Meet AI- Powered “HR Manager” That Reviews Your Interview Video

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: 

Watch their promotional video below

More than Half of Singaporeans Use Mobile Contactless Payments: Visa Study

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[1]. 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[2]. 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.

[1] 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.

[2] VisaNet data as of March 2020

Press Release: Finding the formula for future leaders – Science and technology university launches unique master’s program

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.

Fujitsu Joins Amazon & Facebook to make its patents freely available in the fight against COVID-19

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’s flagship X1 Carbon Gen 8 Arrives in Singapore

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.

Source: Lenovo Singapore

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:

ProcessorUp to 10th Gen Intel® Core™ i7 with up to 6 cores
Operating SystemWindows 10 Pro
Display14″ 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
MemoryUp to 16GB LPDDR3
BatteryUp 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.
StorageUp to 2TB PCIe SSD
GraphicsIntegrated Intel® UHD Graphics 620
SecurityFast 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.
AudioDolby Atmos® Speaker System4 x 360-degree far-field microphones
CameraHD 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″
WeightStarting at 1.09kg / 2.40lb
ColorBlackBlack with Carbon-Fiber Weave on top cover* *Available only on the 4k HDR400 display.
ConnectivityWiFi 802.11 AXBluetooth® 5.0Optional WWAN: Integrated Global Mobile Broadband 4G LTE-AOptional NFC
Ports2 x USB-C Thunderbolt™ 32 x USB 3.1 (Gen 1)HDMI 1.4Network extension for Ethernet/side mechanical dockingHeadphone / mic comboMicroSD card reader
KeyboardSpill resistantBacklit with white LED lightingNew FN row F9-F11
AC AdapterUp to 65W (supports Rapid Charge)

Singapore-Based TranSwap Launches E-Remittance Services for Foreign Domestic Workers

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.”

Source: Media OutReach

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 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.