Among the most interesting theories of time that I have come across was one that posited that the present didn’t exist at all. It went on to say that all we can ever see are the past and the future – the past because it’s a collection of our experiences, and the future because it is a collection of our aspirations. Whatever we think of as the present, being a combination of both experiences and aspirations, or past and future, is illusory.
This theory is related to two other deterministic theories: That we are what we observe, and that what we observe is colored by what we wish for. We can’t alter the past – even revisionist historians have to satisfy themselves with minor edits of available accounts of it – we can only look to the future with some hope.
This business of divining the future is a hopeful enterprise; no one goes into it hoping to find grimness. Rather, we assume that knowing what the future holds give us a chance to somehow shape its outcome. We want to influence the outcome, yes, that’s what we’re here for, and turn it to our favor. It’s an assertion of the human will.
We’ve been foretelling the future for a very long time, employing the best methods we could get our hands on, for example, reading portents in tongues of fire or the unexplained appearance of some strange animal. Some of these methods, the tarot cards and the amulets come to mind, have not left us, while some, like the thermoscope and the divining rod, have been simply replaced with much better models.
In this issue we compiled a record number of predictions about things that will dominate our discourse and enterprise in 2019 and beyond. As we expected most answers revolved around technology, which should prepare us for sweeping and penetrating integration of artificial intelligence and the like to our daily lives. The sweet side of this prospect for me is the number of predictions that assert the steadfastness of the human will. We’ve been warned of machines wresting control from human hands, and yet we know deep inside that we will prevail.
I encourage you to read all 98 predictions, but if you’d like, you may also filter them by industry. Six brilliant and original essays are also included in the special report – they are enough to prepare you for the coming year and beyond.
Mr. Charlie Temple
Given the economic landscape in Asia, the fitness industry is underserved. With a rising middle class, the demand for convenient and affordable fitness experiences is rapidly growing.
2019 will see the growth of boutique and traditional gyms looking to expand into new markets across Asia. There are different needs depending on how developed each market is – split between developed and emerging markets.
Developed markets will see a rise in niche studios, as consumers are looking for a specific workout to compliment their existing gym memberships. This can also be attributed to a more educated demographic where gym goers are knowledageble about the benefits of fitness and are consistently seeking ways to make their workouts more dynamic, as opposed to just learning and sticking to the basics.
While in emerging markets like Thailand and Vietnam, the majority are still in the process of being educated on the importance of fitness. Thus, the more traditional box gyms are in high demand. The low cost model studios will see a surge as these are great entry points for those who are looking to get into a fitness regime at an affordable price.
Mr. Abhijeet Vijayvergiya
President & Managing Director Global Accounts and APAC Capillary Technologies
The retail industry is moving towards providing personalized and seamless experience with the changing digital consumer. We will see brands capturing more and more data on consumer behavior and preferences across channel to start building individualprofiles for each consumer.
Consumers in the region are now expecting a seamless and connected brand experience across multiple touchpoints like app, website, social channels and in-store making it of utmost importance for brands to build or revisit their omnichannel strategy.
Finally, AI adoption will be an important factor differentiating brands making most of out the data and create 1:1 engagement with their customers.
Capillary Technologies closes 2018 with about 100 logos added to its customer list. The company saw its order book grow almost thrice, and registered expansion into Thailand, the Philippines, and Turkey.
Mr. Peter Zwiener
PRESIDENT & CO-FOUNDER
As dining out becomes common, we see a shift in consumer behavior in the restaurant industry. The consumer is becoming increasingly savvy about what they are eating and where it comes from for both health and sustainability reasons. With this in mind, restaurants must work to maintain reputations by sourcing high-quality ingredients and ensuring that this is communicated to the consumer.
In 2019, we’ll see a further move towards sustainable, seasonal menus with a heavy focus on the source of the ingredients and the process taken to create the dishes. Additionally, as restaurateurs, we need to work hard to stay a step ahead of the competition.
Looking beyond the food and beverage, it’s also about the experience as a whole, and continually training, learning, and adjusting to keep offerings fresh, while still maintaining a commitment to the unique heritage of the establishment.
In our case, we believe that the traditional US steakhouse still has a place, but that we need to constantly refine our end-toend customer experience to make sure that we’re offering something timeless and of a consistently high quality that guests will want to return to time and time again.
Mr. Lars Voedisch
Principal Consultant & MD
Public relations has proven itself as an enduring, influential, image-shaping tool able to withstand the test of time and trends. Southeast Asia is one of the fastest growing regions with an over 30 per cent of annual growth in capital deployed by global investors, and also home to a younger and more affluent population that is becoming increasingly tech-savvy.
