Businesses in Singapore must invest in their people for digital transformation success

• Telstra study finds business leaders lean too heavily on technology in digital transformation decisions
• Singapore companies cite gap between digital transformation priorities and performance
• Digital transformation driven financial rewards difficult to show
• Businesses need whole-of-business approach for digital transformation success

March 2019: The success of digital transformation initiatives undertaken by organisations in Singapore fall short of expectations due to their heavy emphasis on technology and lack of focus on people and processes.

This was one of the main findings of Telstra’s Disruptive Decision-Making research, which surveyed 3,810 senior decision-makers from 12 industries in 14 markets around the world to uncover insights into strengths and weaknesses around their digital transformation programs.

Focus on technology undermining success
When rating decision-making across four factors for success – people, processes, technology understanding and partnerships – businesses in Singapore ranked ‘technology understanding’ as the area where they feel by far most confident.

Seventy six per cent of Singapore respondents felt their organisation makes technology decisions ‘well’ or ‘extremely well’. While the understanding of technology and its performance is important, other factors are equally significant.

Telstra Managing Director APAC, Ms Marjet Andriesse

Telstra’s Managing Director, APAC, Marjet Andriesse, said that organisations that are highly digitally mature (20% in Singapore, compared to 21% globally) show greater focus on people and processes.

“The research shows that successful digital transformation relies on more than the right technology, it requires the right culture, the right people – and the right processes to support them,” Ms Andriesse said.

“Digital transformation must be a company journey that involves upskilling and changing employee mindsets, adapting structures and ways of working, and creating teams that can take advantage of new technologies.”

Whole-company approach needed
The research found that a company-wide approach to digital transformation is significantly more likely to result in success, yet 66% of Singapore organisations are allowing business departments drive individual digital initiatives, compared to 51% globally.

A further 8% said they outsource as much as possible (vs 15% globally), and only 25% say they have an integrated, whole-of-company digital transformation strategy (vs 31% globally).

“Globally, organisations that have a whole-of-business digital transformation strategy are significantly more likely to be highly digitally mature, make extremely good digital decisions, and see the impact of digital transformation across the business,” Ms Andriesse said.

“The research demonstrates that Singapore organisations have an opportunity to integrate digital transformation activity across all areas of the business, but this needs to be led by a clear company strategy from the C-suite and board level down.”

Businesses in Singapore not delivering on digital priorities
The report also found there was a substantial gap between digital transformation priorities and performance.

Organisations in Singapore rated their top digital transformation priorities as (1) optimising technology to move faster, (2) protecting digital assets from cyber threats, and (=3) optimising security investments to reduce time and resource management, and (=3) protecting, detecting and responding in real time to events.
However, when it came to decision-making performance, these priorities ranked poorly.

“One of the red flags we saw in this research was the gap between the areas businesses in Singapore chose as their highest priorities, and their performance in these areas,” Ms Andriesse said.

“Cyber security was identified as a particular focus area in Singapore. But despite protecting digital assets from cyber threats rating as the second highest priority – it achieved the lowest performance score in terms of ability to deliver.”

Ms Andriesse said there were a few factors to consider when analysing this finding.

“It is notable that three of Singapore’s top four priorities are related to security, even though performance in these areas is poor. This performance gap is symptomatic of the fact that security requires a whole-of-business approach incorporating people, processes, and technology working in concert together,” Ms Andriesse said.

Hard financial outcomes difficult to show
The research found that while organisations in Singapore are increasing their investment in digital transformation, many businesses had yet to realise the financial impact of their efforts.

More than a third of businesses in Singapore invested more than US$1 million in digital transformation products and services over the past year (34%), while almost one in 10 spent more than US$5 million (8%).

This figure is set to increase as 30% of respondents said their company’s total spend on digital transformation would grow by more than 10% in the next three years.

However, when it came to measuring the impact of digital transformation, showing hard outcomes such as financial returns of this investment was difficult.

“Measuring the progress and success of any digital transformation strategy or individual project is an absolute essential. But the metrics in which we measure success are just as important,” Ms Andriesse said.

“Organisations in Singapore found it particularly hard to demonstrate financial results from digital transformation. In fact, of all the business outcomes surveyed, increasing profit margins saw the lowest levels of achievement in Singapore.

“Successful companies are clear on what digital transformation means for their organisation, they have empowered their people, strengthened their processes and identified their key partners.”

Source: Telstra Singapore

Sony Electronics Releases New MASTER A9G 4K OLED TV

For those in-the-know, the MASTER Series is the name given to only the very best Sony TVs and provides premium picture quality, colour, contrast, and clarity approaching that of a professional-grade monitor. The MASTER Series TVs are Sony’s only TV series that features Netflix Calibrated Mode to further ensure that content is delivered as intended. This month, Sony Electronics Asia Pacific add their new OLED 4K TV, A9G, into their MASTER Series.

