Eyes on APAC

July 5, 2019  8:12 AM

The blockchain effect: why businesses need to prepare employees

Aaron Tan Aaron Tan Profile: Aaron Tan

This is a guest post by Rosie Cairnes, regional director at Skillsoft ANZ

When most people hear the term blockchain, they immediately think of bitcoin, the most widely known of the hundreds of cryptocurrencies being traded online today. Bitcoin, a blockchain-based decentralised digital currency with no central bank or single administrator, made headlines in December 2017 when its value reached an all-time high of almost $20,000.

For the majority people, this may have been the first time they had seen or heard of blockchain technology – unless they had already stumbled over Netflix’s Banking on Bitcoin documentary.

While it is still very much in its infancy, blockchain is more than cryptocurrencies, and is poised to disrupt every industry.

Understanding blockchain

Blockchain is essentially the technology that provides a trusted decentralised ledger, which can be used to store data securely and independently verify transactions between parties. Think of it like one person trying to hold onto 50 marbles –  these could be easily stolen or dropped because one person can’t hold that many securely in their hands.

If instead they were divided among 50 people who were asked to take care of one marble, each marble would be more secure, because it’s easy for one person to hold one marble, and if someone tried to run away with theirs, the rest of the group would quickly see the culprit and stop them. In the same way, blockchain ‘shares’ responsibility for the data, so it’s better controlled and more secure.

In addition to digital currencies, blockchain has the potential to automate and streamline huge numbers of tasks and business processes. There are new applications and use cases popping up every day.  The technology is poised to transform how journalism is funded, change how we buy and sell property, and even reinvent employee management and HR.

And it’s not all blue-sky thinking. Numerous blockchain projects are well underway in large organisations.  More than 75 of the world’s largest banks have joined the Interbank Information Network, which uses blockchain technology to minimise friction in the global payments process.

A fundamental shift

We are at the dawn of a technological revolution. Blockchain, as well as a host of other fledgling technologies, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and 5G, is poised to fundamentally change the makeup of the workforce.

Blockchain-based technologies will automate repetitive tasks, significantly speed up global data processes and replace a huge number of jobs. Research on the topic is limited – and predicting the future workforce landscape is difficult, if not impossible.

At a recent blockchain summit, the CEO of one of the industry’s best-funded startups estimated that blockchain could make 30% to 60% of current jobs redundant, simply by enabling people to share data securely with a common record.

To compete and thrive in the blockchain world, organisations need to apply fresh thinking to prepare their workforce for the coming changes. They will need to create new ways of working.

Preparing for change

While there is no shortage of programming roles when it comes to blockchain – and this demand is set to grow exponentially – many people without programming skills will need to prove their value in other ways, or face being replaced by increased automation.

The challenge for business leaders will be empowering their workforce and ensuring their employees are ready. Workers must be willing and able to embrace new and exciting roles. This will mean upskilling employees to use automation to augment their roles – rather than replace them – and explore more creative styles of working.

While it is difficult to predict what many of these new roles will look like – indeed, research from Dell recently predicted that 85% of 2030’s jobs do not even exist yet – it is likely they will involve employing uniquely ‘human’ attributes, such as creative thinking, leadership and adaptability.

Attracting and retaining the right talent will be crucial over the coming years, more so than ever before. But the key to long-term success for many businesses will be providing their people with the opportunities to transition into roles that are more skilled, value-based and rewarding.

This means ensuring employees have access to high-quality digital skills training, while also encouraging an organisation-wide culture of continuous learning and soft skills development.  Not only will this help employees prepare for the jobs of tomorrow, it will drive innovation within the organisation today.

June 27, 2019  9:15 AM

What Singapore consumers expect from 5G

Aaron Tan Aaron Tan Profile: Aaron Tan

While enterprises are expected to be one of the early beneficiaries of 5G networks that promise low-latency connectivity for driverless vehicles and factory machinery, consumer use cases of the technology have not been widely discussed.

Ericsson’s latest ConsumerLab study offers a glimpse on how Singapore consumers expect to benefit from 5G. According to the study, which involved interviews with 1,500 respondents in Singapore, more than half believe augmented reality (AR) glasses will become the norm by 2025.

