24 July 2017

Get a prepaid virtual Visa account with Singtel Dash

Source: Singtel.
Source: Singtel.
Singtel has launched Singapore’s first virtual Visa account on its all-in-one mobile payments app, Dash. Both new and existing Dash customers will automatically receive a Dash Visa Virtual Account* that can be used for mobile payments at over 50,000 merchant points in Singapore.

To start paying on their mobile, customers sign in on the Dash app, top up their Dash Visa accounts and start using them at Dash merchants and on local e-commerce sites such as Qoo10, Zalora and HungryGoWhere. Customers with compatible NFC-enabled Android smartphones will also be able to pay using their Dash Visa accounts wherever Visa payWave is accepted, including at Sheng Siong supermarket, as well as cafes such as Spinelli and Toastbox.

Yuen Kuan Moon, CEO, Consumer Singapore, Singtel, said “Just one year on from relaunch, we are pleased to expand our payments universe with Visa. We are always seeking new ways to enhance Dash’s functionality and convenience to stay relevant to our customers’ changing lifestyle habits.”

Ooi Huey Tyng, Visa Country Manager for Singapore & Brunei said, “Singaporeans are becoming more digitally engaged and smartphones have become an integral part of their lives. Based on research that we have conducted, two out of three Singaporeans have made a payment using their smartphones, and it is even more popular amongst Millennials**.”

Singtel also announced future plans for Dash to be included in global wallets such as Apple Pay, and enable QR code payments to expand into hawker centres. In addition to Nanyang Polytechnic, Ngee Ann Polytechnic and Singapore Polytechnic, Dash is also working towards adding more educational institutions to its merchant list to widen its reach in the youth segment.

Yuen added, “Dash's goal is to deliver ubiquitous mobile payments for everyone in Singapore. With Dash Visa, customers can now enjoy paying with their mobile at more than 50,000 physical merchant points and also on e-commerce sites. We look forward to introducing more innovative enhancements that will add value to our customers' digital lives."

Dash is available to everyone regardless of telco relationship or device model. It is the only mobile payments app that offers real-time local and international money transfers***, in-store and online retail payments, as well as transit payments. Customers can enjoy paying with Dash for their taxi, bus and train rides, and also at supermarkets, convenience stores and food courts. Since its relaunch last year, Dash has boosted its customer base to over 500,000, with payments, remittance and transit transaction volumes more than doubling.

Interested?

Customers will be able enjoy the following promotions till 20 August 2017:

 New and re-contracting Singtel postpaid mobile customers will receive S$50 discounts or free accessories when they purchase the following handsets with Dash at any Singtel Shop:

- Sony Xperia XZ Premium, Huawei P10/P10 Plus and HTC U11 (S$50 handset discount)

- Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+ (Free S Clear View Standing Cover)

 All Dash customers will also enjoy these exclusive partner deals (terms and conditions apply):

- S$1 short grain rice or instant white coffee at Sheng Siong

- S$1 for any 8oz Hot Espresso-Based Beverage (usual price S$4 to S$5.70) at Spinelli

- 18% off a minimum S$120 spend, plus S$5 Cashback on Zalora

- S$1 deals across various items and discount coupons on Qoo10

- S$10 Cashback with S$180 spend across merchants on Shopback

- S$5 Cashback with every S$50 top-up on GrabPay

Download the app

*The Dash Visa Virtual Account is a prepaid account. All new and existing Dash customers are eligible for a Dash Visa virtual account on Dash app v4.5. To activate Visa payWave payments, customers are required to set Dash as the default payment on their phone settings.

**SEA Consumer Payments Attitude Survey 2016 – Report for Singapore. Conducted by Toluna on 500 Singaporeans to gain insights and assess their attitudes towards cash and card usage, mobile banking, contactless payments, online shopping etc.

***Remittance services are offered by SingCash

23 July 2017

Singtel TV celebrates 10th birthday with free previews, promotions, and prizes

Source: Singtel. Mr and Mrs Chua Boon Kwee were gifted with a Samsung TV and two years of set top box rental for being one of the longest-tenured Singtel TV subscribers in Singapore.
Source: Singtel. Mr and Mrs Chua Boon Kwee were gifted with a Samsung TV and two years of set top box rental for being one of the longest-tenured Singtel TV subscribers in Singapore.

