Riding the digital technology wave

The development of digital technologies such as cybersecurity, big data, Internet of Things (IoT), AI and 5G are key areas of focus that are being actively implemented in Brunei Darussalam to empower innovation and drive sustainable progress said Minister of Transport and Infocommunications Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yusof.

He said this in a statement in conjunction with World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) 2021 yesterday:

“In line with the digital transformation development, cybersecurity has become one of the key strategic enablers in the digital transformation journey.

“In August 2020, Brunei Darussalam established Cyber Security Brunei (CSB) as the national agency on cybersecurity that looks into monitoring and coordinating national efforts in addressing cyber security threats as well as cybercrime. The formation of CSB is timely as it is our utmost priority to ensure that a safe and secure cyber environment is provided.

“Towards this end, in exploring the potential and opportunities of 5G technology, Brunei Darussalam embarked on a 5G pilot project on April 3, 2021.

“This pilot project aims to demonstrate an environment based on 5G technology, promote the value and potential of this high speed technology and generate awareness to encourage the use of 5G technology.

“A 5G National Taskforce has been formed to produce a report containing recommendations from various perspectives on the use and provision of 5G.

“Frequency allocation plans have been identified to meet 5G coverage and capacity.

“To better prepare Brunei Darussalam for its digital transformation, an important priority is on regional cooperation.

“In the ASEAN region, the ASEAN Digital Masterplan 2025 has been launched to guide ASEAN digital cooperation from 2021 to 2025, in realising ASEAN’s vision as a digital community and economic bloc, with secure digital services, technologies and ecosystems.

“In addition, regional cooperation in matters significant for digital transformation continued to be strengthened, including in the areas of cyber security and ASEAN digital data governance.

“As we strive towards a Smart Nation, digital transformation will only be possible with the involvement and support from all stakeholders.

“This whole-of-nation approach will lead to us being a digital and future ready society which is able to leverage on opportunities and be more resilient in facing challenges. This approach is certainly in line with the theme of ASEAN 2021, ‘We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper’.

“The COVID-19 pandemic hit the world with far-reaching effects in various aspects of life, including socio-economic activities.

“Indirectly, this pandemic has been a catalyst for digital transformation. In line with the goal and emphasis towards a Smart Nation, Brunei Darussalam continues to take steps by leveraging on digital technology not only to tackle the pandemic but to strengthen its readiness for the digital technology revolution.

“The use of new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) continues to be leveraged in the approach to tackle COVID-19 transmissions – through the BruHealth application, among others.

“In addition, digital technology continues to play an important role in ensuring safe and reliable information sharing and as a platform to generate business opportunities for greater sustainability.

“With the cooperation of government agencies and telecommunication companies, Brunei Darussalam has seen a significant increase in digital usage by the community.

“The broadband usage rate continues to increase to cover 86 per cent for residential premises (household) in the country. The quality of service also continues to be improved with 70 per cent to 99 per cent of areas throughout the country having 3G and 4G coverage, with some areas having 4G+ coverage.

“On June 4, 2020, the 2025 Digital Economy Master Plan for Brunei Darussalam was launched. With the vision – Smart Nation through Digital Transformation – the master plan outlines the direction of high impact digital transformation encompassing a wide range of economic activities.”

The minister added that Brunei Darussalam, together with member countries of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), commemorates WTISD on May 17 each year.

“This year’s theme ‘Accelerating Digital Transformation in Challenging Times’, emphasises the importance of the role of ICT technology in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis to ensure that society can continue to function as normal. This includes essential needs such as business, education and interaction with the government and within the community itself,” he said.