Brunei must strive hard to become tech-savvy: Minister

National 2 minutes, 27 seconds


BRUNEI should not be complacent with its current technology advancement and should continue working towards achieving the Sultanate's quest of becoming a "sophisticated society" by 2017, said the Minister of Communications yesterday.

Pehin Orang Kaya Hamzah Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Hj Abdullah Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar described "sophisticated society" as a community where people are free to choose, able to own and know how to use a technology which would eventually improve the quality of their lives or in other words, being technology-savvy.

He recalled that when mobile phones were first introduced in the country 20 years ago, they were bulky hand-held phones that were so exclusive that only certain people could afford them.

However, this has changed in time,he said adding that the formerly brick-sized phones had become so compact that they could fit in the smallest pockets.

"Mobile phones are now an affordable commodity, no longer a luxury, but it is now a necessity," said Pehin Dato Hj Abdullah at the launching of a technology gallery at the office of Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry (AITI) of Brunei Darussalam yesterday.

"From this example, I see sophistication comes in the form of affordability, where everybody owns a mobile phone today. In fact, our mobile phone penetration has even exceeded 100 per cent since 2008. This figure shows inclusivity, where nobody is left behind embracing this technology into their lifestyles," he added.

He said people knew that technology changes rapidly and that it was hard to keep up with the pace of modern technology advancements.

He added that like mobile phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs), the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology was no exception.

The minster said that RFID had now transformed from merely a barcode into a technology that makes inventories and data more thorough as well as accurate.

Despite lauding the efforts of AITI in generating awareness towards the use of RFID through launching the gallery, the minister, however, said that there were still more to be done.

"AITI need to bring together more support to ensure the full exploitation and utilisation of RFID. Research and development is a key element in this support. This is where I feel the academia, students and entrepreneurs can explore the possibilities and relevance of RFID in facilitating their interests," he said.

"Coming back to our vision to be a sophisticated society, I believe that we should not stop in our quest for sophistication. Just by mastering the know-how in using a certain technology, such as mobile phones, we should not feel that we are sophisticated enough. We should not be complacent."

He said that new emerging technologies would continue to amaze people with their solutions and applications.

"Our minds, skills and adaptability shall be in line with these changes. We should be receptive and able to embrace these technologies into our lifestyles."

The Brunei Times