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23-04-2017
Hong Kong retailers see turnaround in the horizon

The PwC Total Retail Survey 2017 noted that 40% of surveyed consumers in Hong Kong use their mobile to make a purchase once a month.Reading the introduction to the report “PwC Disruptive Face of the Retail and Consumer Products Sector in China and Hong Kong” you’d be forgiven into thinking that China and Hong Kong are heading for dark days as China’s economy slows and with it, the fate of Hong Kong.But the consultant actually says adjustments being taken by the city’s retailers and consumer companies bode well for a bright future, including the proliferation of different O2O models, a raft of price and product portfolio changes and a different high street shop mix may actually spell growth throughout the forecast period (2016-2020).This is a sentiment reflected by the Hays Quarterly tracker report which projects a positive outlook for the coming quarter. The Hays Quarterly Report tracks recruitment trends in Hong Kong and reveals that over the April to June period, a range of quality roles are coming to market for retail professionals.“At the end of last year many retail professionals were predicting a slump in turnover for 2017 and thus a shortage of quality opportunities coming to market, but in reality the sector is gaining strength,” says Dean Stallard, regional director for Hays in Hong Kong.“The current market is stable and employers are creating a number of quality new positions, which will hopefully prevent experienced talent leaving the sector to join other industries they perceive to offer greater employment security,” he adds.“Certainly, e-commerce management roles should be plentiful this quarter. Candidates should note that many companies are focused on increasing their market share regionally and looking to their e-commerce talent to help make this happen.”Hiring the right digital marketing talent is also crucial to companies achieving regional success through greater brand awareness. As a result, Hays expects to see more opportunities for digital marketers in the retail sector over the quarter.In the more traditional end of retail recruitment, we are seeing a number of frontline in-store roles coming to market and this is expected to continue throughout the quarter.“For all roles, employers are placing greater importance on a candidate’s soft skills and will test accordingly during the recruitment process, so its important candidates are well prepared for interviews,” says Dean.“Certainly, retail is becoming more sophisticated and in response, we are seeing a number of senior candidates undertaking a master’s degree in business management or completing more general management courses to boost their promotion prospects,” he says.“Junior candidates are also taking on additional training in their own time. However, many are also moving jobs frequently to achieve career advancement and this could work against them as the recruitment market strengthens,” concludes Dean.

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23-04-2017
Versatile banking Trojan caught in the wild

Need a light? Be warned a new Flashlight widget available on Google Play is a banking malware in disguise. As it turns your smartphone into a flashlight, it will start to siphon off victims’ banking credentials by infection apps installed on the phone.Based on commands from its C&C server, the Trojan.Android/Charger.B trojan can display fake screens mimicking legitimate apps, lock infected devices to hide fraudulent activity and intercept SMS and display fake notifications in order to bypass 2-factor-authentication.It is a backward compatible app so it works on all versions of Android.How it worksIn a nutshell: the malware obtains HTML code based on apps installed on the victim’s device and uses the code to overlay the apps with fake screens after they’re launched.It’s more cunning than that though. As soon as the app is installed and launched, it requests device administrator rights. Users with Android 6.0 and above also need to manually permit usage access and drawing over other apps. With the rights and permissions granted, the app hides its icon, appearing on the device only as a widget. The actual payload is encrypted in the assets of the APK file installed from Google Play, evading detection of its malicious functionality. The payload is dropped, decrypted and executed when the victim runs the app. The Trojan first registers the infected device to the attackers’ server. Apart from sending device information and a list of installed applications, the malware gets up close and personal with its victims – it also attaches a picture of the device owner taken by the front camera. If the sent information indicates the device is located in Russia, Ukraine or Belarus, the C&C commands the malware to stop its activity – most likely to avoid prosecution of the attackers in their home countries. Based on the apps found installed on the infected device, the C&C sends corresponding fake activity in the form of a malicious HTML code. The HTML is displayed in WebView after the victim launches one of the targeted apps. Legitimate activity is then overlaid by a fake screen requesting victim’s credit card details or banking app credentials. However, like we mentioned before, specifying what apps qualify as “targeted” is tricky, as the requested HTML varies based on what apps are installed on the particular device. During our research, we’ve seen fake screens for Commbank, NAB and Westpac Mobile Banking, but also for Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Google Play. The credentials inserted into the fake forms are sent unencrypted to the attackers’ C&C server. As for the device locking, we suspect this function enters the picture when cashing out the compromised bank accounts. The attackers can remotely lock devices with a fake update lookalike screen to hide fraudulent activity from victims, as well as to ensure they can’t interfere. To communicate with C&C, the Trojan misuses Firebase Cloud Messages (FCM), which is the first time we’ve seen Android malware using this communication channel. Based on our research, the app is a modified version of Android/Charger, first discovered by Check Point researchers in January 2017. Unlike the first version that primarily extorted victims by locking their devices and demanding ransom, the attackers behind Charger are now trying their luck with phishing for banking credentials – an evolution rather rare in the world of Android malware. With its fake login screens and locking capabilities, Android/Charger.B also bears some resemblance to the banking malware we discovered and analyzed in February. What makes this latest discovery more dangerous, however, is the fact that its target can be dynamically updated, as opposed to being hardcoded in the malware – opening unlimited options for future misuse.Good and bad newsThe good news is that it was pulled out of the Google Play store on April 10 but as it was uploaded on March 30, ESET estimates up to 5,000 users may have been victimized by the app.To find if you are infected, ESET suggests to go to Setting > Application Manager/Apps > Flashlight Widget.While locating the app is simple, uninstalling it is a whole another story. The trojan tries to prevent getting uninstalled by not allowing victims to turn off the active device administrator – a necessary step for removing the app. When trying to deactivate the rights, the pop-up screen doesn’t go away until you change your mind and click “activate” again.In such a case, the app can be uninstalled by booting your device into Safe mode, which will enable you to go through the two steps of removing the malicious app.Play safeTo avoid dealing with the consequences of mobile malware, prevention is always the key.Whenever possible, opt for official app stores when downloading apps. Although not flawless, Google Play does employ advanced security mechanisms to keep malware out, which doesn’t have to be the case with alternative stores.When in doubt about installing an app, check its popularity by number of installs, ratings and, most importantly, content of reviews. After running anything you’ve installed on your mobile device, pay attention to what permissions and rights it requests. If an app asks for permissions that don’t seem adequate to its function – like device administrator rights for a Flashlight app – you might want to rethink your choice.Last but not least, use a reputable mobile security solution to protect your device from latest threats.Feature photo courtesy of iStockPhoto Caption: photo courtesy of iStockphoto

