Recognising Innovation and Celebrating Inclusivity at the Singapore Tech Industry Gala Night 2019


(Winners of 2019's SG:D Techblazer awards, with Minister S Iswaran (10th from left), SGTech Chairman Mr Wong Wai Meng (9th from left) and Techblazer Awards Co-Chairs Mr Howie Lau, Mr Michael Yap and Ms Shirley Wong (1st, 2nd & 6th from left; respectively))

The need to be inclusive as we innovate and transform, and for every stakeholder to work closely in collaboration with one another to grow the ecosystem and advance the industry’s growth, were key themes for the tech industry which came together to celebrate its 2019 achievements at the Singapore Tech Industry Gala Night held at Suntec Singapore on November 5. 

During this gala celebration, jointly organised by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and SGTech, ten organisations were recognised as Singapore’s most innovative at the 2019 SG:D Techblazer Awards, emerging as winners in three categories – Most Promising Innovation, Best Adoption and Student Techblazer.  

During the same evening, 16 organisations were also honoured for playing an active role in fostering digital readiness among Singaporeans. 

Addressing close to 800 guests at the dinner, Guest-of-honour Minister for Communications and Information Mr S Iswaran said the tech industry lies at the forefront of Singapore’s national digital transformation efforts; to be truly purposeful, digitalisation and innovation must be inclusive. “We can only advance as a nation if every citizen is able and confident to participate in a digital Singapore. It falls upon those with the know-how, to make sure that every Singaporean is digitally equipped to enjoy the benefits of technology.”

SGTech Chairman Wong Wai Meng shared the same sentiment in his opening speech: “To be a comprehensive smart nation, technology should be embraced by all, and not just government and corporations. If there is no involvement by the communities, we may not be able to succeed in our drive towards building an inclusive digital society and economy,” he said.

(Mr Wong Wai Meng, Chairman of SGTech, welcoming  guests and award participants to the Singapore Tech Industry Gala Night 2019)


Celebrating Singapore innovation

For organisations in Singapore, tech innovation is necessary to stay competitive and thrive in the new digital economy, said Mr Wong, adding that all ten Techblazer winners developed outstanding applications or solutions that used technology innovatively to solve problems, improve lives and society. 

He said previous Techblazer winners have benefitted as the awards have created awareness of their organisations and are validation for their innovation and vision. 

“Winning the awards have provided national recognition and credibility for their solutions, as well as a powerful endorsement when they speak with their investors and business partners. They have served to foster greater collaboration and networking. Winning also helps them to support their growth and international expansion efforts,” Mr Wong said.

Amongst the winners, Minister Iswaran highlighted BioMinds’ use of deep learning technology to evaluate medical images and NParks' creation of a digital database of trees in Singapore as two organisations which have developed innovative solutions that were purposeful for both industry and society. Biomind’s use of AI provides diagnostic accuracy and saves precious time for both doctors and patients.  NParks’ digital database allows for the use of analytics and modelling to manage over two million trees in Singapore’s nature reserves and parks.

Citing another example, this time from the Student Techblazer category, he said the Singapore University of Technology and Design’s data platform, Bifrost, which allows AI engineers to create and access high-quality artificial datasets to train autonomous vehicles, robots and drones, addresses a real issue organisations face, the time-consuming and expensive step in building AI solutions and collecting real data. 

“What tonight’s winners have in common is their pursuit of solutions and services that benefit society. Innovation is not an end in itself. It is a means to enable our businesses and people to seize opportunities, benefit from the digital economy, and improve our lives,” said Minister Iswaran.

(Minister S Iswaran (6th from left) , with the winners of the Digital Participation Pledge)


Broad effort to make Singapore digitally ready

Close to 900 companies, including social service organisations, as well as more than a hundred SGTech members, have pledged to help businesses, employees, customers and the community acquire skills and adopt technology. 

At the Gala Night, the inaugural Digital Participation Pledge (DPP) awards winners include organisations such as Microsoft, DBS, APSN Delta Senior School and RSVP Singapore The Organisation of Senior Volunteers.

“The DPP Awards nominees have run digital literacy programmes for employees and customers, developed digital services with differently abled users in mind, and provided digital non-natives with the confidence and impetus to go digital through community activities, among other initiatives,” said Minister Iswaran. “Their efforts have brought many from the side-lines into the mainstream of our digital transformation journey.” 

As organisations move forward on this digitalisation journey, they must not risk leaving some behind. Minister Iswaran encouraged employers, providers of goods and services, and community support groups, to contribute and make a difference. “This is why we launched the DPP, with a goal of having the collective strength of 3,000 organisations by 2021 committed to building an inclusive digital society.” 

Fostering collaboration to grow the industry

SGTech’s Chairman Mr Wong said SGTech’s goal is to constantly be close to the industry, and to be a strong advocate and active voice for our members while remaining a trusted partner of the government. 

To date, SGTech has grown its membership to close to 1,000 companies. In 2019, SGTech has created more industry partnerships, developed more programmes to meet members’ needs as well as increased the association’s representation across the breadth and depth of the tech industry – comprising both the Tech@Core companies and the ICT companies and the solution and service providers.

“Working with IMDA this year, we have both pledged to support organisations in building their data protection and data innovation capabilities so that they can seize opportunities for growth in the digital economy. Our collaboration will help to foster compliance with PDPA to promote the use of data and AI to increase competitiveness. 

“We will also be building stronger partnerships with other trade associations and chambers, in line with the government’s aim to foster closer collaboration and create a stronger industry ecosystem to enable the transformation of Singapore industries and companies,” said Mr Wong.

He said SGTech also recently formed an alliance with four associations in the manufacturing sector. Together, the five associations will support Singapore companies who have not caught up in technological advancements in the areas of automation and artificial intelligence.

Going forward, Mr Wong added that SGTech will also explore ways where it can make business matching better – by looking at how the association can curate solutions that can be applied on a larger scale, and search for possibilities where tech can help the manufacturing and other sectors.

Minister Iswaran said the partnerships between Government, Trade Associations and Chambers (TACs) and companies are invaluable in shaping the ecosystem and supporting our home-grown businesses. “The sharing of best practices and expertise has helped our companies gain a strong footing from which to build their efforts to scale and internationalise,” he said..

(Photo Left: Mr Saw Ken Wye, SGTech's immediate past chairman was honored for his contributions to the association and the tech industry.
Photo Right: Guests at the Gala Night together with Mr Lau Shih Hor (3rd from left), SGTech's Smart Nation Chapter Chairman)


(Photo Left: Close to 800 guests from tech companies of all sizes, as well as representatives from the public and social sectors celebrating another year of tech at the Gala Night.
Photo Right: The staff of SGTech, joined by council members Ms Tammy Tham & Mr Saw Ken Wye, wrapping up another successful Gala Night)

View the photos taken at the Gala here.

Published Nov 2019