Garmin Pay Can Be Used to Pay Public Transport. Finally…

Garmin users in Singapore can now pay for bus and train rides using Garmin Pay, a contactless payment solution designed for people who are always on the move.
 
As part of a partnership with OCBC Bank, Garmin users can link their OCBC MasterCard® or Visa® credit or debit cards to their Garmin Pay Wallet in their compatible smartwatches and tap the fare gantries or card readers to pay for their transport or make purchases with a turn of their wrist.

Picture: Garmin Venu Smartwatch

Part of Land Transport Authority’s SimplyGo initiatives, commuters can use their contactless bank cards such as VISA an MasterCard or NFC-enabled smartphones to pay for their bus and train rides removing the need to carry additional cards.

The move to expand contactless payment footprints has been encouraging. Since April 2019, more than 250,000 commuters have signed up for a TransitLink SimplyGo account with a registered bank card. The SimplyGo account allows commuters to view their trip history and receive notifications of their fares on the go.

The contactless payment isn’t just limited to mobile phones. In May 2019, wearable company Fitbit announced that Fitbit Pay can be used to pay on public transport.

It is encouraging to see more technology companies are jumping into payment solutions. I think the era of cashless society is coming quicker than I thought.

Singapore-based Acronis Acquired Microsoft Cloud Solution Partner – 5Nine.

Today, Acronis, a cloud-based data backup and recovery service provider, announces the acquisition of 5nine, a global provider of Microsoft Hyper-V and Azure cloud management and security solutions. As part of the agreement, 5nine will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Acronis.

5nine offers end-to-end cloud solutions for Hyper-V and the first and only agentless, multilayered security solution for Hyper-V and Azure. Its innovative, powerful, and easy-to-use software is designed to reduce costs, increase productivity, and mitigate security risks.

Acronis will integrate 5nine’s technology into the Acronis Cyber Platform, making new services available through the Acronis Cyber Cloud Solutions portal. 5nine’s solutions will enable managed service providers (MSPs) and IT organizations to simplify cloud service orchestration, create new business, and manage their customers’ needs.

Together with 5nine, Acronis will offer customers and partners an easier way to migrate workloads from their physical or virtual infrastructure to Acronis Cyber Infrastructure, Microsoft Azure or both. 5nine’s ability to unify cloud migration, management, monitoring, and innovative workload management tools and processes enables customers to cover the Five Vectors of Cyber Protection – ensuring the safety, accessibility, privacy, authenticity, and security (SAPAS) of all data, applications, and systems.

“By combining with Acronis, we will be able to accelerate product innovation, expand our distribution channel, and leverage our existing technology to meet customer requirements,” said Karen Armor, Chief Executive Officer at 5nine. “With the knowledge gained from almost a decade of experience managing and protecting Microsoft virtual machines on behalf of our customers, we are certain that this acquisition will drive cloud adoption and ensure secure and reliable cloud infrastructure deployments worldwide.”

Acronis sees the value in offering 5nine’s services to its community of 50,000 partners in the IT channel, enabling MSPs and cloud service providers to better manage their hybrid infrastructure workloads. Acronis’ ability to meet infrastructure deployment requirements by location, budget, and use case provides them with the ultimate in control and flexibility to deliver cyber protection with Acronis Cyber Infrastructure, Microsoft Azure, and more

“By adding 5nine’s solutions to our portfolio of cyber protection products and services, we’re giving our partners and customers an easy way to adopt the Microsoft hybrid cloud platform. With a combined solution, organizations will be able to migrate all or select workloads to the cloud and then manage both on-premises and cloud virtual machines with a single interface. We envision combining the functionality of the two solutions by extending Acronis’ easy-to-use, single pane of glass, resulting in IT administrators monitoring, managing and ensuring cyber protection for all workloads, regardless of their location,” said Serguei “SB” Beloussov, Acronis Founder and CEO.

