Category: Technology

It’s connectivity that matters: Indonesians use smartphones and internet for staying in touch

If there’s one thing that Indonesians can agree on when asked what smartphones and the internet are most useful for, it would be to access social media and messaging applications.

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A survey conducted by the Indonesian Internet Service Providers Association (APJII) and the Indonesian Telecommunications Society (Mastel) showed that 95.1 percent of respondents use smartphones to access social media applications, while 73.7 percent said they use it to access messaging applications.

The survey was conducted across the country from October to November involving 1,020 respondents, more than half of them are high school and university students, followed by professionals and entrepreneurs.

The most popular social media applications among the respondents are Instagram with 82.6 percent, while 66.5 percent named Facebook and 49.6 percent said they liked Pinterest.

The top chat application is Line with 90.5 percent respondents, followed by WhatsApp and Blackberry Messenger with 79.3 percent and 33.10 percent  respectively.

Typical of these users is 19-year-old waitress Andini Sugeha, who says she uses Facebook most of the time but the features she most uses are messaging services.

Uploading photos and chatting with friends are what draws user to these applications the most.

“I use Facebook to upload photos while I also do that on Instagram, and I use WhatsApp as well to chat,” Andini said.

Media professional Ami Afriatni said she has been on Facebook for a decade and still uses it mainly to stay in touch with friends and families living in faraway places, while for her works she finds Twitter is most useful.

“It is helpful to get news updates, personal insights public figures might offer or official statements of some credible organizations. People also often take to Twitter to respond to recent issues and to express their stance,” Ami said.

As a budding photographer, she uses Instagram to sharpen her photographic skills, adding that the entertainment aspect of the photo sharing platform is the main draw for her.

In a reflection to the APJII and Mastel survery, Ami said social media and messaging applications are equally important but agreed that social media platforms have reached maturity while messaging applications are more important.

“I think there are rooms for improvement for this, let’s say creating a messaging applications that are more friendly to elders or communities who are less exposed to technology,” she added.

But the proliferation of hate speech, hoax and fake news on Facebook, especially as they relate to political preference, has made the world’s largest social networking platform no longer as enjoyable as it used to be, she said.


Internet stakeholders in Indonesia are well aware of the problems and in anticipation of regional elections this year, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, APJII and Elections Supervisory Body have launched a campaign against online hoaxes.

The three agencies, along with local representatives of internet giants including Google, Facebook, Telegram, Twitter, Line, MeTube, Bigo Live and Live Me signed on Feb 7 a memorandum of understanding to curb the spread of hate speech and fake news related to the elections.

ICT Minister Rudiantara said the drive to issue such declaration started in 2016 and every party involved in the online ‘ecosystem’ had an obligation to be part of it.

“So, there is no reason for service provider not to takedown [negative content] when the General Elections Committee and Elections Supervisory Body request for it because they are the independent bodies that organise the elections and are well aware of election rules and regulations,” Rudiantara said.

APJII chairman Jamalul Izza, said application providers and related parties agreed it was time for joint effort to curb negative content, as previous experience during the divisive presidential election in 2014 and Jakarta gubernatorial election last year showed how content that incited hate and misinformation directed at some candidates can flourish and go viral.

“Therefore, as the internet ecosystem in the country we agreed to safeguard the 2018 regional elections to make them free from negative contents and hate speech,” Jamalul said.

An APJII survey released in November showed that there were 132.7 million internet users in Indonesia, out of its 256 million population.

The ICT Ministry has been stepping up its efforts to ensure that the material available online does not breach local standards for behavior and morality. That includes material related to homosexual activity. In January, it asked Google to suspend applications related to LGBT activities from its Google Play Store so that they are no longer accessible in Indonesia.

It also said it has handled 72,407 complaints regarding pornographic content on the internet in January. Earlier in the month, the ministry has begun to operate an artificial intelligence-based censorship system to using keywords to detect and crawl pornographic content online.

The US$14-million dollar machine was installed following years of manual monitoring that failed to curb the flood of illicit contents on the internet, especially pornographic material. A ministry team will evaluate and verify the data crawled and take the necessary measures such as blocking the sites if they are validated to have inappropriate content.

“Global and national internet providers are urged to be active in ensuring the availability of positive contents and suppress negative material from spreading,” ministry spokesman Noor Iza said.

The story first appeared in Bangkok Post



Indonesian police break alleged online fake news syndicate

Indonesian police have arrested three people they say were part of a syndicate that spread fake news and other misinformation online for money.

The group, called Saracen, posted false news, provocative memes and other forms of content on social media to suit the agenda of their paymasters, said national police spokesman Awi Setiyono.

The alleged syndicate involved about 800,000 social media accounts and offered its services to individuals for payments, he said, adding that police were trying to find out who their clients were.

“These people were engaged in hate speech,” the Setiyono said. “People must not fall for memes intended to create ethnic, religious and racial divisions.”

