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Creating a Sustainable and Connected Singapore with Technology

Highlights from the second Dialogue Session of Huawei Tech4City 2023

On 15 May 2023, Huawei held the second instalment of its Huawei Tech4City 2023 Dialogue Sessions. As Huawei Singapore’s flagship ideation competition, Tech4City seeks to empower youths to build the Singapore of tomorrow through technological innovation in line with government initiatives such as the Digital for Life movement and SG Green Plan 2030. The competition seeks to provide them with a platform to showcase their groundbreaking ideas to create an inclusive and sustainable future. The dialogue sessions feature a wide range of industry experts, public sector partners, and Huawei’s very own internal experts who will share their insights to help Tech4City participants gain a better understanding of the competition’s five key areas – Well-being, Learning, Mobility, Finance, and Energy.


Tech4City Dialogue Session speakers and competition participants

Titled “Working and Moving Smart with Technology”, the second session explored key industrial developments occurring within the competition’s themes of Finance and Mobility. Professor Zhang Weina, Associate Professor, Deputy Director, Sustainable and Green Finance Institute (SGFIN), NUS Business School; Mr Ravindra Kumar, Head, Emerging Tech & Ecosystem, OCBC Bank; Professor Kaidi Yang, Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, National University of Singapore; Mr Jeffrey Sim, Group CEO, SBS Transit; and Mr Rafael Voltaire Alzate, Manager, SMU Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship were in attendance to supplement insightful sharing sessions to participants.

The session covered the following topics:

Green Finance and Technology – Professor Zhang Weina, Associate Professor, Deputy Director, Sustainable and Green Finance Institute (SGFIN), NUS Business School


Professor Zhang started off by introducing the recently launched Sustainable and Green Finance Institute (SGFIN), a research institute supported by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, as well as its four areas of operations – Impact Assessment, Research, Education, Outreach and Policymaking – to aid companies in embedding sustainability in their business models. To accentuate the role of technology in green finance, she shared about the SGFIN-FIDELITY Sustainable Finance Case Competition 2023 which happened from January earlier this year till April.

With extensive evidence that solar energy can be a long-term propeller of Singapore’s sustainable development, participants had to tap on to technology to brainstorm and present innovative solutions for local SMEs to adopt a financially viable solar business model. This included using platforms such as the HOMER Grid which completes complex energy calculations, and PVsyst, a software designed to calculate photovoltaic energy production.

“This dialogue is very timely for the participating students in this competition to acquire both the technical knowledge of the latest technology in sustainability and the soft skills in preparing their business proposals. Moreover, I hope that students would take into consideration of the financial viability in their final proposed innovative tech solutions,” commented Professor Zhang.

Harness Technology For A Sustainable Future – Mr Ravindra Kumar, Head, Emerging Tech & Ecosystem, OCBC Bank


For his segment, Mr Kumar spoke on two global initiatives for a better and more sustainable future for all – the global sustainable development agenda and COP27. He highlighted the pertinence of these goals and agreements to drive action in combating climate change, weaving in case studies from countries such as the United States, China, Pakistan, and Singapore.

Mr Kumar shared about OCBC Bank’s Sustainability and Climate Strategy to be a regional leader in sustainable and responsible banking. He spoke about the bank’s Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) Targets and achievements, highlighting its commitment to the Global Sustainable Development Agenda goals. Some of the bank’s initiatives include maintaining carbon neutrality for OCBC’s banking operational emissions in 2023, being a signatory in the Net-Zero Banking Alliance Signatory, as well as growing its sustainable financing portfolio to S$50 billion by 2025.

He went on to highlight how bank can harness technology to power sustainability, delineating three key areas technology plays a vital function in supporting OCBC’s sustainability goals. Firstly, providing more sustainable products and services to its customers and employees. Secondly, advancing green financing services and decarbonising efforts. Finally, discovery of new methods or solutions in reducing carbon emission across OCBC’s assets.

“Technology has evolved to be an integral component in banking operations as we increasingly look towards digital solutions to enhance our customer services and goals. Taking sustainable and ethical practices into account whilst we experiment and collaborate with industry players, can enable organisations to attract and develop younger talent. Furthermore, I anticipate the innovative solutions our young minds will present in this competition,” said Mr Kumar.

Operation of Urban Transportation Systems with Automated Vehicles – Professor Kaidi Yang, Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, National University of Singapore


Kicking off the segment focusing on mobility, Professor Yang opened with an overview of the transportation landscape where he spoke about common risks and new innovations within the field, specifically within the Automated Vehicle (AV) scene. In doing so, he broke down the technical differences between two components of AVs – Connected Vehicles and Autonomous Vehicles. The former can be defined as vehicles that can communicate with each other, roadside units, non-motorized users and beyond via wireless communication, while the latter are vehicles that do not require a human driver.

