The inaugural DBS Foundation Social Impact Prize Finals at LKYGBPC will be held virtually on the 9 October 2020.
The DBS Foundation Social Impact Prize at the Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition (LKYGBPC) will be awarded to the most innovative business plans, start-ups or early-stage ventures that address pertinent urban challenges faced by cities of today.
In addition to the evaluation criteria for the LKYGBPC, qualifying applications for the DBS Foundation Social Impact Prize are also assessed on:
- Clear identification of the social or environmental problem
- Creativity in addressing the identified challenge statement and stakeholders involved
- Ability to measure the social or environmental impact created
- Scalability and sustainability of solution and impact
The award worth SGD 150,000 includes prize money of up to SGD 100,000 and post-competition support, such as access to DBS Foundation’s capacity building programmes, brand awareness and marketing features on DBS Foundation’s website, brand campaigns, media stories etc, the use of DBS premises when in Singapore for launch or community events and network and connection to DBS Foundation’s social enterprise alumni community and partners.
The Four Finalists are:
Bluepha — China
Fighting Plastic Pollution with the Power of Microbes
Bluepha is a microorganism company based in Beijing that has developed a bio-based and biodegradable plastic PHA to replace conventional plastics. Their innovative and patented biotech ensures low-cost industrial-scale production of PHA that degrades in natural environments, including in the ocean. The PHA developed by Bluepha can be widely applied across industries, such as packaging, textile, and toys, to replace conventional plastics.
Polybee — Singapore
Enhancing Food Security by Automating Pollination
Polybee is on a mission to increase productivity in agriculture by taking the natural process of pollination into its own hands. Since wind, insects and birds cannot operate indoors, there is no scalable solution for pollination in many urban cities. By operating autonomous mini drones using in aerial robotics and computer vision, Polybee executes precise pollination at indoor vertical farms, where there is no alternative to manual pollination. Polybee has partnered with Singapore Food Agency to initiate a commercial pilot.
Sampangan — Indonesia
Enriching Food Nutrition from Landfill Waste
Sampangan is a waste-to-carbon technology service company that aims to help local governments, agriculture areas, industrial areas, and waste transporters process waste in both solid and liquid forms safely and sustainably. Using their carbonized technology (“Magic Box”), they can convert organic and non-organic waste into active carbon or biochar. Heat radiation is used instead of full incineration making this process environmentally friendly. The biochar material can help fix farm soil and increase harvest yields in an organic and sustainable manner.
StratifiCare — Singapore
World’s First Severe Dengue Prediction Test
StratifiCare has discovered a panel of biomarkers that can determine the progress of Dengue Fever. Patients who are predicted not to progress to severe Dengue can be managed at outpatient settings, instead of bearing expenses being hospitalised. Their innovation will help reduce the over-hospitalization issue faced by medical providers and relieve healthcare burden especially in poorer Dengue-endemic developing countries.
Watch the DBS Foundation Social Impact Prize Finals
Due to the uncertainties of international travel and health considerations amid COVID-19, the inaugural DBS Foundation Social Impact Prize Finals at LKYGBPC will be held virtually.
Date: 9 October 2020
Time: 11:45AM – 2:00PM (Singapore time, GMT +8)
Join our panel of distinguished judges for the live pitching, and don’t miss a special conversation segment with DBS Group CEO, Piyush Gupta!
Tan Su Shan, Group Head of Institutional Banking, DBS
Nick Nash, Managing Partner & Co-Founder, Asia Partners
Quek Siu Rui, Group CEO & Co-Founder, Carousell
In Singapore, the government has established a nationwide “30 by 30” initiative, which is a goal to produce 30 per cent of the nation’s nutritional needs locally by 2030 to strengthen their position on food security. This in turn has sparked an increase in research and development in agritech.
Traditional farming methods have been majorly affected by rising temperatures, droughts or flooding caused by global warming, meaning their yields are hard to predict and crops sometimes completely destroyed. These increasing disasters and worrying trends have prompted the search for more sustainable and efficient methods of farming. Many countries, governments and farm owners are turning to agriculture technology to improve their farming outcomes.