Trans-Cab Partners Gojek Singapore In the Midst of Competition Against Private Hires

Trans-Cab Services, Singapore’s second-largest taxi company and Gojek Singapore  announced partnership to allow more than 3000 Trans-Cab drivers to gain access to bookings made via the Gojek platform, and will be able to fulfill private-hire trips on a flat-fare basis from December 2019.

Within a short 1 year span, Gojek claimed to have clocked 30 million completed trips in Singapore. Singapore is now Gojek’s second-largest transport market after Indonesia in terms of transaction value, a testament to customer trust and value in Gojek’s offering.

Trans-Cab chief executive officer Teo Kiang Ang said: “This collaboration with Gojek is fantastic. It will enable our drivers to access on-demand bookings via the Gojek app, while they continue to be able to take on street-hail jobs. Our drivers will greatly benefit from this flexibility and increased earning opportunity.

In fact, Gojek is not the only ride-hailing services provider that Trans-Cab is working with. In September this year, Trans-Cab has inked a partnership with another small local company Ryde.

It is inevitable for Trans-Cab to venture into private hires ever since private hire like Uber and Grab entered Singapore. In less than 10 years,  the number of taxis in Singapore has dropped drastically from 28,000 to under 20,000. To overcome the technological barrier, it may be better for taxi operator like Trans-Cab to partner, instead of going head-on, with car hailing service providers like Gojek and Ryde.

Currently, Trans-cab has a fleet of close to 3,000 taxi which is very far behind market leader ComfortDelGro Corp.’s 11,000 vehicles under its Comfort and CityCab brands, data from the Land Transport Authority showed.

In early September this year, Trans-Cab announced intention for listing in Singapore stock exchange with a valuation of SGD 200 million.

Razer Announces Stormtrooper Edition Kraken Headsets

Razer announced in March that they are collaborating with Lucas Film in bringing Stormtrooper- themed collection of Razer products to the gamers. They have already launched the Blackwidowed Silent Mechancial Keyboard and Atheris Wireless Mouse.

To compliment these two, Razer is launching the Stormtrooper Edition Kraken Headset. Retaining the same market- leading features as the original Razer Kraken headset is now sporting the colors of the most feared army in the Star Wars Galaxy.  

Designed for esports athletes and gamers alike, the StormtrooperTM Edition of the Razer Kraken headset features custom-tuned 50mm drivers for a wide soundscape from subtle audio cues to helmet rumbling explosions. The uni-directional, retractable microphone ensures your shot calls and battle orders are always delivered in absolute clarity.  Using a thickly padded bauxite aluminum frame and cooling-gel ear cushions, the StormtrooperTM Edition of the Kraken headset is built for comfort over long mission sessions. With an inline remote for volume and microphone controls and connection via 3.5mm jack, the StormtrooperTM Edition of the Razer Kraken headset is compatible with PC, Mac, console and mobile devices.  

The StormtrooperTM Edition of the Razer Kraken headset is available now at Razer.com and is selling at the recommended retail price of USD 109.99

Singapore ISP – ViewQwest Launched Its Smart Living Platform

ViewQwest, Singapore-based Internet Service Provider (ISP), launched Vesta, its smart living platform which will provide users with hassle-free and highly personalised smart living services. Unlike traditional smart living products, Vesta is a subscription-based service which comes with full-service installation, maintenance and customer support. 

To kickstart, ViewQwest launches its home security service on Vesta – Vesta Shield, a smart monitoring service which provides round-the-clock monitoring. Beyond that, Viesta Shield alerts users of intrusions. Various sensors can be set up around the home or office to detect opening of doors and unexpected movements. The data collected is wirelessly transmitted to a central Vesta hub which processes the data and sends meaningful notifications to the user via the Vesta app. 

When there are any unexpected events in the home or office while the system is armed, Vesta Shield will automatically send an alert to the user via the app, SMS, or automated call through its intelligent notification engine. Email confirmation may also be provided for every monitored and triggered activity. There is also an option to set the built-in siren within the Vesta Hub to go off and emit a loud, high-pitched noise designed to alert people at home as well as to scare away the intruders.

