The Asia-Pacific region has become a centre of 5G innovations, with China and South Korea leading as global pioneers in 5G technology. Thailand’s 5G progress has greatly benefited from the well-established 5G ecosystem in the region.
Chula Unisearch and a technology company in Thailand have partnered to launch a research project called “Exploring 5G Technology on the 6 GHz Band.” Led by the Department of Electrical Engineering at Chulalongkorn University, the study aims to investigate the real-world applications of 5G technology in the 6 GHz frequency range.
By investigating the use of 5G technology on the 6 GHz band, the research aims to shed light on its feasibility and potential in enhancing wireless communication systems. The study involves an examination of the technical aspects, performance metrics, and data transmission capabilities of the 6 GHz band. This endeavour provides valuable insights into the practical implications and benefits of deploying 5G technology within this frequency range.
Moreover, through this research initiative, Chula Unisearch and its partners aim to contribute to the broader scientific community by generating new knowledge and empirical data on utilising the 6 GHz band for 5G applications. The study’s outcomes can inform policy decisions, shape future technology standards, and pave the way for a more efficient and seamless 5G network infrastructure.
The research team conducted a comprehensive field test encompassing Outdoor to Outdoor (O2O) and Outdoor to Indoor (O2I) scenarios. The trial’s primary focus was to analyse and understand the behaviour and characteristics of the International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) 6 GHz band and evaluate the quality of IMT data transmission. These tests were conducted in collaboration with various agencies in the Chula Sandbox area.
The study outcomes were highly satisfactory, particularly regarding outdoor usage (O2O), where a download speed exceeding 1Gbps was achieved, covering approximately 72% of the test area. It is important to note that the bandwidth used for testing was set at 80Mbps.
Additionally, even for indoor scenarios (O2I), the average download speed reached 550Mbps. These findings indicate that the 6 GHz band has the potential to support mobile services utilising 5G technology and upcoming advancements such as 5.5G.
Overall, the project is a significant milestone in exploring 5G technology and its practical implementation in Thailand. By leveraging the expertise of academic institutions, research organisations, and industry leaders, this collaborative effort strives to unlock the full potential of 5G technology and its transformative impact on various sectors, ranging from telecommunications to smart cities and beyond. The 5G networks are expected to drive the transformation towards Thailand 4.0 and provide additional advantages for the country’s economic and social progress.
The collaboration signifies a concerted effort to advance the understanding and implementation of 5G technology in Thailand. The project aligns with the country’s commitment to embracing cutting-edge technologies and exploring innovative solutions for enhanced connectivity and communication.
Thailand aspires to become a leading digital hub in Southeast Asia, with Prime Minister Prayut emphasising the importance of collaboration between the public and private sectors in driving the commercial development of 5G technology across all industries in the country.
The government has taken proactive steps towards promoting the adoption of 5G technology through the development of an Action Plan. Phase 1 in this plan focuses on driving economic and social development by prioritising key sectors such as industry, transportation and logistics, agriculture, tourism, finance, wholesale and retail, public health, education, and smart cities. These strategic policies aim to foster a favourable environment that encourages the growth of 5G businesses in Thailand.
Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia will cooperate in the digital economy. Experts have said that the substantial potential for trade and investment collaboration among the countries has not yet been fully realised.
The three governments jointly organised a conference to discuss digital economic development trends and their potential to enhance trade and investment among the countries, opportunities and challenges arising from digital transformation for the growth of trilateral ties, and strategies to advance their cooperative efforts in the digital era. The conference reflects the countries’ readiness to build digital-transformation-oriented socio-economic infrastructure.
Experts at the event recommended that the sides establish and improve institutional and legal environments that align with the demands of the international integration era within the context of the digital economy. Additionally, the nations should invest in developing digital infrastructure to foster their national digital economies.
The conference, which was organised by the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS), Lao Academy of Social and Economic Sciences (LASES), and Royal Academy of Cambodia (RAC), saw the participation of over 100 experts, managers, and diplomats from the three countries.
According to a representative from VASS, prioritising the advancement of the digital economy is considered a key task in accelerating the restructuring of an economy. This approach is closely linked with innovation in the growth model and the enhancement of growth quality. The aim is to assist a nation in escaping the middle-income trap and progressing toward becoming a fully developed, industrialised country. The trend presents both opportunities and challenges for countries involved, as they work to develop and expand their investment and commercial partnerships.
An official from LASES noted that Laos is in the early stages of its digital transformation journey, encompassing multiple sectors, including commerce and investment. Consequently, Laos is eager to collaborate with experts from Vietnam and Cambodia, aiming to exchange knowledge and gain insight from their respective digital transformation efforts.
Highlighting the longstanding bond among the three nations, an official from RAC acknowledged that in the realm of digital transformation, Vietnam has been making swifter advancements compared to Cambodia and Laos, particularly in sectors like tourism, commerce, and investment. Collaborative efforts among these nations, particularly in the domain of the digital economy, hold considerable importance in advancing the development of each country.
In 2020, Vietnam kicked off a national digital transformation programme, under which the country would renovate the management and administration activities of the government, the production and business activities of enterprises, and the overall way of living and working. It is working to develop a safe, humane, and wide digital environment. The national digital transformation programme has the dual purpose of both developing the digital government and economy and establishing Vietnamese digital businesses with a global capacity.
In the second quarter of 2023, the digital economy contributed approximately 15.26% to the total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Vietnam. Compared to 2021, the growth of Vietnam’s national digital transformation index did slow down, but the component indices of digital government, digital economy, and digital society still maintained a high growth rate of 45-55%.
Vietnam’s digital economy was valued at around $14 billion in 2020, showing remarkable growth of 450% since 2015. Projections indicate that it is expected to expand by roughly 30% between 2020 and 2025.
The Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) spearheaded an initiative aimed at promoting innovation and technology in the biotech sector, showcasing Hong Kong’s pioneering advancements and entrepreneurial spirit.
This initiative was part of the “Think Business, Think Hong Kong” event organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) in Paris recently. The event was a platform to underscore the potential for cross-border collaboration between Hong Kong and France in the field of biotechnology and innovation.
The CEO of HKSTP emphasised the critical purpose behind this endeavour. He pointed out the immense potential for synergy and cooperation between Hong Kong and French biotech ecosystems, highlighting their role in propelling startups and pharmaceutical companies to global prominence.
The journey of biotech innovation is long and arduous, and comprehensive support is essential. This initiative aimed to highlight Hong Kong’s ability to nurture and support biotech innovators throughout their growth trajectory and establish the city as a global hub for innovation and technology.
At its core, this initiative sought to underscore Hong Kong’s strengths in driving innovation to global success. It aimed to showcase the city’s unique ecosystem that fosters innovation and technology, making it a prime destination for biotech entrepreneurs. Moreover, it underlined the immense market potential in Asia as a growth engine for the global biotech industry.
The thematic session organised by HKSTP and the accompanying pavilion, titled “Unlocking Asia’s Opportunities in Healthcare Innovation,” was central to this initiative. These components received a warm reception from the French biotech and pharmaceutical industry.
Four distinguished biotech experts from Hong Kong-based ventures were featured, collectively illustrating Hong Kong’s capacity to lead in global innovation and technology. They highlighted the city’s potential as a gateway to the Asian market, positioning it as a central hub for biotech growth and development.
To further accentuate the significance of this initiative, a special gala dinner was convened, attended by influential leaders from the French, European, and Hong Kong business communities. Key dignitaries including the President of the Ile de France Region, the Financial Secretary of the HKSAR Government, and the Chairman of HKTDC were present. This gathering aimed to foster meaningful connections and collaborations that would propel innovation and technology in the biotech sector forward.
HKSTP’s initiative was not just about an event; it was about catalysing collaboration and innovation in the biotech sector. It sought to highlight Hong Kong’s unique strengths as a global player in biotech innovation and technology. By bringing together experts, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders, this initiative aimed to pave the way for groundbreaking advancements in biotech, positioning Hong Kong as a prominent player in the international innovation and technology landscape.
OpenGov Asia previously reported that the Government Chief Information Officer of Hong Kong led a delegation from the city’s innovation and technology (I&T) sector to the 25th China International Software Expo (CISE). The mission aimed to strengthen collaboration and explore business opportunities in the technology sector.
The Hong Kong Pavilion at CISE showcased more than 20 innovative I&T products and solutions sourced from esteemed competitions like the Hong Kong ICT Awards and the “Maker in China” SME Innovation and Entrepreneurship Global Contest. These exhibits covered cutting-edge domains such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, cloud computing, and biotechnology.
These innovations spanned sectors like fintech, smart construction site management, and digital entertainment, demonstrating the integration of digital technology into the tangible economy. To engage potential buyers and partners, the Hong Kong Pavilion featured a mini-stage for exhibitors to present their products and services.