The region’s Internet economy is expected to reach a phenomenal US$200 billion or likely even more by 2025.
I foresee PR remaining steadfast in its purpose, with a strong focus on online media, and visually appealing and shareworthy content with a significant dependence on analytics. The shift from a purely journalistic structure to a more customer, and consumer-focused writing will continue – as consumers will continue enjoying authentic and credible content that’s entertaining and educating – allowing brand to build new authority and emotional connections.
In 2018, Precious Communications expanded its business at a 40 per cent top line rate; it was also named ‘Best PR Agency in Asia and ANZ at the 15th Stevie Awards Gala Event – achievement that Mr. Voedisch claims were made possible by the support of the agency’s clients and media friends.
Mr. Ajit Raikar
Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer
In the coming year, P2P lending will continue to see strong growth in Asia due to lack of financing for a large number of SMEs. New asset class investment opportunities for ‘sandwiched’ investors will rise.
The first wave of failures, plus comparative advantage, can materialize, leading to winners-take-all dynamics among existing platforms; however, new entrants will continue to emerge and capitalize on opportunities.
Increased regulatory scrutiny will lead to tighter regulations and better governance, boding well for established, licensed platforms that will bring security to investors. The will also be increased collaboration with financial institutions for innovative solutions addressing gaps.
This year, Validus Capital became Singapore’s top lending platform by total disbursement volume, and Visa’s only peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform partner in the region. It began offering 90 per cent principal protection for investors on most facilities.
Mr. Priveen Raj Naidu
Founder and CEO
Reapra Aviation Partners
The aviation industry in ASEAN will continue to grow rapidly in 2019. As globalization kicks in this region, countries are now relooking at the role aviation plays in their local and regional economy. The increase of higher disposable income in the middle-income segment as well as rise of low-cost carriers will continue to contribute to ASEAN’s aviation growth.
It’s also extremely important to note the growth and role of non-core revenue streams in the aviation industry. Airports are no longer airports as most are enroute to become shopping malls with airport facilities. This gives a refreshing spin to non-aeronautical revenue.
But as always, internal costs and fuel will continue to play a huge role in crafting the future of this amazing industry!
This year, through Reapra Aviation Partners, Mr. Naidu mentored the founders of Kardi, obtained strong leads in several countries with potential to increase the aviation/tourism economy, and created education opportunities for children in Cambodia, Vietnam, Nepal, India, etc.
Mr. Fabio La Mola
Partner & Managing Director
The key trends that will shape life sciences and healthcare in 2019 are innovation in APAC with focus on Asian phenotype, expansion of healthcare coverage by governments, cost containment measures, and the evolution of healthcare delivery are all.
The industry will require time to evolve and trends to have impact over the long term, however. Research programs can take up to 10 years for pharma and medical devices, and have overall costs of over US$1 billion. Evolving healthcare delivery takes time; for example, developing a coherent system of care in the community and change referral flows can take a decade.
I think we will see speedier evolution in the health-tech sector; however, this will have impact to the extent that it will address real shortcomings of the current delivery model in APAC, including lack of infrastructure and shortage of healthcare professionals.
In 2018, L.E.K. Consulting re-established its presence in Singapore, working on projects supporting novel drugs and medical devices entry in APAC. It assisted a number of investors with strategic decisions on deploying growth capital into life sciences companies, and expanded its team to help life sciences companies make the most of the opportunities in APAC. APAC Life Sciences Centre of Excellence (CoE), in partnership with EDB, will support the development of the industry across Asia Pacific, providing a platform to share the knowledge and expertise accumulated by L.E.K. locally and internationally.
Ms. Tan Yen Yen
President, Asia Pacific
Vodafone Global Enterprise
The speed and pace of change as a result of digitization is driving businesses to rethink business models to ensure they can deliver on customer demands. 2019 will be the year that businesses look at leveraging 5G and the Internet of Things to improve operations and the customer experience.
With APAC on track to becoming the world’s largest region for 5G, 2019 marks an inflection point in the industry’s growth as we see 5G as the catalyst for the IoT to flourish. Higher bandwidth, lower latency and its ability to support more connected devices will see 5G enabling innovative IoT services and applications to be deployed at scale. This will be a game changer for businesses across every industry, from manufacturing to automotive, healthcare and retail as it offers access to real-time data, enabling increased efficiency, improved visibility into performance and ultimately a better customer experience.
