Last week, Singapore-based X0PA AI, an Artificial Intelligence software platform for HR and recruitment, announces their new Video Interview on demand platform, X0PA ROOM.
ROOM uses artificial intelligence and video analytics to provide organizations and education institutions a new pre-screening tool. With ROOM, hiring managers can create hybrid questions in text or video , set and select either a fixed or randomized set of questions, set timers for video interview completion and many other features to simulate an in person interview including anti-cheat feature.
ROOM collects video analytics available post interview. Through the use of AI, the platform is able to pick up on subtle cues from the candidate based on their facial expressions and body gestures to derive a sentiment and emotional analysis for each candidate response. There is also an analytics dashboard to provide hiring managers with an overview of the ratings and status of the candidates interviewed. Watch the demo below
ROOM provides a seamless video interview experience for candidates with an easy to use interface. The platform is compatible with mobile and desktop and candidates can easily join via the video interview link received. Candidates will be guided through a pre-interview check to ensure that they are recording in high quality video resolution and sound. They would also have the option to play back and review their interview responses. Upon completion of the interview, candidates will be notified via email.
X0PA Is a strategic partner of Microsoft and the company has developed cloud based tools and products to enhance the hiring process and selection processes for Government, academia and enterprises. For more information, visit X0PA’s website at:
Singapore, 28 May 2020 – Mobile contactless payments are on the rise in Singapore with 56 per cent of consumers embracing this new way to pay, according to Visa’s (stock quote: V)Consumer Payment Attitudes Study. An increase of 12 per cent compared to a year ago, this is not surprising given that Singapore is one of the market leaders globally in terms of contactless payments penetration. The increase in usage is also likely due to popular mobile payment options, such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay, being made available to Singaporeans in the past few years.
Contactless card payments continue to be the most popular option, with 84 per cent of Singapore respondents using this mode of payment. The trend is even higher amongst Generation Y respondents at 92 per cent. Based on the study, Singaporeans prefer the use of contactless payments over other modes of payment when paying for their rides on public transportation or shopping at supermarkets. Top reasons cited for this preference include convenience and rewards.
“Singapore is an extremely developed market when it comes to contactless payments usage. Over the years, we’ve seen tremendous uptake in contactless payments by Singaporeans, and we’re one of the top countries globally to achieve more than 90 per cent contactless payments penetration. Supermarkets and quick service restaurants are one of the key contributors of this growth, coupled with contactless acceptance in new categories such as public transportation, which was introduced last year. During this period of circuit breaker in Singapore, we continue to see strong contactless payments growth and we’re confident that the growth will continue once people are out and about and back to their normal lives,” said Mr. Kunal Chatterjee, Visa Country Manager for Singapore & Brunei.
Visa also recently implemented an option for merchants not to capture signature as a cardholder verification method to reduce consumers’ physical contact with the point-of-sale machines and enable a more frictionless payment experience. This is in addition to increasing contactless payment transaction limits, from the previous amount of $100 to $200 so that consumers can tap and wave their cards or payment devices, without signature verification.
In Singapore, state-of-the-art mobile security and stringent data privacy measures have made the adoption of mobile contactless payments possible. Three in four Singaporeans (75%) do not feel that their personal information is at risk when making mobile payments. In addition, two in three consumers believe that merchants, banks and third-party companies provide sufficient security to protect their transactions.
Security concerns are largely unrelated to the payment mechanism itself, but rather the possibility of losing one’s mobile phone (61%) or the potential for getting hacked (49%). The study also found that three in five Singaporean consumers are even willing to share their location data with merchants in return for special discounts, promotions and services.
With contactless payments becoming more frequently used among consumers, the idea of Singapore becoming a completely cashless society is no longer a pipe dream. Nearly half of Singaporean consumers carry less cash in their wallets compared to two years ago, with increased usage of contactless payments being the top reason (68%). They have also shown continued support for the Singapore Government’s Smart Nation initiative to digitise the country, and 62 per cent of them expect their usage of cashless payment methods to increase next year. As the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to motivate a shift towards digital transactions, changing payment habits could further accelerate the growth of digital payments.
