AI to Boost Public Safety, Security in the Philippines – OpenGov Asia

The Philippine Space Agency Space Security Technologies Division (PhilSA SSTD) recently completed a four-month artificial intelligence (AI) training for the Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and National Coast Watch Centre (NCWC) through its “Pagsasanay para sa Kalawakan Programme.”
The virtual “Introduction to AI Training Series” gave participants a better understanding of AI and how it can be used to improve public safety and security. The training modules covered various space technology applications relevant to the country’s security sector’s mandate and operations.
This training series focuses on the application of AI, specifically image processing. Object detection is one application of AI for satellite imagery in security applications. AI-enabled Object Detection identifies and tracks things such as ships, aircraft, and vehicles, among others, assisting with overall monitoring and situational awareness.
Furthermore, AI technology is not limited to satellite imagery and can be applied to other surveillance platforms such as cameras and drone imagery, as well as other applications such as facial recognition.
Even after the training, PhilSA will continue to assist the nation’s security sector in applying AI and space technology tools and concepts in their work in a sustainable manner. This collaboration between PhilSA and the PNP, PCG, and NCWC also lays the groundwork for future collaborative activities.
One of PhilSA’s mandates under RA 11363, or the “Philippine Space Act,” is to improve public access and resource sharing by assisting departments and other government agencies in the performance of their duties using space science and technology applications (SSTA) and space data mobilisation.
The AI training is one of PhilSA’s many initiatives to support the development, application, and utilisation of SSTA to accelerate social progress and promote national security for the benefit of all Filipinos.
The PhilSA SSTD offers relevant space science and technology and applications (SSTA) training, capacity-building, and techno-scientific support with the goal of encouraging resource sharing and access to the country’s emerging space capabilities.
The programme is the SSTD’s space technology capacity-building initiative, with the goal of creating a security sector that is highly capable, knowledgeable about space technology and its applications, and a valuable contributor to the Philippine space ecosystem in the future.
Meanwhile, the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) Nutrition Physiology Laboratory is one of the outcomes of the DOST-Grants in Aids funded R&D programme titled “Healthy Aging Programme for Pinoy (HAPPY) Senior Citizens.”
The new laboratory exemplifies the collaboration of four critical components of human nutrition research: metabolism, physical activity, body composition, and nutrition.
Using cutting-edge technology and apparatus, the laboratory will link all four research components. It is anticipated that the data provided by the laboratory would throw additional light on how nutrition and physical exercise contribute to the better health, functionality, and quality of life of older Filipinos.
Dr Imelda Angeles-Agdeppa, Director IV and Scientist IV of the DOST-FNRI, emphasised the significance of integrating the many data or information components of nutrition research to produce creative study for the benefit of the nation.
On the other hand, former DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Pea issued a call to action to meet the need of the demographic transition of an older society over the next two decades by introducing innovative techniques and offering access to healthy ageing.
The programme highlighted the multidisciplinary team and the various components that the programme evaluates – nutrition, function, anthropometric measures, biochemical measures, and geriatric assessments – to obtain a holistic image of the nutrition health status of the potential research participants and gain a deeper understanding of their nutrition situation.
The National Health Authority (NHA) has issued hardware guidelines for state and union territory hospitals, clinics, and wellness centres. The aim is to promote digitsation in healthcare institutions. The guidelines briefly describe the required infrastructure for the efficient implementation of the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM), with a particular focus on quality patient care and the adoption of digital initiatives.
The guidelines provide a basic framework for the planning, assessment, and procurement of the IT hardware (including IT specifications of various hardware equipment) based on the size of the healthcare facility. It will enable healthcare providers to operate applications compliant with the ABDM.
ABDM is a national-level digital health ecosystem that intends to support universal health coverage (UHC) in an accessible, inclusive, and affordable manner, through the provision of big data and infrastructure services, and by leveraging open, interoperable, standards-based digital systems. At the same time, the government is keen on ensuring the security, confidentiality, and privacy of health-related personal information.
