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Department of Trade & Industry and Microsoft launch AI Pilipinas Coalition

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MS AIPilipinasCoalition KV 2020 09 14

Together with tech and business associations, the coalitions aims to democratize and promote responsible use of AI technology

Together with Microsoft, the Makati Business Club (MBC), Infocomm Technology Association of the Philippines (ITAP), Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD), Women’s Business Council Philippines, and the US-ASEAN Business Council Inc., in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), announced the formation of the AI Pilipinas Coalition recently. Bringing together key organizations and leaders in government and the private sector, the Coalition endeavors to empower people and organizations through the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Across public and private sectors, industries and communities, AI will play a key role in helping the Philippines respond to, and recover from COVID-19, build resiliency, and increase its competitiveness on the global stage in the years to come. The AI Pilipinas Coalition was formed to address the need for its responsible adoption in the country. It jumpstarts on both local and national levels, to explore AI capabilities that can spark positive transformation and digital acceleration for Filipinos, founded on a clear roadmap and framework of execution in the form of its AI Action Agenda.

Designed and co-authored by the entire Coalition, the AI Action Agenda will help frame its national effort through six key pillar actions:

  • Establish a clear mandate from the highest level of government for Philippines’ AI vision
  • Define clear roles and responsibilities with government
  • Build trust in AI by encouraging implementation of responsible AI
  • Support data-driven innovation that is central to AI
  • Provide legal and regulatory clarity to encourage responsible use of AI
  • Prepare the workforce for the AI economy
Department of Trade & Industry and Microsoft launch AI Pilipinas Coalition

 

During the launch, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez emphasized the critical role technology will play in the nation’s economic recovery, adding that AI in particular is poised to make a significant contribution to enabling Filipino individuals and enterprises for the future.

“A number of startups in the country are offering AI solutions to consumers and businesses. And they are accelerating the integration of AI technologies and tools in day-to-day transactions, making them more accessible to the public,” Sec. Lopez said.

He added, “But even as there is an increase in use of AI and other Industry 4.0 technologies, our industries have yet to harness the benefits of such technologies and overcome key challenges to their adoption.  The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) intends to continue supporting our industries in addressing these barriers, like the lack of financial and technical capacity and our poor infrastructure. ”

Recent years have seen AI move increasingly into mainstream products thanks to a confluence of factors: the massive computing power of the cloud, the availability of enormous datasets that can be used to teach AI systems, breakthroughs in developing AI algorithms and improvements in AI methods such as deep learning. With far-reaching impacts permeating all areas of society and economy, a study by McKinsey estimates that globally, AI techniques will have the potential to create between $3.5 trillion and $5.8 trillion in value annually.

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Microsoft’s AI tools and technologies are used in workplaces, classrooms, home offices, research labs and manufacturing facilities around the world, empowering everyone from students to factory workers. Powered by its Azure cloud, people and institutions around the world can do things like better understand their customers, share information more quickly and enable scientific breakthroughs.

“AI is a defining technology of our time. We are working to make it accessible to every individual and organization in the country, infusing AI into what we do, in order to amplify ingenuity with intelligent technology,” said Microsoft Philippines country general manager Andres Ortola. “These tools and breakthroughs must be inclusive, available to everyone, and as AI systems become more mainstream, we believe that we all have a shared responsibility to create trusted AI systems—to work together to reach consensus about what principles and values should govern AI development and use.”

Carlo Subido, president of ITAP, embraces and advocates advances in AI. “This coalition sets the path to promoting responsible AI,” said Subido. “Today is a good start but there is still a lot of work to be done. We, in the private sector – the businesses, the academe, our citizens, together with the government – need to frame our national effort to build a strong foundation for AI. We support data driven innovation that is central to AI. We have a lot of talents here in the Philippines so there is no reason we cannot play globally in AI.”

For his part, Coco Alcuaz, Makati Business Club executive director said, “The business sector and business orgs need to be responsive to technological and economic change. We have to embrace AI and its potential applications. This Coalition, which welcomes other businesses and organizations, represents the business sector’s commitment to promote national and economic development through responsible AI.”

Trust is the foundation of Microsoft’s work in AI from its principled approach anchored on human-centered design, fairness, inclusiveness, reliability & safety, transparency, privacy & security, and accountability, to the shared responsibility it creates with customers and partners by providing practical guidance, best practices and tools to enable the responsible creation of AI.

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Microsoft Introduces Microsoft Entra to Help Customers Secure Access for a Connected World

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Microsoft today announced a new product family, Microsoft Entra, which encompasses all of Microsoft’s identity and access capabilities. Microsoft Entra includes Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) as well as two new product categories: a Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management (CIEM) solution called Microsoft Entra Permissions Management, and a decentralized identity product offering, Microsoft Entra Verified ID.

