WA's Main Roads CRM Platform Migrates to Cloud – OpenGov Asia

Western Australia’s Main Roads has completed the migration of its customer relationship management (CRM) system into the cloud in collaboration with an American multinational technology corporation. The government agency has transitioned CONNECT, a Dynamics-powered CRM suite by the company, to the cloud as part of a nine-month project.
The project, supported by ASG and WithPrecision, is aimed at modernising the legacy system and providing enhanced support for its network operations centre. The new cloud-based CONNECT platform is being integrated with Main Roads’ raft of legacy software, including its Oracle-based road data application and its record-keeping systems.
Main Roads is planning to create an Azure Data Lake to store data from different systems. To enhance its data and analytics capabilities, the agency also plans to make more use of Microsoft’s Power Platform to turn the stored data into actionable insights.
The platform has been customised to support the agency’s 24/7 Customer Information Centre by allowing staff to record calls as a customer activity or convert them into a case or fault report. Activities, cases or fault reports can also be linked to customised Project pages providing a centralised view of all customer interactions related to road projects across WA.
Main Roads CRM System Manager stated that the new platform has been well received by users. He noted that people very quickly could see the advantage of having a centralised customer system and start building a more holistic view of our customers. It gives the team a real-time view of what’s going on within infrastructure delivery projects which they never had before.
OpenGov Asia recently reported that Transport for NSW is hoping that aggregated data collected by a Dutch consumer electronics company and LiDAR systems might provide it with more timely insight into conditions and hazards on the state’s road network. The agency, in collaboration with iMOVE Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), currently relies on videos taken by crews for safety assessments, from which certain road attributes are extracted.
However, TfNSW wants to speed up the process, and has embarked on a project that will “convert raw data… into an international standard five-star rating system”. The project will deliver 20,000 km of road attributes in NSW using TomTom’s MN-R map data, as well as prove feature extraction techniques and machine learning for LiDAR data.
MN-R is the model that the consumer electronics company uses to keep its mapping data up-to-date. It combines several layers of data collection techniques, including from the use of its navigation systems and from sensors.
In addition to understanding road conditions and hazards, TfNSW hopes the project could also lead to the development of predictive algorithms around injuries and fatalities in the future. The project will feed into a global ‘AiRAP’ initiative from a non-profit roads rating agency, the International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP).
TfNSW is also working with the University of Technology Sydney and geospatial data experts an NSW software company on the project. The local company has previously partnered with the consumer electronics company to extract more than 50 road assets and safety features such as road markings, safety barriers and trees from LiDAR data.
The IRAP global innovation manager, who is overseeing the project, said AI had the “potential to reduce costs and increase the frequency and accuracy of data”. She noted that making faster and more affordable data collection possible means that safety assessments can be done on an annual basis across the whole road network.
The global road safety market size was valued at US$2.88 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.4% from 2021 to 2028. During the COVID-19 pandemic, road fatalities witnessed a sharp decline.
Self-driving cars are likely to be the future of transportation, but safety concerns are hurdles that researchers have to overcome to make fully autonomous vehicles become a reality. To accelerate that timeline, U.S. researchers have developed the first set of “certifiable perception” algorithms, which could help protect the next generation of self-driving vehicles — and the vehicles they share the road with. When robots sense their surroundings, they must use algorithms to make estimations about the environment and their location.
These perception algorithms are designed to be fast, with little guarantee of whether the robot has succeeded in gaining a correct understanding of its surroundings. This is one of the biggest existing problems. Our lab is working to design certified algorithms that can tell you if these estimations are correct.
– Lead researcher
Robot perception begins with the robot capturing an image, such as a self-driving car taking a snapshot of an approaching car. The image goes through a machine-learning system called a neural network, which generates key points within the image about the approaching car’s mirrors, wheels, doors.
From there, lines are drawn that seek to trace the detected key points on the 2D car image to the labelled 3D key points in a 3D car model. The researchers must then solve an optimisation problem to rotate and translate the 3D model to align with the key points on the image. This 3D model will help the robot understand the real-world environment.