To support Singapore’s ambitious goal, A*STAR’s Agritech and Aquaculture Horizontal Technology Programme Office (A2HTPO) is championing efforts to bring cutting edge technologies to the farming community in Singapore.
This multi-disciplinary approach draws on A*STAR’s wide-ranging expertise, from biology and life sciences to robotics and automation, and enables them to develop innovative solutions that address key challenges and problems in agritech.
The hybrid lighting system maximises crop growth
One of A*STAR’s latest projects features research in sustainable hybrid lighting systems.
They find out how innovations in lighting technologies create an environment where vegetables can be produced with higher yields, reduced energy consumption and lowered carbon footprint.
This technology optimises the use of both natural sun and artificial lighting – LED, to improve crop yield and reduce energy consumption in greenhouses and vertical indoor farms.
The hybrid lighting system maximises crop growth by customising and finetuning light wavelengths – blue, red, white, to achieve optimal photosynthesis rates.
The lighting system is in the development stage and we expect the working prototype to be ready in late 2021. The programme is hosted by the Institute of Material Research and Engineering (IMRE) and co-lead by the Institute of High-Performance Computing (IHPC), Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech), National University of Singapore, Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory and Nanyang Technological University.
Tackling Challenges Faced by Local Farms
The project targets to achieve ambitious energy savings of up to 80 per cent and improve crop yield by tackling key challenges faced by local farms:
Where land is scarce in Singapore, indoor vertical farms are under pressure to produce more agricultural output per unit of land area. The hybrid lighting system can increase lighting coverage in vertically stacked farms – adding an additional layer means an additional 100% of crops that can be grown within the same area. The hybrid lighting system is also able to maximise crop growth by customising and finetuning light wavelengths to achieve optimal photosynthesis rates.
High Consumption of Energy
Indoor farms consume a high amount of energy; this is not only costly, but it is also damaging to the environment. Up to 70 per cent of electricity is used in indoor farms to power artificial lighting. Innovation in LED lighting, which uses at least 75 per cent less energy and lasts 25 times longer than incandescent and fluorescent lighting2, has the potential to be a game-changer.
Tropical Climate Hinders Growth
Crops that do not receive enough light take a longer time to reach mature stage. In tropical Singapore, we experience cloudiness and rain for at least a third of the year, which can affect crop production. The hybrid lighting system can increase lighting coverage as and when required to promote crop growth.
A*STAR Collaborations with local and international firms
A2HTPO, together with A*STAR scientists, is working closely with local farms to further improve and validate the energy-saving hybrid lighting system. Research collaboration agreements have been recently signed with three companies, &ever Singapore Pte Ltd, LivFresh Pte Ltd and Life3 Agritech Pte Ltd.
&ever is an indoor vertical farming company originating from Germany. They are setting up their Global R&D Centre in Singapore.
LivFresh is a local greenhouse farm that uses an advanced, data-driven, climate-controlled facility to grow local greens by applying state-of-the-art hydroponic technology. A
Life3 Agritech is the subsidiary of the local food tech start-up Life3 Biotech. Life3 Biotech is setting up Singapore’s first integrated agri-food pilot facility. Their project collaboration with IMRE is related to tunable lighting solutions for indoor farming. The developed lighting solution aims to improve their productivity in their R&D and farm operation.
Through these collaborations, A2HTPO plans to improve its research quality and introduce new innovations to the local agritech industry.
Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI) is leading the city’s efforts to implement a global solution known as cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) technology which is a communication system that enables a vehicle’s smart sensors to interact and exchange data with other smart vehicles, infrastructure, mobile networks and devices – could help tackle road safety problems, such as accidents and congestion.
Since 2017, ASTRI and its partner (Hong Kong’s flagship mobile network provider) have been working together to fine-tune the technology. Their latest endeavour is called the 5G V2X project, the first trial run of C-V2X on public roads in Hong Kong.
