Press Release – New Microsoft 365 Personal and Family Subscriptions now available in Singapore

Source: Microsoft Singapore

[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’s WFH solutions help ease congested home networks

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 usage. 

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.”

WFH Solution 2: ViewQwest Cloud Virtual Private Network Service (Cloud VPN)

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 24 hours. 

Pricing

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.

Wirecard and Grab Partners; Aim to Drive Cashless Payment in SEA Region

Wirecard (stock quote: WDI.DE) is entering into a payments partnership with Grab that will see Wirecard process transactions made via the GrabPay e-wallet, starting with the Malaysian, the Philippines and the Singapore markets. Consumers can use their GrabPay e-wallet to pay for transactions online and offline, for example for ridehailing or food delivery, but can also use it to pay for purchases on e-commerce sites or at physical stores.

Through this partnership, Wirecard will process card transactions for GrabPay via its digital financial commerce platform and will extend GrabPay to more merchants to expand the acceptance of the mobile payment method. According to a recent global Wirecard consumer survey, over 90% of consumers in Southeast Asia have used digital payments both in-store and online. Mobile wallets are almost twice as popular in the region as they are worldwide, with 44% regularly choosing them as a payment method compared to the global average of 25%.

“We are proud to partner with Grab, a Southeast Asian icon,” commented Georg von Waldenfels, Executive Vice President Group Business Development at Wirecard. “Together, we aim to continue disrupting the payment, tech and mobility industries with innovative solutions that can improve the lives of millions.”

Reuben Lai, Senior Managing Director of Grab Financial Group, said, “We are thrilled to partner with Wirecard as we progress on our journey of building a cashless economy for millions of businesses across Southeast Asia. Wirecard’s innovative mobile payments solutions will not only complement our GrabPay e-wallet platform, but also offer businesses and consumers the opportunity to transact with greater security, convenience and flexibility.” The GrabPay e-wallet is one of the most popular e-wallets in Southeast Asia accepted by over 600,000 merchants and small businesses.

Singapore-based Digital Wealth Manager – Syfe launches REIT+ portfolio to Retail Investors

Syfe’s latest portfolio combines SGX-listed REITs and Singapore Government Bonds to create a risk-managed solution

SINGAPORE – 3 February 2020 – Digital wealth manager, Syfe, today launched the REIT+ portfolio, a first-of-its-kind initiative that allows anyone in Singapore to start risk-managed investing in Singapore real estate with no minimum investment.

Unlike buying a property or REITs as a private investor, Syfe’s REIT+ product offers an easy, risk-managed and low-cost way for investors to access Singapore’s thriving REIT market with a fee as low as 0.4% per annum of your invested capital.

REIT+ consists of 15 high-quality SGX-listed REITs (S-REITs) that span retail, industrial, office, and hospitality amongst other sectors. To protect REIT+ portfolios, Syfe’s Automated Risk-Managed Investing (ARI) will manage risk by balancing portfolios of S-REITs with Singapore government bonds.

Through backtesting, a process that tests algorithms by running them through historical data, the REIT+ portfolio on average has yielded a return of 9.0% over the last five years. The portfolio also pays a dividend, which in 2019, was 4.6%, and can be automatically reinvested or paid-out at regular intervals offering investors a great source of passive income.

In recent years, REITs have proven to be a great investment option because it allows Singaporeans an easy way to become real estate owners, without dealing with the day-to-day worries of being a landlord. By investing in an REIT, you’re investing in properties managed by that REIT and you’re eligible to earn dividends on the rental income earned by those properties.

Dhruv Arora, Founder and CEO of Syfe said: “The launch of the REIT+ offering represents another strong step forward in our journey to making quality investment solutions accessible to all. In addition to our flagship Automated Risk-Managed Investing (ARI) global portfolio, we now offer investors an easy way to enter Singapore’s exciting and rewarding REIT landscape.”

“At Syfe, we’re constantly pushing the boundaries of financial innovation, and we’ll continue to do so to meet the investment needs of investors in Singapore,” added Mr. Arora.

REIT+ is Syfe’s latest addition to the platform, following the launch of a Financial Advisor team, which allows customers to secure consultation sessions with wealth management specialists, providing high quality financial advice.


About Syfe

Syfe is a digital wealth manager offering professionally managed portfolios to everyone, which have previously only been accessible to institutional investors or high-net-worth individuals, driving innovation and democratising investment. Syfe’s proprietary algorithm, developed in-house with state of the art technology and proven investment models, build personalised portfolios for each customer and continuously monitors and adjusts each portfolio to maximise returns and manage risk.

Source: Media Outreach

Singapore-Based Startup, iTask Lists “Renting-a-Friend” During the Festive Season in The Top 10 Freelance Jobs in Singapore

SINGAPORE 16 December 2019 -Singapore based technology start-up iTask releases their findings with compilation of a list of top 10 freelance jobs only found in Singapore during the festive season.

To our surprise, renting-a-friend ranks number 9 in Singapore’s top freelance jobs. This market seem to grow acceptance in Singapore society. Fee could go as low as SGD 20 per hour.

iTask is an on-demand talents service marketplace mobile app platform creates the opportunity to improve the community’s living quality.

Here are the top ten unusual freelance jobs that arose from the hype of these two festive seasons:

#1 Spring Cleaning Helpers

Everyone expects their homes to look smack and clean during the festive season, however, not many bears the desire or motivation to perform the task of spring cleaning. A simple solution would be to engage the services of freelance cleaning professionals to do the job with no worries about cleaning up the mess after wild Christmas-eve parties, or fears of homes being not presentable enough for relatives and friends. The professional cleaning aunties and uncles will handle the task easily and prices start from $55 for a three-hour general cleaning service.