Each traced line must be analysed to see if it has created a correct match. Since many key points could be matched incorrectly. The team’s algorithm smooths the non-convex problem to become convex and finds successful matches. If the match is not correct, their algorithm will know how to continue trying until it finds the best solution, known as the global minimum. A certificate is given when there are no better solutions.
These certifiable algorithms have a huge potential impact because tools like self-driving cars must be robust and trustworthy. The goal is to make it so a driver will receive an alert to take over the steering wheel if the perception system has failed.
The 3D model gets morphed to match the 2D image by undergoing a linear combination of previously identified vehicles. For example, the model could shift from being an Audi to a Hyundai as it registers the correct build of the actual car. Identifying the approaching car’s dimensions is key to preventing collisions.
The lead researcher stated that to achieve trustworthy autonomy, it is time to embrace a diverse set of tools to design the next generation of safe perception algorithms. There must always be a failsafe since no human-made system can be perfect. The safety precautions for self-driving cars will take the power of both rigorous theory and computation to revolutionise what it can be successfully unveiled to the public.
U.S. researchers have been developing robotic technologies for various purposes, including to help people with disabilities. As reported by OpenGov Asia, U.S. Researchers have now developed an alternative approach that they believe could offer much more precise control of prosthetic limbs. After inserting small magnetic beads into muscle tissue within the amputated residuum, they can precisely measure the length of a muscle as it contracts, and this feedback can be relayed to a bionic prosthesis within milliseconds.
In a new study appearing today in Science Robotics, the researchers tested their new strategy, called magnetomicrometry (MM), and showed that it can provide fast and accurate muscle measurements in animals. They hope to test the approach in people with amputation within the next few years.
The Philippines Space Agency has reported that the Philippines to move forward with more of its establishment of satellites launched to space. According to the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the MULA (Multispectral Unit for Land Assessment) satellite, which is set to launch in 2023, is on the government’s priority list. With its added jet propulsion system, MULA will stay in space longer and take more images than other Filipino-made satellites that have previously been launched.
“I am looking forward to seeing how MULA’s enhanced imaging capabilities can help improve disaster management, land use and land cover change mapping, crop monitoring and forest monitoring,” he said during a virtual event on the Philippine Space Agency’s (PhilSA) social media page.
The results of our human resource development program are even beyond our expectations considering the difficult working environment where we are in right now. Our country partners like Japan are saying that we are catching up fast. I hope that government budgetary support will be stronger and continuing.
– DOST Secretary
It is said to be twice as heavy and larger than the Diwata-2 microsatellite, with more payloads and spectral bands, allowing it to support more image applications and satellite products. “MULA is very significant to the DOST. Aside from being the biggest Philippine satellite developed, this is the first satellite that the DOST is doing in coordination with PhilSA,” the DOST chief said.
The DOST Secretary is convinced in PhilSA’s ability to oversee the completion and expected launch of MULA, as well as manage and operate the satellite afterwards. “It gives me the pride to see first-hand how the DOST’s early space R&D (research and development) activities have helped capable young Filipino scientists and engineers,” the official said, adding that the MULA team’s dedication inspires him.
Using the satellite, Filipino researchers could use MULA to mitigate challenges such as water quality and marine resource sustainability, among others. The MULA satellite in low earth orbit can circle the globe ten times per day, expanding opportunities for market data or leveraging collaboration with other nations.
Furthermore, the launch of two locally built cube satellites (cubesats) to the International Space Station (ISS) – the Maya-3 and Maya-4 – has been delayed due to inclement weather. According to the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA), another attempt will be made. As per PhilSA’s Deputy Director-General, the cubesats will illustrate satellite stabilisation and control in orbit, onboard image processing and classification, as well as the use of solar cells and cubesat antennas, and test sensor and chip functionality.
In an interview, the Secretary of Science and Technology (DOST) asserted, “I am pleased that the country is meeting its targets and timelines in the space technology programme.” “The collaboration between DOST, PhilSA, and the University of the Philippines (UP) – Diliman has been quite effective,” he added.
