India’s largest iron-ore miner goes digital with SAP

India’s state-owned National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC), the country’s largest iron-ore producer, has implemented a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution from software company SAP.

This means that NMDC’s end-to-end business processes will be consolidated under the ERP, leading to an improvement in operational efficiency.

As such, various business areas and departments in the NMDC, including Production, Procurement, Finance, and Human Resources Management will be scaled with increased administrative ease. This will lead to an overall improvement in customer satisfaction, according to company executives.

“NMDC has always been at the forefront in enhancing economic & social values and simultaneously focusing on optimum utilisation of resources by adopting latest technological initiatives. The ERP will place NMDC in a different league in the mining sector,” said Sumit Deb, Chief Managing Director of NMDC.

Amitava Mukherjee, Director of Finance at NMDC, pointed out that the organisation’s decision to integrate illustrates NMDC’s commitment to upholding company transparency and preparing for future digital initiatives.

The Indian mining industry has been a laggard when it comes to using tech and with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push for Digital India, effort are on to embrace digital holistically.

The country’s mining sector is expected to see a flurry of action this new year with the central government’s approvals for pending mining reforms, expected in January itself and efforts continuing to bolster overall mineral output.

The reforms will pave the way for auctioning of at least 500 mineral blocks, Mines Secretary Anil Kumar Jain told PTI and emphasised that calendar year 2021 will be a “bridge year between the past and the future”.Among mining companies, NMDC is expected to stand out with 91 per cent year-on-year growth in EBITDA or Earnings Before Interest Tax Depreciation and Amortisation, according to Edelweiss Research.

Thailand’s Economic Corridor will be the first to launch 5G in Southeast Asia

Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), will become the first special economic region in Southeast Asia to offer 5G telecommunications connectivity.

EEC Secretary General, Dr. Kanit Sangsubhan, revealed in a recent interview that 5G signals are already in place in the region, and the government is working with companies and local residents to develop the best 5G solutions.

“Half the area of the EEC will be covered by 5G by February 2021,” explained Dr. Kanit. The fifth generation wireless technology of 5G comes with higher speeds, lower latency and the ability to connect an unimaginable number of devices.

The EEC, stretching through South and East Bangkok, is a 13,000 square kilometer hub that is home to some of the largest global suppliers of tech products and services.

Developed in 2018, the EEC is responsible for accelerating Thailand’s digital economy strategy, known as Thailand 4.0, and aims to propel the country into developed nation status by 2035.

After 5G, the Thai government and private investors will then be spending $3.3 billion (100 billion baht) to construct a 220-kilometer high-speed train connecting the EEC with Bangkok’s two airports, Suvarnabhumi Airport and Don Muang Airport.

In February 2020, both Advanced Wireless Network and True Move H Universal Communication won 2600-megahertz in a 5G spectrum license auction. By February 2021, the companies are required to provide 5G network coverage for at least 50% of the Eastern Economic Corridor which includes the provinces Chachoengsao, Chon Buri and Rayong.

Deputy secretary general Sutisak Tantayotin told The Bangkok Post that the launch of 5G enabled headsets and compatible smartphones like the iPhone 12 also pushed the commission to speed things up.

“We found the combined 5G network roll-out by AWN and TUC covers more than 70 per cent of the EEC area,” he added.

In December, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, or NBTC, said that they are ahead of schedule for the 5G rollout. This move also needs to be seen in the backdrop of Thailand ranking fourth globally, when it comes to losing out on tourism revenue, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mindset launches India Subsidiary

Minnesota headquartered Mindset, a global leader in the delivery of UX and experience-driven software and solutions built for the SAP platform, announced its Indian subsidiary, Mindset Experience India Private Limited. 

This move is a part of Mindset’s ongoing vision of building increasingly strong SAP capabilities in the region, the company said in a statement. The Mindset in India team will be located in Bengaluru and Hyderabad.

“Our expansion to India will help Mindset in achieving three key objectives,” said Mindset CEO, Gavin Quinn. “First it will provide greater global scale to our growing SAP S/4HANA practice. Next, it allows us to build a comprehensive world-class team in India that will provide end-to-end capabilities rather than simply being an offshore implementation and delivery wing. Finally, it will position us to better expand our business capabilities for our Asia Pacific customers.”