A press release quoted an NHA official as saying that the first step towards comprehensive ABDM implementation is the digitisation of hospitals. Several states and union territories have expressed the need for guidelines that give them an overview of the IT infrastructure requirements based on the health facility size. The document includes guidelines for desktops and laptops; printers; QR code readers; QR code printers; fingerprint scanners; uninterrupted power supply (UPS); and web cameras.
ABDM will connect the digital health solutions of hospitals and other health facilities across the country with each other. The digital ecosystem will also enable a host of other facilities like teleconsultation, paperless health records, QR code-based OPD registrations, etc. The digitisation of health records will ensure that old medical records of patients cannot get lost and are accessible to them anytime, anywhere. Ensuring the necessary IT infrastructure and implementation of hospital information management systems across health facilities at the state and union territory level will enable the seamless creation and exchange of digital health records across the ecosystem.
The guidelines published by NHA are suggestive and recommendatory in nature, the press release stated. States, union territories, and health facilities have the flexibility to modify these guidelines based on local requirements and circumstances.
In a bid to expand its digital capabilities, in June, NHA launched a public dashboard for real-time information about ABDM core registries, including Ayushman Bharat Health Account (ABHA) numbers, the Healthcare Professionals Registry (HPR), and the Health Facility Registry (HFR). As OpenGov reported, the dashboard displays data related to the number of ABHA generated, healthcare professionals registered, and digital health records linked with ABHA. It also has granular details about the number of health facilities (such as hospitals and laboratories) that are registered daily as well as the total number so far.
The dashboard provides information on national and state/union territory levels. The information is further segregated based on gender and age. For HFR, the dashboard presents the data through infographics based on ownership (government or private), systems of medicine, and state-wise facilities registered under the ABDM. Similarly, for the HPR, the dashboard segregates data based on the professional’s employment type (government or private sector), systems of medicine, and the state/union territory from where the applications have been received.
Over half a million students across Vietnam have been taught critical digital skills and how to stay safe in cyberspace over the last three years, according to a report by the Vietnam National Institute of Educational Sciences (VNIES).
The report was announced at a workshop on digital skills education at schools in Vietnam jointly held by the VNIES, the Vietnet Information Technology and Communication Centre (Vietnet-ICT), and a social networking giant. The event was attended by about 380 participants, 300 of whom attended via teleconference.
The Deputy Director of the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET)’s Department of Primary Education, called for better coordination among schools, families, and society in ensuring safe and healthy cyberspace for students. News reports quoted a representative of VNIES as saying that digital skills education is becoming increasingly important as the robust evolution of technology is impacting every aspect of life and changing the ways people teach and learn. Students should be equipped with digital skills that enable them to seize the opportunity to become pioneers, the official said, adding that they must also be connected with the world of opportunities and provided with the necessary skills to succeed in a digital world.
Those with a higher skill level are likely to be more comfortable and confident in learning and their Internet safety will be enhanced as threats are always present, the official explained. It is also vital for the students to be taught about the importance of ethics of online communications and information exchange, as they are now facing challenges related to copyright, plagiarism, cyber-bullying, and fact-checking. Digital education will nurture a generation of more responsible netizens.
The report provides an impact assessment on a joint programme that aimed to raise awareness about online safety and promote digital skills needed to build a generation of strong citizens. Under the programme, more than 3,000 teachers from secondary and high schools in 39 cities and provinces nationwide were trained. They passed on what they had learnt to over 20,800 fellow educators, from 2019 to June 2022.
A manual exclusively developed for teachers was also introduced at the workshop, providing instructions on how they can design exciting lessons to educate students about digital skills and Internet safety. An expert at the event stated that the launch of the impact assessment report and the manual book on digital skills and Internet safety for teachers will offer more opportunities for the incorporation of digital citizen lessons into classes and extracurricular activities.
At the end of 2021, the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) and the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) announced a collaboration to digitally transform the education sector. The two ministries said they would compile assessment criteria and information safety standards for online learning platforms. As OpenGov Asia reported, from September to November of last year, the government installed Internet connections to facilitate online learning at 1,000 locations, and installations at the remaining targeted regions were completed in January this year.  A programme launched by the Prime Minister had handed over more than 100,000 computers to help students learn online. It also accelerated the installation of Internet connections in remaining locations with a budget of some VND 3 trillion (US$ 131.54 million), while reducing online learning tuition fees totalling VND 500 billion (US$ 22 million) for some student groups.
