A Startup Wants to Solve Problems in Singapore’s F&B Sector

Running a Food & Beverage (F&B) business usually involves a lot of co-ordination ranging from sales ordering to stock replenishment. Often, small business owners find themselves spending too much time handling manual business operations instead of putting resources in more higher yield activities.

 

Dr Koh Wee Lit, CTO Habitat Blue

The Neo Dimension has recently visited Franchising & Licensing Asia 2017 and got to know Habitat Blue, a startup specializing in providing end-to-end point of sales (POS) solutions. During the tour, Dr Koh Wee Lit , Chief Technology Officer Habitat Blue, shared with us his experience in handling small businesses in developing South East Asian markets and the company’s Orca business system has successfully helped entrepreneurs grow their businesses. In 2016 alone, the company processed over approximately SGD 32 million worth of transactions.

 

Cost should not be the barrier for small businesses in Singapore to jump onto the technology bandwagon. At the booth, Dr Koh showcased their range of products that aims to help F&B businesses in improving productivity without incurring high investment cost.

 

For example, one of the products, Orca Lite, is an all-in-one POS system that allows small businesses to get an overview of their stock inventory and sales transactions via any Android-powered tablet at the price of SGD49 per month. For young startups, Habitat Blue also offers the entire installation package which includes both the software and all the required hardware at an affordable price of below SGD 1,200.

 

For more established businesses, Habitat Blue has a more advanced version of Orca that can handle more complex F&B operations. More importantly, it is highly customizable to support the customer’s requirements including data migration and/or integration with existing systems.

 

Below is the video on how a F&B outlet is using Orca Business Operating System to handle food ordering and kitchen workflow.

https://youtu.be/NbhC57BOoPw

 

 

New Sony Xperia’s Series Smartphones Impressed The Market With 3D Scanning Capabilities

Sony Mobile Communications Singapore launched three smartphone innovations in Singapore, the Sony Xperia XZ1, Xperia XZ1 Compact and Xperia XA1 Plus.

 

The Xperia XZ1 and Xperia XZ1 Compact will be among the first smartphones to launch with Android 8.0 (Oreo), available exclusively for at all Sony Store, Sony Centre and on Lazada Singapore website.

These flagship models along with the super midrange Xperia XA1 Plus, will officially launch on 7 October at authorised local retailers.

The new Xperia XZ1 and Xperia XZ1 Compact target at the mid to premium segment of the market (RPP SGD 898 and SGD 688) whereas the Xperia XA1 Plus is designed for the more budget-conscious consumers (RPP SGD498) .

Let’s just zoom in to what’s on the plate for the new Xperia XZ1 and Xperia XZ1 Compact.

Super Low Motion: Following through the success of their predecessor Xperia XZ Premium, both devices are equipped with Sony’s Motion Eye cameras that allow video recording at super slow motion. In case you are new to the Sony’s Motion Eye technology,  the “Predictive Capture”, as the name suggested, actually captures the images before the user tap on the shutter button of the camera; this means that it is highly unlikely that you will miss the moment for the perfect shot.

3D Scan: I think this is the highlight of the new Xperia. For the first time, we see 3D technology built-in to the smartphone. Sony has developed in-house algorithm that are able to generate high quality 3D scans of objects in just one minute using four scan modes; head scan, face scan, food scan and freeform scan.

The 3D renders can be shared via messenger apps as stickers or online 3D communities such as Sketchfab. They can also be brought to life as fun avatars using the camera’s AR effects option, 3rd party apps or set as a one-of-a-kind live wallpaper. Those interested in creating memorable keepsakes may also easily send their scans directly to 3D printing companies like Shapeways.

 

Difference between Xperia XZ1 and Xperia XZ1 Compact

Notably, both phones are armed with Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processors and 4GM RAM so in terms of speed and performance, these 2 devices are essentially the same.

The key difference lies on the front facing camera – The Xperia XZ1 sports a 13MP camera higher than the 8MP camera on the Xperia XZ1 Compact. This may matter to those who do a lot of video conferencing or selfie with their phone.

