Jakarta. Indonesia and Australia will work closer toward a shared digital future, the Australian ambassador to Indonesia Gary Quinlan said this week, as the neighbors aim to increase cooperation in the digital sector.
"Our two governments are trying to finalize the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement [IA-CEPA], which will create a new platform for all aspects of economic relations between our two countries … and the digital future, of course, will be absolutely central in that agreement," Quinlan said during an event at the Australian embassy on Monday (09/07) night.
Indonesia and Australia are expected to conclude their negotiations on IA-CEPA soon, as good progress has been seen in recent weeks, the ambassador added.
Envisioning a digital future requires planning how each and every citizen would benefit from it. For vast countries, like Indonesia and Australia, reaching remote regions is a challenge, which will have to be addressed by advanced technologies.
Julie-ann Lambourne, chief executive of Australia's enVizion Group highlighted the importance of digital literacy and digital connectivity in order to build an inclusive global community amid rapid developments and changes in technology.
EnVizion spearheads a virtual reality experience project, which involves a vehicle that could travel to any location in Australia to deliver features of the advanced technology to remote communities.
"We built the first in the world virtual reality experience bus. It's an all-terrain vehicle, nothing stops it. It can go anywhere, to any location, delivering virtual reality," Lambourne said.
The bus comes with a feature in which users receive motivational messages, an overview of employment opportunities and help in making professional choices.
More specifically, this gives communities living in remote locations a chance to see options not immediately available to them. It also provides a crucial connection between them and advanced technologies.
At the moment, the project covers mining, agriculture, health, aquaponics and construction.
Indonesia may learn from enVizion's approach in reach remote regions, the company is willing to share its expertise.
"Each community has a different need and it's important that every need for every community is met," Lambourne said, stressing that there is no one-size-fits-all approach and that it is important to respect local values.
EnVizion's experience shows that the biggest challenge in introducing these types of technology has been people's fear.
"The biggest thing is fear, people are very scared, even to touch the computer, they think they are going to break [it]," Lambourne said.
EnVizion also offers free computer classes to further digital literacy.
According to the Australian ambassador, digital solutions can be particularly helpful for Indonesia's creative economy, education and health care.
"Health is a big issue for both our societies, including new forms of treating people in remote areas … We're both grappling with how we can deliver the best kinds of services, including education and health, for our remote communities," he said, adding that more bilateral cooperation is going to follow.
Australia is also looking to work with Indonesia on tourism.
"We want to work with the government of Indonesia in looking at the future of tourism, beyond just Bali, to new areas," Quinlan said, adding that digital technologies can certainly come into play to unlock the potential.