Celebrating tech innovation in Singapore
Did you know that Kodak, once a leading photography and imaging technology company, was the first to develop a digital camera in 1975?
The twist in the tale: Kodak actually dropped this product for fear that it would threaten its successful photographic film business, said Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information.he twist in
“We are familiar with stories of companies that have been disrupted because they did not keep up with technological change. But there are also companies that have pioneered many interesting technologies, but still lost their edge because they did not commercialise their inventions,” Dr Yaacob said.
He was speaking at the National Infocomm Awards 2016 held at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore on 10 November 2016.
With Kodak’s example in mind, he urged businesses to not only have a culture of innovation, but to also lead change and disrupt their own businesses.
Jointly organised by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Singapore Infocomm Technology Federation (SiTF), the biannual awards celebrate the most outstanding innovations and technologies from public and private organisations and companies across Singapore.
There was a healthy showing of private sector entries, and Dr Yaacob highlighted that out of 179 entries this year, 136 were from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Cashing in on Fraud Prevention
Homegrown SME CashRun Pte Ltd was the winner in the Most Innovative Infocomm Product/Solution category with CashShield, a real-time fraud prevention solution that uses a unique financial risk management algorithm.
When consumers file fraudulent chargebacks, CashShield automates the lengthy but necessary manual review process, which is often a pain for all those involved.
Aside from lowering the business costs of managing fraud, the fully-automated CashShield maximises retailers’ revenue by retaining big-ticket spenders who do not have to wait for manual verification, Dr Yaacob noted.
He added that CashShield is the first and only fraud prevention solution in the world that provides a 100% Chargeback Protection—a testament to the effectiveness of its algorithms.
The first runner-up in the category was DC Frontiers Pte Ltd, the financial technology SME behind software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform Handshakes. The platform provides a visual representation of the complex web of corporate relationships that surround any one professional.
Second runner-up V-Key Pte Ltd was recognised for V-OS—essentially a software version of the secure USB dongles and tokens we are familiar with.
Three merit prizes went to Taiger Singapore Pte Ltd for its HDB Virtual Assistant Project; Lynx Analytics Pte Ltd for its LynxKite and LynxEnterprise graph computation solutions; and Arcstone Pte Ltd for its arc.ops IoT/SaaS platform.
When Data Analytics Met Public Transport
As for the Most Innovative Use of Infocomm Technology (Public Sector) category, the Land Transport Authority emerged as third-time winner with its Project Land Transport Real-time Info@SG (POLARis) data analytics solution.
POLARis, which won for ensuring a seamless journey for over 2.2 million commuters, makes use of public bus sensors to track, monitor and predict arrival times, and alerts bus operators when additional buses are needed on busy routes.
The first runner-up in this category, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), won the award for its myResponder mobile app, which crowdsources for community volunteers to deliver immediate assistance to someone having a heart attack in the area around them.
According to Dr Yaacob, this innovative use of technology promotes active citizenry and builds a stronger and more resilient community.
Furthermore, automated external defibrillators are now available in a hundred taxis with drivers trained in their usage, thanks to SCDF’s efforts.
The Institute of Mental Health (IMH), National Healthcare Group Pharmacy and Integrated Health Information Systems were named joint second runner-up for developing an IT solution for multi-dose pre-packing of medications in IMH’s long-stay wards.
Last but not least, a merit prize was awarded to the Government Technology Agency of Singapore and the Ministry of Finance for their Ask Jamie virtual assistant, a chatbot that employs natural language processing to understand citizens’ queries and respond appropriately.
Innovation & Commercialisation go together
Awards were also given out in the Most Innovative Use of Infocomm Technology (Private Sector - Open) category:
Jurong Port Pte Ltd won in this category with its Smart Gate integrated one-stop gate processing solution, with the goal of building a futuristic, multipurpose port.
First runner-up DBS Bank was recognised for I.Serve, a range of software tools which automatically triggers customer satisfaction surveys, for example. Second runner-up SP Services won for its wireless workforce management system, while merit award winner M1 Limited won for its M1 Mobile Point-of-Sale system.
And finally, in the Most Innovative Use of Infocomm Technology (Private Sector - SME) category, I-Man Facility Sprinter, a mobile command and control centre for security surveillance, won Concorde Security Pte Ltd the top award.
The merit award was jointly awarded to HiVelocity Pte Ltd and GenieAgent Pte Ltd for Fotograft, an end-to-end solution for race events, which allows organisers to streamline processes for registration, payment, race pack collection, and real-time photo and timing results.
As this year’s winners were lauded for their diverse, innovative technological solutions, hopes were high that they will go on to scale up their solutions to reach commercial success, like past winners have done.
“Singapore has progressed well the past fifty years because as a nation, we have never chosen to rest on our laurels,” Dr Yaacob said.
“So, to continue succeeding as a nation, we, the government and industry, must support and learn from one another.”
- Top photo and photo of CashRun team courtesy of the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).