ICT Update: April 17, 2020

ICT Update | April 17, 2020
Authors: Shay Wester, Jamie Lim, Natalie Tantisirirat, Julianne Alberto
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

April 20 ET/April 21 SGT: Data Governance Sub-Committee Meeting on April 21, 9:00AM-10:00AM SGT/April 20, 9:00PM-10:00PM ET. The meeting will be used to discuss updated key themes and industry positions on digital data governance, advocacy efforts, and proposed initiatives. While the deadline for online registration has passed, please contact Jamie Lim at jlim@usasean.org or Natalie Tantisirirat at ntantisirirat@usasean.org for manual registration or questions.

April 29 ET/April 30 SGT: Singapore-U.S. Joint Cyber Security Working Group Meeting on April 29, 9:00PM-10:30PM ET/April 30, 9:00AM-10:30AM SGT. The Council welcomes you to join our upcoming virtual meeting of the U.S.-Singapore Joint Cyber Security Working Group with the Cybersecurity Agency of Singapore, U.S. Embassy Singapore, and industry partners. Please register here by April 23 if interested. For questions, please contact Jamie Lim at jlim@usasean.org and J-Ren Ong at jong@usasean.org.

May 12 ET/May 13 SGT: ICT Committee Meeting on May 13, 9:00AM-10:30AM SGT/May 12, 9:00PM-10:30PM ET. The Council will share updates on ongoing advocacy and lead a discussion on our Committee strategy. Please register here by May 1 if interested. Please contact Jamie Lim at jlim@usasean.org or Natalie Tantisirirat at ntantisirirat@usasean.org for questions.

 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

ASEAN Chatbots raise awareness on COVID-19
Chatbots have joined the fight against COVID-19. ASEAN governments and companies have launched chatbots in the hopes of increasing information dissemination regarding the pandemic. Some have created chatbot characters while others have utilized existing platforms for ease of use.

Chatbots are being integrated with different applications. For instance, Thailand uses Covid Bot via Facebook's Messenger for symptom and risk assessment and has created a @sabaideebot chatbot via LINE to provide Public Health Ministry updates on the outbreak and links to hospitals. Myanmar’s Dr. Thuta Chatbot also uses Messenger to provide the latest information regarding COVID-19, such as on the number of existing cases and on any travel restrictions. The Dr. Thuta chatbot also features a myth busting quiz to help people better understand the disease, as “Thuta” means knowledge in Burmese.

The University of the Philippines has also launched Yani the Endcovbot, accessible via its own dashboard or via Messenger. Yani, whose name is short for “baYanihan” or helping each other, provides information regarding the nearest hospitals, government assistance, and counseling. Earlier, Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Government Technology Agency created a chatbot meant to aid employers in keeping updated with COVID-19 related news, which includes the assistance available to ensure business continuity. This chatbot provides information on the city-state’s stimulus packages.

The Indonesian Ministry of Communication and Information Technology has also worked with the template of the World Health Organization (WHO) and launched a WhatsApp chatbot available in Bahasa Indonesia. 

Malaysia works to keep network stability during repairs of damaged underwater cable
In a press release, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) announced that one of the Asia Pacific Cable Network 2 (APCN2) underwater cable segments owned by Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM) was damaged. This will only likely result in minimal disruption in internet usage as there are other underwater cable networks which could be used to channel internet traffic. The MCMC will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that internet users in Malaysia are not exposed to any serious consequences especially during the implementation of Movement Control Order (MCO).

TM assured the MCMC that it has taken the necessary precautions to minimize the impact on consumers as it identifies the location of the damage for repair work. It has activated additional capacity through the Light Malaysia cable subway system that connects Malaysia to Japan.

This situation comes as MCMC has found that demand for bandwidth has increased since the implementation of the MCO. With more telecommuting, e-learning, and online shopping, MCMC has seen a 23.5% rise in internet traffic during the first week of the MCO. Subsequently, download speeds have dropped from 13.4 Mbps in early February to 8.8Mbps by end of March. 

