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15-09-2017
Innovation and Technology Venture Fund

The Government has launched the Innovation and Technology Venture Fund on 15-09-2017. It is now open for application by venture capital funds to become co-investment partners (Deadline: 15-01-2018). A briefing session will be held on 03-10-2017 at the Hong Kong Science Park. Interested venture capital funds are welcome to attend.

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17-11-2017
New AdAsia platform to increase AI use in ads

Artificial intelligence (AI) is now entering the mainstream in the fast-evolving adtech space. Recently, AdAsia Holdings, a developer of AI-based marketing solutions, launched the AdAsia Digital Platform for Publishers. It is an integrated yield management platform featuring AI that allows publishers to explore various revenue opportunities.“In a market where social media penetration rate ranks top globally, online publishers in Hong Kong are looking at more engaging ways to reach their digital audiences. They can now be poised to leverage on additional digital opportunities and explore new revenue streams that have been powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning,” Sam Tam, AdAsia Holdings’ newly appointed Vice President, Hong Kong said in a press release.The AdAsia Digital Platform for Publishers allows digital publishers to gain revenue from various advertising networks and supply-side platforms (SSPs), using an easy-to-use, unified management dashboard. The integrated platform also supports private marketplace and real-time bidding (RTB) deals, along with AI features that include dynamic floor price optimization and dynamic ad allocation. The AI features is the result of AdAsia Holdings’ acquisition of Japanese publisher trading desk FourM in early October 2017.“This is an essential step in our bid to enable advertisers, marketers, and now publishers, to leverage on intelligent tools. Our Publisher Engagement team across Asia are poised to provide our publisher partners with the guidance needed for this development, offering an end-to-end solution for online asset monetization,” Kosuke Sogo, CEO and co-founder of AdAsia Holdings said.The AdAsia Ad Network and AdAsia Video Network are also integrated with the AdAsia Digital Platform for Publishers, providing online media owners with display, native and video demand sources through a single platform. Meanwhile, AdAsia Holdings’ flagship product developed for advertisers, the AdAsia Digital Platform, will be renamed as the AdAsia Digital Platform for Advertisers.Further reading:Spotad to optimize programmatic mobile ad buying with AIAI fueling customer experience strategies for top brandsAmplero gives customer experience an AI boost  Caption: Image credit: iStockphoto by Getty Images

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17-11-2017
Ad fraud fight heats up with CAT, Indorse collaboration

The fight against ad fraud is becoming global with many new players turning to blockchain for answers.The recent to join the foray are ConsenSys Ad Tech (CAT), which focuses on decentralized applications using blockchain technology and facilitates the adoption of Ethereum-based adChain, and Singapore-headquartered Indorse, a decentralized social network for professionals. adChain is essentially the first decentralized whitelist for ad publishers that looks to encourage advertising in non-fraudulent websites.The collaboration announcement builds on Indorse official intent to be included in the adChain registry using the adToken (ADT) in the application. ADT is used by its holders to vote whether a publisher’s website is bot- or human-based, impacting the publisher’s inclusion in the adChain whitelist."adChain is a lightweight protocol by design. We have always hoped to see ad commerce conducted in a multitude of cryptocurrencies, and conducted with confidence derived from the cryptoeconomic integrity of adChain’s underlying curation system. Indorse is a great project, and we’re excited to help them realize a new revenue opportunity on IND payment rails,” Mike Goldin, lead engineer at ConsenSys Ad Tech said in a press release. Goldin is also the author of the adChain whitepaper.Indorse is building a serverless, decentralized network where professionals are rewarded for platform growth. It offers users total control over their own data as they build their own professional profiles and share their skills on the platform. Based on the current model, they can earn financial rewards from the revenues received from advertisers purchasing space on the Indorse platform with Indorse Tokens (IND).Indorse’s listing is a commitment by the company to fight against ad fraud. Advertisers, who pay for impressions using IND will gain from blockchain benefits of transparency, auditability and immutability, while being assured that their ads will be seen by humans.“This exciting collaboration allows advertisers to be confident in the quality of impressions. Members of the Indorse platform will be able to earn IND tokens for their efforts and actions on the platform such as having their skills ‘Indorsed’ and added to their profiles. ConsenSys Ad Tech is a fantastic ally to have as we move to a decentralized infrastructure of the web3.0 internet,” Gaurang Torvekar, co-founder and CTO of Indorse said.Further reading:Can blockchain reinvent marketing?Chinese money set to shape adtechWinter is coming as adtech and martech converge Caption: Image credit: iStockphoto by Getty Images

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17-11-2017
HK and Korea sign MOU to promote trade

