The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to strengthen cooperation in FinTech innovation between both countries in Chiang Rai, Thailand, yesterday – 4 April 2019.
Information sharing on trends and developments in FinTech
Under the MOU, both countries will share information on emerging market trends and developments in FinTech, as well as regulatory issues pertaining to innovation in financial services. The two authorities will work together to conduct joint training sessions to share expertise to foster cross-border cooperation.
H.E. Neav Chanthana, Deputy Governor, NBC, said, “The NBC and MAS have reached a new step of financial cooperation in the area of financial innovation through this MOU. This will also allow us to share experiences and information related to FinTech to better manage and reap the benefit from the new innovation in financial technology in order to enhance payment system and promote financial inclusion.”
Countries share common focus to harness FinTech to create opportunities
Ms Jacqueline Loh, Deputy Managing Director, MAS, said, “This MOU builds upon the long-standing relationship between the NBC and MAS, as well as our common focus to harness FinTech to create new opportunities that will benefit both individuals and businesses. This collaboration also provides a framework for promoting financial innovation not only in our two countries, but also in the broader ASEAN region.”
The signing of the MOU took place on the side-lines of the 5th ASEAN Finance Ministers’ and Central Bank Governors’ Meeting.
Researchers from the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Tropical Marine Science Institute (TMSI) have created a dolphin-like sonar device with a new echo processing technique that enables clearer underwater images compared to the traditional signal processing method of visualising sound echoes.
The new sonar processing method could have potential benefits in underwater commercial or military sonars. It could be used to scan the seabed to search for features that can be used to aid navigation. The sonar’s compactness also makes it suitable to be mounted on underwater robots for ocean exploration.
The processing method is based on the hypothesis that dolphins use prior information about their environment, apart from broadband sound pulses, to interpret their echoes. The sonar uses information on the sparsity of objects, which allows for a better interpretation of sound echoes.
According to a press statement, the new device provides a better trade-off between sonar-image clarity, the number of sensors, and the size of the sensor array used as compared to current sonars of similar size and purpose. Conventional echo processing techniques tend to fail when sensors are limited in number or widely spaced. The new sonar processing method, however, can extract information and yield image clarity even in these situations.
The researchers noticed that dolphins had the ability to scan underwater objects acoustically and match them visually, indicating that a dolphin’s sound echoes emitted off an object contain information about the object’s shape. They then recorded the echoes emitted by dolphins when scanning an object in the water.
Using their observations as a guide, the team constructed a biomimetic sonar that mimics a dolphin’s sonar system. The device, which is about the size of a dolphin’s head and measures 25 cm in width, is designed to emit sharp, impulsive clicking sounds, similar to those used by dolphins for echolocation.
The team employed three transmitters to send sounds from different directions. They then analysed the echoes produced by both the dolphin and the biomimetic sonar to visualise what information about the object’s shape was revealed in the echoes.
To complement the hardware, the team developed software that improves the visualisation of echoes. The researchers incorporated the concept of sparsity into the sonar’s software. This assumes that out of the space scanned, only a small percentage is occupied by the object. According to Hari Vishnu, Senior Research Fellow at NUS TMSI, “Using prior information, such as the idea of sparsity, is intuitive. It is something humans do all the time – we turn our understanding of reality into expectations that can speed up our inferences and decisions. For example, in the absence of other information, the human brain and vision system tend to assume that in an image, the light on an object will be falling from above.”
The effectiveness of the software was demonstrated when it was able to visualise information from a dolphin’s sonar echoes when scanning an object, as well as sonar signals produced by their compact sonar. A conventional approach to processing both sonar echoes resulted in noisy images. However, the novel processing approach gave better resolution and therefore sharper images. The software is also able to generate visualisations with a mere three clicks from the sonar, thus allowing it to be operationally fast.
The University of Hong Kong’s Department of Computer Science and the FinTech Academy, in partnership with the 150th Anniversary Community Foundation of a Hong Kong-based bank, have joined forces with the Strategic Centre for Research in Privacy-Preserving Technologies & Systems at the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore to establish the Virtual Asset Technology Consortium (VATC).