 The Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes Study was conducted in October 2019 by ENGINE Insights with 511 Singaporeans aged 18-65 years of age. This is part of a regional research project conducted in Southeast Asia on 5,000 consumers across seven markets in Southeast Asia.
SINGAPORE, May 26 – The digital world is facing a crisis that has at the same time opened new windows of opportunity. To tackle the shortage of potential leaders joining the digital sector, the Schaffhausen Institute of Technology (SIT) has crafted a new course: Masters of Science (MSc) in Computer Science and Software Engineering – to better prepare graduates for leadership roles, specifically within the IT and science disciplines. Launching in September 2020, the newly developed program is available for students with bachelor’s in computer science or software engineering who have ambitions to be a part of the next generation of technical leaders.
A new master’s in Computer Science and Software Engineering course from the Schaffhausen Institute of Technology (SIT) will be officially announced on May 26th, 2020 at a virtual conference. This is the first master’s program to be launched by SIT — a newly formed university based in the technology hotspot of Schaffhausen, Switzerland. SIT was founded by entrepreneurs and global thought leaders, and is focused on bridging the gap between education and industry.
Chaired by Acronis CEO, Dr Serguei Beloussov, SIT and its syllabus have been specifically developed to tackle current challenges in the IT, physics, and business industries, including the shortage of future leaders joining the software sector.
“The SIT program will prepare graduates to manage software engineering projects within their own businesses, research organizations, or corporations. We blend science and practical needs to bring knowledge to anyone. Combining computer science, quantum technologies, and new materials will give graduates a strong foundation to develop innovative solutions. Scientists and business leaders from the SIT’s Board of Directors will help connect students with leading technology experts and build up relations with successful technology companies,” says Dr Serguei Beloussov, Founder of SIT.
With studies suggesting that a vast majority of computer science courses do not adequately prepare graduates for CTO or CSO-type leadership positions, the SIT MSc in Computer Science and Software Engineering course has been strategically developed with leadership in mind and connected to world-class research expertise.
SIT’s master’s program meets the traditional Bologna European system standards for higher education. Based on a two-year curriculum of full-time study (or a fast-track three-semester curriculum), the course follows the traditional academia year and is therefore ideal for students currently graduating with a bachelor’s in science or engineering. The course will also uniquely offer students more freedom to learn directly at the SIT campus, or through an agile flip-blended eLearning teaching style designed to meet the different needs of on-site and remote students.
The thesis required to complete the master’s degree can be written based on the student’s experience in their own start-up business, with access to the SIT techpark and investors, or at one of SIT’s business network partners, as well as in the SIT leading research laboratories. This level of engagement with businesses is extremely rare in highly technical master’s degrees from other prestigious specialist universities.
More details on the new master’s in Computer Science and Software Engineering course will be announced at the SIT Virtual Nano Conference, which will feature world-class speakers sharing their expertise in the fields of IT, science, and business. These include Nobel Prize Winner and Chairman of the Advisory Board in SIT Prof. Sir Kostya Novoselov, Acronis Executive Officer and the founder of SIT Dr Serguei Beloussov, Professor of Software Engineering at the SIT Prof. Mauro Pezzè, Professor of quantum physics at the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford Prof. Artur Ekert, and Former Chief Polygraph Examiner and Interrogator Dr Barry L. McManus. Keynote sessions as well as panel discussions will be held on topics including quantum computing and cyber security.
About SIT: With its pioneering curriculum, the Schaffhausen Institute of Technology (SIT) offers a new model of education. Focusing on the most important areas of technology, SIT will drive research, development and innovation in a next generation learning and research environment. Using state-of-the-art facilities, SIT’s students, researchers and business allies will address large-scale world problems by developing a technology curriculum based on global issues.
Some of the world’s greatest minds have already bought into SIT. The initiators of SIT are a team of entrepreneurs, education specialists, and scientists brought together by initial investment by Acronis AG, a cyber protection company, located in Schaffhausen and Singapore.
Joining the Open Covid Pledge, Fujitsu is the new tech player along sides with Facebook and Amazon in providing free access to its intellectual property rights for activities aimed at ending the global spread of the disease.