Intelligent automation (IA) has become the new norm for the public sector in today’s increasingly digital and tech-enabled environment. Automation in repetitive tasks allows businesses to increase their efficiency. However, next-level performance can only happen by applying intelligent automation across a gamut of duties.
The public sector typically deals with large amounts of manual, repetitive administrative tasks, which can take valuable time away from strategic work. Intelligent automation can be a game changer in improving service delivery, as VITAL, the Singapore Government’s shared services department has demonstrated.
In an exclusive interview with Mohit Sagar, CEO and Editor-in-Chief, OpenGov Asia, Dennis Lui, Chief Executive, VITAL, Ministry of Finance and Wong Wen-Ming, Vice President and Managing Director, Southeast Asia, UiPath shared in-depth insights on how intelligent automation betters public services.
Intelligent Automation for the Public Sector
According to Dennis, the challenge is how enterprises can prepare for the impending hybrid human-digital workforce. Moreover, there is a huge opportunity for software automation in the public sector that is currently untapped.
In embracing software automation, the Singaporean government’s shared services department has effectively freed up human resources for more creative and higher-order tasks while bettering services. VITAL has been leveraging software automation to realise its vision of every officer becoming a citizen developer, building robots for themselves and their colleagues using low- or no-code tools, from automating deposit creation to using AI to sift through resumes in the hiring process.
Right at the recruitment stage, software automation helped HR employees to shortlist candidates more rapidly, saving them time and allowing them to concentrate on analysing more qualified prospects.
Dennis shared that the government is attempting to scale digital solutions despite facing numerous challenges. “Most government agencies are looking into or offering digital services to citizens and other stakeholders, but many of the problems they face are not technical,” Dennis observes.
Scaling digital is hard because strategy and decisions are made in silos, people are afraid to take risks, and there are not enough funds. Important to digital transformation in government is taking immediate action on these concerns, which can range from dismantling organisational silos to addressing digital skills gaps and a lack of resources. If left unaddressed, these key problems, though not technical, put digital government programmes at risk and make it hard to keep budget allocations and get the benefits that were promised.
Solutions have to be implemented to deal with these issues, such as governance frameworks, building culture and consensus across the organisation and improving digital skills.
As Singapore’s government adds more digital services, the country needs to come up with standards and guidelines to make sure that users have a full and consistent experience. “Standardisation is a very important thing to do.”
The Digital Service Standards (DSS) have helped agencies set up their digital services so they can meet the goal of the Digital Government Blueprint (DGB), which is to give citizens and businesses digital services that are easy, seamless and useful.
All digital services that the government offers to the public must meet the DSS. The government also does “mystery shopping” based on the DSS to make sure that digital services are always set up in a way that meets the goals of the DGB.
Data consolidation is a crucial step in the integration and management of data operations. It makes all data management information accessible quickly and readily and centralising all data boosts productivity and efficiency.
Robotic process automation (RPA) has quickly become one of the most important aspects, assisting businesses in increasing productivity and long-term success. Although RPA is only one piece of the modern business technology puzzle, it is frequently used as an introduction to the convenience and speed that automation can bring to a business.
With rules-based software robots performing repetitive operations that are typically marred by human mistakes, the government can provide a more efficient and accurate service to the public.
Flexible automation technologies are required for advanced manufacturing and assembly of discrete goods to increase production efficiencies and enhance product quality. This is especially true in the production of products with a diverse product mix and fluctuating production quantities.
Although industrial robots allow for a great deal of production and assembly flexibility, they lack the precision required for precise manufacturing and assembly operations.
People often say that the goal of public sector services is to serve the people, thus employees can be more productive and happier at work with the help of software robots. This is good for both employees and the company – and citizens.
Furthermore, automation not only makes it easier for the government to do its job but also makes life better for both employees and the public. As automation spreads through the public sector, it gives workers more time to improve how people interact with the government.
