SPECIAL REPORT

14 Expert Predictions on the Tech Industry - A Fearless Forecast for 2018

by PORTFOLIO Editorial Team
07 Dec 2017

  • 1. BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY & AI
  • 2. HIGH-TECH FARMING
  • 3. TECHNOLOGY INVESTMENT
  • 4. PROFESSIONAL GAMING
  • 5. SMART CRM
  • 6. EDUCATION AND EDTECH
  • 7. AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE
  • 8. CYBERCRIMINALS AND CYBERSECURITY
  • 9. BELT & ROAD INITIATIVE
  • 10. THE MODERNISATION OF IP PROTECTION
  • 11. THE IOT (THE INTERNET OF THINGS) MARKET
  • 12. THE ADVANCEMENT OF ROBOTICS
  • 13. E-PAYMENTS
  • 14. TELEPHONES & COPPER LANDLINES VS. CELLULAR & TERRESTRIAL CONNECTIVITY

1. Blockchain technology & AI

Sergei Vozchikov
CEO, Copernicus Gold

Blockchain technology, AI and machine learning will transform how we use, make payments, and manage investments over the next 2-5 years.

We expect regulatory authorities and central banks to create a centralized regulatory environment with centralized AML/KYC databases that will be made available to financial institutions. Over time, consumers will benefit as there will be less stress on the financial institutions to gather such information. AI and machine learning will be applied to the database to marginalize people involved in money laundering and tax evasion. Similarly, the crypto-community that strives to keep its anonymity will likely find themselves penalized.

Blockchain technology will be used to decentralize transaction cores of most financial institutions. Distributed ledgers will permit financial institutions to improve security and transparency, and digitize assets that were previously impossible to transact in. Global payment systems offered by private companies, ones that leverage commodities such as gold, diamonds and crude, such as Copernicus Gold, will become readily accepted.

  • 1. BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY & AI
  • 2. HIGH-TECH FARMING
  • 3. TECHNOLOGY INVESTMENT
  • 4. PROFESSIONAL GAMING
  • 5. SMART CRM
  • 6. EDUCATION AND EDTECH
  • 7. AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE
  • 8. CYBERCRIMINALS AND CYBERSECURITY
  • 9. BELT & ROAD INITIATIVE
  • 10. THE MODERNISATION OF IP PROTECTION
  • 11. THE IOT (THE INTERNET OF THINGS) MARKET
  • 12. THE ADVANCEMENT OF ROBOTICS
  • 13. E-PAYMENTS
  • 14. TELEPHONES & COPPER LANDLINES VS. CELLULAR & TERRESTRIAL CONNECTIVITY

2. High-Tech Farming

Dato’ Joel Low
CEO & Director, Agrivo International

A UN report says that world population would hit 8.6bn by 2030, putting tremendous pressure on land resources for both development and agriculture. Interest in high-tech farming will rise with the increased demand for food supply food.

For instance, China is set to invest US$450bn on high-tech farming to meet its future food requirement. In Singapore, meanwhile, the local government is offering grants and subsidies to traditional farmers who adopt new technologies aimed at increasing productivity and yields.

I foresee a strong emphasis on agriculture-related investments 2018 and the near future. This will boost businesses in the sector, including investment in new technologies such as indoor farming that Agrivo international has invested in.

  • 1. BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY & AI
  • 2. HIGH-TECH FARMING
  • 3. TECHNOLOGY INVESTMENT
  • 4. PROFESSIONAL GAMING
  • 5. SMART CRM
  • 6. EDUCATION AND EDTECH
  • 7. AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE
  • 8. CYBERCRIMINALS AND CYBERSECURITY
  • 9. BELT & ROAD INITIATIVE
  • 10. THE MODERNISATION OF IP PROTECTION
  • 11. THE IOT (THE INTERNET OF THINGS) MARKET
  • 12. THE ADVANCEMENT OF ROBOTICS
  • 13. E-PAYMENTS
  • 14. TELEPHONES & COPPER LANDLINES VS. CELLULAR & TERRESTRIAL CONNECTIVITY

3. Technology Investment

Chris Tran
Executive Director, North Ridge Partners

Overall, VC and PE investments will increase even further in the next year as we see a continuation of the regional political, social and economic integration, which includes trade, cross-border investment, workforce mobility, and logistics.

Technology startups will also see more funding due to the following: various regional funds having raised fresh capital, and increased interest from other regions experiencing lower growth and requiring innovation; increasing number of larger and more successful ‘bankable’ startups; and newer trends in Big Data, AI, IOT, fintech, and cybersecurity requiring investment focus and allocation.    