The journey will involve a 14km-stretch between the Science Park and Sha Tin town centre. The 30-minute drive will see connected vehicles collect road intelligence data as they pass 14 sets of Road Side Units (RSUs) on lamp posts and traffic lights. The RSUs will provide real-time warnings and data for 10 different driving conditions on the road.
Any vehicle equipped with an on-board unit can communicate with different elements along the road, forming an ecosystem powered by 5G technology.
Various devices can collect real-time traffic data and use it to provide warnings to drivers of hazardous driving situations, traffic light changes, pedestrians on a road crossing, and alternative travel routes in the event of a nearby accident or traffic congestion ahead.
In the future, the ecosystem could accommodate autonomous vehicles, allowing actions – like closely grouping cars together in busy areas – to alleviate traffic jams.
The Road Side Unit is a small radio unit installed on top of the traffic light post, about 12 metres in height. It a coverage radius of 100-200 metres; every vehicle coming into this area will communicate to the radio of this Road Side Unit.
Every second, the unit communicates 10 times about its location, direction and its speed. With this exchange of information, the computer onboard the vehicle will calculate what will happen after four seconds. It will alert the driver through this analysis.
C-V2X involves the “Internet of Vehicles”, which has been made more efficient and reliable through the development of 5G which is 20 times faster than 4G, and five times shorter in latency. It can connect one million vehicles or sensors within one square km.
The layered design of the C-V2X system means it can be used in different parts of Hong Kong and also across Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area.
ASTRI and HKT’s work on C-V2X has consisted of several demonstrations and trials, including the first C-V2X live trial at Hong Kong Science Park, in Sha Tin, in 2017, a field trial in Wuxi, mainland China, in 2018, and a 2019 demonstration of autonomous driving at Hong Kong International Airport.
This site was chosen for the variety of traffic scenarios it provides: regular public roads, roundabouts, hotspot cross junctions, and even intersections without traffic lights. The aim was to prove that C-V2X can be used to improve traffic safety and efficiency in real-life conditions.
This trial will see ASTRI and HKT working with a vehicle partner – a Swedish manufacturer of commercial vehicles, which has considerable expertise in driver behaviour testing as well as a global database of best practices.
The business development director in Hong Kong and China for the vehicle manufacturer stated that its existing Advanced Driver Assistance System already includes blind-spot detection, lane-departure warnings and an automated electric brake system.
This has drastically improved vehicle safety, but communication remains one-way within the vehicle, she said. The company’s collaboration with ASTRI on C-V2X will increase the range of detection of outside elements and subsequently improve safety further.
The road trial would help test the interaction between ASTRI’s on-board unit, the manufacturer’s vehicles and the infrastructure set up along the road to see whether they can correctly access the data while the vehicle is moving.
Several technology-based initiatives for governance were recently unveiled in Delhi, earlier this week. During the launch, the Minister for Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Ravi Shankar Prasad, said that the cities will become smarter only if technologies are properly leveraged and that the objectives of Digital India can be achieved through indigenous, developmental, low-cost, and inclusive technology.
National Urban Digital Mission
The National Urban Digital Mission (NUDM) will create a shared digital infrastructure to support cities and towns. It will institutionalise a citizen-centric and ecosystem-driven approach to urban governance and service delivery for 2,022 cities by 2022, and across all cities and towns in India by 2024. It will create a shared digital infrastructure that can consolidate and cross-leverage the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs’ various digital initiatives.
India Urban Data Exchange
The India Urban Data Exchange (IUDX) has been developed by the Smart Cities Mission in partnership with the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru. IUDX is a seamless interface for data providers and users, including urban local bodies (ULBs), to share, request, and access datasets related to cities and urban governance and service delivery.
IUDX is an open-source software platform that facilitates the secure, authenticated, and managed exchange of data among data platforms, third-party authenticated and authorised applications, and other sources.