Dennis highlighted that as part of its RPA journey, VITAL has made a “bot library” with automation best practices and scripts for more than 100 Singaporean government agencies. Since 2017, the organisation’s digital roadmap has been built around automation. And VITAL has moved on to putting in place automation that works without a person present and adopting a citizen developer strategy.
He also shared that the goal of VITAL is for every officer to be able to build robots for themselves and their co-workers using low-code or no-code tools like UiPath StudioX. Having a tool for automation that doesn’t require much or any coding has helped VITAL scale automation faster.
The UiPath Platform is a good alternative for non-IT-trained officers who find it hard to learn the standard RPA developer software on top of their regular work. It is easier to learn than the standard software.
As part of a low-code or no-code solution, VITAL is starting to use citizen developers. When talking about scalability, it is how they can scale RPA with enough flexibility and agility.
“Upskilling Singaporeans could result in more investment and high-end manufacturing in Singapore,” Dennis believes.
In five years, he envisions using automation in the public sector by utilising an extremely powerful central north of the organisation that provides intelligent operation while providing extremely productive human resources.
How to Become a Fully Automated Enterprise
UiPath Vice President and Managing Director, Wen-Ming feels that any type of AI-enhanced software might be referred to be a software robot, especially if it includes machine learning and automates formerly manual tasks. Virtual assistants, expert systems and other chatbots are examples of software robots.
“This implies that many everyday programmes, such as spam filters and antivirus software, could be regarded as software robots,” says Wen-Ming. ” UiPath is a robotic process automation tool for large-scale end-to-end automation.”
The primary distinction between a fully automated enterprise and a traditional enterprise is their automation approaches. A fully automated enterprise approaches automation proactive, whereas a traditional enterprise approaches it reactively.
A fully automated enterprise considers automation first and applies it where it makes the most sense and has the most impact. A fully automated enterprise strikes the proper balance between what software robots can do and what humans can focus on.
The following are the four Pillars of a fully automated enterprise:
“These pillars are a response to real, material outcomes that we’re observing in the industry,” says Wen-Ming.
RPA can increase productivity to offer more accurate intelligence data as well as give users real-time access to financial data with reporting and analytical capabilities. It functions best when used with routine, rule-based processes that call for manual inputs. There aren’t many, if any, alterations needed to implement the automation because the software robot uses another programme UIs.
Governments are still struggling to balance their budgets and use their limited IT resources effectively, but technological advancements are enabling automation solutions to increase operational efficiencies. Digital transformation for all levels of government solves the problem of doing more with less by modernising government technology.
Along with the surge in developing technologies, constrained budgets, and overstressed IT, staff, new possibilities for government task automation have emerged, pushing operational efficiencies for governments of all sizes.
For the government, automation is not a novel technology. However, as process robots and artificial intelligence advance, workload automation is becoming increasingly important in streamlining work traditionally performed by government employees.
Public institutions throughout the world have struggled to handle citizen demands during the pandemic, such as the surge in calls to contact centres.
UiPath helped VITAL and other public sector organisations achieve their IT objectives. Some assistance with establishing virtual contact centres. Agencies can offer round-the-clock support with software robots. And robots can respond to many queries with personalised responses.
If a situation worsens, contact centre representatives are available to provide a human touch. As soon as citizens’ wants are addressed, their faith in the government grows, which strengthens the bonds between the two.
“RPA automation fits well into that overall goal, as does speeding up its revolutionary adoption across all ministries,” says Wen-Ming.
Automation was still relatively unknown in those early days, he says, “But through a virus programme that we implemented, we attempted to raise awareness of how automated automation can transform a business.”
Because VITAL is the public sector’s advisor and this is public information, Dennis and his team have been at the forefront of encouragement, according to Wen-Ming.
RPA automation knowledge should be embedded in polytechnics and universities. As they embark on this journey, consider the technology or business streams – when they graduate, they intend to work with RPA automation in mind.
Furthermore, Asian adoption and thinking outside the box are required. “Yes, and we provide the necessary technology and enablement to empower all ministries and agencies to scale.”
Wen-Ming recognises that the future of work is changing and software automation has emerged as the perfect solution. Hence, human workers can be freed from tedious and repetitive administrative activities by using digital workers on intelligent automation platforms to learn and execute human-like business procedures.
