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.

Google Pixel 4 is Too Expensive! Sign up Starhub #HelloChange Plan

StarHub is the sole telco to launch Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL for Singapore customers.

Starting Saturday, 26 October 2019, customers will be able to buy Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL at $0 upfront cost with StarHub’s #HelloChange mobile plans. They will be able to pay for their new phone over 24 months through their StarHub monthly bills.

Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL will be available for purchase through StarHub Online Store at www.starhub.com/pixel-4 or at StarHub Shops. Online Exclusive: Customers who buy through StarHub Online Store will get an exclusive mobile plan benefit – free surfing every weekend on StarHub’s superfast mobile network at no additional charge. These customers will also enjoy free home delivery.

Customers on StarHub’s #HelloChange mobile plans enjoy the best value and simplicity. On top of having extra-large data bundles, customers get free caller ID forever and complete freedom from hidden activation, registration and SIM card fees as imposed by competitor brands.

StarHub will unveil full pricing details at www.starhub.com/pixel-4 at launch.

Huawei Singapore “Gives” You SGD 463 To Ditch Google Services. Now, will you buy the Mate 30?

We all know that Huawei’s latest Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro will not come with Google Mobile Services and that mean customers outside China who bought their latest flagship phones will not be able to use Youtube or Google Maps.

In the early October, Huawei Singapore has finally released the price plan for the Singapore customers. The new Mate 30 Pro is selling at SGD 1,298. Customers can now register their interest for the Mate 30 Pro which comes in either Black or Silver color.

As part of its early bird special, interested buyers who bought the phone will be invited to an exclusive private event and on top of that, they will receive a set of free gift worth SGD 463.

We have heard good reviews about the Mate 30’s camera. No doubt, the Mate 30 is a high-quality phone. However, we don’t just use our smartphone for photography only. We use that for other purposes which is why we need Google Play to download other essentials apps to suit our needs.

Now, Google Play has been taken away and Huawei customers have to get accustomed to their in-house Huawei Mobile Services. To the Android users, this is a switching cost and that’s bring back to one question, “Is the Huawei Mate 30 Pro worthy enough for that switch?”

Personally, I am adopting a “wait-and-see” approach to see how Singapore market reacts to this. Please feel free to leave a comment below if you have some unique insights on this matter. I will love to hear from you.

For those who are interested in the phone, here are the key things to know to get your hands on the HUAWEI Mate 30 Pro:

STEP 1: Register your interest online here from 5 -15 October, 2019
STEP 2: You may receive a call or email between 16 – 24 October 2019 with an invitation to a private event (limited to 200 successful registrants, selected at random)
STEP 3:  Upon invitation, you may attend a private event to purchase the HUAWEI Mate 30 Pro and receive an exclusive gift bundle worth $463 NOTE: Those who did not receive the invitation will be informed of the next opportunity to purchase the HUAWEI Mate 30 Pro. 

Opensignal: Singapore is one of the six countries outside Europe to gain a ‘Good’ rating for over-the-top (OTT) voice services.

Voice apps are changing the way we communicate. The insatiable growth in smartphone use along with the increasing ubiquity of data connections means that apps such as WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook Messenger and many other VoIP (voice over internet protocol) service providers are offering an entirely new platform for users to talk to each other.

Opensignal, an independent mobile analytics firm, has just released a report that measures the quality of over-the-top (OTT) voice services experienced by consumers across 80 countries, including Singapore. This marks the industry’s largest, independent survey of user experience of OTT services.

Singapore is The Only Asia country Emerges the Top 10.

Of the 80 countries analysed for overall Voice App Experience, almost 25% (19) achieved a ‘Good’ rating — meaning many users in these countries were satisfied and experienced minor quality impairments while using Voice Apps to communicate.

Singapore scores 81.7 trailing closely behind Switzerland (81.9) securing 8th position among 80 countries surveyed. No country globally attained an ‘Excellent’ or ‘Very Good’ rating.

Only six were from outside Europe, which are Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand get “Good” rating.

Voice App Experience on 4G networks is most often ‘Good’

The 3G Voice App Experience scores are consistently lower in every country compared with their 4G equivalents, including Singapore. In this region, Singapore and Hong Kong were the only countries who had a difference of less than 5 points between their 3G and 4G Voice App Experience score — an indicator of what the mobile experience will be in future for highly matured markets where 4G Availability is rising and is replacing 3G as operators enhance their networks for smoother transitions. 

