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Enabling transformation for the public sector
September 25, 2019 News


The first-ever Amazon Web Services (AWS) ASEAN Public Sector Summit in Singapore saw over 1200 delegates from government agencies, education and healthcare sectors come together to learn how they can make full use of technology to transform and innovate their respective sectors. The two-day event featured talks and sharing sessions by AWS customers on how they leveraged on AWS Services to transform their organisations.

In her keynote address, Teresa Carlson, Vice President, Worldwide Public Sector, AWS said the demand for disruptive innovation in the public sector is high as they want to make the world a better place. Since opening its regional office in Singapore, AWS has grown its influence in the Asia Pacific covering seven regions and will be operating its Jakarta region by 2022.

According to Teresa, AWS listens to its customers and continues to provide them with the services they need. With data sovereignty and regulatory laws in the region, AWS ensures they meet all requirements in the services they offer. She added that AWS ensures their customers have all the security they need and encrypt the traffic in all regions.

“Customers want resources to help them move faster. We make sure our services can help them and continue to commit to ensuring this is met. Today, people don’t want to invest or buy on a lot of techs. That business model is old. Customers want to pay as they as use the services.”

For AWS, the top advantages of cloud include speed, agility, security, ability to experiment, pay for what you use, and be able to deploy globally.

In the public sector, Teresa explained that it’s important to build a culture of the cloud. With a true definition of cloud computing, the public sector needs a cloud-first policy. Agencies and ministries need a cloud-first policy.

“You need leadership that puts in a cloud-first policy. It is important to have a security, privacy and compliance program that they can snap into. You don’t want agency leaders to be guessing around. You need a procurement vehicle. You need to have adequate skills and training and have experimentation along the way. Once you have all this, you can speed and scale.”

With regards to privacy and security, AWS has over 200 services and key features that focus on security, compliance and governance. They work with relevant partners to support customer needs. In light of that, Teresa announced a new threat detection using AI for the government and public sectors to deploy. Although not officially launched, the service is available worldwide for preview. It uses deep learning algorithms to identify indicators of attack.

AWS in the Public Sector

Going back to the public sector, Tan Kok Yam, Deputy Secretary, Smart Nation and Digital Government Office, PMO Singapore shared the Singapore government’s initiative in heading towards a digitalised nation.

“The national digital identity is a key component of Singapore’s national digital architecture. In 1965, Singapore started with identity cards, and in 2018, they launched the Sing Pass mobile, an application for digital services based on identity. By 2020, Singapore aims to have a national digital ID.”

According to Tan, the NDI stack will have a trusted identity that is secure and pervasive and trusted data that is authoritative defined by the government. From there, the private sector will create trusted services and trusted access. This includes various products from one-click registration to OR login and identity, biometrics and also provide notifications to citizens.

Through this, Singapore aims to ease the flow of high-quality data across the government and across the data lifecycle. From the moment the data is acquired (which is clean, verified and authoritative data) to data fusion (fuse data from multiple datasets into a single dataset for a desired case) to data access and distribution (securely and efficiently distribute dataset to authorized users) to data exploitation (use datasets in secured environments for authorized purposes) to data destruction at the end (purge datasets no longer in use.) The entire data sharing process is now reduced from 6 to 13 months to 7 working days.

The Singapore Government Technology Stack aims to improve delivery, enable compliance and enhance cybersecurity. And the cloud is a key enabler to achieving this. The cloud is able to provide new capabilities to enable new ways of working. This includes the use of managed services, iterative development and frequent releases and scalable architecture.

Making sense of data

Peter Moore, Regional Managing Director, Asia Pacific Japan, Worldwide Public Sector, AWS, pointed out that data mobility is critical today. With 75 billion connected devices by 2025, the need to connect and move data grows ever more important. The need for solutions to collect, connect, store as well as analyse data is prerogative.

AWS has twelve solutions to move data to cloud with four available in Singapore. This includes AWS Data Sync, AWS Storage Getaway, AWS Snowball and AWS Snowmobile. Each of these solutions caters to the different types and volume of data generated, moved, analysed and stored.

Peter explained that new solutions in a data-rich world would be needed in the future. IoT is helping public sectors, and this can be seen in many examples in governments around the world. For example, cities in India are using IoT to manage garbage collection and food safety.

With Machine learning and AI becoming more influential, the various solutions offered by AWS will allow organisations in the public sector to make the most out of it. This includes vision, speech and language algorithms in AI as well as for analytics for decision making. The most powerful tool in the future will be Machine Learning. Machine Learning has the power to deliver citizens faster solutions and solve the most pressing challenges in the world.

The pace of innovation in AWS will continue to grow in the years to come. More solutions will be available to improve human efficiency on all levels. The public sector can be assured that AWS will be there to support them in their digital journey.