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21-04-2017
HK’s technology talent market more dynamic than ever before

Hong Kong employers are facing an even greater challenge to retain finance technology and IT talent this quarter with more candidates restless for new opportunities, according to recruiting experts Hays.The Hays Quarterly Report tracks recruitment trends in Hong Kong and reveals that technology candidates are upskilling in their own time in readiness for a job move from April onwards.“Many finance technology candidates are giving notice or planning to do so after receiving their annual bonus and this is only increasing the intensity of the hiring challenge for many employers,” says Dean Stallard, Regional Director for Hays in Hong Kong.“We are seeing an increasing number of employers recruiting from regions outside of Hong Kong, especially for newer technology skill sets as local candidates with the right skills are hard to find,” Dean says.One area which is primed ready for a period of active recruitment is security especially in banks and financial institutions. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s Cybersecurity Fortification Initiative requires financial institutions to fund additional resources this year to satisfy regulatory assessments and this is impacting recruitment demand.New talent is needed to fill roles including ethical hackers, IT security managers, IT risk professionals and, for those with the largest hiring budgets, more IT auditors as well. Other roles in demand over April to June include penetration testers to identify and create solutions to respond to threats/vulnerabilities.“In the digital technology talent market, java/core java developers are one of the roles in greatest demand this quarter to fill roles across all levels,” Dean explains. “Although smaller companies that don’t use Java are generating good demand for candidates with python, C# .NET, PHP."“Technical business analysts and project managers are also in strong demand to act as a liaison between business users and the technology delivery team. To succeed, candidates must not only have solid technical skills but also excellent communication skills.”We are seeing employers place greater emphasis on soft skills when hiring for a range of roles. Many candidates are studying in their own time to receive certifications in demand but investing some time in developing their soft skills will also pay off on the job market.“Looking at the wider technology talent market this quarter, we are seeing demand for data warehouse architecture or administrator candidates with skills in ETL and knowledge of business intelligence (BI) tools and or big data technologies such as Qlikview, Hadoop or Python/SQL,” Dean says.In the IT network and infrastructure space, network engineers with a background in CISCO and/or Juniper remain very much in demand.BI roles are also in demand and mostly permanent, but candidates should take note that employers are looking to hire those proficient in both Cantonese and Mandarin due to the volume of business taking place business is in China.Finally, with a number of companies in Hong Kong launching or planning digital transformation projects, we are seeing a number of head of digital roles coming to market.

