15 December 2017

SAP Hybris: Majority of Singapore consumers rely on chatbots for Christmas shopping

Source: SAP Hybris infographic. More than a third of Singapore consumers interact with chatbots, at least occasionally.
Source: SAP Hybris infographic. More than a third of Singapore consumers interact with chatbots, at least occasionally.
  • Top 3 motivations for Singaporean consumers to engage with chatbots: 
- 48%: "Finds out what I need and want, and makes more personalised recommendations on what to buy"

- 47%: "Helps me compare prices and other products from other brands"

- 38%: "Assures me that my personal information will be kept private and not used for any other purposes"

  • Concerns about chatbots:
- May be misunderstood: 61% feel that chatbots do not understand what they want to say

- Could be unsafe: 35% fear that personal information divulged to chatbots might be leaked

Bot-powered commerce is on a tipping point in Singapore according to the new SAP Hybris* Singapore Christmas Shopper Survey 2017. This Christmas, more than half (53%) of Singaporean shoppers are enlisting the help of chatbots for holiday shopping, the company said. Additionally, the majority of shoppers who asked chatbots for gift recommendations actually acted on the recommendation (74%). 

Despite the success of chatbots, SA Hybris recommends incorporating the human touch as Singaporeans expect assistance from chatbots to be rudimentary. More than 1,000 consumers in Singapore were surveyed on their use of and attitudes towards chatbots, with the results reflecting that while Singaporeans are open towards engaging with chatbots, they still have reservations. 

Nearly six in 10 (58%) view chatbots as useful only for basic information search, anticipating that more complex enquiries will need to be handled by a human being. Others feel that talking to chatbots can be frustrating and they would rather speak to a human being (21%) while close to a fifth expressed an outright dislike for chatbots (17%). 

Source: SAP Hybris infographic. Singaporeans tend to ask chatbots about product or service information and about availability. Promotions and discounts and delivery details are also relatively popular topics.
Source: SAP Hybris infographic. Singaporeans tend to ask chatbots about product or service information and about availability. Promotions and discounts and delivery details are also relatively popular topics.

One of the top concerns that Singaporeans have towards chatbots is that their requests might not be understood (61%). A third (35%) are worried that their personal information might be leaked if they divulge too much to chatbots, and 13% say that chatbots are too creepy if they know too much about them.

Nicholas Kontopoulos, Global VP of Fast Growth Markets for SAP Hybris said, “The customer experience can make or break a brand. In view of this, businesses need to stay attuned to these concerns and optimise the use of chatbots as one component in a wider omnichannel strategy. While chatbots can proactively offer answers for initial queries on pricing, product features, or book and make reservations, they cannot fully replace the value of human interaction when it comes to building customer relationships. Any hint of customer dissatisfaction needs to be solved immediately, by a human services officer.”

To win Singaporeans over, chatbots need to become more understanding and intuitive – almost half of Singaporeans (48%) say that they will engage with chatbots more often if they are able to make more personalised recommendations on what to buy. Other motivating drivers that will encourage shoppers to use chatbots more often is to offer comparison of prices and products from other brands (47%), assure that personal information will be kept private (38%), provide recommendations on similar and complimentary products (34%) or simply becoming more human-like (18%).

“Singaporean shoppers have an appetite for deeper engagement with chatbots, but what the results really tell us is that they want a more personalised e-commerce experience. Today’s consumer have higher expectations and businesses need to keep a close pulse on the ever-evolving customer journey in order to react to not just changing consumer preferences but context at point of purchase or even consideration. To this end, businesses should view chatbots as more than just an answering machine – they are also a valuable mine of data that offer fresh perspectives into the underlying reasons for sales trends and help brands better understand what their customers are looking for. Armed with these insights, they can then take action to cultivate sales and entrench customer loyalty”, added Kontopoulos.

*SAP Hybris is a new brand name launched in January 2016 to represent the SAP solutions for customer engagement and commerce as well as the offerings, employees, and business of acquired company hybris AG, which continues to be the legal entity until integration with SAP is complete.

Cognizant shares 3Cs to staying employed over the next decade

Cognizant’s Jobs of the Future Report has identified a three-point common theme for work that is centred on the human touch — Coaching, Caring, and Connecting — which it predicts will stay relevant, no matter what new technologies emerge on the horizon. 


Coaches can reshape work by making it more engaging, humane and purposeful. Those who have a flair for mentoring and helping people to improve at things (managing their finances, managing their weight) should hone those skills.


Forward-thinking organisations will focus on making the best of people, and not just the best of technology. Workers with social intelligence and the ability to make sense of complex processes will be in high demand to improve people’s health and wellness.