The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with its counterpart in Korea, the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), to promote economic cooperation and trade between Hong Kong and the Republic of Korea. The signing took place on 15 November, ahead of the official opening of the HKTDC's Seoul office on 21 November. The MOU was signed in Hong Kong by Margaret Fong, executive director of HKTDC, and Kim Jaehong, President and CEO of KOTRA.Enhanced cooperation The MOU aims to strengthen both parties' cooperation in promoting economic partnership and trade between Hong Kong and Korea. The sectors covered include creative industries, services industries, start-ups, technology, lifestyle products, food, toys, gifts and housewares. Under the MOU, the HKTDC and KOTRA will exchange information on economic cooperation, trade facilitation, industry development and new business opportunities in both markets. The two parties will also help promote each other's trade fairs.Strong business ties Korea is Hong Kong's sixth-largest trading partner and fifth-largest source of imports. In the first nine months of 2017, bilateral trade surged 26% year-on-year to US$28.2 billion, while Hong Kong imports from Korea grew 32.3% to US$22.9 billion. During the same period, the city's total exports to the country increased 4.5 per cent to US$5.3 billion, making Korea the city's 10th-largest export market. Major imports and exports between the two economies include semiconductors, electronic valves and tubes, as well as telecom equipment and parts. In June 2017, 148 Korean companies operated regional headquarters, regional or local offices in Hong Kong, up nearly 10% from a year ago. Korean companies in Hong Kong are involved in financial services, logistics, transportation and cosmetics, among other sectors. Korea's cumulative foreign direct investment in Hong Kong amounted to US$3.3 billion as of the end of 2015. Hong Kong and Korea signed an Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement in 1997, and a Comprehensive Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement in 2014. In the last financial year ending March 2017, more than 16,000 buyers and over 840 exhibitors from Korea took part in HKTDC product and services fairs. Caption: Margaret Fong, Executive Director, HKTDC, and Kim Jaehong, President and CEO, Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, sign MOU to promote economic cooperation and trade

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16-11-2017
FS jobs returning to Hong Kong

Specialist recruiter Robert Half revealed the findings of a new research that suggests Hong Kong’s financial services companies are increasingly bringing their offshored operations back to the city as companies are being affected by rising costs and lackluster service in offshore regions.The research has found more than half (53%) of Hong Kong’s financial services CFOs have increased their level of onshoring – transferring offshored business operations back to Hong Kong – in the past two years, compared to 9% who have decreased their onshoring activities. A further 57% have increased their level of nearshoring – transferring operations to a nearby country in preference to a more distant jurisdiction – in the past two years.Ranked as 4th by the Global Financial Centres Index, the shift in recruitment strategy could potentially lead to more jobs in the financial services sector.RELATED: HK FSIs struggling to adapt to the pace of digital changeThe research found that 53% of financial services CFOs in Hong Kong have increased their level of onshoring – transferring offshored business operations back to Hong Kong – in the past two years, compared to 9% who have decreased their onshoring activities.Rising costs (66%) and service quality complaints (58%) were cited by CFOs for the increased their level of onshoring. A lack of efficiency (43%) and skills shortage in the offshored regions (38%) were further cited as key reasons for transferring offshored business operations back to Hong Kong.Adam Johnston (photo right), Managing Director at Robert Half Hong Kong said: “Operating within a global trading and financial hub, Hong Kong’s financial services companies are increasingly under pressure to remain competitive by maximizing performance and decreasing costs. In order to do so, many organizations are increasing their level of onshoring and bringing key business operations back to Hong Kong, potentially leading to an increase in local employment for financial services professionals.”In an indication that offshoring is not just a cost decision, but also a matter of dealing with the skills shortage in Hong Kong, 51% of financial services leaders would consider shutting down offshore activities and return their operations to Hong Kong if the specialized skills they require would be available locally.Onshoring can result in tangible benefits for Hong Kong companies. Almost half (44%) of Hong Kong’s financial services leaders who have returned business activities to Hong Kong say it has resulted in increased cost efficiencies, followed by increased productivity (43%), greater customer responsiveness (39%) and an increase in service quality (33%).“To fully leverage the advantages from onshoring key business activities back to Hong Kong, organizations need a functioning workforce equipped with the right skills. While the skills shortage in the offshored regions is a key reason to bring back activities, the lack of skilled talent on a local level is simultaneously hindering other companies from onshoring their business operations back to Hong Kong. The right staff can mean the difference between companies operating at peak performance and returning lackluster results,” explained Johnston.He commented that to combat the local skills shortage and have their workforce operating at an optimal level, financial services companies need to invest in adequate staff development programs to remedy any critical skills gaps.“When it is not possible to upskill existing staff with business-critical skillsets, employers need to recruit qualified professionals – on either temporary or permanent basis to meet strategic and operational objectives,” he concluded.  Caption: Image from iStockPhoto