If the alert notification is not acknowledged within 60 seconds, the armed siren will sound. The system will then automatically call contacts registered in Vesta Shield’s escalation list if the siren is not turned off within 2 minutes. Vesta’s escalation list provides the primary, secondary and tertiary contacts for effective escalation. For example, if the primary contact does not respond and no action has been taken, another call is made to the secondary contact and if the latter also does not respond, then the tertiary contact is contacted.

Future updates to Vesta will also enable the integration of different smart accessories and hardware, allowing users to operate all smart devices through the single Vesta hub.  

Singapore’s smart device penetration at home is predicted to grow from 20.6% in 2019 to 36.1% in 20232, as more Singaporean homes are keen in smart living solutions.

Vignesa Moorthy, CEO of ViewQwest said, “More Singaporean homes are keen in smart living solutions, but some are deterred by the inconvenience of setting up devices all on their own. We want to take the tough out of the equation with our subscription-based service model.”  

Vesta Shield starts from $25 per month and will be available to all new and existing ViewQwest customers.

To complement smart living solutions, ViewQwest is also partnering security specialist Trend Micro to offer the Home Network Security as a subscription-based service starting November 2019. The Home Network Security creates a new and extensive layer of cyber security protection for the home network, protecting Vesta IOT devices as well as the computers, mobile phones and other devices connected to the network. 

Availability and Pricing

From November 2019 to February 2020, ViewQwest will be offering a free trial of the Vesta Shield to existing ViewQwest customers – residential and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). 

Vesta Shield will be available in Q1 2020 in three bundles:

  • Starter bundle: S$25/month with $80 activation fee
  • Essential bundle: S$30/month 
  • Full Protect bundle: S$35/month

For full details of the availability and pricing, and to subscribe to the smart living services, please visit: https://www.viewqwest.com/smartliving/vesta.

Google Pixel 4 is Too Expensive! Sign up Starhub #HelloChange Plan

StarHub is the sole telco to launch Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL for Singapore customers.

Starting Saturday, 26 October 2019, customers will be able to buy Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL at $0 upfront cost with StarHub’s #HelloChange mobile plans. They will be able to pay for their new phone over 24 months through their StarHub monthly bills.

Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL will be available for purchase through StarHub Online Store at www.starhub.com/pixel-4 or at StarHub Shops. Online Exclusive: Customers who buy through StarHub Online Store will get an exclusive mobile plan benefit – free surfing every weekend on StarHub’s superfast mobile network at no additional charge. These customers will also enjoy free home delivery.

Customers on StarHub’s #HelloChange mobile plans enjoy the best value and simplicity. On top of having extra-large data bundles, customers get free caller ID forever and complete freedom from hidden activation, registration and SIM card fees as imposed by competitor brands.

StarHub will unveil full pricing details at www.starhub.com/pixel-4 at launch.

CHILLFEST@THE GREEN TO BE CANCELLED

The ChillFest@ The Green has been cancelled.

Image may contain: 7 people, text

The event has to be cancelled due to the projected turnout is below the threshold for viability.

All tickets purchased through our event site (www.chill-fest.com) and SISTIC Singapore  are eligible for full refunds including transaction fees (if applicable). The information shown below is everything you need in order to receive your full refund.

All participants and ticket buyers to the event will be notified through email.

Enquiries

For further enquiries regarding ticket refunds, kindly get in touch with us via info@chill-fest.com with the following details:

  • Please key in <Ticket Purchaser’s Full Name> space <Ticket Purchaser’s Email Address > space <contact number> space <ticket number/transaction number> and send to <number> or <email address>.

Terms and Conditions:

  1. Refund Period: Emails to ticket holders will commence 19 October to 31 October 2019.
  2. Refund will be done within 14 working days from the date we received your details.
  3. Organizer will not entertain any refund request after the Refund Period.
  4. Please ensure the information provided is accurate.
  5. Complimentary tickets are not applicable for refunds.

