Harnessing Technology for a healthy and digitally inclusive Singapore
On 13 April 2023, Huawei held its first of three instalments of its 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. 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.
Titled “Enjoy Living and Learning with Digital Technology”, the first session touched on key trends and insights surrounding the competition’s themes of Well-being and Learning. Ms Lingxi Xiong, Senior Manager, School Health & Outreach Division, Partnerships & Growth Dept, Health Promotion Board; Ms Karen Wee, Executive Director, Lions Befrienders Service Association; Mr Yoann Sapanel, Head, Health Innovation at the Institute for Digital Medicine (WisDM), NUS Medicine; Mr Douglas Goh, Director, IMDA, Digital Readiness Cluster, Digital Engagement & Adoption; Ms Tan Shui-Min, Chief Information Technology Officer, National University of Singapore; and Mr Charles Cheng, Managing Director, Huawei International all shared their unique insights with participants.
Tech4City Dialogue Session speakers and competition participants
The session covered the following topics:
Harnessing Technology for Healthy Living, For Youth By Youth – Ms Lingxi Xiong, Senior Manager, School Health & Outreach Division, Partnerships & Growth Dept, Health Promotion Board
Ms Xiong started off by sharing key statistics on overall health trends in Singapore. She emphasised the need to adopt healthier behaviours to reduce the lifelong effect of modifiable risk factors especially among our young.
“The Tech4City platform offers our aspiring young talents the opportunity to craft innovative solutions in tackling real world challenges, such as fostering healthy living habits amidst our hectic lifestyles. We look forward to exciting collaborations and initiatives for youth, by youth to make healthy living easy, fun and accessible for all,” said Ms Xiong.
At the end of her speech, Ms Xiong reiterated that there is more to be done to improve the health outcomes and quality of life for our youths and society. She encouraged participants to harness technology develop innovative solutions to nudge youth towards leading a healthy living.
Understanding Singapore’s Eldercare Landscape & The Challenges – Ms Karen Wee, Executive Director, Lions Befrienders Service Association
During her segment, Ms Wee touched on a salient issue which is impacting many societies globally – ageing populations, and how Singapore is not spared from this situation. She shared that if the Singaporean population continues ageing at the same rate, one in four Singaporeans will be aged 65 and above, and two working adults will have to support a senior within that age range by 2030. She added that Singaporeans will experience the increasing impact as an ageing population as we deal with a wider range of responsibilities including higher tax rates, increasing healthcare costs, and lesser resources and support channelled towards youth.
Ms Wee then spoke on the part that technology can play in mitigating the potential impact of an aging population, providing case studies of tech tools in in use by Lions Befrienders Service Association. She shared about applications such as Cognetivity, a cognitive assessment tool that screens for risks focusing on cognitive impairments and depression as well as CognICA, which engages seniors through active ageing programmes and at the same time monitors cognitive changes and performances.
“As Singapore’s population ages, more needs to be done to empower both the elderly as well as their caregivers, and this is where technology can really come into play. Ageing is a natural phenomenon that cannot be stopped. What we can do is to make ageing an easier process and at the same time, make use of technology as a multiplier to enable caretakers to provide care in a more effective manner, while ensuring that their own needs are met,” said Ms Wee.
Ms Wee rounded off her speech by challenging participants to make use of technology to address the needs of both seniors and their caregivers.
Towards A Happier, More Fulfilled Society… And How Technology Might Help! – Mr Yoann Sapanel, Head, Health Innovation at the Institute for Digital Medicine (WisDM), NUS Medicine
Mr Sapanel emphasised the role that technology plays in implementing and scaling novel pharmacological and interventional methods in clinics. Adding on to what Ms Wee previously shared, Mr Sapanel highlighted that as compared to other societies, it took Singapore only 20 years to move from an aging to an aged society. During his segment, he also touched on how technology can play a role as an enabler, matching gaps in medical needs through technological innovations and shared the various innovations which have already been implemented, such as camera-based vital signs monitoring, health kiosks for care delivery and medications supply, and use of ambient intelligence sensors at residents’ homes to predict risks of readmission or emergency department visits.