This delegation’s participation in CISE emphasised Hong Kong’s technological capabilities and commitment to international collaboration. It aligned with Hong Kong’s goal of becoming a global hub for technological innovation in a rapidly evolving I&T landscape.
The Union Cabinet has approved the signing of three separate memoranda of understanding (MoUs) from earlier this year between India and Sierra Leone, Antigua & Barbuda, and Armenia. These MoUs will facilitate cooperation in the realm of exchanging successful digital solutions that have been deployed at a national level to boost digital transformation initiatives.
Under the memoranda of understanding, the countries will share experiences and digital technology-driven solutions, such as India Stack, in the execution of digital transformation projects. It is expected that the MoUs will result in more employment opportunities in the information technology sector.
India Stack is a collection of indigenously developed APIs and digital public assets that strive to enable the widespread utilisation of digital identity, data, and payments as fundamental economic elements. India Stack includes apps like Unified Payments Interface (India’s instant payments system), Aadhaar (the government’s digital identity card), and DigiLocker (a secure document access platform on a public cloud).
Both government-to-government (G2G) and business-to-business (B2B) cooperation in the realm of DPI will be strengthened through the MoUs. The endeavours outlined in the agreements will be funded using the regular operating allocations of their respective administrations. The MoUs shall remain in force for three years.
The MoUs were signed between the Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and the Ministry of Information and Communications of the Republic of Sierra Leone, the Ministry of Information, Communications Technologies, Utilities and Energy of the Antigua & Barbuda, and the Armenian Ministry of High-Tech Industry.
MeitY is actively working with multiple countries and international organisations to promote both bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the field of ICT. Over time, MeitY has established MoUs, memoranda of cooperation (MoCs), and agreements with counterpart organisations and agencies from various countries. These arrangements serve as vehicles for fostering cooperation and facilitating the exchange of information within the ICT domain.
The MoUs were originally put forth at a meeting of the G20 Digital Economy Working Group (DEWG). The event served as a global platform for discussions on both foundational and sector-specific DPIs. It featured experience zones that highlighted the various DPIs that have been successfully implemented, including digital identities, fast payments, open networks for digital commerce, language translation technology, online learning solutions, and telemedical consultations.
The agreements align with the several initiatives undertaken by the government, including Digital India, Atmanirbhar Bharat (Self-Reliant India), and Make in India, among others, aimed at advancing the nation towards a digitally empowered society and a knowledge-based economy. Given the evolving landscape, there is a need to explore business opportunities, exchange best practices, and attract investments within the digital sector.
According to the government, over the last few years, India has showcased its leadership in the deployment of Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) and has effectively delivered public services, even amidst the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Consequently, many countries have expressed an interest in learning from India’s experiences.
India Stack Solutions are Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) created and implemented by India on a national scale. This infrastructure facilitates access to and the delivery of public services. It aims to universalise connectivity, foster digital inclusion, and ensure effortless access to public services.
These solutions are built on open technologies, are interoperable and are designed to encourage active involvement from both industry and community stakeholders, fostering innovation. However, each country has unique needs and challenges in building DPI, although the basic functionality is similar, allowing for global cooperation.
The Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC) has garnered accolades at the “Hong Kong Business Technology Excellence Awards 2023” for its commitment to driving technological innovation across traditional industries and property management through the application of smart manufacturing and robotics technology.
Two inventions, “Smart Pack@TCM” and the “IoT Smart Toilet Cleaning System,” have been recognised in the categories of “Smart Technology-Manufacturing Technology” and “Robotics-Property Service,” respectively.
The Executive Director of HKPC underscored the importance of integrating technology and innovation in line with President Xi Jinping’s recent call to harness technological and innovative resources. President Xi emphasised the need to drive emerging and future industries while accelerating the establishment of new productivity standards.
HKPC will continue to push the boundaries of innovation, striving to create industrialisation solutions that not only meet but exceed customer expectations. The recognition received at the local business technology awards underscores HKPC’s dedication to delivering cutting-edge solutions that enhance convenience and efficiency across various sectors. With a commitment to working closely with industries, HKPC aims to develop more innovative technology applications, bolstering competitiveness and productivity and contributing significantly to a smarter and sustainable future.
One of HKPC’s notable achievements is its collaboration with a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) manufacturer renowned for its certification with Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) for Proprietary Chinese Medicines. Together, they designed and established the “Smart Pack@TCM,” a GMP-compliant smart packaging system for traditional Chinese medicine powders.