Under the Malaysian government's People's Economic Stimulus Package, it was announced that RM400 million (US$92.5 million) will be allotted to broaden network coverage and capacity, and to maintain the availability of telecommunication services.

RapidPass to decongest checkpoints during Manila’s Enhanced Community Quarantine
The Philippine government launched the RapidPass.ph system to allow frontliners and priority vehicles faster movement at checkpoints during the implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in the National Capital Region (NCR), which has been extended up to April 30. Users can apply for a digital pass which will have a corresponding QR code that the checkpoint personnel will be able to scan for ease of movement. It will be available at all 56 checkpoints in the NCR.

RapidPass, created by Developers Connect Philippines (DEVCON), is for individuals, companies, and vehicles needed for essential activities (e.g. first responders, frontliners, medical workers, food suppliers, and assigned skeletal workforce). There shall be a different QR code for each vehicle, the driver, and the passenger. QR codes for vehicles should be attached on the windshield, and individuals should always carry valid ID when traveling. A person may still pass through a checkpoint without the use of a QR code if the necessary documents are presented.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) assured the public that RapidPass complies with data privacy requirements. It has undergone an initial Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing (VAPT) and findings therefrom have been addressed by DEVCON. User data will be stored remotely and encrypted at rest and will only be accessible to DEVCON and the DICT.

The ECQ covers the whole island of Luzon in the Philippines but RapidPass will only be operational in the NCR which pertains to the Metro Manila Area. Further expansion could be explored.

 
ADVOCACY UPDATE
 

 

Indonesia Position Paper on Digital Taxation Best Practices
The Indonesian government is currently drafting an Omnibus Bill on Taxation ("Draft Bill") to simplify tax regulations and boost investment in Indonesia. The Bill will introduce corporate tax cuts and digital taxation, among others. The Council shared our submission along with a document on best practices to the Minister of Finance on April 6. For a final copy of our submission, please contact Steven Gunawan at sgunawan@usasean.org or Jamie Lim at jlim@usasean.org

AI Pilipinas: An AI Strategy Paper for the Philippines
The Council shared the final strategy paper with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) on April 6. The strategy paper, was developed in coordination with other organizations including the Makati Business Club, Institute of Corporate Directors, and the IT Association of the Philippines. For a final copy of our submission, please contact Jamie Lim at jlim@usasean.org or Natalie Tantisirirat at ntantisirirat@usasean.org.

Indonesia Regulation on Telecommunication Services
From April 2-9, Indonesia's Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (KOMINFO) held a public consultation on a Draft Regulation on Telecommunication Services, intended to revoke and replace the existing KOMINFO PM No. 13/2019 on Telecommunication Services. Please find attached the Council letter submitted to KOMINFO's Director General for Post and Information on April 9. For questions, please contact Jamie Lim at jlim@usasean.org or Natalie Tantisirirat at ntantisirirat@usasean.org.

Indonesia Regulation on Local Content Requirements
On April 13, the Council submitted a letter to KOMINFO regarding Ministerial Regulations No.9/2019 and 10/2019 on Requirements for Wavelength Division Multiplexing and Internet Protocol (IP) Network Tools and Devices. Please find a final copy of our submission attached. The Council is concurrently working on a letter to the Ministry of Industry, who is responsible for developing the local content calculations. For questions, please contact Mega Valentina at mega@usasean.org or Jamie Lim at jlim@usasean.org.

