Promoting standardization activities on critical and emerging technologies in Viet Nam
The world is on the cusp of a wave of digital innovation and breakthrough, as emerging technologies continue to develop rapidly. Critical and emerging technologies (CETs) promise to improve quality of life, improve economic efficiency, and help organizations make better decisions. These opportunities also present challenges such as social cohesion, equality, and national security. With the desire to provide a perspective on standardization activities in critical and emerging technologies in Vietnam in order to grasp the opportunities and solve the challenges that critical and emerging technologies bring to the country and region, promoting standardization activities on CET, this article presents some key and emerging technology issues, Current status of standardization activities in critical and emerging technologies in Vietnam. The article also introduces some results of analysis and evaluation to develop a plan for building a standardization roadmap in critical and emerging technologies.
Keywords: CET, key technology, Standardization, Artificial Intelligence, IoT.
Currently, there is no globally agreed definition of critical technology. For many countries, what makes technology “critical” is what it means for those countries’ national security and economic prosperity. For example, Australia defines critical technologies as “emerging technologies that have the potential to significantly enhance or pose a risk to national interests, broadly understood to include economic prosperity, social cohesion and/or national security.” Japan defines critical technology as “technologies in which Japan should maintain superiority and eliminate vulnerabilities in order to ensure Japan’s security and realize the healthy development of the Japanese economy “. The United States defines critical and emerging technologies as “advanced technologies that are potentially important to U.S. national security.” This widespread approach and definition have also led to some consensus on which technologies are critical. The development and use of key technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), quantum computing and cloud computing are increasingly central to government policies, R&D budgets, and investments. This trend reflects the key role of technology in economic growth, employment, and national security. Critical technologies are also at the heart of the increasingly intense strategic competition between the West and China, given the importance of technology to developing and sustaining leading advanced economies as well as the dual-use potential of many critical technologies with implications for national security. The importance of critical technologies has led governments, industries, and civil society to pay increasing attention to the development and use of critical technology standards.
Standards shape global markets and influence technology to become a market driver. Standards also shape the values that technology represents. For example, standards on what constitutes trustworthy and reliable artificial intelligence (AI) will guide artificial intelligence (AI) development globally. Standards are used daily by businesses, manufacturers, agencies, and other organizations as a tool to manage important issues such as trade, regulation, quality, health and safety, innovative technology, energy efficiency, environmental impact, connectivity and interoperability. Today’s standards are tomorrow’s technology. This is especially true, most notably in the era of Industry 4.0, where standardization contributes to the development of smart systems, the technology that shapes the future. The standardization process ensures and shapes the innovation model. Knowledge, Novelty, Implementation and Value from innovation are the basis for setting and developing standards. Using standards is a “cheap and easy” way to develop the country’s economy. This is due to the variety of products that can be introduced to the market. Additionally, standardization enables faster and broader adoption (speed and scale) of new products and services.
Figure 1 – The Role of Standards and Standardization
Critical technology standards impact the development and use of technology, including market access, how to manage technology risks and benefits, and the values that critical technology represents, along with impacts on society and forms of governance. When it comes to creating global markets, critical technology standards can strengthen interoperability between technologies allowing for scale, efficiency, and increased access to technology. For example, wi-fi is a wireless technology built on a series of technology standards. USB is a standard that allows common connection of cables as well as charging and data exchange across a variety of devices, and IPv4 is the standard that defines IP addresses for the internet. Industry often orients production around International Standards of critical technologies, allowing for scale. Especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), Critical Technology Standards can help participate in international trade because common standards reduce the cost of retooling technology to access new markets.
Key technologies of Industry 4.0 in Viet Nam
Key technologies of industry 4.0 also have other names such as critical technologies, advanced technologies, which are technologies that create great added value and play a key and important role for the success of the Industrial Revolution 4.0. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), there are 40 advanced technologies divided into 4 groups (see Table 1); From the perspective of the Ministry of Science and Technology: the research and selection to build a List of Key Technologies of the 4.0 Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) are new and high technologies approved by international organizations. Prestigious economic assessment consistent with development trends and application potential in the 4.0 Industrial Revolution; are technologies chosen by developed countries and countries leading the 4.0 Industrial Revolution to prioritize investment and encourage development; are technologies that can promote the country’s advantages, in accordance with the 10-year socio-economic development strategy and plan for the period 2021-2030. At the same time, they are technologies with application potential suitable to the development needs of industries and fields prioritized for development; are technologies that contribute to modernizing and intelligent zing existing manufacturing and service industries; is an important factor determining the formation of innovative start-up businesses, or the formation of new products and services with high competitiveness and socio-economic efficiency; There are high factors in attracting investment, applying technology, transferring technology or creating technology; Feasibility in terms of human and financial resources for technology acquisition, transfer and creation. Therefore, the key technologies of Industry 4.0 are selected to be included in the list, on the one hand, in accordance with the development trend and application potential of the technology, and at the same time in accordance with the strategy and development plan. 10-year socio-economic period for the period 2021-2030 and in accordance with the orientation of prioritizing research, development and technology application in industries and fields in which Vietnam has advantages. Promulgating 43 key technologies of technology 4.0 does not clearly state the division into specific groups, but 4 basic groups can be recognized (see Table 1). On December 16, 2020, the Prime Minister issued a List of technologies prioritized for research, development according to Decision No. 2117/QD-TTg, research and application to proactively participate in the Fourth Industrial Revolution including 4 technologies groups and 37 technologies (see Table 1).