Sony Singapore unveils the latest series of Bravia TVs

The new model features the next generation Picture Processor X1™ Ultimate for accurate detail and contrast. The new Picture Processor X1 Ultimate has a unique algorithm that can intelligently detect and analyse each object in the picture resulting in greater detail and contrast for a more realistic picture. The A9G features the new Sound-from-Picture Reality which faithfully reproduces the position of the sound on the screen so when actors are speaking, the sound appears to be coming directly from their mouths and not from a speaker off to the bottom.

Picture Processor X1™ Ultimate
Over 8 million self-illuminating pixels are precisely and individually controlled by Picture Processor X1™ Ultimate. In addition to the processor, the A9G has Pixel Contrast Booster for more colour and contrast in bright areas. As a result, the A9G provides premium picture quality approaching that of a professional- grade monitor, showing images and colours as they truly are, as the creator intended. The processor improves SD and HD content to near 4K HDR quality and shows 4K content in stunning clarity.

Acoustic Surface Audio+

Acoustic Surface Audio+ provides a totally immersive sound experience with the sound coming from the entire screen, enveloping viewers in exciting new entertainment experiences, providing pictures and sound in perfect harmony. In addition, a TV Centre Speaker Mode provides choice to use the TV as the centre speaker.

Sony Singapore demonstrates the Acoustic Surface Audio of the Bravia TV

User Experience

The A9G OLED feature Sony‘s Android TV which supports a huge range of apps from Google Play™, including YouTube™, Netflix, Amazon Video and more for deep smart home integration (availability varies by region). And making your TV and home even smarter, the A9G TVs have Google Assistant built-in. These TVs have built-in microphones that will free users’ hands. Viewers can simply talk to the TV using the Google Assistant to find what they quickly want, or to play TV shows, movies, and more. (Google Assistant availability depends on region.) The TVs also work with popular smart speakers such as Google Home and Amazon Echo. With smart speakers, users can control TV and stream content by simply using their voice – with more features to come later this year. Sony Android TVs will be compatible with Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit. AirPlay 2 lets you effortlessly stream content from your iPhone, iPad and Mac right to your Sony TV. Watch movies and shows from iTunes and other video apps, and view photos directly on your Sony TV. Play music or listen to podcasts on the television and AirPlay 2 speakers throughout the home – all in sync. HomeKit lets you easily and securely control smart home products using the Home app or by asking Siri on your Apple devices. TVs can be added to the Home app and included in scenes or automations with other HomeKit accessories. For example, users can create a “Movie Night” scene in the Home app to easily turn on their smart TV and dim the lights, and simply ask Siri to launch the scene. AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support will launch in A9G, X95G, X85G models in 2019.

For even more user-friendly experience, a new easy to control smart remote enables viewers to control their connected devices such as cable/satellite boxes, Blu-ray disc player, game console (supported devices vary by region) without switching remote controllers. Also added to the smart remote is an RF so users can control the TV without pointing the remote. And a newly developed UI brings seamless and quick access to your favourite apps and settings.

The Sony’s new flagship 4K OLED TV A9G is available in 77”, 65”, and 55”. Prices will be announced in the second quarter of 2019.

A Singapore-based Insurtech Wants To Eliminate Phone Screen Protector

Soon, you do not need to have a screen protector for your phone. If you break your screen, just get it replaced for free. Axinan, a Singapore-based insurtech firm is partnering with FWD Singapore to sell insurance that protects smartphone users from damage of phone screen. Today Axinan announces the launch of igloo, catering on-demand digital insurance solutions to the everyday lifestyle needs of today’s millennials. As one of its first offerings, igloo will be introducing customisable Phone Screen Protection (PSP) plans where consumers will be able to buy policies and make claims digitally and seamlessly on the igloo mobile app.

With PSP, customers will be able to get their phone screens replaced upon physical damage to the screens. Axinan has partnered with several phone repair service companies to provide repair services islandwide. Consumers will be able to get their PSP plan on-demand and through subscription (ranging from daily, monthly and yearly) – prices are determined by the model of their devices.

Announcing the launch of igloo, Wei Zhu, Founder and CEO, Axinan said, “Axinan is an insurtech firm with a focus on developing insurance products for millennials and hence has built products catering to their lifestyle centred around gadgets, travel, e-commerce – domains not covered by traditional insurers. With igloo, we aim to provide a comprehensive suite of coverage that will be made readily available with the everyday needs of millennials in Southeast Asia in mind.”

Elaborating on this partnership with FWD Singapore, Wei Zhu added, “We are extremely excited to have FWD Singapore as our insurance partner. This streamlines a concerted passion for both parties in providing affordable lifestyle insurance to the ever-changing consumer market using technology as a key enabler.