They also expect to make use of the higher bandwidth of 5G networks to watch three hours more of video content, of which an hour will be spent on AR and virtual reality glasses. This will have cumulative effect on mobile data consumption which will grow to as much as 200GB per month by 2025.

Besides entertainment, Singapore consumers appear to be warming up to smart home solutions, with smart home sensors expected to be one of the top two applications for 5G, the other being 5G TV services.

And the good news, at least for telcos, is that Singapore consumers are willing to pay a 52% premium for 5G services.

That consumer expectations of 5G revolve around video and rich media content should come as no surprise and mirrors similar expectations of 4G networks when they were first launched.

The bigger takeaway from Ericsson’s study lies in the growing reception towards smart home offerings, which haven’t really taken off in a big way due in part to the disparate markets for home IoT devices.

Telcos looking to capitalise on the 5G-powered smart home trend will have to take up the systems integrator mantle – like what they’ve been doing for enterprise customers – and make it easy for consumers to use and manage smart home solutions.

Globally, Ericsson expects 5G coverage to reach at least 45% of the world’s population by the end of 2024, thanks to the use of spectrum sharing technology that lets telcos deploy 5G and 4G services using the same spectrum.

Device and chipset makers have already laid the groundwork for 5G devices, with smartphones for the main spectrum bands expected to hit the market over the course of this year. This will drive the global number of 5G subscriptions to more than 10 million by the end of 2019.

June 21, 2019  8:34 AM

Alibaba Cloud earns validation from Singapore banking association

Aaron Tan Aaron Tan Profile: Aaron Tan

Alibaba Cloud said it has become the first public cloud supplier in the industry to obtain the Outsourced Service Providers Audit Report (OSPAR) validation by the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) in February 2019.

The validation, designed to ease any compliance burden faced by financial firms that host and manage sensitive data through cloud and outsourcing service providers, is expected to lower compliance-related adoption barriers for Alibaba Cloud in Singapore.

To retain the validation, Alibaba Cloud will be subject to strict standards set by the ABS, which will appoint external auditors to conduct regular compliance reviews of its cloud services in areas such as physical and IT security, as well as workplace processes.

The OSPAR validation follows 70 other security and compliance accreditations that Alibaba Cloud has picked up globally, such as Germany’s Cloud Computing Compliance Controls Catalogue (C5) and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

It also secured accreditations from the Trusted Cloud Competence Network in Denmark, the National Electronic Security Authority (Nesa) in the United Arab Emirates, and has a cross-regional value-added telecommunication services business licence in China.

Alibaba Cloud said it also carries out independent self-assessments and audits on existing risk controls in regions such as Hong Kong, so as to ensure its services and operations meet regulatory requirements and security and compliance guidelines of financial firms.

Larry Liu, international compliance lead for Alibaba Cloud, said securing OSPAR compliance “in one of the world’s premier financial hubs means our customers can divert more resources to revenue-generating activities, while knowing they have a trusted and reliable partner in us”.

Alibaba Cloud was recently named first in the Asia-Pacific market share for IaaS (infrastructure as a service) and IUS (infrastructure utility services) in two consecutive years by Gartner in its latest report on the region’s IT services market.

The Chinese cloud supplier has been aggressively expanding its footprint across the region, starting with its international headquarters in Singapore that it opened in 2015.

It currently operates 15 availability zones in Asia-Pacific outside China, including Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, India and Japan. The company set up its second datacentre in Jakarta this year in in an effort to meet “strong customer demand” for its services in Indonesia.

May 31, 2019  4:36 AM

Alibaba Cloud to guide SMEs on doing business in China

Aaron Tan Aaron Tan Profile: Aaron Tan

Chinese cloud giant Alibaba Cloud has launched a global programme in Singapore to guide small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the city-state that are looking to expand their business into China.

Called the China Gateway Programme, the initiative, rolled out in collaboration with DBS Bank, a slew of government agencies as well as industry associations, is part of Alibaba Cloud’s efforts to court overseas businesses as it expands its global footprint.

By tapping Alibaba’s technological knowhow and experience that has enabled it to become a global e-commerce and technology giant, Singapore SMEs will be able to capture and capitalise on growth opportunities in Asia and China.