Singtel TV is celebrating 10 years of entertainment this July to August with a lineup of free previews, exclusive offers and prizes. The anniversary celebrations coincide with Singapore’s National Day (August 9).

Singtel TV customers will be able to enjoy 10 days of free previews of over 150 channels on Singtel TV from 4 to 13 August. The previews enable Singtel TV customers to watch the latest blockbusters like Doctor Strange, Moana and The Monkey King 2; dramas and live sporting action on channels such as AXN, Disney Channel, FOX Movies, as well as Jia Le Channel and more. The free previews will also be available on Singtel TV GO.

Yuen Kuan Moon, CEO, Consumer Singapore, Singtel said, “We are delighted to celebrate 10 years of delivering exciting programmes to our customers. Singtel TV has significantly expanded its Pay-TV offerings in the last decade, extending over 250 topnotch channels, live streaming on Singtel TV GO, as well as introducing our video portal app, Singtel CAST.”

As part of the anniversary celebrations, Singtel TV will also offer a free three months’ subscription* without contract, for selected packs to the first 1,000 new or existing customers who sign up for a new pack. The offer includes Starter Packs like Family Starter, Jingxuan Starter, Kondattam Starter, as well as Add-on Packs including Movie+, World Sports+ and more.

From 14 August Singtel TV customers can further look forward to winning 10 prizes, including a hands-on experience driving a Formula 1 car at the Monza circuit in Italy, tickets to the 2017 Emmy Awards and VIP visits to Cartoon Network Studios in California, US.

In addition, Singtel rewarded its 10 longest-tenured Singtel TV subscribers with a complimentary Samsung 55" UHD Smart TV and two years’ free digital video recorder (DVR) set-top box rental. “When Singtel TV first started, programmes were quite limited but now it’s so good. Good choice and right choice!” shared Chua Boon Kwee, one of the recipients. “I hope to have more programmes for my wife and children, something family-oriented so that we can watch TV together.”

*Terms and conditions apply.

22 July 2017

Singapore holds innovation event this August

Celebrating research, innovation, creativity and enterprise, the second one-north Festival will be held on 18 and 19 August 2017 at Biopolis, Singapore.

Ad for the one-north Festival at Raffles station.
Ad for the one-north Festival at Raffles station. 

Themed Pioneering an Innovation Future, the festival jointly organised by A*STAR and JTC will revolve around the subthemes of future health, future living and future work. For the first time, Science Centre Singapore’s X-periment! will be incorporated into the one-north Festival, featuring cutting-edge innovations in future health.

The festival also brings to light the multidisciplinary, multistakeholder collaboration between research performers and industry partners in the one-north community, a key driver that has enabled investments in research, innovation and enterprise to contribute to Singapore's economy and improve lives.

Participants can choose from over 40 talks, more than 50 sessions of laboratory tours and open houses, five interactive workshops and close to 50 exhibition booths that will be open to the public on 18 and 19 August.

Some highlights include:

Educational talks (registration required)

There will be over 40 talks featuring experts from different fields. Hear from the best in the field – scientists, innovators, academics and industry experts – on how science shapes the way we live and work, and what the next big thing might be.

Future Health

Future Health explores the latest advances in medical technology, drug discovery, healthcare and well-being to improve the lives of Singaporeans.

 How do scientists discover new medicines to save lives?

 Demystifying the common cold – find out how you can prevent it

 You are what you eat: Unlocking the power of nutrition to delay ageing

Future Living

Future Living offers a glimpse of what the future holds as Singapore's urban landscape is transformed for better liveability and sustainability.

 Biotechnology: Can we cut our environmental footprint?

 Computational thinking: A new way for children to learn

 Who are we? Using biometrics to create your identity in a digitised world

Future Work

Future Work, echoing the key thrusts of the Future of Manufacturing initiative and strategies recommended by the Committee on the Future Economy, highlights Industry 4.0 technologies for the workplace of tomorrow.

 The factory of the future: A new world of disruptive technologies

 Clinician-scientists: Who are they and what do they do?

