Tuesday, May 28, 2024

BLOG | Driving a more innovative, sustainable future in Asia Pacific

The Asia Pacific is a dynamic region that’s home to 60% of the world’s people, thousands of ethnic groups packed into 48 countries. Oracle’s deep history in the Asia Pacific spans over three decades of working with many stakeholders to unlock life-changing tech innovation. Oracle’s industry-leading technology advances are giving organizations in Asia Pacific — from multinationals to startups — access to the high-performing cloud infrastructure and applications.

One comprehensive, multi-cloud effort Oracle is supporting is the Bangladesh government’s Digital Bangladesh initiative  which aims to to move the country toward becoming a knowledge-based, developed economy by 2041. To achieve this, the state-owned Bangladesh Data Center Company Limited will leverage Oracle’s Dedicated Region Cloud@Customer to support the various critical systems driving government, particularly for secure workloads in National Security, e-governance, e-filing, health, human services, and other departments, and government agencies dealing with sensitive data of Bangladesh.

Improving people’s, the planet’s health

Among the seriously complex challenges Oracle is helping customers in the region take on, none is more urgent than improving health outcomes and slowing the pace of climate change.

Pharmaniaga Berhad, the largest integrated pharma group in Malaysia, was in the front lines at the peak of the pandemic. It used Oracle Cloud Applications to deliver vaccines safely to health facilities. Hulunbuir People’s Hospital in Inner Mongolia used the Oracle Application Express (APEX) low-code programming platform to build and deploy a laptop application to digitize its admission processes, eliminating a paper-based one that risked spreading the virus. The government of Tasmania is using the Oracle Therapeutic Learning System to manage its successful COVID-19 vaccination program.

Oracle technologies are helping Asia Pacific health care entities beyond the pandemic. One health sciences trailblazer in the region is Australia’s Children’s Medical Research Institute, whose foundational gene therapy research, conducted on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure using Oracle Data Science Cloud, leads to breakthrough treatments for cancer, diabetes, and other diseases. Another healthcare pioneer, Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, uses a variety of Oracle Cloud technologies to organize and analyze patient data to improve diagnoses and treatments.

Oracle is also doing important work to help cut CO2 emissions. For example, as part of a four-year initiative by Japan’s Ministry of Environment, five utilities in that country used Oracle Utilities Opower software to provide 300,000 customers with personalized data and helpful tips on lowering their energy use. The result was an average 2% reduction in consumption and a cumulative reduction of 47,000 tons of CO2, contributing to Japan’s goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 46% by 2030.

The recently conducted, “No Planet B” study of more than 11,000 consumers and business leaders across 15 countries globally found that 91 percent of people from Asia-Pacific and Japan (JAPAC) believe it’s not enough for businesses to say they’re prioritizing Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) — they “need to see action and proof.” As Juergen Lindner — senior vice president and CMO, Global Marketing SaaS, Oracle — remarked: “It’s never been more critical for businesses to invest in sustainability and ESG initiatives, as people don’t just want to hear about it. They’re looking for decisive action and are demanding more transparency and tangible results.” The study also observed that 94% of respondents in JAPAC believe society has not made enough progress on sustainability and social efforts, while 75% of people in JAPAC are frustrated and fed up with the lack of progress made by businesses.

Having set aggressive goals in 2015 for cutting its global CO2 emissions, shifting to renewable energy sources, diverting waste from landfills, and reducing its potable water use by 2020, Oracle met or surpassed all four goals ahead of schedule. In addition, Oracle has committed to running all of the cloud regions that power its infrastructure and application services on 100% renewable energy by 2025 and has required its key suppliers to have environmental programs in place by then as well.

Supporting grassroots innovations

Much of the tech-centric innovation in the Asia Pacific comes from startups that have access to deep pools of highly educated, ambitious professionals; risk-taking cultures liberated by more favorable regulations; vibrant corporate- and government-supported R&D environments; and highly competitive domestic economies whose growing middle classes are keen to invest as well as flex their purchasing power.

When it comes to setting regulations favourable to starting, operating, and protecting businesses, the latest World Bank rankings put New Zealand, Singapore, and Hong Kong at Nos. 1, 2, and 3 worldwide, followed closely by South Korea at No. 5. No wonder enrollment by Asia Pacific companies in the Oracle for Startups program — piloted in Bangalore, India, in 2016 before it was rolled out globally — more than doubled between August 2020 and 2021.

One leading light in the program is India’s TensorGo Technologies. . TensorGo’s customers in various industries use its AI-based, low-code computer vision platform to read individuals’ facial expressions. Banks and insurance companies can use this to detect fraud, while retailers can gauge shoppers’ reactions.

Similarly, DeepVisionTech, the developer of Let’sTalkSign, an AI-based platform that converts sign language to text and speech in any language — and vice versa — in real-time on any computing device with a camera, web browser, and minimal processing power.

Preparing people for the work ahead

A major challenge is that the Asia Pacific region faces a shortage of 47 million tech and other workers across all sectors at an annual opportunity cost of $4.2 trillion by 2030, estimates HR consulting firm, Korn Ferry. The onus is on companies like Oracle to train workers and governments to expand their education programs, especially critical as the region’s economies emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Oracle is leading the way in the region, working with more than 4,500 education and training institutions via its philanthropic Oracle Academy program to prepare millions of people in 23 countries for college, career, and life. Students gain hands-on, job-specific knowledge and skills in the hottest technology areas, including cloud computing, AI, data science, data management, and the Internet of Things . Oracle Academy’s curricula, learning materials, and Oracle Cloud software are offered to them free of charge.

Oracle Academy is also active outside of academia in virtual programs that inspire girls and young women to pursue careers in one of the STEM fields, offering expert-led interactive sessions on information security, entrepreneurship, and other areas. Under a separate program, Oracle University, Oracle and partners provide individuals across the region with professional training courses and accreditations, at all levels, for the entire Oracle Cloud product portfolio.

People: Turning ‘good ideas into great ideas’

Oracle’s success in the Asia Pacific is a testament to its 50,000 employees in the region, who work from 139 corporate offices and many thousands of home offices in 22 countries.

Oracle remains dedicated to cultivating a truly diverse workforce in the region and worldwide, following the lead of CEO Safra Catz, who asserts: “Every good idea at Oracle comes from our employees. By building diverse and inclusive teams, we benefit from each other’s strengths and perspectives. That’s what turns good ideas into great ideas.”

The author is the president of Oracle Japan and Asia Pacific

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