But more than just supplying SME participants with cloud computing services, Alibaba Cloud will provide firms of all sizes with an in-depth immersion programme on doing business in China, connecting them to Chinese companies and consumers via the Alibaba ecosystem.

Global enterprises that have benefited from the China Gateway Programme so far include Japanese cosmetics giant Shiseido, American automaker Ford and Italian cruise operator Costa Cruises.

“As the largest public cloud provider in Asia-Pacific, and our role as the data intelligence backbone of all business units in the Alibaba ecosystem from e-commerce to payments, logistics and supply chain management, we have the proven expertise and experience to help businesses grow,” said Selina Yuen, president of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence International.

“With the support of our partners here, we are confident of supporting local businesses of all sizes and from all backgrounds to grow beyond Singapore, especially into China’s market,” she added.

Alibaba Cloud was recently named first in the Asia-Pacific market share for IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service) and IUS (infrastructure utility services) in two consecutive years by analyst firm Gartner in its latest report on the region’s IT services market.

The Chinese cloud supplier has been aggressively expanding its footprint across the region, starting with its international headquarters in Singapore that it opened in 2015.

It currently operates 15 availability zones in the region outside China, including Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, India and Japan. The company set up its second datacentre in Jakarta this year.

May 9, 2019  7:17 PM

Will OpenShift 4 be a game-changer?

Aaron Tan Aaron Tan Profile: Aaron Tan

The hybrid cloud message rang loud and clear at Red Hat Summit 2019, with executives from the open source bigwig touting its wares to help enterprises run their workloads on-premise and on the cloud.

The key to Red Hat’s hybrid cloud play lies in OpenShift, its container platform based on Kubernetes, which lets developers provision containers, along with self-service provisioning of IT resources and automation capabilities.

Already being used by over 1,000 customers worldwide, including notable Asia-Pacific companies like Australia’s ANZ Bank and Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific, OpenShift received another shot in the arm this week with Red Hat Enterprise Linux CoreOS, an embedded version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux acquired from Red Hat’s buyout of CoreOS last year.

While Red Hat has been integrating CoreOS capabilities into OpenShift since last year, including the ability to automate Kubernetes cluster upgrades over the air, the latest CoreOS enhancement in OpenShift 4 will provide more choices for enterprises to deploy enterprise-grade Kubernetes by offering a lightweight, fully immutable, container-optimised Linux distro.

For some years now, Red Hat has been doing some interesting work around Operators, a method of packaging, managing and deploying software as Kubernetes applications. With OpenShift 4, Red Hat has introduced Operator certification to deliver a trusted ecosystem of enterprise applications with consistent packaging, deployment and lifecycle management across all OpenShift footprints.

OpenShift 4 also comes with OperatorHub, where enterprises can try out Operators, or Kubernetes applications, at various maturity levels. Red Hat said this will help to “foster iterative software development and deployment as developers get self-service access to popular components like databases, message queues or tracing in a managed-service fashion on the platform”.

To ease application development processes, OpenShift 4 will include a developer preview of Knative for building serverless applications. By providing autoscaling, in-cluster builds and event frameworks for developing cloud-native applications on Kubernetes, Knative enables developers to focus on writing code by hiding complex parts of building, deploying and managing applications.

Also on the serverless front, Red Hat partnered with Microsoft to allow developers to tap Azure’s serverless functions in OpenShift through their joint Keda (Kubernetes-based event-driven autoscaling) initiative. This is expected to drive greater use of serverless computing and increase Microsoft’s visibility among developers in the growing function-as-a-service market.

A key hallmark of OpenShift and Red Hat Enterprise Linux is portability across different environments, whether it’s on the public cloud, on-premise or hybrid cloud. In the coming months, OpenShift 4 will debut on major public cloud services including Alibaba Cloud, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, IBM Cloud, Microsoft Azure, as well as private cloud technologies like OpenStack, virtualisation platforms and bare-metal servers.

Whether OpenShift 4 will be a game-changer amid growing competition between Kubernetes distributions remains to be seen. But going by the feedback from industry watchers, Red Hat appears to be headed in the right direction.