In committing to the Open COVID Pledge, which originated in the US, Fujitsu has declared that it will not assert its patents, utility models, or designs against individuals or entities for a certain period of time and will not seek any consideration or compensation for such activities. Fujitsu has also endorsed and declared its involvement with the “OPEN COVID-19 DECLARATION,” a similar initiative in Japan
Through its commitment to these pledges, Fujitsu will contribute decisively to an early end to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic by providing free access to approximately 40,000 patents, utility models, design patents (including pending applications) related to the development of new drugs and patient care, and actively promote cross-industry utilization by companies and research institutions around the world in the spirit of global cooperation and human centric innovation
The Open COVID Pledge, launched by an international coalition of legal experts, scientists, and technologists, is an effort that encourages companies, universities, and researchers to make their intellectual property available free of charge for use in ending the COVID-19 pandemic and minimizing the impact of the disease. Those who make the Pledge help ensure that uncertainty around intellectual property rights will not slow or impede urgently needed solutions in this critical time.
You can see the details of the Fujitsu’s declaration here
Lenovo (stock quote 992.HK) (ADR: LNVGY) announced the pre-order availability of its flagship business laptop, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen on Lenovo® Official Singapore Site.
Pricing for the much-anticipated ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8 starts at SG$3,449, with further upgrades available in processing, memory, storage, and display. Citibank customers can purchase the flagship device on a SG$288 x 12 months installment plan (Note this is not an interest-free promotion). Pre-ordering the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon on the official store will offer customers access to discounts of up to 75% on selected accessories including the X1 Noise Cancellation Headphones, and the best-selling 3-Year Premier Support
“For many years, our X1 Carbon series has represented the apex of Lenovo’s innovation and design thinking. We’ve designed it with our customers in mind, imbuing it with best-in-class security, durability, and productivity features to meet the high demands of modern professionals. The 8th Gen of the X1 Carbon is no different. It’s another proud milestone for our iconic machine and we’re very excited to offer our Singapore customers early access to purchase the flagship device on our E-commerce platform,” said Reno Chow, eCommerce Head, Lenovo Singapore and Malaysia.
Here are the full specifications of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8:
Up to 10th Gen Intel® Core™ i7 with up to 6 cores
Windows 10 Pro
14″ 4K (3840 x 2160) IPS with Dolby Vision™ HDR400, 500 nits, 10 bit14″ FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS PrivacyGuard, 500 nits14″ FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS, low power, 400 nits14″ WQHD (2560 x 1440) IPS, 300 nits14″ FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS Touch, 300 nits
Up to 16GB LPDDR3
Up to 18 hours* 51Wh, includes Rapid Charge *Based on MobileMark 2014, an industry standard PC performance benchmark. Actual results will vary depending on your system’s usage and settings, including power management and screen brightness.
Up to 2TB PCIe SSD
Integrated Intel® UHD Graphics 620
Fast Identity Online (FIDO) authentication capabilitiesMatch-on-chip fingerprint readerdTPM 2.0 chipThinkShutter camera coverOptional: ThinkPad PrivacyGuardOptional: ThinkPad PrivacyAlert*Kensington lock slot *PrivacyAlert requires the IR camera.
Dolby Atmos® Speaker System4 x 360-degree far-field microphones
HD 720p with ThinkShutter privacy coverOptional: Hybrid Infrared (IR) & HD with ThinkShutter
Dimensions (W x D x H)
323mm x 218mm x 14.9mm / 12.71″ x 8.54″ x 0.59″
Starting at 1.09kg / 2.40lb
BlackBlack with Carbon-Fiber Weave on top cover* *Available only on the 4k HDR400 display.
WiFi 802.11 AXBluetooth® 5.0Optional WWAN: Integrated Global Mobile Broadband 4G LTE-AOptional NFC
2 x USB-C Thunderbolt™ 32 x USB 3.1 (Gen 1)HDMI 1.4Network extension for Ethernet/side mechanical dockingHeadphone / mic comboMicroSD card reader
Spill resistantBacklit with white LED lightingNew FN row F9-F11
SINGAPORE 6 May 2020 -TranSwap, a home-grown cross-border payments platform for businesses, today announced that it has launched an e-remittance service, for employers of foreign domestic workers to digitally send money back to their families during Circuit Breaker. The launch comes at a time when it has been challenging for these workers to access remittance services to send money home and support their families. The home-grown FinTech start-up provides services mainly for SMEs and businesses, but they are now stepping up to help those workers who are affected by the circuit breaker measures with their remittance woes.
