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|Quint Simon, Head of Public Policy, Asia Pacific & Japan, Amazon Web Services|
Cloud computing – the on-demand, pay-as-you-go delivery of IT resources over the internet – enables organisations to pivot business models, scale up and down, and respond quickly to customers’ needs. Small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), enterprises, startups, and public sector organisations that have already embraced cloud-based services are prepared to manage the bumpy road to recovery.
Governments, and the policies they introduce, will continue to play an outsised role in driving the adoption of the technologies that will enable economic recovery plans. Cloud-first policies help guide private and public sectors to harness the full power of the cloud to solve complex problems with speed, using the world’s most advanced technologies. Across the Asia-Pacific and Japan, we have seen that cloud-first policies that encourage cloud adoption can boost economic recovery by accelerating digital transformation across the economy.
Cloud technology has made so much possible – from accelerating COVID-19 vaccine development with Moderna to ensuring continuity in education through cloud-based solutions and helping to scale the telemedicine sector. Cloud brings a myriad of benefits to public sector organisations – from reducing the costs of maintaining and upgrading their technology infrastructure, and increasing their agility to respond to the needs of citizens and businesses to improving resiliency, service continuity, and recovery capabilities in times of crisis. Cloud-first policies that encourage the adoption of the technology to solve citizen problems is crucial as they have material social impact.
For example, continuity in education through cloud-based learning solutions was crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, when the Faculty of English (FOE), a part of the University of Languages and International Studies (ULIS) under Vietnam National University (VNU) had to shift to online learning, there were 5,000 students using the online learning platform compared to 2,000 before the pandemic. FOE conducts English language classes for up to 15,000 students per year across VNU’s member institutions. By migrating their systems to AWS Cloud, FOE was able to scale up to meet changing user volume and ensure availability of the online platform during peak traffic periods.
The most effective cloud-first policies are often ones that clarify the roles and responsibilities of government entities and cloud service providers, adopt a risk-based approach to data classification, leverage international standards for compliance and accreditation, and accommodate a procurement mechanism that recognises the pay-as-you-go model of cloud. By embracing the cloud and its benefits, public sector organisations can focus on their core mission: serving citizens.
As the region continues to rebuild and recover, governments must invest in and support ideas that will kickstart the economy. Startups and SMBs are at the heart of these innovative solutions and are a critical growth engine for Vietnam as well. For example, Med247 is a Vietnamese startup that operates a medical app and care facilities across Vietnam, and is bringing affordable healthcare to all. The startup is using AWS Cloud technology to provide personalised health monitoring and care via clinics and other multiple channels including an app, a website, a call center, social media, email, and text message. Offering 24/7 video calls, testing, and drug delivery, the startup provides a holistic patient experience with in-person and virtual care and aftercare to more than 40,000 app users across Vietnam.
Med247 is also one of the beneficiaries of the AWS Public Sector Startup Ramp, which is a new programme to help early-stage startups as they build, launch, and grow solutions in health, digital government, smart cities, agriculture, and space technology. AWS Startup Ramp removes barriers for entrepreneurs who want to make an impact in the public sector by providing technical design and architecture reviews, mentorship, credits, and support with go-to-market plans to help navigate the complex regulatory and security requirements in the public sector.
Governments can lead cloud adoption by example, and they can support the startup ecosystem by investing in policies, including sector-specific policies, that allow them to harness the full benefits of the cloud. For example, allowing for cross-border data flows can help startups and SMBs scale and take innovative businesses global. A 2021 report by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation also found that encouraging cross-border data flows can improve productivity and trade. Developing policies that allow for the full use cloud services and promoting digital trade in the region can truly boost local economies.
Cloud technology has helped Asian countries accelerate digital transformation, while simultaneously opening avenues for decarbonisation. Companies can already reduce their carbon footprint today by moving to the cloud. According to 451 Research, companies in the Asia-Pacific that move their IT from on-premises data centers to cloud infrastructure can reduce carbon emissions by 78 per cent. Our scale at AWS allows us to achieve greater energy efficiency, and we have tools and services to help customers architect and innovate sustainably on the cloud.
Investments in renewable energy to supplement energy efficiency efforts across operations will also be key in helping us drive greater sustainability outcomes in the Asia-Pacific and Japan. Amazon is the world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy, and we are on a path to run our worldwide operations with 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025. We continue to collaborate with private and public partners to encourage more renewable energy procurement options for corporates in the region. While we have made some progress, there is still a lot more to be done, and helping governments develop the right policies for twin transitions in digitisation and decarbonisation will be imperative for shaping a sustainable economic future for the region.
The latest in cloud innovation can be experienced at our annual AWS re:Invent conference next week where we showcase new emerging technologies, cutting-edge services and think big customer ideas in digital transformation. With better cloud-first policies and informed regulations that encourage cloud adoption, Asia-Pacific and Japan governments can fully leverage the cloud to create a future where adaptability, scalability, reliability, security, and speed are in the forefront of the development of citizen services and economic growth. This will allow to move further and faster together, towards cloud-driven economic recovery in the region.