The India subsidiary will be led by Parvathy Sankar who has joined Mindset as the Managing Director (APJ) and Vice President of Product Strategy for Mindset. 

Parvathy Sankar, an MBA from IMD International Switzerland and an alumnus of NIT Trichy, joined Mindset in August 2020 following 21 plus years of experience across India, Germany, and Belgium. In her sixteen and half years at SAP, she led several strategic projects in various roles across R&D, HR, Solution and Product Management. Most recently, she was Senior Director for Strategic Projects in SAP S/4HANA Product Management and Co-innovation heading strategic projects in Product Management. Leveraging her broad experience in the SAP world, Parvathy will ensure successful growth of Mindset’s portfolio, with Mindset subsidiary in India as one of its key vehicles.

“After months of laying the groundwork it is very exciting to finally welcome our teams and share the news of the start of Mindset operations in India,” added Parvathy Sankar. “We start with a strong team that we plan to quadruple over the midterm. It’s a testimony to Mindset’s culture that all employees from our long term partner, Quality Ideas CyberTech Private Limited will join us as we start our journey in India. The Mindset team in India will be a seamless part of US Headquarters focusing on driving the value-add products of Mindset. We will, from India, bring Mindset’s state-of-art philosophy of design-centric and experience-based solutions to SAP customers around the world.”

An SAP Partner, Mindset is one of the leaders in innovation and design-centric enablement utilizing the next generation of the SAP development platform. Mindset is the provider of choice for leading organizations that rely on SAP to drive their businesses. Mindset’s solutions include Design, Custom Development, Implementation Services, Strategic Services and Managed Services utilizing SAP’s S/4HANA, Cloud, Fiori, IoT, EWM and Mobile platforms. Mindset’s Software Solutions include the Mindset App Analyzer for Fiori, Mindset’s TM Driver, and Mindset SafeTransport.  The company also provides SAP Experts for the full spectrum of SAP products.

Since 2010, Mindset has helped leading global organizations to leverage user experience (UX) and advanced development to meet today’s emerging business demands.

Awantec partners with Huawei for public sector digitalisation

Malaysia-based IT firm Awantec (formerly known as Prestariang Bhd) has collaborated with Huawei Technologies to drive digital transformation in the country’s public sector.

In a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by both companies, Awantec will be leveraging Huawei’s cloud and AI services to digitalise its operations, including infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), software as a service (SaaS), and anything as a service (XaaS).

On the other hand, Huawei will benefit from Awantec’s extensive network of clientele in Malaysia: Awantec will be Huawei’s latest Managed Services Partner (MSP) and promote the adoption of Huawei’s products and services.

Awantec President and Group CEO, Dr Abu Hasan Ismail, said that as the Malaysian government’s trusted IT services partner, this partnership will strengthen the country’s preparedness when Malaysia embarks on its first cloud policy.

“Together with Huawei, we look forward to opening opportunities, training and building technical and competent talent teams here in Malaysia,” he said.

Huawei Malaysia CEO, Michael Yuan, added that this collaboration will serve to give Malaysia’s digital economy a significant boost.

“Cloud computing, as we know, is the backbone of digital transformation. Paired with AI, these technologies will introduce greater flexibility, agility and resilience to processes within Malaysia’s public sector,” he said.

Reserve Bank of India launches Digital Payments Index

In what could be a first of its kind initiative, India’s banking regulatory body Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has launched a composite Digital Payments Index (DPI) to capture the extent of digitisation of payments across the country.

The RBI-DPI comprises 5 broad parameters that enable measurement of deepening and penetration of digital payments in the country over different time periods.

These parameters are

(1) Payment Enablers – which carry a 25% weightage

(2) Payment Infrastructure – Demand-side factors, which carry a 10% weightage

(3) Payment Infrastructure – Supply-side factors, which carry a 15% weightage

(4) Payment Performance, which carry a 45% weightage and

(5) Consumer Centricity, which carry a 5% weightage

Each of these parameters have sub-parameters which, in turn, consist of various other measurable indicators.

The RBI-DPI has been constructed with March 2018 as the base period. What this means is that DPI score for March 2018 is set at 100. The DPI for March 2019 and March 2020 work out to 153.47 and 207.84 respectively, indicating appreciable growth. Going forward, RBI-DPI shall be published on RBI’s website on a semi-annual basis from March 2021 onwards with a lag of 4 months.