Employers will be able to transfer money on behalf of their workers in their local currency (mainly Rupiah, Pesos, Kyat, Rupee) seamlessly and conveniently while staying safe at home. It takes less than 5 minutes to send the money, and remittance can be tracked in real-time with end-to-end status updates. This will allow the employers to send the money on behalf of foreign workers upon the worker’s request
The cross-border payments company has also set out to provide Non-Face-To-Face (NFF) Transactions which includes having e-KYC to onboard customers. Unlike traditional remittance agents which rely on face-to-face KYC and compliance, TranSwap boasts an electronic know-your-customer (e-KYC).
By tapping on TranSwap’s remittance service, employers will have the flexibility of choosing between paying to a bank account or to a digital wallet, where the latter option is more commonly used by FDW’s families as some of them may not have bank accounts. The mobile wallet option brings further benefits to FDWs as their families can withdraw cash through ATMs without having a bank account.
Mr Benjamin Wong, CEO and co-founder of TranSwap said, “With the circuit breaker measures in place, we want to contribute to the society by providing our payment solution to affected foreign domestic workers. During these trying times, we are glad to step up to offer a safer, cheaper and more convenient online remittance service. In this way, Foreign Domestic Workers can continue to remit money to their families who may rely on their money.”
Like our old saying, “When there is recession, there is an opportunity”. In 2008, we faced the world’s worst financial crisis. Lehman brothers’ collapse has shown the world the inherent vulnerabilities of our monetary system. Central banks across the globe were caught off guard. European Central Bank (ECB) hastily made deep cut in the interest rate in the hope to restore investor’s faith. However, market did not recover at the rate as expected since then. Ironically, another historical event happened in the same year – bitcoin.org domain was registered.
Fast forward to today. ECB’s idea of negative interest rate fails miserably, and US Fed follows Japan’s zero interest rate policy will lead to monetary failure in the long term. Investors, flooded with these “free” money, are facing a challenge of finding returns in their investment. As such, they are more willing to take up more risks in exchange for higher returns. Cryptocurrencies, once known to be highly speculatively, starts to re-ignite the interests of investor amid Covid-19 crisis.
Quick Recap of Bitcoin’s History
Hailed as the “King of Cryptocurrency”, Bitcoin first appeared in investors’ radar in 2013. During that time, almost all markets were trying to recover from the Global Financial Crisis. Investors were extremely cautious not to put money in conventional financial instruments; stocks, bonds and even commodities were not spared as well as they were all interlinked with financial instruments one way or another. Bitcoin, on the other hand, is the only “tradeable asset” that was unlinked to other financial products while at the same, it offers certain degree of liquidity to investors.
That year, Bitcoin was priced at around USD 13. In less than a year, the price had skyrocketed to slightly less than USD1,300 (That’s approx. 100x returns in a year!) That price spike was not sustainable which inevitably, Bitcoin crashed; pricing it at about USD 600 in the same year.
It was a choppy ride for Bitcoin between 2013 to 2017 but it was also a “Golden Era” for Bitcoin. Thousands of new cryptocurrency exchanges were formed. Regulators from all around the world refused to acknowledge Bitcoin as an asset class. However, market will not succumb to regulations; it will just find their ways for survival. Start-ups which struggled to raise fund via conventional means starts to offer their own coins in what they called “Initial Coin Offerings”. At the end of 2017, Bitcoin was priced as high as USD 19,783!
Many crypto investors became millionaires during the Golden Era of Bitcoin. However, the peak was short-lived. By the end of 2018, many cryptocurrency exchanges collapsed, and Bitcoin had crashed to USD 3,300.
Resurgence of Cryptocurrencies during Covid-19 crisis
Over the years, we have heard many criticisms debating the intrinsic value of Bitcoin. I believe most of them are valid but not all of them. At the very least, Bitcoin laid an important pillar for further technology advancement in the area of finance and business – Blockchain technology. A classic example is Ripple (XRP) which made used of this technology to create an architecture that could facilitate faster payment settlement for financial institutions. In Japan, banks are using Ripple protocol to facilitate payment via mobile app.