 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
Brunei
Agrome IQ launches Brunei's first online marketplace for farmers
eKadaiBrunei: Brunei's first online e-commerce directory launched

Cambodia
Cambodia records large spike in mobile business and e-learning application downloads
Government declares e-governance now a top priority amid pandemic

Indonesia
Covid-19: Indonesia leans on healthtech startups to cope with virus surge
Concerns over unfair practices, law enforcement cloud digital tax implementation
Zenius, Gojek team up to provide free e-learning service

Malaysia
TM deploys 5G base stations at 2 Covid-19 quarantine centres
Telcos and TM working to boost slow internet connectivity during MCO
Huawei contributes tech solutions for Malaysia's Covid-19 fight
Ramadan e-bazaar app ready soon
Axiata, Digi are UOB Kay Hian Research’s top picks
Govt launches pilot project to monitor spread of Covid-19 pandemic via app
Selangor Task Force for Covid-19 turns to tech to contain outbreak
Health D-G: Putrajaya developing software to predict, locate Covid-19 cases

Myanmar
Internet data usage up 25% over past four weeks in Myanmar

Philippines
Virus hastens bid to bridge digital divide
Telcos told to present business continuity plan
Facebook to reduce video bit rates in the Philippines during the lockdown
Boom in video chat apps brings out cybercriminals with fake sites, malware
Smart, Globe 4G availability scores improve
Coronavirus can go from 1.5M to 15,000 cases with better testing – forecasting tool
U.P. Resilience Institute sets up coronavirus information chat bot
13.4% jump in phone WiFi use in Philippines in first week of lockdown – OpenSignal
Diwata-1 microsatellite reenters Earth, ends 4-year space mission

Singapore
Covid Support: Singapore Launches S$125 Million Package for Fintechs
Use Snapask app to enhance learning at home
Coronavirus: Google launches new tool to help public health officials plan social distancing measures

Thailand
MDES joins hands with HUAWEI, provides 5G solution and AI Technology
10GB data handout launches Friday
New virus app a powerful tool
'Ninja' robots to help treat infected

Vietnam
Tech firm Bkav to produce ventilators
Ha Noi promotes cashless payment, e-commerce
Telecom companies speed up internet, discount services amid COVID-19
Hà Nội to create favourable conditions for digital technology companies
Smooth communication ensured at all time during Covid-19 pandemic
Cần Thơ to become first smart city in Mekong Delta by 2025
Working from home threatens cyber security during pandemic
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Brunei

Agrome IQ launches Brunei's first online marketplace for farmers Biz Brunei 14th Apr 2020
Brunei agritech startup Agrome IQ has launched Brunei’s first online marketplace for local farmers to sell directly customers. Agromemarket.comcurrently has 20 farmers selling 13 different types of vegetables and fruits and is planning to on board 100 farmers in two months, and 1,500 farmers in 12 months based on a national pool of farmers identified by the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism to be certified for Brunei’s Good Agricultural Practice (GAP). The data from purchases will also help gauge customer demand, and will be shared with farmers to help them better plan which crops to planted in the future. Agrome IQ – the first company to be endorsed by MPRT to conduct GAP training and consulting – will also be doing physical checks on the produce to ensure customers receive quality items. They will also be handling logistics for the farmers, picking up and packing orders and making deliveries nationwide. Farmers meanwhile are charged a commission fee between 8% to 10%. Registration fees have been waived during the COVID-19 outbreak. Payment is currently done through bank transfer, with a payment gateway for cards to be integrated into the website soon. Cash on delivery is also an option for orders below $20. Customers ordering from Agrome Market do not need to register an account to make a purchase. Each transaction will generate an email order.

eKadaiBrunei: Brunei's first online e-commerce directory launched Biz Brunei 1st Apr 2020
The Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam (AITI) and Darussalam Enterprise (DARe) have launched Brunei’s first local online e-commerce directory, eKadaiBrunei, on April 1 to help businesses and the public find trusted providers. There are currently 12 e-commerce platforms, 12 logistics companies and six delivery services that are listed, who cumulatively encompass the e-Commerce value chain from importing to secure online payment, website listing and local delivery. The listed platforms include mobile-based marketplace Domo, mobile food delivery app GoMamam, online grocery store KadaiRuncit, and online departments store Weelago, all who are readily integrated with online payment capabilities, delivery services and are looking to onboard more local businesses. eKadaiBrunei also connects to the One Village One Product website www.1k1p.gov.bn which houses over 100 locally made items by the Mukim and Village Consultative Councils across the country. In a joint statement, AITI and DARe said the project is a collaboration that also involves the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications (MTIC) and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA). They also invited other local eCommerce platforms with scalability in providing end-to-end solutions for local micro, small and medium (MSMEs) businesses to register on eKadaiBrunei. Local MSMEs can also engage with DARe to discuss which platforms best suit their business needs.