 What skills do we need to succeed in a future-ready world?

Register for the talks

Behind-the-scenes lab tours and open houses (registration required)

Get a rare chance to see A*STAR’s research laboratories at Biopolis and Fusionopolis. Find out more about the scientific activities that go on there; including Singapore’s first open-innovation lab, a startup space; and the innovation centre of a consumer goods giant responsible for many of your personal care products.

Laboratory tours

 Visit ASPIRE 1, Singapore’s first national petascale supercomputer

 Fighting superbugs using bioengineering and nanotechnology

 Bioimaging: Can we see chemistry?

Open houses:

 Visit A*START Central, Singapore’s first open innovation lab and tech incubator, and find out what inspires founders of medtech, biotech and Internet startups

 Step into P&G’s Singapore Innovation Centre to discover the research and development that have led to the consumer care products that we use every day

Register for the open houses

Interactive workshops

Designed for those who prefer a hands-on experience, the interactive workshops offer a new skill to pick up and new ways of discovering science.

Brain and Behaviour: Discover how emotions and behaviours affect the brain

Ageing in Motion: Wear an ageing suit and walk in the shoes of an elderly person

 Where art meets science: Stamp, twist and drill – make mementos as you experiment with metals*

Get more details about the workshops

Innovation on display (open to public)

See the latest technologies on display; hear from innovators as they explain the science behind the mechanisms; and try them out.

Future Health

 Algorithms and sensors: Engineering a way to reduce stress

 3D bioprinting: Can we print organs?

 How old are you? Find out your real body age

Future Living

 IoT sensors: The modern approach to monitoring safety in homes

 Biometric facial recognition technology: Can science fight crime?

 Doodle: The animated character that entertains and educates your preschooler

Future Work

 3D printing and AI: Is this the future of the assembly line?

 Cloud computing: The revolution of the logistics industry

 The masterplan: How do our industry spaces look like?

RACE.EAT.PLAY

Organised by JTC, the inaugural RACE.EAT.PLAY aims to inspire innovation in the one-north community and the public.

 RACE: In one-north’s first-ever Soapbox Race soapbox cars - non-motorised, gravity-powered vehicles - will career down a race and obstacle course at Biopolis Road. Contestants will be judged on speed, creativity and showmanship.

Race day is Saturday, 19 August.

 EAT: Have your selfie printed on coffee, or try out the latest raw food culinary concepts. Explore the Future Food Street, which showcases the trendiest food.

 PLAY: Make your own robot or drone at the Robotics Jamming event. Activities are suitable for the young (6 years onwards) and the young at heart.

*Available for registration on the spot.

21 July 2017

Jabra Evolve 75 is wireless, has active noise cancellation

- New Evolve wireless headset designed for bustling open office environments

- First headset to receive Microsoft Skype for Business’ Open Office and Outdoor certification

- First Evolve headset to feature both active noise cancellation and Bluetooth capability

Source: Jabra. The Evolve 75 in action in an open office.
Source: Jabra. The Evolve 75 in action in an open office.

Jabra has extended their Evolve range of headsets for modern office workers with the release of the wireless Evolve 75. For the first time in the Evolve line, Jabra has combined wireless capability and active noise cancellation (ANC)* into a portable, compact package.

Taking its cues from the popular Evolve 65 and Evolve 80, Jabra listened to feedback to fill the gap between the two - a wireless model without ANC, and a wired model with ANC. The Evolve 75 has integrated the best features of these two industry mainstays, and also improves on them by offering unparalleled sound quality, portability and noise isolation.

Jabra says the headset is ideal for concentration and collaboration by remote workers, desktop  workers, corridor warriors - the ones who need to make calls in the corridors to avoid distracting others - and flexible hub (coworking space) workers. Patrick Khor, Jabra Country Manager, noted that workplace trends are towards open offices, hot desking, and workers who are out in the field most of the time but who still require a private space at the office when they return. At the same time, companies are doing away with expensive physical phones, adopting voice over IP (VoIP) solutions like Skype for Business or 'soft phones' that work via software instead - but laptop audio can fall short compared to physical phones, Khor said. 