 

When comes to the display, both devices are packed with Sony’s proprietary TRILUMINOS technology which is modified from Sony TV display technology.  However, the Xperia XZ1 has a bigger 5.2 -inch IPS LCD than the Xperia XZ1 Compact’s 4.6 – inch IPS LCD.  In addition, the resolution on the XZ1 (424ppi) is higher than XZ1 Compact (319ppi). If you are super anal about the display, this is something that you need to know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Omron Opens Automation Center in Singapore

 OMRON (Stock Quote: TYO:6645) announced the launch of its Automation Center (ATC) in Singapore. The innovation showroom cum research and development (R&D) facility is part of a SGD 13.5 million (USD 10 million) investment in robotics capabilities in Singapore over the next two years and is in line with Singapore’s push towards advanced manufacturing. This is OMRON’s ninth and latest such centers globally.

The OMRON ATC in Singapore offers a glimpse into the future of manufacturing, which is set to be connected, intelligent, and highly data-driven. This is the first OMRON ATC worldwide that is dedicated to exploring the use of advanced artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), and robotics technologies for manufacturing applications. In fact, Omron has recently acquire Microscan Systems, US-based Industrial Code Reader Company as part of their future deployment of IoT in the manufacturing environment.

Also unique to this ATC is a working model of OMRON’s Smart and Future Factory, and the Future CEO Cockpit, which showcase how a new level of manufacturing intelligence and operational visibility can be attained leveraging disruptive technologies.

With manufacturing industry contributing to almost 20 percent of Singapore’s GDP, it is crucial that manufacturing industry players here stay abreast of the latest Smart Manufacturing innovations and technological developments.

International Green Building Week 2017 – Launch of Build Eco Xpo (BEX) Asia 2017 and Mostra Convegno Expocomfort (MCE) Asia 2017

SINGAPORE – September 12, 2017  Build Eco Xpo (BEX) Asia, kicked off today at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre. Visitors from more than 50 countries are expected to attend the event today to get a first-hand look into some of the latest innovations and insights in the Asian green building, HVAC-R, water, energy and heating industries. Taking place until 14 September 2017, BEX Asia is co-located with Mostra Convegno Expocomfort (MCE) Asia, the regional trade exhibition for energy-efficient solutions that power industrial, commercial and residential buildings.

BEX and MCE Asia 2017 are the key anchor trade exhibitions of Singapore Green Building Week (SGBW). The SGBW hosts a wide variety of events to galvanise the community to act on sustainability, reaching out to international green building experts, policymakers, academics, built environment practitioners, end-users, as well as members of the public and students.

 

Platform for the latest innovations in Asia

The BEX and MCE Asia exhibition floors brimmed with the latest green building and energy-efficient technologies, providing visitors with a broad view of the vast array of solutions driving meaningful change in Asia.

 

A key theme throughout the exhibition were smart devices that promise to power next-generation homes, offices and buildings. From smart lighting to data-driven energy management solutions, visitors were spoilt for choice by the latest innovations on display.

Other companies debuting their latest solutions, ranging from plug-and-play escalator technology to smart HVAC control valves, include:

  • AL-SUS Technologies’ Step Lift, an evolutionary lift that can be quickly installed to fit existing staircases, without having to build expensive escalator or lift shafts. Meant to complement the use of staircases, the step lift is a platform that automatically moves up a single flight of stairs. Space saving and energy efficient, Step Lift also boasts safety features for hassle-free usage
  • Belimo’s Energy ValveTM is a smart HVAC control valve for air conditioning. With integrated smart sensors, the Energy Valve automatically calibrates the chilled water needed to maintain optimal temperatures in buildings, thereby lowering costs and reducing energy wastage
  • Lumani aims to reduce the global carbon footprint from buildings and reduce energy costs through its innovative autonomous lighting control solutions that automatically adjust according to occupants’ needs

 

Another unique feature is the Future Home, curated by Surbana Jurong Consultants Pte Ltd, which showcases the integration of building and sustainable innovation in the form of the most basic structure of living: a house. This feature aims to highlight that sustainable living starts from home, and with the right mix of solutions installed in a home environment, it provides a platform where one can easily work towards sustainable living. In these spaces, the visitor is educated on products that can specifically help them achieve cost savings on energy and water, thermal comfort, digital connectivity and environment wellbeing.

