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The Australian Border Force (ABF) begins a blockchain trial for cross border trade with Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA). This partnership is in line with the bilateral Australia-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement. The trial supports the government’s recently announced Simplified Trade Agenda, which will reform and digitise trade compliance processes.

A trial was launched on 23 November with IMDA to test digital verification systems, the first to be developed using blockchain technology by experts from Australia and Singapore at the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business for inter-government document exchange.

ABF Commissioner Michael Outram said the ABF looks forward to close collaboration with international partner agencies on mutual border modernisation programmes.

“The ABF welcomes the opportunity to collaborate further with Singapore to improve cross-border trade between our countries. In addition to our efforts internationally, this initiative will incorporate paperless trading and secure, the digital exchange of trade information as part of the future architecture and design of an Australian Trade Single Window”.

The trial will test digital verification platforms across both the ABF-developed Intergovernmental Ledger (IGL) and IMDA’s TradeTrust for electronic trade documents. Businesses and regulators will give feedback on their experience verifying certificates of origin with the two systems with the aim of reducing administration costs and increasing trade efficiency.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Australian Industry Group, as well as financial institutions in Singapore, including ANZ, will take part in the trial. The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment is also collaborating on complementary digital initiatives with Singapore regulators to progress paperless trading for phytosanitary and sanitary certificates for food and agricultural trade.

The ABF will feed lessons learned from the trial into the Supply Chain Working Group’s Discovery Report under the National Blockchain Roadmap led by Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.

Cloud has emerged as the biggest enabler in assisting businesses to operate and thrive in these unstable times. Most organisations have transitioned to a full cloud or hybrid data storage model to ensure their employees can work seamlessly from remote locations.

As the shift to the cloud was done, in many cases, hurriedly as a reactive measure due to the severity of the pandemic, it may not have been the best in terms of security.  Organisations are now feeling vulnerable and exposed because they do not know how best to make their cloud platforms more secure and reliable.

OpenGov Asia hit the nail on the head with the OpenGovLive! Virtual Breakfast Insight it organised for delegates from various agencies and organisations in Singapore to discuss the reliability and efficiency of their cloud strategies to deliver mission-critical services.

The Virtual Breakfast Insight on 26 November 2020 witnessed an overwhelming response from the delegates both in terms of their attendance and engagement.

The pace of transformation has picked up significantly but security is still a concern

Mohit: Citizens becoming increasingly reliant on digital solutions

Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief at OpenGov Asia opened the session with a quick round of introductions in the virtual room and set the tone for the discussions to follow.

He acknowledged that cloud technology is not new, but its acceptance and adoption have risen significantly in the COVID-19 era.

Drawn into the digital transformation wave, citizens are becoming increasingly reliant on digital solutions, pushing governments and private service providers to be more adaptive and accessible in service delivery.

Mohit also pointed out that though the pace of transformation has picked up significantly, security still remains a big concern. Most certainly, the public sector that harbours much sensitive information on its citizens and residents, needs to be extra cautious in this regard.

Digital solutions in the new normal demand rapid digital transformation strategies that are well thought out and planned, keeping accessibility, agility and security as the pillars on which everything else develops.

In conclusion, Mohit urged delegates to not waste any time trying to do all this in-house. He stressed the power of a well-coordinated partnership with experts to attain stability and security in their cloud operations.

Organisations must Innovate their digital infrastructure

Yee May: Leaders need to play a pivotal role in driving digital strategies

After Mohit’s opening, Yee May Leong, Managing Director, Equinix South Asia took to the virtual podium to share her insights with the delegates.

Yee May emphasised the need to fast track digital strategies and the pivotal role leaders play in driving them. She shared that the most optimal way of doing it is minimising the distance and cost between employees, customers and other stakeholders.

She went on to explain the role that digital infrastructure plays in driving this advantage and how Singapore’s Smart Nation Program has made this digital infrastructure is easy to access

Yee May encouraged delegates to focus on three major goals as they progress on their cloud journey:

  1. Solve performance, scale, and flexibility challenges
  2. Accelerate growth and gain agility
  3. Sharpen competitive edge

She underscored how Equinix is leading the way for digital transformation by sharing a few customer testimonials.

In conclusion, Yee May opined that focus must on consolidating the right resources, people and possibilities to ensure success as digital leaders. She signed off by encouraging the delegates to reach out to them to know more.