Workers with a collaborative mindset will be key to helping connect the dots in a technology-led workplace. New roles identified in the report require workers to be good at building bridges between man and machine, traditional and shadow IT, the physical and the virtual world, and commerce and ethics.

Source: Jobs of the Future Report. Graph listing the jobs of the future and mapping them to tech-centricity and likelihood of appearance over time.
Source: Jobs of the Future Report. Graph listing the jobs of the future and mapping them to tech-centricity and likelihood of appearance over time.

Cognizant has identified 21 new job roles, with a selection below:

Skills needed
Artificial Intelligence (AI) Business Development Manager

Define, develop and deploy effective and targeted programmes to accelerate broad-based sales and business development activities.
Business development experience on top of experience with AI/machine-learning software platforms.

AI-Assisted Healthcare Technician
Builds close, trusting relationships with patients and makes optimal use of digital diagnosis tools and remote doctors as available.
At least three years’ experience in nursing or a related field, and be comfortable and competent dealing with software and digital testing equipment.
Cyber City Analyst
Ensure interoperable data flow to keep cities safe, secure and operational.
Data engineering qualifications in agile, DevOps and continuous integration, as well as circuitry skills, understanding of design thinking, and startup methodologies.

Quantum Machine Learning Analyst

Create new technology functionalities at the intersection of quantum information processing and machine learning.
Well-versed with quantum information processing devices, quantum data and machine learning techniques to develop well-capitalised, revenue-generating industry-specific solutions for the future.

Augmented Reality (AR) Journey Builder
Pioneers in the “experience economy”. Design, write, create, calibrate, gamify, build and personalise the next generation of classic stories and in-the-moment vignettes for viewers’ trips in AR.
Experience in gaming; proficiency with the language of AR hackathons, game jams, skins, surfaces, planes, escape rooms, software development kits,  simultaneous localisation and mapping (SLAM) and headmounted displays. Familiarity with development and design of 3D assets.
Master of Edge Computing

Define the IoT roadmap, evaluating the feasibility for establishing edge processing units.
Experience in working on IoT hardware and software, on top of a Ph.D in computer science, electronics, telecommunications, electrical engineering, or a related field.

Man-Machine Teaming Manager

Shapes the future of work and workplace within the company. The manager will design flexible experiences that meet workers’ expectations, while providing a simple and intuitive interaction with machines.

Passionate about advancing human-to-bot cooperation strategies in a dynamic business environment. Qualifications needed are graduate degrees in experimental psychology, human neuroscience techniques, robotics, plus excellent leadership, communication and collaboration skills.
Chief Trust Officer

Build trust by enforcing and encouraging transparent and responsible financial trading of cryptocurrencies with all organisational stakeholders.

Experience in cryptocurrency trading and speculation, Blockchain, traditional currency trading and public relations or marketing.
Personal Data Broker
Administers personal data assets of citizens and consumers. Ensures consumers receive revenue from their data.
Professional qualifications needed to trade on data exchanges. A high degree of curiosity for discovering alternative forms of data commercialisation through third-party APIs to other insight services, and a drive to determine data value and submit and price offers into data exchanges for trade.
Bring Your Own IT Facilitator
Enables the workforce to work better and smarter at a known level of acceptable risk by creating a system for uninterrupted visibility into on-and-off-premise environments.
A master’s degree in either IT, computer science, natural science, engineering or business admin, as well as exposure to IT demand management, business management, among others.


Read the 21 Jobs of the Future Report (PDF).

View the video introducing the 21 Jobs of the Future.

Changi T3 unveils new Central Piazza

Source: Changi Airport Group. The new Central Piazza includes a Louis Vuitton duplex store and a Crystal Garden with a dandelion theme.
Source: Changi Airport Group. The new Central Piazza includes a Louis Vuitton duplex store and a Crystal Garden with a dandelion theme. 

Passengers at Changi Airport Terminal 3’s Transit Hall can now visit the refurbished Central Piazza, featuring the airport’s 7th feature garden made up of glass dandelion sculptures – the Crystal Garden.

The Crystal Garden has tiered garden beds incorporating a curated selection of flowering plants and 12 spheres of artisan dandelion glass sculptures in varying sizes. Inspired by the flora and fauna of the other gardens in Changi Airport, the glass sculptures glow, creating the illusion that they are floating on pools of water or swaying in a breeze. The dandelion seeds  floating across the Crystal Garden represent passengers on their onward journeys, spreading out to different corners of the world. 