  • 1. BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY & AI
  • 2. HIGH-TECH FARMING
  • 3. TECHNOLOGY INVESTMENT
  • 4. PROFESSIONAL GAMING
  • 5. SMART CRM
  • 6. EDUCATION AND EDTECH
  • 7. AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE
  • 8. CYBERCRIMINALS AND CYBERSECURITY
  • 9. BELT & ROAD INITIATIVE
  • 10. THE MODERNISATION OF IP PROTECTION
  • 11. THE IOT (THE INTERNET OF THINGS) MARKET
  • 12. THE ADVANCEMENT OF ROBOTICS
  • 13. E-PAYMENTS
  • 14. TELEPHONES & COPPER LANDLINES VS. CELLULAR & TERRESTRIAL CONNECTIVITY

4. Professional Gaming

Oskar Feng
Co-Founder & CEO, Global electronics Sports Championships (GESC)

In Asia, gaming is starting to change lives. Parents will have to come to terms their kids becoming professional gamers as eSports rises in the entertainment industry. eSports currently contributes over US$500m to the global economy, and conservative estimates are that eSports will become a US$1.5bn industry by 2020. Over 40 percent of the 275 million global fans come from Asia Pacific.

Gaming will continue to be seen as a viable and lucrative career option where previously it was reserved as purely a hobby for nerds or geeks. The next highly successful international team could be grown from Singapore. You never know!

Rapidly becoming mainstream as an exhibition event, Dota 2 tournaments will be exhibited as a sport at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, and played as a medal event at the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China. 

  • 1. BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY & AI
  • 2. HIGH-TECH FARMING
  • 3. TECHNOLOGY INVESTMENT
  • 4. PROFESSIONAL GAMING
  • 5. SMART CRM
  • 6. EDUCATION AND EDTECH
  • 7. AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE
  • 8. CYBERCRIMINALS AND CYBERSECURITY
  • 9. BELT & ROAD INITIATIVE
  • 10. THE MODERNISATION OF IP PROTECTION
  • 11. THE IOT (THE INTERNET OF THINGS) MARKET
  • 12. THE ADVANCEMENT OF ROBOTICS
  • 13. E-PAYMENTS
  • 14. TELEPHONES & COPPER LANDLINES VS. CELLULAR & TERRESTRIAL CONNECTIVITY

5. Smart CRM

Anna Gong
CEO & Founder, Perx Technologies

Rapid digitization and evolving customer demands are expected to spearhead a paradigm shift in Customer Relationship Management (CRM), characterized by the increased use of innovative solutions to inject dynamism into a traditionally static and reactive relationship management model. 

Innovative solution providers with ability to engage customers in a real time, more experiential based, and personalized manner will disrupt the position of entrenched players—an increasingly necessary strategy in today’s digital age, where audiences are used to constant inundation by immense volumes of information. Only information that is relatable and relevant in real time will successfully cut through the clutter and reach the customer.  

We see these developments leading to a drastic shift in CRM strategies that focus on customer retention, enabled by the widespread adoption of a real time and data-driven methodology. Companies will focus on enhancing their CRM capabilities to efficiently capture and analyze customer data in real time, eliciting immediately actionable insights into the buying and lifestyle experiences of their target audience.

Complemented by artificial intelligence for highly accurate predictive analytics, we can expect CRM strategies of the near future to be truly customer centric, with smarter last mile engagement enabling businesses to deliver instant, contextual, and personalized customer engagement experiences.

  • 1. BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY & AI
  • 2. HIGH-TECH FARMING
  • 3. TECHNOLOGY INVESTMENT
  • 4. PROFESSIONAL GAMING
  • 5. SMART CRM
  • 6. EDUCATION AND EDTECH
  • 7. AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE
  • 8. CYBERCRIMINALS AND CYBERSECURITY
  • 9. BELT & ROAD INITIATIVE
  • 10. THE MODERNISATION OF IP PROTECTION
  • 11. THE IOT (THE INTERNET OF THINGS) MARKET
  • 12. THE ADVANCEMENT OF ROBOTICS
  • 13. E-PAYMENTS
  • 14. TELEPHONES & COPPER LANDLINES VS. CELLULAR & TERRESTRIAL CONNECTIVITY

6. Education and Edtech

Rohan Pasari
CEO, Cialfo

Education institutions will adopt more cloud-based technology for automation and standardization. Students and their families will demand more technology from these institutions, with countries like US and China dominating this trend, and countries like India and Vietnam following suit.