Noting that Red Hat’s approach to enterprise Kubernetes is well-aligned with enterprise requirements, Jay Lyman, principal analyst for cloud native and DevOps at 451 Research, said OpenShift continues to be a top Kubernetes product in the market that simplifies central administration of Kubernetes clusters, environments and users.

To Al Gillen, IDC’s group vice president for software development and open source, OpenShift 4 offers the portability enterprises are asking for “in a package that brings substantive improvements in automating deployment and simplifying operation, which ultimately makes innovation easier.”

Will Red Hat OpenShift 4 be a game-changer? Tell us more in the comments!

Red Hat commissioned TechTarget APAC to cover Red Hat Summit 2019 in Boston. The above content was not reviewed or influenced prior to publication.

May 8, 2019  11:00 AM

How APAC firms are using open source software

Aaron Tan Aaron Tan Profile: Aaron Tan

Open source software has evolved from providing low-cost alternatives to proprietary offerings to a platform for innovation.

Most recent developments in cloud computing and software development, such as Kubernetes in the case of containers, for example, are first happening in open source.

Indeed, users of open source software at Red Hat Summit 2019 are embracing the technology not only to save costs, but also to tap new capabilities to solve business problems.

In the case of South Korea’s Lotte Card, the use of OpenShift has enabled the credit card company to keep up with the growing number of transactions over the years, said Jeong-hwan Kim, vice-president and CIO of Lotte Card.

Lotte Card boasts nine million customers and processes an average of three million transactions a day.

Kim said by moving its core systems to OpenShift, Lotte Card has not only improved transaction performance by 10 times and reduced costs by 10%, it is also able to deliver personalised marketing messages for customers using big data.

To DBS, Southeast Asia’s largest bank, open source software is a key to its digital transformation efforts.

Its group CIO David Gledhill noted that as DBS transforms itself to become a technology company, it has to harness the same open source technologies that are being used by hyper-scale companies such as Facebook, Google and Netflix, just to name a few.

DBS’s datacentres, for example, are designed based on Facebook’s open source datacentre blueprint. The bank also uses Netflix’s Chaos Monkey resiliency tool to expose its engineers to failures more frequently, so as to incentivise them to build more resilient services.

Gledhill, however, stressed that these tools are only used for testing and development rather than on production systems.

That’s where Red Hat’s OpenShift, which offers enterprise-grade support, comes in. Gledhill said the use of OpenShift for production systems has resulted in cost savings of as much as 80%, as well as improved DBS’s time-to-market by 10 times.

The situation is similar at Spark NZ, a telco in New Zealand that has moved its integration services from IBM Websphere to Red Hat OpenShift in an effort to improve operations and customer service.

Spark NZ’s general manager for IT applications Niall Fitzgerald said the lift-and-shift effort has enabled the company to deploy application changes quickly without outages, as well as put in place automation and continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) capabilities.

Red Hat commissioned TechTarget APAC to cover Red Hat Summit 2019 in Boston. The above content was not reviewed or influenced prior to publication.

May 7, 2019  3:47 PM

Why RHEL 8 matters to enterprises

Aaron Tan Aaron Tan Profile: Aaron Tan

For decades, the server operating system (OS) has been an indispensable part of any technology stack, harnessing the power of the underlying hardware infrastructure to run a wide array of business applications.

That role is set to be enhanced with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8, the latest version of the OS from the Linux supplier touted to make it easier for enterprises to take advantage of the latest innovations in hybrid cloud, containers and DevOps. Here’s why RHEL 8 matters to enterprises:

Built-in management tools

Serving as the nerve centre of enterprise datacentres, Linux has been used to support a growing number of workloads, not only on-premise but also increasingly on the cloud in a hybrid environment. Managing these workloads is undoubtedly becoming more complex as applications get updated more frequently.

With RHEL 8, Red Hat is including Red Hat Insights to proactively identify and remediate IT issues, from security vulnerabilities to stability problems, before they occur. It uses predictive analytics based on Red Hat’s vast knowledge of open technologies to help admins avoid problems and unplanned downtime in production environments.

In addition, to ease the task of managing workloads in a hybrid environment, Red Hat is also packing in Red Hat Smart Management, a set of tools to manage, patch, configure and provision RHEL deployments across the hybrid cloud.