Ethnic and religious tensions rose earlier this year in the run-up to the Jakarta gubernatorial election pitting then-incumbent Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, a Christian of Chinese descent, and former education minister Anies Baswedan.

While campaigning, Basuki was charged with blasphemy after hundreds of thousands of Muslims rallied to demand he be prosecuted over remarks that his opponents misused a verse from the Koran to prevent him from winning another term.

He lost an April election run-off to Anies, who was backed by Muslim conservatives, despite winning the most vote in the first round vote, and was subsequently sentenced to two years in prison for blasphemy.

It’s all about precision in Germany’s optical valley

Jena – High-precision laser light technology for industrial mass production and manufacturing is just one of the technologies that is coming out of Jena, the optical valley in east German state of Thuringia.

Located in the deep valley of the Saale River, Jena is the cradle of innovative, light-based technologies that began more than 150 years ago. It is also a European center for research in the field of optics and photonics, where ultrashort pulse laser for a more precise, subsurface cutting is being produced around the clock, thus earning its other nickname, “city of light”.

“The precise cutting allows smartphones and tablets to have more scratch resistance and robust display and camera. The laser pulses are also used for precise cutting of holes, such as for speakers, on hardened glass of smartphones and tablet displays,” said Stefan Nolte, a professor at the Institute of Applied Physics, Abbe Center of Photonics, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, told a group of international journalists earlier this year.

“Drilling of fuel injection nozzles also uses ultrashort pulse laser as it allows adapted holes for an optimized gas distribution, which leads to lower emissions and reduces consumption by up to 20 percent,” Nolte added.

Dr. Christian Helgert, chief executive officer of the Abbe Center of Photonics and Abbe School of Photonics said photonic technology is ubiquitous in everyday life, encompassing communication, health, environment, mobility, data management and security with a major impact on the world economy, creating 300 billion euro in the global market.

“Growth in the photonics industry is more than doubled of the worldwide GDP between 2005 and 2011,” Helgert said.

Thanks to its three most famous residents Otto Schott, Ernst Karl Abbe and Carl Zeiss, Jena developed into an industrial city producing binocular, glasses and microscope during the second half of the 19th century. Zeiss set up an optics workshop in 1846 and centuries later it has become a household name for manufacturing optical systems, industrial measurements and medical devices, which added weight to Jena’s reputation as a research, scientific and economic hub in east German that the trio established.

Out of Zeiss’ approximately 25,000 employees worldwide, 10 percent of them are in research and technology, said Ulrich Simon, senior vice president of corporate research and technology of Zeiss.

“Our DNA is innovation. 80 percent of smartphones would not exist today if Zeiss didn’t exist,” he added.

Jena’s optical and optoelectronic industry has 175 enterprises with a turnover of 2.85 billion euro and 10 percent rate of research and development. The industry employs 15,200 people, including 4,500 scientists in 1,300 research institutes.

“The universities and research institutes provide the optical environment and big level of competency in terms of optical technology and development,” Simon said.

As Germany is bracing for a demographic change when the country will have less young people and more of those over 60, research institutes have also been focusing their works on technology that would suit the needs of an aging society.

The ultrashort laser for subsurface cutting, for example, would be useful for a more precise eye surgery while at Zeiss, one of the examples of medical technology used in its vision care is adaptive introduction lens to regain full vision after cataract surgery.

Hans-Joachim Hennings, the director general of research and innovation at the Saxony-Anhalt state ministry for science and economy, said the state is channeling 20 million euro from 2016 to 2020 to fund research on aging society topics.

“It will be used among other for research on early diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases and development of phytopharmaceutical products and other effective substances against dementia,” Hennings said.

A research campus in Magdeburg, the capital city of Saxony-Anhalt also places quality of life for an aging society as the highest relevance on its biomedical engineering project.

The campus, which is established on a public-private partnership between the Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg, Siemens Healthcare GmbH and the Stimulate Association, aims to develop new imaging devices, intraoperative imaging methods, navigation devices, treatment planning and procedures for minimally invasive, image-guided interventions to treat cancer, cardiovascular and neurological diseases.

Urte Kägebein, a doctoral student at the Stimulate research campus showed how a magnetic resonance imaging machine has a very high magnetic field. Photo: The Parrot/Ismira Lutfia Tisnadibrata

Urte Kägebein, an electrical engineering doctoral student and researcher for interventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at the Stimulate research campus is working on a research to improve the current available MRI system to treat cancer.

She said that her research project aims to track the precise location of a tumor. If the tumor is located, the treatment would be minimally invasive and patients would not need to go through chemotherapy since the treatment would only need to puncture a needle to reach the tumor and heat the needle with 90 degrees heat to destroy the tumor.

“It would be a through-and-through puncture. The needle is inserted where the skin is marked and it cuts through the fat tissue to reach the target,” she said.

