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[FEATURED NEWS] HTX’s first TechX Summit marks the spot!

S&T international leaders at the TXS 2022 roundtable on April 5 (Photo: HTX)

Science and technology (S&T) converged with homeland security as global leaders across government, industry, and research institutions came together for HTX’s first TechX Summit (TXS), themed “Transforming Tomorrow, A Safer World For Everyone.”

The summit, which took place from April 5 to 8, brought experts and thought leaders from around the world to share insights on leading S&T trends that are transforming public safety and security. About 3,000 people attended the event virtually and in-person at HTX’s headquarters.

“Our vision is for TXS to become a leading science and technology event for Homeland Security in the region and internationally,” said Chan Tsan, CEO of HTX, who is concurrently the Deputy Secretary (Development) of Ministry of Home Affairs, in his welcome remarks. “In this increasingly complex environment, it is vital for Homeland Security agencies, industry and academia – all of us, to collaborate closer than ever before in order to harness the transformative power of science and technology to make the world a safer place for everyone.”

Staying ahead of tomorrow’s challenges

Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean giving his keynote speech at TXS 2022 (Photo: HTX)

In his opening address, Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean said that technology had helped to deter and prevent crime in the physical world, but it was also a double-edged sword as it had enabled crimes in the cyber world. In Singapore, cybercrime has surpassed physical crime to become the predominant mode of crime. Last year, online scams rose by close to 53% and made up about 52% of all crimes – an all-time high, Senior Minister Teo added.

“Advances in science and technology have brought about a hyper-connected world and new security threats,” Senior Minister Teo said. “Homeland security agencies all around the world need new approaches, capabilities and greater cooperation in order to better leverage technology, not just to tackle the threats of today, but also to be ready to anticipate and deal with the challenges of tomorrow.”

The TXS 2022 opening conference was viewed in-person and livestreamed to a global audience (Photo: HTX)

S&T international leaders roundtable

The importance of international collaboration to exchange knowledge and best practices to build capabilities and drive innovation was underscored in a closed-door roundtable discussion with global S&T leaders.

Kathryn Coulter Mitchell, Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Undersecretary for Science and Technology at the US Department of Homeland Security, Prefet Jean-Martin Jaspers, Ministerial Delegate for Artificial Intelligence at the French Ministry of Interior, Ian McCartney, Commissioner Investigations at the Australian Federal Police, and Ng Yeow Boon, HTX’s Deputy Chief Executive for Development, discussed how emerging security challenges such as cybercrime were common to all as they transcended national borders. They also spoke about the need for new ways of thinking to accelerate the development of tools that can be used to keep people and communities safe, as well as investing in people to equip them with new skills that the future needs.

“It is heartening to know from the S&T international leaders roundtable that HTX will continue to foster an open approach with the industry built on trust, with more upfront sharing of what the HTX and Home Team need, to promote stronger collaboration with the industry,” said Vincent Chong, ST Engineering group president and CEO, who attended the session.

Fireside chat with Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella

Fireside chat with Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella (right) moderated by Ng Pan Yong (left), Deputy Director of Cloud Transformation, HTX (Photo: HTX)

The TXS 2022 opening conference on April 5 also featured a fireside chat with Satya Nadella, Chairman and CEO of Microsoft, who discussed trends such as cloud technology accelerating digital transformation and the convergence of the physical and virtual worlds.

“The threat landscape has never been more complex or challenging. At the same time, we’re all navigating new territory in terms of remote and hybrid work, making security more critical than ever,” Nadella said.

Panel discussions on cloud, cybersecurity, drone, and sciences

(From left to right) Screengrab of panel discussion on cloud technology with Arka Ray, Engineer, Q Team, HTX (moderator); Kirk Arthur, Senior Director, Worldwide Public Safety and Justice, Microsoft; Ng Pan Yong, Deputy Director, Cloud Transformation, HTX; Vishal Parpia, Co-founder, CloudCover; and Sunil Madhugiri, Chief Technology Officer, US Customs and Border Protection (Photo: HTX)

In the panel discussion “Cloud, Crisis and Citizens in Need”, S&T leaders from CloudCover, HTX, Microsoft and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection spoke about how digital transformation and cloud technology are enabling new innovative – and faster – ways for governments and organisations to prepare for and deal with security challenges and crisis. The speakers also shared data security and cloud resiliency strategies such as building applications that are resilient by design and can be independently deployed.