Stability and agility

The faster pace of business has driven more enterprises to adopt agile methodologies in software development. That, however, could have knock-on effects on stability and predictability of production systems, leading some enterprises to consider bimodal IT, a two-tiered IT operations model that allows for the creation of IT systems and processes that are stable and predictable, as well as agile and fast.

With RHEL 8, enterprises can get access to Application Streams, which makes it possible to update fast-moving languages, frameworks and developer tools frequently without impacting core resources in the OS, melding faster developer innovation with production stability in a single IT operations model.

Lowering barriers to entry

Linux admins often use the command line to perform specific tasks, but those who are new to the OS, such as Windows admins, may not be familiar with how things work in Linux. 

With RHEL 8, Red Hat has abstracted away the deep complexities of granular sysadmin tasks behind the RHEL web console. The console provides a consistent graphical interface for managing and monitoring RHEL systems, from the health of virtual machines to overall system performance. 

To further improve ease of use, RHEL 8 also supports in-place upgrades, providing a more streamlined, efficient and timely path for users to convert RHEL 7 instances to RHEL 8 systems.

Finally, RHEL 8 is not complete without built in automation capabilities. Thanks to Ansible, IT operations teams can now automate many of the complex tasks around managing and configuring Linux in production, making it easier for new admins to adopt Linux protocols and eliminate configuration issues due to human errors.

Red Hat commissioned TechTarget APAC to cover Red Hat Summit 2019 in Boston. The above content was not reviewed or influenced prior to publication.

May 5, 2019  7:53 AM

What to expect at Red Hat Summit 2019

Aaron Tan Aaron Tan Profile: Aaron Tan

When IBM announced that it was going to acquire open source juggernaut Red Hat for a whopping $34bn last October, several industry analysts weighed in on the merits of the mega deal and who would stand to benefit more from the marriage.

451 Research’s William Fellows noted that the move puts IBM in a good position to tap on sub-trends in the cloud market, including the growing appetite for hybrid cloud solutions, while Gartner’s Philip Dawson foresees the challenge on the part of IBM in keeping Red Hat separate as it tries to grow its cloud business.

Amid the differing viewpoints from industry watchers, it was clear that both IBM and Red Hat had to keep educating the market on what their marriage meant to employees, customers and investors.

At IBM’s Think 2019 event earlier this year, Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst took to the stage and provided hints of what could come.

While his pitch to “make open innovation consumable for enterprise” – a key message that Red Hat is already espousing through its open innovation labs – wasn’t unexpected, he hinted at edge computing and containers as areas where IBM and Red Hat could work well together.

The conversation is likely to continue at this year’s Red Hat Summit in Boston, where Red Hat and IBM executives, including IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, will likely address not only concerns over the cultural differences between their companies, but also what they can do together to write the next chapter of cloud computing.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8

With Linux now serving as the foundation for cloud computing infrastructure, Red Hat is expected to delve deeper into the capabilities of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8 at the show. The flagship operating system, currently in beta, is well suited to run mission-critical applications on commodity hardware.

A key feature of RHEL 8 is support for Linux containers – Red Hat’s lightweight, open standards-based container toolkit is now fully supported and included with the operating system.

It also comes with tools like Buildah for building containers, Podman for running containers, and Skopeo for sharing or finding containers. These “daemonless” tools will help developers find, run, build and share containerised applications more quickly and efficiently. You can read more about RHEL 8 here.

Damien Wong, Red Hat’s vice-president and general manager for Asian growth and emerging markets, expects existing beta users to be among the first adopters of RHEL 8, while more risk-averse enterprises might wait for the first update to the new OS before taking it up.

“My sense is that there will be a fairly significant take-up,” he told Computer Weekly earlier this year. “A lot of folks who are involved in digital transformation initiatives will want to have some of the capabilities in RHEL 8, along with the container platform, and API and middleware integration capabilities.”

Ties that bind

Red Hat has always been collaborating with like-mind technology companies to help enterprises harness the power of open source, whether it’s on-premise, on the cloud or in a hybrid environment. Over the years, it has struck various partnerships with the likes of AWS and Microsoft to help Red Hat customers to tap public cloud services.