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16-11-2017
Partnerships, technology and security take center stage at Singapore FinTech Festival 2017

The second edition of the Singapore FinTech Festival witnessed several announcements relating to payments, collaborations andsecurity in the financial space, with a keen focus on harnessing technology to optimize processes and steer the industry forward.Managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) Ravi Menon (pictured) kicked off the event highlighting the growth of digitalization in the Asia Pacific. “According to Bain & Company, in the past year alone, the number of online-engaged consumers has surged by 50% to 200 million people,” said menon. “And FinTech – or the application of technology to financial services – has been at the forefront of this digital renaissance.“1 in 3 digitally active users globally already consider themselves regular users of FinTech services. In China, that figure is nearly 70%.”Menon further emphasized the importance of FinTech in Singapore’s drive to maintain its position as one of the world’s top financial centers. Maximizing FinTech’s benefits while minimizing its risks should be the way forward, Menon said.More banks in Singapore have opened up their APIs with the aim to benefit consumers, Menon said, citing the examples of OCBC Bank (43 open APIs) and DBS Bank (170 APIs and more than 50 successful collaborations with FinTech players in addition to the launch of an API developer platform) and UOB (recently launched a regional open banking API platform).Expansion of LATTICE80’s premisesChief among the day’s announcements was the declaration that LATTICE80, the FinTech Innovation Hub launched last year in Singapore’s central business district, would have its premises expanded from two floors to the entire building. The 100,000 square feet facility will be dedicated toward housing FinTech startups.Linking PayNow with Thailand’s PromptPaySingapore’s bank-agnostic mobile payment system PayNow will soon be linked with a similar system in Thailand named PromptPay, with the aim to enable real-time, 24/7 domestic payments from one bank account to another.The MAS and the Bank of Thailand have agreed to join hands to link both systems. Upon completion of the project, someone in Singapore will be able to instantly and securely send money to someone in Thailand, and vice versa, using just their mobile phone numbers.Collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)The MAS and MIT have entered an R & D collaboration in FinTech, where local FinTech talents will be able to work alongside MIT’s researchers on pilots and solutions. Pilots will be run using distributed ledger technology (DLT), cryptography, quantum computing and big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning.S$27 million AI and data analytics grantThe MAS is launching a S$27 million “Artificial Intelligence & Data Analytics Grant”, part of the S$225 million “Financial Sector Technology & Innovation Scheme”.The new grant aims to support the adoption and integration of AI and data analytics in financial institutions and also help financial sector professionals up-skill and adapt to new technologies.Pages1 2 3 » last »

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15-11-2017
Wearables find purpose in enterprise retail says ABI Research

Retailers are beginning to use wearable technology to improve processes and customer satisfaction. Staff wearables provide shop floor staff with access to information such as stock levels, as well as to facilitate communication with team members. This allows customer requests to be resolved faster and ensures that the employee continues to interact with the customer, improving the overall shopping experience.ABI Research forecasts enterprise retail wearable shipments will reach nearly 10 million in 2022, increasing from just 2 million in 2017, a CAGR of 38%. This makes retail one of the fastest growing enterprise wearable verticals, with numerous devices improving store operations. Devices such as smartwatches, smart glasses, wearable cameras, wearable scanners, and hearables are all seeing an increase in adoption within the retail market.“As online retailers are gaining in strength, the remaining physical stores are searching for ways to encourage customers to return and shop with them. Wearable devices provide shop staff with the ability to look up stock-level information, request help from colleagues, and upsell other products, which helps to assure that the customer’s needs are met,” said Stephanie Lawrence, Research Analyst at ABI Research.RELATED: The long road to digital retailThe ABI Research report “Staff Wearables: Closing the Retail IoT Loop report” noted that many different wearable devices are ensuring that customer requests are dealt with more quickly and more efficiently. Smartwatches provide workers with access to notifications about what work they should be completing, as well as information about product and stock. Having this information in a quick and easy to access form allows a worker to rapidly resolve a customer’s query, such as if an item is in stock and where it is located, without having to leave the customers side and physically search for it.Smart glasses with technologies such as GoInStore’s application allow in-store shop workers to connect to online customers, giving them the ability to demonstrate and describe all a product’s features, without requiring the customer to go to the store. This improves their satisfaction level, as it is a more convenient way to shop while still receiving the personal assistance they require.Wearable cameras, such as those from Pinnacle Response, provide retail workers who experience robberies or threats of violence with a way in which to record interactions. These devices help to calm down potentially violent situations, as it alerts the potential criminal to the fact that their actions are being recorded, and if that does not work, then the recordings are used as evidence. Hearables, such as Onyx by Orion Labs, allow workers to quickly communicate with colleagues, no matter where they are located, such as the stock-room, on the road, or in a different store, to ensure that customer requests are dealt with quickly.Other devices, such as lone worker protection wearables from companies such as Skyguard, aren’t designed to improve customer satisfaction, but rather improve employee satisfaction, yet another important factor for retail companies. These worker protection devices give retail workers who are alone, such as early in the morning, late at night, or when accepting deliveries, a way to record potentially dangerous interactions and/or call for help if required.  Employees who feel safer on the job will stay on the job.Lawrence concludes that “wearable devices are becoming a vital part of many enterprise verticals, and the retail sector is no different. Improving customer satisfaction with such devices will help to ensure that customers remain loyal and continue to shop in an in-store environment.”These findings are from ABI Research’s Staff Wearables: Closing the Retail IoT Loop report. These reports are part of the company’s Wearables, Usables, and Expendables research service, which includes research, data, and analyst insights. Caption: Image from iStockPhoto

