“Through this MOU we are moving towards the tangibility of our vision, the reaching out to the community and the use of technological advancements to improve the daily lives and work of our citizens” – Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation Silvio Schembri
The Government of Malta and Vodafone Malta signed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at extending further discussions and the execution of initiatives to support Malta’s Digital Strategy. The MOU was signed by Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation Silvio Schembri together with Vodafone Malta CEO Sonja Hernandez, presided over by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Serpil Timuray for Vodafone Europe.
The scope of the MOU is to increase awareness of disruptive technologies (blockchain, the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Big Data, Quantum computing), implement disruptive technologies, pilot projects and enhance digital literacy amongst the Maltese population.
Vodafone will be assisting with the transfer of international expertise and knowhow whilst providing internship opportunities for students and start-ups. It will also collaborate with the Government and other educational institutions to increase the use of digital technologies and also assist with the implementation of government priorities which can be facilitated through such disruptive technologies.
On the other hand, the Government will assist with the promotion of training programmes among public sector employees, in addition to upgrading educational content to reflect more current technologies. It will assist with carrying out digital promotional activities, as well as with the organisation of awareness campaigns and training programmes for the benefit of citizens and the business community. It will also help identify business areas and use cases within the Government where emerging technologies may be piloted.
During his address, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that Malta has made landmark decisions on innovation. Our country is a major hub for gaming companies thanks to decisions taken to attract and sustain them over many years. The Prime Minister emphasised that Malta provides a blueprint in the blockchain area as we took decisions when others hesitated. Now, artificial intelligence is the next step.
There are opportunities to use these technologies in our daily life. Prime Minister Muscat mentioned the use of blockchain in the issuing of educational certificates and, soon, in rent contracts, as well as the use of artificial intelligence in our health care system.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat concluded by saying that this MOU is not just about pilot projects, but about increasing awareness on disruptive technologies which will enhance the digital literacy of the Maltese population.
Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation Silvio Schembri said that through this MOU we are moving towards the tangibility of our vision, the reaching out to the community and the use of technological advancements to improve the daily lives and work of our citizens. As part of the Government’s efforts to deliver its vision as well as the outer reach of technology, the MOU will serve as a solid foundation to identify projects related to Internet of Things.
“This MOU signals the start of the implementation of pilot projects based on this technology. The first project is for smart parking in Luqa, which seeks to improve energy efficiency in transport, improve travel awareness among road users as well as reduce journey times. The installation of sensors in parking base/spaces connected to an app will be accessible for everyone through their phones.”
The community will have access to information in real time as to where there are parking spaces available without any additional payments or expenses to the end-consumer. This information will invariably lead to a substantial reduction in traffic congestion and consequently air pollution, as well as a decrease in time wastage and fuel costs. This project will first be implemented in Luqa through a close collaboration with the local council and will eventually be extended to other localities, explained Parliamentary Secretary Schembri.
Vodafone Europe Cluster CEO Serpil Timuray said that the entrepreneurial sense in Malta goes beyond its borders. Ms Timuray said that she wants Malta to be a test bed for innovation with local software developers testing their ideas which can be exported outside Malta. She concluded by projecting that Malta and Vodafone Malta will be a hub for talent.
Vodafone Malta CEO Sonia Hernandez said that the MOU will help Vodafone and the Government jointly accelerate the execution of Vodafone’s purpose of “connecting Malta for a better future”, as well as that of the National Digital Strategy of Malta. “This MOU therefore cements our commitment towards driving innovation in Malta by leveraging on our international expertise and resources, and stands testament to our commitment to keep playing a strategic role in being part of Malta’s national digital and innovation strategy”, said Hernandez.