Singapore launches unified payment QR code

The number of QR codes for payment is akin to the number of credit card offerings in the market — it keeps growing, making it more of a hassle than convenience for merchants and consumers. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has stepped in to solve this problem with the launch of the Singapore Quick Response (SGQR) Code.

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Facebook to build S$1.4b data centre in Singapore

Hot on the heels of Google’s announcement last month that it will build its third data centre in Singapore is Facebook, which declared today that it will be establishing its first Asia data centre in the country.

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China wins battle for AI investments

A battle of sorts is taking place in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). It has been widely reported that China is ramping up its focus on the technology that is expected to transform businesses and industries. Numbers from ABI Research point to a swing in favour of China.

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StatX takes on Telegram with messaging and information app

Blockchain startup StatX has launched a mobile app that combines information-sharing and messaging features the crypto and blockchain community. While traditional messaging apps such as Telegram is more conversation centric than information-centric.

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Chrome marks http as “not secure”

The “Secure” will be removed from September 2018.

HTTP has been synonymous with an entire generation of Internet users but what many are unaware is that the protocol is not secured. Anyone with the right skills can change the contents of the site before it reaches the person browsing. To combat this, Google is marking all HTTPsites as “not secure” from today so users are more aware of the sites’ security status.

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Myanmar startup Goama launches mobile gaming app in India

Myanmar startup Goama has launched its “Netflix of Games” mobile gaming subscription app in India. Called Go|Games, the Android app has more than 700,000 subscribers in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, and Myanmar.

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YouTube Music and YouTube Music Premium now available in ANZ and South Korea

Australia, New Zealand and South Korea are the first in the region to enjoy YouTube’s new music streaming service available from yesterday.

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App to teach children responsible mobile device usage

Help is at hand for parents who need help in teaching their young children the dos and don’ts of using smartphones and other mobile devices. They can now turn to Tittle for Parents, an app that lets parents protect their children on mobile devices and teach about safe and appropriate use.

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ICT spending in APAC (sans Japan) to hit US$1.5t in 2021

Drones are expected to be in greater demand.
Drones are expected to be in greater demand.

Information and communications technology (ICT) spending in Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) will hit US$1.5 trillion in 2021, according to IDC.

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Coming soon: WhatsApp group call

Conference calls is coming to WhatsApp! While group chats have been around for a while, the messaging app will be adding group voice call in the coming months, according to Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO of Facebook at his keynote address at F8 developer conference.

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Something old, something new

The telecommunications industry, specifically mobile communications, is converging in Barcelona this week. Even before Mobile World Congress (MWC) kicks off today, two companies have fired the first salvo with something old, something new.

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5 things to do when your social media platform is down

When WhatsApp was down for a few hours last Friday (November 3), Facebook timelines were filled with panic posts by people unable to communicate on WhatsApp. Snapchat is reported to be down at the point of writing and again, there is frenzy over the outage. Continue reading “5 things to do when your social media platform is down”

7-minute grace

whatsapp-logo

Ever sent a WhatsApp message only to wish that you could delete it later? Or have you ever sent a message to a wrong chat? Well, it looks like you’re not alone because WhatsApp has introduced a delete function that lets users delete messages within seven minutes of sending.

This seven-minute grace could be a face- or even life-saver for those moments when we hit sent too quickly.

Delete only works if both the sender and recipient are using the latest version of WhatsApp for Android, iPhone or Windows Phone.

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E-commerce to account for a quarter of retail sales by 2025

Greater internet and mobile device accessibility are driving e-commerce growth in Southeast Asia.

According to ABI Research, Smart Retail has gone through revolutionary changes in the past 10 years and will exponentially continue to do so going forward.  Brick and mortar stores are no longer the only option for consumers across the globe to make their everyday purchases, due to significant advancements in technology, both in-store and online.

Key players include Senion, who implements some of the world’s largest Indoor Positioning System (IPS) solutions to enhance in-store experiences, and AisleLabs who provides shopper traffic behavior analytics to help retailers optimise store layouts.  Leading POS software vendors, Shopkeep and Square are allowing retailers to sell across multi-channels from a single platform. These and other key vendors are paving paths to making the offline and online worlds seamless experiences.

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Full PC backup with Google

Google has launched the Backup and Sync tool for users to easily back up practically all files on their computer. This new tool will replace the Google Photos desktop app and the Google Drive client applications for both Mac and PC.