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15-11-2017
Social media critical to e-commerce reaching US$708 billion in sales in 2021

E-commerce in the US, like other markets in the world, continues to flourish enabled by devices including both online (PC/Laptop) and mobile. It is reshaping the US retail market as new technologies converge to enable even better consumer experience across multiple channels.The expansion of e-commerce retailing continues to grow unabated, accelerating with each new digital retailer born, every new expansion of physical delivery services, and the intensifying desire of consumers to shop when, where, and how they want.Javelin Strategy & Research estimates that in 2016, e-commerce sales reached US$518 billion and forecasts this figure to grow to more than US$700 billion by 2021.And it is not a one-sided opportunity. According to the research firm, e-commerce represents a dual opportunity; first of physical store sales conversion to digital channels and second IoT (Internet of Things) marketplace, where connected devices will use digital channels to make purchases on behalf of their owners.TRENDING: HK retailers’ biggest challenge in 2018According to the Javelin study “E-Commerce Forecast 2017: A Digital Disruption is coming to a Store near You” identified the constituent drivers of e-commerce and what makes them tick.Consumers (ages 18-44) who shop across both mobile and online channels are the power users of e-commerce. More than 6 in 10 consumers ages 18-44 have made a mobile purchase in the past 90 days, in comparison with 1 in 3 or fewer consumers 45+. Adoption of e-commerce is high across all consumer age groups; however, this broad adoption is largely restricted to online shopping in which PCs and laptops are used.Figure 1:  Source: Javelin Strategy & Research, 2017“FIs have a unique opportunity to build consumer trust in e-commerce as a “remote” shopping channel,” said Michael Moeser, Director of Payments at Javelin Strategy & Research. “For people to allow IoT devices to make purchases on their behalf, FIs can play a bigger role by working with payments networks and IoT providers to offer different payment options.”  Caption: Image from iStockPhoto

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14-11-2017
Prudential Singapore trials machine learning-based claims assessment

Prudential Singapore (Prudential) is trialing a machine learning-based solution that assesses claims in seconds.The solution sits at the core of a new customer e-claims platform which Prudential is making available to selected policyholders on a trial-basis.The first phase of the trial, set to commence in late November 2017, will focus on automating the processing of PRUshield pre- and post- hospitalization claims from eight major hospitals in Singapore. Claims from these hospitals form bulk of the 14,000 paper bills and receipts that Prudential’s claims assessors review each month. The trial aims to simplify the assessment process by allowing participants to upload scans or images of bills and invoices through a customer portal. This is expected to reduce the time that claims assessors spend on handling paper-based submissions. The system’s machine learning capabilities aim to progressively shorten the claims assessment time from seven days down to mere seconds by the time the trial ends in the first half of 2018. ProcessOnce a participant uploads and submits a claim on the trial e-claims system, the inbuilt text-mining engine identifies and categorizes payable and non-payable line items. The intelligent machine-learning engine then assesses the validity of the claim and recommends an outcome (approve, partial approve or decline) and the payment amount.The system has been trained and back-tested using claims data from the last two years. In the first phase of the trial, claims assessors will review the machine’s recommendations and provide feedback to the engine for continuous learning until its deduction capabilities reach an acceptable level.Prudential intends to fully launch the e-claims platform with straight-through processing capability in the second half of 2018.Theresa Nai, Chief Operating Officer at Prudential, said the move towards high precision, data-driven decision-making is part of the company’s wider digital roadmap to improve productivity and make insurance simpler for customers.“We are continuously working on new technology solutions such as e-claims that will increase the convenience for our customers. Internally, e-claims cuts down the amount of manual work required and enables our people to focus on more meaningful customer engagement initiatives,” she said.