Table 1 – Key technologies of industry 4.0
Vietnam has achieved remarkable economic and human development. Governments and policymakers have demonstrated impressive openness and ambition in adopting new technologies in pursuit of development goals. Vietnam is an important link in the global supply chain. It has long been a hub to produce lower value-added goods, such as clothing and footwear, but is today shifting to produce more advanced products, with large technology companies such as Apple, Google and Microsoft bringing Vietnamese factories into their supply chains. However, in some aspects, Vietnam’s development is facing major challenges, such as high-tech companies having difficulty finding employees with suitable skills and facing bottlenecks across both physical and digital infrastructure systems. Vietnam will need to ensure it upskills its population and develops the necessary infrastructure to support the digital economy. The key challenge for Vietnam is to build this capacity before the demographic dividend declines and the economy must support an aging population. On many measures of technology readiness, Vietnam ranks higher than expected in terms of income and development, such as in cybersecurity readiness or e-commerce market. This is reflected in government policymaking, with cyber security and the digitalization of businesses and services being key government priorities. Other more advanced technologies receive less attention in policymaking, but this is to be expected when the technologies are in their early stages of development. However, the government has shown great ambitions across most areas of CET.
Standardization activities in critical and emerging technologies in Viet Nam
The Brookings Institution has developed a Critical Technology Standards Metric (CTSM) to assess the capacity of countries in the Asia-Pacific region to participate in the development and use of Critical Technology Standards, while also allowing the comparison of key technological standard capabilities between countries. This metric is based on scores across the governance, engagement, and capacity categories. In 2022, Vietnam scored 68, ranking 6th out of 7 countries measured, ranked only above Cambodia. Vietnam’s scores on governance, civil society coordination and workforce readiness especially need to improve.
Figure 2 – Brookings Institution Critical Technology Standards Metric (CTSM) Scores for 2022
The Brookings Institution’s assessments include:
Government/Industry/Society Coordination: the coordination between government, industry and society in Vietnam is one of the lowest in the Critical Technology Standards Metric (CTSM). Government coordination is ineffective, and while there is coordination across industry and society on critical technology standards, it is often ineffective in creating a common position.
Government engagement with industry and society on critical technology standards is sporadic and often considered ineffective in supporting the development and implementation of critical technology standards.
Government participation in the development of critical technology standards: Vietnam Government participates and contributes to the development of domestic key technology standards as well as key technology standards developed within the country and global standards development organizations (SDOs). However, the Government focuses on developing domestic standards rather than standards in global standards development organizations (SDOs).
Industry participation in critical technology standards development: Industry participation in critical technology standards is still growing and scores lowest in the Critical Technology Standards Metric (CTSM). The relatively low level of industry participation in critical technology standards development is largely due to industry’s very low participation in global standards development organizations (SDOs) (and the relative level of participation higher focus on developing key domestic technology standards); Most industries in Vietnam often focus on applying and implementing national and international standards without paying attention or devoting resources to participate in the development of national and international standards.
Society’s participation in the development of critical technology standards is also limited. In this regard, Vietnam ranks last among countries in the region, only higher than Cambodia (58th). There is little or no societal participation in global standards development organizations (SDOs) and low societal participation in the domestic standardization process.
The government provides limited financial support for participation in global standards development organizations (SDOs). Vietnam scores lower on this index, just above Cambodia (58) and on par with Indonesia at 62. That is, all countries in this CTSM score low when it comes to finance support. Limited financial support is one of the main reasons for the overall low participation of all Vietnamese stakeholders in global standards development organizations (SDOs). Industry and society say the cost of travel to join a global standards development organization (SDO) is a significant barrier. The government encourages industry/society participation in global standards development organizations (SDOs) but does not provide financial support for participation. While Government and industry fund some research that can support the development of critical technology standards, there is very little funding from society.
Vietnam’s expertise in developing and implementing critical technology standards is growing, ranking in the bottom group of the Critical Technology Standards Metric (CTSM), higher than the Philippines (63) but lower than Cambodia (68) and Malaysia (68). In general, stakeholders have some knowledge about the standardization process. While Government and industry have some experience in implementing key technology standards developed in global standards development organizations (SDOs), society has little or no experience in implementing critical technology standards.
The level of skilled workforce capable of developing and implementing key technology standards in Vietnam is still underdeveloped, scoring the lowest in the region. Vietnam does not have a workforce training program on developing and implementing critical technology standards or how to assess compliance with critical technology standards.