 

 

Best and brightest industry minds come together

BEX Asia and MCE Asia’s seminar tracks, titled Green View and Mostra Xchange respectively, also commence today. Featuring a stellar line-up of industry experts, the seminars will kick off later today with the Interior Design Confederation of Singapore (IDCS) Forum, which will feature experts discussing strategies for creating living spaces that are not only functional and aesthetic, but sustainable too.

Fifteen Prominent Singaporean Entrepreneurs Recognised at Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards 2017, (APEA)

Singapore, 18th August 2017: The Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Award 2017 honoured fifteen prominent entrepreneurs and business leaders from Singapore in a grand gala dinner at Sands Expo & Convention Center, Singapore.

The Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards, better known as APEA, is a regional recognition program organized by Enterprise Asia, the region’s foremost association and think-tank for entrepreneurship. The Awards are presented to a handful of entrepreneurs across Asia Pacific each year, with award ceremonies held in thirteen countries every year.

The Awards is often compared to the Olympics for the stringent entry criteria and highly competitive judging parameters. The nomination is by-invitation only with each nominee subjected to a rigorous judging process, including financial verification by an appointed audit firm and mandatory physical site audit and interview, culminating in a confidential balloting process by Enterprise Asia’s committee. This year, the award received close to eighty nominees from Singapore and fifteen winners across ten industry categories were selected.

RECIPIENT LIST OF ASIA PACIFIC ENTREPRENEURSHIP AWARDS 2017 SINGAPORE

 

Special Category – Lifetime Achievement Award

 

Mr Kwek Leng Beng, Executive Chairman of Hong Leong Group

 

 

Entrepreneur of The Year

 

for Electrical & Electronics Industry

 

Mr Albert Phuay, Founder & Chairman of Excelpoint Technology Ltd

 

 

for Trading & Wholesaling Industry

 

Mr Cheam Hing Lee, CEO of Rhodium Resources Pte Ltd

 

 

APEA Winners 2017 Singapore

 

Mr Scott D Smith, CEO of Beyonics International Pte Ltd

Dr Terence O’Çonnor, Group CEO of Courts Asia Ltd

Mr Ronald Goh Wee Huat, Managing Director of Electronics & Engineering Pte Ltd

Ms Danielle Warner, Founder & CEO of Expat Insurance Pte Ltd

Mr Ori Leshem, CEO of Genesis Retail Pte Ltd

Mr Adam Simkins, Director of Getz Bros. & CO. (Singapore) Pte Ltd

Mr David Kim, Managing Director SEA -ANZ of Tmax Singapore Pte Ltd

Ms Chin Wei Jia, Group CEO of Health Management International Ltd

Mr Low Cheong Kee, Managing Director & Founder of Home-Fix D.I.Y Pte Ltd

Mr Suneet Goenka, Founder &  Group Managing Director of Red Apple Travel (S) Pvt. Ltd

Mr Tan Poo Seng, Founder & Managing Director of TopZone E&C Pte. Ltd

Ms Doris Wee Hui Cheen, Director of Wendell Trading Company

Co-founder of HugProperty Shares About The Pattern of Dodgy Property Agents

Article Contributed by PropertyHug

Co-authored by Mr. Ku Swee Yong, Co-founder of HugProperty with Janice Chin Li Ping, undergraduate from the Department of Real Estate, National University of Singapore. 

In today’s competitive services market, real estate agents are not only caught in the strife of industry competition, they also have to grapple with being made redundant by technology. To say that there are many real estate agents in Singapore is an understatement — there are more than 28,000 licensed agents or about 1 agent serving every 140 residents; and this is probably the principal cause of the stiff competition in the industry. The competition is exacerbated by the growing number of buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants who opt for self-service through web applications. We are concerned that some agents have compromised their integrity and their “duty of care” for their clients in order to trump the competition.

Infographic 1: Summary of the key points in the article . Image: HugProperty

So, buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants: beware! We want to highlight to you that many of the listings on property portals and websites are not real. Those seemingly attractive and enticing deals may just be potholes for you to step into. We have encountered several of these unfortunate events ourselves, and in this article, we highlight some red flags that you should keep a lookout for. It is vital that you take precaution to ensure that you do not fall into the traps created by a few crafty agents.