VATC’s aim is to gather experts from various fields such as academia, industry, user groups, and government organisations to share information and provide guidance on technical matters related to virtual assets.
The management board will be headed by the Associate Head of the Department of Computer Science at HKU and the Associate Director of the HKU-SCF FinTech Academy and will include professors from NTU and professionals from supporting units as members.
Creating a platform that elevates the technological advancements in the field of virtual assets
The virtual assets (or digital assets) industry has seen significant growth in recent years. This innovative technology has led to new methods for conducting financial transactions using digital tools. The market has demonstrated a positive response to the belief that virtual assets, both those issued by private entities and the government, will be an integral part of the worldwide monetary and economic system.
The Virtual Asset Technology Consortium has set out the following missions:
- Representation – Provide insights and advice on the technical aspects of virtual assets;
- Research – Foster R&D collaboration on virtual assets.
- Networking – Provide a platform for discussing the latest developments and trends of virtual assets and related FinTech technologies; and,
- Education – Organise seminars and other educational activities to enable the industry and the general public to acquire knowledge on technologies related to virtual assets.
Several organisations such as Cyberport Hong Kong, Hong Kong Blockchain Society, as well as banks, have already expressed their support for VATC to The University of Hong Kong. The Virtual Asset Technology Consortium (VATC) will be officially launched in Q2 2023 and welcomes experts and enthusiasts who are committed to promoting the stability and growth of virtual assets to join the consortium.
The growing market for Digital Asset Management (DAM)
Recent research found that the Digital Asset Management (DAM) market is expected to grow from US$4.2 billion in 2022 to US$8.0 billion by 2027, with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 13.6% during the forecast period. This forecast suggests that the demand for DAM solutions is expected to increase rapidly in the coming years.
Several factors are expected to drive the growth of Digital Asset Management (DAM). Some of the key drivers for this growth include:
- The increasing need for digitalisation and the ability to quickly and easily collaborate with businesses on corporate assets;
- The growing demand for the authenticity and security of digital assets;
- The ability to easily upgrade, maintain and categorise digital assets, reducing production costs and improving resource allocation;
- The need for organisational transparency across different industries and business functions;
- The ability to increase conversion rates and retain customers; and,
- The need for brand consistency.
Digital Asset Management (DAM) services include consulting, integration, and implementation, as well as training, support, and maintenance services. These services are necessary at various stages of the process, including pre-sales requirement assessment, and post-sales product deployment and execution.
This allows clients to get the maximum return on investment (RoI) from their DAM solutions. The service providers offer guidance to end-users and assist them in integrating and deploying software that is tailored to their specific requirements.
Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have created the HaptGlove, a lightweight, untethered haptic glove for virtual environments. It aims to provide a more realistic and authentic sense of touch and movement when interacting with virtual objects, enhancing the overall immersive experience in virtual reality (VR).
While the concept of haptic gloves is not new, current technologies have limitations in providing a realistic sense of touch, according to a press statement. Vibration motors in typical haptic gloves cannot replicate the real-world sense of touch like the hardness and shape of virtual objects. Other haptic gloves utilise pneumatic actuators that generate pressure but are bulky and restrict user movement.
The team’s research leader, Lim Chwee Teck, explained that virtual reality should not only be a visual and auditory experience but also enable interactions with virtual objects. However, current methods of interacting with virtual objects, such as pressing on a virtual panel or interacting with avatars, lack the sensation of touch found in the real world. This prompted the team to develop the haptic glove, which aims to provide the sensation of a “physical” touch in the virtual world.
HaptGlove is a portable and highly flexible haptic glove that enables users to have immersive touch and feel of VR objects with unparalleled realism in the VR experience. It incorporates lightweight pneumatic control and the team’s latest microfluidic sensing technology, which significantly reduces its size and weight, and eliminates the need for bulky accessories.
It enables users to interact with the virtual world in a more natural and realistic way, providing an unobtrusive and immersive experience in virtual reality. It features five pairs of haptic feedback modules, one for each finger, which are controlled wirelessly to sense the virtual object in terms of shape, size, and stiffness.
