While the pandemic has greatly impacted socioeconomic activities, it has also been a catalyst for digital transformation. In line with the goal 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 to tackle COVID-19 transmissions, such as through the BruHealth application.
In addition, digital technology continues to play an important role in ensuring safe and reliable information sharing and serves as a platform to generate business opportunities for greater sustainability, as well as ensure continuity and innovation in education and the workplace.
With the cooperation of government agencies and telecommunication companies, Brunei has seen a significant increase in digital usage by the community since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 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 to empower innovation and drive sustainable progress.
The Ministry of Education (MoE) continuously introduces professional development initiatives to enhance the digital readiness of teachers, schools and system leaders, said Minister of Education Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hamzah bin Haji Sulaiman.
Like other countries, the Sultanate is aspiring towards effective remedial learning and comprehensive services to help recover learning losses and improve overall welfare of learners, the minister shared.
The ministry is embarking on a long-term strategy with the Ministry of Education Digital Transformation Plan, in making digital learning a new norm in the education system. In support of this, three main areas are underlined – education technology, management technology, and enabling policies and infrastructure.
Amid the pandemic, consumer payments through the real time gross settlement (RTGS) significantly increased between March and October 2020 compared to the same period in the previous year, according to the Brunei Darussalam Central Bank (BDCB).
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, as well as ensure continuity and innovation in education and the workplace.
It was foreseen that the trend will spur a shift in local consumers’ behaviour and preference, which may outlast the pandemic. As part of its strategic initiatives to drive digital transformation in the country’s payments industry, BDCB developed the Digital Payment Roadmap for Brunei Darussalam 2019-2025.
The roadmap, which sets out key strategies towards a Digital Payment Nation, is in line with the strategies presented in the Financial Sector Blueprint 2016-2025 and Brunei Vision 2035’s aspiration to be a dynamic and diversified economy. The digital transformation strategies contained in the roadmap will focus on three key strategic areas: balancing regulation and innovation; adoption of open digital payment; and public awareness and education.
BDCB expects a paradigm shift where there will be more integrated collaboration between AMBD and stakeholders in developing platforms for digital payments that are safe, efficient and resilient. With the rise of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR 4.0), the public has become more tech-savvy and technology has become embedded within society.
The publication of the roadmap will guide all relevant stakeholders in the payment industry to rise to the challenge of becoming a digital economy and cater to the needs of the next generation.
By eligible audiences above 13 years old, Brunei Darussalam’s Instagram users are the second highest globally in terms of population ration at 70.5 per cent, up by one spot compared to the previous year. Kazakhstan ranked first at 78.7 per cent. The Sultanate also has the 14th highest Facebook users of 13 years old and older, reaching 90.2 per cent (320,000 users). Mongolia came first with 105 per cent, followed by Libya with 104.7 per cent.
We Are Social and Hootsuite stated this in its annual report in January 2021 that gave insights into global social media usage and digital trends in the past year.
In the previous year’s report, the number of Instagram users in Brunei was the third highest in the world, reaching audiences totalling 210,000 (60 per cent). Instagram usage growth rate is about 2.4 per cent. The number of Facebook users in the Sultanate was the 10th highest globally in the 2020 report, with 89 per cent (310,000 users) in terms of population ratio. Aruba, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) came in the top three, with 96 per cent, 96 per cent and 95 per cent.
The 2020 report also stated that Brunei is the second highest in terms of social media, with use rates of 117 per cent or 410,000 users. Kuwait topped the list with 122 per cent or 4,200,000 users.
The establishment of Cyber Security Brunei (CSB) as the national cybersecurity agency for Brunei Darussalam is hoped to spur interest in careers as cybersecurity experts and professionals among local youth, said Minister of Transport and Infocommunications Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yusof.
Headed by an interim Commissioner, the CSB started operations on August 1, 2020. The CSB serves as the agency that monitors and coordinates national efforts in addressing cyber security threats as well as cybercrimes. It is through CSB that strategies, policies and framework governing cybersecurity are formulated and implemented with the relevant critical information infrastructures (CIIs) as the main constituents.
The formation of CSB is timely, as one of the key strategic enablers in the digital transformation journey towards making Brunei a Smart Nation. With its vision of ensuring a secure and resilient cyberspace for the nation, CSB carries out three main services, namely BruCERT (Brunei Computer Emergency Response Team), National Digital Forensic Laboratory and Cyber Watch Centre (CWC).
The minister said that with CSB as the country’s forefront agency for a safer and secure cyberspace, he hopes that it will encourage more agencies, organisations and users alike to come up with more innovation and participate in digital economy initiatives with more confidence.
Copyright 2019 Borneo Bulletin Yearbook 2019 All rights reserved.