An Overview of Victoria Government’s digital strategy to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic

Jithma: Governments must transform the way they utilise digital technology

After Yee May’s presentation, Jithma Beneragama, Director, Digital, Design and Innovation of the  Department of Premier and Cabinet (Victoria), shared some interesting insights on digital initiatives being run by the Victorian government and how they harnessed Cloud Technology to manage the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jithma began by agreeing that governments are incredibly complicated organisations in terms of structure and that there is an urgent need to transform the way they use digital tools and technology. He explained that his team’s focus has been to make technology and the process of digital transformation faster, simpler, scalable and repeatable.

Jithma went on to share some of the initiatives they worked on as the challenges of the pandemic became increasingly complex.

The first course of action was to create a consolidated platform, a dedicated hub for all information related to the COVID-19 pandemic. He confirmed that their goal was not only to simplify the frontend of technology tools for the citizens but also to create a decentralised backend for easy navigation and use of employees.

The next step for them was to ensure that this information is stored and hosted in a scalable environment that can cope with the dramatic and almost instantaneous changes in traffic. Their major priority was to make sure that the cloud platform storing all this information is highly secure with proper access and response across all Victorian Government departments.

In summary, Jithma emphasised the importance of having fast, scalable, repeatable and secure digital applications, especially for the public sector.

Defining a multi-cloud strategy in the current environment

Zeng: 3 main multi-cloud strategy scenarios being adopted by organisations worldwide

After Jithma’s sharing of best practices, Zheng Guanglei, Chief Cloud Solution Architect, WhaleCloud, shared his organisation’s perspective with the audience.

After briefly introducing the company to the audience, Zheng clearly defined multi-cloud strategy and the 3 main multi-cloud scenarios that are being adopted by organisations worldwide. They are private + public cloud, multiple public clouds, and private cloud + multiple public clouds.

After shedding some light on these three scenarios, he shared a fact that as much as 81% of all organisations are working with two or more cloud providers. This trend is mainly because organisations are recognising the benefits of using multiple clouds like greater flexibility, data sovereignty, disaster recovery etc.

But like everything else, multi-cloud options also bring in challenges like management difficulties, lack of IT skills, large CapEx in the private cloud etc. In the same vein, he also shared that the best way to overcome these challenges is to deploy a multi-cloud management platform that is flexible, fully managed and highly secure.

Zheng outlined the different kinds of services and support his organisation can provide to the customers like migration services (defining, planning, and executing the migration of data), cloud-enabling services (architecture design, security, training etc.) and cloud management services (interfacing with cloud vendors, SLA’s etc).

He concluded his presentation by sharing specific pointers that are essential to make a multi-cloud strategy a success. These include a secure and controllable environment, flexible and scalable technologies and change-driven leadership.

After the informative presentations by the speakers, it was time for the interactive polling session and discussion with the delegates.

On the first question about their organisation’s long term cloud strategy, a majority of the delegates voted that they plan on having a hybrid cloud strategy with some data sitting on-premise, some in the private cloud, and some in public/shared cloud (80%).

A senior delegate from the banking industry reflected that he believes that multi-cloud strategy is the future but due to so many compliance and regulations in Singapore, they are currently leveraging a hybrid cloud.

The next question polled the delegates on their respective organisation’s current percentage of mission-critical services put onto the public cloud this year almost two-thirds went with greater than or equal to 40% but less than 80%.

A digital executive from the financial services industry shared that because of the very sensitive nature of their data, it is very difficult for them to move all their data on the cloud and hence his vote for this option.

On the final question about the external help needed most by the organisation on cloud migration, close to half of the delegates voted for changing mindsets from traditional DC Ops to DevOps in the cloud (43%).

Another participant from banking shared that the biggest challenge for them to create a collaborative environment through the cloud, in particular convincing the staff to make that move.

After the polling session, Yee May addressed the audience with closing remarks. She thanked all the delegates for participating and sharing their challenges with them. She also opined that the journey of migration to the cloud starts with taking small steps and gradually scaling them.

Yee May urged the delegates to feel free to reach out to their team in case they have any questions or queries about the cloud scenarios and solutions discussed during the session. She also encouraged them to explore partner with them to facilitate their cloud journey.

