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Asia Pacific public sector: Growing appetites for disruptive innovations

Zafar Anjum | March 10, 2015
In this exclusive interview, Gerald Wang, Research Manager, IDC Government Insights, Asia/Pacific, discusses the ICT trends in Asia Pacific public sector in the light of the recently released IDC Government Insights’ report, “Pivot Table: Asia/Pacific (Excluding Japan) Public Sector IT Spending 2013–2018

Key government ICT investment focuses in 2015

In 2015, government ICT investments are expected to be focused on consolidating and streamlining of scarce ICT resources; the attainment of better manageability tools for effective decision making; and addressing the urgent need to increase cybersecurity priorities of digital assets.

Adopting emerging technologies: The inevitable and growing migration to 3rd Platform technologies (i.e., cloud, mobility, Big Data and analytics, and social) as well as investments for future competencies via innovation accelerators (i.e., IoT, pervasive robotics and drones, 3D printing, natural interfaces, cognitive systems, and next-generation cyber security solutions) will demand an open acknowledgement of digital data-as-a-strategic-asset (DaaSA). We note however, that more than 95% of government authorities are unaware of or have made plans to recognize the financial and economic value of DaaSA. With the government sector being one of the largest custodians of citizenry data, there is no better time than now to commence upon the economic quantification, valuation, and recognition of DaaSA.

The following are examples of governments increasingly spending on 3rd Platform innovation accelerators for future national relevance, survivability and productivity.

IoT: Singapore's government agencies aim to deploy 1,000 sensors by 2015 that will boost traditional government operations in environmental monitoring (e.g., air and water quality), transportation management (e.g., traffic monitoring), and public safety operations (e.g., citizen policing and law and order).

Pervasive robotics and drones: The Hong Kong government (through a Science Park initiative in Sha Tin) with local SME start-ups plan to leverage its design infrastructure and intellectual property hub to establish a social robotics center that will facilitate improved nursing and pharmaceutical services in hospitals, enhanced education tools (e.g., for special needs children), and public order and safety (e.g., disaster response operations).

3D printing: South Korea's Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning, and the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy aim to leverage 3D printing as a future economic driver.

Natural interfaces: The state government of Victoria in Australia and the University of Melbourne have jointly invested about US$7 million with Microsoft to form a natural user interfaces research center focused on developing new social interactive technologies.

Cognitive systems: Singapore's government to collaborate with IBM Watson cognitive technology to provide more personalized and cross-agency collaborative egovernment services (e.g., income tax, employment and work passes, and workplace health and safety).

How will the public sector behave in countries like Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand?

The public sectors in Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand are unique in their government IT implementations and focuses. While they are classified as an 'emerging economy' group, we can expect their ICT maturity to be higher than that of Myanmar, Cambodia and Bhutan for instance.


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