Abhishek Bhatia, CEO, FWD Singapore, added, “As a brand that has continuously leveraged on technology to create real value and convenience in the insurance industry, FWD is delighted to work with Axinan on the Phone Screen Protection plans. We believe digital innovation will play a key role in fulfilling consumer demands today, and this partnership is a demonstration of how by focusing on what customers need, companies can provide real value-added digital services.

“FWD is happy to collaborate with like-minded partners like Axinan to contribute to a vibrant marketplace, which can only be beneficial for the entire digital insurance ecosystem,” he concluded.


According to a global study released by SquareTrade in November 2018, more than 50 million smartphones screens are broken every year. Smartphone owners accidentally broke more than 50 million phone screens last year (that’s nearly two every second), and replacing those screens cost them US$3.4 billion. The study found that 66% of smartphone owners damaged their phones in the past year, with cracked screens leading the way as the most common type of damage (29%). Scratched screens (27%) and non-working batteries (22%) took second and third place respectively, with touchscreen issues and chipped corners/sides tied at 16% each.

Samsung Galaxy S10 – More Choices For Consumers

The wait of the new Galaxy S10 is over. This year, Samsung is doing a little different from the past. Instead of introducing 2 variations of Galaxy S10 (standard S10 and S10+), they are launching another a more affordable S10e.   

The Galaxy S10 is designed for those who want a premium smartphone with powerful performance and sets the stage for the next generation of mobile experiences. For consumers looking for a supercharged device, Galaxy S10+ takes every spec – from display, to camera, to performance – to the next level. Galaxy S10e is built for those who want all the premium essentials in a compact package on a flat screen. Anticipating the implementation of 5G network this year, Samsung also introduces an extension of the Galaxy S10+ – Galaxy S10+ 5G.

Display

Samsung’s stand for front camera is clear – no notch and so, to get full edge-to-edge display experience or Infinity-O display as coined by Samsung, the company has developed a “punch-hole” front camera that flushed with the display panel. The notification bar blends well with the front camera without affecting the viewing experience of the display.  Galaxy S10’s unique Infinity-O Display packs an array of sensors and camera technology into a hole-in display – so you can maximize your screen real estate without any distractions.

Galaxy S10’s display also includes the first-ever in-display Ultrasonic Fingerprint Scanner that reads the 3D contours of your physical thumbprint – not a 2D image of it – for improved anti-spoofing. With the world’s first FIDO Alliance Biometric Component certification, this next generation biometrics authentication offers vault-like security to keep your device safe

Camera

Galaxy S10 introduces new camera technology and advanced intelligence that makes it easy to take epic shots and videos:

  • Ultra Wide Lens: A first for the S Series, Galaxy S10 offers an Ultra Wide Lens with a 123degree field of view, like the human eye, so what you see is what’s in frame. Perfect for impressive landscape shots, big panoramas and even fitting the entire extended family into the photo, the Ultra Wide Lens ensures that you’ll always be able to capture the full scene. 
  • Super Steady & High-Quality Video Recording: Galaxy S10 offers Super Steady recording with digital stabilization technology. Whether you’re dancing in the middle of an amazing concert or trying to record every detail of a bumpy bike ride, Super Steady allows you to capture the moment. Both front and rear cameras can shoot in up to UHD quality, and in an industry first, the rear camera gives you the flexibility to record in HDR10+.
  • AI Camera: Galaxy S10 makes already smart features more accurate with a Neural Processing Unit (NPU) so you can get pro-grade shots worth sharing without having to manually select any advanced camera settings. Scene Optimizer can now recognize and more accurately process additional scenes because of the NPU. And with Shot Suggestion, Galaxy S10 offers automatic composition recommendations so you can frame your photo better than ever. 
Galaxy S10 Camera AI Capability

Other Improvements

  • Wireless PowerShare: Samsung introduces Wireless PowerShare on Galaxy S10, making it possible to easily charge Qi-certified smartphones and even compatible wearable devices. In addition, Galaxy S10 is capable of charging itself and a second device simultaneously via Wireless PowerShare, while connected to a regular charger, enabling you to leave your second charger at home while on a trip.
  • Intelligent Performance: The new AI software on the Galaxy S10 automatically optimizes battery, CPU, RAM, and even device temperature based on how you use your phone and continues to learn and get better over time. Leveraging AI-capabilities, Galaxy S10 also learns how you use your device to launch your most frequently used apps faster.