The brand-new Louis Vuitton store at the heart of the Central Piazza is the luxury brand’s first duplex airport store in the world. It is the third duplex at T3’s Central Transit Hall, joining two duty free outlets and is connected to them by a linkway at the mezzanine level.

Lim Peck Hoon, Executive VP, Commercial at Changi Airport Group said, “The Crystal Garden is designed to engage the senses of travellers while capturing the carefree spirit of travel, as it greets travellers when they first step into T3’s Transit Hall. Besides the enriched offering of luxury goods, cosmopolitan travellers can look forward to an engaging retail experience in the revolutionary two-storey Louis Vuitton boutique. Without a doubt, Louis Vuitton’s definitive French charm and distinct travel heritage plays up Changi’s image as a world-class shopping destination. We are delighted to welcome Louis Vuitton to Changi Airport.” 

Behind the Louis Vuitton duplex store, the Central Piazza also offers a new open lounge with plush seating and soft lighting, a dedicated working area and individual charging points.

14 December 2017

MANN+HUMMEL opens intelligent air solutions Asia Pacific HQ in Singapore

MANN+HUMMEL Group, a global filtration specialist, today opened its Asia Pacific headquarters for intelligent air solutions (IAS) in Singapore.

Source: MANN+HUMMEL. The ribbon-cutting ceremony. From left: Charles Vaillant, Group VP Technology, MANN+HUMMEL, Ken Cao, Group VP and CEO, Asia Pacific, MANN+HUMMEL, Emese Weissenbacher, Chief Financial Officer, MANN+HUMMEL, Beh Kian Teck – Assistant MD, Singapore Economic Development Board, Thomas Fischer – Chairman of the Supervisory Board, MANN+HUMMEL, Hakan Eckberg – Group VP, Life Sciences and Environment, MANN+HUMMEL, and Jason Tang – VP, Intelligent Air Solutions, MANN+HUMMEL.
Source: MANN+HUMMEL. The ribbon-cutting ceremony. From left: Charles Vaillant, Group VP Technology, MANN+HUMMEL, Ken Cao, Group VP and CEO, Asia Pacific, MANN+HUMMEL, Emese Weissenbacher, Chief Financial Officer, MANN+HUMMEL, Beh Kian Teck – Assistant MD, Singapore Economic Development Board, Thomas Fischer – Chairman of the Supervisory Board, MANN+HUMMEL, Hakan Eckberg – Group VP, Life Sciences and Environment, MANN+HUMMEL, and Jason Tang – VP, Intelligent Air Solutions, MANN+HUMMEL.

The headquarters will spearhead the growth of indoor air quality solutions that combine MANN+HUMMEL’s expertise in air filtration with digital technologies. Besides regional market responsibilities, the IAS Asia Pacific HQ in Singapore is also responsible for global research and development, product charters, brand management and strategic partnerships.

Thomas Fischer, Chairman of the Supervisory Board at MANN+HUMMEL, said, “The megatrends of Asia’s growth, intensifying urbanisation, environmental sustainability, and rapid digitalisation of the physical world, are important for all of us. MANN+HUMMEL believes in leveraging our core expertise of filtration and separation while embracing new digital technologies. We will work very closely with our partners and customers in Singapore and Asia, to actively address these challenges and opportunities.”

Singapore’s strategic location in Asia Pacific, and the government’s move towards a smart and sustainable nation, makes it a clear key hub for MANN+HUMMEL. Together with its year-old Global IoT (Internet-of-Things) Lab, also located in Singapore, MANN+HUMMEL is set to serve a market for clean air solutions in Asia Pacific estimated at more than S$4 billion.

Beh Kian Teik, Assistant MD, Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), said that the company has had a 21-year partnership with EDB. “MANN+HUMMEL has been a long standing partner and valued contributor in the industrial and environment sector in Singapore. The opening of its Asia Pacific headquarters for intelligent air solutions is aligned with Singapore’s push to embrace the digital economy and green buildings. We look forward to the creation of solutions to enable smarter, healthier buildings for Singapore, as well as the region and beyond,” he said.

Beh also noted that a healthier and happier workforce with cleaner air and a healthier building; this can lead to improved productivity while optimising business operations for companies. "Addressing indoor air quality is a key component of the Building and Construction Authority’s (BCA) Green Mark assessment. In fact, BCA most recently published a study that green buildings are not only environmentally friendly, but are also ‘healthier’ for their occupants.

"The intelligence in MANN+HUMMEL’s solutions also dovetail with Singapore’s Smart Nation push. Building and facility managers will be able to use smart control systems to monitor and manage the indoor air quality within buildings, alongside other typical vectors such as energy and water. We expect them to be able to do so remotely, efficiently or even through unmanned devices enabled by artificial intelligence," he added.