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14-11-2017
DBS launches private cloud data center

DBS Bank has partnered Equinix to transform one of its traditional data centers in Singapore into a cloud-optimized facility.This new initiative will enable the bank to move its main data center to significantly smaller premises, which are a quarter of the size of its existing data center. The new center is expected to be 75% cheaper to run.The bank has been working on migrating to cloud-optimized technology in recent years, resulting in efficiency saves while increasing storage and computing capacity by 7x since 2014. With growing business volumes and digitalization, compute workloads at the bank have doubled in the last three years and are expected to see continued significant growth. The Equinix collaboration is expected to improve the bank’s ability to be even more agile and scalable. It will also contribute towards advancing the bank’s sustainability agenda by improving energy efficiency by at least 10 times.DBS is an early adopter of cloud technology and has announced that it would shift 50% of its compute workload to the public cloud by 2018. Last year, the bank launched cloud partnerships with Amazon Web Services and Pivotal Cloud Foundry, empowering it to innovate and operate at start-up speeds. It has also leveraged Microsoft’s cloud-based productivity technology, Office 365, in the workplace, enabling employees to change the way they work, making a leap forward in terms of mobility, efficiency and productivity. As a result, DBS today operates in a hybrid cloud environment, which is optimized for rapid changes of capacity and functionality.The banks’ aggressive drive towards cloud technology for its applications underlines its commitment to digitally transform the bank from client facing functions all the way to backend processes. This will enable the bank to better serve its customers who increasingly prefer to transact digitally.David Gledhill, DBS’ Group Chief Information Officer and Head of Technology and Operations said, “By being a leader in adopting cloud technologies, DBS can deliver more customer value through our ability to experiment and scale quickly. Our teams are able to iterate and deliver products to our customers at a much faster rate, while adhering to the highest standards of security and resiliency. With the new cloud data center, we are able to significantly increase our energy efficiency as well as drastically reduce our carbon footprint.”

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14-11-2017
Two payment partners set to roll out Visa-certified QR solutions

Two Asia Pacific FinTech payment firms, FOMO Pay and Razorpay, have been approved to roll out Visa-certified QR solutions under the Visa Ready Partner Programme.The Visa Ready Partner Programme aims to provide structure and clarity for mobile device manufacturers, technology partners, mobile network operators, and others to gain access to Visa IP, licenses and best practices in order to quickly introduce devices, software, and solutions that can initiate or accept Visa payments.FOMO Pay and Razorpay are the first Asia-based partners to obtain solution approval from the Visa Ready programme, enabling them to roll-out QR code solutions approved by VISA.Under the Visa Ready Partner Programme, technology companies can use Visa tools such as QR code generators, merchant QR code test cases and QR code testing utilities to refine their proposed payment solutions and ensure they meet Visa’s interoperable QR standards and specifications. Upon completion of the approval process, partners may use the Visa Ready mark with the approved solution on their websites and marking collaterals. The collaboration aims to accelerate the adoption of QR code use cases in the market.“There is huge growth potential for QR code payments as they are a low-cost solution for merchants worldwide. With QR technology, merchants may not need to invest in payment terminals at point-of-sale, enabling them to transact electronically while solving many pain points associated with the use of cash,” said Hamish Moline, Vice President, Strategic Partnerships, Visa Asia Pacific. “We are excited to work with FOMO Pay and Razorpay under the Visa Ready Progamme to further deploy QR payment solutions in this region and enable more people to go cashless.”“Being part of the Visa Ready QR programme, FOMO Pay is able to fast-track our one-stop QR code payment solution into the market to help roll out e-wallet solutions and increase adoption for banks, financial institutions and corporates across the region. The certification has helped FOMO Pay greatly enhance customer confidence and brand awareness. With Visa, we can work together to promote a cashless lifestyle and enable different use cases to improve daily life for consumers,” said Louis Liu, CEO, FOMO Pay."We at Razorpay have always been working towards improving the payment infrastructure in India and making it easily accessible to businesses. Now with BharatQR, we would be able to bring new payment innovations to our merchant base, both online and offline.In the context of a rapidly evolving Digital India, the solution has great synergy with Razorpay's expertise to onboard merchants instantly and support advanced features like multi-tier reporting. Brought together, this represents a quantum leap in solving cash on delivery for Indian businesses," said Harshil Mathur, Founder and CEO of Razorpay. 