In 2018, Vodafone expanded connectivity in building over 1 million kilometers of fiber network globally. The company was positioned in the ‘Leaders’ category in IDC’s 2018 Asia/Pacific Communication Service Provider MarketScape for the first time; it was also the biggest mover in this year’s study in terms of its YoY growth on the Index, largely owing to its refreshed focus on further growing the enterprise practice in the region with a distinguished focus on customer excellence. Ms. Tan was personally involved in the Diversity Action Committee of the Singapore Institute of Directors, championing the agenda of having a 20 percent target of female representation on boards by 2020.
Mr. Eric Dadoun
Silverstreet & Twizo
Online consumer and business expectations are changing, so are requirements when it comes to something as straightforward as staying safe. Following the recent cyber-attack on SingHealth, for example, the need for more robust security measures has never been more apparent. We’re starting to see a change in mindset among corporations, both big and small, in rolling out stricter measures to protect consumer data, which is obviously something we are thrilled about.
We anticipate that change in perspective to continue, and that’s something we are aligning our products with, in conjunction to helping these businesses focus on improving education and adoption among their users. We see this happening through continued engagement via workshops, bringing down barriers to entry, and rolling out easy to use products for cybersecurity and general communication between businesses and users.
Silverstreet and Twizo are rolling out a variety of new products in the coming year that will bridge the gap between enterprises and consumers for an overall easier, Frictionless, and safer digital experience. This year, the companies partnered with Google RCS Early Access Program, launched a comprehensive SME-focused 2FA platform, and achieved adoption amongst healthcare providers in Malaysia.
Mr. Flo Sander
FOUNDER & MD
iThink Consulting Group
In 2019, we’ll be seeing a noticeable shift towards stylish, yet more approachable designs. The rise of social media has resulted in designled operations that prioritize the aesthetic as opposed to the actual experience. This often results in linear designs that make for wonderful Instagram shots but become one-time visits, where guests are unable to relate to the product through a genuine experience. Experiencing an underwhelming ‘been there, done that’ feeling, they will move on to the next venue.
We all love a stunning space, but we predict that the emphasis will be more on creating approachable designs that are not seeking linear perfection and symmetry but rather resemble the stylish home of a ‘Cool Cat’. More relatable and aspirational design, together with a fun, entertaining and quality product will encourage customers to return time and time again, creating a natural buzz.
I also believe that Singapore in particular will see a lot more ‘mood lighting’ in its latest hospitality incarnations as people more and more shy away from bright lights and uninspiring moods.
Mr. Chang Theng Hwee
Scott Dunn Asia
I expect to see experience-led travel continue to rise not only for 2019, but also over the next decade. Luxury travelers are looking beyond five-star hotels, exceptional dining and premium class travel – these are all now expected. They have become much more discerning and have developed an appetite for truly unique and incredible adventures, which are specially curated for them.
Another key trend for 2019 is the rise in quality time breaks. We’ve seen an increase in enquiries where parents have selected one child from their family to have a one-to-one adventure as time together continues to be a precious commodity.
Interest in Central Asia has also been steadily increasing, and I predict this will continue throughout 2019.
In 2018, Scott Dunn launched Seriously Special – The Experiences, a brochure that offers a wide range of ‘off the beaten track’ ventures. It is offering a brand-new collection of small group tours called ‘Signature Departures’ in 2019, including a 12-day trip to Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, and 14-day ‘Jeep Safari over the High of Silk Road’ to entice travelers to explore more off-the-beaten track and unchartered destinations.
Ms. Hope Liu
CEO AND CO-FOUNDER
The phenomenal growth of e-commerce in Asia Pacific will see the supply chain and logistics industry players facing pressures to increase efficiencies, reduce costs and improve information sharing. 2019 will see supply chain partners, from small enterprises to multi-nationals, adopting new technologies to remain competitive.
Blockchain is set to play a big part, with the technology allowing supply chain players to better manage their business processes securely, transparently and with agility.
Imagine getting information about upstream supply and downstream demand in real time, with data on a public blockchain enhancing credibility to help in financing and getting new business deals.
Ms. Liu co-founded Eximchain, won over investors, and gained global momentum while doing her MBA. Eximchain has received US$20 million in funding, and has partnered with YOOSourcing, a China-based sourcing platform, and Enigma, a technology platform and a Fortune 500 technology company. In October, the Eximchain platform was launched.
