Saturday, July 20, 2024
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Brunei Town

Working together to bridge digital divide

James Kon

Imagine Sdn Bhd (imagine) and Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) yesterday at the UBD Business Library, to work together on the first-of-its-kind study to understand digital inclusion in the Sultanate.

The study is aimed at bridging the digital divide and better understand the digital needs of lower income households and individuals to help achieve the Smart Nation initiative towards Brunei Vision 2035.

Minister of Transport and Infocommunications Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yusof attended as the guest of honour.

Signing on behalf of imagine was its Chief Executive Officer Suzannawati binti Haji Suharju while UBD Office of Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Innovation and Enterprise) Director Pengiran Dr Emeroylariffion bin Pengiran Abas represented the university.

According to imagine, the study will span over three months, with the UBD research team conducting surveys and interviews on welfare recipients from the Community Development Department (JAPEM), Brunei Islamic Religious Council (MUIB) and Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah.

The research is believed to provide information for the telco to curate products and services that meet the needs of those who fall under the demographic.

Minister of Transport and Infocommunications Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yusof witnesses the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Imagine Sdn Bhd (imagine) and Universiti Brunei Darussalam. PHOTO: JAMES KON

The MoU also serves as a framework for the two institutions to collaborate in different areas.

UBD offers five areas of collaboration – joint research and development; joint commercialisation; access to more than 60 of UBD’s international and local patents; teaching and learning; and joint corporate social responsibility.

Suzannawati believed that the research collaboration will benefit not just the financially challenged but also provide the foundation to develop national policies in line with Brunei Vision 2035 and the Digital Economy Masterplan 2025 towards building a Smart Nation.

“With the role that technology plays in our lives, we believe that affordable connectivity and devices will become the next basic human right as it carries the potential to uplift individuals from financial constraints,” she said.

With the development of 5G technology and its anticipated arrival into the Sultanate, she said, “We believe that this collaboration with UBD is timely.

“By knowing our potential customers, imagine can make the necessary preparations to welcome yet another achievement in the telecommunications evolution to ensure that no one is left behind.”

Meanwhile, UBD Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Innovation and Enterprise) Professor Dr Mohammad Ayub Sadiq @ Lin Naing said one of the university’s strategic goals is to become a university of innovation and enterprise. One of the key strategies is increasing industry collaboration and linkages including joint research, CSR, teaching and joint commercialisation.

“Alignment on these different areas between academic institutions, such as UBD, and industries are necessary to contribute to the development of the country and to attain Brunei Vision 2035 goal.”