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21-04-2017
Singapore’s top 10 IT jobs set for the biggest salary gains in 2017

Demand for highly-skilled IT professionals is heating up in Singapore, with salaries for specialized IT security professionals set to grow well above the national average, according to the 2017 Robert Half Salary Guide.The guide has identified the technology roles that can expect the highest pay gains in terms of starting salaries in 2017.According to the study, IT professionals can expect an average starting salary gain of 3.2% in 2017, which is above the national salary growth of 2.7% as identified by the Ministry of Manpower, suggesting companies are willing to pay competitively for top IT talent.With pay being a significant motivator in Singapore, about half (51%) of Singapore’s IT workforce believe they are not being paid a fair salary considering their job responsibilities, with just under half (47%) saying their pay is not in proportion with their daily workload.As technology is now a major business focus, workloads have increased, highlighting the need for companies to continuously review their staff’s remuneration packages to ensure high workloads are offset by a competitive salary.Compounding the need to pay competitively, independent Robert Half research indicates 92% of IT professionals say they are willing to accept a job offer with a higher salary if they felt they were not being paid a fair salary with their current employer, yet 70% are less inclined to look for a new job after they receive a pay rise. Pay and salary increases remain a primary motivator for Singapore’s workforce, also indicating IT professionals are more loyal to their company after a pay review.“Companies are increasingly implementing new and innovative technologies and demand for skilled IT professionals continues to rise, resulting in upward momentum on starting salaries for professionals in this sector,” says Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard, Managing Director at Robert Half Singapore. “In a candidate-short market, Singaporean businesses are prepared to pay competitively to secure the best IT talent.”“With the growing risk of cyber-attacks, many businesses take a pre-emptive approach to cyber-security by either creating their own in-house team of IT security specialists or relying on security consultants. Companies realize they are competing for a limited pool of top candidates, leaving highly skilled and experienced Security Analysts, Security Consultants and IT Risk professionals across industries in a good position to negotiate above-average salary gains in 2017.”“Singaporean companies are currently in the race for digitization and those that are quickest to adapt and at the cutting edge of innovation will be able to gain the strongest market share. Because of this digital acceleration, the shortage of skilled IT professionals who are able to manage complex IT systems, data and analytics projects is becoming more apparent.”What are the top technology jobs with the highest salary gains?Protecting the integrity of both IT systems, networks and data has become a top priority of many Singaporean companies, and Security Analysts and IT risk professionals play a key role here, which is why they can expect above-average salary gains for the year ahead.Additionally, Big Data Specialists who are able to go above and beyond to support their organization’s enterprise infrastructure are currently in high demand yet challenging to find. Highly skilled Infrastructure Architects who possess strong leadership and communication skills to effectively lead a team and communicate complex IT terms, can also expect substantial salary growth in 2017.“The best way for IT professionals to increase their pay is to specialise their skillsets and become highly valuable to their organisation in an ‘add-value’ role. The most sought-after IT professionals, who are able to negotiate well above the industry average, are those who are familiar with new security software and hardware, experienced in Big Data analytics, and have been involved in a digitisation project,” Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard concluded.  

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21-04-2017
New business and compliance driving Malaysian banks to hiring mode

The latest Hays Quarterly Report revealed that financial institutions in Malaysia are in a hiring frenzy. Compliance to a raft of new regulations is a key driver of this trend, as is the rollout of new revenue initiatives including a greater reliance on data and analytics.Hays’ regional director in Malaysia, Tom Osborne (photo right), calls it a “very dynamic phase” and reckons it is not reflective of a seasonal staff turnover.“New regulations are influencing not only compliance functions but also operations, digital marketing, human resources, procurement, supply chain and legal so we expect a dynamic,” Osborne adds.The Right StuffOn the back of new regulations, financial institutions are taking a measured approach to new hires to mitigate impact to compliance functions covering financial crime, risk and anti-money laundering due to extra governance requirements by regulators.With regulators tightening Foreign Exchange Administration (FEA) policies for banks this creates more roles for operations FEA staff with knowledge of trade and cash operations to help fortify the bank’s first and second lines of defense.Revenue-generating initiatives also mean filling positions in operations, digital marketing, human resources, procurement, supply chain and legal.As with other markets around the region, financial institutions are beefing up their compliance teams even as they backfill roles across internal audit, investigation audit, consumer audit and treasury/investment audit. Internal audit capabilities are being scaled to focus on specific segments of the bank adding another layer of recruitment need.As banks develop their internal analytics capability so expect demand for this particular expertise to rise acutely in the quarters that follow. In hot demand are candidates with experience in credit risk modelling, model validation and BASEL-related skill sets.Other functions being filled in include relationship managers and credit analysts within business banking and corporate banking across both conventional and Islamic functions. These segments have been growing along with a focus on developing the construction & property portfolio to diversify the bank’s exposure and reach.“All this activity means candidates with well-developed stakeholder management skills and experience in project management and process improvement remain in high demand across the financial services industry too,” concludes Osborne.Click here for jobs listing.Feature photo courtesy of iStockPhoto Caption: photo courtesy of iStockphoto