In collaboration with 




In Singapore, some heroes are comparatively small, silent creatures that operate behind the scenes to keep Singapore running.

We’re talking of course, about drones. Since their inception, various agencies in Singapore have been trying to use them to make tasks easier, safer and more efficient.

Let’s take a look at some of these ‘silent’ heroes and the jobs that they do – some of them are on trial, yes, but hey, it’s always fun to take a glimpse into the future.

Supporting anti-dengue operations!

With Singapore facing a record number of dengue cases this year, it is a priority to eliminate dengue hotspots this year. Some of these hotspots though are located in areas that might be challenging to carry out anti-dengue operations.

One example? Private residential estates.

To solve this, NEA has been using drones to check for mosquito breeding. The drones can fly over houses, and look out for potential breeding sites, such as the roof gutters in private estates.

Making building inspections SUAVE

Building inspections can be dangerous and time-consuming affairs, where there is a risk of accidents and falls. Not to mention, a lot of equipment and manpower is needed to ensure this happens safely.

SLA’s way of overcoming this? Flying drones equipped with an algorithm called SUAVE (Smart Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Enhanced) which analyses buildings for defects and potential maintenance issues. Small cracks, debris, water ponding, you name it!

The results are pretty impressive – the use of drones saves up to 80% for time and only uses 60% of the cost required for a conventional inspection.

Island hopping, drone style

Most drones rely on 4G and WiFi for operation and navigation. However, when out at sea, both of these signals are affected by sea waves, weather conditions and passing ships.

That said, SLA and GovTech is running trials with a way to get past this, by deploying a large drone that uses TVWS (TV White Space), which, at the risk of sounding very nerdy – is the inactive space found between channels actively used in UHF and VHF spectrum with frequency spans from 470 MHz – 790 MHz.

In real-world terms, this means that the drone can theoretically be piloted for a range of 10 km, and can stream live images of the remote Southern Islands using TVWS. This is something that many commercial drones can’t do.

Currently, SLA officers have to travel by boat and on foot to carry out manual inspections on the general upkeep of the islands i.e. grass cutting, housekeeping, pest control, arboriculture and horticulture works.

If it all works out, this drone can help inspections on the island to be done remotely and also more efficiently.

Keeping us safe, from the skies

We might not have those police helicopters as they do in the United States, but the police here are developing drones that give operators a clear picture of the ground situation instead.

These drones have a range of a few hundred metres, and are equipped with cameras with high powered zoom lenses – they are kinda like a hawk patrolling its grounds. In addition, they are also capable of missions up to 30 minutes, reducing the need for manpower.

Singapore deployed them this year in a trial, monitoring industrial areas on the western part of the island, as well as areas that are susceptible to crimes such as housebreaking and theft.

Keeping calm and swimming on

Unlike all the other drones we’ve mentioned earlier, the NUSwan is a swimmer, not a flyer.

Beneath their elegant exteriors, they have propellers instead of legs and can operate for hours without the need for sustenance. They’re also built to survive close encounters with boats – talk about durability!

These robot swans patrol Singapore’s reservoirs and keep us safe by assessing pollution and the drinkability of water. Sensors located in the NUSwan measure oxygen levels or chlorophyll, and stream these in real-time back to a central command centre – which can also control them remotely.

Yes, that’s right – an army of Robot Swans – it’s no wonder they decided to film Westworld in Singapore.

What’s next?

It’s amazing how fast technology develops! Just a decade ago, few of us would have imagined the uses that drones have today. With that in mind, what the future for us will be equally mind-boggling.

What we do know though, is that they’re here to stay. The next time to see a drone out in public, don’t be alarmed!

Chances are, like us, they’re just doing their job.


Photo Credit: GOVTECH

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced today the 20 finalists for the 2020 Global FinTech Hackcelerator. The finalists this year comprise several unique solutions that seek to drive positive social and environmental impact within the financial sector, in response to the challenges posed by COVID-19 and climate change.

The Global FinTech Hackcelerator identifies innovative market-ready solutions to address real industry needs. The finalists will pitch their solutions at the Global FinTech Hackcelerator Demo Day at the 2020 Singapore FinTech Festival x Singapore Week of Innovation and TeCHnology (SFF x SWITCH).