Both cubesats were created as part of the STAMINA4Space (Space Technology and Applications Mastery, Innovation, and Advancement) Programme, which was funded by the DOST, UP Diliman, PhilSA, and Japan’s Kyushu Institute of Technology. The cubesats are nearly identical, weighing 1.15 kgs and measuring 10 cm (cm) X 10 cm X 11.35 cm.
Their missions included ground data acquisition demonstrations, image and video capture, detection and protection from single event latch-up due to space radiation, and GPS chip demonstrations, among others. Maya-1 was launched in 2018 and Maya-2 in 2021. Diwata 1 and 2, both microsatellites, were launched in 2016 and 2018, respectively. DOST previously noted that the projects will increase efforts to harness the power of satellite technology for other purposes such as agriculture, forest cover and natural resource inventory, weather forecasting, and disaster damage assessment and monitoring, among others.
The intelligent industry represented by robots is injecting new momentum into high-quality economic development and the global robot ecosystem is constantly improving in China. China also created an open platform to gather innovation resources, introduce new products and facilitate industrial cooperation. The robot industry needs to strengthen basic research and make technical breakthroughs to make more original innovations.
Secretary of China’s Leading Party Members Group called on to put enterprises at the dominant position of innovation and promote the integration of industries, universities and research agencies to better communicate science and create a sound social environment to boost the industry.
Chinese sci-tech and industrial communities should join hands with their global peers to develop intelligent industry and deepen innovative cooperation to make contributions to building a community with a shared future for mankind.
The robot industry is one of the major priorities in Beijing’s accelerating process to become an international sci-tech innovation centre.
– Mayor of Beijing
Beijing will give full play to its sci-tech advantages to provide support for the enterprises to carry out research, facilitate industrialisation and promote the coordinated development of robot enterprises with intelligent manufacturing.
The mayor of Beijing urged to gather all kinds of innovation elements to foster industrial champions and leading-position enterprises, establish joint platforms for innovation, cooperation and product test and verification, empower traditional industries with new modes and build highlands of robot innovation and application.
The Chinese government has attached great importance to boosting the high-quality development of the robot industry. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology must implement the important instructions of the President of China and follow the deployment of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council to promote China’s robot industry from 4 perspectives: consolidating the industrial foundation, enhancing product supply, expanding application and optimising industrial ecology.
The exhibition displayed more than 500 new products from more than 110 enterprises and research agencies. The medical treatment robots and the application of brain-computer interface technologies highlighted the exhibition. Relevant experts, scholars and entrepreneurs both at home and abroad, together with representatives of international agencies participated in the event in a combination form of online and on-spot.
According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), China has had the most industrial robots in operation globally since 2016. By 2020, China is expected to produce 150,000 industrial robot units and have 950,300 industrial robots in operation.
China’s robotics industry is large, but still has significant room for development. The Chinese government has recognised as much in its Made in China 2025 (MIC 2025) industrial policy, which identifies the robotics industry as a strategically important sector. This designation creates both opportunities and challenges for foreign investors.
MIC 2025 starts by listing the robotics industry, along with artificial intelligence and automation, as one of the priority sectors for high-end development to push forward the transformation and upgrading of the manufacturing industry.
China has been utilising robots in various fields, including healthcare with the development of vascular interventional surgical robots. As reported by OpenGov Asia, Chinese researchers from the Beijing Institute of Technology have cooperated with Beijing Tiantan Hospital and other units to research core technology optimisation and special consumables of vascular interventional surgery robots. The surgery robot has become the interventional robot product with the fastest research and development progress in China.
With the support of the project of the National Key R&D Programme of China “Industrialisation Research and Application of Minimally Invasive Vascular Interventional Surgery Robot”, the development of the robot was fully completed. At present, the surgical robot, after further technological upgrades, has taken the lead in entering the clinical trial stage registered by the NMPA (National Medical Products Administration), and 123 clinical trial cases have been completed.
