US-based artificial intelligence (AI) firm DataRobot announced that it will invest S$15 million into Singapore as part of its expansion plans into the region. The investment will be primarily used to set up its regional business HQ here as well as expand its advanced AI R&D centre.
Fifty percent of the initial investment will be spent on hiring. DataRobot hopes to hire 50 employees here by 2019 with 40 per cent of the staff being technical experts and data scientists.
Speaking to the Singapore media, Mr Jeremy Achin, CEO of DataRobot has highlighted that Singapore has an excellent work environment; and its easy access to a wide connection of high skilled technical experts from various fields specifically in the area of fintech.
DataRobot is also looking to work with fintech startups in Singapore. Fintech startups could also tap on their cloud services – DataRobot Cloud as it is much more affordable than investing in physical hardware.Given the availability of data, these companies could tap on A.I for data analytic and automation.
Zidisha, one of DataRobot users, is a great example of this. They are a non-profit peer lender that helps poor people in Africa to get day loans. Clearly, a charity cannot afford expensive Data Scientists on staff and use DataRobot instead.
DataRobot, an SG:D Accredited company, offers an enterprise automated machine learning platform that empowers users of all skill levels to make better predictions faster. Incorporating a library of hundreds of the most powerful open source machine learning algorithms, the DataRobot platform automates, trains and evaluates predictive models in parallel, delivering more accurate predictions at scale. DataRobot provides the fastest path to data science success for organizations of all sizes.
Singtel is launching Singapore’s first virtual Visa account on its all-in-one mobile payments app, Dash. The new and existing Dash customers will automatically receive a Dash Visa Virtual Account that can be used for mobile payments at over 50,000 merchant points across the island.
Dash Visa Virtual Account is a prepaid account. All new and existing Dash customers are eligible for a Dash Visa virtual account on Dash app v4.5. Using compatible NFC-enable mobile device, this virtual account also allows users to pay with VISA payWave and it should work on existing payWave terminal that merchants are currently using.
Furthermore, the 16 digit virtual account works like any other VISA cards that allows customers to pay on local e-commerce sites such as Qoo10, Zalora and HungryGoWhere.
Singtel also announced future plans for Dash to be included in global wallets such as Apple Pay, and enable QR code payments to expand into hawker centres. In addition to Nanyang Polytechnic, Ngee Ann Polytechnic and Singapore Polytechnic, Dash is also working towards adding more educational institutions to its merchant list to widen its reach in the youth segment.
Payment aside. The Singtel Dash also offers remittance services to facilitate users in small local and international money transfer.
As of now, Singtel claims that it has over 500,000 customer base transacting via Singtel Dash.
To celebrate the launch of Dash Visa, customers will be able enjoy the following promotions from 21 July to 20 August 2017:
New and re-contracting Singtel postpaid mobile customers will receive S$50 discounts or free accessories when they purchase the following handsets with Dash at any Singtel Shop:
Sony Xperia™ XZ Premium, Huawei P10/P10 Plus and HTC U11 (S$50 handset discount)
Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+ (Free S Clear View Standing Cover)
All Dash customers will also enjoy these exclusive partner deals (terms and conditions apply):
S$1 Short Grain Rice or Instant White Coffee at Sheng Siong
S$1 for any 8oz Hot Espresso-Based Beverage (U.P. S$4 to S$5.70) at Spinelli
18% off a minimum S$120 spend, plus S$5 Cashback on Zalora
S$1 deals across various items and discount coupons on Qoo10
S$10 Cashback with S$180 spend across merchants on Shopback
In the broad sense, the old financial industry needs change and technology is definitely the answer to that. “Fintech” – a popular word that frequently appears in the newspaper. For those who are still working in the banking sector, it is never a surprise to hear some of your peers left the banking sector to start a fintech company.
This sector, not just attract the banking professionals, you might also hear a lot of talented fresh graudates run a fintech startup. Given so much interests in market, should you just jump on the bangwagon?
How did you land yourself a “Fintech” job in Cloudera?
I came from a financial services and deep data management background. I was really interested in how disruptive Hadoop was in every industry and was also a huge fan of Doug Cutting (Co-founder of Hadoop and Cloudera’s Chief Architect), Mike Olsen (Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Cloudera), Amr Awadallah (Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Cloudera), Tom Reilly (Chief Executive Officer of Cloudera), and most importantly, the Clouderian culture. It was a combination of background and interest, combined with persistence and a little luck – I was sure that the Open Source Apache Hadoop project was going to change the data world and I wanted to be a part of it.
Do you have to be a banker to develop solutions for banks?
No, you don’t. At Cloudera, we believe that data can make what is impossible today, possible tomorrow, across all industries, and what seems like magic can happen when you bring in data scientists and engineers who can use Open Source based Big Data Technology like Hadoop.