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14-11-2017
SG launches SkillsFuture Initiative in support of TechSkills Accelerator

Launched on 10 November by Minister for Communications and Information, Dr. Yaacob Ibrahim, the Skills Framework (SF) for infocomm technology (ICT) is a comprehensive guide on ICT skills and employment opportunities, and maps out the career pathways across seven tracks. It is jointly developed by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) and Workforce Singapore (WSG), through extensive consultation with over 150 industry leaders from various organizations, industry associations, training providers and unions.The SF for ICT is a SkillsFuture initiative, in support of TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA), and aims to help individuals and companies develop a skilled ICT talent pipeline to seize opportunities in the digital economy. It covers 119 job roles and over 80 existing and emerging skills within the ICT sector, and across other industry domains such as retail, logistics, finance and healthcare.Ng Cher Pong, Chief Executive of SSG said, “The Skills Framework for ICT is an integral part of the Industry Transformation Map for Infocomm Media. It sets out the manpower and skills development strategies for the sector. SSG, IMDA and WSG, together with industry stakeholders, have developed the Skills Framework for ICT to capture the evolving technology and industry trends, and in particular, the impact on jobs and skills. It will be a “living document” that we expect to update regularly in order to keep pace with changes in this industry.”The SF for ICT seeks to empower companies and individuals to self-help and benefit from a common, national skills and career planning resource to identify and acquire the necessary ICT skills, and stay plugged into the latest programs available for career development.It also aims to boost companies’ efforts in attracting, retaining and developing ICT talents by using the detailed skills information in the framework to design human resource management and talent development plans. Individuals who wish to build their career in ICT can refer to this framework to identify opportunities in education and training, and plan their ICT career development across the various sectors.“Singapore is on the cusp of an exciting digital transformation and there are many opportunities in the Infocomm Media sector. The Skills Framework for Infocomm Technology is an important collaboration by the government and industry to help our companies and workers deepen digital capabilities and to pick up new skills to stay relevant. Workers from other sectors can also leverage the Skills Framework to acquire the right infocomm skills needed to participate in an increasingly digitalized economy,” said Tan Kiat How, Chief Executive of IMDA.Early Adopters of SF for ICTAt the launch, 11 companies were recognized for their early adoption of the SF for ICT. These companies comprise multinational companies, large and small medium enterprises, and public sector agencies, in alphabetical order; Accenture, Aptiv8, Cyber Security Agency, DBS Bank, GovTech, Integrated Health Information Systems (IHiS), i-SPRINT, PSA Corporation, Quann, Singtel and UrbanFox. As a pilot, these early adopters will align some of their ICT job roles or job functions to the SF for ICT, to improve their talent attraction and development capabilities.Organizations interested in adopting the SF for ICT as part of their workplace transformation can tap on the consultancy advice offered by Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) under the SAPPHIRE initiative. WSG will subsidize 70% of the consultancy fee which will cover up to 100 hours of consultancy advice.Click here for more details of the framework.

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14-11-2017
Safe city report: Singapore gets a perfect score

Brookings Institution released a new report ranking global cities in terms of their public safety innovations, examining the ways digital technology, mobile networks, and integrated solutions help authorities in 17 global cities manage public safety and law enforcement.Around the world, digital technologies are being used to improve public safety. They promote stronger ties between law enforcement and the community by integrating solutions such as video, data, and analytics into creating effective solutions, and offering authorities stronger tools for outreach and on-ground coordination.The report reveals that there are considerable variations in safe city innovation from city-to-city, based on implementation progress and adoption of best practices. Singapore, Copenhagen, London are some of the cities that top the list, while cities such as Kuwait City, Cairo and Abuja are lagging behind their counterparts. According to the report, the former are cities that have clear public safety agendas with substantial financial resources, and solid infrastructure to which they are able to generate positive security outcomes.According to Darrell West, Vice President of Brookings Institution, “Cities face barriers such as poor funding, infrastructure difficulties, public resistance, a lack of technical expertise, privacy and security concerns—but it is crucial for leaders to overcome these obstacles. In the report, we have identified many opportunities for cities to build their economies and promote social inclusion through public safety innovation. We have included a list of recommendations that will enable cities to reap the benefits of digital technology to improve the living standards of their citizens.”Using 24 indicators measuring the dimensions of metropolitan vision, digital infrastructure, safety effectiveness, safety adoption, data analytics, and community engagement, West and his colleague Dan Bernstein ranked these cities on a 120-point scale."We find there is considerable variation from city to city in implementation progress and adoption of best practices. Singapore, Copenhagen, and London top the list of public safety innovators, while Abuja, Nigeria, Cairo, Kuwait City, and Astana lag the top performers. The former are places that have a clear vision, significant financial resources, and strong infrastructures. They generate positive safety outcomes, use data analytics, and practice community engagement to improve ties with the general public. The latter cities have not implemented many best practices and have resource limitations that so far have precluded significant progress," he said.The Brookings report was released at the Huawei Asia Pacific Innovation Day 2017 last week in Kuala Lumpur. Amy Lin, Senior Vice President of Huawei shared, “It is our hope that today’s report will strongly urge governments and local city authorities to invest in public safety especially in a time of digital prosperity. We will continue to partner and work with the relevant authorities to identify opportunities and strengthened solutions related to public safety and smart city project across the world.”  Caption: Darrell West, Vice President at Brookings Institution