The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), Malaysia’s lead agency in the digital economy, in collaboration with the Centre of Entrepreneur Development And Research (CEDAR), a subsidiary of SME Bank, recently announced a partnership to enable SMEs to adopt digitalisation that will play a crucial role as the nation moves toward economic recovery post-pandemic.
CEDAR has been appointed as a partner in MDEC’s SME Digital Accelerator programme, where it aims to train 1,000 businesses and match them with digital solutions and incentive facilities if required. This business transformation programme provides SMEs with a structured approach to kick-start their digital adoption journey and ensures implementation with outcome-based results.
SMEs are hit hard by the pandemic and need to relook at various aspects of their business beyond digital marketing. Operations need to be optimised, and digital technology is a key enabler.
Many SMEs are still in the dark on how to take the first step to adopt digitalisation and the SME Digital Accelerator programme aims to help them overcome barriers hindering digital adoption and propel the business further as we chart our course towards economic recovery.
The CEO of MDEC stated that the agency will continue to push forward the digitalisation needle in its bid to establish a progressive digital nation, advancing an inclusive digital economy and digital sovereignty, in line with its vision as well as the goals of the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint (MyDIGITAL).
Qualified and registered SMEs will participate in a three-day online training workshop where they will be exposed to ‘Lean Model Canvas’ and ‘Design Thinking’ modules, plus technology matching with a choice of over 400 Technology Solution Providers (TSPs). The goal of the programme is to assist SMEs in increasing revenue, reduction of man-hours and/or reduction of the process time cycle.
CEDAR will be providing a new and exciting business diagnostic platform for SMEs to determine what would be the best solutions for them, be it financial, technological or business needs.
The platform, called Enterprise Lifecycle Scoring Assessment or also known as ELSA, was co-developed with Malaysia Rating Corporation Berhad (MARC), which produces a report given to each SMEs that will be completing this programme, on the improvement areas of their entire business operations and business life cycle.
The Group President and CEO of the bank stated that through its subsidiary CEDAR, the bank has developed solutions beyond financing in helping SMEs weather the impact of COVID19 and towards recovery.
The bank’s ELSA tool and development training provide this opportunity for SMEs, where the report generated by ELSA will help SMEs identify which areas of improvement are needed for them to tackle. With over 400 TSPs (Technology Solution Provider) including partners such as Unifi and TM ONE, this initiative with MDEC will get SMEs to be onboard the digital bandwagon as aspired by our Government.
Facilities for SMEs in adopting digital solutions include SME Digitalisation Grant announced by the Government along with the SME Technology Transformation Fund (STTF) financing by SME Bank.
Other facilities provided by CEDAR include ScoreXcess, a digital platform that enables entrepreneurs to apply for business financing online from multiple financing agencies or institutions simultaneously through one single application; and ODELA, a self-regulated B2B e-commerce platform that taps on new technologies and custom-designed enabling entrepreneurs to make transactions digitally, facilitate supply and demand exchange, interconnecting the Internet of Behaviors (IoB) and partnership across vast ecosystems.
Air New Zealand and a leading aircraft manufacturer have announced a joint initiative to research how hydrogen-powered aircraft could be integrated into the fleet by 2030. The two organisations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on a joint research project to better understand the opportunities and challenges of flying zero-emission hydrogen aircraft in New Zealand – a first for the Asia-Pacific region.
Under the terms of the agreement, Air New Zealand will assess the impact of hydrogen aircraft on its network, operations, and infrastructure, while the manufacturer will provide hydrogen aircraft performance requirements and ground operations characteristics to assist Air New Zealand in developing its decarbonisation roadmap. The MoU, as per the Air New Zealand CEO, is an exciting step toward understanding how hydrogen-powered aircraft could become a reality in New Zealand.
This agreement with Air New Zealand will provide us with important insights about how we could put a zero-emission aircraft into service. The joint study will enable us to gain invaluable feedback on what airlines will expect and their preferences in terms of configuration and performance.