Mr Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief FinTech Officer, MAS said, “Over the past four years, the Global FinTech Hackcelerator has provided FinTechs from Singapore and around the world with an excellent platform to showcase innovative solutions that can solve key problems within the financial industry. This year, there is added urgency to address pressing challenges brought about by COVID-19 and climate change. This is evident from the record number of problem statements submitted by the industry. We look forward to seeing our finalists use the Global FinTech Hackcelerator as a launchpad towards greater success while helping the financial industry tackle the health, economic, and climate crises facing our generation.”

The finalists were selected through two parallel segments – the Local Programme, which addressed high-priority problem statements collated from the finance industry in Singapore and globally; and the International Programme, which comprised solutions from winners of FinTech competitions organised by international partners.

• In the Local Programme, supported by KPMG Digital Village, 10 finalists were shortlisted from over 270 submissions from across more than 40 countries. These submissions addressed a record 107 problem statements across four categories: Responding to a Global Pandemic; Green Finance Solutions; Green Finance Enablers; and Sustainability. More than 150 of the submissions came from Asia and about a third were from Singapore.

• The International Programme participants comprised 10 winners from six independent FinTech competitions organised by our international partners. This year, the Global FinTech Hackcelerator’s international partners are Abu Dhabi Global Market, Accelpoint, the Saudi G20 Presidency and the Bank for International Settlements Innovation Hub, the Central Bank of Kenya, the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and Women’s World Banking.In total, more than 700 FinTechs spanning across the globe participated in the International Programme.

During Demo Day on 10 December, finalists will present their innovations and the top three winners will win S$50,000 in prize money each. All 20 finalists will also receive a S$20,000 cash stipend and be fast-tracked in their applications to receive grant funding under the MAS Financial Sector Technology and Innovation (FSTI) Proof of-Concept Scheme.

In addition, the finalists will exhibit their solutions as part of the Digital Showcase at SFF x SWITCH. The finalists will also be invited to a dedicated Deal Friday networking session in November to meet potential investors.

Until late-2019, the world witnessed and suffered numerous emergencies and disasters like wildfires, tornados, floods, etc. as individual nations and larger geographical regions. But it was only at the end of the year that the world was hit by a global pandemic that caught everyone totally off guard.

The scale and magnitude of the pandemic have heightened the need to be more resilient and prepared to manage multiple critical threats. In order to inform and educate organisations on this crucial area, OpenGov Asia organised an OpenGovLive! Virtual Insight on 25 November 2020 to discuss Organisational Resilience 2.0.

The virtual event witnessed a full house with delegates attending from a wide range of organisations from Singapore, India, Australia and Hong Kong.

Have well-orchestrated business continuity plans backed by technology

Mohit: Partner with champions who will support you on your resilience 2.0 journey

The session was opened by Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief at OpenGov Asia. Mohit started by acknowledging the fact that the pandemic has made the world realise how unprepared we were to deal with something of that magnitude.

Business continuity plans and risk mitigation strategies were never designed for a situation like this. He emphasised that it is important for organisations to learn from all this and become more resilient for the next big critical event.

Not only do organisations need to keep their people and assets safe, but must also learn to keep their businesses running. Managing critical events should become a part of the business’s DNA and should not disrupt the daily functions frequently. 

The need of the hour is to have a well-orchestrated business continuity plan that involves and takes into consideration every small aspect of an organisation’s structure and one that is backed by the latest technology.

In conclusion, Mohit advised the delegates to partner with experts who are seasoned critical management experts rather than trying to do everything on their own from scratch.


Everbridge’s critical event management suite will structure response and mitigate risk

Graeme: Assess, Locate, Act and Analyse to effectively manage critical events

Once Mohit set the stage for the topic at hand, Graeme Orsborn, Vice President – International CEM Business Unit, shared his views with the delegates.

Graeme started by providing a comprehensive overview of how Everbridge can assist in managing critical events. He shared ways in which critical events can impact an organisations’ people, assets and operations.

Interestingly, even today most organisations have manual, disjointed and siloed approaches to managing critical events. This makes it challenging to have them work in a synchronised manner.

The main goal of an integrated platform like the Everbridge CEM suite is to remove these silos and disjointed workflows and drive a more collaborated and effective effort.  This coordinated and cohesive environment is conducive to implementing a common platform-based strategy.