All enquiries regarding the event or the refund can be forwarded to info@chill-fest.com.

Huawei Singapore “Gives” You SGD 463 To Ditch Google Services. Now, will you buy the Mate 30?

We all know that Huawei’s latest Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro will not come with Google Mobile Services and that mean customers outside China who bought their latest flagship phones will not be able to use Youtube or Google Maps.

In the early October, Huawei Singapore has finally released the price plan for the Singapore customers. The new Mate 30 Pro is selling at SGD 1,298. Customers can now register their interest for the Mate 30 Pro which comes in either Black or Silver color.

As part of its early bird special, interested buyers who bought the phone will be invited to an exclusive private event and on top of that, they will receive a set of free gift worth SGD 463.

We have heard good reviews about the Mate 30’s camera. No doubt, the Mate 30 is a high-quality phone. However, we don’t just use our smartphone for photography only. We use that for other purposes which is why we need Google Play to download other essentials apps to suit our needs.

Now, Google Play has been taken away and Huawei customers have to get accustomed to their in-house Huawei Mobile Services. To the Android users, this is a switching cost and that’s bring back to one question, “Is the Huawei Mate 30 Pro worthy enough for that switch?”

Personally, I am adopting a “wait-and-see” approach to see how Singapore market reacts to this. Please feel free to leave a comment below if you have some unique insights on this matter. I will love to hear from you.

For those who are interested in the phone, here are the key things to know to get your hands on the HUAWEI Mate 30 Pro:

STEP 1: Register your interest online here from 5 -15 October, 2019
STEP 2: You may receive a call or email between 16 – 24 October 2019 with an invitation to a private event (limited to 200 successful registrants, selected at random)
STEP 3:  Upon invitation, you may attend a private event to purchase the HUAWEI Mate 30 Pro and receive an exclusive gift bundle worth $463 NOTE: Those who did not receive the invitation will be informed of the next opportunity to purchase the HUAWEI Mate 30 Pro. 

Opensignal: Singapore is one of the six countries outside Europe to gain a ‘Good’ rating for over-the-top (OTT) voice services.

Voice apps are changing the way we communicate. The insatiable growth in smartphone use along with the increasing ubiquity of data connections means that apps such as WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook Messenger and many other VoIP (voice over internet protocol) service providers are offering an entirely new platform for users to talk to each other.

Opensignal, an independent mobile analytics firm, has just released a report that measures the quality of over-the-top (OTT) voice services experienced by consumers across 80 countries, including Singapore. This marks the industry’s largest, independent survey of user experience of OTT services.

Singapore is The Only Asia country Emerges the Top 10.

Of the 80 countries analysed for overall Voice App Experience, almost 25% (19) achieved a ‘Good’ rating — meaning many users in these countries were satisfied and experienced minor quality impairments while using Voice Apps to communicate.

Singapore scores 81.7 trailing closely behind Switzerland (81.9) securing 8th position among 80 countries surveyed. No country globally attained an ‘Excellent’ or ‘Very Good’ rating.

Only six were from outside Europe, which are Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand get “Good” rating.

Voice App Experience on 4G networks is most often ‘Good’

The 3G Voice App Experience scores are consistently lower in every country compared with their 4G equivalents, including Singapore. In this region, Singapore and Hong Kong were the only countries who had a difference of less than 5 points between their 3G and 4G Voice App Experience score — an indicator of what the mobile experience will be in future for highly matured markets where 4G Availability is rising and is replacing 3G as operators enhance their networks for smoother transitions. 