 

Joy Chik Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Identity, said, “We are seeing an increasing need for trust in a hyperconnected world. Through Microsoft Entra, we’re expanding our identity and access solutions so that they can serve as a trust fabric for the entire digital ecosystem—now and long into the future.”

 

Vasu Jakkal ,Corporate Vice President, Security, Compliance, Identity, and Management at Microsoft, added, “Microsoft Entra embodies our vision for what modern secure access should be. Identity should be an entryway into a world of new possibilities, not a blockade restricting access, creating friction, and holding back innovation. We want people to explore, to collaborate, to experiment—not because they are reckless, but because they are fearless.”

 

Microsoft Introduces Microsoft Entra to Help Customers Secure Access for a Connected World

The digital estates of organizations are growing, changing, and becoming boundaryless. Security challenges have become much broader, and there is a need for broader solutions. Organizations need access decisions to be as granular as possible, and to automatically adapt based on real-time assessment of risk. Microsoft Entra is part of Microsoft’s expanded vision for identity and access. It will verify all types of identities and secure, manage, and govern their access to any resource, by:

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  • Protecting access to any app or resource for any user;
  • Securing and verifying every identity across hybrid and multicloud environments;
  • Discovering and governing permissions in multicloud environments; and
  • Simplifying the user experience with real-time intelligent access decisions.

 

Reducing access risk across clouds

The adoption of multicloud has led to a massive increase in identities, permissions, and resources across public cloud platforms. Without visibility across cloud providers, or tools that provide a consistent experience, it is become incredibly challenging for identity and security teams to manage permissions and enforce the principle of least privilege across their entire digital estate.

 

Following the acquisition of CloudKnox Security last year, Microsoft is now the first major cloud provider to offer a CIEM solution—Microsoft Entra Permissions Management. It provides comprehensive visibility into permission for all identities (both user and workload), actions, and resources across multicloud infrastructures. Permissions Management helps detect, right-size, and monitor unused and excessive permissions, and mitigates the risk of data breaches by enforcing the principle of least privilege in Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and Google Cloud Platform.

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Microsoft Entra Permissions Management will be a standalone offering generally available worldwide in July 2022 and will be integrated within the Defender for Cloud dashboard, extending Microsoft Defender for Cloud’s protection into CIEM.

 

In addition, the preview of workload identity management in Microsoft Entra will allow Microsoft customers to assign and secure identities for any app or service hosted in Azure, by extending the reach of access control and risk detection capabilities.

 

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Enabling secure digital interactions that respect privacy

Microsoft Entra Verified ID is a new product offering based on decentralized identity standards that implements the industry standards, making portable, self-owned identity possible.

 

Verified ID represents Microsoft’s commitment to an open, trustworthy, interoperable, and standards-based decentralized identity future for individuals and organizations. Instead of granting broad consent to countless apps and services and spreading identity data across numerous providers, Verified ID allows individuals and organizations to decide what information they share, when they share it, with whom they share it, and—when necessary—take it back.

 

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Microsoft Entra Verified ID will be generally available in early August 2022.

 

Automating critical Identity Governance scenarios

IT and security teams are facing enormous challenges to provision new users and guest accounts and manage their access rights manually. Using Identity Governance in Azure AD, Microsoft’s existing cloud‑based identity and access management service, businesses can address these challenges with identity lifecycle management, which simplifies the processes for onboarding and offboarding users. Lifecycle workflows automate assigning and managing access rights, and monitoring and tracking access, as user attributes change.

 

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Lifecycle workflows in Identity Governance will enter public preview in July 2022.

 

Visit the Microsoft Entra website to learn more about how Azure AD, Microsoft Entra Permissions Management, and Microsoft Entra Verified ID deliver secure access for our connected world.

 

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Philippines among APAC winners of Microsoft’s AI for Accessibility Hackathon to accelerate inclusive innovation

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Teams from Thailand, Singapore and Philippines are winners of the Microsoft AI for Accessibility (AI4A) Hackathon in APAC. In its third year, the AI4A Hackathon features teams who are deeply committed to solving real-world challenges faced by people with disabilities (PwD). The hackathon acts as a springboard for creators and developers to launch their applications, with cash prizes, access to Microsoft Technical experts to co-build their solutions on Microsoft Azure and continued mentoring support to build out their solution. 

 

Drawing on real-life challenges faced by PwDs, 14 non-profit organizations (NPOs) shared problem statements that the 75 teams in the AI4A Hackathon used to build innovative solutions around the themes of transport, wearable devices and language tools.  

 

Team Asclepius from Thailand, Team SWIFT Responders from Singapore and Team EIA from Philippines created solutions to bridge the disability divide, which include building an AI-enabled communication aid for people who are deaf, a smart system that allows people with physical disabilities to live independently, as well as inclusive banking for people who are blind. 