Local Pricing and Availability 

Galaxy S10e, S10 and S10+ 

The Galaxy S10e, S10 and S10+ will be available in Singapore from 8 March 2019, at local telecommunication operators (M1, Singtel and StarHub), major consumer electronics & IT stores, Samsung Experience Stores and Lazada Singapore. The respective recommended retail prices for the devices are as follows: 

Model Built-in Memory1 RRP (S$)
Galaxy S10e 128GB $1,078
Galaxy S10 128GB $1,298
Galaxy S10+ 128GB $1,398
Galaxy S10+ 512GB $1,798
Galaxy S10+ 1TB $2,198 

The Galaxy S10e, S10 and S10+ (128GB1) will be available in Prism White, Prism Black and Prism Green. The Galaxy S10+ (512GB1 and 1TB1) will be available in Ceramic White and Ceramic Black.

D-Link Launches McAfee-Secured AC2600 Router (DIR-2680) in Singapore

By 2020, Gartner estimates there will be 20 billion connected things, and their role and influence is set to dramatically increase over the next 10 years. They’ve also raised a new crop of security issues, as Internet of Things (IoT) devices are subject to attacks just like any other connected device like a PC or smartphone. The new D-Link AC2600 Wi-Fi Router Powered by McAfee helps secure all connected devices at the network level in a home, including non-display IoT devices, providing an additional layer of protection from potential hackers and for members of the home using devices and accessing online content.

D-Link Dir-2680 Security Router

As the number of connected devices in homes continues to grow, consumers are increasingly concerned about online security threats. D-Link teamed up with McAfee and Intel to address these concerns with a powerful, easy to manage, all-in-one solution.

The D-Link AC2600 Wi-Fi Security Router Powered by McAfee (DIR-2680) automatically increases security for devices on the home network and delivers on both companies’ vision to address the pressing need for online security as people’s lives become increasingly connected. The comprehensive solution includes D-Link’s high-performance dual-band 802.11ac router with MU-MIMO technology that enhances network capacity and efficiency for users, McAfee Secure Home Platform that automatically protects all devices connected to the network, and the Intel® Home Wi-Fi Chipset WAV500 Series to deliver robust Wi-Fi connectivity to numerous connected devices at the same time, running a range of high-bandwidth applications.

McAfee’s Global Threat Intelligence features adaptable machine learning that protects by preventing, detecting, and correcting malicious malware and attacks, which enables a safer internet browsing experience for consumers. Designed for families and smart home owners looking for the ultimate home networking without sacrificing privacy and security, the DIR-2680 keeps connected devices safer from unwanted intrusions and thefts. Additionally, comprehensive parental control features provide customized protection for children in the household. The DIR-2680 is easily set up with the D-Link Wi-Fi app and can be managed from anywhere with D-fend app. DIR-2680 comes with a FREE 2-year bundle of unlimited licences for McAfee LiveSafe, providing on-the-go protection when the users are away from home.

DIR-2680 Additional Features and Benefits:

  • Comprehensive Security Made Simple
  • Easy set up and instant protection for all devices with full control from anywhere
  • End-to-end protection designed to help prevent, detect and correct potential threats
  • HD video streaming and lightning-fast downloads with dual-band 802.11ac with MU-MIMO performance
  • Intel Home Wi-Fi Chipset supports for up to 128 simultaneously connected devices
  • Connected Home Protection
  • Real-time monitoring for a safer browsing experience and powerful security for IoT device protection
  • Comprehensive Parental Controls
  • Customized protection for every child, including personalized content filters and screen time controls
  • Cloud Based Machine Learning
  • McAfee’s Global Threat Intelligence provides an adaptable solution that blocks malware, and malicious websites
  • Serious Protection Needs Serious Power
  • The wireless traffic is fully offloaded to the Intel Home Wi-Fi Chipset, so that the Intel® AnyWAN™ SoC – the primary computing engine in the router – is freed up for software and security functions.

D-Link International has yet to announce the official price and the availability of the product for Singapore market. Based on other sources, the product could be selling from USD 250 (approx. SGD 338) onwards.

How YouTrip Helps Singapore Police Force to Uncover Credit Card Fraud?

Recent years, market has developed and people are keeping their money online with the help of e-wallet. E-wallet could link with our credit card and that makes online transaction cheaper and faster. The technology brings us convenient but it also opens door for fraud.

On 13 February 2019, the Singapore Police Force charged 4 individuals with syndicated credit card fraud. These individuals were charged for stealing bank credit or debit card information via external means, and using these stolen cards to top up their YouTrip accounts. Another 15 are currently also under investigation.

These suspects were initially flagged out by YouTrip’s Fraud Monitoring System, which continuously analyses transaction patterns and detects early signals of suspicious activities. We immediately handed over the case to the police to expedite investigations, which include a total of 18 suspects with more than 85 fraudulent credit card top up transactions.