When using HaptGlove, users can sense contact as their avatar’s hand touches, grasps, and manipulates virtual objects by using a microfluidic pneumatic indenter to deliver real-time pressure to the user’s fingertips. The glove can also simulate the shape and stiffness of the object the avatar is touching, by restricting finger positions, adding realism to the virtual interaction experience.
HaptGlove uses proprietary software developed by the NUS research team to achieve a visual-haptic delay of fewer than 20 milliseconds. This is faster than conventional haptic gloves and provides a near-real-time user experience. The latest prototype is also more comfortable to wear, weighing only 250 grams, much lighter than commercially available haptic gloves that weigh over 450 grams.
The HaptGlove project was initiated by Lim and his team in 2019 and it took two years to develop a prototype. To evaluate the device’s performance, a group of 20 users was recruited to wear the glove to sort four virtual balls of varying stiffness in the virtual world. Apart from achieving over 90% accuracy in completing the tasks, the users said that HaptGlove significantly enhanced realism in VR and improved their overall experience, compared to devices using vibration motors.
Besides gaming, the HaptGlove could be used in applications in the fields of medicine and education, such as assisting surgeons to better prepare for an operation by simulating a hyper-realistic environment or giving students a hands-on learning experience by simulating palpation on different body parts.
DICT spokesman and Undersecretary Anna Maye Yu Lamentillo conducted the meeting with Singapore Ambassador to the Philippines Gerard Ho Wei Hong to examine future collaborative efforts and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) implementation between the Philippines and Singapore to enhance digital partnership.
The MoU on Digital Cooperation was agreed upon by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s state visit to Singapore last year. It was ratified by DICT Secretary Ivan John Uy and Josephine Teo, Singapore’s Minister for Communications, and Information.
“We reviewed with Ambassador Ho how to implement this MOU and which areas to focus on. Singapore has a wealth of experience in e-governance and cybersecurity, and they can share their best practices with us,” Lamentillo explained.
The MoU covers digital cooperation on digital connectivity, particularly in interoperable systems and methodologies that enable electronic records; cybersecurity, such as organising training courses and technical programmes through the ASEAN-Singapore Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence to improve and strengthen cybersecurity skills; and digital government/e-governance, including digital government strategy, digital government services, and digital government infrastructure.
It also involves exchanging knowledge, technical experience, best practices on scam calls and short messaging services, and personal data protection. It also aims to foster collaboration in emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, 5G, cloud computing, the Internet of Things, big data, analytics, and robots.
“There will also be collaboration and knowledge exchange to boost the digital innovation ecosystem, such as connecting business owners with promising solution providers; exploring cooperation on digital capability and capacity building; and exchanging knowledge and best practices on digital infrastructure,” she added.
The Philippines has increased its digital partnership with some countries. For example, before cooperating with Singapore, the Philippines signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China on electronic commerce (e-commerce).
The two countries agreed to increase trade of high-quality featured products and services; explore business interchange between MSMEs and e-commerce platforms, start-ups, and logistics service providers; and share best practices and innovative experiences in utilising e-commerce.
The agreement will facilitate the exchange of experiences, best practices, critical information, and trade and e-commerce policies. Both countries will prepare measurements to promote consumer and business protection, intellectual property, data security, and privacy rules. It also contributes to the ability of local businesses to compete in the modernising business sector. The Memorandum of Understanding is in keeping with the E-Commerce Philippine 2022 Roadmap agenda, which aims to promote cross-border partnership and market access through trade agreements and engagement programmes with key e-commerce trading partners.
While Singapore has undertaken a similar digitisation initiative with China. Singapore’s Minister of Communications and Information (MCI) and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) announced the signing of eight (8) Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) and the unveiling of fourteen (14) new joint projects as part of the Singapore-China (Shenzhen) Smart City Initiative in November (SCI).
As they build economic recovery and resilience, Singapore and Shenzhen will actively establish a conducive business climate for firms to innovate and conduct cross-border transactions safely and smoothly. As the SCI began its third year of operation, the meeting noted that the number of new cooperative ventures doubled compared to the previous year.