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21-04-2017
South Korean hospital, Novotech team for clinical trials

The Asan Medical Center's (AMC) Clinical Trial Center in South Korea has signed a memorandum of understanding with Asia Pacific specialist CRO Novotech. The MOU formalizes Novotech's relationship with the South Korea’s largest medical institution and its principal investigators. Under the terms of the MOU, the AMC will provide professional and medical advice to Novotech for clinical trials conducted in AMC, including feasibility, principal investigator selection and assistance with patient recruitment. Novotech will help in promoting the clinical research capabilities of the AMC internationally. Both parties have agreed to continue expanding the future scope of the collaboration. "AMC has been very successful in delivering and supporting many complicated clinical trials, including early phase clinical trials,” said Young Suk Lim, director of AMC Clinical Trial Center. “Based on the MOU, the AMC is committed to increasing and expanding its global-level of medical and technological infrastructure, and continuing to deliver quality clinical trial support." Novotech CEO John Moller said they have worked closely with the AMC's Clinical Trial Center on many clinical trials over the past 10 years of presence in South Korea. "AMC's size, high-quality facilities and technological infrastructure are crucial in delivering speedy patient recruitment, quality clinical trial management and robust trial data. AMC has over 2,700 beds and the volume of available patients is huge by Western standards,” said Moller. “Other elements which contribute to South Korea being a leading destination for clinical trials include its efficient regulatory environment and its high standards of trial conduct," he added.

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21-04-2017
1 in 3 digital transformation initiatives pays off

Nine in every 10 (89%) of business leaders say their organizations are undertaking digital transformation initiatives leveraging digital technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT). According to Fujitsu’s Global Digital Transformation Survey which covered 1,614 business leaders across 15 countries, 34% of such initiatives had already delivered positive outcomes. The survey also found that having talented staff with the right skills (19%) and strong leadership (18%), as well as the establishment of organizations that can respond to the speed of change of digital transformations (17%) are important factors for successful digital transformations. It is also necessary that co-creation be performed with technology partners which have the capability of digital technology. To deliver positive outcomes from digital transformation initiatives, it is necessary to acquire people with those capabilities, or to foster the development of such talent. The Top 3 outcomes of digital transformation were increase in revenue (46%), improvement of customer relationships (44%), and strengthening competitiveness of products (36%), confirming the contribution of digital transformations to business growth. Business leaders have high expectations regarding AI, with 77% of them viewing AI as an opportunity. Most of them also agree that AI will enhance the capabilities of people in the future. They also said  the most important capabilities that people need to strengthen in the digital era are professional knowledge of digital technologies (18%) and creativity and imagination (17%) among other necessary capabilities. The results also indicate that, to successfully implement digital transformation initiatives, it is important to foster the development of digital talent, or acquire such talent.

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19-04-2017
Google APAC financial dashboard reveals growing interest in wealth management products

Results from Google’s Asia Pacific financial dashboard have shown an increase in mobile searches for financial products among consumers in Singapore, with a 28% year-on-year growth rate.The dashboard shares how consumers across 10 countries across the Asia pacific searched for financial products over the last year.Key findings for Singapore include the fact that two in three Singaporeans conduct their searched with a  brand in mind when searching for financial products. Searches peaked in May to June 2016 with key interest in the Euro following the Brexit announcement; the Digibank launch by DBS; and the launch of new retail bonds by Oxley and Hyflux.This surge in searches was followed by a slump caused by a large drop in the Dow Jones Index in August.Insurance tops searches  Eight of the top 10 queries were about insurance policies ranging from health, to business, housing and cars; while Singaporeans also showed interest in home equity loans and how to start investing.The top ten search terms for Singapore were:How to avoid pitfalls in getting home equity loansWhat is short term health insuranceHow much does house insurance cost per monthHow much does insurance cost for a businessHow much does renters insurance costHow to sell insuranceHow to make car insurance cheaperHow much is public liability insuranceWhy life insurance is important for future successHow to start investing in SingaporeThis interest in insurance was also evident in the rise in the number of finance-related searches in November following the launch of insurance company Sompo, the launch of FWD’s online life insurance policy, and SingSaver - a financial comparison site in Singapore.Consumer insights by sectorBased on 2016 searches, key trends in various financial sectors were revealed.Banking servicesLocal banks command top-of-mind recall: General banking searches are mostly related to online banking, showing Singaporeans’ preference for more e-services. Search results show a preference for local banks with DBS commanding the most search volume, followed by OCBC, POSB and UOB.Searches for 2016 showed that miles-based benefits are the most sought after feature for credit cards with 42% of same-session searches related to Travel.Business and individual loans: General, Home and Personal Loans lead the category while the interest for Business Loans is growing the fastest.InsuranceMore than 60% of  insurance searches in 2016 focused on travel .InvestmentsAcross the top five financials hubs globally (London, New York, Tokyo, Singapore and Hong Kong), Singapore is responsible for 13% of the investment-related searches driven by mobile activity and key categories - surpassing searches generated from Hong Kong.Searches for 2016 show that mobile searches for wealth management is growing at 41% year-on-year.Top five investment categories in Singapore include Forex and Currencies; Securities; Retirement investments; Commodities and Brokerages.Michael Yue, Industry Head for Banking and Financial Services, Google Singapore shared, “Financial literacy in Singapore is one of the highest in Asia and consumers like to be well-informed before making any decisions. Singaporeans care about financial planning and often turn to Search to help them understand financial products and investments.”

