security, tech, news

This week on technology news across Southeast Asia and India:

  • Telehealth is the way forward and digital services will close the loop between consultation and services.
  • Singapore has developed a blockchain-based payments network that could enable faster and cheaper international settlements.
  • THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said more automation and digitization after the pandemic will help companies survive.
  • Reliance Jio has designed and developed a complete 5G solution from scratch. It will be ready for trials as soon as the 5G spectrum is available and can be ready for field deployment next year.
  • Research shows over half 53 per cent of businesses devote more than half their IT budget to cybersecurity.
  • The Philippines has been slow to adapt to digital payments compared to similarly-sized neighbours. Up until recently, about 98% of Filipinos didn’t possess credit cards.


The future of healthcare


Picture courtesy of PhilipsThe World Health Organisation describes telehealth as the use of telecommunications and virtual technology to deliver healthcare outside of traditional healthcare facilities. The Covid-19 pandemic has shown that healthcare is in need of not just tweaking, but significant change.

With the ability to change the current dynamics of healthcare delivery and make way for improved access and outcome in cost effective ways, telehealth allows remote patients to obtain clinical services. Healthcare institutions need digital tools to manage the increased patient flow resulting from the Covid-19 outbreak and dedicated, scalable telehealth solutions that facilitate the use of online screening, follow-up questionnaires and monitoring, and external call centre collaboration. These remote screening solutions support healthcare institutes to diagnose and treat patients at alternative points of care and help safeguard the scarce critical care capacity.

In the near future, we could see digital services closing the loop between consultations and the dispatch of care or prescription drugs — drones as vehicles for getting drugs to patients or robots disinfecting contaminated areas, apps and chat-bots that act as symptom checkers and provide up-to-the-minute travel and infection control advice, medical wearables that monitor patients at home and 5G-enabled cameras that check for symptoms in seconds.

Singapore says blockchain payments project ready for commercial rollout


Singapore says blockchain payments project ready for commercial rollout. [security]
Photo Credit: Reuters/Edgar Su

The final phase of the years-long Project Ubin saw the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) team up with state investor Temasek and JP Morgan to develop the prototype multi-currency payments network.

“An international settlement network, modelled after this payments network prototype, could enable faster and cheaper transactions than conventional cross-border payments channels,” MAS and Temasek said in a joint statement.

They said that commercial applications of the prototype include cross-border payments in multiple currencies, foreign currency exchange, and settlement of foreign currency-denominated securities as well as other use cases. To spur further industry development, MAS and Temasek said it would make some of the technical specifications for the prototype network available to the public.


DTI urges companies to take advantage of automation opportunities to survive


DTI urges companies to take advantage of automation opportunities to survive
Photo Credit: Reuters

THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said more automation and digitization after the pandemic will help companies survive, and pressed the private sector to take advantage of the “opportunity” to modernize operations to be ready for the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Prior to the pandemic, the DTI was in the process of implementing a new industrial policy, known as the Inclusive Innovation Industrial Strategy. “The strategy focuses on innovation and aims to grow globally competitive and innovative industries by embracing Industry 4.0 technologies,” said Ms. Aldaba, Trade Undersecretary for Competitiveness and Innovation.

“We are planning to implement the SMART or Securing Manufacturing Revitalization and Transformation program which is going to provide fiscal and non-fiscal assistance to companies that are shifting to Industry 4.0 technologies and I hope our legislators support this particular program,” she added.


Reliance Jio ‘Made in India’ 5G solution announced at RIL AGM 2020


Reliance Jio ‘Made in India’ 5G solution announced
Photo Credit: The Indian Express

Jio on Wednesday said that it has created a 5G solution for India that will use all Made-In-India tools and technologies and that the company will go ahead with its 5G services as soon as spectrum for it is available from the government.

Ambai said Jio platforms, with over 20 start-up partners, has built world-class capabilities in technologies such as 4G, 5G, Cloud computing, Devices and OS, Big Data, AI, AR/VR, Blockchain, Natural Language Understanding and Computer Vision.

“Using these technologies, we can create compelling solutions that span multiple Industry verticals and ecosystems like media, financial services, new Commerce, education, healthcare, agriculture, smart cities, smart manufacturing and smart mobility,” said Ambani. Jio is on track to build a truly unique technology ecosystem, something the world might not have seen before.


ASEAN businesses ramp up cybersecurity


Image from CIO Tech AsiaA recent study shows business attitudes towards cybersecurity had changed across several markets in Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines, and Thailand – before the escalation of COVID-19. According to the study by cybersecurity company Palo Alto Networks, in addition to increasing their cybersecurity budgets, many companies in Singapore are also feeling more confident in their ability to mitigate cyberthreats.

More than half (53 per cent) of companies here also reported allocating over half their organisation’s IT budget to cybersecurity spending. This initial increase in budget was mainly attributed to the growing volume (71 per cent) and sophistication (58 per cent) of threats, as well as a need to upgrade existing frameworks to incorporate automation (51 percent).

Software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) security (62 per cent) was reported as the most popular solution amongst Singapore companies as a means of maintaining visibility into ever-expanding, complex digital networks. Likewise, in line with Singapore’s role as a regional business and innovation hub and a mature cloud market, over half of businesses (54 per cent) are already investing in cloud-native security. With the Government’s recent commitments to increase public sector investment in ICT and the bigger push for more small and medium-sized enterprises to go digital post-COVID-19, this figure is only set to grow.

The Philippines is going cashless – finally


Picture courtest of imoney.phIn the Philippines, cash is king, and has been for a long time. Five years ago, with nearly 41% of the population on the internet, a staggering 1% of retail payments were made electronically. But the landscape has really shifted in 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic is causing Filipino consumers to abandon cash.

GCash is the biggest e-payment platform in the Philippines. It has over 20 million registered users and can be used at approximately 63,000 physical and online stores, and since mid-March, when the pandemic was in full swing, it’s witnessed a massive surge in new users.

Meanwhile, the market-leading e-commerce platform in the region, Shopee reported a surge in digital payments on its platform, with many older consumers purchasing from the platform for the first time ever, with an increase in payments made for things like mobile phone reloads, bill payments, and for household items – trends that weren’t so noticeable prior to COVID-19.

PayMaya is the only end-to-end digital payments ecosystem enabler in the Philippines, with platforms and services that cut across consumers, merchants, and even the government. PayMaya supports various social agendas too such as financial inclusion, providing possibly the fastest method to start a digital finance account, and its ‘Smart Padala by PayMaya’ network of over 30,000 partner touchpoints offers financing access for the unbanked and underserved communities of the country.


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