Cambodia

Cambodia records large spike in mobile business and e-learning application downloads Khmer Times 2nd Apr 2020
Mobile applications for remote business and e-learning tools recorded their largest spike in downloads on the Cambodian market last month for both the Android’s Google Play and Apple’s App Store platforms, according to monthly data sets released by the online research website SimilarWeb. The increase was attributed to the Cambodian Government’s closure of all educational institutions amid advice from private and public sector offices to implement work-from-home policies, to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19. Mobile applications are becoming an ever-increasing driving force for e-commerce in Cambodia, with the Kingdom recording over 25 million mobile subscriptions (representing 1.5 for each person in the country) with 76 percent of the country now having access to the internet, according to Global Web Index 2019 figures.

Government declares e-governance now a top priority amid pandemic Khmer Times 2nd Apr 2020
The Government has stated its commitment to making e-governance a priority during the COVID-19 outbreak to ensure services remain timely and available, according to senior government officials. Cambodian Minister for Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth stated, building a digital government is now the main focus for the administration. Outlining that digital governance will create a stronger, smarter and more accountable government that can fulfil its role with efficiency for the people. Lim Heng, vice-president of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce also said yesterday, that online-based working practices for government ministries and institutions will enhance the transparency of services, while also, saving time and particularly combat corruption.

Indonesia

Covid-19: Indonesia leans on healthtech startups to cope with virus surge The Star Online 10th Apr 2020
As coronavirus cases surge in Indonesia, doctors are working double-time treating patients both at hospitals and online through healthtech startups — an approach that is quickly becoming part of the national healthcare system. To lessen the strain, the government is directing the public to so-called telehealth firms through which they can access verified medical guidance, get free doctor consultations via video, telephone or text, and even have medication prescribed and delivered.

Concerns over unfair practices, law enforcement cloud digital tax implementation The Jakarta Post 8th Apr 2020
Government Regulation in lieu of law (Perppu) No. 1/2020 issued last week serves as the legal basis for the government to tax foreign companies with a “significant economic presence” that provide digital services and intangible goods from outside the country. Tax office spokesperson Hestu Yoga Saksama said the Finance Ministry was now drafting a regulation to implement the Perppu’s provisions. However, the upcoming digital tax has been met with caution by both digital service users and experts. Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (Indef) expert Andry Satrio Nugroho voiced concerns about a level playing field in the digital business landscape after the tax was imposed.

Zenius, Gojek team up to provide free e-learning service The Jakarta Post 6th Apr 2020
Educational technology platform Zenius Education has teamed up with on-demand multi-service platform Gojek to launch a free online learning service that is accessible through the Gojek app. By clicking the Zenius option on the Gojek app, users will have access to several services, including 80,000 learning videos and exercises for elementary, junior high and senior high school students; live lessons and live chats with a tutor from Zenius; and daily learning plans that can be delivered to students’ and their parents’ accounts every day for a more structured self-learning program.

Malaysia

TM deploys 5G base stations at 2 Covid-19 quarantine centres NST Online 13th Apr 2020
Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM) has deployed its 5G base stations at two quarantine centers for Covid-19 located at Malaysia Agro Exposition Park (MAEPS), Serdang and Health Ministry Training Institute in Sungai Buloh. With the deployment, frontliners, medical teams as well as patients admitted to the facilities would be able to enjoy enhanced mobile broadband services with 5G connectivity. Both quarantine centers had been allocated with 50 complimentary units of 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) terminals that deliver up to 500Mbps WiFi connectivity to the users and all WiFi usage charges on the 5G network are also made available free of charge. This latest Corporate Responsibility (CR) initiative is TM's extension of its recent participation in the 5G Demonstration Project (5GDP) in Langkawi and Subang Jaya.

