Premium Featured Southeast Asia

IMDA to make SMS ID registration mandatory for orgs

Singapore – In the bid to further scam-proof all customer communications through SMS, Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), Singapore’s watchdog for information and communications, has decided to finally make the registration of Sender IDs for SMS mandatory for organisations. 

A pilot SMS Sender ID Registry was first initiated in August 2021, however, with the surge in scams using SMS, IMDA accelerated the setting up of the Singapore SMS Sender ID Registry or SSIR in March this year, where SMS that spoofed or made use of registered IDs on the SSIR were blocked upfront, reducing the risk of scams.

The IMDA said that while SSIR has had an impact, in particular, SMS scam cases declining threefold, it remains to be a voluntary system, and thus concerning the board that this remains to give way for risks of spoofed SMS towards the public. 

“To build stronger scam prevention capabilities, we intend to make SSIR registration a requirement for organisations that use Sender IDs (i.e., a full registration regime). Therefore, only registered Sender IDs will be allowed. All other non-registered Sender IDs will be blocked as a default. This further safeguards SMS as a communication channel,” said IMDA in its official statement. 

Moving forward with the implementation, merchants and organisations that use SMS Sender IDs must register with the SSIR using their Unique Identity Number (UEN), and aggregators who wish to handle SMS with Sender IDs must participate in the SSIR and verify merchants/organisations sign-ups through their UENs

The IMDA said that the said requirements will provide better assurance that only bonafide merchants are using Sender IDs. As a start, the proposed solutions can detect malicious links within the SMS that lead to scam websites; and telcos can then develop solutions to identify patterns of suspicious scam messages and filter them accordingly.

The transition period for orgs will start from October 2022, before the full SSIR registration requirement commences in end-2022.

It would be remembered that at the beginning of the year, regulators in Singapore, particularly its financial authorities MAS and ABS, were urged to encourage banks to scrap clickable links in customer emails and SMS. This followed the OCBC catastrophe in Singapore wherein a phishing scam had nearly 500 customers losing their money amounting to at least S$8.5m.

SME Featured Southeast Asia

IMDA, Enterprise Singapore refresh ‘Start Digital’ initiative

Singapore – ‘Start Digital’, a digital initiative started by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Enterprise Singapore for SME support, is refreshing their existing digital solutions in order to provide newly incorporated SMEs or those that have yet to digitize with foundational and easy-to-deploy digital solutions.

Initially launched in January 2019, the Start Digital program has helped more than 30,000 SMEs to adopt various digital transformation strategies for their businesses, known collectively as the ‘Start Digital Pack’. These solutions are offered across six partners, namely financial institutions DBS, Maybank, OCBC, and UOB, as well as telco Singtel and M1.

Start Digital is offering three new and enhanced categories:

  • Digital Collaboration – These enable employees to work from home or any other convenient locations. Examples include Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace.
  • Digital Marketing – Tools that provide SMEs with templates to create social media ads and manage their digital ad buys and placements on a single platform. This allows SMEs to easily manage targeted digital marketing campaigns and reach out to consumers on social media.
  • Digital Transactions – InvoiceNow-linked solutions offered by bank partners are integrated with e-payment including PayNow Corporate to enable SMEs to generate/receive e-invoices through InvoiceNow and receive/make e-payments seamlessly. These solutions help SMEs improve transaction accuracy and administrative productivity. Both e-invoicing and e-payments are part of digital utilities which IMDA is putting in place as baseline infrastructure for the digital economy. Similar to their physical counterparts, digital utilities provide common standards and ease of transactions for businesses. 

Start Digital initially included accounting, human resource management system and payroll, digital marketing, digital transactions and cybersecurity solutions. 

“Based on feedback from SMEs and Start Digital partners, IMDA and Enterprise Singapore are enhancing Start Digital to include new solutions that will enable SMEs to collaborate seamlessly with internal and external parties, and gain new customers,” according to a factsheet released by IMDA and Enterprise Singapore.

Both institutions have been proactive in driving support for SMEs and startups based on digital transformation strategies. Earlier this year, Enterprise Singapore supported the launch of the PlanetSpark Innovation Centre to focus on tech startups seeking to deploy artificial intelligence of things (AIoT) to the market. 

Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Informa Tech, IMDA, STB join forces for ‘Asia Tech X Singapore 2021’

Singapore – A new flagship technology event is on its way this year, as integrated research provider Informa Tech, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) have entered in a memorandum of intent (MOI) to host the event on July 13 to 16 this year at the Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Expo.

The event, called ‘Asia Tech X Singapore 2021’ or ‘ATxSG’ for short, will convene government, tech, and business leaders for dynamic and open conversations on technology’s pivotal role in tackling some of the region’s biggest challenges, and powering digital innovation for the advancement of Asia. 

“As technology media and event specialists, we are keenly aware of how bringing together the technology ecosystem on a global platform to share their knowledge and talent can be a powerful tool to drive the change we want to see in the world,” said Carolyn Dawson, managing director for Informa Tech

“We are excited to tap into our international networks to bring tech leaders to Asia; facilitate conversations around the use of tech for good and share new insights on innovations that will make an impact in the region,” added Dawson. 

The upcoming event will be hosted in a hybrid format and will feature event segments such as ‘ATxSummit’ – an invite-only conference hosted by IMDA, ‘ConnecTechAsia’ – Informa Tech’s B2B trade show in Asia, and ‘Elevating Founders Asia’ and ‘accelerateHer Asia’ – highlighting the startup ecosystem and diversity in tech respectively. ATxSG will also feature a host of fringe events to be announced in due time. 

“ATxSG is looking at delivering that uniquely Singaporean experience while bringing together government and digital leaders to discuss how the public and private sectors can converge and propel Asia’s digital economy to the top of the list. We look forward to engaging in face-to-face, ground-breaking conversations on creative tech, talent and governance with the vision that ATxSG will shape the outcome of our region’s shared digital future,” said Howie Lau, assistant chief executive of IMDA’s media and innovation group

IMDA has been active in the past to promote digital transformation strategies in the country, which included the promotion of local media talent, and providing training with Shopee’s parent firm Sea for 500 trainees.

Meanwhile, Yap Chin Siang, deputy chief executive for STB commented, “We are delighted to partner IMDA and Informa Tech to launch ATxSG in Singapore, an event which takes full advantage of our position as a trusted Global-Asia hub. In a time of great disruption, Singapore’s vibrant knowledge economy and focus on innovation make us an ideal platform for like-minded people to exchange ideas and spark new possibilities in the digital space.”

Yap added, “We will continue to work closely with our industry partners to reimagine the future of Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conventions & Exhibitions (MICE) and set Singapore apart as the world’s leading destination for safe, trusted and innovative business events.”

STB has also been proactive in many marketing partnerships that utilize technological practices in promoting tourism, such as their partnership with American game company Niantic to use the game ‘Pokemon Go’ to promote local tourism, and their partnership with travel booking platform Klook to promote ‘staycation’ bundles for tourists.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

SG’s IMDA scores new partnerships to nurture local media talent

Singapore – The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has announced two new key partnerships: audiobook platform Audible and global multimedia company KC Global Media (Singapore), in upbringing the local talent of the country by digital transformation strategies.

The recent partnership is in part with IMDA’s larger plans of expanding the country’s media ecosystem that envisions a rise of innovative content and new opportunities for international collaboration.

Audible will be responsible for providing audio development and production training through its program “Audible Accelerator”. Furthermore, they will be responsible for finding and identifying local original stories that will be tested on Audible’s services globally.

“We are thrilled to work with IMDA and to tap into Singapore’s rich talent pool. We want nothing less than to find unique individuals to tell groundbreaking stories that could only be expressed through the power of human voice and create the next great audio series,” said Karen Appathurai Wiggins, vice president for content at Audible Inc. APAC.

She added, “It is a nation ripe with artistic talent but the audio and spoken-word category is still emerging. We hope to develop the capabilities of the artistic talent who have faced challenges as a result of the pandemic, and lay a foundation to new creative pathways and opportunities in the audio content field.”

On the other hand, KC Global Media Singapore will be responsible for collaborating with local media companies to conceptualize original scripts that have a regional appeal to countries such as Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, and Taiwan. 

