Movers & Shakers
Gain Insights from the industry's Best and Brightest
Ever wonder how the leaders of the Infocomm industry got where they are today? Watch this space and hear from the luminaries themselves what inspired them to join the Infocomm industry and what inspired them to join the Infocomm industry and what continues to drive them to excel.
Chief Executive Officer, SG-Innovate
I hope to make a dent in the world with the initiatives we support and the talents we nurture. Making a dent is an ambitious undertaking because I am not looking at just improving the status quo; I am looking for exponential advances that disrupt current behaviours and perspectives
Q: How far away do you think Singapore is from becoming a Smart Nation?
S: In many ways Singapore is well positioned to become a Smart Nation. Not only do we have a supportive government and a relatively strong technology infrastructure, we also have access to many intellectual muscles. For example, if you are thinking of research, we have capable researchers and academia at the universities and A*STAR. In addition, our vibrant industrial sector and growing design community also mean that engineers of different specialisations and designers are readily available.
| Q: Does this then mean that the Smart Nation vision is an easy target? |
S: Well, while Singapore has the conditions to become a Smart Nation, a Smart Nation cannot be realised unless we can creatively bring all of these favourable forces together, let them work in synergy with one another, and create disruptive solutions that solve real world problems.
And an important part to the equation is a fundamental shift in mindsets. Today, finding solutions to problems requires a holistic approach and every stakeholder to pitch in. Having scientists to help us uncover new bodies of knowledge is only the first step. We need engineers to turn the ideas into products, product designers to perfect their form, and marketers to communicate the products' attributes to the consumers. And last but not least, consumers need to embrace the products and see their value.
Q: How does SG-Innovate contribute to the Smart Nation vision?
S: SG-Innovate is still in its early days of founding but we are quite clear about our goal. We want to build companies that create economic value for Singapore. And to be precise, we don't mean building companies that serve only the Singapore market; we are looking to build companies that provide solutions, which positively impact people around the world.
Many countries confront same challenges to different extents – ageing population, overcrowded transportation, limited energy resources, etc. To solve these complex problems, it is clear that we need ideas that are bigger, bolder and braver than what are out there at the moment. We want to support these disruptive ideas regardless of their outcomes at SG-Innovate because even if the outcomes may be less than desirable, we would have learnt something in the process of trying to get there. That is valuable, and it may potentially pave the way for the next big discovery.
President, SCS IT Youth Council
I am always looking for the next higher mountain to climb because the higher I go, the more opportunities and possibilities I see. It's exciting and I am totally up for it!
AN AFFINITY WITH ALL THINGS TECH
Q: My love for technology traces back to...
MC: When I was nine years old. I had great fun attending computing enrichment classes. I owned my first computer at 10 and that's also when I first tried my hands at coding using BASIC programming language.
Q: My love affair with technology continues...
MC: Even during my ‘A' Level. I was one of the lucky few to be able to take Computing as a subject. Then one thing led to another. We were in the thick of the dot-com boom when it came time to select a University course. Naturally, I chose Computer Engineering.
Stay Ahead at the Cutting Edge
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Are We Ready for Artificial Intelligence in Our Everyday Lives
Mankind has always been fascinated with creating intelligent machines that can think like us. And modern pop culture has expressed this idea for years in books and films – portraying artificial intelligence (AI) as part of our lives, with the capability to rival our ingenuity and morality, and even surpassing what we can ever hope to achieve. The question is, how removed are these science fiction plots from reality?
WHAT EXACTLY IS AI?
Since the beginning of time, human beings learnt from examples and by inference. For example, children only need to be shown a few pictures of cats and they will be able to identify the animal in future. In addition, researchers also propose that we understand new concepts by discerning how familiar parts work together as a whole.
AI, or Machine Learning as it is technically known, works in a similar way as humans do. Instead of having a programmer manually entering new data and telling the programme what to do, the programme automatically improves its software from data received.
WHAT IS NECESSARY TO MAKE AI WORK?
For AI programmes to succeed, loads of data, high computational power with optimal programming architecture, and machine learning algorithms are necessary. Notably, the developments in each of these domains are improving at an unprecedented rate, providing an environment that is conducive to the growth of AI.