Mr. Poon King Wang
SENIOR DIRECTOR, STRATEGIC PLANNING
Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities
Singapore University of Technology and Design
If skills give a map of future jobs, tasks give a ‘GPS’ to navigate that map. Technology disrupts jobs task by task, and not job by job, or skill by skill. By tracking which tasks are affected (and when), we know which jobs and skills are most affected.
Comparing the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs reports in 2016 and 2018 illuminates this shift in tasks. The number of mentions of ‘skill’ dropped from 664 to 448. Mentions of ‘task’ however, increased 17 times, from 9 to 153. With this ‘GPS’, we can finally take technology’s impact on work to task.
In 2018, Mr. Poon published Living Digital 2040: Future of Work, Education and Healthcare. He also secured funding to help workers tackle tech disruption, and had miraculously stayed flu- free for eight months.
Mr. Edgar Seah
HEAD, ASIA PACIFIC
We believe operationalized distributed ledgers (DLTs), including blockchains and DAGs, will come to the fore for many organizations as they move beyond the proof of concept phase to launch their respective networks. An increased and varied number of use cases will emerge, accelerating mainstream adoption of distributed ledger innovation.
In Asia Pacific, investments in distributed ledger solutions will also continue to grow at a robust pace, as favorable regulatory environments facilitate the piloting and adoption of DLT projects.
As distributed ledgers grow in global importance, so will the need for appropriate governance. We expect increased collaboration from key stakeholders at a global, industry- wide scale to steer the development of a trusted, secure, and empowered digital future for all.
In August 2018, Hedera Hashgraph raised $124 million through an institutional and limited accredited investor crowdsale. Later that month, it launched the Hedera mainnet, which is currently being tested by selected partners. The year also saw Hedera become the first public ledger to be COQ verified, demonstrating the hashgraph consensus algorithm is Asynchronous Byzantine Fault Tolerant (highest level of security possible in distributed consensus).
Mr. Shahid Nizami
MANAGING DIRECTOR, APAC
Customers are more independent, more impatient, and less trusting of businesses than ever. They share their dissatisfaction widely and loudly, and can easily choose one among many competitors. Although many businesses claim to be ‘customer- first’, they are actually ‘customer eventually’.
In 2019, it’s not about what you sell, but how you sell. It’s about making your customers successful, building relationships by doing the right thing, and focusing on the long-term even when it’s hard. By focusing on your customers, your business will grow better. It’s growth with a conscience. In 2019, that’s how you can build a truly remarkable company.
In 2018, HubSpot launched its new Singapore office, furthering its commitment to the well-being of its employees, and was named the ‘Happiest Place to Work for 2018’ by Comparably. On a personal note, Mr. Nizami saw his five-year-old son take the stage in front of over 500 people in a school play.
Mr. Oliver Prevrhal
Advanced threats will continue to surpass the capabilities of security mechanisms, and threaten the economic well-being of organizations and individuals across the region. This year, Asia Pacific saw numerous cyber incidents, including the Cathay Pacific and SingHealth data breaches. These are seen to continue on in 2019 as cybercriminals devise new ways to infiltrate networks and exploit attack vectors, specifically emails.
More than ever, companies need to safeguard themselves as email dependence places them in a highly vulnerable position. We are seeing an uptake in enterprises employing innovative email security tools with the capabilities to exactly track email security filters and rules applied to each message while enabling optimization of email security settings through real-time analysis and IT forensics.
Retarus has invested heavily in its DC in Singapore, especially its new ‘email for application’ service that is being used by a leading Singaporean financial institution. Its new Advanced Threat Protection was successfully implemented by its e-mail security clients in Asia, protecting them from new and yet unknown cyber threats. The company has won several new clients out of Singapore, including the largest oil and gas company in Southeast Asia and the world’s leading logistics brand.
Dr Venka Purushothaman
LASALLE College of the Arts
Amid today’s global climate, universities and colleges must become beacons of thought and innovation to foster a new culture for hope, ideas and possibilities, especially for a highly networked, baggage-free youth population.
In 2019, I expect to see artists becoming more engaged with communities to discover new potentials and ignite their creativity. I expect to see the emergence of a new age entrepreneur – part sage, part cultural enabler, part go-getter – to redefine the economics of our time, and that universities and colleges will create new platforms for engagement, conversation and cultural creativity. They will set the space for the emergence of the modern public intellectual.
Change catalyst, student champion and arts advocate. It has been a 10- year journey seeding and nurturing Singaporean talents into confident global artists and creatives. It has been an incredible experience transforming LASALLE from an independent art college into a global institution of repute.