Professor Yang also highlighted the advantages of adopting AVs on traffic capacity, accessibility, efficiency and safety, utilising simulations to provide a visual representation of how AVs can be mobilised for better traffic coordination that will reduce traffic oscillations and minimise intersection delays. He shared about the role of AVs in elevating Mobility-On-Demand systems as they can assist with vehicle imbalances arising from insufficient information on passengers’ locations, concluding with a case study done in Singapore that showed the significant impact of introducing AVs on an operator’s profit and quality of service.

“Connected and automated vehicles are transformative technologies for urban transportation systems. They can be centrally coordinated by operators to enhance passenger mobility and accessibility, improve safety, and increase traffic efficiency, even in near-future scenarios with relatively low penetration rates,” said Professor Yang.

Smart Mobility: From Commuting to Connecting Communities – Mr Jeffrey Sim, Group CEO, SBS Transit


Mr Sim kickstarted his segment by sharing about the four focus areas of mobility to meet the expectations of our commuters and the changing demands of our world - ensuring Operational Excellence, Delighting Commuters, Inclusivity, and Sustainability. SBS Transit embraces them as its four key pillars aimed at delivering safe, efficient and demand-responsive journeys to delight and empower commuters from all walks of life. He also emphasised the importance of data and technology as enablers, where he gave examples of how the company adopts various digital solutions to enhance its operations.

In wrapping up his segment, Mr Sim highlighted SBS Transit’s strong working partnership with Huawei in delivering quality public transport services. This partnership includes the company’s use of Huawei’s smart glasses to enable experts from anywhere in the world to remotely view technical faults to accurately diagnose the problem and support with solutions to minimise delays and avoid service disruptions expeditiously. Additionally, these smart glasses are also utilised for training purposes, enabling ground staff to effectively consult experienced colleagues while training on the job. Mr Sim ended off by echoing SBS Transit’s hopes of seeing more of the younger generation contributing to the future of mobility with their innovative tech ideas.

“I am privileged to be given the opportunity to share about the challenges we face as a public transport operator and how we leverage technology to overcome many of these challenges to be more effective and efficient in our operations and maintenance. Today, SBS Transit holds the distinction of operating the world’s most reliable MRT Line (Downtown Line). We are also exploring the use of technology in enabling us to make every journey a delight for our commuters. I look forward to new ideas from the competition to better serve our commuters,” shared Mr Sim.

Tips on How to Draft A Winning Proposal – Mr Rafael Voltaire Alzate, Manager, SMU Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship


Rounding off the dialogue session, Mr Alzate from the SMU Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship gave a short presentation on drafting effective proposals. He first shared on how to define the problem where he encouraged participants to explicate the severity and relevance of the issue they are tackling, before moving on to present their solutions in which they should explicate its innovative element and product market fit. He then advised illustrating the feasibility of their proposed solutions by coming up with a timeline and milestones, as well as explaining the social value and significance of their ideas. Finally, he reminded participants to always check if they have fulfilled all the competition requirements.

Apart from sharing these useful tips and good practices that participants can adopt when crafting their submission proposals for the competition, Mr Alzate also provided model examples to elucidate how they can be applied in various contexts.

Registration for Huawei Tech4City Competition 2023 now open

Huawei is now accepting applications for its Tech4City Competition 2023 in Singapore. The competition seeks passionate youths with a desire to build an inclusive and sustainable Singapore with their tech innovations that could help improve productivity and sustainability in the areas of well-being, learning, mobility, finance, and energy, in line with initiatives such as the Digital for Life movement and SG Green Plan 2030.

Eligible applicants aged between 18 and 35 years old, can register for the competition in teams of two to four persons to win a grand prize of $15,000. They will get access to a series of monthly dialogues organised by Huawei. Those sessions will see industry experts, academia, and professionals sharing their insights and knowledge with the teams before the proposal submission deadline on July 23. Each team must submit an original proposal to solve a social problem based on one of the competition’s five themes.

The winning teams will be awarded cash prizes of $15,000 (grand prize), $8,000 (second prize), and $5,000 (third prize) in cash. Teams that come in fourth to eighth positions will also receive $1,000 each in cash. There will also be an additional cash prize of $3,000 for the best innovation in mobility, sponsored by SBS Transit.

Find out more about the competition through this link: