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.

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.

PwC study finds Singaporeans are second most anxious about the future impact of technology on their jobs

Source: PwC Singapore

September 2019, Singapore – Technology is changing the way people work and two in five Singaporeans (18%) are scared or nervous about the future impact of technology on their job. The city-state’s workforce as second most nervous or scared globally, just behind French workers (20%) and tied with the British (18%).

These findings are from a new PwC report, Upskilling Hopes & Fears, which surveyed 22,000 adults across 11 countries worldwide, and build on PwC’s economic analysis on the impact of automation on jobs.

Singaporeans are starting to see the impact of technology on work and jobs. As a smart-nation, the pace of technological advancements is expected to be faster than neighbouring countries in South-East Asia, and both government and the private sector are adopting technology quickly which could potentially accelerate the impact on jobs. This makes Singapore jobs more susceptible to the impact of technological advancements.

When Singaporean workers were asked why they had felt nervous or scared about the impact of technology on their jobs, 58% were worried that technology would make their role redundant and 36% were worried that they wouldn’t have the right skills.

On top of that, about half the Singaporeans (54%) surveyed believe automation will significantly change or make their job obsolete within the next ten years. While most admit that technology would change their jobs significantly, 4% still believe that technology would not affect their day-to-day work.

Despite the uncertainty, there is also a sense of optimism. The report found that 53% of respondents indicated that they felt technology would bring about more opportunities than risks in the workplace and 85% felt that technology will change their work for the better.

Fang Eu-Lin, Leader of PwC’s Academy in Singapore says:

“With technology, roles that are more process-driven are more at risk of being displaced and individuals doing these roles must prepare for their “version 2.0” role. For example, robotic process automation (RPA) is becoming more commonplace, driving greater efficiency in highly repetitive tasks. In the short term, this change will require employees to understand how to work with the technology. In the longer term, individuals with the skills to maximise these new opportunities will be the ones who thrive in the marketplace.”

Time to upskill

While employees seem to understand how the technology can be embedded into the workplace, they are concerned that they may not have the right skills to remain relevant as the business landscape changes. Given the clear recognition of the change that technology will bring, it is unsurprising that 81% of respondents in Singapore were already learning new skills to better understand or use technology.

Even if they weren’t already pursuing opportunities, 92% in Singapore said that they would take the opportunity to better understand or use technology if it were available to them. If their jobs were at risk, 85% of Singaporeans would learn new skills now or completely re-train in order to improve their future employability.

This is a clear reflection that individuals are aware of the necessity of upskilling. This is potentially due to the increase in efforts by both the public and private sector. For example, Singapore has put in place safeguards, such as the establishment of SkillsFuture to inspire an attitude of life-long learning amongst its citizens. Initiatives such as Professional Conversion Programmes (PCP), Industry Transformation Maps and SkillsFuture Frameworks serve as good and tailored guidance for organisations and individuals to prepare for their job in the future.

With the strong national push for upskilling there are many more opportunities in the market for Singaporeans to upskill, but ultimately it’s up to each worker to take the step. However, less than half of Singaporeans (44%) recognised that it is their own responsibility to upskill. 32% felt that upskilling was the government’s responsibility higher than the global average of 22%.

Although, only one in five (19%) felt that employers were responsible for upskilling their workforce, a majority of employers have already begun to play their part in championing the agenda. In Singapore, 76% of workers said that their current employer was giving them the opportunity to improve their digital skills outside of their normal duties, although only 31% of respondents indicated that they are currently upskilling through their employers. This seems to indicate that there is a need for some reconciliation between the skills employees need and what is being offered to them.

Martijn Schouten, Singapore People & Organisation Leader, PwC South East Asia Consulting says:

“Employers are faced with a lot of complexity in understanding, managing and mitigating the impact of technology on the world of work. It’s the type of wicked problem that requires a wide variety of perspectives; deeper insight in the demand and supply for job roles; the capability to redesign structures and roles; an understanding of the skills and capabilities required to fulfil new and changing roles; and the ability to coach and motivate people to embrace learning and upskilling. A challenging, yet very important problem to solve.”

Country comparisons

Singaporeans emerged the most likely to be learning new skills through their employer, tied with the Dutch at 35%. As compared to the other countries surveyed, Singaporean workers were also the most likely to accept a lower level position in another company or industry if they believed their job was at risk of automation (60%, global 47%).

Looking across the markets surveyed, workers in China and India are by far the most upbeat about the impact of technology (even after adjusting for cultural bias), despite being the most likely to believe their jobs will change significantly. Workers in these regions are getting more opportunities to upskill: 97% and 95% respectively are being given these opportunities by their employers. On the other hand, workers in the UK and Australia say they are given the least opportunity to learn new skills. They also tend to be less positive about the impact of technology.

Despite Chinese workers being more positive about the impact of technology, it’s interesting to note that Singaporeans are taking more responsibility for their own upskilling as compared to their Chinese counterparts. Only 26% of Chinese workers reflected that it was the individual’s responsibility to upskill (as compared to 44% of Singapore workers), while 40% and 31% of them said the responsibility lies with the government and the businesses respectively.

Although Singaporean workers are ahead of the average worker when it comes to learning new skills (81% in Singapore, 77% globally), our population is still behind emerging countries such as India (96%) & China (96%).