Aside from that, on the 7th UK Singapore Financial Dialogue, dubbed Fintech Bridge, Singapore and the United Kingdom reaffirmed their commitment to expanding their financial ties. The FinTech Bridge will capitalise on fintech players’ active interest in payments, regulatory technologies, and wealth management. It will also provide structured participation that will aid in developing policy measures, improve evaluations of future challenges such as the development of distributed ledger technologies and data exchange, and facilitate trade and investment flow between different markets.
Additionally, both governments discussed recent innovations in the fintech sector, such as advances in crypto-assets, and agreed on significant areas for future collaboration. They examined their progress in tightening consumer protection legislation and implementing stable coin regulations. Both parties agreed that there is an urgent need to assist in the safe development of a digital assets ecosystem while ensuring that digital asset risks are constantly handled.
Adapting, adopting and shifting methods, models and processes are unavoidable as technology develops and advances. Manufacturing robots, artificial intelligence and machine learning are just a few examples of rapidly evolving new technologies.
These technologies have the potential to save costs while enhancing output and quality. They have a vast scope and the potential to revolutionise existing enterprises and personal lives. They can make people’s lives easier while also requiring less human engagement.
Companies have realised that such cutting-edge solutions can take over specific roles and increase operational accuracy, production and efficiency. Automation and digital improvements have improved analytical, technical, and management capacities. Even today, many large technology organisations have reached a broad economic scale without a large staff base.
As a result, the workforce and skillset needs will change. Organisations require fewer people in roles managed by tech creating a greater need for employees with specific abilities.
The impact and opportunities
In an exclusive interview with Mohit Sagar, CEO and Editor-in-Chief OpenGov Asia, Michael Baron, CEO & Director of Baron Consulting Group, Singapore, believes technology changes will be positive for most people. But technological advancement may disappoint others because they may be concerned that technologies may replace their jobs.
“There will be proactive people and that people who are reactive. It is important to understand that further development is essential for people, companies and governments, to keep the nations and businesses competitive. So, I think the future will positively impact those who want to embrace the technologies. We need to focus on development rather than on keeping everyone happy,” explains Michael.
People can embrace the new technology with better utilisation. As an example, he shared how people will have gotten used to a pass-card ticketing system. Some time ago, the technology was introduced in several countries in Southeast Asia and Australia. People had to learn to adapt to the new ticketing system if they wanted to use the public transport system. While initially challenging for many, people have gotten used to it and, indeed, prefer it.
Baron urges people to view new technology as a unique opportunity. Change happens all the time in almost all spheres – sometimes rapidly and other times gradually. Businesses need to adjust their service offerings based on technological developments. It may require performing specific technology-related tasks for the companies which are no longer relevant.
“I recall a very old Chinese saying that every crisis is an opportunity. You can say that I lost my job and I lost my business proposition many times and I don’t see it as drama. I see it as an opportunity. See it as an interesting experience, a natural transformation,” Baron offers.
From a personal perspective, the analytics engine, for instance, has helped him to become a better chess player. The tools can help him to perform better in online chess games by analysing his game, understanding his mistakes and what opportunities he misses and suggesting what he should learn and how he can do better next time.
The same idea goes for organisations or governments. The private and public sectors can do better through digital transformation and utilise technological advancement to maintain their position in the marketplace. It’s not a matter of enjoying it or not embracing the norm, it’s a matter of survival. It’s a matter of remaining relevant, of addressing the challenges by delivering better.
According to Baron, what is happening now is that traditional players are losing market share very fast and possibly don’t even understand the market anymore. So, it is vital to reshape themselves, adopt new goals and embrace new technology.
As a big fan of predictive analytics, he believes that analytics can break into the past to build a better future. Citing a Greek philosopher that said history repeats itself implies this results in variations in a range of operations. So predictive analytics will play a role in calculating the future based on what happened in the past and emulate it for future problems.
In terms of challenges, Baron believes that security, privacy and controls will still be a big problem in the future. Ethical factors are also emerging around the globe today. Organisations with international presence have to comply with all the multiple countries’ respective laws and regulations regarding data ownership and management.