Scenario A — Fake news and listings are increasingly common: The agent you call does not have an actual listing of the property you saw online.

 

A property listing is an advertisement of a property that is put up for sale or for lease. Listings may appear on property portals or in traditional print media, such as the classified ads in the newspapers. Sellers and landlords may appoint one or more licensed real estate agents to list the properties to attract buyers and tenants. Conversely, buyers and tenants may also engage real estate agents to source for suitable properties that meet their budgets and needs.

 

To think that all listings of properties are genuine and available at any point in time is to picture a world of sunshine and rainbows. The sad truth is: there are many cases of fake listings put up to bait direct buyers and tenants.

 

We term these fake listings “imitations”. Why so? They look almost identical to other real listings, but upon careful inspection, something may be amiss. These imitations sometimes use photos or descriptive information copied from listed properties posted by other property agents. Sometimes, even after a property has been sold, unscrupulous agents might copy the property’s photos for use in their fake listings. We have experienced several of such cases and we have highlighted these imitations to the owners of the apartments. These agents would quickly remove the imitations after the owners have called to inquire if the agents were given the permission to represent them for sale or for rent.

Usually, imitations use very attractively low prices to entice buyers and tenants because they look like “good deals that should not be missed”. Then when direct clients call these agents to enquire, the usual responses are that the property is “sold” or “taken” or “no longer available”, and the agents will immediately ask, “May I show you another apartment in the same block?” If the agent received calls from other property agents who are representing buyers, they either do not pick up the calls or they do not return calls. This is commonly seen in districts 9, 10 and 11 where transaction values are higher and the probability of attracting unsuspecting foreign buyers and tenants is likewise higher. Higher value properties also translate to a higher quantum of the 1% agent fees, which is sufficiently rewarding for the agents to put in efforts to pull such tricks.

 

We estimate that up to 20% of the listings posted online are not genuine. The percentage could be higher for luxury developments. Buyers who receive such replies from agents should immediately congratulate the agent that the property is already sold or leased out, and then hang up the phone. To avoid being further prospected by that agent, buyers would do well to appoint a trustworthy agent to do their home search. Let your agent represent you and let him sieve out and deal with the numerous imitations in the property portals.

 

Scenario B — The agent has actual properties to list, but the information is misleading

 

Fake-lister agents deliberately post listings of properties with incredibly low prices to attract direct buyers and tenants. Unsuspecting buyers and tenants will then ring the agents up because they may reflect the lowest dollar per square foot price ($psf) or rental for that condominium unit. The $psf may give a different impression in different contexts. For example, if a buyer wishes to compare prices in the same district or perhaps properties with similar attributes but in different condominium blocks, $psf will be a key metric in measuring the relative value of the properties. Merely showing the buyers how cheap a property is based on $psf comparisons without describing much about the size and layout of the property does not reveal much about whether the property is really well-priced.

 

The buyer may see an advertisement for a 750 sqft apartment for sale at $980psf (i.e. $735,000) in a condominium where the average transacted prices in the last year were around $1,200 psf. It gives the impression of a $220 psf discount from the recent transacted average. However, only when the buyer views the apartment will he realise that the very “cheap” 750 sqft apartment is a shoebox unit with 450 sqft of built-in area, a 260 sqft patio and another 40 sqft air-conditioner ledge. Or it could be a “penthouse” unit with 400 sqft of built-in area, a 300 sqft roof terrace and a 50 sqft stairwell. The low $psf price is deliberately highlighted to create the impression that the property is a great buy. Buyers and tenants, do take note! Many other variations of the same pattern exist. Most times, information that is not revealed is more important than information that is highlighted.

 

While some agents withhold information, other agents offer a lot of information about the properties to show how knowledgeable they are about a particular condominium or district. They would purposely post many listings in a particular district they claim to be active in, to impress upon prospective buyers and tenants that they “specialise” in that neighbourhood. Unsuspecting clients may be dazzled by these agents, but tell-tale signs could be seen from their overenthusiasm. For example, in a listing for a condominium in Sentosa Cove, the agent included a description “near HarbourFront MRT Station”. An agent who understands the needs of the residents in Sentosa Cove will not highlight the MRT station, and will certainly not say that HarbourFront Station is near.