Investigating & tracing transaction patterns using Data Analytics

Throughout late December and January, YouTrip’s Fraud Monitoring System, which traces and detects early signals of suspicious transactions, flagged out two key signals:

  • Signal 1: High top up amount followed by immediate purchases or cash withdrawals to deplete the account balance
  • Signal 2: High frequency of failed top up with incorrect credit / debit card credentials

By combining these two key signals and using Data Analytics techniques, YouTrip traced these signals to a specific small group of users who exhibited both behaviors. A special task force made up of Fraud Monitoring specialists and engineers was immediately set up to carry out detailed investigations. Through these investigations, they found out more transaction and usage signals that have high correlation to potentially fraudulent activities, including concentration on common merchant names (e.g. overseas ATM locations), common transaction locations, chargebacks, and citizen’s reports received, etc.

They concluded that there is a high chance that a group of 18 users may have fraudulently obtained information or cards of more than 85 fraudulent credit or debit card top up transactions used to top up YouTrip accounts. The accounts were immediately suspended.

Enhancing security measures

While investigations were underway, YouTrip rolled out a security update last week that requires mandatory OTP verification via SMS (to be sent by your credit card issuing bank), whenever a new credit or debit card is added for the first time on the YouTrip app.

This helps to further eliminate cases of fraudulent use such as to perform top-ups on YouTrip accounts using stolen credit or debit cards, in addition to the existing fraud monitoring systems and customer due diligence processes.


Security Update: mandatory OTP verification via SMS when adding bank credit/debit card on YouTrip App

“Fraud prevention and security will continue to be YouTrip’s core mission to our users. We will continue to work closely with the authorities and community to ensure a secure and seamless payment experience for all YouTrip users,” said Mr Kelvin Lam, Country Manager (Singapore), You Technologies Group.

The case is currently under litigation and YouTrip is working closely with the authorities in the ongoing investigations. YouTrip will be working with the relevant institutions to ensure a proper arrangement for affected individuals in this case.

YouTrip users can rest assured to use YouTrip as per normal, as the suspicious activities have been contained to the current identified suspects. Users can reach out to YouTrip’s  customer support team at customer@you.co, if they detect any suspicious activities in their accounts.

Don’t Wait for The OnePlus 5G, OnePlus 6T is The Phone

We all know that 5G is coming soon and I am sure every OnePlus fan is as excited as I am. OnePlus has already announced their next phone that is 5G-Ready and all the OnePlus fans can’t wait to own the phone. Wait a second, are we saying that 5G is going to happen soon? Personally, I don’t see the full roll-out of 5G infrastructure happening in 2019 (at the very least, not in Singapore). Even it does roll out this year, I foresee the price of the 5G service is going to be expensive. The switching cost from 4G to a better-latency and faster 5G may not be worthwhile. Then, what’s the point of waiting for OnePlus 5G?

Back of OnePlus 6T

Those who have read our article on the OnePlus 6 knows we have very good impression of the phone. OnePlus 6 has almost all the ticks in our checklists but not quite there yet. Now, the OnePlus 6T is even better than its predecessors.

Better Battery Life

OnePlus 6 and OnePlus 6T are run on the latest Android Pie version. (Note: The OnePlus 6 does not ship with the latest Android ver. 9 installed but OnePlus has been known for keeping up with the OS update much faster than other brands. The phone got updated shortly after the OnePlus 6T was launched). User interface and graphic performance are similar on both phones given that they are running on the same OS version and Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor.

The notable improvement is the battery life. OnePlus 6T is shipped with 3700 mAh battery capacity giving 10% more battery life than OnePlus 6. After a month of heavy usage, I have observed that the phone could last slightly more than a day. I have never once used a power bank to charge the OnePlus 6T while I am on the move.

Better OTG/USB Type C Experience

Given that the OnePlus 6T has no 3.5mm audio port, the OTG will automatically activated once a Type C device is inserted. This is another improvement from the OnePlus 6 where you need to manually activate the OTG each time you inserted.

OnePlus has removed the 3.5mm audio port.

When you insert the Type C port for the first time, the OnePlus 6T will automatically activated the “Earphone mode”, a popular feature among OnePlus fans. In this mode, you could activate a “Speak Caller ID” feature when connected with the headphones. This feature will read out to you the incoming call number and if the incoming call happens to be in your phonebook, it will read out the contact name.

Other customization such as “Auto Play” to resume music playback and “Smart Answer for Bluetooth” to connect to Bluetooth audio to answer incoming call are also found in the “Earphone mode”.

In-display Fingerprint Sensor

OnePlus 6T has shifted the finger print sensor from the back to the front and replace it with a in-screen one. To some of you out there, the technology may seem redundant but if you think deeper, this could give us a quick glimpse on how we could better secure the phone in future. Imagine the technology gets better in years to come, the fingerprint sensor may not be at fixed location and it could be anywhere on the screen or at the back of the phone. Instead of single fingerprint, the phone could be equipped with multiple fingerprints or a palm-print sensor just like the Judge Dredd’s “Lawgiver”. How cool is that?!