IUDX is designed to address the problem of data silos, both within and across cities. Cities generate large volumes of data, which are recorded by a wide range of entities, both within the government and across the industry, academia, and society. The combination of these datasets can enable rapid innovation and offer a better understanding of and planning for urban needs and challenges.
SmartCode is a platform that enables all ecosystem stakeholders to contribute to a repository of open-source code for solutions and applications for urban governance. It will address the challenges that ULBs face when deploying digital applications to solve urban challenges, by enabling cities to take advantage of existing codes and customising them to suit local needs.
As a repository of open-source software, the source code available on the platform will be free to use without any licensing or subscription fees, thus limiting costs to those involved.
New Smart Cities Website and GMIS
To better connect with people on the Smart Cities Mission efforts and achievements, and to make it easier for ULBs and citizens to access resources related to their work, the Smart Cities Mission website has been redesigned to be a single stop for all smart city initiatives.
The geospatial management information system (GMIS) has also been integrated on the website. Through a seamless and unified interface, it aggregates all mission-related information from various platforms. The website is a highly effective communication and outreach tool.
Since its launch in 2015, the Smart Cities Mission has made significant strides in its efforts to ensure that the benefits of technology reach all citizens. Over the last year, the mission has seen accelerated project implementation with Smart Cities focusing on grounding and completing projects. Also, over 50 smart cities have transformed their Integrated Command and Control Centres (ICCCs) into COVID-19 war rooms.
Further, the Climate Smart Cities Assessment Framework (CSCAF) was rolled out in 100 smart cities to help cities with climate change-based urban design and governance. The second round of annual assessment is currently underway. A Climate Centre for Cities (C3) has been established in the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA. Several national competitions like the India Cycles4Change Challenge, Streets for People, and Nurturing Neighbourhoods have also been implemented.
There is an increasing demand for places to live that have infrastructure suited for the 21st century. Cities are emerging as hubs and the heart of technological innovation; characterised by an ongoing shift from technology parks in suburban areas, to entrepreneurial activity within cities, especially during the age of COVID-19. The continuous rise of tech cities provides opportunities for businesses and employment. Traditional manufacturing and routine cognitive skills jobs are diminishing and the creation of new sources of employment and growth is vital to maintain competitiveness, reduce poverty, and increase shared prosperity to help lessen the impacts of the pandemic. “Urban tech” and “smart cities” technologies are changing how residents engage city services and move through public space.
A global tech market advisory firm has found that there are currently over 13,000 microcities globally, their research states. Microcities or “cities within cities” are amenity-packed and designed to meet the needs of technology-driven residents. Microcity clusters are generally located in and around airports, ports, international rail stations, venues, malls, corporate and university campuses, office parks, and other highly concentrated urban zones. This way, developers can make not only a community for citizens but places that cater to the needs of the public especially during this new normal brought upon by the pandemic.
Tech firms predict microcities will remain key for urban technology innovation. A wide range of technology vendors provides a robust range of options such as private 5G networks, data analytics and AI, IoT platforms and industrial systems for airports, campuses and railway stations for these microcities or urban tech cities. Common technologies deployed across all microcity types include smart cameras and biometrics, robotics and automation, digital signage, private Wi-Fi and 5G networks and other advanced technologies. These innovations and solutions allow developers to address specific challenges related to people flow management, access and security, overall customer experience and environmental impact while generating cost savings through maximising operational efficiencies.
The Philippines is a perfect prospect for urban tech. And within the nation, the city that best reflects what a true tech hub might stem from is Cebu City, the second-largest metropolitan. The Philippines is the fastest growing economy in Asia and Cebu is the fastest growing city in the Philippines. An article list several reasons why Cebu is the perfect candidate for an urban tech hub including rapid growth, rapid growth, better traffic, lower cost of living and readily available commercial and residential options
Cebu’s IT Park and Business Parks may be nearly at leasing capacity, but many more commercial and residential projects are being built. Anyone who has spent time in Cebu recently will be surprised at the sheer volume of construction either under way or earmarked to start shortly. Alongside the continuing expansion of IT Park and Business Park, a plethora of exciting new developments are due to be completed over the next 4–5 years providing an ever-expanding range of living and working environments for entrepreneurs.
