Dr. John Vong and Eddy John Sng
Published on 26/05/2020

“The New Normal after COVID-19 is Education without Schools, Health without Hospitals, and Banking without Banks. Embrace it.”
- Dr. John Vong


Singapore launched its ideas on smart nation in 2016, and there was deep thinking to formulate a smart nation strategy, as much as extensive research were also being conducted by Springer Publisher to launch two books around the same period on Smart Technologies for Smart Nations and Emerging Technologies for Emerging Markets. Four years has since passed and we are in 2020. As the authors put on their retrospective lens on the digitalisation efforts of Singapore and the regional countries, they asked key critical questions: Was the smart nation strategy implemented? What has it impacted? What about the countries of close proximity? What future skills continue to be needed in smart nations post COVID-19 era?

Download the article on Future Skills: Scoping the Smart Nation Strategy in Singapore and Beyond.


Dr. John Vong

Dr. John Vong is an international consultant for World Bank Group, Asian Development Bank and United Nations Development Programme. He has implemented digital payment projects in emerging markets. He is an advocate for banking without banks, health without hospitals, and education without schools. His ideas are documented in his recent book, Emerging Technologies for Emerging Markets (Springer).

Eddy John Sng

Eddy John Sng is the Project Director for International Centre for ASEANA Management Singapore as well as International Editorial Consultant for research and policy development.


Further Insights from Industry

We interviewed two industry leaders and practitioners on their own Digital 4.0 journey and asked them for their reflections on the business impact of Digital 4.0 for them and wise words that they may have for companies aspiring to scale their capabilities of automation and AI; and how they can attract or grow the right talents for this area. 

Derrick Yap, Chief Executive Officer, PBA Group

Derrick Yap is the Chief Executive Officer of PBA Group, spearheading PBA’s efforts as a leading one-stop solutions provider in robotics and automation in the region, focusing on building PBA into a platform to expand its reach as a Technology 4.0 enabler.

Download the full interview article from here.

Watch a video on the Sunburst UV Bot.

Ada Lim, Entrepreneur and Technologist

Ada Lim is the Co-Founder and Marketing Director of Glee Trees Pte. Ltd. She is a serial-entrepreneur with more than 10 years of experience as a marketer, and graduated with an M.B.A. from University of Strathclyde.

Download the full interview article from here.


Want to learn more about real-life Robotic Process Automation (RPA) implementation and Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered automation with hands-on exercises?

Click here to register for free e-microlearning courses from SIM and Glee Trees, and pick up new, interesting and highly relevant Digital 4.0 knowledge and skills. These two introductory and bite-sized courses are available with compliments from 26th May to 15th July, on a limited seats of 80 persons, on a first-come, first-served basis. Learners who complete the two e-microlearning courses will be awarded a digital badge.

You can also find out more about other e-learning and blended learning courses by SIM.


We have further curated additional resources related to Digital 4.0, Robotics, Automation and AI below:

  1. Read an article on COVID-19: Accelerating Industry 4.0: A Good Prescription for Surviving Today’s Pandemic and Mitigating the Next One, which shares Industry 4.0 tools and capabilities which could help manufacturing firms deal with the impact of COVID-19 pandemic:https://www.cognizant.com/perspectives/covid-19-accelerating-industry-4-0-a-good-prescription-for-surviving-todays-pandemic-and-mitigating-the-next-one
  2. Watch an informative news video from Channel NewsAsia, on Singapore will enter recession in 2020 due to blow from COVID-19 pandemic: Central bank, which shares prediction that companies will depend less on human labour and more on automation and technology as a result of new norm by COVID-19:
  3. Watch an informative news video from Channel NewsAsia on COVID-19: Singapore Tourism Board plans to use technology to help industry build resilience, which highlights why Digital 4.0 will be necessary because contactless touchpoints in most aspects of life will be the new norm due to safe distancing measures:
  4. Watch a news coverage from South China Morning Post on China’s hi-tech industries capitalise on Covid-19 pandemic health care needs, which showcases how robots and AI machines are being deployed in the healthcare and education sectors in China to help combat COVID-19 virus:
  5. Read an article on The Future of Work: The Rise of Workers Who Self Automate Their Jobs, which elaborates on the different aspects of workers in various job functions and industries voluntarily incorporating automation to complement their jobs:https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeannemeister/2019/05/07/the-future-of-work-the-rise-of-workers-who-self-automate-their-jobs/#1eae7fca3c23


For further enquiries on Digital 4.0 learning courses with SIM for you and your organisations, please contact Yvonne Ong, 62489613 (DID); 94509996 (H/P no.); pdel@sim.edu.sg (Email); and Alice Nies, 62489445 (DID); 97498118 (H/P no.); pdel@sim.edu.sg (Email).

Other Latest Articles

3 Ways Agile Thinking Can Transform Your Organisation

We live in a VUCAH world: volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous, and hyperconnected. An environment like this demands adaptability. As such, business leaders need to throw out old notions of top-down management and bureaucracy, and be ready to respond to new challenges.

Hypergrowth: What SMEs Can Learn From Startups

SMEs do have plenty to learn from startups: the following actions by startups to achieve jumpstart growth can be adopted by SMEs to survive and scale amidst an environment full of large-scale uncertainties.

How SMEs Can Attract and Retain Talent in a Competitive Environment

Talent is an organisation’s most valuable asset. This is especially true for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). With an employee count of no more than 200, the quality of each employee becomes significant. Thus, it can even be said that an SME’s success often hinges on how many highly skilled talents it manages to attract and retain.

cookies icon

This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. By continuing to browse this website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.