The system leverages cutting-edge technologies, including intelligent robotics, machine vision systems, mechanical structures, and control software, to meet the complex and stringent requirements of packaging traditional Chinese medicine powders.
The “Smart Pack@TCM” system represents a groundbreaking leap in the traditional Chinese medicine industry’s journey towards new industrialisation. By integrating three industrial robots and nine machine vision systems, the solution achieves precise and high-speed insertion of small medicine vials into metal cans. It accommodates packaging materials of varying sizes, shapes, and colours, resulting in a remarkable doubling of packaging output and a staggering 90% reduction in manpower requirements.
The freed-up manpower can be redeployed to handle other essential tasks. Furthermore, the system significantly enhances packaging quality and stability while providing real-time data for improved production management efficiency and enhanced market competitiveness.
The Executive Director of the TCM manufacturer praised the collaboration, highlighting the brand’s strong emphasis on product quality and reputation in the traditional Chinese medicine industry. Traditionally, the packaging and production of traditional Chinese medicine involved intricate and labour-intensive processes that demanded a substantial workforce.
However, thanks to the tailored efforts of HKPC, an exceptional smart packaging system was devised for their factory. This revolutionary solution effectively doubled their packaging output, allowing manpower to be reallocated to tasks that cannot be automated, such as herb processing. As a result, the overall efficiency of the company experienced a significant boost, marking a transformative moment in its operations.
Another achievement by HKPC is the co-development of the “IoT Smart Toilet Cleaning System” with the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) of the HKSAR Government. This innovative system harnesses the power of the Internet of Things (IoT) to provide autonomous cleaning functionality, making it more convenient for application and management in various venues. The system comprises a toilet bowl cleaning robot, an automated guided vehicle, and an IoT-based sanitation monitoring platform.
The system is equipped with the ability to collect real-time data on the usage and odour levels of individual toilet cubicles, enabling precise monitoring of toilet cleanliness. In addition to scheduled cleaning, the robot can dynamically adjust its cleaning frequency based on data collected through IoT monitoring, ensuring that high-traffic areas receive the attention they require.
The robot employs artificial intelligence to conduct real-time image analysis of toilet bowl interiors, categorising cleanliness into three levels. Based on this assessment, the robot employs specific cleaning modes with varying water usage and scrubbing procedures to effectively clean toilet bowl interiors and rims. After each cleaning cycle, the robot evaluates the cleaning results and initiates another cleaning cycle if stains are still detected.
Currently undergoing a trial run within the HKSAR Government premises, the “IoT Smart Toilet Cleaning System” represents a promising technological leap in enhancing sanitation and maintenance in public facilities. Plans are underway to commercialize this research and development outcome in the future. This remarkable innovation has also garnered acclaim at the “2023 World Genius Conference” organized by the International Federation of Inventors’ Associations.
The innovations showcased by the HKPC align with the goals of Hong Kong’s Smart City Blueprint. HKPC’s integration of advanced technologies, such as smart manufacturing and IoT, into traditional industries and property management resonates with the blueprint’s focus on technological integration.
These innovations enhance efficiency, foster innovation, and improve competitiveness while embracing sustainability principles. The collaboration between HKPC and the HKSAR Government in developing the “IoT Smart Toilet Cleaning System” exemplifies the blueprint’s emphasis on public-private partnerships.
OpenGov Asia previously reported on the establishment of the Committee on Innovation, Technology and Industry Development (CITID) by the HKSAR government. The move represents a pivotal step in aligning with Hong Kong’s Smart City Blueprint and its commitment to technological advancement.
CITID will promote research and development, nurture and attract I&T talent, and develop essential I&T infrastructure, all of which resonate with the objectives of advancing technology, innovation, efficiency, and sustainability as part of Hong Kong’s journey toward becoming a smarter city.
CITID will also contribute to the realisation of new industrialisation strategies; these are complemented by HKPC’s recent innovations and the government’s commitment to driving technological transformation across traditional industries and property management.
The 13th Singapore-US Strategic Security Policy Dialogue (SSPD) was convened, and co-chaired by Permanent Secretary of Defence, Chan Heng Kee and United States Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Sasha Baker. This dialogue, embedded within the 2005 Strategic Framework Agreement and Defence Cooperation Agreement, serves as a cornerstone for shaping the future of Singapore-US defence relations.
Beyond the traditional domains of defence, Singapore and the US are venturing into uncharted territory – cybersecurity and critical emerging technologies. This signifies a strategic shift that acknowledges the evolving nature of security threats in the digital age.