At last year’s summit, Red Hat teamed up with Microsoft to let developers run container-based applications on the Azure cloud and on-premise through its OpenShift container application platform.

The partnership, which builds on a strategic alliance first announced in November 2015, comes at a time when interest in using containerised applications is growing.

While it was once unthinkable for Microsoft to cosy up with Red Hat, the growing footprint of Linux and other open source software in datacentres and the cloud can no longer be ignored.

With Satya Nadella expected to make an appearance at the show this year, we can expect even deeper ties between Microsoft and Red Hat moving forward.

Customer stories

Red Hat has a knack for bringing a stellar cast of customers to every Red Hat Summit and this year will be no exception. The APAC contingent comprises some of the who’s who in the region, including DBS Bank’s group CIO David Gledhill who will talk about the bank’s digital journey and how it is using Red Hat’s hybrid cloud technologies to build new applications and improve customer experiences.

On the telcoms side, Optus’s Guillaume Poulet-Mathis, its senior innovation manager, and Vasily Chekalkin, its principle software engineer, will share how the telco is using Red Hat OpenShift to deploy a new generation of virtualised mobile core functions. There will also be a live demo of a digitised native phone call and how Optus’s software engineers are revolutionising carrier networks.

Red Hat commissioned TechTarget APAC to cover Red Hat Summit 2019 in Boston. The above content was not reviewed or influenced prior to publication.

April 18, 2019  2:48 AM

Four things you should know about the 5G game in Asia-Pacific

Aaron Tan Aaron Tan Profile: Aaron Tan

This is a guest post by Simon Lockington, director of global solutions enablement at Equinix Asia-Pacific

Industry watchers are predicting that 4G LTE subscribers in Asia-Pacific will naturally make the move to 5G’s faster network when the service becomes available post-2020. In Singapore, 5G networks are expected to be rolled out by 2020.

According to the recent Mobile Economy report from GSMA, Asia-Pacific – home to several markets of early adopters – will pioneer the move to 5G technologies and is projected to be the world’s largest market for 5G, reaching over 675 million connections by 2025. Why then, is Asia-Pacific and Singapore in particular, expected to be so far ahead of the pack? Here are four key drivers of 5G development in Asia-Pacific:

Asia-Pacific has a younger user base

Asia-Pacific has a larger proportion of younger generation compared to US and Europe. This younger generation, born in the Internet and digital era is right at home with digital devices and is more tech savvy – the babies that were raised with “iPad nannies” will grow up and expect to be managers with iPads.

This group also has greater demand for digital applications and services, such as social media, gaming, and online video consumption. They are both users and creators of digital applications that require more processing power such as voice recognition, voice interaction, virtual reality, and augmented reality which they expect to be applied to fields as diverse as online retailing, online gaming and robotics, just to name a few. These applications will need the network and bandwidth capabilities of 5G if they are to deliver on consumer expectations.

Savvy mobile users continue to want more speed

According to GSMA, the number of unique mobile subscribers will reach 5.9 billion by 2025 globally, the equivalent to 71% of the world’s population. In Singapore, there are a total of 8.37 million mobile connections, this means that 144% of the Singapore population is connected on mobile.

The up-take of 5G subscriptions in Singapore and Asia-Pacific will build on the current base of 4G LTE and digitally savvy mobile users who want speed, reliability and minimal latency to use their everyday applications. These are often data-heavy content sites likes Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube, that users expect to be delivered to them at constant high-speeds regardless of location.

Current 4G networks suffer large speed fluctuations throughout the day. Peak-hour usage can often be slow as massive amounts of data jam networks, while speeds can vary greater depending on whether a user is stationery or on the move. Bandwidth hungry users of smart 4G devices are therefore keen to make the quick switch to 5G which promises pervasive connectivity.

Building smart cities without legacy infrastructure

Singapore’s move towards a smart nation is creating demand for the country to optimise the effective use of resources and improve efficiency. As a smart nation, Singapore will require strong telecommunication network infrastructure to support the thousands of IoT devices needed to the city – from safety and security, roads and traffic control, to utility management. To manage these complex data flows, it will need to rely on a fast and robust network, and network operators hope that 5G will be the resolution to this.