These simplify work procedures and, most crucially, provide human employees more time to complete work of greater value and to feel more purposeful both within the organisation and for themselves.
Building up the skills of employees will be important for businesses. Organisations’ education and training policies should encourage workers to learn automation skills that are in demand and give them chances to improve their skills so they can keep up with changes in technology.
“I think communication is critical communication, a form of raising the level of awareness that automation is going to be here to assist,” Wen-Ming is firmly convinced.
He emphasises the importance of ensuring that everyone is more productive and accurate and that they have more time to upskill themselves to do something much more strategic.
The entire mindset, acceptance, adoption and awareness are critical to ensuring that the workforce has embraced rather than resisted automation. The same with manufacturing process automation – it should be adopted by businesses as it will soon become a standard tool in the manufacturing industry.
Wen-Ming is optimistic about the role of IA, RPA and technology down the road. “I think three to five years from now – what I wish, and I think it’s going to happen – automation will go beyond just a robotic process. I think bots that mimic human thinking will become a part of daily life and, hopefully, help to build a better world.”
Two Frameworks of Cooperation, one in the digital economy and another in the green economy have been fundamentally concluded by the two nations through Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong and Malaysia’s Senior Minister and Minister of International Trade and Industry, Dato’ Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali.
“The Frameworks of Cooperation in both the digital economy and green economy mark a milestone in the long-standing and multifaceted partnership between Singapore and Malaysia. The Agreements lay the foundation for further cooperation between both countries across various areas of the green and digital economies in Singapore and Malaysia, to deliver tangible benefits to our communities and businesses,” says Minister Gan.
The Cooperation Frameworks serve as the foundation for future bilateral initiatives in the digital and green economies. Singapore and Malaysia have also agreed to work together to sign both Cooperation Frameworks by the end of 2022.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused technological disruption and accelerated digitalisation, significantly altering consumer behaviours and business models while opening up new opportunities.
Singapore and Malaysia will foster greater interoperability and collaboration in the digital economy to capture the next phase of growth.
The Framework for Cooperation in the Digital Economy will facilitate increased collaboration in a variety of areas, including:
This will open a broader range of opportunities for businesses, workers, and communities in both countries.
Singapore and Malaysia will strengthen their collaboration in the green economy to decarbonise industries and enable businesses and workers to capitalise on emerging opportunities.
Both countries have agreed to collaborate on next-generation mobility under the Framework of Cooperation in Green Economy, which includes:
The 12th Malaysia Plan’s objectives of boosting green businesses, lowering pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and conserving natural resources are all in line with the areas of cooperation in the green economy that has been agreed upon, Dato’ Seri Azmin stressed.
The Senior Minister also reaffirmed that this effort is being made as part of the Malaysian Government’s initiative to hasten the transition of the local manufacturing sector, particularly SMEs, to ESG and green economy, allowing them to integrate into regional and global supply chains; strengthening supply chain resilience; and meeting the growing demand of local consumers for ESG-compliant products.
Through this collaboration, the two nations can share their best methods for measuring carbon emissions from the manufacturing sector.
In keeping with the MyDigital Agenda, he also expressed confidence that the Digital Economy Framework will further enable companies to digitally integrate their activities globally, improving economic competitiveness.
Meanwhile, the Enabling Masterplan 2030 (EMP2030), which outlines Singapore’s vision for an inclusive society in 2030, was just made public.
The EMP2030, Singapore’s fourth Enabling Masterplan, was developed by a 27-member Steering Committee and includes 29 recommendations organised around three strategic themes and 14 focal areas that address the various life stages and needs of people with disabilities and their caregivers.
The government has accepted all EMP2030’s recommendations and will work with partners in the public and private sectors to put them into action. The following are some highlights from the recommendations and selected implementation plans:
Singapore believes that everyone has a role to play in creating a fair and inclusive society, one in which people with disabilities can pursue their dreams, reach their full potential, and participate as integral and contributing members of society.
Foreign firms shall be required to store users’ data in Vietnam and set up local offices, according to a government decree (No. 53/2022/ND-CP), scheduled to take place from the beginning of October 2022.