Sooner or later, organisations need to ensure compliance. Even though technology tends to develop faster than legal frameworks, ultimately all countries create regulatory frameworks.
Cultural spirit and political drive
Baron is convinced that both the private and public sectors can drive the technology improvements. Whether it is public or private-driven innovation, it is essential to keep forward-facing if an organisation or a nation intends to survive.
He acknowledges several governments’ efforts to stay ahead of the digital transformation journey, such as Japan, China and Singapore. These countries demonstrate how they can be leaders through cultural spirit and technology utilisation rather than only depending on their natural resources.
After World War Two, Japan’s economy was in a very difficult situation, dealing with the devastation and a lack of natural resources. They faced these challenges head-on by utilising technology and aggressively pursuing digital solutions. Eventually, they not only became a leading economy but were a global benchmark for development.
China, too, has a robust digital and technology vision for the country and has seen remarkable success. From a largely agrarian/rural society, it is now the second-largest economy worldwide. It is a great example of how political will plays a significant role in driving technology-enabled progress.
As for Singapore, the country has become a leading exponent of technology and digital innovation. Compensating for a lack of resources with heavy investment in technological development, innovation and education. They have harnessed their multicultural heritage and been wise in how they use their existing resources. Infrastructure, policies and pathways have made the nation a preferred destination for investment and international tech workers.
LKYGBPC entrepreneurial pathway
Technology development has a massive impact on future employment, hence the entrepreneurial path is one of the solutions to answering the challenge. As a member of the International Judging Panel (IJP) for the Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition (LKYGBPC), Baron encourages people not just to embrace the ideas of others but to work with their ideas. He believes that everybody has something to bring to the table.
Teaching about technologies and related subjects, helping people acquire the necessary skills and traits, and providing the right environment is essential to foster entrepreneurship. But a little more is needed to create a culture of entrepreneurship.
He considers the international competition a fantastic way to bring a lot of global talent together to actualize their dream, to be inspired, express their concerns,and to find solutions. The competition creates the right environment to put ideas together and tailor them to suit specific marketplaces.
The competition is a chance for people with ideas to organise themselves, present their ideas to the big wide world and have a shot at being successful. To Baron, there should be more calls for international competitions they allow ideas to travel beyond the borders to create a better future for the world.
The country’s Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX) has kickstarted the SingaporeHTX 2023 with its inaugural GoCloud roadshow for HTX officers (Xponents) to learn, experiment, and engage with cloud technologies, a press statement said.
At the event, HTX introduced the GoCloud Portal and GoCloud community to its officers. The portal is a gateway to cloud-related resources, Sandpits for experimentation, and training pathways. The roadshow also featured an exhibition and spotlight talks on topics including HTX’s cloud strategy, navigating a typical cloud journey, and the sovereign cloud.
Furthermore, Xponents gained valuable insights and knowledge on how to optimise their use of cloud technologies to harness the possibilities of the cloud – from improving efficiency and scalability to boosting collaboration and innovation.
The event is part of HTX’s digitalisation and cloud movement. It is the first in a series of upcoming initiatives to build awareness, enablement, and implementation of applications leveraging cloud technologies. More than 500 HTX officers attended the roadshow, which was held at HTX headquarters.
The HTX Chief Executive, Chan Tsan, stated that as the organisation leverages cloud technologies fully to deliver digital transformation for the Home Team, it is imperative for Xponents to ‘Gear Up and Step into the Cloud Universe’. Another official said that digitalisation skills are here to stay and are fundamental for the future. The cloud will enable access to a wide spectrum of technologies to innovate and enhance the Home Team’s capabilities and operations.
Last year, HTX signed a strategic agreement with a private technology giant to develop a sovereign cloud to accelerate digital transformation and innovation for HTX. It addressed emerging technology needs across Singapore’s Home Team Departments. The agreement also introduced new skilling, job development, and training initiatives.