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19-04-2017
Bank Mandiri deploys Cloudera for big data

Indonesia’s Bank Mandiri has adopted Cloudera Enterprise to enhance omni-channel customer engagement with the aid of Big data.Spurred by the success of big data analytics adoption in the telecommunications and Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industries, Mohammad Guntur, Senior Vice President, Enterprise Data Management Group, for Bank Mandiri, believes that the same benefits can be conferred upon the financial services industry. “Big data technology plays a critical role in our aspiration of becoming Indonesia’s best and ASEAN’s most prominent financial institution by 2020,” said Guntur.Bank Mandiri’s wide range of banking services and customer transactions have created an exponential amount of data, leading to challenges across the entire data lifecycle. With Cloudera Enterprise, Bank Mandiri aims to be better armed to overcome common hurdles in data ingestion, integration and accuracy, creating a seamless big data analytics environment to derive meaningful insights and drive business decisions.Cloudera Enterprise aims to help financial services organizations to take advantage of machine learning models to better predict cybercrime, money laundering, and insider threats, while adhering to industry regulations and ensuring customer data is secure yet easily accessible.

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19-04-2017
Shandong rolls out financial social security card from Evolis

The Shandong Social Security department has selected Evolis for the personalization and instant issuance of multifunctional plastic cards. The cards, co-branded by the Shandong Social Security authority and six Chinese banks, combine a debit card with a social security card.The contract, worth $1.2M, includes consumables and spare parts.The project aims to further develop the applications of the classic social security card, which is issued centrally by the social security bureau.The new financial security card can be issued in the six partner banks ICBC, ABC, CCB, BC, PSBC and Rural Credit Cooperative as a multi-application card offering life insurance, medical insurance, unemployment insurance, work-related injury insurance and maternity insurance as well as all functions of common debit cards such as cash withdrawal, transfer, card consumption, investment and wealth management and bill payment.400 Avansia printers by Evolis, integrating retransfer printing technology, were equipped with smart card encoders by Chinese system integrator Boya Wuzhou, and deployed across the banks in December, 2016.The Avansia system, released at the end of 2014, allows users to print in offset quality and touts high durability. Additional encoding modules, magnetic, chip with and without contact, can be combined to be installed on the Avansia to issue any type of highly secure card.The technology is purportedly suitable for a large variety of applications such as secured access cards, student IDs, payment cards, official identification cards, driver's licenses, and more.

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19-04-2017
Inequality widens in technology, reports Huawei Global Connectivity Index 2017