“We could only do this if we know exactly where the tumor is and if the tumor is on a precise location,” Kägebein added.

Precise visualization of tumors is also a focal point in research at Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR), a research centre in Dresden and a member of one of Germany’s top four research organisations, Helmholtz Association, which focus its research on six fields including matter and health.

HZDR emphasises its health research on cancer and the center’s interdisciplinary environment allows matter and health scientists to collaborate, such as on laser acceleration of ion beams for research in a therapy known as radiation oncology or the therapeutic use of ionising radiation to treat cancer.

Professor Thomas Cowan, the director of HZDR’s Institute of Radiation Physics said the research is a reflection of a major question that drives HZDR’s work on health research; “how can malignant tumors be more precisely visualised, characterised and more effectively treated?”


Indonesian police, soldiers banned from playing Pokemon Go

Indonesia’s police and military have banned their members from playing the popular virtual-reality game Pokemon Go, and warned that their premises were off limits to other gamers. Continue reading “Indonesian police, soldiers banned from playing Pokemon Go”

Industrial research expensive, but pays off

Jakarta/Jena – When Indonesian President Joko Widodo visited Germany in April, he took time to learn about the country’s dual training system, which allows students to attend classes and reiceved on-the-job training at a company the same time.

Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said the president was interested in exploring the job-oriented program because the government is convinced that the system is the answer to demands of the job market and tougher competition in the Asean economic integration.

Shaping vocational training outside of schools in cooperation with the federal states is one of the main tasks of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), said Christoph Wannek, an official from BMBF Regional Innovation Initiatives division.

But Joko may want to consider emulating other policy, such as funding research from basic research to cutting edge technology that the BMBF is also in charge of, apart from vocational training, to boost competitiveness.

“The BMBF allocated 16.4 billion euros out of its 2016 budget to increase competitiveness in research and innovation system and the education system in East Germany,” Wannek told a group of international journalists in the east German town of Magdeburg.

Germany’s reputation for fostering research and innovation is also possible due to substantial support that allows them to thrive, such as its GDP allocation for research expenditure and public funds for numerous research institutions in the country.

“Data from 2013 showed there were almost 1,000 publicly funded research institutions in Germany, with research expenditures of 80 billion euros or 2.84 percent of GDP and 605,000 people in the research and development sector,” said Katja Lasch, the head of international research marketing of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

This is in stark contrast to Indonesia, whose research spending is only 0.08 percent of GDP in 2013 and most of its research and development was performed by public research organisations, making Indonesia’s innovation performance appeared weak on various measures compared with its Southeast Asian neighbors that spent more than 0.1 percent of GDP on research and development, according to various data from OECD, World Bank and Unesco.

According to BMBF data, around 2/3 of research and development in East German states is from the public sector, with nearly 3 percent out of Saxony state’s GDP is allocated for research and development while other eastern federal states have much lower allocation at 1.4 to 2.2 percent out of their GDPs.

DAAD’s Lasch said the majority of research expenditures in Germany came from the industry sector, which accounted for 67% of the spending, while the rest were from universities and non-profit public and private institutions.

Industrial research has proved to be the backbone of growth for a company like Carl Zeiss AG, which relies on research and innovation for its cutting-edge optical technology.

“Technology doesn’t come for free,” said Ulrich Simon, senior vice president of corporate research and technology of the company in its sprawling office compound in Jena, Thuringia, which is the birthplace of optics and photonics technology thanks to its two most famous residents, Carl Zeiss and Ernst Abbe, who founded the company in 1846.

The office compound of optical systems manufacturer Carl Zeiss AG in Jena, Thuringia, which includes research facilities and a planetarium. Photo: The Parrot/Ismira Lutfia Tisnadibrata

The company invested about 10 percent of its revenue for research and development conducted in its 30 research centers around the world, he added.

Zeiss and physicist Abbe’s research in optics and physics are the origins of the company’s vision care division, which produces lenses for eyeglasses.

“Every two seconds people buy eyeglasses now,” Simon said in his presentation.

The division experienced growth in all regions and saw a satisfactory trend for their consumer optics in difficult market environment with 1,007,000 euros of revenue in the fiscal year 2014-2015. It was an increase of 7 percent from 946 million euros in the previous period. The company generated total revenue of 4,511,000 euros with 5 percent increase from the 2013-2014 period and 88 percent of it came from outside Germany.

“Southeast Asia is one of our most important markets with its stable economy,” Simon said.

Indonesia to require content providers to form local entities

The Indonesian government  will soon require messaging services and global providers of online content such as Netflix to establish local legal entities and start paying tax. Continue reading “Indonesia to require content providers to form local entities”

Indonesia softens warning to Tumblr after outcry

Indonesians were up in arms online after the government threatened to block popular blog-hosting website Tumblr over pornographic images posted by some of its users. Continue reading “Indonesia softens warning to Tumblr after outcry”