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In addition to these winners, two additional teams from Indonesia (Arabic Braille Converter) and Singapore (MeetMeHear) will receive coaching by Microsoft and its partners, including access to cloud architects, business consultation guidance to develop their solution, from a proof-of-concept to an application hosted on Microsoft Azure. 

“We are inspired to see the continued enthusiasm of submissions this year for the hackathon to improve the lives of PwDs and congratulate the winners who so passionately brought their solutions to fruition,” said Pratima Amonkar, Chair for D&I and Accessibility for Microsoft Asia Pacific. “The month of May will be an important time for us to see the tremendous possibility of the contribution of PwDs as we roll out exciting awareness, training and mentorship programs with our customers, partners and wider community across the region.” 

 

With more than 1 billion people with disabilities in the world, and 650 million in Asia, Microsoft believes that accessibility is essential to delivering on our mission to “empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.” Accessibility is the vehicle to enable inclusion of people with disabilities. To highlight how technology can unlock solutions that empower people with disabilities and enable transformative change within communities in APAC, Microsoft has dedicated the month of May in 2022 to Accessibility Awareness Month, with a series of workshops, trainings and events as well as awarding and celebrating winners of the AI for Accessibility Hackathon winners. 

 

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Thailand: Team Asclepius 

To help people who are deaf or hard of hearing, Team Asclepius from Thailand, developed a sign-to-text application that uses AI deep learning models to capture movement sequences and body postures that predicts alphabets, words and numbers based on American Sign Language. This group of passionate high school students from Thailand have ambitious plans to include other commonly used sign languages such as British and French Sign Language and enhance it for wider tech applications such as live web events. 

 

Singapore: Team SWIFT Responders 

From Singapore, Team SWIFT Responders designed an AI-enabled solution that supports the independent living of adult persons with muscular dystrophy who use motorized wheelchairs for mobility. The Support Wheelchair-user Independence Fall Tracker (SWIFT) smart system that they have developed renders immediate assistance to a wheelchair user who falls off-balance from their functional position. This inspires confidence for wheelchair users, and assures their caretakers, that they can live independently and engage in meaningful activity as their safety is assured. 

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Philippines: Team EIA 

To build a more inclusive banking experience for the blind and the elderly, Team EIA from the Philippines developed an Accessibility and Vision Assistant (AVA), powered by AI and machine learning, that works as a smart financial assistant and mobile wallet for the blind and elderly that makes digital banking accessible and clear. This drives financial inclusion for these groups of people and enables them to access payments and banking services quickly and securely. 

 

Two additional outstanding teams have won coaching by Microsoft and its partners to bring their projects into fully running applications hosted on Microsoft Azure:  

  1. Arabic Braille Converter (Indonesia): an app that could scan and convert Arabic text or graphics into Indonesian Braille format which can be read by screen readers or braille displays. It also has the function to back-translate from Arabic Braille into Arabic text.  
  2. MeetMeHear (Singapore): an app to assist the deaf and hard-of-hearing to better communicate with others during physical meetings, through the use of AI for speech recognition to provide more accurate live captions. 

 

You may check this link to watch the winner announcement: https://youtu.be/8HHTz7_M1LE
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Microsoft introduces Microsoft Security Experts to help organizations achieve more secure, compliant, and productive outcomes

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Microsoft today announced that it is offering new and expanded services for security under a new service category, Microsoft Security Experts. Security Experts includes three new managed services—Microsoft Defender Experts for Hunting, Microsoft Defender Experts for extended detection and response (XDR), Microsoft Security Services for Enterprise—as well as two existing services, Microsoft Security Experts for Modernization, and Microsoft Security Experts for Incident Response.  

The security landscape has become increasingly challenging and complex for all customers. Threats have grown at an alarming rate over the last year, and cybercrime is now expected to cost the world US$10.5 trillion annually by 2025, up from US$3 trillion a decade ago and US$6 trillion in 2021.[i]  

Last year, Microsoft Security blocked over 9.6 billion malware threats and more than 35.7 billion phishing and other malicious emails. Microsoft Security is actively tracking more than 35 ransomware families and 250 unique threat actors across observed nation-state, ransomware, and criminal activities, and its technology has blocked more than 900 brute force password theft attempts every second. 

 

Vasu Jakkal, Corporate Vice President, Security, Compliance and Identity at Microsoft, said: “As attacks increase in scale, so must our defenses. It’s getting harder every day for organizations to build and maintain a full security team, let alone one with the ever-expanding skillset required to meet the range of today’s security demands. This is why we are launching Microsoft Security Experts, which combines expert-trained technology with human-led services to help organizations achieve more secure, compliant, and productive outcomes. It is our vision of delivering this category of services end-to-end, across security, compliance, identity, management, and privacy.”

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