According to a Google blog post, “Backup and Sync is an app for Mac and PC that backs up files and photos safely in Google Drive and Google Photos, so they’re no longer trapped on your computer and other devices”.

Backing up is done by simply clicking on the desired folders. Once done, these folders are automatically backed up and synced across all devices.

Facebook to add ads to Messenger

As if we don’t already have enough of ads. Facebook has announced that it will start rolling out ads to Messenger. With 1.2 billion users, the social media giant does have immense appeal for advertisers.

It seems that Facebook has completed test runs in Australia and Thailand and are ready to unleash ads on the rest of the world in the coming weeks.

The thing is that Messenger was literally forced onto mobile users when Facebook unbundled it from its mobile app. Users did not have a choice. Of course, there’s always browser access — it’s a little cumbersome but still an option for those resisting the move.

Deeper into AI

The keynote address at Google I/O yesterday showed that Google is much more than just a search company. It is becoming more artificial intelligence (AI). Google is specifically using deep learning to help in many areas of everyday life.

 

Here are some as shared on Google’s blog post:

Google Assistant can help answer your questions and find information—but it can also help you get all kinds of useful things done. Today we’re adding a few more:

  • Schedule new calendar appointments and create reminders. Starting today on Google Home, you can schedule appointments and soon you’ll also be able to add reminders. Since it’s the same Google Assistant across devices, you’ll be able to get a reminder at home or on the go.
  • Make your home smarter. We now have 70+ smart home partners supporting the Google Assistant across Google Home and Android phones, including August locks, TP-Link, Honeywell, Logitech, and LG.

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Caffe2, anyone?

Facebook is developing new artificial intelligent (AI) systems to help manage the vast amount of information — such as text, images and videos — generated daily so people can better understand the world and communicate more effectively, even as the volume of information increases.

It has worked with NVIDIA on Caffe2, a new AI deep learning framework that allows developers and researchers to create large-scale distributed training scenarios and build machine learning applications for edge devices.

Providing AI-powered services on mobile is a complex data processing task that must happen within the blink of an eye. Increasingly, the processing of lightning-fast AI services requires GPU-accelerated computing, such as that offered by Facebook’s Big Basin servers, as well as highly optimised deep learning software that can leverage the full capability of the accelerated hardware.

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Youtube: 1b hours of viewing per day!

youtube-logoOne billion hours! That’s a lot of time to spend watching video online. And did we say that it’s one billion hours per day. And for just one site. Of course, it helps that that site is Youtube.

The Google-owned video streaming site has hit this landmark, which is a 1,000-percent increase in under just four years. It uses algorithms generated by artificial intelligence (AI) to recommend videos to viewers around the world.

It is no wonder then that cable television is struggling to keep subscribers and free-to-air television is rapidly losing viewership.

1 in 5 user interaction with smartphone will be via VPAs in 2019

google-nowAdvances in various technologies will drive users to interact with their smartphones in more intuitive ways, said Gartner. It expect that, by 2019, 20 percent of all user interactions with the smartphone will take place via virtual personal assistants (VPAs).

“The role of interactions will intensify through the growing popularity of VPAs among smartphone users and conversations made with smart machines,” said Annette Zimmermann, Research Director of Gartner.

Gartner’s annual mobile apps survey conducted in Q4 among 3,021 consumers across three countries (US, UK and China) found that 42 percent of respondents in the US and 32 percent in the UK used VPAs on their smartphones in the last three months. More than 37 percent of respondents (average across US and UK) used a VPA at least one or more times a day.

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Move aside content. Culture is king!

20161110_094140_1478850013151In the age of the Internet, it is widely believed that content is king.

However, US strategist and serial entreprenuer Richard Nash (above) thinks otherwise. He believes that the 21st century will be about sorting demand and culture is king, not content.

At his keynote address at StoryDrive Asia, Nash said the book publishing industry should start modelling itself as a service, rather than a manufacturing business.

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WhatsApp video call on the way

whatsapp-logoLast year, WhatsApp added voice to its messaging application. This year, it’s taking it one step further with video calls.

WhatsApp video calling is on the way for more than one billion users on Android, iPhone and Windows devices.

“We’re introducing this feature because we know that sometimes voice and text just aren’t enough. There’s no substitute for watching your grandchild take her first steps, or seeing your daughter’s face while she’s studying abroad. And we want to make these features available to everyone, not just those who can afford the most expensive new phones or live in countries with the best cellular networks,” said WhatsApp’s official press statement.