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13-11-2017
What brands and retailers must do to win in app commerce

“I’ve taken to online shopping because it’s frowned upon to be in a store dressed unglamorously.” While technology does not necessarily encourage you to disregard how you look while you shop, this adage has an element of truth.Mobile devices have given shopping an extreme makeover. According to the latest “App Commerce Goes Big in APAC” report by Criteo, apps are the new face of retail. Seventy-two percent of APAC consumers prefer to shop at home on retail apps. Millennials are in love with app commerce – 90 percent have taken all steps to purchase via a retail app.Retail apps have taken up residency on consumers’ smartphones. More than half of all smartphone owners across APAC have two to five retail apps installed. While it is too soon to retire mobile sites, the app’s importance as part of your omni-channel offering cannot be understated, especially in mobile-first markets.Here’s the hard truth. As this article’s opening statement suggests, the rise of app commerce has little to do with smart execution. It has been driven by mobile prevalence and proximity. In fact, two in three shoppers use a smartphone to address their needs only because it is the closest device to them. They also want to take their time over their purchases and shop without being rushed.This means you are not going to have loyal and engaged customers just because you’ve invested in and launched your very own app. A bad experience on a retail app will give one in two APAC shoppers a poor opinion of the brand or retailer. Poorly developed apps are commonly cited as a source of frustration. They also get deleted. You must therefore ensure you develop an app that meets shoppers’ needs.On that note, here are two things you need to consider to win in app commerce.Building your app around the user experienceThe whole purpose of retail apps is to make shoppers’ lives more convenient. In APAC, convenience is ranked as the main factor driving shoppers to both download and reuse retail apps.Ensure that your retail app has the following:Fast navigation: Sixty-four percent of shoppers want pages to load in four seconds or less. You must avoid anything that slows compute time, such as loading your app with too many animations and extremely high-resolution images. Ease of use: A quarter of all shoppers will abandon carts if getting around is too complex. An app should be designed so that minimal effort is required to access sought after output. Actions required must be easy and intuitive – swiping left, right, up or down on “autopilot” and with only one finger (usually the thumb). Simplicity: Features displayed most prominently should be prioritised based on frequency of use. Less frequent types of usage should be hidden from view. Shoppers most in need of advanced or special features tend to know where to find them. Product variety and searchability: A key trigger for the deletion of retail apps relate to products – either a poor range or difficulty in finding, selecting and comparing them. In fact, a “wide range and availability of products” is ranked by APAC shoppers as one of a retail app’s three most valuable attributes. Flexible payment options and fast delivery options: Other features shoppers need include flexible payment options (53 percent consider this among the top three most valuable attributes of a retail app) and fast delivery options (45 percent). These tie in with the demand for convenience.Going beyond your app to attract and engage shoppersSmartphones are the hubs of our digital lives and the time spent on apps continues to rise. The global average for time spent on apps is now 192 minutes a day. As people increasingly manage their lives through apps, they are becoming a business must-have.That said, users’ time on apps are split between multiple retail apps, as well as social and communication and gaming apps etc. The battle has shifted from prime real estate encouraging footfall to the battle for consumers’ time and attention on smartphones. You must also bear in mind that retail apps alone do not bring in new customers – they are meant to better support existing ones.No one is paying attention to the appearance of an individual shopping from home, but all eyes are on mobile apps. More than ever before, it is imperative that your app is showing up well and that your retail business is using innovative technology to engage effectively on mobile. Caption: Image credit: iStockphoto by Getty Images

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13-11-2017
Alipay processes US$25.3 billion in GMV during the 2017 Singles Day