He shared research conducted by Jabra** which showed that 78% of office workers believe their productivity is negatively impacted by on-site noise, while as much as 24 minutes is lost each day due to workplace interruptions. "Concentration and collaboration are not suited for today's open office work spaces. The least productive workplace is the open office," Khor said. "People are struggling to be as productive as they used to be."

Jabra has designed the Evolve 75 to tackle the problems of today’s open offices, by giving users their own virtual private space at the flip of a switch, while still maintaining the collaborative potential that open offices offer. In demonstrations of the Evolve 75 at the media briefing, using the headset as opposed to using the phone alone showed a clear difference in sound quality - vehicle noise in the background could not be heard when the headset was in use. This writer personally tried the headset and with ANC on it sounds like there is a bubble of silence around you.

"The mobile call comes to the headset, the laptop call comes to the headset. (It's) crystal clear sound," Khor explained. "We're blocking noise around you in the office."

Wayne Lee, APAC Lead for Product Management and Alliance, Jabra, introduced the headset as "the best wireless headset for concentration in the open office". The headset shuts out ambient noise, offers a better sound experience for both callers and the called, and can be connected to two devices at the same time. "We think design is one of the things that makes our product unique," said Lee.


Khor gives the big picture on Jabra and why Jabra headsets.
Khor gives the big picture on Jabra and why Jabra headsets.
Certified by most major unified communications platforms such as Skype for Business, Cisco WebEx, and Google Hangouts, the Evolve 75 is also compatible with Jabra Direct – Jabra’s cloud-based software for headset customisation.

The Evolve 75 is the only wireless ANC headset to boast Open Office and Outdoor certifications from Microsoft’s Skype for Business Certification Program. Due to the vast number of products endorsed for Skype for Business, the quality of these products ends up varying wildly. This has led Microsoft to introduce a new Skype for Business Certification Program, which brings with it more stringent requirements for certification.

The Evolve line has been very popular, Jabra says, and grew 100% by volume from 2015 to 2016 with this year showing similar numbers to date.
The Evolve line - launched only in Q414 - has been very popular, Khor says, and grew 100% by volume from 2015 to 2016 with this year showing similar numbers to date. The Evolve 75 fits in between the Evolve 60, which is wireless but does not have ANC, and the high end Evolve 80, which has ANC but is wired.

Products seeking to get certified for Skype for Business must now pass two tests in the Open Office and Outdoor categories. To pass the Open Office test, a microphone must not pick up chatter from adjacent users, making it usable in crowded offices like call centres, where multiple people are speaking. Meanwhile, the Outdoor test pits products against several different noise profiles, ranging from a cafeteria to the inside of a car to a railway station. A certified headset should be able to effectively cancel out ambient noise and maintain audio clarity in all of the above situations. The

To achieve this, engineers at Jabra spent over four years developing a software solution that integrates both the boom microphone and ANC microphones to create a noise-free zone around the user, with the boom microphone as the centre point. All noise picked up by the ANC microphones in a 60-centimetre radius is recognised as background noise, and will be appropriately filtered out by the Evolve 75. The software can also recognise and transmit only when the user is speaking, ensuring optimal call quality.

Aside from offering superior noise cancellation, the Evolve 75’s 30m range for laptops (10 for smartphones) also allows for unmatched freedom of movement in the office. Offering dual Bluetooth connectivity, the Evolve 75 can connect to up to two devices simultaneously, letting users have one integrated communication solution for both their laptop and smartphone.

Jabra focuses on the growing unified communications space for enterprise headsets.
Jabra focuses on the growing unified communications space for enterprise headsets.Research predictions for unified communications include a US$37 billion market by 2018, and 86 million unified communications users by 2021. Khor said that the Singapore business is getting "this type of growth".

According to Jabra, 78% of open office worker respondents in a survey said that they are impacted by noise and disturbances, impacting productivity.
Open offices are unproductive. According to Jabra, 78% of open office worker respondents in a survey said that they are impacted by noise and disturbances, impacting productivity.