MANN+HUMMEL’s OurAir business aims to help owners, facility managers and end-users of commercial buildings and offices know, improve and manage better indoor air quality. The OurAir family includes smart heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) air filters and air purification systems, air quality monitors and indoor air quality management platforms. MANN+HUMMEL has implemented living lab projects with major multinational companies across China, Asia and Europe, and is working closely with them on the monitoring and optimisation of indoor air quality.

Jason Tang, MANN+HUMMEL VP, Intelligent Air Solutions, said, “There are many factors that affect indoor air quality in buildings and offices. MANN+HUMMEL provides solutions for real-time monitoring of indoor and outdoor air quality, and digital platforms to analyse, predict and manage the optimisation end-to-end. This is anchored by our deep expertise in filtration to achieve clean air more effectively and efficiently. We help our customers in the evolution of standards towards healthy buildings, and make smarter choices to enjoy better air.”

MANN+HUMMEL also signed a global partnership with the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) to jointly promote its initiative Better Places for People, becoming the first partner of the initiative to focus on better indoor air quality for buildings and offices. The WorldGBC is the global non-profit organisation driving the agenda for green buildings. Through Better Places for People, the WorldGBC aims to increase market awareness of better indoor environments to support the well-being and productivity of people.

Terri Wills, CEO, World Green Building Council said, “Better Places for People is a project that is truly global in scale, influencing businesses around the world to build green by demonstrating their positive impact on people’s health and wellbeing.”

Wills noted that the initiative is driven by findings from the World Health Organization (WHO), whose air quality model has confirmed that 92% of the world’s population live in places where air quality levels exceed WHO limits. "Air pollution is rising in many of the world’s poorest cities. In some cities in Asia, air pollution levels have exceeded 20 times the WHO guidelines. Asia has 25 of the world’s 30 'most polluted cities' in terms of particulate matter (PM) 2.5 measurement. Air pollution is the most pressing environmental health crisis in the world," she said.

Indoor air pollution can also be serious, Wills said, quoting US Environmental Protection Agency research which has found that there are two to five times more pollutants found inside of buildings than outside. "Problems with biologicals such as mould and pollen from poor quality construction, volatile organic compounds from building materials and carbon dioxide from the lack of ventilation contribute to poor health outcomes.

"Studies have shown that better indoor air quality results in 101% increase in cognitive scores for workers in a green and well-ventilated environment; and workers report better sleep quality and positive impact on their personal productivity in a space that considers these factors."

13 December 2017

Australians are concerned about sugar in carbonated soft drinks

The carbonated soft drink (CSD) sector in Australia is facing continued pressure amid consumer concerns about sugar, says global market intelligence agency Mintel.

According to Mintel total volume sales of Australia’s CSD category are expected to see a 2.3% decline in 2017. CSD sales have dipped 4.7% in 2016 since 2014.

Mintel research indicates that negative sentiments towards sugar have driven many Australians to reconsider their sugar intake. One in three (34%) metro Australian consumers* say that they are limiting the amount of sugar/sugar substitutes in their diets, while three in 10 (29%) are avoiding items with sweeteners. Furthermore, as many as three in five (58%) Australians say they are limiting their consumption of sugar and sugar substitutes in an effort to to watch their weight, while over half (53%) do so because of future health concerns, such as developing diabetes.

Jenny Zegler, Global Food & Drink Analyst at Mintel, said: “With concerns about obesity rates and overall health in Australia, many consumers are now focusing on sugar and sweetener content when choosing food and drink, with some limiting the amount of sugar or sweeteners in their diets. These concerns have especially taken a toll on Australia’s carbonated soft drinks category, which is forecast to see further sales declines by the end of 2017. Carbonated soft drink companies that seek to reconnect with consumers must take into account that concerns about sugar and sweeteners will continue to be a focal point for consumers moving forward.”

Over a third of (35%) metro Australians say that they check for the level of sugar/sweetener content in CSDs and 30% check for the types of sugar/sweeteners. More than three in five (64%) metro Australians say they feel cheated when a company is not clear about the high sugar content of its products. Three in four (76%) agree that food and drink companies should make it easier to understand how much sugar is in their products.

Shelley McMillan, Trend & Innovation Consultant, ANZ, at Mintel said: “Our research points to the necessity for simple and direct communication to reassure Australian consumers who are wary of their sugar consumption. To avoid consumer confusion or concern, products could define the amount and type of sugar or sweeteners on product labelling to ensure that consumers can easily understand the sugar content of food and drink. Currently, the provision of front-of-pack sugar descriptions by carbonated soft drink companies are few and far between. This challenges more companies to be transparent in their claims.”