With greater technology adoption, we expect to see Big Data and AI improve student learning and enable better outcome through personalized learning curve for students. AR/ VR in education will take more significant steps to make learning more experiential, but will not enter the mainstream markets in 2018.

In terms of investments, we foresee more PE/VC money flowing into education and edtech, which will make this space a lot more attractive than it has been in the past. This will encourage the rise of edtech products (more cloud based). We also expect to see increased consolidation in the education services space, with financial firms bringing together smaller businesses under one umbrella.

  • 1. BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY & AI
  • 2. HIGH-TECH FARMING
  • 3. TECHNOLOGY INVESTMENT
  • 4. PROFESSIONAL GAMING
  • 5. SMART CRM
  • 6. EDUCATION AND EDTECH
  • 7. AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE
  • 8. CYBERCRIMINALS AND CYBERSECURITY
  • 9. BELT & ROAD INITIATIVE
  • 10. THE MODERNISATION OF IP PROTECTION
  • 11. THE IOT (THE INTERNET OF THINGS) MARKET
  • 12. THE ADVANCEMENT OF ROBOTICS
  • 13. E-PAYMENTS
  • 14. TELEPHONES & COPPER LANDLINES VS. CELLULAR & TERRESTRIAL CONNECTIVITY

7. Autonomous Vehicle

Chirayu Wadke
Partner, SeedPlus

We will see the first autonomous vehicle commercial launch by end of 2018 in Singapore. This obviously depends on which one of the 6-7 companies testing their vehicles in Singapore land meeting safety standards.

  • 1. BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY & AI
  • 2. HIGH-TECH FARMING
  • 3. TECHNOLOGY INVESTMENT
  • 4. PROFESSIONAL GAMING
  • 5. SMART CRM
  • 6. EDUCATION AND EDTECH
  • 7. AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE
  • 8. CYBERCRIMINALS AND CYBERSECURITY
  • 9. BELT & ROAD INITIATIVE
  • 10. THE MODERNISATION OF IP PROTECTION
  • 11. THE IOT (THE INTERNET OF THINGS) MARKET
  • 12. THE ADVANCEMENT OF ROBOTICS
  • 13. E-PAYMENTS
  • 14. TELEPHONES & COPPER LANDLINES VS. CELLULAR & TERRESTRIAL CONNECTIVITY

8. Cybercriminals and Cybersecurity

David Freer
Vice President, Consumer, Asia Pacific, McAfee
Industry: Technology
Nature of Business: Cybersecurity

Ransomware made its huge comeback in 2017 due to a slew of high-profile cyberattacks such as WannaCry, Adylkuzz and NotPetya that severely impacted businesses and consumers globally. Moving into 2018, the scale and damage of such attacks is only expected to continue growing.

The Internet of Things (IoT) space is a high-risk target for cybercriminals owing to the proliferation of connected devices ranging from automobiles, household appliances and communication devices. Mobile malware has increased by 61 per cent in the last two years, with Asia leading in terms of mobile device infection rates. While this trend shows no signs of slowing down, it can be prevented through improving security controls within smart devices and tighter regulations by governments around IoT security.

Cybercriminals are getting more creative with their attack methods and types of malware they deliver. Fileless attacks, also known as zero-footprint attacks, have risen in popularity amongst cybercriminals due to the democratisation of this exploit to spread ransomware.

Consumers must realise that cybercriminals are constantly evolving and have the means to utilise social engineering to cause optimum damage. McAfee remains committed to providing consumers with comprehensive solutions to combat the ever-evolving threat landscape that will only continue to grow in 2018.

  • 1. BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY & AI
  • 2. HIGH-TECH FARMING
  • 3. TECHNOLOGY INVESTMENT
  • 4. PROFESSIONAL GAMING
  • 5. SMART CRM
  • 6. EDUCATION AND EDTECH
  • 7. AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE
  • 8. CYBERCRIMINALS AND CYBERSECURITY
  • 9. BELT & ROAD INITIATIVE
  • 10. THE MODERNISATION OF IP PROTECTION
  • 11. THE IOT (THE INTERNET OF THINGS) MARKET
  • 12. THE ADVANCEMENT OF ROBOTICS
  • 13. E-PAYMENTS
  • 14. TELEPHONES & COPPER LANDLINES VS. CELLULAR & TERRESTRIAL CONNECTIVITY

9. Belt & Road Initiative

Marc Dragon
CEO, Y3 Technologies

China’s influence across Asia will intensify, mainly due to the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI). ASEAN companies should begin planning ways to leverage BRI by participating in its build-out.

