01 Jan Chairman Message – David Wong
Happy New Year to all our members.
The year 2020 has certainly a challenging one. Needless to say, the onset of the pandemic at the beginning of 2020 created an avalanche that will engulf the whole world. No country, no economy, no government and its peoples were not affected by Covid-19.
The unprecedented impact of the pandemic itself had a knock-on effect not only on the healthcare system but also education, the economy and humanity. In this new normal of social distancing, meetings have taken on a new meaning. Instead of where to meet, we ask on which platform should we meet.
As a direct consequence of the pandemic, we have seen a rush and acceleration of digital transformation across all economic sectors and society. As businesses, many had to transform to survive or sustain by leveraging on digital technologies to compete and succeed. We have learned to be bold and adapt with this new normal and must not isolate ourselves but stay connected with one another and come together as a team. In the same breath, many were not agile enough and have ceased operations.
Society has also evolved. Social norms are no longer a given. Schools have embraced technology to deliver learning. Many were left behind as they may not have the devices, accessibility and know-how on how to prepare for the digital revolution shaping the milieu in the education sphere.
Herein lies the conundrum. As an industry, we need to ensure that no one is left behind. As one of the industries which had done well despite the pandemic, the digital industry can contribute to those who need help in the effort to transform to the new digital normal. Each of us can play that role in helping businesses, communities and societies to embrace the new normal and realise the potential of the digital age. The current pandemic merely is an unexpected catalyst for change to happen.
On the ASOCIO front, despite the pandemic, we have endeavored to help all members of ASOCIO to stay in touch, be connected and support each other during these times. There were various initiatives including webinars, virtual summits, policy papers in 2020. We have also organized virtual events and collaborated with our members and partners like FITIS, Global Victoria/MABC, CISA, PIKOM and Smart City Network (SCN) throughout the year.
An MOU with SCN was signed with the objective to collaborate as partners to support the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Asian and Oceanian countries. As a outcome of that collaboration, the ASOCIO Smart Cities Summit 2020 was held from 18-20 November 2020 in partnership with SCN and PIKOM, in conjunction with TechFest2020. The event was held virtually with almost 1,200 online participants attending the Summit.
In June of last year, the AI Policy Paper was also published with the great effort from our very own Policy Task Force Members. In the paper, we outlined the best practices and recommendations to enable greater development and usage of AI that enhances consumer trust and confidence.
As we kick off 2021, already there are strong expression of interests to host both the Smart City Summit and Digital Summit in 2021. We are excited to be able to bring to you our flagship events in 2021, either as virtual or physical in-person events. We will be making announcements in due course once we have ironed out the details with the respective hosts.
We are also pleased to launch the latest policy paper titled “ASIA AFTER COVID: Driving Digital in Response to the Global Pandemic” that outline the efforts by the public and private sectors in ASOCIO member economies to support the digital industry and drive the digital economy. The report takes a look at initiatives aimed at stimulating digital technology development, digital adoption and digital transformation in the economies.
These initiatives are featured in 7 segments and also on a country-by-country basis:
Leveraging on E-Commerce, Online Banking and Digital Payment
Adjusting to Work from Home and Transitioning to Virtual
Shifting Towards Digital Business Models
Expediting Digital Adoption and Transformation
Migrating to Online Education and Learning
Supporting the Economy and Society with Government Aid Packages
Accelerating National Digital Programmes
I expect year 2021 to be year of slow recovery as it will take time for vaccines to be made available to all. Nonetheless, let us continue to remain connected and engaged. Let us embrace technology and be bold to seize opportunities and innovate in the economic recovery. Let us prepare for a better tomorrow and we will equip in all frontiers.
I would love to hear from you of ideas in which ASOCIO can take up, lead and champion for the betterment of our industry.
I wish you well. Stay safe and stay strong.
David Wong Chairman