Meanwhile, even though consumers are looking for reduced sugar products, industry innovation does not necessarily align with interest. According to the Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), ‘low/no/reduced sugar’ is a claim carried by just 12% of CSD product launches in Australia in the two years to October 2017**. This is just below the already-low global average of 15% of CSD introductions launched globally in the same time period.

Finally, Mintel research shows that consumers think that manufacturers could be more aggressive in creating reduced-sugar formulations, with three in four (74%) metro Australians agreeing that food and drink companies should be doing more to reduce the amount of sugar in their products.

“Though there is a demand for reduced sugar food and drink products, companies are not doing enough when it comes to new product development. In fact, our research indicates that there is a definite opportunity for players in the carbonated soft drink industry to introduce more low, no or reduced sugar offerings into the Australian market. Another key way of enticing consumers to stay engaged with the category is for CSD brands to consider developing low, no or reduced sugar limited-edition flavour offerings,” Zegler concluded.

*1,406 internet users aged 18+ from major metropolitan cities in Australia, polled in 2017.

**November 2015 to October 2017.

11 December 2017

Double 12 Global Shopping Festival to woo Alipay users

Source: Alipay Facebook page. Flag advertising the Double 12 Global Shopping Festival.
Source: Alipay Facebook page. Flag advertising the Double 12 Global Shopping Festival.

Alipay, the world’s largest online, mobile payments and lifestyle platform operated by Ant Financial Services Group, today kicked off its 2017 Double 12 Global Shopping Festival in Southeast Asia, including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines.

Globally, Double 12 will occur in 15 countries and territories spanning across four continents. Over 500 brands and 100,000 merchants are participating worldwide to offer exclusive promotions throughout December to Alipay users.

“With Alipay’s global vision to enable smart lifestyle for consumers, Double 12 Global Shopping Festival is our ‘glocalisation’ strategy to achieve the vision through localised service offerings,” said Cherry Huang, GM, Cross-border Business for South and Southeast Asia, Alipay.

“The South and Southeast Asia region continues to be an attractive travel destination for mainland Chinese travelers. Our extensive merchant network in this region across hospitality, food and beverage (F&B), attractions, and shopping will provide mainland Chinese travellers a cashless experience while they eat, play and entertain. In particular, some of our most attractive Double 12 promotions are available at airports and prime shopping districts, where millions of Chinese travellers frequent.”


- Department stores Tangs, Metro and Robinsons along Orchard Road will offer Alipay users discounts of up to 50% on selected products.

- Suntec City: one RMB50 shopping e-coupon and one RMB25 dining e-coupon per Alipay user

- Flying Through Time show admission at Resorts World Sentosa: 40% off when you purchase more than two adult admission tickets

- Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, River Safari and Singapore Zoo: selected souvenirs and drinks at 50% off

- Wild Wild Wet: 50% off the 2nd ticket purchased


- At Suria KLCC, Alipay users will be able to redeem a RMB20 shopping e-coupon and a RMB10 dining e-coupon collected via their Alipay app. These can be used at selected merchants. Besides that, over 100 merchants in the shopping complex will accept Alipay payments, with many offering 50% discounts to celebrate the shopping festival.
- At the Robinsons department store, mainland Chinese travellers can enjoy deals of up to 50% off selected items, while Eraman duty-free stores at airports will be holding a Swarovski jewelry lucky draw for Alipay users who spend over RMB2,000 via Huabei, a consumer financing service featured within the Alipay app. 


- Apartment store Siam Paragon, Siam Discovery, Siam Center, Emporium, Em Quartier and Bluport will offer Alipay users shopping discounts of up to 50% on selected products.

- Fashion brand LaLaMa by NaRaYa and NARA by NaRaYa will offer Alipay users shopping discounts of up to 50%.

- 7-Eleven convenience stores across Thailand offer 50% discounts on selected products to Alipay users.

In addition, Ant Financial’s strategic partners, including Truemoney in Thailand and GCash in the Philippines, will introduce Double 12 for local e-wallet users for the first time. In Thailand for example, more than 10,000 merchants will be participating in 1212 D-day Deals for Truemoney users while 3,000 merchants will offer exclusive discounts on 1212 GCash Day in the Philippines.


Watch the event launch in Australia on Alipay's Facebook page

Hashtag: #Alipay1212, #Double12, #ShoppingFestival