Telcos and TM working to boost slow internet connectivity during MCO Free Malaysia Today 12th Apr 2020
Telecommunication companies and internet service providers (ISPs) are working hard to reduce the strain that residential connections are experiencing as a result of the surge in demand from households due to the movement control order (MCO). The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) said among measures that telco players have taken include releasing additional bandwidth capacity for both fixed and mobile, as well as, optimizing the coverage network for mobile broadband. 

Huawei contributes tech solutions for Malaysia's Covid-19 fight NST Online 10th Apr 2020
Huawei Malaysia has donated four technology solutions to the Ministry of Health to support the country's efforts to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. Huawei Malaysia said the solutions will enable healthcare experts to work with frontline medical professionals to conduct remote online consultations. Huawei Malaysia chief executive officer Michael Yuan said the four solutions were Huawei Telemedicine Video Conference, Hospital Wireless Network Communication Solution, AI Cloud Auto Detection Solution and Nova 7i smartphones (200 units).

Ramadan e-bazaar app ready soon NST Online 10th Apr 2020
The Federation of Malay Hawkers and Petty Traders Associations plans to launch its Ramadan e-bazaar mobile app next week. The group’s Young Traders Bureau chief, Mohd Nadzri Kamarulzaman, said the app would allow traders to run their businesses online during the fasting month. He said the app would require users to key in their identification number, phone number and it would list out shops only within a 10km radius. The app would help traders to coordinate their orders better than using social media platforms.

Axiata, Digi are UOB Kay Hian Research’s top picks The Star Online 6th Apr 2020
UOB Kay Hian Malaysia Research has upgraded the telecommunication sector to Overweight from Market Weight on expectations of stable earnings, sustainable dividend and attractive valuations. The research house said on April 6 that it expects stable earnings (relative to market), sustainable dividend and attractive valuations. 

Govt launches pilot project to monitor spread of Covid-19 pandemic via app The Star Online 6th Apr 2020
The Malaysian government has introduced a pilot program, a mobile app, to help monitor the spread of Covid-19 by collecting data from citizens through health self-assessments. The MySejahtera app said it enabled users to determine their health levels, identify nearby hospitals and clinics where they can get tested, and get information on what to do if they do contract Covid-19 and where to get treatment. 

Selangor Task Force for Covid-19 turns to tech to contain outbreak Malay Mail 2nd Apr 2020
Analytical platforms utilising Big Data Analytics and Machine Intelligence have been set up by the Selangor state government to assist its state Task Force for Covid-19 (STFC) in battling the coronavirus outbreak. STFC chairman and former health minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad said the introduction of the advanced computerised systems is to allow his task force to offer more informed recommendations and evidence-based advice to the mentri besar when undertaking local interventional measures in handling the outbreak. 

Health D-G: Putrajaya developing software to predict, locate Covid-19 cases Malay Mail 1st Apr 2020
Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said on March 31 that the government is in the midst of developing a software that could predict and locate the Covid-19 cases among the Malaysian. He said that the software would allow the authorities to take fast action against the spread of the infection at the hotspots area. “The Health Ministry together with the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation is working hard to create a software that would be able to predict and to even locate some of our cases in certain areas,” he said in a press conference.

Myanmar

Internet data usage up 25% over past four weeks in Myanmar The Myanmar Times 1st Apr 2020
Officials with telecommunications companies in Myanmar say that the use of internet data has risen 25 percent over the past four weeks. Major telecom companies such as MPT, Telenor, Ooredoo, and Mytel say they are prepared to ensure they can cope with the increased demand for data and are prepared for the load and to maintain connectivity.

