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Emerging Disruptors Create Opportunities in ASEAN
November 26, 2020 News


According to a study by Cisco and Jungle Ventures, essential industries such as education, healthcare and the supply chain have experienced rapid digitalisation in ASEAN. Titled Emerging Disruptors from the Global Pandemic, the report looks at the transformation of essential services in the region during COVID-19 and the models of successful disruptors. It highlights how the national digitalisation agendas of many ASEAN countries has helped ease the transition for the region’s organisations to remote operations and working during COVID-19.

The report showcases how changes in the global economy have contributed to the emergence of startups transforming and adapting industries and disrupting organisations. With most of the ASEAN’s economy still largely offline, this presents a large opportunity for technology startups. The paper provides deep analysis on how businesses in three key sectors – Education, Healthcare and Supply Chain & Logistics – have responded to this crisis and adopted technology quickly and innovatively to minimise interruptions to their services.

Naveen Menon, President, ASEAN, Cisco, explained that while the pandemic has seen disruptions, it has brought about new innovations in these industries to ensure productivity continues. In the education sector, for example, there has been an increase in online learning applications that have enabled remote learning to take place, despite challenges faced. There was a significant digital divide between ASEAN countries and rural and urban populations. Virtual learning itself was conducted on an untested and unprecedented scale whereby in many cases, teachers were not ready to execute online learning and did not have the tools at their disposal to adequately transition to online teaching.

The report finds that many companies have yet to venture fully into a blended learning and virtual learning experience. But some key disruptors have already emerged and are forecasted to gain further prominence. One of them is Jarimatika Foundation, which focuses on upskilling homemakers to shape the minds and skills of Indonesia’s next generation. Other examples include Involvio, which empowers academic institutions to leverage the power of mobile and big data to improve student engagement and retention through highly personalised branded student apps, robust attendance tracking capabilities and administrative dashboards and analytics.

For healthcare, there has been increased innovation in the use of AI and the use of IoT devices, like wearables that have enabled healthcare workers to conduct tasks faster and more efficiently. One of the common problems in the industry is that the data collected was always in a silo. Having an integrated platform powered by AI-enabled data to be used in a more efficient manner. Leading disruptors in this sector include Homage, a Singapore startup that is leveraging the rising demand for preventive care amidst a growing ageing population in the country by introducing personalised, expert yet affordable care at home.

Meanwhile, in the supply chain industry, some of the key technology players changing the logistics market are those offering digital procurement solutions through a valuable and seamless combination of software and services. Moglix, a Singapore based dedicated digital procurement platform emerged as one such company which enables manufacturing companies and their key sourcing partners to digitise the entire procurement workflow. While crisis control will never be fully automated, comprehensive supply chain visibility with real-time precise data will become a key success factor in the future.

Interestingly, Naveen said that for organisations looking to digitally transform, their initial use case will always be connectivity. From connectivity, it will lead to collaboration for digital transformation. Businesses will then need to find the adoption for new services and creative process thinking. And finally, there is automation and tech that will enable businesses to cut transaction costs like the basic tasks in finance and human resources.

At the same time, changes in the global economy and the emergence of disruptors have demonstrated the need for startups to transform to adapt to and capitalise on the new growth momentum. In addition, the report recommends that governments and policymakers in ASEAN need to determine how their respective countries can capitalise on opportunities to modernise essential industries.

5G which will eventually also be a disruptor, will make a big impact once it’s fully available especially in industries that rely heavily on technology. As Naveen puts it, it has the potential for whole industries to be transformed.