Under the decree, which details the implementation of the Cybersecurity Law coming into force in 2019, must-be-stored data belonging to and created by users in Vietnam includes account names, credit card information, email and IP addresses, service use time, most recent logins, registered phone numbers, and friends and groups users interact with online. Further, financial records, biometric data, and information on a user’s ethnicity and political views must be stored within Vietnamese territory.
According to a press release by the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC), the data must be stored for at least 24 months, and system logs for criminal investigation purposes must be stored for at least 12 months. Firms will have 12 months to set up local data storage and local offices following the reception of instructions from the Minister of Public Security.
The decree will apply to telecommunication service providers and businesses that store and share data in cyberspace or provide national or international domain names for users in Vietnam. Also, e-commerce players, payment intermediaries, transport connection services operating in cyberspace, social media, online video gaming services, and messaging and voice or video call services.
In June, MIC stated that to ensure information security for information systems and Vietnam’s cyberspace, it would strengthen monitoring and proactive scanning, evaluate statistics, and issue warnings in the mass media so that users know and avoid the risk of cyber-attacks.
Earlier this month, the government issued a national cybersecurity strategy in response to cyberspace challenges till 2025 with a vision towards 2030. The strategy targets to maintain Vietnam’s ranking on the global cybersecurity index from 25th-30th by 2025. MIC has laid out the major tasks and solutions in the strategy, including strengthening the overall management of the state over cybersecurity, completing legal frameworks, and protecting national sovereignty in cyberspace.
As OpenGov Asia reported, the government will work to safeguard digital infrastructure, platforms, data, and national cyberinfrastructure. It will protect the information systems of state agencies as well as crucial sectors that need to be prioritised to ensure information security. Through the strategy, the country will foster digital trust and build an honest, civilized, and healthy network environment. It will prevent and combat law violations in cyberspace and enhance technological mastery and autonomy to actively cope with cyberspace challenges.
The government will train and develop human resources in cybersecurity, raise awareness about cybersecurity skills, and work to secure funding to implement cybersecurity initiatives. The strategy also aims to improve national prestige and foster international integration.
Meanwhile, incident response teams of 11 priority sectors for network information security will be formed. The key areas include transport, energy, natural resources and environment, information, health, finance, banking, defence, security, social order and safety, urban areas, and the government’s direction and administration.
According to a report released by the ITU in June 2021, Vietnam jumped 25 places after two years to rank 25th out of 194 countries and territories worldwide in the GCI in 2020. Vietnam ranked 7th in the Asia-Pacific region and 4th among ASEAN countries in the field.
Australia’s largest multi-trades hub is open for business with more than 3,000 carpentry, plumbing, and electrotechnology students learning the latest industry skills at TAFE NSW Meadowbank. The region’s Premier officially opened the new AU$ 157 million state-of-the-art facility which will revolutionise vocational education and training and create a pipeline of skilled and job-ready workers.
The new facility will bolster local training options and support the growing demand for construction trades, which will help grow the economy and secure a brighter future for NSW families.
The new custom-built Hub will enable TAFE NSW to train an additional 1,000 apprentices for in-demand jobs each year at Meadowbank, in a modern, state-of-the-art learning environment. Interestingly, the government has seen a 20% increase in women undertaking an apprenticeship or traineeship in the last year, with an 8% increase overall. The Minister for Skills and Training stated that the Multi-Trades Hub is a game changer for TAFE NSW and forms part of the broader Meadowbank Education and Employment Precinct.
The NSW Government’s record budget for TAFE NSW is delivering more opportunities than ever before to help people get the skills, they need for the jobs they want, and this world-class facility is training students for future jobs and connecting them with local industries. The 12,000 square-metre facility features dedicated plumbing pits and a large-scale, flexible space to accommodate the construction of full-scale buildings for use in carpentry and electrotechnology training.
The Member for Ryde stated that the Multi-Trades Hub has been delivered as part of the new TAFE NSW Institute of Applied Technology (IAT) at Meadowbank, which will be a cutting-edge training facility focusing on digital technology.