According to HTX, the sovereign cloud equips HTX with on-demand, high-performance cloud computing, and data storage resources. It enables HTX to quickly adapt and create new technologies and solutions, significantly reduce time-to-market in introducing new digital capabilities, and quickly scale up capacity to meet future needs.
High system resiliency and availability ensure that Home Team’s operations continue 24×7 with minimal interruption. Coupled with high-speed network connectivity and advanced analytics, the sovereign cloud capability offers Home Team officers on the ground real-time data to enable swifter incident response and decision-making.
As part of the agreement, the private player provided additional training and educational opportunities, including 600 training seats along with exam certificates that have been made available annually to HTX. The training will advance the technical skills of cloud technology professionals in Singapore.
The strategic partnership enables Singapore to push the boundaries of innovation and be at the forefront of technology, Tsan had said. The country is well-poised to exponentially enhance the capabilities of the Home Team and to keep Singapore as the safest place on the planet, he explained. The agreement enables key technological advancements and provides access to data and insights to help drive change across various communities.
As OpenGov Asia reported, the cloud has transformed the way organisations communicate, cooperate, and carry out many other critical business and service functions. Cloud communications services are becoming an increasingly intrinsic choice for organisations looking to streamline their operations and enable their remote workforces to stay connected and productive.
The HKU Business School announced that it has partnered with a global organisation of independent professional services firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services (the company). The new partnership aims to develop talent in the fields of accounting and business analytics. The partnership is an extension of an existing collaboration established in 2018, as demonstrated by the signing of a second Memorandum of Understanding.
The Dean of HKU Business School and the Managing Partner of Hong Kong company signed the MoU with the signatures witnessed by the Associate Dean (Taught Postgraduate), the Assistant Dean (Taught Postgraduate), the Programme Director of Master of Accounting (MAcct), the Programme Director of Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSc (BA)); a Partner, Head of Private Enterprise of Hong Kong at the company; the Head of Audit – Advanced Manufacturing, Hong Kong at the company; a Partner, Audit at the firm; and a Partner, Head of Chinese Banks, Hong Kong at the firm.
The MoU aims to provide professional training to students of HKU Business School’s MAcct and MSc (BA) Programmes. Through activities such as internships, seminars, industry projects and mentorship, students will acquire knowledge of accounting and data analytics and valuable experience that will be crucially needed in the fast-changing global economy.
The Dean of HKU Business School stated that the University is happy to be partnering with the company again, as there is a shared goal of developing talent. Through this partnership, students will be offered professional training and practical experience in real-world settings.
In the past few years, over 300 students from the two programs have benefited from this collaboration, which has had a significant impact on their career prospects and personal growth. The partnership with the company is believed to continue to cultivate top-notch business leaders for Hong Kong and beyond, further enriching the talent pool of the region.
The Managing Partner of the Hong Kong company stated that people are the most valuable asset for the community, while the next generation is the driving force of economic growth. Through renewed collaboration with the HKU Business School, the company aims to develop business talent who can take on evolving roles and drive positive change in the world, ultimately increasing their impact on society.
For example, the new generation of accountants goes beyond traditional accounting to shape the future of business by bringing problem-solving skills and critical thinking together. Alongside quality education, the internship and cross-border opportunities we offer are the vital elements to make the above transformation possible.
According to recent research, the data analytics market size reached US$ 41.39 billion in 2022. The market is expected to reach roughly US$ 346.33 billion by 2030, expanding at a CAGR of 30.41% from 2022 to 2030.
The adoption of machine learning and artificial intelligence for personalised consumer experiences, the widespread use of social networking platforms, and the growth of online shopping are the main drivers of market growth.
The market is expected to grow further as data analytics tools are increasingly used for tasks such as predicting electricity consumption and traffic patterns and analysing trade market trends. The use of data analytics for demand forecasting can help businesses make more informed and profitable decisions.
Recently, government organisations and other industries such as manufacturing, banking and professional services have invested heavily in data analytics. The Asia Pacific region is expected to have the fastest-growing market for data analytics during the forecast period, due to the increasing adoption of advanced analytics solutions for managing and analysing large amounts of data generated from industrial, commercial and residential sources.