Currently, OnePlus 6T is one of the few Android phones in the market equipped with this feature. I can see that more phones maker will follow suit to add this technology as part of their product offerings. Sidetrack – It is rumored that Apple will not add in-display fingerprint sensors in their phones. So, that is something OnePlus 6T owners could brag about to their iPhone friends.  

Top Price vs Value

You have read many reviews about the many similarities of OnePlus 6T against OnePlus 6. From the hardware perspectives, I agree (at least most of them). Both the OnePlus 6 and OnePlus 6T use the same chip and camera sensors. But I am not agreeing to the fact that you should buy the cheaper OnePlus 6 over the OnePlus 6T.

Don’t get me wrong. Both OnePlus 6 and 6T offer top specifications in the market and they are selling at very reasonable price. A quick check across the key e commerce sites in Singapore – OnePlus 6 (8GB Ram/128GB ROM) is selling at SGD 699 and the OnePlus 6T (8GB RAM/128GB ROM) is SGD738. Note that the OnePlus 6T is selling at only about 5% more expensive than the OnePlus 6 in the Singapore market.

First, the battery life of OnePlus 6T is more than 10% of OnePlus 6’s. That itself justified the 5% premium over the OnePlus 6.

Second, the display of OnePlus 6T is made up of Gorilla Glass 6, an upgrade from the OnePlus 6’s Gorilla Glass 5. In terms of scratch resistance, both Glass 5 and Glass 6 are equivalent. The main difference is that Glass 6 is designed to withstand multiply drops from greater heights. In other words, the OnePlus 6T is supposedly tougher than OnePlus 6. That’s a plus point for clumsy phone users (like me).

Third, there are several software enhancements that may or may not relevant to phone users. Nonetheless, it is worth mentioning if you are considering buying the OnePlus 6 or the OnePlus 6T. For instance, OnePlus claims that they use new algorithm in the 6T to better optimize photo setting even though it is using the same camera sensors as the OnePlus 6’s.  

Conclusion

If you are one of those who are still holding to your old OnePlus 5T or older, you should consider upgrading to the OnePlus 6T. No doubt the OnePlus 6 is cheaper and gives similar performance. The small price premium justified the added features against the OnePlus 6 based on the latest price comparison.  

Singapore Fund Raiser Shares Business Tips

I was once invited to Singapore Polytechnic to address a business class and talk about Corporate Finance. It was a talk that was supposed to show or demonstrate how companies raise money through public listings. I did sense that the topic was going dry and it was really a bunch of students who already knew what I was talking about. As such, I stopped the talk midway and asked if the students would prefer a Q and A and not see the rest of my slides. To my surprise, they all raised their hands and agreed to my suggestion. And the number one question on everyone’s lips – “How do you find deals?” And “How do you close them?”

It was a question I was a little unprepared for because I had no slides to support this question.

Indeed, I was caught a little flat footed but as I summoned my confidence to speak and it came out quite naturally.

I said it all boiled down to one word – Luck. Before someone accuses me of copying Doug Leonie from Sequoia Partners in his talk to the Stanford Business School graduating class, I made my talk more than 5 years ago. While I may not be able to hold a candle to Doug on his deal closing and fund-raising, I could hold my head and say the world is big enough for opportunities to come and in all shapes and sizes. But in an old cliché – luck favors the prepared and the ready. Ronaldo always knew that when he should stick his leg out, where the ball will go to better positioned himself to strike a goal. Be at the right place at the right time.

Getting prepared means you had to know your facts, your domain knowledge or at least know where and how to get it. Being widely read and widely connected were also components of being ready. Being a genius helps but if you’re not a genius (I certainly wasn’t) then it helps to know who the geniuses are and where they usually hang out. Go and connect with them. Nurturing your circle and practicing top EQ techniques in that circle will certainly give you an edge.

Looking for deals is about fishing in the right ocean. If you are looking for a Great White, then you’d probably want to be somewhere near the Great Barrier Reef. If you are looking for small fish and plenty of them then the Straits of Malacca will do but look out for pirates. Having identified your fishing spot, all you need is to equip yourself with knowledge and tools to do your fishing. (You can’t catch tuna without a proper fishing rod, right?) Hang out in the right places and be ready.

I am hard pressed to name the deals I have struck due to privacy and confidentiality concerns, but I have closed my fair share of deals. Debt or equity. PE or VC. Project or Specifics. Demand and Supply. Derivative or Structures. It’s a rich gamut.

