CoMeet were open-source or developed with open-source software.

MIC has also launched the national open data portal, which has registered over 10,000 data sets. Vietnam’s 5G network will also use the open standard Open RAN. Vietnam has chosen to develop open technology, open-source software, and open data for individuals and businesses to join the creation of new values.

Hung called on agencies, businesses, and training establishments to work together to build policies and strategies and develop open platforms and communities.

Open technology strategy

Nearly 3 million organisations and businesses from 70 countries have joined the open-source community. 35 out of 50 top companies in the world sent their teams to participate in the open-source projects in the forum. Vietnam ranks third in Southeast Asia and is among the top 20 in the world in open-source applications, after Singapore (17), and Malaysia (18).

Vietnam began approaching the open technology trend early in the 2000s, but it is still behind some countries, which is attributed to the closed culture, the localisation of data, and lack of interest from large corporations.

Nguyen Trong Duong, the deputy director of the Authority for IT Application, under MIC, said that developing open source projects is a technology trend around the globe. Vietnam should aim to be listed in the top 10 in the rankings on the growth of open-source software.

Talking about the development orientation for the time to come, he noted that Vietnam should develop open technology with a focus on three pillars – developing a Make-in-Vietnam open ecosystem, promoting open culture, and developing an open community.

“In addition to promoting education, training, research, and community development, we also need to develop an open technology ecosystem, accelerate the implementation of policies, and prioritise [the] use of digital products that use open standards,” Duong said.

In the field of training and research, there should be large projects and topics on open-source software. The assessment of the quality of research works will be made based on the contributions of the works to the international community. Regarding the development of the open technology ecosystem, technology firms, especially large ones, need to prioritise the allocation of research and development budgets for open-source projects, the release stated.

The Vietnam Public Health Portal was officially launched by the Ministry of Health (MOH) on 20 November, aimed at facilitating liaising with services provided by the healthcare sector.

According to a news report, the portal was developed as a joint effort between the MOH and military-run telecom group Viettel to publicise medical information towards an open, transparent health sector as well as providing the best health care for the people. The portal provides information across five public areas, including pharmacy and cosmetics, medical equipment, food safety, examination and treatment, and public administration.

Speaking at the launch, the Minister of Health, Nguyen Thanh Long, emphasised that the portal is the official channel of the ministry for people and businesses to look up information on drug and medical equipment prices, medical examination and treatment fees, information on circulating or recalled products and the results of administrative procedures.

He said that through the Public Health Portal, people can exercise their right to inform themselves and monitor services provided by the health sector, certain aspects are revolutionary in the medical sector, such as the portal, which will make public a huge amount of information, including medical service fees.

Currently, 1,490 medical facilities and hospitals nationwide have publicly announced their service prices. Shortly, the ministry will require all clinics to publicise their medical service fees and their quality levels, as well as patients’ satisfaction assessments, according to Long.

Additionally, the entire medical licensing process will be made public, he informed, adding that the ministry is promoting artificial intelligence (AI) in licensing for the pharmaceutical industry. The MOH has developed a software system to support the price disclosure, allowing enterprises to register and to be granted accounts for self-implementation and are responsible for managing information posted publicly regarding the medical equipment price on the portal.

Hoang Son, Viettel Group Deputy General Director, pledged that his corporation would improve the features of the portal with the application of new technologies such as AI and virtual assistant (chatbot) in the interactions with users, as well as automatically answering questions and ensuring absolute safety and confidentiality for the effective operation of the portal.

Further, the ministry plans to launch the Vietnam medical network, connecting over 500,000 health workers across the country, and electronic operating software at 12,000 commune health stations.

Despite having to fight against COVID-19, the MOH is determined to promote administrative reform, IT application, and digital transformation in the sector.  At a meeting last week between the MOH and the working group of the Prime Minister, the ministry informed that it has strengthened the application of remote medical examination and treatment this year, connecting 1,500 venues with foreign countries who have applied to join the network.

The health sector has applied AI in the diagnosis and treatment of a number of lung diseases and film screening, according to a report. Speaking at the meeting, Minister-Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tien Dung suggested the relevant agencies, departments, and units support and coordinate with the MOH to perform their assigned tasks.

The ministry should continue promoting remote medical examination and treatment to contribute to maintaining the successful results regarding COVID-19 and helping people enjoy high-quality health care at the local level. The two sides also signed an agreement to boost coordination between the Government Office and the MOH.

The Vietnamese telecommunications service provider VNPT is planning to begin its trials of 5G, the next-generation wireless technology, in the pedestrian zone around Hoan Kiem Lake in central Hanoi early next month.

According to a press release, the move comes after the company was granted a license by the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) to conduct 5G network testing in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City using a total of 100 cellular towers.

The testing will take place on the frequency bands of 2,600MHz and 3,700-3,800MHz. In the capital city, 5G coverage will be provided mainly in the Hoan Kiem Lake area and some locations in Hai Ba Trung District while testing in Ho Chi Minh City will target the pedestrian street of Nguyen Hue, the Notre-Dame Cathedral, and some areas in Districts 3 and 10.