“The premise behind the open plan office is to foster collaboration and improve communication among employees. But despite their many benefits, they have become breeding grounds for unsatisfactory labour output,” commented Holger Reisinger, SVP, Jabra Business Solutions. “Interruptions from colleagues and the noise generated in these environments are negatively impacting workers and contributing to lacklustre performance. Increasingly, knowledge workers are being forced into isolation to do their jobs. The Jabra Evolve 75 provides businesses with an alternative solution to support an open office philosophy that’s conducive to better performance.”

Lee does a deep dive into the Evolve 75 headset.
Lee does a deep dive into the Evolve 75 headset.
Key features include:
  • High-definition (HD) voice for crystal clear calls and music
  • Superior active noise cancellation (ANC) 
  • Integrated "busylight" clearly shows when the user is busy
  • Wireless range of up to 30m away from the laptop and 10m from the smartphone
  • Flexibility to connect two Bluetooth devices at the same time for calls and music – for example, to both a computer and a smartphone
  • Integration with leading unified communications (UC) platforms including Skype for Business and Cisco certification
  • Up to 15 hours of battery life
  • All-day comfort leather feel ear cushions and an on-the-ear wearing style for all day comfort
  • Discreet boom-arm: Boom-arm can be clipped into the headband when not on calls
  • Listen-in: Easy to reach button on the ear cup allows users to hear announcements without removing the headset
  • Optional charging stand
Jabra, part of the GN Group, is a leading developer and manufacturer of communications and sound solutions. The GN Group specialises in medical-grade hearing appliances, as well as audio devices for enterprise and consumer markets.

Interested?

The Jabra Evolve 75 is available at a manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of S$512.53 (inclusive of charging stand), or S$434.42 excluding the stand.

*ANC refers to the ability to switch noise cancellation on and off, as opposed to passive noise cancellation, which is cannot be switched off.

**Jabra knowledge worker survey 2015. 

19 July 2017

Preorders now available in Singapore for Microsoft Surface Pro

Source: Microsoft. The Surface Pro (top left) together with accessories.
Source: Microsoft. The Surface Pro (top left) together with accessories.
Microsoft has announced that the new Surface Pro and Surface Pro Signature Type Cover are now available for preorder in Singapore starting 20 July. 

Unveiled in May, the new Surface Pro has been redesigned from the inside out to give people more performance with improved battery life. Everything has been streamlined and refined — from softer, rounded edges to cameras built to fade into the bezel. At 8.5mm thin and weighing from 767 g*. the new Surface Pro packs the power of a 7th generation Intel Core processor into a new fanless**, whisper-quiet design. The Surface Pro delivers the most performance and battery life in a laptop that is thin, light and quiet: up to 13.5 hours***.

 “With every release of the Surface Pro, we continue to push boundaries to better serve the needs of our customers who are seeking greater mobility and power in their devices in order to stay productive. The new Surface Pro delivers the versatility of a laptop and a creative studio in one thin, lightweight device,” said Veronica Chiu, Windows and Devices Group Lead, Microsoft Singapore. 

The Surface Pro is not only a powerhouse laptop, but also a mobile creative studio with a high-resolution 12.3” PixelSense touch display that supports the new Surface Pen****, the fastest pen to date that is twice as accurate as the previous version. Inking in applications across Windows 10 and Microsoft Office 365****, including the new Microsoft Whiteboard app, will unlock ways for people to be more creative, collaborative and productive, Microsoft said.

The new Surface Pro Signature Type Cover delivers a high-quality scissor mechanism and 1.3 mm of key travel for faster and more accurate typing. A full-size glass trackpad with five-finger multi-touch capabilities allows for ultimate precision, and the entire keyboard is wrapped in soft yet durable Alcantara material, creating a comfortable palm rest. The Signature Type Cover will be available in Platinum, Black, Burgundy and Cobalt Blue. 

For commercial customers, the new Surface Pro will be available through more than 30 commercial resellers, as well as the Surface as a Service programme*****. The latter is a new programme that helps customers benefit from a flexible and efficient scheme which centralises billing and servicing. Organisations that sign on with Surface as a Service will also benefit from technological advancements through periodic leased equipment refresh, as well as end of lease term flexibility, where they can choose to return the device, keep the device, or extend the agreement.  
 
Interested?