To read more about the survey results, you may access the report here

PwC Singapore commits about S$10 million to developing its people in Singapore

  • In Singapore, PwC pledges close to S$10 million to digitally upskill its people in line with its global ‘New World. New Skills.’ commitment
  • PwC’s global revenues up 7% to US$42.4 billion
  • Focus on our purpose drives good revenue growth in all major markets and areas of business
  • 25,000 new jobs created, increasing the workforce to 276,000
  • US$3bn investment in upskilling PwC people, and developing and sharing technologies to support clients and communities

Singapore; Tuesday 1st October, 2019 – For the 12 months ending 30 June 2019, PwC firms around the world had gross revenues of US$42.4 billion – up 7% in local currency and 4% in US dollars. Revenues grew across all lines of business and major markets, boosted by the power of the PwC brand and continued significant investments in quality, technology and people.

As our clients face increasing challenges and opportunities driven by technological advances, stakeholder expectations and other changes, they require us to work together across the broad range of our operations helping them to deal with issues such as cyber security, trust, regulation and strategic workforce planning. And as a result, our business is growing rapidly in these areas to meet increased client demand.

“Over the past year, we’ve continued to focus on delivering value to our stakeholders, working hard to build trust and help our clients solve their most complex problems. As a result, PwC businesses grew in all major markets around the world. Our strong growth in revenues has enabled us to continue to invest in our businesses and our people. Investments in technology are making our services more relevant and enhancing the quality of our work.

“PwC firms now employ 276,000 people worldwide and are investing heavily in learning and development to ensure our people can build rewarding careers and are prepared for the future world of work,” said Bob Moritz, PwC’s Global Chairman.

New world. New skills.

It’s become increasingly apparent that one of the world’s most pressing challenges – and one faced by business – is the growing mismatch between the skills people have and those needed for the digital world. There is an urgent need for organisations, governments and educators to come together to fix this growing problem and business has an important role to play. Over the next four years, we are committing $3bn in upskilling globally – primarily in training our people but also in developing and sharing technologies to support clients and communities.

Closer to home, PwC’s recently launched Upskilling Hopes and Fears report found that about one in three (31%) Singaporeans felt that they were not well-equipped for new workplace technologies. In order to ensure that our people in PwC Singapore don’t fall into this 31%, the Singapore firm is committing close to S$10 million over the next two years to developing their digital skills.

“We are kick-starting this with a two-year comprehensive multi-platform programme designed to digitally upskill our people. The programme is intended to drive a culture of innovation where each staff and partner is empowered with the right mindset and capabilities in data and automation to determine the path they want to take, and even play a part in shaping the profession of the future,” said Yeoh Oon Jin, Executive Chairman at PwC Singapore. He continued, “The advances in technology also means that there are some who may be left behind. So, as part of our corporate responsibility effort, we are also working with our clients, government agencies and engaging with communities to help close the skills gap in today’s digital world.”

PwC Singapore’s programme will see the digital upskilling of over 3,500 of our people systematically through:

  • Curated classroom and virtual trainings on the basics of data visualisation, data analytics and automation that are customised to various business units unique needs. These trainings will see our people go through more than 80,000 training hours.
  • The continuous development of our people’s digital fitness through our Digital Fitness Assessment app which measures users’ Digital Fitness Score and recommends customised on-the-go upskilling plans and materials to help improve their score. This mobile app is also available for clients.
  • Enabling continuous self-learning outside of the classroom via our easy-to-access internal e-learning platforms and materials.
  • Enabling solution-sharing and innovation through our centralised solutions repository and technology collaboration platform.
  • Committing headcount (individuals with advanced digital skills) to help teams utilise insights, automate processes, develop solutions and improve user experience to accelerate digitalisation across the firm

The programme in Singapore is in line with PwC’s upskilling commitment across the network. Globally, ‘New World. New Skills.’ focuses on four key areas:

●Upskilling all of PwC’s 276,000 people. We will roll out different programmes that meet their particular needs, from skills academies to digital fitness apps to leadership development. A proportion of our workforce will develop specialist skills in areas including data analytics, robotics process automation and artificial intelligence for use in their work. For others, it’s about understanding the potential of new technologies so they can advise clients, communities, and other stakeholders.