This development needs to be seen in the backdrop of a surge in digital payments adoption post the Indian government’s demonetisation push in 2016. A recent KPMG report in August 2020 pointed out that going forward card payments will rise significantly mainly driven by contactless transactions, as a result of COVID-19. Further mobile wallets, payment gateway transactions and online bill payments through Bharat Bill Payments (BBPS) will rise significantly. For October, bill payments jumped 58 per cent to 23.7 million with almost $533 million worth of transactions digitally.

Further, Unified Payments Interface (UPI) saw a massive increase in adoption. It has almost doubled in 2020 both in terms of volume and value. UPI saw its growth being driven by larger adoption of digital payments across categories, along with its usage in QR code-based payments. Further the launch of UPI 2.0 has helped open up new use cases on the platform and has managed to set itself up as a default P2P payment mode.

You can glean more insights on Digital Payments during W.Media’s Digital Week 2021, from February 23-26. https://w.media/digital-events/

Indosat Ooredoo partners with Ericsson to continue its digital transformation

Indosat Ooredoo, Indonesia’s largest telecommunications provider, has selected Ericsson to digitally transform its business support systems for a fully digitised customer experience.

Indosat Ooredoo will leverage Ericsson’s Digital Monetisation Platform (DMP) to boost its 5G, IoT, and digital services offerings to individual customers and enterprises.

Medhat Elhusseiny, Chief Technology and Information Officer at Indosat Ooredoo, said that with Ericsson’s DMP, Indosat Ooredoo will enable the simplification of business processes, and flexible integration of third-party services for a more enjoyable user experience.

The platform includes open APIs and micro services architecture that supports speedy integration of new channels and services. Through DevOps, business activities such as new services design, orchestration and monetisation are expected to be carried out more efficiently.

“This partnership will drive agility and innovation to continue enhancing our customer experience for both consumers and enterprises,” said Mr. Elhusseiny.

With the platform, Indosat Ooredoo will be able to reduce cost for streamlined operations, thereby increasing their competitiveness in Indonesia’s telecommunications market.

“Ericsson’s Digital Monetisation Platform will empower Indosat Ooredoo to monetise assets while meeting customer demands with new offers and enable flexibility to meet market demands,” said Jerry Soper, Country Head of Ericsson Indonesia.

Indosat Ooredoo and Ericsson have a longstanding partnership that dates back to collaborations in 2G, 3G, and 4G technology.

SAP to lead digital transformation of Hong Kong’s iconic Ocean Park

SAP has revealed it will continue to support Hong Kong’s iconic tourist attraction, Ocean Park, in its digital transformation journey.

Going forward with the 11-year partnership, SAP will provide Ocean Park with their enterprise resource planning solution and SAP SuccessFactors, its cloud-based SaaS platform for human resource management.

“All businesses today are facing extreme challenges and an increasingly complex digital landscape. Organisations like Ocean Park that are transforming for the digital age by keeping their people at the centre of all of their decisions are the most agile and effective,” said Fabian Padilla Crisol, Managing Director of SAP Hong Kong.

The SAP ERP solution was used as a catalyst for cultural change at Ocean Park to connect their entire organisation and share information on a single centralised platform.

“When everyone has access to a wealth of neutral and unbiased information, we get better insights and can make better decisions. Tying this into our SuccessFactors platform helps us keep employees motivated, engaged and at the heart of everything we do,” said Mimi Fu, the Executive Director of Human Resources at Ocean Park.

Ocean Park currently runs SAP’s SuccessFactors Performance and Goals solution, and SAP’s Learning Management System. Added integration of SAP’s services is expected to increase the Park’s productivity, efficiency, and customer engagement. 

SAP SuccessFactors is one of the largest cloud-based HRM software providers in the world. Over 7,000 customers from 200 regions use SuccessFactors in their day-to-day HR operations.

By Jie Yee Ong, Tech Reporter

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Huawei Malaysia launches digital transformation program for local tech startups

Huawei Malaysia has teamed up with the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) to launch a brand new digital transformation program for tech startups in the country. 

The Huawei Spark Program, jointly presented by Huawei and MDEC’s Global Acceleration and Innovation Network Programme (GAIN) aims to incubate and accelerate the growth of tech startups in Malaysia in order to build a comprehensive tech ecosystem in the Asia-Pacific region.