6-Panel_cybersecurity(From left to right) Screengrab of panel discussion on cybersecurity with Tee Wee Liang, Principal Engineer, Cybersecurity, HTX (moderator); Gaurav Keerthi, Deputy Chief Executive, Cyber Security Agency of Singapore; (top to bottom) Beau Woods, Senior Advisor, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA); Kevin Mandia, CEO of Mandiant; and Paul Forney, Director of Cybersecurity for Digital Grid, Schneider Electric (Photo: HTX)

Alongside the rapid pace of digital transformation, cybersecurity challenges such as supply chain and ransomware attacks, internet scams and phishing attacks, concerns around data privacy associated with public cloud adoption, and the proliferation of IoT devices, were the key focus of the panel discussion on “The Evolving Cyber Landscape: Transformations, Disruptions and Crimes.” The speakers also talked about what government and industry can do to address cybersecurity challenges, including building security by design, ensuring that systems’ last line of defence work, watching the security posture of suppliers, having IoT hygiene, and leveraging on partners.

“There is no silver bullet for cybersecurity, but with greater awareness and perspective of the issues and challenges that we are facing, we can be better prepared to take them on,” said Tee Wee Liang, Principal Engineer, Cybersecurity, at HTX, who moderated the panel comprising S&T experts from the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA), Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Schneider Electric and Mandiant.

7-Panel_CBRNE(From left to right) Screengrab of panel discussion on CBRNE threats with Fadzilah Salim, CBRNE Scientist, HTX (moderator); Dr Rosemary Tan, CEO of Veredus Laboratories; Sandhya Nargund, Deputy General Manager, Shimadzu (Asia Pacific); Prof Ling Xing Yi, Professor in Chemistry, NTU; and Dr Charles Massey, Nuclear Security Officer, IAEA (Photo: HTX)

In the panel discussion on “Countering New and Emerging CBRNE Threats in Homeland and Border Security”, S&T leaders from the International Atomic Energy Agency, Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Shimadzu and Veredus Laboratories, discussed advancing science to counter new and emerging chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives (CBRNE) threats.

Close collaboration was critical to translate research into relevant technologies that are suited for the Home Team’s needs, especially given the operational considerations faced by officers on the ground that scientists may not be aware of, the panellists said. “More interaction and more dialogue between the academia and industry, and also government agencies, are very crucial to push and propel the advancement [in the technologies],” said Prof Ling Xing Yi, Professor in Chemistry, at NTU.

(From left to right) Screengrab of panel discussion on drone strategy with Dr Ben Soon, Senior Principal Engineer, RAUS, HTX (moderator); Tan Kah Han, Senior Director, Unmanned Systems Group, CAAS; Teong Soo Soon, Vice President, Unmanned Air Systems, ST Engineering; (top to bottom) Ran Krauss, President and Co-founder, Airobotics; and Taras Wankewycz, CEO of H3 Dynamics. (Photo: HTX)

In the technical panel discussion on “Drone Strategy for Safety and Security of Singapore”, S&T leaders from Airobotics, Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), H3 Dynamics, and ST Engineering discussed how to enable more drone operations while not compromising public safety. In Singapore, drone usage has increased exponentially – and in complexity – in recent years, particularly for commercial and homeland security applications. The use cases have evolved from last mile delivery applications in the early days to shore-to-ship deliveries, building façade inspections and public safety and security. The panellists also discussed challenges in drone operations and advancements in drone technologies, including increasing drone flight time using hydrogen fuel cells and improving navigation reliability.

Showcasing HTX’s technologies at the exhibition

Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean touring the TXS 2022 exhibition (Photo: HTX)

TXS 2022 also featured a wide spectrum of projects being studied, developed, and tested by HTX to force multiply the Home Team in solving crimes, saving lives, enhancing public safety and security, securing borders, and safeguarding data and systems.

The technologies, which spanned the “Man, Machine and Mission” domains, included the Prison Automated Screening System (PASS), a first-of-its-kind urine procurement and illicit drug screening system; speech-to-text (STT) tools such as a transcription system for emergency calls; and an Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV).

The TXS 2022 exhibits were also covered in The Straits Times, CNA, and Lianhe Zaobao.

Read more about some of the innovative technologies that HTX is developing to augment the Home Team in a special edition of TechXplain.