He then proposed what organisations should ideally do to effectively manage a critical event. The four necessary steps include:

  • Assess the context and severity of the event
  • Locate stakeholders and assets
  • Act by informing, notifying, rallying, mitigating and fixing the impact
  • Analyse the organisation’s performance by reporting, complying and learning

These are four components form the ethos of the Everbridge critical event management suite and everything is built on these pillars.

Graeme concluded his address by explaining how automation of the management process can help enhance organisational resilience in the new normal.

The Scottish Local Government’s phased approach of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic

Martyn: On the three-phase approach deal with the pandemic

After Graeme, Martyn Wallace, Chief Digital Officer, Scottish Local Government Digital Office gave a summary of how they managed the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Scottish government followed a phased approach comprising of 3 major phases in dealing with the global pandemic:

– Response

– Recovery and

– Renewal

In the Response Phase, they focused on establishing incident response mechanisms, cross-sectional workforces and supporting the staff to work from home.

In the Recovery Phase, they focused on digital transformation, remote learning and strengthening cybersecurity.

In the final phase of Renewal, they focused on digital maturity, review of services and accessing key data and driving insights from it.

Martyn concluded his address by sharing certain principles that governed this process. They are: 

  • instantaneous decision making 
  • empowering the workforce and organisation as a whole to work together effectively 
  • deploying tools that enable active communication 
  • working as a team without silos or egos 
  • working to achieve a common set of goals 
Mark: Opt for tech-enabled platforms that eliminate a siloed CEM approach

Organisations need to be agnostic and agile in managing critical events 

After Martyn’s insightful sharing, Mark Shortman, Principal and Head of Crisis and Resilience Consulting, Asia Pacific, Control Risks offered his take with the audience.

After briefly introducing his company, Mark explained the following three ways in which they assist organisations to solve complex issues and crisis:

  • Building secure, reliant, and resilient organisations
  • Resolving complex issues
  • Delivering growth and opportunity

He emphasised the need to be agnostic and agile in managing crisis so that business as usual is maintained with no fatigue in dealing with crises.

Mark concluded his presentation by advising the delegates to opt for the technology-enabled Control Risks and Everbridge platform with numerous response and continuity that can help organisations improve resilience.

He encouraged the delegates to share their challenges and be involved in conversations with experts so that they can choose the most suitable solution for them. 

After the informative presentations, it was now time for the interactive polling session.

On the first question about organisations’ preparedness to respond quickly and decisively to critical events, a majority of the delegates voted that they are well prepared but there is room for improvement (80%).

A delegate from a major bank in Australia shared that preparedness depends on geographical location and experience of dealing with crisis and pandemic. He also believes that increasing dependence on technology and the workforce’s inability to quickly adapt is a major challenge.

On the next question about having a companywide alert mechanism through various tech channels, the delegates seemed divided between yes, they have it all sorted out (41%) and they have some communication but not sure of its effectiveness (58%).

A participant from Singapore reflected that they have a mix of the traditional and modern ways of communicating like calling, email, SMS etc. They are also promoting using internal social media for this purpose.

On the final question about the instant access to critical information needed to evaluate risks and take proper action during emergency events, the delegates were yet again divided between they have established systems (53%) and they are looking for comprehensive, interactive visualisation platform (46%).

A delegate from an Indian agency shared that because their primary job is to keep track of this information and alert masses and engage local agencies about the impending crisis, they have well set up systems to access information quickly. But he also agreed that there is always room for improvement.

After the polling session, Graeme addressed the audience to close the session. He expressed his deep gratitude to the participants for taking the time to join the session and for their insightful contributions to the topic at hand.

He left the delegates with a simple but powerful message highlighting the importance of Prepare, Pursue, Protect and Prevent; ad these 4 Ps need to be executed with Speed, Scale and Simplicity (3Ss). These are the key components of the Everbridge Critical Event Management Suite.

Graeme urged the delegates to not let the experience from the pandemic go to waste but to learn to be better prepared and more resilient.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced the launch of the Green and Sustainability-Linked Loan Grant Scheme (GSLS) yesterday, which will be effective from the 1st January 2021.

The Loan Grant Scheme aims to support corporates of all sizes to obtain green and sustainable financing by covering the expenses of independent service providers to validate the green and sustainability credentials of the loan.