“As we continue to live longer, we must also strive to live healthier. Technology can play a crucial role by supporting health ageing-in-place, allowing individuals to age in their own homes. By leveraging technology, we can empower individuals to remain independent and functional, ultimately enhancing their health and overall wellbeing,” commented Mr Sapanel.
He ended off his segment by challenging participants to use technology in other new areas of medicine, such as redesigning care pathways, optimising the patient empowerment journey, and personalizing patient care.
#PlayItForward Build a Digitally Inclusive Society – Mr Douglas Goh, Director of SG Digital Office, Digital Engagement & Adoption, Asia Tech Programme Office and Digital Readiness Cluster, Infocomm Media Authority Development Authority (IMDA)
The Digital for Life (DfL) movement aims to galvanise the community to help Singaporeans from all ages and walks of life embrace digital as a lifelong pursuit to enrich their lives. To date, more than 130 partners, including Huawei, have come together to drive about 140 ground-up projects under the movement.
“Huawei’s Tech4City competition demonstrates how partners can play it forward by encouraging youths to create innovative solutions to promote digital inclusion,” said Mr Goh.
“This initiative, in support of the national DfL movement, is an innovative and creative way to bring together Singaporeans to embrace digital learning as a lifelong pursuit, and be enriched by digital.” he said.
Through initiatives in support of DfL, Goh hoped that it would spark some ideas among the contestants to use tech to support the less-abled in the community.
Exploring the Boundless Possibilities with NUS IT: The Intersection of Reality and Technology – Ms Tan Shui-Min, Chief Information Technology Officer, National University of Singapore
Ms Tan kickstarted her segment by speaking about the mission of the NUS IT Department as well as core services such as solutions delivery, governance, advisory, operations & support, and digital enablement. She also spoke about our vision of building a borderless university powered by infinite technology. She provided case studies on the innovative solutions implemented by NUS to provide participants inspiration, such as Immersive VR procedures to transform clinical skills training using 3D immersive VR and SafeSim Risk, a virtual construction site to train players to identify hazards and good practices, among others.
“Inter-reality technology can transform education by enabling immersive and interactive learning experiences beyond the traditional classroom, acting as a catalyst for transformational learning that shapes the future. It provides a revolutionary ubiquitous learning experience – and we’re heartened that in harnessing the latest technology, NUS IT has pushed the boundaries to be a truly borderless university,” commented Ms Tan.
Leaving No One Behind The Digital World – Mr Charles Cheng, Managing Director, Huawei International
Mr Cheng started off by sharing more about Huawei’s TECH4ALL initiative, the company’s long-term digital inclusion programme. Spanning multiple countries all over the world such as Kenya, France, China, and many others, the TECH4ALL initiative has impacted more than 220,000 individuals and 600 schools to drive equity and quality in education in removed communities and disadvantaged groups. He also showcased Huawei’s commitment to developing a sustainable digital ecosystem through enhancing digital skillsets and literacy while working with government agencies and Institutes of Higher Learning to develop a more robust talent ecosystem and drive broader digital inclusion through initiatives such as the Huawei Cloud Startup incubator and accelerator and the Smart Lab @ East Coast.
“Digitalisation has been at the forefront of our society and will continue to be the accelerant for growth for years to come. The youth is the future of our society, and we hope that through Huawei’s initiatives we can play a part in nurturing our next generation of digital-first leaders and problem solvers. We hope that Tech4City will be a launchpad for local young entrepreneurs to collaborate to solve tomorrow’s problems, contributing to a more inclusive society for Singapore and the world,” said Mr Cheng.
Sharing by See Your Voice, Tech4City Alumni
Rounding off the dialogue session was a short presentation by See Your Voice, an alumni team from the 2022 edition of the Tech4City competition. They provide a platform to convert text or speech to sign language and vice versa, enabling seamless real-time on-demand communication between the deaf and hearing population with no learning curve for users. This served as a great example to participants on-site, as it showcased real examples of how ideas derived through the Tech4City competition can make real and tangible impacts on society.
Registration for Huawei Tech4City Competition 2023 now open
Huawei is now accepting applications for its Tech4City Competition 2023 in Singapore. The competition seeks tech innovations that could create help improve productivity and sustainability in the areas of well-being, learning, mobility, finance and energy.
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: https://www.tech4city.sg/