Digitally-developed economies around the globe are continuing to progress due to larger investments and adoptions in ICT.  At the same time, digitally-developing economies have also started to accelerate their growth by investing strategically in ICT capabilities and their digital transformation journeys – yet the gap continues to grow.  Those are some of the findings in the Huawei Global Connectivity Index (GCI) 2017, the fourth annual study that shows how countries are progressing with digital transformation based on 40 unique indicators that cover five technology enablers: broadband, data centers, cloud, big data and Internet of Things. According to GCI 2017, global progress towards a digital economy is picking up pace. The world's GCI score is up four percentage points since 2015. The report shows that ICT has become an engine of economic growth.Of the 50 countries that were analyzed, 16 are considered Frontrunners, 21 are Adopters, while the remaining 13 are Starters. These clusters reflect the nations’ progress in digital transformation. Frontrunners (average GDP per capita of US$50,000) are mostly developed economies, continually boosting digital user experience, using big data and IoT to develop more intelligent, efficient societies. Adopters (average GDP per capita of US$15,000) are focused on increasing ICT demand to facilitate industry digitization and high-quality economic growth. Starters (average GDP capita of US$3,000) are in the early stage of ICT infrastructure build-out, and focus on increasing ICT supply to give more people access to the digital world. 1. Amongst Frontrunners, Singapore is competing head on with Switzerland with only 2 points difference.2. Amongst the Adopters, China and Malaysia improved their GCI scores in part due to roll-outs of national ICT initiatives.3. Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam lead the Starters’ cluster in 2017.4. China and Malaysia are top movers. The GCI data observes high performance dividends in 4G coverage, broadband download speed, and notable progress toward deploying Cloud. From a policy perspective, governments of the top movers are prioritizing initiatives that aim to enhance citizens’ experience with ICT.5. South Korea is a surprisingly slow mover. Despite its impressive broadband, South Korea’s performance in Cloud, Big Data and IoT has not grown as fast as nations at the forefront of the Frontrunner cluster hence the drop in ranking. The report said economic planners should give priority attention to widening inequality, noting “the digital divide becomes a digital chasm”. “By examining three years of GCI data, we see growing inequality, an ICT version of the ‘Matthew Effect’ – the sociology theory that states: ‘the rich get richer and the poor get poorer’. Groups or individuals that have an accumulated advantage over time not only succeed, but leverage their initial advantage to pull farther and farther ahead of competitors. Policy makers need to understand that this widening digital divide will impact every sector of the economy and society. Nations that cannot build sustainable economic growth may also have difficulty in feeding, educating and providing job opportunities for their people,” the report said.Frontrunners achieved an increase of 4.7 GCI points from 2015 to 2017 by leveraging the capabilities of Cloud, Big Data and IoT. Adopters experienced a lift of 4.5 points on average. The slower Starters fell farther behind in their ability to compete in the Digital Economy, with only a 2.4 point improvement in overall GCI scores.Key areas where inequality between the clusters is an issue include mobile broadband subscriptions, IT workforce per capita, ICT investment per GDP, apps download per capita and IoT installed base per capita. It should be noted that a 1 point increase in GCI score is equivalent to 1) a 2.1% increase in competitiveness 2) 2.2% increase in national innovation, and 3) a 2.3% increase in productivity.  GCI 2017 study reported the relationship between ICT investment and GDP growth is generally accepted in government and industry. Examining the GCI 2017 data with numerous economic forecasting models, the report said a nation which increased investment in ICT investment in infrastructure by additional 10% annually from 2017 to 2025 can benefit from a multiplier effect. “Using this economic impact model we find that every additional US$1 of ICT infrastructure investment could bring a return of US$3 in GDP at present, US$3.70 in 2020 and the potential return increases to US$5 in 2025,” the report said.“The widening gap has had a significant impact on countries as they develop and work their way toward digital transformation,” said Kevin Zhang, President of Huawei Corporate Marketing. “To stay competitive, nations at an early stage of digital transformation will need to prioritize ICT infrastructure development, especially broadband connectivity and cloud adoption to a strategic level in economic planning to activate local resources and reach sustainable growth. At the same time, nations aiming to capitalize on their Frontrunner status will want to prioritize cloud as a potent catalyst to initiate a chain reaction of transformation through big data and IoT.” 

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19-04-2017
Victoria Police goes mobile to boost safety and productivity

Victoria Police will adopt a new managed service mobility solution for at least 10,000 police officers in Victoria, Australia. The AUD $50 million solution from Motorola will help increase situational awareness, safety and productivity for frontline officers.The service will place real-time information at the fingertips of at least 10,000 police officers equipped with iPads and iPhones, helping them manage their daily work more safely, efficiently and productively. The solution will also help reduce the duplication of data entry by officers while increasing workforce collaboration by sharing vital information between frontline personnel and their colleagues working in control rooms.The technology will also help Victoria Police to preserve its mission-critical radio communications for essential emergency communications by removing lower priority traffic from the radio network.This investment represents a major goal within Victoria Police’s Capability Plan 2016-2025, which highlights the way the force will transform its service delivery to be more “agile, responsive, people-focussed and connected” Motorola Solutions will lead a consortium of service providers to deliver the contract, including Optus and CompNow. The managed service contract is valued at more than AUD $50 million and will run for a minimum of five years. 

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18-04-2017
How can happy workers improve the bottom line for S’pore’s businesses?