The grant also encourages banks to develop green and sustainability-linked loan frameworks to make this kind of financing more accessible to small and medium-sized enterprises.

Mr Ravi Menon, Managing Director of MAS, said, “Loans are a key source of financing across Asia – be it for individuals, SMEs, or large corporates. Therefore, there is significant opportunity to encourage firms across different industries to transition to more sustainable practices through green and sustainability-linked loans. MAS’ grants for green loans and bonds are an important part of the green finance ecosystem that Singapore is building – to support Asia’s pivot towards a sustainable future.”

Green and Sustainability-Linked Loans

Green loans are any type of loan made available exclusively to finance or re-finance, in whole or in part, new or existing eligible green projects.

Sustainability-linked loans are any type of loan which incentivise the borrower’s achievement of ambitious, predetermined sustainability performance targets.

Unlike green loans, there are no restrictions on the use of proceeds for sustainability-linked loans, and they can be used for general corporate purposes.

Green and sustainability-linked loan frameworks refer to frameworks that spell out clear, streamlined criteria for banks to evaluate green and sustainable finance transactions.

MAS to cover expenses for assessment and advisory services for green and sustainability-linked loans

For Corporates

The grant will cover expenses incurred by corporates to engage independent sustainability assessment and advisory service providers to develop green and sustainability frameworks and targets, obtain external reviews and report on the sustainability impact of the loan. MAS will defray up to S$100,000 of these expenses per loan.

For Banks

The grant will cover expenses incurred by banks to engage independent sustainability assessment and advisory service providers to develop frameworks, obtain external reviews, and report on the allocated proceeds of loans originated under the framework. MAS will pay up to 60% of these expenses, capped at S$120,000 for such green and sustainability-linked loan frameworks.

Helping Banks support SMEs

MAS will also cover 90% the expenses incurred by banks to develop frameworks specifically targeted at SMEs and individuals, capped at S$180,000 per framework. This is to further encourage banks to provide greater support to SMEs, which are a key driver of economies, and enable individuals to contribute to the sustainability agenda by integrating sustainability considerations in their financing decisions.

Finance Action plan to promote sustainable development in Singapore and the region

The GSLS is an initiative under MAS’ Green Finance Action Plan, and will support MAS’ aim to develop green and sustainable financial markets and products to support Asia’s transition to a low-carbon future.

The grant will help to channel more financing towards green projects and enhance corporates’ sustainability practices.

To promote the transparency and integrity of green and sustainable financing flows, MAS will require corporates to engage independent sustainability assessment and service providers and obtain independent external reviews on these loans to demonstrate alignment with internationally-recognised standards.

BNP Paribas, OCBC Bank and UOB have introduced innovative green and sustainability-linked loan frameworks that will qualify for the scheme.

The banks’ frameworks feature standardised criteria and processes, which will streamline assessments of green and sustainable lending to corporates, and support the banks’ clients in financing circular economy projects, renewable energy, energy efficiency activities, and promote sustainable supply chain practices; activities that promote sustainable development in Singapore and the region.

The NUS School of Design and Environment 4 (SDE4) is the first building in Southeast Asia to be awarded the stringent Zero Energy Certification by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI), one of the world’s most prestigious sustainability organisations.

The Zero Energy certification by ILFI is based on actual performance and awarded to green buildings where 100 per cent of its energy needs on a net annual basis is supplied by on-site renewable energy sources, with no combustion.

It is the only performance-based standard of its kind operating globally. The ILFI is an international environmental non-profit organisation, which also administers the flagship Living Building Challenge, the world’s most rigorous green building standard.

“As the world addresses climate change, it is critical to see buildings like the NUS School of Design and Environment 4 move aggressively to earn Zero Energy Certification. This fantastic project shows that project teams can rise to the challenge by creating buildings that produce more energy than they use, serving as a model for other universities in Singapore, across Southeast Asia, and around the world,” said Mr Shawn Hesse, Director of Business Development at the ILFI.

SDE4 is Singapore’s first new-build net-zero energy building.

SDE4 has been operational since 2019 and consists of a range of sustainable design features that have been  integrated into its architecture to “not only deliver user health and comfort in the tropical context but also meticulously programmed to be highly energy efficient.”

One of its key features is a large overhanging roof which has more than 1,200 photovoltaic (PV) panels to harness solar energy to meet the energy demands of the building.