Blockchain has created an entirely new market of its own – cryptocurrency and that has completely changed the way how investors look at the economy and after more than 10 years, investors began to accept the fact that Bitcoin is here to stay. For the past 5 years, Bitcoin’s transactions has grown more than double to about 300,000 daily (source: ycharts.com last checked on 26 Apr 2020, link here)
However, we do not see sharp price spike of Bitcoin as what it had experienced before in the last decades. One logical explanation is the fact that investors have more options these days. Over time, the entire cryptocurrency ecosystem has expanded and become more diverse. There are many more cryptocurrencies now. Each is developed to solve a specific problem faced by business. Bitcoin, though it is the largest by market cap, is not longer the only cryptocurrency that investors have eyes on. For instance, Binance, one of the earliest cryptocurrency exchanges, offers its own Binance coin (BNB) that is used as a base currency to buy/sell other cryptocurrencies.
The development of cryptocurrency exchange played an integral part of the ecosystem. In recent years, the cryptocurrency market has grown tremendously. In 2017, market capitalization was approx. USD 23 Billion which Bitcoin contributed approx. 86% of the market share. As of Apr 2020, the total market capitalization is approx. USD 218 Billion but Bitcoin’s contribution falls to approx. 63%. (Source: https://coincodex.com/)
Hunger for “Safe Haven” and Returns
Low interest rate environment is pushing investors to the edge. “Risk-free” returns from government bonds are not longer attractive and that have domino’s effects to money market. On the other hand, term deposits in bank is eroding the value of money.
Investors are forced to take on higher risk. Ironically, investors deemed the more speculative Bitcoin as a “safe haven” because it is the only “asset” that is unlinked from other markets such as stocks and bonds which are expected to hit badly in the worsening Covid-19 situations.
Such behaviour exhibited by investors prompted cryptocurrency e-wallet players to provide more “banking” services. The idea of staking requires cryptocurrency holder to deposit their cryptocurrency to their e-wallet accounts. In exchange, holder will receive an interest, generally higher than what conventional banks are offering, which are paid in cryptocurrency into the e-wallet. For instance, Crypto.com is giving up to 18% interest (per annum) if you are staking their CRO coins.
With no where to put their dollar, investors are using these “crypto-banking services” to battle this low interest rate environment. All investment carry risk and it is all about managing it. The Stablecoin, in one way or another, eliminates volatility and that has been perceived by investors as a “safe haven”.
Central Banks – The Only Reason Why Cryptocurrency Survives
Central bankers are lacking the understanding of the hyper-globalized markets. Lowering interest rate to prevent the economy from falling apart is like giving a cold medicine to a flu patient. It manages some symptoms, but it does not prepare the markets for recovery.
The modern economies are more complex but central bankers are not equipped with the skills and tools to tackle the economic problems. Flooding the market with “free” money is detrimental to entire financial system and investors are losing their faith. Banks are not able to earn enough profit (interests) from their loan business. Consumers are pushed to put money in all type of financial products fearing that their savings might be eroded in future value terms if they just put it with the bank as deposit.
In short, money is devaluing persistently forcing investors to put their dollars on high-risk technology sector to seek for better returns. In fact, it is already happening before cryptocurrency even exists. Tech stocks, which have all-along been speculative in nature, advanced in the last recession. From an investor’s perspective, it was counter-intuitive decision, but the bet was rewarding. In the short 10 years, technology has advanced, and it is the only resource that we could rely on to keep our economy engine moving despite the lockdowns in major cities.
That is the way the global economy is heading – Technology. Like it or not, our financial system will be getting more complex in future (in fact, it is complex enough now) that human central bankers may not be able to tackle multiple economic problems at the same time. To put it objectively, we will not know how financial technology will play out in the future but now, those with money are betting on cryptocurrency.
This article has been reposted @medium https://link.medium.com/QpcvKrMc15
Binance will launch a cashback promotion for users to buy cryptocurrency using their Visa debit or credit cards via the “Pay with Bank Card” service on Binance. The promotion will run for 4 days and the rewards will be given out on a first come first served basis. The rewards will reset each day.