Luck is all about being ready and sticking out your foot at the right time. Be thankful for education especially one that teaches you to read well and speak well and ultimately relate well.

To conclude, you only need to take home one thing and that will make your day or your deal – “Right place, right time, right words and right people”

About The Article Contributor 

Mr. Chiang Kwok Shong has a life-time experience in banking, private equity, FMCG and fund management. A coach certified by Marshall Goldsmith SCC, Kwok Shong brings a new skill to his people-centred and humorous style of supporting CEOs and corporate leaders to perform at their best. Kwok Shong is now an Executive Director for CYC Company, a famous tailor in Singapore. He received his Bachelor of Commerce from The University of Alberta in 1984 and recently received his certification with the Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coaching in 2014.

A Continued Love Affair With BlackBerry KEY2

Author: Poisonvine.com

Everyone who knows me knows that I am a hardcore BlackBerry fan. Therefore, please expect this review to be biased in the favour of BlackBerry. If there’s something you don’t agree with, let’s just agree to disagree.

 

Despite the prevalence of full touch screen phones, and admittedly there are many very good options out there, there are still a bunch of us who are willing to sacrifice a 16:9 4K stereo sound movie experience on a giant phone for features which makes a phone more usable as, well, a phone.

 

For me, my phone is primarily a communications device – Telegram, WhatsApp and email. I am totally happy to use my tablet to watch movies and play games (I just got a Mi Pad 4 recently which is really good value-for-money and I have no complaints with it so far). As such, the typing experience on my phone is really important to me. I like to be able to type and walk at the same time and still be able to keep my eyes on the road. I like to be able to type confidently without having to check my phone for spelling errors (or worse, stupid autocorrects which can be potentially more embarrassing than some innocent spelling errors. If you have no clue on how serious or hilarious autocorrect mistakes can be, you can see them here).

BlackBerry KEY2’s keyboard is not the best by far in my memory but it is 80% there

This is where a keyboard comes in.

 

BlackBerry KEY2’s keyboard is not the best by far in my memory. That accolade still goes to the good old BlackBerry Bold 9900 (back then, they manufacture their own phone. Now TCL is the manufacturer of all BlackBerry phones) but I think KEY2 is 80% there. The KEY2 certainly made a few improvements over the KeyOne. The keys are angled in such a way that it matches how the thumb would “hit” the keyboard. What I didn’t like so much was that in order to keep a slim profile for the phone, the right “shift” and “alt” key had to go, which at times is a bother if I need to type numbers. For example, to input “7”, I have to hold down the “alt” key and press the “z” key at the same time which is really difficult. Luckily it is possible to lock the “alt” (or the “shift” key for that matter) by double-pressing the “alt” key, but I definitely still prefer to have the alt and shift key on both sides. It is possible to customise the currency key so that it works as “shift” key, but now I chose to use it as “ctrl” key so that I can use it to do my cut and paste easily.

 

Another feature I like about BlackBerry KEY2’s keyboard is that it is possible to create a multi-language keyboard which gives predictive words for up to 3 compatible languages (read: similar writing systems). This could be useful if you regularly communicate using different languages (or better yet, a mix of them). Instead of having to change the input language all the time, you can now simply type away. That said, switching languages on the keyboard (say, English to Chinese) is super easy. Just hold “alt” and press “enter” to toggle between the available languages.

One of my favourite features on legacy BlackBerry devices was the global search feature. Instead of having to go into the contacts app to start looking for someone, I can simply type the person’s name and the phone will show me search results related to the person, including contact details, email conversations with the person, or social media stuff.

 

This feature is still available on the KEY2, but the setting is difficult to find. To enable the global search, tap the centre button (BlackBerry launcher), and click the “Settings” button on the top right hand corner, then “Typing action”, then select “Start a search”.

I have found this feature to be useful, unfortunately it is slow. I really hope that this will be improved going forward.

 

An important thing to note is that when this feature is switched on, in order to use the apps shortcut, you have to hold the bottom right key (the one with nine dots) in order to activate the shortcuts. Some may also notice that the options for creating “short press” shortcut is gone, which effectively reduces the available keys for creating shortcuts by half (long press vs short press). However, there is a workaround. If you create the “short press” shortcuts first, then switch to “Start a search”, the “short press” shortcuts will still work. So currently, I use a short press “T” for Telegram and a long press “T” for Twitter and still have the global search enabled.

 

The battery life on the phone is quite impressive. The battery easily last over a day with normal usage on the phone. That is despite the phone’s battery being only 3500 mAh. I am not sure, but I think it is because the processor Snapdragon 660 is a very power efficient processor.