The company said it is purchasing equipment to prepare for installation across the two cities and to ensure that the network can support up to 5,000 subscribers during its trial period.

It is also working with smartphone manufacturers to test devices currently available on the market so that users will have the best experience, the release said. To date, more than half of all available devices have been tested. Earlier, MIC had also granted similar licenses to Viettel and Mobifone, two other major mobile carriers in Vietnam.

OpenGov Asia recently reported that MIC and the Market Licensing Division of the Vietnam Telecommunications Authority decided to shut down old-tech wavebands so that network operators can optimise operations and reserve frequency resources for new technologies. This will promote the digital society and digital economy.

By getting rid of 2G and 3G technologies, countries are free to apply different methods and have different targets. Deploying 5G mobile technology simultaneously with 2G, 3G, and 4G networks will be expensive and ineffective.

Shutting down 3G networks would be less costly because the number of terminals for them is less than the devices that only support 2G. Also, 3G is an incomplete data transmission technology that has a higher data transfer speed than 2G, but it does not support high-speed interactive services such as television, video, and streaming like 4G technology does.

On the other hand, the disadvantage is that it will not create breakthrough developments in a society striving for a digital economy and society, which the Party and government are determined to promote.

Although shutting down 2G will be harder, the government will be able to accelerate the implementation of the national digital transformation program by 2025 approved by the Prime Minister, which notes that 4G/5G and smartphones will be promoted for every Vietnamese citizen.

Vietnam’s proposed roadmap to switch off old technologies is in accordance with the national development plan. When switching off 2G, it is necessary to apply a policy to help people shift to smartphones. When the number of subscribers using old-tech networks falls to 5%, then it will be the right time to switch off the networks.

The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) launched the akaBot platform – corporate process automation – in Hanoi, earlier this week.

A press release said that the technology, akaBot is the FPT’s third make-in-Vietnam platform. It is among 33 other platforms selected by MIC to introduce and sponsor media in the “Friday of Technology” programme, to serve the National Digital Transformation Programme to 2025, with the vision to 2030, which was approved by the Prime Minister in June.

According to the development team, akaBot is a robotic process automation (RPA) solution for businesses with “virtual assistants” capable of simulating human manipulation, helping perform repetitive tasks in large numbers.

With the core technology of RPA, akaBot is capable of integrating artificial intelligence (AI) and optical character recognition (OCR) technology to build comprehensive, non-invasive intelligent automation solutions, which can interact with all business software such as Word and Excel.

The two previous FPT platforms that were chosen were the FPT.AI and akaChain. All three platforms are in FPT’s ecosystem of digital transformation solutions to support businesses and organisations to increase productivity, save costs, and maximise resources to overcome crises and to keep growing.

The development and commercialisation of technology platforms including AkaBot, according to To Thi Thu Huong, the Deputy Director of the Department of Information Technology, is a big move for the FPT Corporation, from providing outsourcing services to creating and mastering core technologies and developing platform products for national digital transformation.

She said that the launch of technology platforms for digital transformation every Friday by MIC demonstrated the encouragement and support of the local technology business community to develop policies by the government and MIC, including the Make in Vietnam strategy.

At the launching ceremony, the Deputy Director of the Department of Information Technology, Do Cong Anh, emphasised that the digital economy has been identified as one of the three pillars of the national digital transformation strategy, and digital transformation among businesses is also an important direction.

“I believe that akaBot solution will play a very strong role in digital transformation for businesses operating in the fields of finance, banking, logistics, and health,” he said. FPT began providing AkaBot in 2018. In the last two years, akaBot has been providing RPA solutions to more than 20 customers and strategic partners in Vietnam, the US, Japan, UK, South Korea, and Taiwan.

OpenGov Asia reported earlier on Vietnam’s Map4D, a mapping platform created by Vietnamese engineers. The technology is expected to play a role in expediting Vietnam’s digital transformation.

Developed by IoTLink, Map4D is available on the web as well as on smartphones and tablets, offering an interface similar to Google Maps. In addition to real-time navigation functions and weather updates, the service displays many well-known places of interest in Vietnam in the form of three-dimensional images.

Map4D can also be easily integrated across many fields such as e-commerce, tourism, construction, natural resources and environmental management, urban management, agriculture, and transport. Since the service is made entirely by Vietnamese engineers and its data is stored in Vietnam, it ensures a high degree of national security.

The introduction of Map4D is part of a series of events held by the ministry to promote local digital products aiming to realise the national digital transformation programme towards 2025.

Vietnam’s Internet economy has advanced by 39% annually since 2015 and is currently the second fastest-growing in Asia, with 68 million Internet users in the country this year. The figure is expected to reach 75.7 million by 2023, according to a report.

According to a press release, the government’s drive toward 100% smartphone penetration through the support of low-cost smartphone production and one of the cheapest data packages in the region will support this growth.