Activity Period: 2020/04/25 8:00 AM to 2020/04/29 8:00 AM (UTC)
Each daily activity period runs for 24 hours from 8:00 AM (UTC) to 8:00 AM (UTC) the next day. Daily reward resets will occur at 7:59:59 AM (UTC) each day.
Number of Rewards
First Daily Purchase Amount (USD Equivalent)
$1,000 – $4,999
$500 – $999
$300 – $499
Users are entitled to one bonus amount per day based on their first purchase amount for each daily period.
The first 30 users to buy 5,000+ USD in crypto via their Visa debit or credit card as their first transaction each day will receive a reward of 500 BUSD each.
The first 100 users to buy between 1,000 USD and 4,999 USD in crypto via their Visa debit or credit card as their first transaction each day will receive a reward of 100 BUSD each.
The first 200 users to buy between 500 USD and $999 USD in crypto via their Visa debit or credit card as their first transaction each day will receive a reward of 40 BUSD each.
The first 1,000 users to buy between 300 USD and $499 USD in crypto via their Visa debit or credit card as their first transaction each day will receive a reward of 20 BUSD each.
Terms & conditions:
Crypto purchases must be made using Visa cards via the “Pay with Bank Card” service, where users need to add their bank card details on Binance.
Disclaimer:Cryptocurrency is highly speculative and it is not suitable for investors who are not ready to lose their investment. Investors who don’t have prior knowledge in cryptocurrency investment should speak to their financial advisors before making an investment commitment.
Important Note: Existing cryptocurrency investors who wishes to jump onto Binance platform may wish to consider using my referal https://www.binance.com/en/register?ref=URB5YCE6. I will receive a commission for every trade that my invitee made. However, I have set aside additional 5% commission fee which will be “kicked back” to my invitees (those who have used my referral codes to sign up an account with Binance) to reduce their trading fees. Once you are a Binance user, you could customize referral code to invite your friends like what I am doing now! Happy Trading!
[Asia Pacific, Singapore, 22 April 2020] – Microsoft 365 is now available in Singapore. It is a refresh of Office 365, which provides users with new artificial intelligence (AI), rich content and templates, and cloud-powered experiences.
These experiences are being rolled out regionally and will reach over 38 million Office 365 subscribers globally in the next few months.
“We want to continue to empower everyone to remain connected with those who matter inside and outside of the workplace. The Microsoft 365 Family and Personal subscriptions will provide users with innovative experiences that enable them to co-author, video chat, organize, and come together with friends and their families anytime and anywhere,” said Rami El Bayadi, Regional Director, Microsoft Office Asia.
Users can look forward to two new Microsoft 365 experiences. Firstly, a new Microsoft Family Safety app designed to keep families safe across the digital and physical worlds. Microsoft will also launch Microsoft Teams later this year for users to stay connected with their family and friends. There will also be new features in Microsoft Teams that make it easier to connect, organize and collaborate with family and friends.
The new Microsoft Edge browser also takes a step forward with new features to protect users on the web with Password Monitor, and to simplify research with Collections.
Other new features available with Microsoft 365 are listed below.
AI-Powered Microsoft Editor: To help people put their best foot forward at home and at work, Microsoft Editor – an AI-powered service available in more than 20 languages – is now accessible across Word and Outlook.com, and as a standalone browser extension for Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome. Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscribers have access to advanced grammar and style refinements such as rewrite suggestions and additional style critiques to allow greater clarity and conciseness.
Presenter Coach Features in PowerPoint: An AI-powered Presenter that helps correct monotone pitch and refine speeches. This will be available as a free preview, and then eventually only to Microsoft 365 subscribers.
PowerPoint Designer: This feature effectively boosts creativity, such as transforming text into a beautiful timeline, or even auto-generated slide layouts. Microsoft is also providing Microsoft 365 subscribers with exclusive access to over 8,000 beautiful images and 175 looping videos from Getty Images, plus 300 new fonts, 2,800 new icons to create highimpact and visually appealing documents.
New Data Types and Smart Templates in Excel: This presentsa different and less timeconsuming way to interact with data, providing deeper meaning for over 100 topics. Microsoft 365 subscribers have exclusive access to the over 100 new data types powered by Wolfram Alpha.