Both nations have recognised the enduring strength of their bilateral defence relationship. Singapore’s unwavering support for the U.S. regional presence, outlined in the 1990 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) Regarding the U.S. use of Facilities (1990 MoU), remains a crucial pillar of their alliance. Simultaneously, the US continues to bolster the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) capabilities through overseas training and technology access. This includes the RSAF’s acquisition of the cutting-edge F-35 fighter aircraft.
The dialogue marked a significant milestone by introducing discussions on cybersecurity. In an interconnected world, where information is power, securing digital infrastructure cannot be overstated.
By engaging in collaborative efforts to enhance their cyber defences, Singapore and the US are not only safeguarding their interests but also contributing to global cybersecurity resilience. This proactive approach sets a precedent for other nations to follow suit and collectively combat cyber threats.
Also, the emphasis on critical and emerging technologies highlights the foresight of both nations. In today’s fast-paced technological landscape, advancements in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), quantum computing, and biotechnology can tip the scales of national security.
By pooling their expertise and resources, Singapore and the US are positioning themselves at the forefront of innovation, ensuring they are well-prepared for the security challenges of the future.
The dialogue also featured discussions on regional developments and the continued engagement of the US in the Asia-Pacific region. The ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM)-Plus framework serves as a platform for constructive dialogue and cooperation among ASEAN member states and their partners. Singapore and the US both recognise the significance of this framework in promoting regional stability and security.
Regular bilateral and multilateral training exercises form another vital facet of this partnership. Exercises like Tiger Balm, Pacific Griffin, Commando Sling, Red Flag, and Super Garuda Shield serve as platforms for joint training and skill development. These exercises not only enhance the operational readiness of both armed forces but also foster greater cooperation and understanding between Singapore and the US.
One noteworthy aspect of this collaboration is the US’s support for SAF’s overseas training, exemplified by Exercise Forging Sabre. This training, conducted at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, has played a pivotal role in honing the skills of RSAF personnel.
In 2023, two RSAF detachments, Peace Carvin II (F-16 fighter aircraft) and Peace Vanguard (Apache AH-64 helicopters), marked their 30th and 20th anniversaries of training in the US, respectively. These milestones are a testament to the enduring nature of the Singapore-US defence relationship.
The 13th Singapore-US Strategic Security Policy Dialogue not only reaffirmed the steadfast commitment of both nations to their long-standing defence partnership but also showcased their readiness to adapt to the evolving security landscape.
As reports cited the inclusion of cybersecurity and critical emerging technologies in the discussions reflects the forward-thinking approach to safeguarding the national interests of both nations. As they continue to train together, exchange knowledge, and invest in cutting-edge technologies, Singapore and the US are poised to navigate the complex challenges of the future, hand in hand.
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) announced the initiation of the Green Fintech Competition, which will serve as a pivotal step towards promoting the integration of innovative green fintech solutions within the Hong Kong banking sector. The primary objective of this initiative is to bolster the resilience of the banking industry against the looming climate risks.
The competition is a call to action for both local green fintech companies and their international counterparts. It invites these innovative firms to participate and demonstrate how their technological solutions can be harnessed effectively within the banking industry. The competition centres around four key themes, each addressing a crucial aspect of sustainable finance:
- Net-zero Transition or Transition Planning: This theme emphasises the pivotal role of fintech in facilitating the transition towards a net-zero economy. It aims to uncover innovative solutions that can assist banks in their journey towards carbon neutrality.
- Climate Risk Management: Climate risks have become a central concern in the financial sector. Fintech solutions are sought to help banks better understand, assess, and manage these risks effectively.
- Green and Sustainable Finance: The theme of green and sustainable finance underscores the importance of fintech in enabling financial institutions to channel their resources towards environmentally responsible investments.
- Sustainability or Climate-related Disclosure and Reporting: Transparency and disclosure are critical components of sustainable finance. Fintech solutions that enhance the disclosure and reporting of sustainability and climate-related information are in high demand.
These themes were carefully crafted in response to industry feedback, reflecting the pressing challenges faced by the Hong Kong banking sector. The competition encourages participating firms to develop market-ready solutions that align with at least one of these themes. Detailed problem statements for each theme can be found on the official competition website, offering valuable guidance for prospective participants. Firms are also free to propose alternative problem statements that they believe are relevant to the overarching themes.
A panel of judges will evaluate the submitted solutions, comprising representatives from the public and private sectors. This panel includes experts from the banking and technology sectors, professional associations, and academia. The winners of the competition will be granted a unique opportunity to fast-track their entry into the Cyberport Incubation Program. This program is designed to provide comprehensive business support, aiding in the development and growth of green fintech solutions.