Starting from S$1,188, the new Surface Pro will officially launch in market on 15 August 2017. The suffested retail price for the Surface Pro Signature Type Cover is S$249, while the standard Surface Pro Type Cover is S$199. The Surface Pen is S$148, while the Microsoft Surface Arc Mouse is S$118.

Consumers can preorder from the Microsoft Store, as well as authorised retailers including Best Denki, Challenger, Courts, Harvey Norman, and Newstead

Preorder for commercial customers is also available via authorised device resellers including AsiaPac Distribution, Insight Technology Solutions, JK Technology, SoftwareOne and UIC Asian Computer Services 

*Core m3 version 

**Core m3 and Core i5 versions 

***Up to 13.5 hours for video playback. Testing conducted by Microsoft in April 2017 using preproduction Intel Core i5, 256GB, 8 GB RAM device. Testing consisted of full battery discharge during video playback. All settings were default except: Wi-Fi was associated with a network and Auto-Brightness disabled. Battery life varies significantly with settings, usage and other factors. 

****Sold separately   

*****Surface as a Service only available with select resellers and partners

Cards are 52% of payments in Asia, but new tools are emerging

An omnichannel payments strategy is key to creating a seamless customer experience for 79% of merchants and retailers according to benchmark data in 2017 Global Payments Insight Survey: Merchants and Retailers from ACI Worldwide and Ovum.

The study* revealed that although the EMV card standard has lowered fraud prevention costs, fraud continues to shift online. And while merchants and retailers plan to considerably increase investment in payments to improve customer experience (by 50% compared to 2015), more than three quarters of these organisations view security, compliance and fraud management issues as the biggest barriers to their investment decisions.

Principal findings include:

· Cards continue to dominate the payments market for retailers and merchants, making up 52% of payments in Asia

· New and alternative payment tools now account for 10% of global merchant transactions, with contactless cards now accounting for near 2% of transactions in Asia as high sales-volume merchants embrace quick and convenient means of payment

· Six in 10 (59%) of merchants and retailers plan to increase their payments investments during the next 18 to 24 months, up from 50% in 2015

· Payments investment is high in all sectors, with 65% of travel and accommodation companies reporting an increase in investment levels

· Merchants and retailers increasingly expect payments investment to improve the customer experience, but more than 75% indicate security and compliance are the biggest barriers to payments initiatives

· Although 52% of merchants and retailers say their card not present (CNP) losses are growing, 70% say they are satisfied with their CNP fraud prevention tools.

“As commerce becomes increasingly digital, payments technology is critical to improving customer engagement and reducing costs—with 79% of global merchants and retailers noting that an omnichannel approach is key to creating a seamless customer experience,” said Lynn Holland, VP, ACI Worldwide.

“Although there isn’t one path to payments modernisation for merchants and retailers, the benefits of investing in new and alternative payments methods are increasing—in terms of both merchants’ bottom lines and overall improvement of customer experience,” said Matthew Heaslip, Analyst, Ovum. “To stay competitive in this changing retail market, merchants and retailers must foster strong payment partnerships with companies that not only understand their market verticals, but can also help them both improve their omnichannel capabilities and reach new customers.”

Interested?

Read the 2017 Global Payments Insight Survey: Merchants and Retailers report

*For the 2017 Ovum Global Payment Information Survey, which includes merchant, biller, and retail banking components, ACI and Ovum created a 23-point questionnaire, looking at the following criteria for key payments players: significant aspects of existing payments infrastructure; forecasts for spending; areas for investment and perceptions of where payments fit within their broader strategic objectives. This survey was sent to payments decision makers globally in December, 2016—January, 2017. It provides a snapshot of payment perceptions among merchants, financial institutions, and scheduled billing and payment- taking organisations such as higher education, consumer finance and insurance. Overall, 1,475 executives across 15 industry sub-verticals in 25 key global markets responded, resulting in more than 144,000 separate data points on perceptions and expectations of payments among critical payment enablers globally.

Industries surveyed include general merchandise, food service and restaurants, grocery, fuel and convenience, and travel and lodging, based in countries in the Americas, Asia Pacific (APAC) and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

posted from Bloggeroid