With 40% of the world's population online and two billion smartphones in use, contents and data are created at a remarkable rate that is not known.
The Future of Sensors: Camera-As-Sensors
Conventional sensors have served our purposes well till now. But are they good enough for a Smart Nation where real-time data and solutions are essential?
THE REALITY: TRADITIONAL SENSORS VS SMART SENSORS
Technology has enabled traditional sensors used for various applications to be upgraded with connectivity modules to transmit real-time data. However, many deployed systems today are still fitted with older sensors because replacing the systems is costly and time-consuming. Furthermore, owners are comfortable with the existing setups. Therefore, it is often an uphill task to justify the change to smart sensors.
THE SOLUTION: CAMERA-AS-SENSORS TECHNOLOGY
Now there is an alternative. Instead of changing whole systems, Camera-As-Sensors Technology (CAST) can be leveraged by retrofitting older sensors with cameras. Optical Character Recognition technology or image/video analytics, coupled with an IoT framework for the cameras, allows information to be deciphered from older sensors. Better yet, CAST presents a cheaper alternative for existing sensor systems with no connectivity; its contactless nature also means that it will not interfere with existing operations.
Technology Revolution, Empowerment 'N' Development Series
Engage your contemporaries on the newest developments! Listen to industry stalwarts and leading technical experts and get first-hand insights and knowledge of the next trending scene in the ever-dynamic Infocomm industry.
In Demand: Smart Nation Project Managers
These are exciting times for professionals in the Infocomm industry. Singapore's aspiration to become a Smart Nation suggests abundant opportunities for IT professionals.
SMART NATION PROJECT OPPORTUNITIES
Smart Nation projects typically involve technologies like sensors, analytics and solutions to collect valuable data, conduct analysis and provide actionable insights. In most cases, they not only entail process re-engineering, but also the introduction of new and improved ones.
One example is the introduction of smart technologies to our housing estates. A growing ageing population, shortage of healthcare resources and increasing numbers of chronic illness drive the need for home monitoring and tracking applications to facilitate early response and intervention when incidents happen. Another example is the Land Transport Authority's use of sensors to collect data and employ data processing technologies to provide real-time transport and traf c information to road users. The end goal is to create a more seamless travelling experience.
MANAGING SMART NATION PROJECTS
Smart Nation project managers' multidisciplinary portfolio typically requires them to verify security policies and networking solutions; manage privacy challenges in data collection and processing and keep abreast of evolving standards in emerging technologies that define seamless interoperability and connectivity of various Internet of Things (IoT) and smart devices.
In addition, Smart Nation projects usually also involve different agencies and multiple partners. It is therefore, important for project managers to possess capabilities to work with different parties with varying priorities. As Lai Weng Yew, Vice President, Business Application Services, NCS aptly sums up, "Everything is generally more complex. And the importance of project management is naturally taken a few notches higher."
Good and well-executed project management is vital to the success of Smart Nation projects. Project managers need to ensure good project governance throughout the project planning and implementation stages, have a clear understanding of the different roles and responsibilities among the different stakeholders and follow a clear and transparent approval process. Weng Yew emphasised, "Smart Nation projects require a team effort as it is impossible to run these projects alone. Project managers will have to unite the team through various incentives and organise team players to handle different focus areas."
Survey & Resources
A Plethora of Resources
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Infocomm Media 2025: What's in it for You and I?
Two years in the making, the recently unveiled Infocomm Media 2025 report on August 11 points the way to realising Singapore's goal as the world's first Smart Nation. Not surprisingly, you and I are integral to the achievement of this master plan.
More than a holistic blueprint for Singapore's infocomm media sectors for the decade ahead, Infocomm Media 2025 offers a compass to navigate the ever-changing environment and leverage potential of upcoming technology and business trends.
In a world where technologies evolve, business models change and disruptions by the unexpected constantly take place, the Plan sets out to not only create a globally competitive infocomm media ecosystem that enables and complements Singapore's Smart Nation vision, but also provide a "living" reference on broad directions and strategic focus areas. These include the need to:
• nurture an ecosystem that encourages risk-taking to create Singapore-made content, products and services, and
• connect Singapore's people through infocomm media to enhance quality of life and foster a stronger Singapore identity.