Do you need to understand the business use case and requirements to create a solution? Absolutely, but the key is to combine people, process, and technology. For example, three years ago, one of our data scientists was asked by a large bank to try and write a VAR function (Value at Risk) using Spark running on a Cloudera cluster. As a Mathematics major, he didn’t know much about VAR in financial services but the bank’s subject-matter experts explained the concepts and he made a first attempt. After he was done, his attempt actually made it run ten times faster than their existing code and it was running on 100% of their data rather than the subset they had been forced to use, so they were jumping for joy.
What is your definition of “A-team”? And where do you find them?
An ‘A-team’ today translates to a data-first culture. Organizations often think they can find and hire such a team, but the truth is, you have to build the culture internally first, starting from the top. Business leaders and executives must see data as an asset and empower their employees.
One of my favorite quotes is from James Governor at Redmonk – Data Ages Like Wine, Apps Age Like Fish – data is your greatest asset but just like fine wine, it must be cared for, stored, and shared to be truly appreciated. Businesses must develop a team with the right set of skills and evolve business processes and decisions to be data-driven.
Most people have the idea that data scientists are a mythical unicorn, but the best data scientists are not just a single person, they are a tightly integrated team of people who know and understand data science concepts, the data, and the business problem. The most important skill that you can’t train up for is curiosity.
How do you pitch to a bank’s CTO?
The first thing I do is to start a conversation and align on the objectives that make the most sense for the overall business and their customers – understanding what drives their business goals and objectives is key. Within the financial services sector, the common themes are Customer Journey, Financial Crime, Risk, and Product and Service Efficiency. Another topic that CTOs often discuss is digital disruption. Business leaders have realized that customers no longer want to walk into a bank or go on their website to get more information; they want a multi-channel experience. But the problem is, how do banks monitor that experience and understand the customer journey of how people move through different channels and systems?
In today’s consumer-centric world, most financial institutions are now shifting their focus to provide the ultimate customer experience, all with data-driven insights. This is where the technology comes in. One of our customers in the banking sector mentioned that he would like to take customer experience back to the 70’s. In the 70’s, you walk into a local bank they know you, your family, your business, and why you need a loan – today, if you are operating with thousands or even millions of customers, how do you create the same experience? The answer is data.
Many CIOs and CTOs that I meet also seem to be facing one problem – the high costs of managing a data warehouse or data archival. Because of the costs, businesses have had to make compromises about what data is stored and analyzed. Hadoop enables organizations to save tremendously on costs, while providing the flexibility to access data at any point in time.
CTOs from different industries have different problems, but the key is to understand what they really need and set realistic goals accordingly.
Do you see regulators as an obstacle in the industry?
Quite the opposite. In many countries, especially in APAC, regulators are working directly with the companies to jointly come up with a solution and are even using Cloudera’s platform themselves. Our solutions help them to aggregate data from all the companies they monitor and provide a systemic view across organizations. We are even starting to see the regulators themselves contribute to Open Source projects and running datathons or hackathons. There are definitely some exceptions but the general feeling is that regulators today are thinking about the right issues especially around data privacy
Ever since the announcement on the rebranding of the company in 2015, Singtel has been transforming its business from a conventional telco to ICT solution provider. Personally, I think it is not easy for a big infrastructure-based business like telco to change their business model but I think for the past 2 years, Singtel has improved reasonably in turning around their business.
Payment business has been tightly-linked with the Telco but nobody has ever expected a telco to do well in this space. Surprisingly, Singtel has invested a lot in this space with its Singtel Dash, a cashless payment solution using smartphone ( even you are not Singtel subscriber).
I think Singtel’s effort has paid off. Today, it announces that its Singtel Dash has been recognised for excellence in FinTech with two industry awards, Seamless Awards Asia’s “Best Asian B2C Payments Initiative” and “FinTech Innovation of the Year” at the FinTech World Forum.
Seamless Awards Asia honours excellence in the payments, e-commerce and retail industry in Asia. Selected for its unique ecosystem that makes mobile payments accessible to everyone in Singapore, Singtel Dash was mentioned for its mobile remittance services which offer unparalleled convenience to customers sending money to over 13,700 cash-out points across the Philippines, Indonesia, India and China.
Singtel Dash also took home the “FinTech Innovation of the Year 2017” at the FinTech World Forum, held in Shanghai in the same month. Organised as part of the FinTech World Forum by FinTech Alliance (FTA), the FinTech Innovation Awards honour the highest achievements in the global FinTech and financial industries. It is a global competition to showcase companies who are paving the future in financial services and innovative technologies.
Ms Gan Siok Hoon, Vice-President of mCommerce, Consumer Singapore, Singtel, said, “We are extremely pleased to receive industry recognition for our contributions to FinTech. Since its launch in 2014, Singtel Dash has evolved to meet the demands of Singapore’s increasingly digital economy and our customers’ connected lifestyles. These two awards affirm our efforts to revolutionise payments for our customers’ convenience. We look forward to delighting them with more innovative features and contributing to Singapore’s journey to Smart Nation by developing the mobile payments ecosystem in Singapore.”