 

But this brings me to my next point, while I will buy the phone, the price point vs the hardware specs makes it hard for me to recommend this phone to others. For Snapdragon 660, 6 GB RAM and 64 GB memory, BlackBerry KEY2 has a recommended retail price of SGD 899. It is currently possible to buy the Oneplus 6T at SGD 898 which has Snapdragon 845, 6 GB RAM and 128 GB memory. ( If you want to know how good the OnePlus phone is, read my review here)

 

I loved BlackBerry legacy devices, but the user experience on the android versions of BlackBerry hasn’t been quite as smooth so far. I still miss being able to swipe up and right from anywhere, any app to access the BlackBerry hub. That said, the KEY2 has proven to me that there is a future for BlackBerry in android, but admittedly it’s not for everybody.

 

Now I just gotta find the best discount I can get for this phone…

 

p.s. If you are keen to know more about my love for BlackBerry, read my older article on BlackBerry Passport here)

SINGAPORE NAMED AS HOT INVESTMENT DESTINATIONS; MORE CONSOLIDATION AMONG REITS

Singapore CBD

Singapore is ranked as second top real estate investment city in Asia Pacific right behind Melbourne according to the Emerging Trends in Real Estate Asia Pacific® 2019, a real estate forecast jointly published by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and PwC.

The cyclical rebound for Singapore is mainly driven by the revival of office rental market. This year, co-working or shared office space operators is the major contributor for the Singapore real estate sectors.

The revival of the Singapore office is observed in the number of deals for the past 12 months. One notable deal is the sales of OUE Downtown office components for SGD 908 million. However, during the survey done by ULI, one fund manager active in the market notes, “It is possible the market is overly bullish towards the office sector, as 2019 could be a challenging year for the Singapore economy and new supply is expected in 2020 and 2021”

The report also shows that the residential market in Singapore continues to be resilient, despite cooling measures in place for several years. Meanwhile, solid economic growth and high visitor numbers have supported rents and yields for prime retail space in 2018, following years of poor performance as Singapore landlords struggle to adapt to new models of retailing. Meanwhile, the logistics market remains plagued by oversupply. This has suppressed rents, although there are signs excess space is now being taken up, with rents are predicted to improve slightly in 2019.

The Singapore REIT market, on the other hand, has exhibited relatively weaker performance in 2018. In the first 9 months, S&P REITS lost 1.2% in local currency terms. Although annual returns were still positive at approx. 6%, it is relatively lower when benchmarked to the broader Singapore’s STI index which returned 10% in the same period.

Smaller REITs in Singapore have been trading at substantial discounts to net asset value (NAV). Market observer has started to foresee more consolidation amongst the smaller REITS which what investors could be looking for – fewer sponsors equal to stronger sponsors.

The Emerging Trends report, which is being released at a series of events across Asia over the next several weeks, provides an outlook on Asia Pacific real estate investment and development trends, real estate finance and capital markets, and trends by property sector and metropolitan area. It is based on the opinions of 350 real estate professionals, including investors, developers, property company representatives, lenders, brokers and consultants.

 


The top five markets for investment and development in 2019:

• Melbourne (first in investment, first in development) – Melbourne has just managed to best Sydney this year. It offers a constrained office supply pipeline, a good yield spread over the cost of debt and sovereign bonds, a deep, liquid, core market and good prospects for rental growth.

• Singapore (second in investment, eighth in development) – An improvement in Singapore’s office market has caused the city to take second spot in investment rankings, as it continues to rebound from cyclical lows.

• Sydney (Third in investment, third in development) – Sydney remains near the top of the rankings for the same reasons as Melbourne. The city is a favourite of global investors due to relatively high returns and as a safe-haven play. Competition for assets has helped sustain pricing, while low vacancies and growing demand for space suggest rents will continue to rise.

• Tokyo (fourth in investment, fourth in development) – Tokyo’s move to fourth this year is somewhat surprising after last year’s drop, but probably reflects what has always made it a favourite for institutional buyers: cheap finance, attractive leverage, a good spread over interest rates, and a large stock of investment-grade assets.

• Osaka (fifth in investment, sixth in development) – The lack of reasonably priced core assets in Tokyo continues to push investors into regional Japan, where local economies are now increasingly mature and stable. With supply tight in both residential and office sectors, the city is now probably the top market outside the capital.

Leading buy/hold/sell ratings for the various asset classes are as follows:
• Office — buy Ho Chi Minh City and Tokyo, sell Taipei and Auckland.
• Residential — buy Ho Chi Minh City and Bangalore, sell Kuala Lumpur and Auckland.
• Retail — buy Ho Chi Min City and Mumbai, sell Taipei and Kuala Lumpur.
• Industrial/distribution — buy Bangalore and Mumbai, sell Taipei and Kuala Lumpur.
• Hotels – buy Tokyo and Ho Chi Minh City, sell Taipei and Beijing.

The full report is available here.