18 May 2023 - A two-day Innovation Symposium was held collaboratively by the Brunei Telecommunication Industry partners - Ministry of Transport & Infocommunications (MTIC), Authority for Infocommunications Technology Industry (AITI), Darussalam Assets, DST, imagine, Progresif, and UNN on 16-17 May 2023 with the theme 'Propeling Towards a Digital Society' to gather partners and stakeholders in Brunei and overseas to discuss the sultanate's drive in building and innovating towards the goals of a smart nation.
Present at the symposium were Minister of Transport and Infocommunications Pengiran Dato Seri Setia Shamhary bin Pengiran Dato Paduka Haji Mustapha, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy (Economy) and UNN Chairman Dato Seri Paduka Haji Khairuddin bin Haji Abdul Hamid, AITI Chief Executive Officer Ir Haji Jailani bin Haji Buntar, Deputy Permanent Secretary (Infocommunications) and UNN Director Awang Haji Hairul Mohd Daud bin Haji Abdul Karim, Darussalam Asset Investment Officer and UNN Director Hajah Amalina binti Haji Ghani, UNN Chief Executive Officer Dr Steffen Oehler, UNN Chief Digital Officer Heiko Trost, UNN Vice President Digital Innovations Woo Chang Huei and key figures of the Brunei Telecommunication Industry.
UNN CEO Dr Steffen said, "My core believe is that innovation is happening here and around us every day, in Brunei and everywhere in the world, and we should keep our eyes open and learn about that and get encouraged to do our part to support that. Each innovation in human history started with people which had not been satisfied with things around them and had the desire to change it for better. This led to new technologies and business models which are creating a new base and, sometimes, new challenges for the economy and society. Sometimes we are recognising these advances only in the retrospective. For someone like me looking back on my professional life, it is amazing to see how much has changed in our lives and work due to innovation."
"Digitalisation, as part of the national objectives to provide a broader base for economic diversification, is a wide area where all our ideas should be welcomes and transformed in tangible first steps to result in solutions. The symposium is a platform to discuss it with partners and to connect the dots. Innovation does not happen only in the sphere of Internet business; it happens in education - the way we teach and learn, in applied science - how we use materials and natural resources and even how we process the waste produced by industries and households. And I believe in the curiosity of young people, who care a bit less about the legacy and are not afraid to try out own ideas, and sometimes, to fail. For them, the glass is alwats half full, not half empty. This is a good environment for innovation."
In his keynote speech, AITI CEO Ir Hj Jailani said that innovation is a key element to spur economic growth of a nation. It is not limited to new inventions but also include how the inventions are used to solve problems or improve solutions or creating value for the people and the nation. To achieve this, it requires extensive collaboration and partnership to share experiences, ideas, and building better networks and relationships to drive a brighter future ahead. And, that is only by harnessing the collective power of all stakeholders that "we can work towards addressing challenged and building a digitally connected future for Brunei Darussalam".
The Innovation Symposium looked at four (04) key drivers of innovation, three of which were public forums while the fourth was a private forum. The first key area was on Public-Private Partnership which discussed how approaches and collaborations between the public and private sectors are required to help achieve the nation's digitalisaiton goals; second key area was on ICT Infrastructure which discussed on the importance of connectivity as a foundation that enables the future of ICT infrastructure to flourish and drive the innovation landscape; third key area was on Mindset and Talent Pool which saw the sharing of how important it is to have the right mindset across all demographics and talents equipped with necessary skills to build a digital society and drive innovation within the nation; the final key area was on the Metric System, a private forum that saw an open exchange of thoughts amongst key players in the nation on what measures are in place and best approaches to realise the aspirations of the nations.
The Brunei Telecommunication Industry plays a critical role in supporting digital transformation and enable growth in connectivity and data. UNN, as a telecommunications network infrastructure service provider in Brunei, aims to continuously invest in key initiatives and programs of modernising and optimising the infrastructure within the telecommunications ecosystem and narrow the digital divide in rural areas to ensure the nation and its people have access to high-speed telecommunications services.
The Innovation Symposium saw a total of more than 300 attendees made up from various stakeholders comprising of the government, industry players, private sectors, education institutions and internal bodies with the focus to explore and foster innovation in the nation and discuss smart nation aspirtations.back