All DBS PayLah! users, including non-DBS/POSB customers, now have the ability to transact via QR codes across 10,000 NETS terminals by year end
SINGAPORE, 13 April 2017 – DBS today announced another ground-breaking payment solution in support of Singapore’s Smart Nation drive to adopt cashless payments. In a Singapore first, all DBS PayLah! users – including non-DBS/POSB customers – now have the ability to generate their own QR code to receive funds, and can also pay by scanning QR codes. DBS PayLah! is Singapore’s top mobile wallet with some 500,000 users and counting.
The introduction of DBS PayLah!’s QR code capability has far-reaching implications for merchants and consumers here. Despite the continuing drive to encourage businesses here to adopt cashless payments, many small businesses remain averse as they see the leasing of payment terminals, connectivity and wiring requirements as inconvenient and costly. In Singapore, it is estimated that more than 80% of payments made at small shops are in cash. At hawker centres and wet markets, this rises to 90%. The lack of ubiquity in cashless payment acceptance by merchants in turn discourages consumers from making the transition to cashless payments.
DBS PayLah!’s QR code payments are particularly effective in tackling these issues as it has a very low barrier to entry. There is little to no cost involved and the process of using QR codes to transact is extremely streamlined. To receive payments, merchants or individuals can use DBS PayLah! to generate their own QR code, which they can display at their premises or send to others via social or online channels for payments. To pay, customers simply need to use DBS PayLah! to scan the QR code and proceed to make a payment.
The simplicity of the QR code solution empowers offline merchants, helping them connect to the online world, and allows them to establish a point-to-point connection to their customers. In China, QR codes have driven the adoption of cashless payments and the country is today the world’s leader in mobile payments. The value of Chinese third-party mobile payments was estimated to be RMB 38 trillion in 2016.
Said Jeremy Soo, Head of Consumer Banking Group (Singapore), DBS Bank (星展银行新加坡消费银行部董事总经理兼主管苏孝进), “We believe that cashless payments in Singapore is ripe for disruption. Singapore has one of the world’s highest smartphone penetration and surveys have indicated that the majority of consumers here are open to making payments with their mobile devices. All we need is a solution that has a low barrier to entry, is easy for merchants to implement, and for consumers to use. The DBS PayLah! QR code solution ticks all the boxes and is well positioned to drive cashless payment behaviour in Singapore, taking us one step closer to our nation’s vision of being a Smart Nation.”
In another industry first, DBS PayLah! users will also soon be able to make QR code payments on NETS terminals at a number of merchants across various categories which include transport, retail, fashion and F&B. Some 2,000 NETS terminals will be enabled with this capability in the next two months and 10,000 by the end of the year. In addition, DBS will be holding a QR code bazaar from 5 to 7 May to encourage more consumers and businesses to adopt cashless payments. The event will be the first of its kind in Singapore, with some 200 young vendors setting up shop at *SCAPE. All vendors at the event will be able to accept purchases made via DBS PayLah!’s QR code payment function.
Singtel (stock quote: Z74.SI) and Telkomsel, a subsidiary of PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia (stock quote: IDX: TLKM)launched a real-time mobile remittance service to Indonesia. Offered by SingCash under the Singtel Dash brand, this service allows customers in Singapore to send money to Kantor Pos, a state-owned company responsible for providing postal service in Indonesia, across the country via Weselpos Instan (a remittance product of PT Pos Indonesia ). This is an enhancement to the current facility that lets customers send money to Indonesian bank accounts.
The service was launched at Festival Rising50, the first concert event celebrating 50 years of Singapore and Indonesia bilateral ties. It marks the first time that Singtel and Telkomsel are collaborating on mobile money initiatives to drive innovation in both their markets.
According to the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Singapore, there are 200,000 Indonesians living and working in Singapore. Outward remittance from Singapore to Indonesia totals more than US$ 409 million yearly.
Mr Yuen Kuan Moon, Chief Executive Officer, Consumer Singapore, Singtel, said, “Indonesia is one of our main remittance corridors and we are pleased to partner Telkomsel to offer convenient and secure mobile remittance cash pick-up service for our Indonesian friends. Singtel Dash will continue to enhance the mobile payments experience for our customers and enable their digital lifestyles. We are also excited to contribute to Singapore’s journey to a Smart Nation by developing the mobile payments ecosystem in Singapore.”
Mr Ririek Adriansyah, Chief Executive Officer, Telkomsel, said, “Telkomsel’s partnership in Singtel’s remittance service is one effort to support our government in promoting financial inclusion for Indonesian people, especially the unbanked segment. Foreign remittance enables them to improve their quality of life as well as provide an opportunity to begin saving for the future. We believe every little effort to promote financial inclusion will also accelerate the growth of Indonesia’s economy.”
In line with their commitment to work together on smart money initiatives, the two leading telcos also announced future plans to offer mobile remittance to Telkomsel’s TCash, offering a complete mobile wallet-to-mobile wallet experience. They also plan to expand the number of cash pick-up points to GraPARI Telkomsel service centres, as well as PT Bank BRI branches in the second half of this year.