Mr. James Lohan & Ms. Tamara Heber-Percy
Mr & Mrs Smith
We’re seeing a rise in private- house hotels – places that offer a more personal approach to hospitality, where you feel like you’re staying in a stylish friend’s home, rather than a traditional hotel. The trend has roots in Stockholm’s Ett Hem: whose name simply means ‘a home’ in Swedish.
However, the likes of Morukuru Ocean Lodge and Morukuru Ocean House in South Africa have taken it to the next level. These two recent finds of ours are situated in the wild and untouched De Hoop Nature Reserve. As well as offering front-row seats to the country’s best land- based whale watching, both come with in-house staff and local guides who’ll take you on tours, cook you meals, and even sit down at the end of a day and play board games with you over a glass of wine.
We’re talking about places where you can slip into the kitchen to master a recipe, or turn up to dinner for chef-cooked meals.
Another good example is Deplar Farm, on Iceland’s far-flung Troll Peninsula. From the outside it looks like any turf-topped farmhouse dotted around the island’s wild hinterland. But step within and you’ll uncover fire-warmed lounges with floor-to- ceiling windows where you can sit admiring the dramatic view after days sampling adventurous activities, such as dog-sledding, horse-riding, hiking and heliskiing. It’s even got a private geothermal pool, where there’s the chance of seeing the Northern Lights.
Places like this really challenge the traditional definition of a hotel. It’s the latest luxury update to the experiential trend: where people want to feel relaxed and at ease, so they can uncover something authentic.
Mr. Darryn Lim
DIRECTOR, POLICY – APAC
BSA | The Software Alliance
In 2019, the software industry will focus on enabling AI to be responsible and accountable. Its smart use can spur tremendous economic growth across every industry sector, improve human decision-making that will make the world more inclusive, and enable cutting-edge breakthroughs on vexing social challenges such as climate change and cancer research.
Growing cybersecurity threats will continue to push for increased global cooperation and alignment to improve cyber defences. While online connections bring opportunity, they also create risks, including large-scale data theft, privacy violations, phishing scams, ransomware, and malicious information operations that affect millions of people around the world each year.
Cybercrime will cost up to US$6 trillion by 20211, and erode trust in the data economy, disrupt global commerce, and cause physical damage to critical infrastructure, ultimately putting lives at risk. To address this challenge to the connected economy, cybersecurity practices and tools must defend the integrity, privacy, and utility of the Internet ecosystem.
Meanwhile, the software industry will see continued focus on the importance of interoperable rules for digital trade. As protectionist moves strengthen across the world, the need for free and fair rules to facilitate global digital trade has never been more crucial. The advanced and ambitious digital trade rules stipulated within the CPTPP are critical to the future growth of the 21st century digital economy.
In 2018, BSA released an International Cybersecurity Policy Framework as a tool for policymakers considering foundational cybersecurity legislation, and for those examining gaps and shortfalls in existing policies. It identified five key pillars for facilitating responsible AI innovation, and is working with governments around the world to ensure that AI innovation can thrive. Finally, it released comprehensive Global Privacy Best Practices to guide policymakers as they seek to develop and implement data protection frameworks.
Ms. Natalya Pavchinskaya
S’YA & The Sanchaya
Arts and culture are emerging as a key hook for discerning travelers, who are increasingly seeking to be inspired by their travels, and learning about the local heritage and traditions through creative mediums. While art and travel have always been intrinsically linked, this connection is becoming more prevalent, as high- end travelers seek the latest, least-discovered experiences.
Weaving our fierce devotion to the arts with the guest experience at The Sanchaya, we host film investment summits with S’YA, artists in residence, and on-site installations, bringing together artists, producers, musicians, writers, photographers, and fashion designers to build a hub for creativity.
Moving into 2019, we will enhance our eclectic offering, partnering with emerging global talent and world-renowned names to remain at the cutting- edge of both the creative and hospitality industries. By working alongside such incredible talent, we open ourselves up to limitless growth as fresh ideas and inspiration emerge, constantly redefining The Sanchaya experience and enhancing the feeling of escapism at the estate.
Mr. Ronen Mense
PRESIDENT & MD APAC
The emergence of 5G will truly alter the increasingly dynamic landscape for mobile advertisers and publishers. As the underlying fabric of the mobile ecosystem, an exponentially faster 5G network will offer further possibilities for interactive ad strategies and video-based content. We’ll also see more marketers measure more data points, which will lead to their own data-driven marketing innovations and will allow them to automate aspects of their marketing.