Philippines

Virus hastens bid to bridge digital divide BusinessMirror 15th Apr 2020
Despite the Internet’s power of inclusion, there exists a so-called digital divide that has become more pronounced than ever, as the world turns to the Internet to find solace, social interaction and productivity amid the global health crisis caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak. Undersecretary Eliseo M. Rio Jr. of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said his group is deploying various technologies to unserved areas. The DICT rolled out 6,000 very small aperture terminals or VSATs in underserved and unserved areas. 

Telcos told to present business continuity plan BusinessMirror 14th Apr 2020
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has required all public telecommunication entities and Internet service providers to submit their business continuity plan that will ensure unhampered delivery of critical services especially since the Philippines is in a tough battle against a pandemic. The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said its attached agency issued the order to “boost efforts at maintaining the operation of vital ICT services and supporting infostructure as the administration extends the enhanced community quarantine until the end of April 2020 to manage the Covid-19 threat.” The business continuity plans should detail measures taken to ensure uninterrupted service and to address the increased demand for ICT services. These should be submitted to the NTC on or before April 17. Telco services under Republic Act 11469 are considered critical services for the duration of the enhanced community quarantine.

Facebook to reduce video bit rates in the Philippines during the lockdown Rappler 9th Apr 2020
Facebook Philippines will temporarily reduce video bit rate in the Philippines, in response to concerns over network congestion and bandwidth use during the country's coronavirus lockdown. The reduction will apply to both Facebook and Instagram videos. The move follows earlier bit rate reduction from other streaming platforms such as Netflix, iFlix, iWant, and YouTube's move to set videos on standard definition on first play. Facebook also said that they're working closely with "mobile operators" in the Philippines to help manage the use of bandwidth during the crisis. – Rappler.com

Boom in video chat apps brings out cybercriminals with fake sites, malware Rappler 8th Apr 2020
Cybercriminals are taking advantage of the boom in popularity of video communications apps by making fake copycat pages and malware-laden fake executable files. According to a report made by cybersecurity company Check Point Research, there has been a surge in malicious domain registrations that have "Zoom" in the name, after the popular video conferencing app boomed due to the coronavirus pandemic forcing people to stay at home. Check Point said, "Since the beginning of the year, more than 1700 new domains were registered and 25% of them were registered in the past week. Out of these registered domains, 4% have been found to contain suspicious characteristics."

Smart, Globe 4G availability scores improve Business World 8th Apr 2020
PLDT wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc. and Globe Telecom, Inc. have further improved their 4G availability scores, according to a recent report by wireless coverage mapping company Opensignal. In its latest Mobile Network Experience Report, the United Kingdom-based Opensignal said Smart’s 4G availability score, or the time users spend being connected to the 4G network, reached 81.8%. This is based on data gathered from Nov. 1, 2019 to Jan. 29, 2020.

Coronavirus can go from 1.5M to 15,000 cases with better testing – forecasting tool Rappler 8th Apr 2020
A tool developed by the Ateneo Center for Computing Competency and Research and the University of the Philippines Manila - National Telehealth Center is being used to predict outcomes for the spread of the coronavirus under different scenarios. It is able to project the effect of variables such as quarantines, social distancing, and tests being done. Called the Feasibility Analysis of Syndromic Surveillance using Spatio-Temporal Epidemiological Modeler (FASSSTER), the tool is used to generate data-based coronavirus forecasts, which became part of the basis for the the coronavirus Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) to recommend an extension of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) until April 30.

U.P. Resilience Institute sets up coronavirus information chat bot Rappler 8th Apr 2020
The University of the Philippines (UP) Resilience Institute announced it had set up a chat bot to help people seeking support or information on the coronavirus to get the information they need. The chat bot, called Yani – from the word Bayanihan – lets users find information on hospitals, as well as information on the Philippine government's policies regarding the coronavirus. Yani will also offer information on where to find psychosocial support for a user's mental health needs. The bot can be found on Facebook Messenger and is integrated into https://endcov.ph as a support system.