Fang Eu-Lin, Leader of PwC’s Academy in Singapore concludes:

“The world of work in changing rapidly. For Singapore to remain relevant on the world stage, every player must do their part to keep the momentum of digital upskilling going. Employers, industries and government play a significant role in this by partnering and creating opportunities for upskilling, supporting and encouraging Singaporeans to upskill in an effective way.”

Review – Creative Outlier Gold, A Under-Hyped True Wireless

2019 is a big year for true wireless earpiece. Headphone giant Sennheiser released their very first true wireless under their Momentum series – Momentum True Wireless which was a surprise to the market observer and smashed the market taboo that “tiny earpiece can’t deliver good sound”. Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless said it all. Tech journalists from around the world has been writing positive reviews of this product in the first quarter of the year. The “momentum” did not stop. Sony responded with their WF-1000MX3 that wowed the market with its noise cancelling capabilities. Both products have been selling like hot cakes despite a high price attached to them (Momentum True Wireless – RRP SGD469, Sony WF-1000MX3 – RPP SGD 349)

Undeniably, Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless and Sony WF-1000MX3 are the winners but they are obscenely expensive. I can’t help but ask myself,” Aren’t there unorthodox products in the market that could deliver same or similar quality but at a lower price point?” I decided to try Creative Outlier Gold.

What’s in Creative Outlier Gold that caught my attention?

Last year, Creative (stock quote: C76:SGX)  shocked the world with their Super X-Fi, personalized 3D immersive sound technology which they termed as “holy grail” of headphone processing. Instead of restricting this technology to headphones, they are bringing this into their true wireless, the Outlier Gold.

For those who have followed my posts, you should know that I have good impression of the Super X-Fi technology. (If you haven’t, you may wish to check out the post https://theneodimension.com/creative-achieves-next-breakthrough-super-x-fi-investing-usd-100m-20-years-rd/) It will be interesting to see how this set of technology performs in the smaller Outlier Gold. Furthermore, this technology is (currently) proprietary to Creative which means you can’t get it in other devices.  

How Creative Outlier Gold fare against other Super X-fi headphones?

Super X-Fi requires both algorithm and their processing chip. In other words, to get the full potential of Super X-Fi, both software and hardware side of things are built within the audio device and that’s the main shortfall of Creative Outlier against other Super X-Fi headphones. Given its physical constraint, Super X-Fi in Outlier Gold is purely software-driven.

To enjoy Super X-Fi, you need a Super X-Fi app (which you need to download for setting up purposes) to play music file that is stored locally in my phone. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to enjoy Super X-Fi if you are playing music from Spotify or other streaming apps.    

How’s the sound performance?

Unable to enjoy full potential of Super X-Fi on Creative Outlier Gold is kind of a turn-off, the performance via the app is quite impressive. I am convinced that small device like Creative Outlier could deliver reasonable 3D holistic sound stage; for a lack of better description, I would like to quote from my good friend, Chester Tan (@musicdairy) who happened to own Creative Outlier Gold. He said, “ (music) sounds more comfortable and roomy”.  With technology advancement, I am not surprised that true wireless could deliver multi-directional sound performance (drivers) as headphones could in the future.  

Without Super X-Fi, sound from YouTube or Spotify lacks depth. Instead, you are getting a clearer and sharper tone. Bass is reasonably strong and punchy which I believe it is most people’s likings. Personally, I prefer hi-tempo dance music especially when I am out for run. Hence, I prefer the bass to be stronger.

In general, it is a good device to listen to any genre of music.

If I am buying this, what am I getting?

Sound performance is subjective and what I like may not be of your likings. But, we could look at the technical aspect which it is very comparable across all models. First, battery life of Creative Outlier Gold is 14hrs (without the case) which is kind of unspoken standard in the market. It is not exceptional impressive but at the very least, it is almost as good as some of the mid and top-end models that are offering in the market.

Like other true wireless, Creative Outlier Gold comes with a battery-cum-storage case that gives a total playtime up to approx. 39hrs.

Creative Outlier Gold is IPX5 water resistance.

It has a water resistance rating of IPX5. Yes, It is sport-friendly. After your run with Outlier Gold, you could wipe your dirty sweat away with a wet tissue and the water won’t cause any damage to your earpiece. A point to note here – Sony WF-1000MX3 has no IP rating. From this aspect, the cheaper Outlier Gold beats Sony WF-1000MX3.

The Creative Outlier Gold is also packed with Bluetooth 5.0 and Qualcomm aptX. If you are using compatible smartphones, lower latency will help in keeping fast connection between the earpiece and phone. To put it simply, you could listen to hi-res audio without any loss connection via Creative Outlier Gold.  

Price

Creative is not a premium brand. As such, I believe most consumers won’t be paying a premium for a Creative brand product. (Sad for Singapore brand…) Anyway, the Creative Outlier Gold is priced at SGD 139 which is very wallet-friendly for those who are looking for a true wireless.    

Verdict

Truth to be told, this product is not the prettiest true wireless I have seen. In terms of sound qualities, the Creative Outlier Gold has certainly exceeded my expectation at that kind of price. The Creative Outlier Gold is also water resistance and packed with premier features that you could only find in more expensive hi-end true wireless models. At the low-to-mid price category, I would say the Creative Outlier Gold offers the best-in-class values to the customers. If you are not that brand conscious, this is one product that you should consider.