Singapore believes that a future-ready and globally competitive digital infrastructure is the bedrock of its digital economy. What makes Singapore and Asia-Pacific stand out is that this region has such a pervasive mobile network that have not been hindered by legacy mobile infrastructure. This has made it easier for governments and enterprises to roll out new infrastructures without having to attempt to upgrade old technology or migrate users over. China for instance is a great example of this – Ping An, Alibaba, Tencent and Huawei are leading a smart city initiative covering 500 cities across the country, all of which are based on new, mobile technologies.

Burgeoning R&D in the region

Many Asian and foreign companies have already started investing in 5G projects across the region as they rush to be at the forefront of what the technology has to offer. For instance, just a couple of months ago, local telecommunications company Singtel, in collaboration with Optus and Ericsson, successfully made a 5G video call with augmented reality (AR) between Singapore and Australia, taking a huge step forward in making 5G services to the masses.

Across the region, mobile operators are also planning to invest almost $200bn over the next few years to expand their 4G networks and launch new 5G networks to accelerate the growth of Asia’s digital economies and societies.

Realising the benefits of 5G

With 5G devices and 5G infrastructure set to bring about change, how will these new mobile services and applications impact different verticals? Here are two verticals that in my opinion, will be most impacted.

  • Content and digital media – According to Intel, the global media industry stands to gain $765bn in cumulative revenues from new services and applications enabled by 5G. 5G will offer faster, more stable connectivity with more bandwidth, enabling content service providers to offer superior experiences when watching high-quality videos. It will also enable innovative applications such as virtual reality and augmented reality to be created to deliver more personalised customer experiences.
  • HealthcareCurrently, healthcare providers already rely on 4G to access digital patients’ records such as X-rays. With 5G, healthcare providers can remotely monitor patients and gather data in real time by using the internet of things (IoT) devices to help them allocate the right resources more efficiently and improve personalized and preventive care. In addition, with artificial intelligence and big data, patient data can provide valuable insights to help make the right diagnoses and lifesaving decisions in real time, even performing remote surgeries and medical procedures with ultra-low latency.

Interconnection: the weapon of 5G game

5G is coming but in order to get the maximum business value from this highly anticipated technology, what weapon can enterprises use to stay ahead of the 5G game? The answer is simple – interconnection.

To support 5G demand, a vendor-neutral co-location and interconnection platform will enable enterprises deploying 5G to seamlessly access robust network and cloud ecosystems. With interconnection, enterprises will be able to directly interconnect with network and cloud service providers and find that fine balance of improving network and application performance with low-latency connections with cost efficiency.

The real-time, secure and low latency connectivity will enable companies to realise the benefits of 5G to transform their businesses, and ultimately bring more revenue opportunities. 5G, combined with interconnection, will bring disruptive transformation to different verticals.

April 4, 2019  9:26 AM

Ping An to power Hong Kong’s e-ID system in major win

Aaron Tan Aaron Tan Profile: Aaron Tan

China’s top insurance company, Ping An, has nabbed a coveted Hong Kong government project to develop the city’s electronic personal identity system, or e-ID, for local residents.

When ready, e-ID will enable Hong Kongers to conduct online transactions via their electronic identification, paving the way for the city’s government to provide services directly to residents.

Ericson Chan, CEO of Ping An Technology, the technology arm of Ping An, said the company’s strengths in cloud computing and facial recognition were key reasons for winning the contract.

“The e-ID project is the framework for building a smart city in Hong Kong. Participation in the project is conducive to helping Ping An Technology further develop the overseas practice of smart city,” Chan added.

Ping An claims that its cloud service offers the highest level of security in China’s financial sector, having achieved 12 authoritative security certifications both at home and abroad.

It has also developed full-stack service capabilities – from datacentre infrastructure to cloud-based applications – delivered to customers across industries and sites, along with facial recognition knowhow that has been applied in airport security and other fields with an accuracy rate of 99.8%.

That Ping An has won a major government contract is an affirmation of its technical maturity and ambition in becoming a major technology supplier, not only in China but globally.

It has previously said that it wants to eventually generate half of its earnings from technology, and this latest win takes it one step closer to realising its ambition.

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