Faster ad-load times on connected devices will also allow consumers to experience content on the move, simultaneously offering advertisers the opportunity to offer new interactive formats such as embedded AR and VR ads to personalize the user experience.
We expect to see marketers across APAC increase their advertising spend for app installs by a robust 37 per cent in 2019, correlating to a 32 per cent increase in apps downloaded by consumers as a result of marketing activity.
AppsFlyer surpassed $100million in annual recurring revenue in Q3 2018, registering a growth of 100 per cent every 12 months. It was named ‘Hottest Marketing Technology Startup of 2018’ at the Europas. The year also saw the company doubling its employee growth worldwide, counting almost 100 staff in APAC.
Mr. Kang Beng Hui
The concept of retirement is changing. Instead of leaving the workforce at the statutory retirement age of 62, it’s more likely that retirement will be planned in phases – for example, from full- to part-time employment. Conventional retirement planning for expenses and legacy reasons will no longer suffice. Owing to inflation and a longer lifespan, retirement planning should include post- retirement career advice.
While financial literacy in consumers between the ages of 25 to 45 continues to improve, there is still a huge retirement and protection gap that needs to be filled. We foresee this group of tech-savvy consumers, who enquire and buy financial products online, will continue to grow. Existing online providers will evolve, with more sophisticated online platforms entering the market, including those from overseas. Current financial advisors will have to upgrade their skills and service level more than ever to stay relevant.
This year, RAF Holdings secured a strategic institutional investor, validating the viability of its business model. It launched its website in May, and its marketing campaigns in July, achieving 34K visitors and 6K active users in the first three months of launch. The company attracted potentials investors from North Asia and South East Asia to be part of the group.
Mr. Graeme Beardsell
VICE PRESIDENT & MD, ASIA PACIFIC & JAPAN
Looking ahead, I‘m excited to see how blockchain and AI will be used across industries and verticals. Leading up to the 2020 Olympics in Japan, these technologies will be mainstream and likely used in enhancing bots management and stopping credential abuse. Akamai is investing in these technologies and will be at the forefront of innovation to evolve and fundamentally change the Internet and the IT landscape as a whole.
In keeping with this trend, and as we see more users go online via their mobile devices, we are going to see the continued rise of on-demand and live streaming sports consumption on mobile devices. Imagine the opportunity that presents for markets like India, Indonesia and Vietnam.
Akamai has grown significantly worldwide in 2018, with Akamai Asia-Pacific and Japan as fastest growing. The Akamai Media business saw a record number of viewers on its platform, including more than 10 million simultaneous viewers who streamed the 11th edition of the VIVO IPL 2018 on Hotstar, and Single’s Day sales powered by the Akamai platform totaling $30.8 billion – more than double the Black Friday and Cyber Monday records combined.
Mr. Brian Stampe
Diners will continue to be interested in new dining concepts.
We will be launching the first islander-inspired dining concept on Sentosa. As we grow our existing brands’ presence, The Marmalade Pantry will mark its 20th year next year as one of Singapore’s best-loved home-grown bistros. We will unveil our new flagship outlet in 2019 in Orchard with a new and improved exclusive menu.
Digitization is driving every industry to raise productivity, rehaul processes and improve efficiency. We are looking into ways to make better sense of the data available, to understand customer preferences and fine- tune our offerings.
Talent management concerns will continue to affect across industries, including the F&B sector. Our HR strategy will continue to create holistic career pathways for our staff that focuses on realising their true potential as well as creating a solid work culture where all our staff are excited to be part of.
Majority of Refinery Concepts’ brands have grown from strength to strength in 2018, moving against the industry’s downturn. Staff are key to this success, according to Mr. Stampe, who claims engaged staff means better service and enhanced operations, and ultimately happy customers.
Mr. Mark Forsyth
In-vehicle screens will become more accessible in ride-sharing cars and taxis in the region with more developed markets capable of providing the full m-commerce experience – from e-shopping, mobile payment and delivery. We also expect to see artificial intelligence make in-roads through presence and facial recognition with such technology used to serve more relevant content to passengers.
The future will be in autonomous vehicles with screens used as central command. UBS predicts that the US autonomous-vehicle revenue will reach US$2.3 trillion by 2030, and that 70 per cent of it is expected to come from selling experiences, through content, to driverless vehicles.
