The vanguard of innovation
AMID a fast evolving technology sector, this year's SiTF Awards honoured Singapore enterprises that are at the forefront of today's digital revolution. The awards from the Singapore infocomm Technology Federation (SiTF) recognises local companies that have developed solutions through the innovative use of technology.
To better reflect the rapidly evolving tech landscape, the 2017 edition saw the introduction of product categories that are driving the industry's growth: Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Cyber Security, Digital Services, Immersive Media, and Internet of Things.
SiTF also unveiled its new brand and identity, SGTECH, at the awards event on October 26. The name change will take effect from January 2018. (Story on next page).
Besides recognising innovative infocomm and media (ICM) solutions that are developed locally, the SiTF Awards also recognises companies that have taken efforts to innovate their business through the adoption of technology.
This year, over 200 submissions were received and 61 finalists were selected. Nominees who participated in the awards also received professional feedback on their projects from the judging panel.
"This year's awards are beneficial for the teams as they validate or invalidate some of their hypotheses, usually through questioning by seasoned investors, entrepreneurs or executives. It is also, for the winners, an added exposure and recognition of their efforts, and maybe, especially for the students, the beginning of a new career," said Guillaume Sachet, head, strategic planning at MediaCorp and SiTF Awards 2017 judge.
Khoong Hock Yun, chief digital evangelist at Infocomm Media Development Authority, said that this year's winners featured a very wide diversity of ideas. "Some were going to make money, particularly because they served a ready market, have the right partners and barriers to entry, and some had very innovative ideas but had much more work to do - should they succeed, they would win big," he said.
A total of six applicants won the prestigious Gold awards in the Best Innovative Infocomm Product sub-categories of AI and Big Data, Cyber Security, Digital Services and Internet of Things, Best Innovative Use of Infocomm Technology (Private Sector) and Best Innovative ICM Student Project (Tertiary).
Data analytics startup DC Frontiers emerged as the Gold winner for Best Innovative Infocomm Product (AI and Big Data) sub-category for SEER, a real-time surveillance system that monitors news feeds and automates the process of identifying material information.
Meanwhile, cyber security specialists CashShield won the Gold award for Best Innovative Infocomm Product (Cyber Security) for Frontier, an online fraud management solution that helps enterprises to manage their risk against fraudulent payments.
The Gold award in the Best Innovative Infocomm Product (Digital Services) went to FoodZaps, an innovative point of sales provider for food and beverage operators, while the final Gold award for the Best Innovative Infocomm Product (Internet of Things) category was awarded to igloohome for their product Smart Deadbolt 02 which allows homeowners to grant access to their visitors remotely via a mobile app.
Other Gold winners included Singtel's "Creating Seamless & Effortless Sales Journeys through Digital Innovation" project for Best Innovative Infocomm Product (Private Sector) and Temasek Polytechnic's augmented reality game, Clown Blox, for Best Innovative ICM Student Project (Tertiary).
The competition's judges - made up of corporate leaders, venture capitalists, investors, academia, and government officers - were impressed not only with the winners' use of technology but also their business savvy.
"My panel of judges were wowed by the depth of business acumen and use of technology to create new business models that can be easily used by the man in the street. Some are definitely game-changers and we can see these solutions changing life styles not just in Singapore but in other societies too," said Rosina Howe-Teo, the head judge of the Digital Services category and the former chief information officer at the Land Transport Authority.
THE NEXT CHAPTER
Next year, the SiTF awards competition will be merged with the National Infocomm Awards, a biennial awards organised by both the Infocomm Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA) and SiTF, and last held in 2016. According to SiTF, combining the two awards into one will create the "single highest accolade for technology innovation in Singapore".
"SiTF and IMDA are long-time partners. Today, we are pleased to deepen our collaboration in supporting our national transformation towards a digital economy and smart nation. From initiatives such as IMDA's SMEs Go Digital programme to the merging of the National Infocomm Awards and the SiTF Awards, we are constantly on the lookout to help our companies and professionals seize new opportunities," said Tan Kiat How, chief executive, IMDA, at the SiTF Awards ceremony.
In the face of disruption, this partnership will help support the future growth of Singapore's ICM sector, which has seen a burst of activity in recent years.
"The ICM landscape in Singapore has grown more vibrant in recent years with the emergence of local and overseas startups vying for a share in the growing services and digital economy. This has attracted major corporations to set up their R&D centres or increase their innovation activities in Singapore," said Sze Tiam Lin, senior director at Intellectual Property Intermediary (IPI) Singapore. He added: "This healthy ecosystem of supply and demand of innovative solutions will continue to increase the vibrancy of Singapore's ICM landscape."
Featured by The Business Times on 31st October 2017