The recently concluded the Roadmap Study for Sustainable Urban Development in Metro Cebu (Metro Cebu Roadmap) citing solid growth of 5.8% GDP and 1 million new jobs to be created by 2050 once the roadmap is fully implemented. The roadmap can be the city’s blueprint for sustainable economic development and provides all local stakeholders with a clear vision for the future. Also, there is the exciting prospective addition of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit System which is a mass transit system for Cebu City.
Nations are also looking for ways to keep up with the ever-changing framework of technology and the pandemic only hastened the inevitable process. The unending marathon of making a sustainable future for every country drives the inspiration behind the development of urban tech cities. Microcities built on the ideas mentioned in the research aim to create a more effective, data-driven, safer and improved technological experience for citizens and their government.
According to an National University Singapore (NUS) report, Singapore has warmed notably since the mid-1970s when rapid urbanisation took place, at a rate of 0.25 degrees Celsius per decade according to the Meteorological Service Singapore.
“The rate is higher than the global average rate of 0.17 degree Celsius per decade since 1970, based on data from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. If the current urban development approach remains unchanged, local warming will lead to a rise in electricity demand for cooling and the risk of residents suffering from heat stress.”
Study to help find out how to keep Singapore cool and improve urban climate resilience
Presidential Young Professor Dr Yuan Chao from the Department of Architecture at the NUS School of Design and Environment led a team to examine the heat balance in the street canyon – where the street is flanked by buildings on both sides – and developed a user-friendly Geographic Information System (GIS) tool to estimate the impact of urban planning on anthropogenic heat dispersion.
Dr Yuan Chao, Dr Mei Shuojun, Dr He Wenhui and Ms Zhang Liqing investigated the transient street air warming procedure and developed a practical GIS-based model to estimate how much and how fast the air temperature will be increased by anthropogenic heat.
Dr Yuan observed, “The air temperature increment in residential areas could be even higher in the future due to rapid global warming and urban development. It could increase the risk of residents in tropical cities suffering from more frequent and intensive long-term heat stress and short-term heatwaves.”
Dr Yuan said that “Due to the huge uncertainty caused by urbanisation and global warming, the new GIS-based analytical model is a feasible tool to deal with numerous microclimate scenarios to help Singapore stay cool.”
Next steps – tackling heat problems globally
The model can be easily adopted in cities overseas. By connecting this model with global and regional scale models, city-level findings can also be used to tackle heat problems globally.
The team will explore working with other research teams working on global and regional scale models in the near future. They have also identified air pollution as another important urban climate issue that will also be integrated into this GIS tool.
PHOTO CREDIT: https://news.nus.edu.sg/
Photo: Dr Yuan Chao showing the results of air temperature increase by anthropogenic heat in various regions using the GIS tool developed by his team.
The Minister of Tribal Affairs, Arjun Munda, recently virtually launched ShramShakti, a national migration support portal. It was unveiled through a video conference at a programme held at Panjim, Goa. The portal will collect data related to tribal migrant workers and link them with the existing welfare schemes.
According to a press release, the portal will also aid the creation and development of state- and national-level programmes for migrant workers. The Minister launched a tribal migration cell, a tribal museum at Goa, and ShramSaathi, which is a training manual for migrant workers.
The Chief Minister of Goa, Pramod Sawant, also launched a migration cell in Goa to facilitate and support migrants who come from different states. Speaking at the occasion, Minister Munda mentioned that the lack of real-time data on migrants is the biggest challenge for state and national governments to formulate effective strategies and policy decisions for the welfare of migrant workers at both source and destination states.
The migration of the tribal population is distress-driven, and the migrants are exposed to difficult and unsafe conditions. Sometimes they face trafficking or wage harassment issues including many occupational hazards at their workplace, the Minister said.