With Singapore taking the mantel of ASEAN Chairmanship in 2018, there will be a focus on digitization in ASEAN member states, as well as extending to the ecosystem of its partner states. Some of the specific efforts in terms of digitization would focus on smoothening cross-border flows and increasing trade financing possibilities.

B2C eCommerce will continue to grow in ASEAN, and traditional retail and consumer goods companies will need to understand and readily deploy omnichannel capabilities. This will be especially significant in emerging markets such as the Philippines and Vietnam. B2B eCommerce will experience a new resurgence, as companies become savvier in leveraging various digital ecosystems that are prevalent in the industry today.

Analytics and AI would start to become embedded in many applications and solutions being rolled out by industry-leading firms. Companies need to understand the relevance of analytics and AI in their own industries, and be prepared to leverage technology solutions in these areas or run the risk of becoming irrelevant.

  • 1. BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY & AI
  • 2. HIGH-TECH FARMING
  • 3. TECHNOLOGY INVESTMENT
  • 4. PROFESSIONAL GAMING
  • 5. SMART CRM
  • 6. EDUCATION AND EDTECH
  • 7. AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE
  • 8. CYBERCRIMINALS AND CYBERSECURITY
  • 9. BELT & ROAD INITIATIVE
  • 10. THE MODERNISATION OF IP PROTECTION
  • 11. THE IOT (THE INTERNET OF THINGS) MARKET
  • 12. THE ADVANCEMENT OF ROBOTICS
  • 13. E-PAYMENTS
  • 14. TELEPHONES & COPPER LANDLINES VS. CELLULAR & TERRESTRIAL CONNECTIVITY

10. The Modernisation of IP Protection

Francis Tang
Ziggurat Tech

In 2018 Intellectual Property protection is of great importance as there is consensus among authorities, innovators, artists and the general public that China should innovate more, rather than being a manufacturing powerhouse. The old legal framework and established food chain leaves people who create worse off. This new breed of startups who utilize the blockchain and its token based economic model will shake up the creative and entertainment industry we knew for good. We will witness artists who claimed 10-20 percent of profits of their work under the old model taking control financially, therefore, fundamentally.

  • 1. BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY & AI
  • 2. HIGH-TECH FARMING
  • 3. TECHNOLOGY INVESTMENT
  • 4. PROFESSIONAL GAMING
  • 5. SMART CRM
  • 6. EDUCATION AND EDTECH
  • 7. AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE
  • 8. CYBERCRIMINALS AND CYBERSECURITY
  • 9. BELT & ROAD INITIATIVE
  • 10. THE MODERNISATION OF IP PROTECTION
  • 11. THE IOT (THE INTERNET OF THINGS) MARKET
  • 12. THE ADVANCEMENT OF ROBOTICS
  • 13. E-PAYMENTS
  • 14. TELEPHONES & COPPER LANDLINES VS. CELLULAR & TERRESTRIAL CONNECTIVITY

11. The IoT (The Internet of Things) Market

Anneliese Schulz
Vice President Asia, Software AG

With 50 percent  of Global 2000 businesses depending on the ability to create digitally enhanced products, services, and experiences by 2020, digital transformation initiatives will remain at the center of corporate strategies. The Internet of Things (IoT) is one example of a disruptive technology that is driving digital transformation across all industries globally.

In Asia Pacific, the IoT market is expected to reach 8.6 billion connected devices by 2020 and 86 percent of companies in the region will have some form of IoT in place by 2019. The proliferation of IoT indicates that organizations are realizing the potential of this technology to drive digital transformation. In Asia, we see tremendous IoT potential and interest in markets such as China and Korea.

The region also leads in the deployment of AI at 37 percent, compared to 25 percent globally. This is a result of the adoption of AI in the region’s financial services and insurance industry to deploy robo-advisors to enhance customer experience through automation.

Businesses will continue to embrace the transformative capabilities of IoT and AI in 2018 as part of their digital transformation.

  • 1. BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY & AI
  • 2. HIGH-TECH FARMING
  • 3. TECHNOLOGY INVESTMENT
  • 4. PROFESSIONAL GAMING
  • 5. SMART CRM
  • 6. EDUCATION AND EDTECH
  • 7. AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE
  • 8. CYBERCRIMINALS AND CYBERSECURITY
  • 9. BELT & ROAD INITIATIVE
  • 10. THE MODERNISATION OF IP PROTECTION
  • 11. THE IOT (THE INTERNET OF THINGS) MARKET
  • 12. THE ADVANCEMENT OF ROBOTICS
  • 13. E-PAYMENTS
  • 14. TELEPHONES & COPPER LANDLINES VS. CELLULAR & TERRESTRIAL CONNECTIVITY

12. The Advancement of Robotics

Morris Sim
Chief Marketing Officer, Next Story Group; CEO, Kafnu

Technology will continue to drive disruptions and changes, and in 2018, I think we will see more technology affecting products and service delivery via automation of tasks and processes with robotics, AI, or a combination of both.