“There is a rise in demand for digital solutions and deep tech innovations so MDEC’s GAIN program partnership with Huawei for the Spark Program is very timely,” commented Dato’ Ng Wan Peng, Chief Operating Officer of MDEC.

The programme will be powered by national telco carrier TM One through its Alpha Edge Cloud platform. The competition was launched online followed by a panel discussion featuring experts from Huawei, MDEC and TM ONE on the tech ecosystem in Malaysia.

“It will provide local tech companies with the opportunity to gain financial support, test their go-to-market strategies, and connect with mentors, among others,” Mr. Ng said.

Leveraging Huawei’s expertise in deep tech, the program will provide support to tech startups that are investing in next-generation technology, especially those focusing on 5G, AI and machine learning, analytics, Internet of Things (IoT), edge computing and Software as a Service (SaaS) applications.

Driving Digital Transformation in Malaysia

Michael Yuan, CEO of Huawei Malaysia, said that as a global leader in technology, it is Huawei’s responsibility to help local startups in their digitalisation journey and contribute to the tech ecosystem.

“Through this collaboration, I believe we will be able to create a conducive space for businesses to grow, to build a healthy ecosystem where they can thrive, and together with their innovative solutions, drive digital transformation across the country to firmly position Malaysia as the Heart of Digital ASEAN,” said Mr. Yuan.

“Innovation is borderless and when we collaborate, we flourish,” he added.

Key sectors that Huawei Spark will focus on include e-commerce, fintech, manufacturing, and smart city development.

“In today’s digital age, cloud is the backbone technology powering all other innovative technologies such as 5G, AI/Machine Learning and Analytics, IoT, and Edge Computing,” said Mohamad Rejab Sulaiman, the General Manager of Data Centre, Cloud and Internet at TM ONE.

Companies can submit their pitches during the application period between November 12 2020 and January 11 2021. The top prize includes US$125,000 worth of Cloud credits for the company to build their technology stack, one-on-one mentoring and networking opportunities with industry experts, and a chance at being immortalised in a “Hall of Fame” by being featured in advertorials published by Huawei and MDEC GAIN.

By Jie Yee Ong, Tech Reporter

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Vietnam’s Viettel becomes first 5G carrier in the country

Viettel, Vietnam’s leading telecommunications operator, has become the first in the country to launch 5G for customers.

Viettel users in Vietnam’s Hoan Kiem, Ba Dinh, and Hai Ba Trung Districts in Hanoi can now enjoy high-speed 5G Internet without a SIM card upgrade.

“Similar to the previous universalisation of cell phones in Vietnam, Viettel, as Vietnam’s largest telecommunications and IT enterprise, will continue to pioneer the creation of a digital society,” said Major General Le Dang Dung, Chairman-cum-General Director of Viettel Group.

The company says that its 5G can reach up to 1.2 to 1.5 Gbps in speed, ten times faster than 4G, and is currently the fastest in Vietnam. This means that users are able to download a 90-minute movie in 30 seconds.

With 5G real-time connectivity, the technology is also expected to make an important contribution to remote medical examination, treatment and surgery in Vietnam.

“The cutting-edge telecommunications infrastructure is a must for Industry 4.0,” he added.

Viettel’s 5G base transceiver stations use Non-Standalone Access (NSA) architecture, which is a technology that builds on 4G and allows operators to launch 5G early. 

Typically, when 5G is successfully trialled or rolled out, operators will then transition into Standalone Access (SA) technology.

NSA is also currently being used by major telcos in other countries, such as South Korea’s SK Telecom and KT, Verizon in the US and Vodafone in the UK.

“Viettel Group has completed the ecosystem from digital infrastructure, digital solutions, digital finance, digital content, logistics and e-commerce, so far, meeting the needs of building e-government and developing digital economy and digital society in Vietnam,” he said.

After Hanoi, Viettel’s 5G will be expanded into Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh. During the trial period, Viettel will provide unlimited 5G data free of charge.

By Jie Yee Ong, Tech Reporter

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PLDT to install two fiber landing stations in 2021

Philippine conglomerate PLDT has announced plans to install two cable landing stations to increase network connectivity in the country.