“Technology advancement evolves the way consumers digest content and sets new market trends. Despite the challenging times amidst the recent climate, our brand thrives on pushing the boundaries of creativity and innovation. We are thrilled to partner with IMDA in rolling out initiatives targeting local talents to develop new formats, produce original content and make it available on all platforms,” said George Chien, president & CEO of KC Global Media Asia.

The new partnerships are launched under the umbrella of Capability Partnership Programme (CPP), which is expected to benefit 90 local media companies and over 700 media professionals in 2021 through job creation and opportunities for upskilling.

Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Shopee’s parent firm Sea partners with Singapore’s IMDA to train 500 Singaporeans on eCommerce-related skills

Singapore – Shopee’s parent company Sea recently inked a deal with Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) to train and hire 500 Singaporeans on eCommerce-related skills of software engineering, product management, and user experience design.

The program is part of IMDA’s ongoing initiative TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) which aims to enhance training and placement opportunities for information and communications technology (ICT) jobs across the economy.  

According to IMDA, the program, when implemented, will be the largest TeSA Company-Led Training (CLT) program ever by a Singapore-based company. 

The program will include 400 entry-level and 100 mid-career Singaporean job seekers who will go through 6 months of training to be provided by Shopee.

Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran believes that strategic partnerships with industry players are key in growing a strong pipeline of local tech talent.

“In these challenging times, the Government’s priority is to create good jobs for Singaporeans. In particular, we want to ensure that we have a strong pipeline of local tech talent equipped with the skills to secure new opportunities in the Digital Economy. Partnerships with the industry players are key,” Iswaran said.

“This collaboration with Sea Limited (Sea) is timely as it will help some 500 Singaporeans acquire the requisite skills to further their career in the ICT sector, which remains a bright spot in our economy. It also signals the scale and ambition of our ongoing national effort to create jobs and training opportunities for all Singaporeans in our economic recovery from COVID-19. I urge more companies to come forward and join us in this concerted effort,” added Iswaran.

Meanwhile, Sea’s Chairman and CEO Forest Li explained the benefits of the partnership. 

“As a global consumer internet company born and bred in Singapore, we are honored to partner with IMDA on this important initiative. This program not only creates 500 highly-skilled, technical roles at Sea and Shopee for Singaporeans at all stages of their careers but also ensures that these talents can access training and development opportunities to build thriving long-term careers in the ICT sector,” said Li.

“In line with our mission to better the lives of consumers and small businesses through technology, we are committed to empowering our local communities to take full advantage of the opportunities presented by the growth of the digital economy,” he added.

Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Singapore’s IMDA partners with Mobile Network Operators to upskill 1,000 professionals in 5G

Singapore –Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has partnered with Singapore Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to hire and reskill 1,000 professionals in preparation for Singapore’s 5G rollout.

Of the trainee count, 30% will come from new roles, while the remaining will be telecom professionals who will be upskilled in the areas of the 5G network, cybersecurity, and solution engineering. 

IMDA said that the program is the first of its implementations from its overall objective to equip a total of 5,000 professionals over the next 3 years to develop a strong and 5G skilled workforce.

The program is in line with the government board’s ongoing TechSkills Accelerator initiative which aims to enhance training and placement opportunities for information and communications technology (ICT) jobs across the economy. For the program, IMDA has set up 5G Workforce Transformation Committees (WTCs) to oversee the planning and development of the trainees’ capabilities. In addition, a consortium composed of the National University of Singapore and Singapore Polytechnic has been appointed as the 5G and telecoms program manager. They will be tasked to aggregate hiring and training requirements of the WTCs through co-developing quality training that meets the demand of enabling Singaporeans to take on 5G jobs.

Lew Chuen Hong, chief executive officer of IMDA said, “Talent development is the next critical phase of our investment in 5G. This effort extends Singapore’s momentum in 5G following our investment in building infrastructure capabilities. We have worked with the local MNOs to unlock the potential of 5G for these 1,000 professionals and will continue to do so to create good jobs and opportunities for Singaporeans. At the same time, to ensure we have a strong pipeline of 5G talent who are skilled and ready, IMDA is leading efforts to appoint credible training partners to develop 5G skills across the ecosystem. The first wave of training will begin at the end of 2020 with the MNOs’ 5G professionals.”