Finalists will be invited to participate in and host exhibition booths at the HKMA’s “Green and Sustainable Banking Conference,” scheduled for December 2023, offering a platform for in-depth exchanges with industry professionals and an opportunity to showcase their solutions. It also serves as a valuable forum for exploring potential collaborations with key stakeholders in the financial sector.
In addition to these benefits, participants will have access to tailored consultation services provided by InvestHK. These services are designed to offer further insights into the Hong Kong market, ensuring that their fintech solutions are finely tuned to meet the specific needs and demands of this dynamic financial hub.
The initiative represents a significant step forward in embracing innovative fintech solutions to address critical environmental and sustainability challenges. By inviting participation from both local and global green fintech firms, the competition aims to harness the collective power of technology and finance to build a more sustainable future for the banking industry in Hong Kong and beyond.
Previously, OpenGov Asia reported on the recent bilateral meeting between the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates (CBUAE) and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) holds great significance for the Green Fintech Competition initiated by the HKMA. During the meeting, the central banks agreed to strengthen collaboration in key areas including financial infrastructure, financial market connectivity, and virtual asset regulations, all of which align with the competition’s objectives.
This collaboration, along with the establishment of a joint working group and knowledge-sharing initiatives, is set to amplify the impact of initiatives like the Green Fintech Competition by creating a more interconnected and sustainable global financial ecosystem.
The Centre for Memory Studies at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-Madras) has introduced the ‘MovingMemory’ application, which harnesses both augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) technologies to capture diverse moving models of memory through digital reconstruction. It was designed to enhance the tourist experience at cultural and heritage sites. It offers virtual tours of famous places in India.
The app’s features allow users to choose their preferred avatar and navigate through three-dimensional spaces. According to a statement from IIT-Madras, it is embedded with additional layers of video, audio, 3D images, and interactive elements which may be used as models for sustainable and heritage-oriented pedagogic and research approaches.
Once the app becomes available to the public, MovingMemory can be accessed from both Android and iOS devices, as well as through browser-based platforms, setting it apart as a uniquely inclusive application. It is a spatial app created with the capability to exist within the metaverse realm.
MovingMemory was introduced at the second annual conference of the Indian Network for Memory Studies, titled ‘Memory, Ecology, and Sustainability.’ It was organised jointly by the Indian Network for Memory Studies and the Centre for Memory Studies at IIT- Madras. It covers a wide range of human-centred technologies and policies related to cultural memory and sustainable development goals, both within India and on a global scale.
At the inaugural event, IIT-Madras Director, V. Kamakoti, said, “It is crucial that we foreground the urgent need to incorporate collective memory in our understanding and ability to anticipate policies related to ecological issues such as climate change. Human as well as non-human forms of memory (such as the memory of water and the memory of nature) such as the Spanish Flu and the 2015 Chennai floods may be studied through interdisciplinary and collaborative formats in order to further memory studies as a discipline.”
The conference aims to connect rituals of remembering and experiencing the environment to systems of sustainability, which assume material, cultural, and technological dimensions through significant events like disasters and floods and long-term processes of change.
The international conference attracted approximately 100 presenters and more than 500 attendees from across India, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, New Zealand, Morocco, Canada, Sweden, Bangladesh, and other countries.
An official at the event said that the conference, like all other research activities at the Centre for Memory Studies at IIT-Madras, seeks to bridge technology studies and humanities. Its purpose is to provide a more complex model of engaging with memory, ecology, and sustainability, while also connecting to issues such as disaster studies, anticipatory governance, and durability.
Another expert from IIT-Madras noted the importance of reexamining pre-modern modes of memory and resilience and integrating those with the post-modern modes through which ecology and sustainability practices may receive a more nuanced understanding. These interdisciplinary practices have triggered a paradigm shift in both humanities education and research.
IIT-Madras has undertaken several initiatives in the field of AR/VR. In April, it announced it was developing instructional and educational models that use AR/VR technologies, aimed at assisting secondary schools in rural regions of the country. As OpenGov Asia reported, the initiative provides students with unique opportunities to engage in immersive and experiential learning through VR-enabled technology. Subjects like social science, history, sciences, and languages can be effectively taught using AR/VR world-building, digital storytelling, and educational games. An inaugural AR-based mobile app was launched to capture the history of the transnational Anglo-Indian community across 500 years.