Ryde is transforming into an education and employment powerhouse, and this new training space will help attract, retain and upskill local workers, which is a win for the community, the Member said. He also said that the completion of the revolutionary new IAT early next year will complement the Multi-Trades Hub and create one of the state’s leading TAFE NSW training facilities.
Recent research notes that the global digital workplace market size is expected to grow from US$ 22.7 billion in 2020 to US$ 72.2 billion by 2026, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 21.3% over the forecast period. The main factors that are expected to drive the growth of the market are the availability of new technologies and tools and employees’ demand for greater flexibility in terms of work-life balance.
Organisations that are working to adopt digital workplace market solutions to enhance employee experience through a simpler and more flexible work style, helping and retaining more experienced and expert workers. However, the lack of training and required education among the workforce is expected to limit the market growth.
The COVID-19 pandemic positively impacted the digital workplace market growth. This can be attributed to the increase in the demand for cloud-based business continuity tools and the rise in the adoption of business continuity tools and workplace solutions due to COVID-19. However, lowered industry spending due to COVID-19 is expected to impact the adoption of digital workplace solutions and services.
SMEs that adopt digital workplace solutions incur a competitive advantage in the industry via increased productivity, cost savings, a more mobile and agile workforce, increased flexibility, and adaptability in the marketplace. Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) must focus on their business operations and growth and improve their strength in their domain of business.
The City of Philadelphia cited that since it started PHLConnectED in the summer of 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has helped 22,500 people get online in the last two years. Thus, PHLConnectED, the city’s project to give free internet connection to pre-K–12 kids in need, has been extended for another year.
“The connections enabled by PHLConnectED have helped thousands of students take part in virtual learning, access online resources, and connect with their peers and teachers. By connecting our students’ households, we are investing in Philadelphia’s present and future,” says Mayor Jim Kenney.
He added that as Philadelphia prepares to return to school, they must ensure that students have access to the internet to get the most out of their education.
PHLConnectED and other low-cost internet access programmes were found to have a positive impact on the communities, according to Philadelphia’s 2021 report on digital access.
PHLConnectED has supported broad digital equity initiatives, in addition to funding connectivity for enrolled families, over the last year, including:
PHLConnectED and its partners will continue to provide internet access to all eligible students in grades pre-K-12.
PHLConnectED is one of the initiatives in the City of Philadelphia’s Digital Equity Plan, which aims to help the city achieve a baseline of digital equity over the next five years. Internet access, devices, and digital literacy are the three pillars of digital equity.
PHLConnectED provides eligible pre-K-12 student households in Philadelphia with free, dependable internet service until summer 2023. Participants incur no out-of-pocket costs or installation fees.
The initiative will also give training and support for digital skills. United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey manages 211 hotlines, community-based outreach, and the Digital Navigator service as the program’s Coordinating Agent.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Undersecretary of Defence for Research and Engineering, Heidi Shyu, outlined 14 priority technological areas for the Defence Department earlier this year. Among these include biotechnology, the development and storage of renewable energy, and directed energy.
However, the recently approved $54.2 billion CHIPS Act promotes another of the department’s key priorities, microelectronics.
She stated that the CHIPS Act provides both investment and incentive financing to construct semiconductor manufacturing facilities in the United States and to boost national and regional research and development operations.
In addition, the law contains substantial funding for a national research and development centre, an advanced package manufacturing programme, and up to three manufacturing institutes for semiconductor-related production in the United States. Consequently, investment in all fourteen technology fields is essential to preserving U.S. national security.
Quantum science; future-generation wireless technology; advanced materials; trusted artificial intelligence and autonomy; integrated network systems-of-systems; microelectronics; space technology; advanced computing and software; human-machine interfaces; hypersonics; and integrated sensing and cyber are the eleven other critical technology areas outlined by Defense Undersecretary Shyu.
The United States Department of Defence is strategizing on these investments and collaborating with other companies to prioritise the requirements in these emerging areas.
Deputy Secretary of Defence Dr Kathleen Hicks thanked lawmakers for their bipartisan support, which resulted in the Senate passing the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) legislation.
She stated that the CHIPS Act is critical to the national security of the United States. It will aid in the security of the semiconductor supply chain, which is the starting point for effectively competing with other countries for ground-breaking technologies.
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