At the close of November 11, 2017, Singles' Day netted Alibaba Group Holding Limited about US$25.3 billion (RMB168.2 billion) in gross merchandise volume (GMV) mainly settled through Alipay, an increase of 39% compared to 2016. Mobile GMV settled through Alipay accounted for 90% of total GMV.“More than US$25 billion of GMV in one day is not just a sales figure,” said Daniel Zhang, Chief Executive Officer of Alibaba Group. “It represents the aspiration for quality consumption of the Chinese consumer, and it reflects how merchants and consumers alike have now fully embraced the integration of online and offline retail.”According to the company Alipay 90% of total mobile GMV was settled through Alipay compared to 82% last year. Alipay processed 1.48 billion total payment transactions, up 41% from 2016, and processed 256,000 transactions per second at peak. With more than 140,000 participating brands, 60,000 of which are international, and merchants, Alibaba Cloud processed 325,000 orders per second at peak. The Cainiao Network processed 812 million total delivery orders.According to YouGov research, Chinese consumers planned to spend more on Singles’ Day this year than they did last year, with 60% of Chinese consumers that intend to shop on 11.11 budgeting more than ¥1,000 this year. This is up from 49% who said the same last year.The biggest increase in spending is among those aged between 18 and 24. Whereas just a quarter (25%) of those aged 18-24 planned to spend over ¥1,000 in 2016, this has risen to four in ten this year (40%). However, millennials (those aged between 18-34) still intend on spending less overall than their seniors. Nearly half of all millennials (46%) intend on spending less than ¥1,000. This compares with three in ten (30%) for older generations.It is not only that consumers are planning on spending more this year but there are also more consumers planning to shop on Singles’ Day this year. Of those polled, nearly one in ten (9%) say this year will be their first time shopping on 11.11. Nearly three quarters of respondents (73%) are repeat shoppers. Caption: Image supplied by Alibaba

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13-11-2017
Suning plans for more unmanned retail stores across China

Go to any supermarket store and often the long lines of queue beg for a solution. This is the tradition that consumers have come to expect and tolerate for years. A 2015 Harris Poll study, commissioned by Digimarc Corporation, revealed that 88% of U.S. adults want their store checkout experience to be faster. The Nielsen global report “Retail Evolution: Why marketing to the middle doesn’t work anymore” noted that 43% of respondents identity the ability to get in and out quickly or fast checkout (41%) as highly influential in their decision to shop at a particular retailer.And with the growing success of e-commerce and improving efficiencies in last mile delivery, brick and mortar retailers are working to shorten the checkout processing time in an effort to improve customer satisfaction.In markets like the U.K., Sweden and Japan, efforts are underway to solve the problem of long checkouts that make shopping a chore.In China, the Suning Commerce Group announced plans to open four new unmanned automated stores in China. For the Group, this is not the first time it has done so. Its initial foray into self-service store began with the roll out of "Suning Sports Biu" in Nanjing in August 2017. This was followed by the launched of its second cashier-less store in Shanghai on November 6.The Group says three more stores will be opened soon in Beijing, Chongqing and Xuzhou. With richer product categories, the new stores will not only sell sports products and souvenir items of well-known football clubs, such as F.C. Internazionale Milano, consumers could also find gadgets, personal electronics, food and FMCG goods to fulfill more unique purchasing demands.According to Zhang Jindong, Chairman of Suning Holdings Group the 'Biu' store is the latest innovation of Suning's 'Smart Retail'."Suning has more than 1,500 brick-and-mortar stores which have been upgraded to big data-driven smart stores years ago. With extensive offline experience and advantages in O2O retail, Suning's unmanned store model has undergone the concept and trial stages, and is now ready to scale up. These stores are launched for business, and are reproducible, cost-wise and technology-wise. As today's tech-savvy consumers expect different shopping experience, we see more opportunities in the industry and Suning is dedicated to create best services for our customers," said Zhang.Using facial recognition technology, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), big data analysis and its owned online financial services, Suning's unmanned stores offer a frictionless shopping and a paying process quicker than other similar stores to optimize the user experience.Highlights include:Facial recognition - After linking a bank card and going through the facial recognition on Suning Finance app, customers will be able to enter the store simply by letting the camera scan their faces at the entrance.Effortless shopping experience - To check out, shoppers only need to carry their goods along the payment pathway. The system will automatically recognize the shoppers and their items with the facial recognition and RFID technology – making the entire check-out process shorter than 15 seconds.Customer traffic and flow analysis - The surveillance cameras and an algorithm system developed by Suning is used to calculate and analyze customer flow in the stores to help optimize the product placement and enhance the shop operation.With about 4,000 self-managed stores and outlets targeting on different communities under its belt, Suning plans to expand its offerings of Stock Keeping Units (SKUs) in the unmanned stores to cover more diversified product lines. The unmanned stores will also feature Augmented Reality (AR) technology to display creative items, optimizing the space usage. Caption: Image by Suning Commerce Group

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CyberLink Vol.110 October 2017

Klook raised US$60M, the largest funding ever for in-destination service booking platform

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CyberLink Vol.109 September 2017

Cyberport FinTech Delegation to London lays important groundwork for future success

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CyberLink Vol.108 August 2017

GOGOVAN merges with 58 Suyun to become largest intra-city logistics platform in Asia

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