– Air New Zealand, Chief Operational Integrity and Safety Officer
New Zealand has a unique opportunity to be a world leader in the adoption of zero-emissions aircraft, given the country’s commitment to renewable energy which can be used to generate green hydrogen and our highly connected regional air network. It was felt that the agreement brings the nation closer to seeing low carbon solutions in place for our shorter domestic and regional flights in the next decade.
At this stage, it has been confirmed, that both hydrogen and battery electric aircraft are still viable as potential options for shorter domestic flights along with Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) for long haul operations. It is hoped that the research will help to inform future decision making as the company works towards net zero emissions by 2050.
OpenGov Asia reported in an article that New Zealand’s Climate Change Commission was established as a result of the Climate Change Response (Zero-Carbon) Amendment Act to advise the New Zealand Government on actions that will reduce carbon emissions and help the country meet its 2050 net-zero and low-emissions goals. The Climate Change Commission opened submissions in February this year to draught the advice, and among the submitters were both of New Zealand’s airlines, who support the move toward decarbonisation.
Wellington and Blenheim are preparing to ‘electrify their airports,’ laying the groundwork for commercial electric flights. Three twenty-seat electric passenger aircraft have been ordered by the regional airline. With the delivery of these planes not expected until 2026, there is still much work to be done to ensure that the necessary chargers are in place in time for the handover.
The Chief Commercial Officer for Wellington Airport said the travel hub is committed to assisting the airline to make history in getting the runway ready to handle the demands of electric aircraft. He felt that the Wellington to Blenheim route was an excellent candidate for the new technology as it has a 30-minute sector length matching the capability of carbon zero aircraft. The chairman of the airline says the news brings the company closer to its ambition to be the first airline in the world to achieve a fully electric fleet.
Air New Zealand Chief Operational Integrity and Safety Officer Captain also acknowledged that the MoU provides an opportunity for the airline to participate in the design and definition of how a hydrogen-powered aircraft might fit into its operations. They plan to work closely with the global manufacturer to better understand opportunities and challenges, including achievable flying range and what ground infrastructure or logistics changes may be required to implement this technology in the country.
In many countries, space technology plays an important role in various fields, including scientific research, communications, healthcare, environment, sport and many others. Given the significance of space technology, the President of Taiwan vowed to place space technology at the heart of Taiwan’s industrial development plans through enhanced academia-industry-government collaboration. The President’s statement underscored the government’s commitment to cementing the country’s position in global supply chains.
Space development is one of the Taiwanese government’s top priorities, as demonstrated by the passing of the Space Development Act and a plan to invest US$906.62 million in the space sector over the next decade. Taiwan has six core strategic industries which comprise information and digital technology; cybersecurity; biotech and medical technology; national defence; green and renewable energy; and strategic stockpile industries. This will help secure Taiwan’s technological leadership while capitalising on business opportunities such as the launch of low-orbit satellites.
The President also emphasised that Taiwan must secure a strategic position in the space industry’s supply chain by leveraging its competitive edge in semiconductor and precision engineering. To that end, Taiwan’s leader called for cooperation between governments, the private sector and academia to launch a local team dedicated to manufacturing satellites and ground station equipment as soon as possible.
Taiwan needs to find a niche in the supply chain with a strategic significance and the government will support the move legally and financially, referring to the legislation of the Space Development Act in May and the 25.1 billion New Taiwan dollars ($906 million) budget.
Every country in the world is racing against time to go to space. Tens of thousands of satellites are expected to be sent into low Earth orbit in the next decade, generating massive demand for satellite and ground equipment manufacturing. The next decade is very crucial as many nations are also planning to return to the moon and Taiwan must secure a more strategically significant position in the New Space Age.
According to a page, the primary focus of Taiwan’s Long-term National Space Technology Development Programme is satellite development. Having laid the foundation for indigenous space technology in the first and second phases of the programme, the nation is now launching the third phase, which will run from 2019 to 2028.