Regarding the situation of the national standards system (TCVN) related to key technologies in Vietnam today:
- Artificial Intelligence: The Ministry of Information and Ccommunications proposed 06 TCVNs, is drafting 02 TCVNs; Ministry of Science and Technology, standardization activities are undertaken by TCVN JTC 1;
- Internet of Things (IoT):10 TCVNs (07 TCVNs are being drafted, of which the Ministry of Science and Technology developed 03 TCVNs, the Ministry of Information and Communications developed 04 TCVNs); Ministry of Science and Technology, standardization activities are undertaken by TCVN JTC 1;
- Big Data, Data Mining and Data Analysis (Big Data, Data Mining and Data Analytics): Ministry of Science and Technology developed 03 TCVN; Currently, at the Ministry of Science and Technology, standardization activities are undertaken by TCVN JTC 1;
- Cloud computing: 12 TCVN (developed by the Ministry of Science and Technology) – Currently, standardization activities are undertaken by TCVN JTC 1;
- Cybersecurity: Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Information and Communications, Government Cipher Committee: developed 59 TCVNs; Currently, the Ministry of Science and Technology, standardization activities are carried out by the National Standards Subcommittee: TCVN JTC 1/SC 27;
- Smart Manufacturing: TCVN/TC 184 Automation and integration system has developed 10 TCVNs;
- Smart grid – Network and transmission system in power system automation: TCVN/TC/E12 Smart power grid has developed 11 TCVNs;
- Intelligent transport systems: TCVN/TC 204 Intelligent transport systems system has developed 06 TCVNs;
- Robotics: TCVN/TC 299 Robotics has developed 10 TCVNs;
- Innovation management: TCVN/TC 279 Innovation Management has developed 04 TCVNs;
- Nanotechnology: TCVN/TC 229 has developed 05 TCVNs;
- Network5G: The Ministry of Information and Communications has developed and issued 04 QCVNs on 5G network;
- Automation Identification and Traceability: TCVN/JTC 1/SC 31 has developed 23 TCVNs.
Figure 3 – TCVNs in critical and emerging technologies
Propose solutions for the CET Standardization action plan in the coming time
Enhance the position and capacity of the National Standards Body, policy makers, management agencies, corporations, businesses, organizations and individuals in the development, application and use of international standards for critical and emerging technologies can improve security, safety and trade facilitation to make standardization one of the key valuable contributors to progress of social development, economic prosperity and ensuring national security; At the same time, build a network of experts in Vietnam to build practical knowledge in Vietnam and Southeast Asia; Increasing the effective participation of Vietnamese experts in developing standards for Critical and Emerging Technologies at international and regional standards forums is an urgent task.
The participation of industry and society in critical technology standards are increasing. However, Vietnam lacks stakeholder participation in global standards development organizations (SDOs). Vietnam’s ability to develop key technology standards as well as assess compliance with key technology standards is an area that needs to be strengthened and there is currently a lack of training programs for technology standards important. The key technologies that Vietnam needs to focus on are AI, IoT, quantum computing, cloud, blockchain, cloud computing and cybersecurity. To solve the urgent problems posed for standardization activities in critical and emerging technologies, an action plan must be set out and implemented soon. To implement the action plan, some solutions that need to be implemented are proposed as follows:
- Perfecting policies, institutions, organizations, infrastructure and standardized ecosystem in Vietnam; focus on the field of standards for critical and emerging technologies, such as promulgating the National Standardization Strategy; Develop standard programs and action plans on critical and emerging technologies, ensuring consistency with ministries and branches nationwide; Develop mechanisms and policies to encourage the active participation of relevant parties in participating in the development of standards on critical and emerging technologies, especially the proactive participation of Vietnamese experts at domestic and abroad, corporations and high-tech enterprises;
- Raising awareness, capacity, skills of standards experts, technical experts, etc. from National Standards Body, policy makers, regulatory agencies, corporations, businesses and organizations and individuals in critical and emerging technology fields, proactively and effectively participate in developing standards for critical and emerging technologies at standards forums international and regional;
- Complete the TCVN system on critical and emerging technologies based on prioritizing harmony with international and regional standards; determine the priority of breakthrough technologies, exponential technologies, etc.;
- Enhance common awareness of the role and value of standards for the entire society;
- Promote cooperation at domestic and abroad, especially with international standards organizations in a comprehensive manner;
- Focus on prioritizing research and application of critical, emerging technologies such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), big data, etc. associated with practical activities.
- Decision No. 2117/QD-TTg Promulgating the List of priority technologies for research, development, and application to proactively participate in the Fourth Industrial Revolution;
- Decision No.3685/QD-BKHCN Promulgating the List of key technologies of industry 4.0;
- Draft Report on Vietnam on Critical and Emerging Technologies in Southeast Asia by the Australian Standards Organization;
- A Critical Technology Standards Metric (Brookings Institution, 2022);
- OECD Economic Surveys: Viet Nam 2023;
- Pratim Milton Datta, Global Technology Management 4.0.
MSc. Nguyen Hai Anh, Head of TC 7; Dr. Trieu Viet Phuong, Deputy Director Vietnam Standards and Quality Institute