To read more about the survey results, you may access the report here

Telstra Cleared To Invest in Southern Cross Cable

Last December, Southern Cross Cable Network (SCCN) and its shareholders, Spark New Zealand, Singtel and Verizon Business, announced that Telstra has entered into agreed terms to purchase a 25 per cent stake in SCCN and substantial capacity on both the existing network and the new Southern Cross NEXT subsea cable.

It is now confirmed that regulatory approval has been given for Telstra to become 25% stakeholder for SCCN and the construction of subsea cable will soon commerce.

The shareholders have agreed to commit the necessary equity funding to enable Southern Cross NEXT to proceed with additional funding raised from debt and SCCN cash reserves. Although the transaction is still subject to some conditions, these are procedural in nature and are expected to be satisfied within the next few days.   

Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) has also been granted CIF to build the new high capacity express route which, once complete, will be the lowest latency path from Australia and New Zealand to the United States, based on its design and route.

Southern Cross NEXT will provide data connectivity between Sydney, Auckland, and Los Angeles and is scheduled for completion by January 2022. The new route will also provide critical international cable connectivity to the Pacific Islands of Fiji, Tokelau and Kiribati.

The new 13,483 kilometre cable system has been developed as an extension of the existing

Southern Cross two cable eco-system. It will allow customers to leverage Southern Cross’ extensive point-of-presence network and access infrastructure already in place. It will also allow Southern Cross NEXT customers to flexibly assign new and existing capacity across the three routes across the Pacific, connecting Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and the United States, maximising diversity and resiliency. 

Southern Cross NEXT represents a network investment of around US$300 million by Southern Cross and is designed to carry 72 Terabits per second of traffic, the equivalent of simultaneously streaming 4.6 million ultra-high definition movies, ensuring Southern Cross can cater for its customers’ growing data requirements well into the future. Services offered on the new system will be an extension and integration of the services offered across the current Southern Cross platform. The construction is being funded by a combination of capacity payments, equity contributions and financing.

Singtel Vice President, Carrier Services, Group Enterprise Mr Ooi Seng Keat said: “Our investment in the Southern Cross NEXT cable is a timely reinforcement of our global network infrastructure. Together with the newly completed INDIGO submarine cable system, the enhanced Southern Cross cable ecosystem will be a new data superhighway connecting Southeast Asia to the United States, providing greater network diversity. The new cable system will enable Singtel and Optus to accelerate the roll-out of next-generation technologies that rely on low latency and high-bandwidth connectivity, reinforcing our position as one of the leading providers of international data services in the region.” 

Telstra Enterprise Group Executive, Mr Michael Ebeid, said Telstra’s investment in the NEXT cable will deliver benefits to all its customers – from enterprise to wholesale and consumer.

“With 80 per cent of all the internet traffic to Australia coming from the US, a high speed, low latency direct route to North America is a very important investment for our business and our customers,” Mr Ebeid said.

“Southern Cross builds on our existing footprint across Asia Pacific where we carry 30 per cent of the region’s active capacity. We are now even better placed to meet our customers’ future data requirements right across Asia Pacific.”

Spark Chief Financial Officer Mr David Chalmers welcomed Telstra as a shareholder in Southern Cross: “The Southern Cross network provides critical connectivity between New Zealand and Australia, the Pacific Islands, and the USA.  Southern Cross NEXT will ensure this network Cross can continue to provide that connectivity for the region, and meet our customers’ increasing data demands, for decades to come.”

Southern Cross’ President and CEO Mr Laurie Miller said: “The achievement of CIF is the result of a massive amount of effort by Southern Cross and the Sponsor teams over many months on the project. The addition of the new Southern Cross NEXT route to the existing platform will provide existing and future customers with further resiliency and connectivity options between Australia, New Zealand and the United States. We are delighted to have successfully achieved this key milestone, and all focus will now turn to the timely implementation of the new system, and the continued development of product enhancements to meet our customers growing and changing requirements.”

With significant work already completed including pre-sales, marine survey, landing arrangements, Pacific Island agreements, detail design and the cable RFT, the Southern Cross NEXT project is well positioned to meet its target completion date of January 2022.