In a hyper competitive market such as Singapore, it can be common for companies to focus all their attention on sales and business development to gain a competitive edge. However, many of them could be overlooking a key factor to improving the bottom line – happy employees.As many organisations discover the effect a motivated and happy workforce has on productivity, a new report It’s time we all work happy: The secrets of the happiest companies and employees, commissioned by specialised recruitment company Robert Half, reveals the drivers behind employee happiness and how businesses can nurture a positive work culture.Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard, Managing Director of Robert Half Singapore said: “So why do Singaporean companies need happy employees? While ‘happy’ is not one of the most commonly used words in the Singaporean workplace, it should be an integral part of businesses’ vocabulary as happy employees are not only more engaged and motivated, they are also more productive and innovative which directly impacts the company’s bottom line.”“Happy employees also generally stay longer with the business, which prevents companies from the extra costs of recruiting and onboarding new staff. Investing in employee happiness is therefore a good business decision.”The report reveals six key factors that contribute to workplace happiness – including:1.    Right fit for the job and company: When companies hire people who fit well with their workplace culture, they acclimatise with greater ease and begin making substantive contributions quickly.2.    A sense of empowerment: Empowering staff to make decisions on their own, or with minimal direction from superiors, improves employee happiness.3.    Feeling appreciated: Establishing a positive working environment where employees feel appreciated for the work they do will make employees happier.4.    Interesting and meaningful work: Gaining a sense of meaningful progress and achievement and being proud of the organisation are crucial elements for employee happiness.5.    A sense of fairness: Being treated with fairness and respect – whether it’s about remuneration, decision-making or workplace behaviour - is one of the key drivers of workplace happiness.6.    Positive workplace relationships: Maintaining healthy, supportive workplace relationships is an important source of happiness for employees."Singapore is globally recognised as a highly competitive market, with companies using all means to gain an edge over their competitors. With Singaporean employees being confronted with a high cost of living and long working hours, it is all the more important for companies to invest in their workforce’s happiness given the tangible impact on a company’s bottom line. The ones who do will reap the advantages and be amongst the most successful businesses in Singapore," said Imbert-Bouchard“While Singaporean employers might think that salary contributes the most towards their staff’s happiness levels, our report reveals there are multiple factors contributing to workplace happiness that go beyond financial rewards."Imbert-Bouchard adds that Singaporean businesses should take a proactive approach towards ensuring workplace happiness by not only promoting staff empowerment and a positive company culture, but also by creating a culture of staff appreciation and fairness and respect for the entire workforce."Also finding candidates who are the right fit for the role and the company is a key ingredient for employee happiness. These are all non-monetary ingredients of workplace happiness, which - when combined - can have a tangible impact on a company’s productivity and profitability."

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18-04-2017
S’pore labour group’s new initiative to benefit SME employees

The National Trades Union Congress, Singapore’s labour movement, has launched the NTUC Club Corporate Membership Scheme, an initiative that will give SME employees access to a range of welfare benefits.Except for workplace protection, SME employees will now be granted the same set of welfare benefits afforded to union members.The initiative is open only to SMEs with memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with the National Trades Union Congress’ U SME initiative. There are over 180,000 SMEs in Singapore.Under the scheme, SMEs need to pay S$10 monthly for each worker, who will have access to benefits from both NTUC Club and U SME. The NTUC Club benefits include access to club facilities and venues, discounts at select merchants, and group insurance coverage of up to S$30,000.NTUC Assistant Director-General (ADG) Yeo Guat Kwang said that by extending such benefits, SME bosses will be able to better retain their workers.Meanwhile, at NTUC U SME — a labour movement scheme that seeks to combat obstacles facing SMEs- companies and employees can partake in training and development initiatives, and networking events, among other benefits.According to Yeo Guat Kwang, NTUC’s assistant director-general, a total of around 13,000 SMEs have inked MOUs with NTUC U SME, and they comprise of an estimated 300,000-strong workforce.Benefits at a glanceBenefits provided by NTUC Club:Group Insurance coverage of up to $30,000 Discounts and promotions at over 1,000 participating merchant outlets Discounts and assistance on courses and training programmes\ Recreation options such as club facilitiesBenefits provided by NTUC U SME:For both employers and employeesParticipate in engagement and networking events Participate in training and development programmesFor employersGreater awareness on productivity-related grants

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18-04-2017
Singapore is top APAC country in Global Talent Competitiveness Index

