Business and Enterprise |

Which Asian economies are winning the digital transformation race?

By Oliver Camplin-Warner December 11, 2018

Oliver Camplin-Warner, our Head of International, spends plenty of time working in Asia’s dynamic markets. He talks about the varying levels digital readiness across the region, after The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) released its second digital ranking of 11 key Asian markets.

Second ever Asian Digital Transformation Index released

One of the most striking factors in Asia’s tremendous growth over the past few decades is how the digital revolution has enabled businesses to thrive. As a professional based in Hong Kong and working across the region’s markets, I remain keenly aware of how closely a business’ fortune is pegged to the digital readiness around it. And it’s become clear during my travels that not all digital environments are equal.

As part of new global research commissioned by Telstra, The EIU has released the second edition of the Asian Digital Transformation Index, a ranking of 11 markets in the region plus three global comparators on 20 indicators covering digital infrastructure, human capital and industry connectedness. Through commissioning this research we aim to increase the understanding of digital capabilities and challenges across the region, as well as the digital environment of each economy.

Click to read the 2018 Asian Digital Transformation Index report.

While the research found established technology hubs like Singapore and Japan continue to uphold their reputation for digital maturity, it’s encouraging to observe economies like Taiwan and India making meaningful strides in fulfilling their digital potential.

Predictably, Singapore topped the Index overall for a second time driven largely by its clear digital vision and successful ICT infrastructure strategy – including 5G development plans and its fibre network rollout. While the city-state benefits from its relatively small land mass, it was also found to have the greatest proportion of telecommunications professionals within its workforce – a major advantage for the development of new technologies such as IoT, AI and Industry 4.0.

The Index also revealed Japan and Hong Kong outpaced South Korea to take second and third place, with Taiwan coming in fifth. South Korea slid backward this year to fourth place, but held onto its optimistic prospects. The technology hotspot was found to be the most prepared to meet the future challenges of automation partly due to favourable education polices, also reporting the highest tertiary enrolment rate out of the 11 Asian economies researched (94%).

Which markets are on the way up?

But to embrace the new opportunities fueled by digital readiness, organisations need to look closely at those economies climbing the ladder across some of the Index’s key measures.

Take the gains across Hong Kong’s digital environment. Hong Kong ranked as second in the digital infrastructure measure, up one place from the first Index. Hong Kong has the third highest fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) and fibre-to-the-building (FTTB) take-up rate of the Index, an integral element of next-generation networks needed to support the rapid growth in data usage. About 74% of Hong Kong’s population now has access to superfast internet connectivity – behind Singapore (97%) and mainland China (77%).

India also climbed four places thanks, in part, to 86 per cent of its population now enjoying 4G access compared with less than 20 per cent three years ago. Japan made progress in aspects of digital infrastructure following well-implemented government policy, moving up two places. Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan were found to have more affordable broadband compared to US and Australia, pointing to digital strength within many of these key markets.

When I speak with our customers across Asia, they continually cite finding the right people with the right digital skills as an acute business challenge that impacts their operations. Big data and analytics skills are identified as scarce, but The EIU found this is starting to change.

Singapore made significant gains in The EIU’s rankings of digital skills and education, moving up three places in since the first Index release, overtaking South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan to top the Index’s human capital measure. Hong Kong too reported the second largest proportion of skilled technology workers (5%), above India, Korea and Taiwan (4%).

Finally, how well organisations absorb and benefit from the digital technology available in the market remains key to creating competitive advantage. It was positive to see South Korea, Malaysia and mainland China register marked improvements in this kind of industry connectivity.

So when we hone in on a region as dynamic and as large as Asia, it’s undeniable digital transformation remains a major engine of growth. But while most economies in the Index have access to the tools they need to bring about far-reaching technology-led change, let’s ask: are we embracing not only the capabilities – but the potential – in each market?

Read the full report here.

Business and Enterprise |

CES 2018: Consumer trends that will shape the enterprise industry

By Michelle Bendschneider January 12, 2018

At CES this week, more than 180,000 visitors will flood through Las Vegas to check out the 4000 exhibitors showcasing the latest and greatest technology of 2018.

Whilst typically CES has been a consumer show, we can’t ignore the tech trends demonstrated on the floor ground that will inevitably shape the enterprise year ahead.

As we’ve seen time and time again, it is the consumer trends that influence enterprise software – experiences in mobile, social, cloud, analytics and video have all started in the consumer world but ultimately transformed how businesses operate and employees interact.

Here are three technologies at CES 2018 that are already making a mark on the enterprise industry:

Smart cities

The term ‘smart cities’ is used to describe how the use of information and communication technologies can transform the social, cultural and urban development in cities. Smart cities have rapidly evolved in numerous ways over the last few years, and with this evolution there has been a shift from a technology focus to a smart city that puts the focus back on the citizen.

This year, CES will deliver this concept, including a comprehensive program with key thought leaders in the industry and a dedicated exhibit area. The marketplace will showcase technologies that will shape smart cities, featuring artificial intelligence systems, sensors, transportation and other devices.

We’ve already seen progressive examples of Australian smart cities. More and more, local governments and councils are innovating and embracing technology to create better cities for the next generation.

Augmented and virtual reality

Pokémon Go was a game changer, and it was inevitable that the explosion of AR and VR in the consumer world would shift the way businesses interact with the technology. This year, we will see AR and VR continue to become more mainstream. Everyone from brand marketers, content producers, sports technologists and healthcare professionals are using AR and VR to create immersive experiences.

Companies like Microsoft and Readify are already using mixed reality devices to transform customer experience, for example with construction company Laing O’Rourke.

Digital team collaboration

Our culture has shifted. Social networks are often the first and most trusted source of information. Whilst social networks have traditionally been consumer facing technology, businesses too are embracing intuitive collaborative tools.

Alternatives to email have been created by eager start-ups and are now becoming entrenched in enterprises, for example with Microsoft Skype for Business and Teams, or’s Chatter. All of these enable teams within an enterprise to send messages to other team members in ways that overcome issues with email, and are particularly suited to desk-based workers like software developers.