13.4% jump in phone WiFi use in Philippines in first week of lockdown – OpenSignal Rappler 8th Apr 2020
The coronavirus pandemic is prompting more people to go online on their phones and likely from their homes, mobile analytics company OpenSignal said in an analysis released on March 30. According to the report, OpenSignal noticed a "large week-on-week jump in Time on Wifi in the Philippines" on the third week of March, beginning March 16. This was around the time Luzon was placed under enhanced community quarantine. The figure rose 7.5 percentage points from 55.8% to 63.3% during the period, which represents a week-over-week increase of 13.4%. OpenSignal reported this was the largest week-on-week increase observed across all the Asian countries it was tracking. Comparatively, the only observed higher increases were in Peru and Spain, at 20.4% and 16.8%, respectively.

Diwata-1 microsatellite reenters Earth, ends 4-year space mission BusinessMirror 7th Apr 2020
Diwata-1, the country’s first microsatellite, has come back home after a four-year journey into space. The microsatellite descended and entered the boundary between the outer space and the Earth’s atmosphere, that gave it “very low chances of establishing contacts” because it is “extremely low.” Diwata-1 has  traveled over 938 million kilometers around the Earth and has captured more than 17,000 images of the Earth, majority over the Philippine. Its high-precision telescope was able to collect data on damage extent during disasters and calamities, imaging of natural and cultural heritage sites, determine the health and composition of the ocean, identify distribution and magnitude of harmful algal blooms, and monitor coastal ecosystems, can complement current weather forcasting capabilities.

Singapore

Covid Support: Singapore Launches S$125 Million Package for Fintechs Fintech Singapore 8th Apr 2020
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) today announced a S$125 million support package to sustain and strengthen capabilities in the financial services and FinTech sectors amid the current economic slump. The support package will help to position financial institutions (FIs) and FinTech firms for stronger growth when the threat of COVID-19 recedes and economic activity normalises. The support package, funded by the Financial Sector Development Fund, has three main components: 1) supporting workforce training and manpower costs; 2) strengthening digitalisation and operational resilience; and 3) enhancing FinTech firms’ access to digital platforms and tools.

Use Snapask app to enhance learning at home The Straits Times 8th Apr 2020
A mobile app that connects students doing home-based learning with tutors will enhance learning through a free subscription in partnership with Singapore Press Holdings (SPH). The initiative comes at a time when more than 500,000 students will not be able to attend school physically amid strict "circuit breaker" measures that are in place until May 4.

Coronavirus: Google launches new tool to help public health officials plan social distancing measures The Straits Times 3rd Apr 2020
Providing insights for 131 countries including Singapore, Google's Covid-19 Community Mobility Reports show a percentage increase or decrease in the movement of people to broad categories of places using Google Maps-styled tracking mechanism. It is not a live-tracking tool, but taps historical data 48 to 72 hours old to generate the reports. The insights are created with privacy-preserving sets of data from users who have turned on the Location History setting, which is off by default, in their Android devices.

Thailand

MDES joins hands with HUAWEI, provides 5G solution and AI Technology Bangkok Post 13th Apr 2020
The Digital Economy and Society Ministry, together with Huawei Technologies (Thailand) Co., Ltd., are providing AI-assisted solutions with 5G technology to Siriraj Hospital with the aim of enabling output diagnosis results automatically, quickly, and correctly through a high-speed network. This world-class technology will strengthen Thai medical staff capabilities to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic effectively.

10GB data handout launches Friday Bangkok Post 10th Apr 2020
About 30 million mobile subscribers will be able to apply for 10 free gigabytes of data from 8am on Friday as part of public assistance measures during the coronavirus crisis. The application period runs until April 30. The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) drew out 3 billion baht from the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Research Fund (BTRF) to support the scheme.

New virus app a powerful tool Bangkok Post 10th Apr 2020
A new mobile app, Mor Chana, has been launched as a powerful tool to help people assess their coronavirus infection risk, assist health authorities in tracking users in close contact with infected people and prevent transmission among healthcare workers. The app is the result of collaboration between state organisations and private developers. Data drawn from the app will be analyzed by artificial intelligence (AI) systems to assist with continuing epidemiological studies by the Department of Disease Control (DDC).