Singapore retains its top spot in Asia Pacific for the fourth consecutive year in the Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) 2017, announced during GTCI’s regional launch at INSEAD Asia campus in Singapore.Produced in partnership with The Adecco Group and the Human Capital Leadership Institute of Singapore (HCLI), the GTCI is an annual benchmarking report that measures the ability of countries to compete for talent.Focusing on “Talent and Technology”, the 2017 report explores the effects of technological change on talent competitiveness and the future of work, arguing that while jobs at all levels continue to be replaced by machines, technology is also creating new opportunities.Singapore is ranked second globally for the fourth consecutive year. Australia (6th), New Zealand (14th), Japan (22nd), Malaysia (28th) and South Korea (29th), ranks within Top 30 globally.High ranking countries share key traits, including educational systems that meet the needs of the economy; employment policies that favor flexibility, mobility and entrepreneurship; and high connectedness of stakeholders in business, education and government as well as high level of technological competence.Commenting on the report, Ilian Mihov, Dean of INSEAD, said: “This year’s GTCI report shows that countries in the Asia Pacific region demonstrate strong talent readiness for technology. It also highlights the important role of education. Educational systems have to revamp to help learners foster learning agility and adjust on the fly of changing conditions.”Singapore has shown outstanding performance in the Enable, Attract and Global Knowledge pillars. Countries can learn from Singapore’s well-developed regulatory and market landscapes for global talent to thrive and its ability to anticipate the movements of the economy.Asia’s giants China (54th) and India (92nd) are still away from the top.“Overall, a big challenge for China and India lies in their ability to attract talent, and they both face the issue of local higher-skilled workers leaving to live and work abroad,” says Bruno Lanvin, Executive Director of Global Indices at INSEAD and co-editor of the report.“To improve their attractiveness, the countries can further boost their regulatory and market landscapes.“However, delving deeper and looking at the city-level, the two countries have metropolises exemplary in terms of their talent attractiveness.“Shanghai and Mumbai (apart from Singapore) are the only Asian cities identified and ranked in the inaugural edition of the Global Cities Talent Competitiveness Index (GCTCI), but future editions will undoubtedly include more, confirming the growing attractiveness of Asian cities.”Australia performs exceptionally Australia (6th) performed exceptionally being ranked in the Top 10 this year, as it is one of the top countries in the Attract and Global Knowledge Skills pillars.However, Vocational and Technical Skills show room for improvement. This may indicate that the country’s structural shift towards knowledge jobs and services is perhaps leaving gaps in the technical/vocational area.“Although Singapore, Australia and New Zealand all feature in the Top 20 of this edition of the Global Talent Competitiveness Index, these latest findings highlight the increasing challenges that many countries in the Asia Pacific region have in attracting and retaining talent,” says Christophe Duchatellier, Regional Head of Asia Pacific, The Adecco Group.“In 2017 we are already observing organizations across the region placing an increased emphasis on world-class talent attraction strategies and tactics that will support them in remaining competitive. We would expect to see more organizations offering internship and apprenticeship programmes to foster skills development.”Malaysia leads group of upper-middle-income countriesMalaysia (28th) is the top-ranked country in the group of upper-middle-income countries. The country ranks above many high-income countries such as South Korea (29th), Portugal (31st), Spain (35th), and Italy (40th).“Malaysia performs particularly well in the pillars of the Enabling context and Vocational and Technical Skills,” says Paul Evans, The Shell Chair Professor of Human Resources and Organizational Development, Emeritus, at INSEAD, and Academic Director and co-editor of the Global Talent Competitiveness Index.“It also does well on External Openness as it has been able to attract talent from overseas. In addition, in terms of talent readiness for technology, Malaysia ranks higher than South Korea even though the IT infrastructure of the latter is much superior. The country can boost its rankings if it further improves in Internal Openness in terms of tolerance of minorities.”Japan (22nd) has a solid overall performance, although it dipped slightly from last year. One of its main challenges is the Attract pillar where it is far behind the top three countries of this region. Middle-income countries such as Malaysia attract more foreign talent.Although South Korea (29th) makes it into the top 30 this year, it is the lowest-ranking high-income country in the region. Despite being the top country in dimensions such as Tertiary enrollment and the Market Landscape—with world-class R&D in­vestments—the country has major room for improvement in the Attract pillar.The Philippines (52nd) is the top lower-middle-income country, ranking above several upper-middle-income countries such as China (54th) and the Russian Federation (56th), and even above some high-income countries such as Kuwait (57th) and Oman (59th). Its greatest strength is its good pool of both Vocational and Technical Skills and Global Knowl­edge Skills.Globally, European countries continue to dominate the GTCI rankings, with 7 of them in the top 10. Switzerland maintains its top position, followed by Singapore and United Kingdom.      

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CyberLink Vol.103 March 2017

Cyberport collaborates with the Government in staging the 2nd edition Internet Economy Summit 2017

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CyberLink Vol.102 February 2017

Cyberport’s popular Career Fair returns on 4 March

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CyberLink Vol.101 Chinese New Year Special Edition

Message from the CEO

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