Both technologies are ready to move out of the lab and be used in a mass way to produce efficiencies and quality consistency. Some of the robotics that have AI have ‘learned’ how to walk, jump, climb walls, etc – a powerful development which, if used correctly, could improve the quality of work and life, and potentially cover functional as well as emotional needs.

I am particularly interested to see the new Aibo from Sony, the next generation robotic dog. Nothing can replace a real dog, but Aibo could potentially end up being a new category of ‘thing’ that has dog-like qualities to keep one entertained. Meanwhile, I think ‘humanoids’ like Sophia (she just became a citizen of Saudi Arabia) still have ways to go before people will suspend their disbelief.

  • 1. BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY & AI
  • 2. HIGH-TECH FARMING
  • 3. TECHNOLOGY INVESTMENT
  • 4. PROFESSIONAL GAMING
  • 5. SMART CRM
  • 6. EDUCATION AND EDTECH
  • 7. AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE
  • 8. CYBERCRIMINALS AND CYBERSECURITY
  • 9. BELT & ROAD INITIATIVE
  • 10. THE MODERNISATION OF IP PROTECTION
  • 11. THE IOT (THE INTERNET OF THINGS) MARKET
  • 12. THE ADVANCEMENT OF ROBOTICS
  • 13. E-PAYMENTS
  • 14. TELEPHONES & COPPER LANDLINES VS. CELLULAR & TERRESTRIAL CONNECTIVITY

13. E-Payments

James Kane
Managing Director for Asia, iGo – SDP Asia

E-payments technology will connect the lifestyle events industry, specifically to APAC in 2018 and beyond. Smart apps and e-payments will connect a fragmented industry, and it’s the consumer who will win in the end.

Everyone loves a good concert, show, or brand activation. With technology it’s all going digital with the ticketing and the cashless events. When the events are over, the balances disappear and the show ends.

With iGo, you don’t lose out: you purchase tickets, have in-event F&B credits, then via the iGo app your balances can be spent at participating F&B and retail partners around Asia.

We also see iGo as an integrator, so companies like Grab Taxi can use iGo credits for transport to from events. Hence, we are able to engage and build a long-term relationship with the consumer offering them additional ‘experiences’ with brands, discounts, loyalty, F&B outlets, services and more.

While other RFID solution providers face barriers to enter the 'Events Market', we ensure higher adoption by building soft barriers to exit it with the ‘iGo' ecosystem.

  • 1. BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY & AI
  • 2. HIGH-TECH FARMING
  • 3. TECHNOLOGY INVESTMENT
  • 4. PROFESSIONAL GAMING
  • 5. SMART CRM
  • 6. EDUCATION AND EDTECH
  • 7. AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE
  • 8. CYBERCRIMINALS AND CYBERSECURITY
  • 9. BELT & ROAD INITIATIVE
  • 10. THE MODERNISATION OF IP PROTECTION
  • 11. THE IOT (THE INTERNET OF THINGS) MARKET
  • 12. THE ADVANCEMENT OF ROBOTICS
  • 13. E-PAYMENTS
  • 14. TELEPHONES & COPPER LANDLINES VS. CELLULAR & TERRESTRIAL CONNECTIVITY

14. Telephones & Copper Landlines vs. Cellular & Terrestrial Connectivity

Martin Nygate
Founder & CEO, Velox Networks

The future of all telcos worldwide is to cease to provide ‘services’ such as voice, video and chat, and to focus on providing cellular and terrestrial data connectivity only. This will mean a full restructure of all telcos’ business models and corporate structures.

This state of affairs is already occurring in UK and US, but is slow to hit Asia. Up to today, most office telephones in Singapore use copper and landlines as the staple platform for business calls. Yet, in the West, VoIP and cloud-based PBX communications have replaced such copper and landlines.

VoIP and cloud-based PBXs are now the norm overseas due to their clear cost-effectiveness and vastly superior call quality. Interestingly, while Singapore drives aggressively towards becoming a “Smart Nation”, it still seems to be a step behind in this respect for the telecommunications industry.

Hence, with our IMDA license, Velox Networks is looking to challenge incumbent telcos in the B2B space by providing quality calls at a fraction of the cost (up to 95 percent cheaper) paving a new, radically cheaper and more efficient way for businesses to communicate with superior call quality.