IDOOH is poised to lead in the in-vehicle screen market with its 2019 expansion into five more countries in North Asia, Australia, Europe, and Africa. It has Asia Pacific’s largest in-vehicle screen network running pan-regional campaigns through partnerships with taxis and ride-sharing car operators in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam, and is on track to deploy 8,000 screens across Southeast Asia by end-2018.
Mr. Edric Lin
The tech job market will only continue to tighten as companies battle in the increasingly intense talent war. Winners of this war are those who can innovate and execute more quickly than their peers in implementing new hiring technologies and platforms.
Ultimately, it’s a game of attraction – so besides having a great employer brand, companies need to be smart in hiring the not the best talent, but the right talent.
There needs to be a shift in mindset for hiring managers – hire for skills instead of designated job titles, offer employees the opportunities to learn and train, and develop bespoke strategies to retain their top talent. This creates a cohesive approach to talent attraction and retention.
Companies need to remember that hiring for the future state of the business means hiring for potential – the potential to learn, grow and adapt in this world of digital transformation. With the influx of technologies like AI and machine learning into HR solutions, I also foresee a consolidation of tools into more unified platforms in the near future.
In 2018, Wanted’s clients hired 100-150 successful candidates per month through their platform. It organized Recruiting Carnival Asia Tour across Korea, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong & Taiwan, garnering over 3,000 attendees in total, and it user growth in Singapore has reached 20,000 active referrers and applicants in less than seven months since launch in April.
Mr. Matthew Shang
There’s no denying that the future of the way we live, work, and play is changing. This is also the case for travel, but not in the way most people think. The major gap in the market, and the greatest opportunity in our view, is family and multi-generational travel.
A recent study by Agoda found that the second biggest concern for family travel is the standard of accommodation and amenity. This presents an exciting opportunity for hotel operators and designers alike. How do we design for family travel that allows for co-habitation and not the risk of multiple rooms across different floors splitting up the family?
Shangri-La has set a new industry benchmark with its test-fit family floor in Singapore. The five themed suites and 19 rooms immerse kids in the room’s theme and gives them spaces to eat, play, and rest, while also offering parents private sanctuary. By offering dedicated, thoughtfully-designed family rooms, Shangri-La is planting the seed of lifetime brand loyalty with its youngest guests – and their parent, grandparents and caretakers
Hospitality design should aim to excite and delight, especially when it comes to younger travelers. The creative opportunities this creates for designers and operators is not only exciting, but also lucrative for future growth.
Mr. Anmol Mohan
Every business wants to create a controled user journey for consumers so that they can measure and manage their behaviors. However, due to the enormous complexity of data science projects, businesses often do not get the complete picture, and are instead left chasing negative revenue trends.
This wasn’t strictly an issue in last few decades as most businesses could rely on traditional methods to grow themselves. However, with rapid digitalization, more and more companies are moving towards technology for scalability. Hence, ignoring data and automation is like handing an edge to your competition.
In the given scenario, here are some trends and phenomenon that I predict will become a norm in 2019: Digital assistants like Siri will come out from the consumer domain to businesses. They will not only automate user interaction with the brands, but will also function autonomously without any manual intervention
The phrase ‘Direct to Consumer’ will take on new meaning. Big Data will give an edge to manufacturers to cut through the inefficient supply chain and sell directly to consumers through digital channels like social media.
We will see the rise of Embedded Technology, that is, technology that will control our daily life from behind the scenes. Devices will become invisible, and they will come embedded with the things we need on a regular basis.
In 2018, Tuple launched its Customer Data Platform (CDP) powered by predictive AI to support ‘Always- On’ Autonomous applications. This was done in collaboration with Intel and Cloudera. The year also saw Tuple expanding into Taiwan and Vietnam, and starting a joint venture with Gcox to launch intelligent decentralized applications specifically catered to the blockchain industry.
Mr. Will Klippgen and Mr. Michael Blakey
CO-FOUNDERS & MANAGING PARTNERS
We believe 2019 will be the year where tech startups will start making an impact also outside Singapore and Jakarta. We see several new funds starting to target Southeast Asia, and we see a growing and hungry startup community across the region. In particular, we believe that Vietnam and the Philippines will see a strong, continued growth in terms of investments across the seed, Series A, and B range. Online adoption will continue to drive both consumers and businesses online, and we believe that Asian-based investors and corporations will remain the driving force behind both venture capital, and mergers and acquisitions.
We believe that 2019 will continue the trend of increased investment in early stage companies and that these funds will become less concentrated in Singapore and Jakarta. We see that the ecosystems in Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines and Myanmar will continue to flourish and have a major impact across the region. We think that we will see in 2019 an increase in focus on enterprise tech from investors and that some sectors that are going to see massive disruption/progress will be logistics and smart cities.