●We are also advising our clients on the challenges posed by rapid technological change and automation. This includes identifying skills gaps and mismatches against likely future needs, workforce planning, upskilling programmes and cultural change.

●We will work with governments and institutions to reach a much broader group of people. For example, PwC in Luxembourg helped develop the Luxembourg Skills Bridge which brings together trade unions, associations and businesses to build digital industries and develop digital skills, including among those populations most ‘at risk’.

●We will help millions of people improve their skills and knowledge for the digital world by making upskilling a focus of our not-for-profit initiatives. This includes working with students and teachers, which will help ensure opportunities are more evenly spread and we reach people who may otherwise be left behind. Learn more about PwC’s New world. New skills.

A good performance across the world

In the Americas, revenues were up by 5% compared with 4% the prior year, with a particularly strong performance from operations in the United States and Canada, offset by some challenging economic conditions in Brazil where revenue rose by 2%. Growth in Western Europe was up by 7%. In Central and Eastern Europe, revenues continued to grow strongly – up 10% – marking the fourth consecutive year of double digit growth.

Revenue growth from the Middle East and Africa was also strong, despite some challenging market conditions, increasing by 9%. Across Asia, revenues grew by 9% while in Australasia and the Pacific, PwC enjoyed another strong year with revenues rising by 10%.

Assurance: Despite very mature and highly competitive markets, revenues from PwC Assurance operations grew by 5% to US$17.4 billion. With 115,000 people across the world, we continue to manage the challenges of mandatory firm rotation in many markets and attract new clients with the introduction of cutting-edge solutions and emerging technologies for the audit. In addition, demand for our broader assurance services continues in established areas such as internal audit, risk and compliance, as well as emerging areas such as data and analytics, crypto currency and blockchain.

Advisory: PwC Advisory operations grew by 10% to US$14.4 billion. We have in recent years established a strong reputation for delivering value for clients from strategy to execution. This is driving high demand, particularly relating to deals, value creation and business transformation. PwC Advisory operations now employ 68,000 people. We engage a broad range of talents, bringing not only the more traditional management or strategy consultants, but also data scientists, AI experts, systems engineers, designers, communications experts and others, to address our clients’ most pressing business issues and opportunities. We also have alliances with many of the world’s leading technology companies to create cutting-edge solutions for clients.

Tax & Legal Services: PwC Tax & Legal revenues grew by 6% to US$10.7 billion, driven by continued complexity and change in many local tax systems, as well as the state of flux in the global regulatory and economic landscape. The 55,000 professionals in our Tax and Legal Services practices use the latest technologies to help businesses navigate complexity and risk, build their people networks, and solve legal challenges while meeting their tax and other responsibilities. Demand was particularly high for People & Organisation services, Legal services, and Tax Reporting & Strategy services.

Striving for the highest quality

The quality of our work is at the heart of our organisation and we invest significant and increasing resources in its continuous enhancement across all of our businesses. This investment is targeted into many different areas, including training (technical, ethical and behavioural), methodologies, adding resources in key areas and exploring new ways of delivering our work. We are also investing heavily in new technology to drive continuous improvements in the quality, capabilities and effectiveness of all of our services. As part of our journey to be one of the most cloud enabled organisations in the world, we are investing over US$1 billion in solutions and supporting programmes to create a connected ecosystem and drive innovation and quality.

“The quality of our work across the full range of our services is incredibly important. While we are proud to have been the first of the global professional services networks to have published its internal audit quality inspection results, we know we have more to do and are operating with a continuous improvement mindset. Both in terms of how we test, measure and enhance quality and also in the levels of investment we need to make to ensure our quality is as high as possible. We have added more detail in our Global Annual Review on audit quality and aim to increase transparency in the future,” said Bob Moritz.

The results of our audit quality testing improved in FY19. We know that we have more to do and we need to reduce the level of non-compliant audits further. In FY19, of the 1,768 audits we reviewed, 94.9% (up from 92.2% in 2018) were deemed compliant. Learn more.