The programme aims to push domestic aerospace technology to new heights and meet the challenges of cutting-edge space missions. At the same time, the programme also aims to extend and spread the benefits of the aerospace technology industry, nurture space technology talent, and build an aerospace industry supply chain of Taiwan’s own.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, Taiwan is stepping up efforts to tap into the global aerospace market, with a particular focus on developing a specific kind of satellite. Among different market segments, those related to the development of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites are particularly worth pursuing for Taiwan. Those satellites, often designed in constellations, have a shorter life cycle — between two to four years, compared with larger ones and therefore offer more of an opportunity for Taiwanese businesses.
In addition, LEO satellites are crucial to the development of the Internet of Things (IoT), which has been pursued by global technology and communications heavyweights. That is because the relatively inexpensive LEO communication satellites can be launched in large enough numbers to economically provide sufficient bandwidth for the data transmission required by the IoT.
The space development promotion act is expected to help. The act, which will regulate the country’s space-based activities, shows the world Taiwan’s ambition to carve out its own niche in the space economy.
Most aspects of everyday lives as consumers or employees have been embedded by Artificial Intelligence (AI) based systems. The further advancement and increased diffusion of AI capabilities pose risks of job replacement and even concerns of what this all means in terms of being human. Singapore Management University’s (SMU)Business Partnerships unit and International Trading Institute delved into the issue of “Working with AI-Enabled Smart Machines”.
University professors and thought leaders documented 30 examples of people doing their everyday work in real-world business settings in partnership with AI-enabled smart machines. These case studies will be used in their co-authored book The Future of Work Now: People Collaborating with Smart Machines.
The case studies covered a range of industry settings including insurance and financial services, knowledge work across other service sector industries, healthcare, factory floor production, and field operations across multiple industries.
One example cited was from one of Singapore’s banks who had massive migration to data analytics starting in 2010 and their follow-on progression into using machine learning. The system was able to draw on the bank’s existing data sources and external data to evaluate the probability of fraud or financial crime.
Before using this new system, the majority of the time spent by the bank employees who were doing transaction surveillance was on data amalgamation and sorting through the alerts generated by the prior generation of rule-based systems. The latter is an earlier type of AI application, with most of these alerts being false alarms.
With the new machine-learning-based system analysing and evaluating the rule-based alerts, the transaction surveillance employees can now focus directly on the alerts identified by the system as having a high or medium probability of being an actual problem.
The employee’s work time is allocated more efficiently, as they no longer need to look at large numbers of false alarms. Additionally, they no longer need to manually amalgamate all the supporting information use to evaluate each alarm as that background data access and integration work was automated as part of the machine learning application.
Another case study was on Southeast Asia’s largest e-commerce platform.  They are a digital-native born company whose business is based on AI-enabled data analytics. The case study highlighted the role of their product managers. These are the people who orchestrate the complex process of developing, phasing in and scaling new Shopee e-commerce platform capabilities and feature enhancements.
The product manager’s challenge is to do this in a way that meets business goals, satisfies customer needs, deals with the constraints and problems faced by the technology teams developing the new AI-enabled capabilities and features, and addresses the many conflicting requirements and trade-offs that arise.
The case study highlighted that while product managers are overseeing the processes of bringing AI-enabled capabilities and features of the platform to market, the nature of their role is so multi-faceted and complex that very few of their engagement management, negotiation, coordination, and decision-making tasks can be automated by these same type of AI capabilities. This product manager example illustrates one of the important ways in which human roles are required to manage the implementation of AI-based change efforts within a complex company setting.
The threat is not about AI taking away human jobs. The real threat is when people choose not to team with AI. Organisations need to learn how to capitalise on what AI can do, go beyond just thinking about simple labour displacement and manpower cost savings, and find ways to use the technology to create value in ways that lead to new demand and correspondingly to new employment opportunities.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, AI is becoming more sophisticated at doing what humans do, but more efficiently, quickly, and cheaply. Scientists from Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and clinicians from Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) have used artificial intelligence to create a new method of screening for glaucoma.