| Danial Norjidi |
TECHNOLOGY and entrepreneurship took centre stage as the iCentre held the latest in its series of Innovate Forums yesterday.
Held at the Rizqun International Hotel, the forum carried the theme of “Emerging Trends – Seizing Opportunities”, discussing how emerging technologies have contributed to the development of sustainable businesses and have enhanced the way people lead their daily lives, bringing together attendees in the form of budding entrepreneurs and industry players.
As iCentre Manager Jeremy Chua highlighted in his opening remarks, one of the fastest emerging trends is the “Internet of Things”, which pushes the revolution for connectivity between smartphones, tablets and wearable computing with home appliances and everyday home appliances and devices.
He highlighted that Apple and Google currently dominate and disrupt this space after having recently unveiled new devices focused on the Internet of Things such as the Apple Watch and Android Wear devices.
Jeremy went on to share a recent McKinsey Global Institute report which estimated the potential economic impact of the Internet of Things could rise to US$6.2 trillion by 2025.
Adding on, he expressed his hope that the Innovate Forum would provide the spark for potential entrepreneurs to develop products, services and content in the areas of the Internet of Things and that they would take the opportunity to submit their ideas as an executive summary to participate in the IGNITE Entrepreneurship Challenge 2014.
One of the speakers featured at the event was the CEO of Singapore-based ViSenze, Oliver Tan, who provided insights to participants on his company’s cloud-based visual search tool which can add image recognition features for e-commerce and contextual advertising.
Also featured was Darrel Zhang, who is the Founder of Intraix. He shared his views on the Internet of Things, speaking on the company’s leading edge solutions, which include their low-cost energy management system.
Another speaker at yesterday’s event was Hj Azaman Suleiman, the Managing Director of QG Technologies and Founder of the Google Developers Group (GDG) Brunei. He provided insights on Google technologies, particularly the Google Glass, as well as the current trends in the technological sphere.
In addition, the three speakers sat on a panel for a dialogue session, joined by Nicky Wong, the Founder of Infindo Technologies who is also the owner of several retail businesses.
Moderated by Brian Koh, the Director of KRC Consulting and NUS Enterprise, the dialogue session entertained questions from the floor.
During the session, Nicky Wong said that whenever a new product is launched by Apple or Google, it’s a business opportunity for other companies. This is down to the popularity of new technology that is produced by the two tech giants.
He also responded to a question pertaining to forming business partnerships, sharing that, from his experience, you can never truly know whether or not a partnership will work out.
Oliver Tan shared two notable observations, first of which is that successful technology is the kind that improves daily life.
“Technology is a never-ending cycle. There is always technology,” he said. “I’ve noticed that technology which makes an impact is the kind that improves everyday life.”
As an example, he recounted trying to get a taxi in China. Trying to wave one down was met with failure, and a security guard who saw his attempts introduced him to a mobile application through which taxis could be booked. Sure enough, 10 minutes after placing a booking through the app, a taxi stopped to pick him up.
“This is a simple everyday solution that makes our lives simpler,” he said.
His second observation was to do with data, saying that the next big thing is predictive analytics. Explaining this, he used the example of a supermarket.
“One day, through predictive analytics, a supermarket will be able to know the top three things you will want to buy, simply through profiling,” he said. “That’s what’s next.”
Since its establishment in 2008, the Innovate Forum has been a platform to promote and cultivate innovation and entrepreneurship in the country. This year, Innovate has evolved into a series of events focused on “ideation”, emerging trends in the ICT industry and as a platform to provide insights on the challenges and opportunities in securing investment funding.