India has the world’s largest diaspora with about 18 million people born there now living abroad, according to the director of the United Nation’s Population Division at the Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
The Minister explained that the tribal migration repository, ShramShakti will be able to successfully address the data gap and empower migrant workers who generally migrate in search of employment and income generation. It would also help the government to link the migrant population with the existing Welfare Scheme- under Atam Nirbhar Bharat. The data that will be recorded via Shram Shakti include demographic profiles, livelihood options, skill mapping, and migration patterns.
The government also launched the tribal training module ShramSaathi, which will ensure that the process of livelihood migration is safe and productive. Tribal migrant workers often have low awareness about their rights and entitlements and ways to access services and social security in source and destination areas, the Minister explained. After training using this module, tribal migrant workers will be able to demand and access services and rights related to livelihood and social security at their village before migration, as well after migration at destination towns and cities.
Chief Minister Sawant noted that Goa is going to be the first destination state of India to set up a dedicated migration cell to address diverse issues of migrant workers. The cell will address multiple needs of migrants, including legal support, skill development, job linkages, access to public services health, insurance, and financial inclusion.
Earlier this month, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs received the SKOCH Challenger Award for Best Performance in e-Governance for its initiatives taken during last year. The Ministry also received 3 Gold Awards for its initiatives. These included the eco-rehabilitation of tribal villages through innovative design in water management using ice-stupa; Swasthya: Tribal Health and Nutritional Portal; and the Performance Dashboard- Empowering Tribals Transforming India.
The Housing Development Board, Singapore launched the HDB Flat Portal. The one-stop online platform will make it easier for prospective buyers and sellers streamline the process. The Minister for National Development, Desmond Lee announced, “This new portal will make it more convenient for home buyers and sellers to gather information on the purchase or sale of a flat through a single integrated platform”.
Some of the salient features of the portal include a customised financial calculator for buyers to check their budget and payment plan and sellers to estimate sales proceeds, and flat listings collating information on current and upcoming Build-to-Order (BTO) launches.
The website will also have loan listings for buyers to get information on housing loans offered by HDB and participating financial institutions, said Mr Lee. He added that HDB is looking to include resale flat listings in subsequent phases of the portal’s rollout. The HDB Flat Portal is the second phase of the HDB Resale Portal launched in January 2018.
Its launch took place after a series of engagement sessions with industry players and stakeholders, he said. “The HDB Resale Portal has halved the time needed for resale flat transactions from 16 weeks to around 8 weeks and reduced the number of appointments with HDB from two to one,” said Mr Lee. “We will continue to look into ways to further improve the transaction process for HDB home buyers and sellers.”
Buyers can use the suggested payment plan in the portal as a benchmark when talking to property or bank consultants before purchasing a resale flat, said Ms Christine Sun, head of research and consultancy at OrangeTee & Tie. The section on upcoming Build-to-Order (BTO) flats is also helpful as buyers can view information on upcoming launches and subscription rates of previous launches in one website, speeding up the search process, she added.
Features of the online portal:
The portal has provisions for every buyer and seller to have a profile which requires a login via SingPass. The website also has a “My Flat Dashboard” which tracks the number and category of the application you want to make.
Another fascinating feature is called “Finding a Flat”. Using this feature a buyer can input his/her price, location, flat type, waiting time, and mode of sale preferences and can get suitable results based on them.
Apart from making the transactions move twice as fast, the portal significantly reduces the amount of previously required administrative work and the number of appointments. Documentation and formalities like Submitting a resale checklist, applying for flat valuation, HDB loan application letter which earlier had to be done on independent websites can now be done in a single place.
This portal will also enable less reliance on property agents. All their functions like linking the buyer and seller, driving the schedule on transactions and formalities are managed effectively by the portal itself without any charge or fee.
The HDB Online portal is a boon for the Lion City’s citizens helping them realise the dream to own a house by simplifying and accelerating the process.