The company will be executing the project via its telecommunications subsidiary, Smart Communications. 

Exact locations of the new cable landing stations have not been confirmed, but PLDT Chairman and CEO Manuel Pangilinan assured that his company is making significant investments in the sector.

“I think that’s something a single fixed broadband operator cannot do. We can do that because we are using fiber, not only for fiber-to-the-home, but also for mobile and for enterprise customers,” Mr. Panglinan said.

PLDT already has three cable landing stations and at least two more are set for next year. These are intended to improve Smart’s wireless networks like LTE and 5G, as well as connections to their data centers.

The ongoing expansion work will eventually extend PLDT’s fiber footprint by 81,000 km, which will be 31,000km more than the amount in 2020, and 50,000km more than the amount in 2021.

PLDT’s efforts to connect more Filipinos

Aside from the new cable landing stations, earlier this month PLDT and Smart revealed their goal to increase broadband links in the Philippines from 72,000 links to 100,000 links a month.

According to local media reports, PLDT and Smart currently have the most extensive and advanced digital networks in the country, with a total of 395,000 kilometers in coverage. 

The new cable landing station will thus add to the conglomerate’s sizable network reach, providing greater connectivity for Philippine citizens.

“5G without fiber will not work, and therefore we have a high synergy between the various networks. In the last couple of years, we have deployed the strategy called ‘follow the fiber.’ Wherever there is fiber, we can connect any business, fiber-to-the-home, fiber-to-the-enterprise and fiber-to-the-base-station,” added Panglinan. 

PLDT and Smart are also part of a network of 16 international cable systems, including the recently announced high-performance submarine cable by international consortium Asia Direct Cable.

By Jie Yee Ong, Tech Reporter

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Lumen launches Managed Endpoint Detection and Response (MEDR) for Asia Pacific market

Lumen (formerly known as CenturyLink) has launched its Managed Endpoint Detection and Response (MEDR) service for businesses in Asia Pacific.

The new solution aims to keep organisations secure in a time when smart, connected devices are everywhere and workforces require remote access.

Lumen MEDR uses artificial intelligence to detect and identify threats on devices, including attacks and attempts that may have bypassed measures such as antivirus software and endpoint protection. Once identified, MEDR will launch a remediation in real-time and restore devices back to its original state.

“These endpoints create a larger and more vulnerable attack surface for cybercriminals, and they are highly susceptible to exploits,” said Cheah Wai Kit, the Director of Product Management (Security) at Lumen Asia Pacific.

According to Lumen, research has shown that more than 90% of successful data breaches begin with an attack on users.

“Lumen MEDR provides the first line of defense where it matters most, starting at the endpoints,” added Mr. Cheah.

Lumen MEDR also provides 24/7 customer service support to its clients.

Cybersecurity Collaboration with IDC Secure

Alongside this, Lumen has also announced a collaboration with IT services provider IDC to launch IDC X-Secure, an interactive security assessment tool to offer guidance to businesses on issues concerning digital security.

“As enterprises continue to pursue their digital transformation initiatives, they are starting to realise their limitations in fending off cyberthreats proactively. IDC is seeing a rise in organisations partnering with a managed security services provider to combat the evolving cyberthreat landscape,” said Simon Piff, Vice President of Security Practice at IDC Asia Pacific.

According to IDC’s semi-annual security spending report, investments in security-related products and services in Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) will reach US$28.2 billion by 2022, with spending on managed security services accounting for almost half of Asia Pacific’s cybersecurity market by 2023.

“As part of a robust security strategy, businesses need to have the visibility to detect and respond to attacks before they turn into breaches. This eventually reduces the time it takes to investigate, eradicate and contain incidents in their corporate environments,” added Mr. Piff.

IDC X-Secure will offer its expertise on cybersecurity’s global best practices, with peer comparisons and gap analyses to help IT professionals achieve cybersecurity requirements.

“IDC’s X-Secure dives into critical elements of businesses’ security strategy and provides IT leaders with practical scenarios and solutions to mitigate cyber risks,” concluded Mr. Piff.

Security services are also predicted to be the largest and fastest-growing segment with a value of US$6.3 billion, thanks to the rising use of managed services to fend off and respond to cyberattacks.

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Jie Yee Ong

Tech Reporter, W.Media

editor@w.media