Taiwan’s Cloud Trinity – Medicine, Tourism and Culture Innovation
Over the last year, Taiwan has become synonymous with cloud computing development. From government support (See: Cloud Computing: Taiwan’s Next Trillion Dollar Industry) to international acclaim (See: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in the Taiwanese Clouds), everyone seems to repose faith in the Taiwanese cloud. Now, the government has decided to increase the stakes.
Taiwanese Minister and deputy convener of the Board of Science and Technology in the Cabinet (Executive Yuan), Cyrus Chu, has announced the government’s intention to complete three major plans for a medical cloud, a tourism cloud, and a cultural innovation cloud in the second quarter of 2012. According to Chu, these plans would help make government information available to the public and stimulate innovation.
This announcement was made at a strategic meeting for open data promotion attended by representatives from the US and the UK. “Open data” in this context refers to government information that can be exploited for commercial applications without compromising national security. This is considered a huge asset to the state of Taiwan, considering the wealth of information it has collected through e-governance initiatives. For example, the health insurance database contains comprehensive information of 23 million people collected over 13 years, the largest such database for the Chinese demographic. Consequently, Chu expressed his confidence in the development of homegrown industries that can make good use of this asset. Incidentally, publication of open data in Europe has added production value in excess of TWD 5 trillion ($166 billion).
While the foreign representatives at the meeting outlined the use of open data in their respective countries, officials from the Taiwan Research, Development and Evaluation Commission, the Council for Economic Planning and Development, and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications also presented their views on the challenges and opportunities existing in this field.
However, the government is not taking everything into its own hands – institutions and corporate partners have also been brought on board. The aforementioned Board of Science and Technology has entrusted National Taiwan University Hospital and National Cheng Kung University Hospital in formulating the business model for the medical cloud along with partners IBM and Fujitsu, neither of them a stranger to cloud computing (See: IBM Expects To Generate $7 billion In Cloud Computing Revenues By 2015: CEO and Fujitsu’s Perceptions of the Cloud).
Taiwan may be small, but it has a prominent place in the world map for its semiconductor and electronics industries. Now, it seems, cloud computing is set to join this elite list.
By Sourya Biswas