 

While we would love to believe that some agents are really familiar with certain districts or market segments, we need to be mindful that many of them just want to create that impression so that they have a higher chance of being contacted by prospective clients.

 

We have merely touched on a handful of examples of the many patterns we have encountered. To discuss all the cases we regularly see will require too many pages. The ultimate aim of these agents is simple: to cut out other agents in order to get direct clients to call them, to swing these clients to their own actual listings or to get the clients to appoint them as a buyer’s representative.

Unfortunately, in trying to outwit the competition, they create misinformation in the market.

 

In the speech on Budget 2017, the Minister of State for National Development Dr Koh Poh Koon spoke about how “it may be more important for property agents now to hone their skills in servicing clients and building up their credentials rather than just competing on marketing and closing transactions.” We wish that more agents will adopt this attitude and compete on service, rather than conjuring smoke and mirrors.

 

 

 

We at HugProperty are deeply concerned about the clients’ interest and we wrote this piece to raise awareness about the patterns displayed by dodgy agents to fend off competition. We recommend clients to carefully select an agent that they feel comfortable with and to appoint the agent exclusively to represent them, whether it is for a property search (for purchase or rent), or to list a property (for sale or let). The appointed agent will be fully motivated to represent the clients’ best interests and diligently assist clients in marketing or searching for properties.

 

More importantly, your exclusive agent will be able to ward off the dodgy agents with colourful patterns.

 

P.S: While we were researching and preparing this article, the Council for Estate Agencies published a disciplinary case in their 02/2017 newsletter titled “Cost of misleading and false ads – $17,500”. The CEA highlighted several cautionary points arising from the errant property agent’s actions: placing fake or dummy advertisements, placing advertisements without property owners’ consent and omitting mandatory details in advertisements. Readers who are keen to know more about the case may refer to the online newsletter here: https://www.cea.gov.sg/docs/default-source/module/newsletter/2-2017/website/cost-ofmisleading-and-false-ads.html

 

Sage hires FinTech heavyweight to lead Asia Pacific business

Australian and Former Western Union Business leader Kerry Agiasotis to take senior leadership role

Singapore – August 11 2017 – Sage, the market leader for integrated cloud accounting, payroll and payment systems, has announced the appointment of Kerry Agiasotis into the role of Executive Vice President for Sage Asia Pacific.

Starting at Sage on 11th September, Agiasotis will report to President Blair Crump and take responsibility for ensuring Sage’s continued growth and success in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region as well as resume responsibilities for the Australia business. Agiasotis will maintain Sage’s focus on providing customers with newly-launched global cloud technologies and support, new customer acquisition and ensure a loyal following for local payroll, payment and accounting solutions, all of which contribute to quality growth.

Agiasotis joins from Western Union Business Solutions, where he had been President of Western Union’s global Business Solutions division since October 2013. Previously, he led the company’s Sales function and held the position of Regional Managing Director for the APAC region. He also spent time in leadership roles Oracle’s sales business and at Siebel Systems.

Kerry has more than 20 years’ experience in business management, sales and consulting gained primarily in the Financial Services and IT Industries and has a deep understanding of business builders, having had his own business consultancy practice serving SMEs in the past.

Kerry Agiasotis added: “Sage has taken great strides across the APAC region to support businesses – the engine room of the economy – with emerging cloud technologies that help them grow and thrive. I’m excited to work with colleagues to build on this success and serve customers with the transformative power of Sage’s software solutions.”

The Australian-born Mr. Agiasotis holds an Executive MBA degree from the Australian Graduate School of Management and will be based in Sydney, Australia.

Agiasotis steps into the leadership role after Alan Osrin, Managing Director, Sage Australia announced his impending retirement a few months ago.

 

This Kickstarter Project by Hong Kong Start-Up Got Fully Funded Within 7 hours.

ORII’s bone conduction technology delivers clear audio with complete privacy by sending sound vibrations through the finger and directly into the wearer’s ear.

Origami Labs, a maker of connected devices, wants to shake the world with its latest smart ring – ORII. The company claims that it is the world’s first voice-powered ring that allows users to make calls, send messages, or command a voice assistant, such as Siri or Google Assistant, by simply placing their fingertip to their ear.