DATA WILL CONNECT BUSINESSES TO PEOPLE
Data and analytics will play a big part in many areas, underpinning Singapore's efforts in becoming a Smart Nation. For example, intelligence on traffic patterns paves the way for more efficient urban logistics and smoother city commutes; data insights gained from location-based services and mobile apps enable retailers to better connect with customers, increasing the probability of sale closure.
Similarly, media services companies can turn to audience measurement tools, which take into account minute details of customer behaviour, to predict customers' consumption habits and offer relevant products and/or services at opportune moments. Case in point: a game service analyses players' on-screen actions to predict when they would most likely purchase an in-game item or watch an in-game advertisement.
INFRASTRUCTURE WILL BE MORE ROBUST
Usually, talk of data and analytics involves sensors. Whether they are virtual sensors that measure online actions or physical ones that detect air quality, they require robust infrastructure to deliver raw data. To which end, Singapore is currently bolstering the island-wide fibre optic network with HetNet – heterogeneous network technology – to ensure pervasive and strong connectivity, as well as more efficient use of limited radio frequency spectrum so that more end users can be hooked up on the go.
Driving the brightest ideas in town
Looking for a marketplace spotlighting the best student IT projects and potential networks to link up with investors? Here could be the next virtual Silicon Valley transforming breakthrough ideas into useful products or services.
Time to get your innovation engine started!
SCS IT Youth Awards
Out of the 6 finalist below, who do you think deserves to be IT Youth 2016?
The IT Youth Award is a highly acclaimed award that recognises and honours youths 25 years and below for their shown outstanding achievements in innovations, research undertakings and projects in the infocomm and digital media arena.
Out of the 6 finalists below, who will be the next IT Youth Winner?
- Jason Chee
- Singapore Polytechnic
- Goh Jin Qiang
- Singapore Polytechnic
- Girish Kumar
- NUS High School of Math & Science
- Raniel Lee
- Nanyang Polytechnic
- Lee Xiang Rui
- Singapore Management University
- Lynnette Ng
- National University of Singapore
- Winner(s) will be announced at the SCS Gala Dinner and IT Leader Awards 2016 on 4 March 2016 at Shangri-La Hotel.
IT Professionals at Work and Play
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Hacks to Manage Your Virtual Life
Your cat just gave birth to a kitten and you want to share the good news with the world. How about Instagramming it? Thinking of reconnecting with the friend who migrated to New Zealand ve years ago. Maybe Facebook will be a good place to start searching!
In today's digital generation, thanks to the advent of mobile devices and pervasive social media platforms, none of the above feats should pose any difficulties. After all, people stay connected with their family, friends and institutions by sharing vacation
photos, funny cat videos or even news about upcoming marriage plans and the arrival of their newborn.
Undisputedly, social media has brought the world closer – more than any other form of technology that man has seen. And when we move into a new team at work or take up a new job portfolio, there will inevitably be new friend requests from new colleagues although we may meet them at work every day. How do we balance personal privacy and socialising with our colleagues in the digital world? Where does one draw the line?
KEEPING PERSONAL LIFE SEPARATE FROM WORK
It is no secret that some managers would use social media to monitor their employees and staff. In some cases, social media also becomes a convenient tool for work dissemination after office hours. Furthermore, it may be discomforting to share personal moments with colleagues and superiors. Good news is, it is not dif cult to manage privacy on these platforms. The best, however, is to exercise discretion when sharing on the Internet. After all, in the world of web, there is no telling who is reading what and the reaction that may evoke.
And when work and personal life become too difficult to separate, there is always the option to close or entirely privatise the accounts. If the latter solution is adopted, care must be taken when accepting friends. Otherwise, the vicious cycle may begin all over again.
TOEING THE LINE ON THE PROFESSIONAL FRONT
There is a certain draw to be in the know about your friends' lives and, generally, to stay abreast of new developments. That is why many people are glued to their phones, even when at work. Although some companies have blocked social media in their office computer network, many others have not. However, no matter whether unrestricted access is provided or not, remaining professional during work hours is recommended.