#2 Gift and Hamper Wrappers

Wish to wrap an impressive Christmas gift or a Chinese New Year hamper for business clients and associates but lack the proper gift-wrapping skills? Lack the time to buy gifts? An alternative would be to outsource these tasks to a freelancer and let them work their magic. Prices start from $8 per task.

#3 Courier Services

Gifts and hampers wrapped but do not have the time to deliver these personally? Just engage the assistance of a personalised courier service provider. Do note that such services are high in demand during the festive season; hence, try to book the services in advance. Prices start from $5 per item-basis task.

#4 Tuition and Enrichment Activities

The holiday season may not be a relaxing period for children with ‘tiger’ parents who have high hopes and expectation. While some parents may bring their kids out on recreational trips, some parents may wish to send the kids for extra tuition and enrichment classes. This is true kiasu-ism in the workings! Hence, during the holiday season, the demand is high for freelance tuition professionals and enrichment teachers such as a piano teacher. Prices start from $10 per lesson.

#5 Pet Sitting Services

Planning an overseas Christmas holiday or an ‘escapade’ from giving out too many hongbaos during Chinese New Year and need somebody to take care of the furry friends while away? Consider freelance pet sitting services where pet-sitters drop by to feed your paw buddies or take them out for a walk. Rates start from $10.

#6 Buying Groceries From Johor Bahru

Planning to stock up the low-cost groceries from JB for the upcoming Chinese New Year? Engage a freelancer to buy groceries from our neighboring city, for a small fee. Services like these allows for cheaper purchases minus the hassle of queueing at the customs. Prices start from $10 per task.

#7 Bakkwa Buyer

This is another hot-on-the-list request for freelance service providers in recent years. Not wanting to join the queue from a prestigious brand but as a bakkwa connoisseur who cannot survive a CNY season without bakkwa? Engage an errand provider who will queue many hours to buy the best bakkwa for your behalf! Prices start from $10 per errand.

#8 Picnic Set-ups

Wish to have something special for your Christmas party, New Year countdown or even Valentine’s Day? A pretty picnic set-up will definitely pump up the festive mood. There’s never a limit to how you can celebrate any occasions over picnic! Different packages and themes for you to choose from. What you need to do is just dress things up all nice and pretty for an Instagram-worthy-photos. Let the memories stay. Don’t be surprised if you get more likes for your FB & IG than your friends have. Packages start from $130.

#9 OMG… Rent a Friend / Date

No joke! This is also in the list! For all the ‘self-partnered’ people (thanks to Emma Watson for coining this term.) out there, there is an opportunity to rent a friend for the next Christmas or Chinese New Year gathering. Fees for renting a friend starts at $20 per hour. [minus any illegal and naughty stuff]

#10 Mental Supporter or Someone To Share Deepest Secrets With

The festive season are definitely a stressful period, either due to preparations and the mad rush of getting things done on time. Many seek a mental supporter or a companion to share with their worries and secrets with. Either a face-to-face session or via a personal listening service. Rates start from $10 per hour.

So here are the top ten unbelievable freelance jobs ONLY found in Singapore!

Source: Media OutReach 

Garmin Pay Can Be Used to Pay Public Transport. Finally…

Garmin users in Singapore can now pay for bus and train rides using Garmin Pay, a contactless payment solution designed for people who are always on the move.
 
As part of a partnership with OCBC Bank, Garmin users can link their OCBC MasterCard® or Visa® credit or debit cards to their Garmin Pay Wallet in their compatible smartwatches and tap the fare gantries or card readers to pay for their transport or make purchases with a turn of their wrist.

Picture: Garmin Venu Smartwatch

Part of Land Transport Authority’s SimplyGo initiatives, commuters can use their contactless bank cards such as VISA an MasterCard or NFC-enabled smartphones to pay for their bus and train rides removing the need to carry additional cards.

The move to expand contactless payment footprints has been encouraging. Since April 2019, more than 250,000 commuters have signed up for a TransitLink SimplyGo account with a registered bank card. The SimplyGo account allows commuters to view their trip history and receive notifications of their fares on the go.

The contactless payment isn’t just limited to mobile phones. In May 2019, wearable company Fitbit announced that Fitbit Pay can be used to pay on public transport.

It is encouraging to see more technology companies are jumping into payment solutions. I think the era of cashless society is coming quicker than I thought.

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.

Razer Announces Stormtrooper Edition Kraken Headsets

Razer announced in March that they are collaborating with Lucas Film in bringing Stormtrooper- themed collection of Razer products to the gamers. They have already launched the Blackwidowed Silent Mechancial Keyboard and Atheris Wireless Mouse.

To compliment these two, Razer is launching the Stormtrooper Edition Kraken Headset. Retaining the same market- leading features as the original Razer Kraken headset is now sporting the colors of the most feared army in the Star Wars Galaxy.  

Designed for esports athletes and gamers alike, the StormtrooperTM Edition of the Razer Kraken headset features custom-tuned 50mm drivers for a wide soundscape from subtle audio cues to helmet rumbling explosions. The uni-directional, retractable microphone ensures your shot calls and battle orders are always delivered in absolute clarity.  Using a thickly padded bauxite aluminum frame and cooling-gel ear cushions, the StormtrooperTM Edition of the Kraken headset is built for comfort over long mission sessions. With an inline remote for volume and microphone controls and connection via 3.5mm jack, the StormtrooperTM Edition of the Razer Kraken headset is compatible with PC, Mac, console and mobile devices.  

The StormtrooperTM Edition of the Razer Kraken headset is available now at Razer.com and is selling at the recommended retail price of USD 109.99

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.