'Ninja' robots to help treat infected Bangkok Post 8th Apr 2020
Chulalongkorn University has launched a line of robots to assist medical staff in providing telehealthcare to Covid-19 patients as the number of local infections continues to rise. "The country is now at war with a virus which can infect anybody. We will send an army of robots to help hospitals nationwide," Bundhit Eua-arporn, the president of Chulalongkorn University, told a press conference yesterday at Chulalongkorn University Alumni Association (CUAA).

Vietnam

Tech firm Bkav to produce ventilators VnExpress International 12th Apr 2020
Vietnamese tech firm Bkav plans to make ventilators after it completes the first invasive ventilator in May says CEO Nguyen Tu Quang. Bkav's decision to produce ventilators was taken after American medical device firm Medtronic earlier this month announced it would be sharing the design specifications, manuals and software code for its Puritan Bennett 560 (PB 560) ventilator for free to help boost ventilator production worldwide. Bkav has been working with the supply chain for its Bphone brand smartphone and will mobilize over 9,000 workers and four factories in its system to start making ventilators based on Medtronic's design.

Ha Noi promotes cashless payment, e-commerce Việt Nam News 7th Apr 2020
Under a plan recently issued by the municipal People’s Committee, the capital city targets that 90 per cent of modern retailers and water, electricity and telecommunications services providers together with 25 per cent of petrol stations would accept cashless payments by the end of this year. The move aims to strengthen online shopping to gradually change consumers’ shopping habit from traditional to modern channels. The capital city will also encourage the application of e-commerce in business and start-ups, with a focus on improving the logistics system to boost e-commerce development.

Telecom companies speed up internet, discount services amid COVID-19 Việt Nam News 3rd Apr 2020
The Ministry of Information and Communications said that in order to help people, businesses and society in strictly following the Prime Minister's directive on urgent measures to prevent and control COVID-19, the ministry has asked telecommunications businesses to implement a number of support programmes.

Hà Nội to create favourable conditions for digital technology companies vietnamnews.vn 2nd Apr 2020
Hà Nội's People's Committee is making plans to develop digital technology companies for 2021-25 and 2026-30. This aimed to create favourable conditions for socio-economic breakthroughs. The Department of Information and Communications will be in charge of providing consultancy and support to digital technology companies in the city. The Department of Planning and Investment will propose amendments to the exiting legal framework with a focus on start-ups, innovation and the operation of new business models based on digital technology.

Smooth communication ensured at all time during Covid-19 pandemic SGGP English Edition 2nd Apr 2020
The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) has just released Document No.1103 to demand that relevant organs ensure the quality and effectiveness of telecommunications, especially Internet connections, during the time of Covid-19 outbreak in Vietnam for operation and management tasks of state offices as well as teleworking of citizens. Accordingly, all telecommunications service providers must check and update the infrastructure and operation of their networks to make sure communication is always clear.

Cần Thơ to become first smart city in Mekong Delta by 2025 Việt Nam News 1st Apr 2020
Võ Thị Hồng Ánh, vice chairwoman of Cần Thơ City People’s Committee, said the project aims to make the city to become the first smart city in the southwestern region by 2025. The Department of Planning and Investment is building technical platforms to develop an e-government model, while the Department of Transport has started using IT to manage urban transport services. Two years ago, Cần Thơ City signed a cooperation agreement with the Việt Nam Posts and Communications Group (VNPT) to develop its smart city project by 2025.

Working from home threatens cyber security during pandemic vietnamnews.vn 1st Apr 2020
A number of firms have allowed their employees to work from home to protect them during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is increasing the risks to cyber security. In January, the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) warned local internet users about cyber security, mentioning that various kinds of attacks still exist online and are able to harm users if they are careless. MIC reported 283 cyber-attacks against Vietnamese information systems in the first month of the year. In March, more cases were announced.