Organizing Time Across Work and Life with Outlook: New features in Outlook on the web help users manage all commitments, across work and life, in one place. With these new features, they can link their personal calendar to their work calendar to show their real availability, while still maintaining their privacy.
Deepen Connections with Family and Friends with Skype and Microsoft Teams: Skype has seen an increase in usage with 40 million people using it daily, up 70% month over month and, we are seeing a 220% increase in Skype to Skype calling minutes month over month. To help people get connected even faster, Microsoft recently introduced a new feature in Skype called Meet Now, that allows users to easily connect over video (for free) with up to 50 people in just a few clicks.
Protecting Families in the Physical and Digital Worlds with Microsoft Family Safety: Coming soon is the Microsoft Family Safety app, a new mobile experience on iOS and Android for Microsoft 365 subscribers. The application empowers families in a variety of ways with both free and premium offerings, including managing screen time across Windows PCs, Android and Xbox.
The new Office features have been rolled out to all existing Office 365 customers and Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscriptions are now available worldwide. These include premium desktop Office apps, 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage per person, 60 Skype minutes for calling mobile phones and landlines, advanced security features to protect users from malware and phishing attacks, ongoing technical support, plus all the new features and benefits announced today. Microsoft 365 Personal costs $10.80 SGD a month. For the best value, a family of up to six people can use Microsoft 365 Family for $14.80 SGD a month.
ViewQwest has seen 30 per cent increase in Internet traffic over the past few weeks. It has also received (10x) increased number of requests for WFH solutions from enterprises who are currently not equipped to accommodate a full WFH arrangement for their staff due to network challenges and insufficient VPN licenses.
ViewQwest has rolled out solutions to address issues connecting to office networks due to congested Internet connections at home. With majority of the workforce now working from home, the residential network is increasingly getting congested with traffic from enterprise and consumer usage. The increase in the number of devices that need to be connected to the corporate network also contributes to the network congestion at home.
WFH Solution 1: ViewQwest Private Network
ViewQwest’s WFH Private Network,
its key WFH solution, allows the office network to be directly connected to
homes. Homes that can install fibre broadband mostly have two fibre optic
terminal points for the entire household. Typically, only one of the terminal
points will be used for the residential broadband service. The ViewQwest
Private Network will then be connected to the second, spare terminal point to
build a private network which connects to the office network.
The Private Network directly
addresses the main issue that businesses currently face when using standard,
noncloud based Virtual Private Network (VPN) services – slow network
performance especially during peak hours.
VPNs typically tap on the home or
public network to run. In addition, many businesses have planned for VPNs to be
used mostly by remote staff or staff who occasionally need to work from home.
In the current situation where work-from-home is mandated, the Internet
connection at home will be strained under the weight of shared home and work
As the Private Network is directly connected on the second, spare fibre optic terminal point at home, it does not share the same bandwidth with the home network. There will be a dedicated bandwidth from the home to the office network. WFH staff who connect to the Private Network are guaranteed optimal connection between their homes and their office network without the hassle of VPNs.
At the same time, the home
network will not be disrupted.
Vignesa Moorthy, CEO of ViewQwest
said, “Traditionally, VPN solutions are sized to support only 10 to 20 per cent
of the workforce connecting at any point in time. When too many people who are
working from home use VPNs, they are bound to face slower network performance
as the VPN solution will be operating over its initial capacity. In addition,
the home network in which the VPN is operating from will also be congested with
enterprise and consumer usage, which slows the network performance further.”
Legacy VPNs are built upon a
hardware-based infrastructure. As such, it is subjected to hardware capacity
constraints and will not be able to keep up with sudden increase in usage
quickly. This results in businesses not being able to upgrade their VPNs to
accommodate a larger capacity urgently when needed.
ViewQwest’s Cloud VPN solution
addresses this issue directly by having the VPN on a cloud platform. With a
cloudbased VPN, businesses can choose to easily scale the VPN to cater to as
many staff as required as there is no need for any infrastructure or hardware
upgrade to do so.
Cloud VPN will be offered as an
on-demand service. ViewQwest can activate the Cloud VPN for enterprises within
The Cloud VPN solution will cost S$5 per user
per month while the Private Network solution will be priced according to the
requirements of the customer. Enterprises who subscribe to the Private Network
solution will also be charged according to Active and Standby periods.