It uses a technology called “bone conduction” – one that is used in the medical field to create devices for the hearing impaired. ORII uses this technology that could transmit sound through the finger to enable on-the- go voice communication.

The product is currently listed in the Kickstarter and it is fully funded within 7 hours.

This company is also recognised by Hong Kong Business Magazine as one of Hong Kong’s top 10 Hottest Startups in 2017.

REA GROUP ANNOUNCES NEW ASIA COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM

REA Group (Stock Quote – ASX:REA) today announced a new Asian community partnership program through a three-year commitment with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Henry Ruiz, REA Group Asia Chief Executive Officer

As part of the partnership, REA Group will provide financial and in-kind support to regional projects and local Red Cross/Red Crescent societies. REA Group which owns and operates the iProperty Group will support the Singapore Red Cross, in the form of matched employee donations and volunteering.

 

Henry Ruiz, REA Group Asia Chief Executive Officer, said the business is incredibly proud to be partnering with the ICRC to support the organisation’s efforts around ensuring humanitarian protection and assistance for people in need.

 

“We’re incredibly pleased to be bringing our community partnership program to Asia for the first time and having the opportunity to work alongside the ICRC to improve the lives of others across the region.

“The ICRC is the largest humanitarian network in the world and we feel humbled to be able to play a role in supporting the incredibly important work they do,” Mr Ruiz said.

Arnaud De Baecque, ICRC’s Deputy Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific welcomed REA’s three year commitment, and commented: “Expressions of solidarity like this one from REA Group and its employees makes it possible for the ICRC to continue our work in some of the most difficult areas in support of those most affected by conflict and violence.”

 

Established in 1863, the ICRC is an impartial, neutral and independent organisation whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect and assist victims of armed conflict and other violence. In 2016, the ICRC provided food to 14.8 million people, delivered curative medical consultations to over 3.8 million people, and helped repair, build or upgrade water-supply, sanitation and other infrastructure benefitting 28.4 million people. The ICRC also helped 910 people, mostly minors, reunited with their families.

Logitech to Acquire ASTRO Gaming, Adding Console Gaming Headsets to its Position as the #1 Maker of PC Gaming Gear

Source: Instagram user @weewu

SINGAPORE, July 14, 2017  Logitech International​(SIX: LOGN) (Nasdaq: LOGI) today announced that it has agreed to acquire ​ASTRO Gaming​, a leading console gaming brand with a history of producing award-winning headsets for professional gamers and enthusiasts. ​Logitech and ASTRO, together, is the number one maker of headsets, mice, keyboards and streaming webcams for PC and console gamers.

 

“ASTRO is the leading player for premium console headsets and is the preferred headset for console e-sports athletes,” said Ujesh Desai, ​Vice President and General Manager of Logitech G​. “It’s a perfect complement to LogitechG’s focus on PC gaming and we couldn’t be more excited; we love the team, the brand and the products. Together, we want to make game play even more fun for gamers everywhere.”

 

Jordan Reiss, co-founder and president of ASTRO, added, “The whole team at ASTRO has always heldLogitech and Logitech G products in the highest regard, so I’m ecstatic we are joining forces. ASTRO’s brand strength combined with Logitech G’s unrivaled technology and global distribution network is going to bring our products to even more gamers around the world.”

 

ASTRO, is a pioneer in gaming audio and lifestyle products and has a strong leadership position in the premium end of the global console gaming headset market. ASTRO is best known for its iconic A40 and A50 headsets designed for pro gamers and core enthusiasts. ASTRO’s recently introduced A10 expands the company’s reach in the console headset market, offering the essence of what makes their headsets premium, but at a more broadly accessible price point.

 

Expected impact on financial results for Fiscal Year 2018

 

L​ogitech will purchase ASTRO for $85 million in cash, and the acquisition is expected to close in early August. With the addition of ASTRO, we’re investing in an adjacent gaming market — the console gaming market — to help accelerate the long-term growth of our gaming business. In FY 2018, we expect the acquisition of ASTRO to add approximately two points of growth to the to​p line, and to be slightly dilutive to the bottom line in the first year, as we integrate the business and invest to expand ASTRO internationally.