It also features an innovative hybrid cooling system to effectively manage the building’s energy consumption, supplying 100 per cent fresh pre-cooled air, albeit at higher temperatures and humidity levels than in a conventional system, and augments this with an elevated airspeed by ceiling fans.

Achieving net-positive energy

Based on SDE4’s annual studies and energy audits before the COVID-19 circuit breaker period in Singapore, SDE4 has performed beyond its net-zero design intent.

Professor Lam Khee Poh, Dean of SDE, said, “The fact that the building exceeded its original energy target chronicles an important milestone in SDE’s ‘Well & Green’ vision for environmental stewardship. We are now progressively expanding our sustainability targets from net-zero energy buildings to integrated zero carbon developments.”

There are three key reasons for improved performance:

Enhanced energy production: The PV panels are not only capable of meeting the building’s energy demand, but are expected to feed higher surplus of energy back to the electricity grid over their whole lifespan (25 years) due to higher PV efficiency and better overall performance.

Tight building control and operation management: Allowed a reduction of the building Energy Use Intensity (EUI) – the building’s energy use divided by its area, from a designed 65 kWh/m2/year to an operational 55 kWh/m2/year.

Hybrid cooling system performance: Energy consumption for cooling is reduced by more than 20 per cent compared to conventional air-conditioning.

International Multi-award Winning Building

SDE4 has won multiple awards for its green design and architecture, including the Architecture MasterPrize 2020 in Institutional Architecture Category, and the Blueprint Awards 2019, Best Public Use Project with Public Funding.

The building was awarded the Green Mark Platinum certification by Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority.

It was also the first university building in the world to achieve WELL Certified™ Gold, and the first building in Singapore to be conferred the WELL Certification, a premier building standard by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) in September 2019.


Photo Credit:


The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) on Friday launched a mobile application that can identify and block scam messages and phone calls.

The National Crime Prevention Council’s Year-End Crime Prevention Campaign was held virtually on 20 November 2020 whereby the NCPC unveiled the new mobile application – ScamShield. ScamShield compares an incoming call against a list maintained by the Singapore Police Force to determine if the number has been used for illegal purposes and blocks it.

The app uses artificial intelligence to identify keywords in messages from unknown contacts, these messages will be moved into a junk folder created on your phone by the app, just like what email inboxes do.

ScamShield has been jointly developed with the National Crime Prevention Council and Government Technology Agency, is available only on iOS devices and can be downloaded from Apple’s App Store for free.

The app blocks calls from a database of blocked numbers, managed centrally by the National Crime Prevention Council and Singapore Police Force (SPF). Users can report scam messages and calls through the app, which will be added to the database and shared with the police. The council added that ScamShield does not have access to the user’s contact list, location or personal data. The app does not require users to register with their mobile numbers either.

Mr Desmond Tan, Minister of State for Home Affairs, was a special guest at the virtual event on Friday and said that the number of scam cases has been on the rise and asked people to be vigilant when giving personal information to anyone.

ScamShield is easy to deploy in 3 simple steps and has many security features.

Download from App Store

Search for Scamshield on the App Store or click on this link. Do not download applications that are not from the official Apple Store.

Block known scam callers

ScamShield compares an incoming call against a list maintained by the Singapore Police Force to determine if the number has been used for illegal purposes and blocks it.

  • Open Settings
  • Tap Phone
  • Tap Call Blocking & Identification
  • Enable Scamshield

Filter Scam SMSes

When you receive an SMS from an unknown contact, ScamShield will determine if the SMS is a scam using an on-device algorithm, and filter the messages to a junk SMS folder. Scam SMSes will be sent to NCPC and SPF for collation. This keeps the app updated and will help protect others from such scam calls and messages. To Enable auto spam SMS filter:

  • Open Settings
  • Tap Messages
  • Tap Unknown & Spam
  • Enable Scamshield

Report Scam Messages

You can also report scam messages from other chat apps such as WhatsApp, Wechat, IMO, Viber, etc. You can forward the messages via ScamShield’s in-app reporting function. The Council have also said that the app will be available soon for Android users once some issues have been resolved.

Photo Credit:

Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 - OpenGov Asia

He overcame all obstacles to reach his destination: Entrepreneur of the Year (2017). Listen to our leader’s inspiring story.