Rise of digital rural consumers

Although urban areas continue to dominate the online landscape in terms of spending, rural Vietnam is a prime market for growth, poised to grow twice as quickly as the metro cities. This is where over half of the country’s population resides – an untapped market with rising Internet penetration.

Specifically, 77% of residents in rural areas now have Internet access, with 91% of them browsing the Internet daily. The Internet has become a bridge to resources, products, and services that these users are accessing for the first time.

Rural users are rapidly turning to the Internet for communication, education, self-development, and entertainment. Marketers can align their messaging to these categories, leveraging the aspirations of these users with useful and relevant content that creates an emotional connection.

Rise of the on-demand economy

With most of the world under lockdown, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought down the number of customers visiting stores. Although Vietnam is no longer under lockdown, local consumers are still reluctant to venture out of their homes, leading to much slower recovery of store traffic.

Even before the pandemic, the Internet economies were on the rise with Vietnamese consumers, especially the young generation. Additionally, local consumers are increasingly shifting from physical branches to the online medium for their financial needs, which has resulted in a 33% surge in the download of finance apps and an increase in search interest for “online lending apps” by 300% in the past year.

Smart shoppers

Online shopping has evolved significantly due to increased access to the Internet coupled with the health crisis, with 83% of Vietnamese now spending more time researching products online before making a purchase. Further, local consumers are asking more personalised queries, with 75% of purchases being done offline, yet 62% of the research for these purchases being done online.

As OpenGov Asia reported, from 2021, Vietnam plans to provide digital transformation ranking to ministries and provinces each year, measuring the extent to which national and local authorities have developed online activities in all areas of the society and economy.

The country’s administration is prioritising e-government as a central pillar of its ambitious national digital transformation strategy to increase digital infrastructure, solutions, and capacity in the government, industry, and society.

The aim is to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic with every branch of government operating in a digital technology environment. Two important national databases will digitise information about the population and land, enabling e-identification and authentication to be in place by the end of 2021.

Other measures include capacity development and digital skills training for both government and businesses. Vietnam is set to rank among the top four ASEAN countries on the United Nations (UN) e-government rankings by 2030 – and among the top 70 worldwide.

Vietnam considers digital platforms as a way to accelerate national digital transformation, considering cybersecurity a key factor to create digital trust and Institutional reform the decisive factor for digital transformation.

Vietnam Security Summit 2020 was held in Hanoi on November 10 by the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission and the Ministry of Information and Communications. Featuring the theme ‘Cybersecurity in the AI and Big data era’, the summit shed light on the latest security trends and considerations for digital governments and modern-day enterprises, including national critical infrastructure defence, next-gen enterprise cyber protection and customers’ data assurance.

Digital transformation has led to an increase in the number of internet of things devices and generated a large amount of data. While data had become an important resource of the country, of each organisation and individuals, the risks of information and data theft and destruction were also increasing.

Cyber attackers have exploited the strengths of artificial intelligence and big data in cyber-attack techniques and malware has become increasingly sophisticated with phishing technology based on artificial intelligence.

“Reality shows that we are facing increasingly dangerous and sophisticated cyber attacks. Each agency, organisation, business and user must always be ready to respond to threats in cyberspace,” said Vice Chairman of the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission Nguyen Duc Hien.

Sharing the same viewpoint, Colonel Nguyen Dang Luc, Vice Chairman of the Government Cipher Committee, said cyber-attacker and criminals of late have become emboldened enough to steal state confidential information, data and destroy information systems. Increasingly cybercriminals and reactionary organisations had been proliferated and gained the technical expertise to cause serious consequences, threatening social order and safety, political stability and national security.

From the perspective of the Ministry of Information and Communications, Nguyen Khac Lich, Deputy Director of the Authority of Information Security under the Ministry of Information and Communication, said the current risk of information security was significant to the extent that it would affect the entire economy. “Cyber attacks are getting more sophisticated, more fierce, more dangerous,” said Lich.

At the summit, the representative of the Authority of Information Security reviewed some outstanding results in the work of ensuring information security in Vietnam. Specifically, Vietnam’s ranking of the Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) in accordance with the assessment of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) had positive changes last year. The country ranked 50 out of 193 countries, 11th in Asia-Pacific and fifth in ASEAN.

Sharing about the strategy to implement cybersecurity, Lich said, “If we want our nation to become a powerful country in cybersecurity, in the group of 30 leading countries in GCI index by 2030, we need to focus on development in accordance with five main pillars including legal, technical, organising, capacity building, and co-operation.”

Along with that, Lich also raised other major plans to ensure information security in the coming time, which include information safety in digital transformation, protecting users on cyberspace, promoting the implementation of the four-class model in the organisations and identifying human as the main orientation of ensuring information safety.

OpenGov Asia recently reported on Vietnam’s Decree 91 that aims to ‘clean up’ digital space with AI, ML and Analytics

The Vietnam government strongly believes that ensuring safety in cyberspace will accelerate the process of national digital transformation as it is the key to a successful and sustainable digital transformation.

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