Cocoon Capital’s past portfolio generated several exit opportunities including a secondary sale in connection with U.S. private equity fund KKR’s S$200m investment in PropertyGuru. Its first fund concluded its 10th and last investment with a portfolio ranging across medtech, clean tech, ecommerce and online travel with companies in Singapore, the Philippines and Vietnam
Mr. Julien De Salaberry
CEO and Founder
Galen Growth Asia
2018 venture capital funding in HealthTech will close at approximately $6B, doubling the value of 2017. This trend is set to continue in 2019, which will see an unprecedented momentum in healthtech investment in Asia Pacific and the strong positioning of healthtech startups in Asia.
Healthtech innovation will continue to see fast growth in the areas of AI in drug discovery, medical diagnostics, and chronic disease management solutions , offering incredible promise in the field of medicine. The combination of fast- growing pools of data and significant computational power will transform medical research, providing invaluable diagnosis support to physicians and enable consumers, payors, and providers to make smarter decisions.
In 2018, Galen Growth Asia strengthened its HealthTech ecosystem by launching HealthTech Alpha, Asia’s most comprehensive digital health database and analytics platform. It attracted over 100k votes for its 2018 ‘Most Innovative HealthTech Startup’ event. Galen Growth Asia also bridged numerous commercial partnerships across the region between MNCs and startup ventures in an ecosystem worth in excess of $80B..
Dr. Jochen Krauss
Simon-Kucher & Partners
Digitalization will affect all industries – B2C and B2B. Big data will deliver more granular information or simply more information. There will be higher transparency on all characteristics of the consumer and customer, their behavior and their needs. These trends will enable new pricing models (freemium pricing, pay-as-you-go, market-based pricing auctions, dynamic pricing and the subscription model), and better ways to differentiate products and prices. For all industries, that means a different way of accessing, receiving, and sending information to the end-customers. Traditionally done through a chain of intermediaries, many businesses now have direct access to reach their customers and disintermediation is supercharged.
Even the smallest company can offer worldwide services, using global shipping companies to deliver to anywhere around the world. This has an impact on competitive situations, but also the way of doing business. All of a sudden, a niche player can have access to a potential worldwide market.
Digital products can be replicated with no or almost no additional cost. This means that companies need to re-think the way they price. In this case, value-based pricing (i.e. understanding the value delivery of products and services, and translating to the willingness to pay) and observing competitors’ behavior and strategies become crucial.
Understanding customer value starts at product development. It is important to think about how a product or service brings value to a customer segment, and it is critical to understand their needs. Computer systems do not yet have the ability to support in these tasks, hence, human input is still very necessary and valuable.
With order volume up by over 20 percent from last year, Simon-Kucher & Partners expects a strong growth in 2018, as reflected in its revenue target of $350 million. This year, it opened new offices, including in Chicago, Egypt, Mexico, and Shanghai, while the Singapore office moved into a new office space with a headcount of over 40 and an additional partner– the third in the Singapore office.
Mr. Toby Koh
GROUP MANAGING DIRECTOR
Ademco Security Group
2019 will be the year when facial recognition technology will explode in usage across the world. Facial identity is being used on streets by many governments for public security and surveillance. ATM machines will authenticate our face and allow withdrawals. Point of sale systems will use face as mobile wallets. Face recognition will start replacing smart card access control systems into buildings. Our face will be our badge into automated supermarkets, and video analytics will scan all our purchases and deduct payment as we walk out seamlessly.
Our privacy will be compromised as a result of this convenience. Our whereabouts will be tracked extensively and automatically. Police will request CCTV feed from private buildings for purpose of establishing federated video surveillance platform.
There will be a nationwide public-private partnership against crime.
The wonder then is if governments will be able to protect against cyberattacks and the loss of the data collected.
This year, Ademco Security Group met its expansion goal of one new country every year with entry into its 7th country, Vietnam. Mr. Koh has also learned to be a better father this year than ever before. (He is a father of three children aged 19, 17 and 14.) A truly meaningful personal achievement in 2018: He counseled a person out of suicide.
Mr. Steve Ebsworth
The sustainability of our oceans continues to be a huge global issue. This year, we have seen a continuing focus on plastic waste and the enormous damage it is doing to marine ecosystems. People are becoming more aware of sustainability issues especially when it comes to saving our oceans.
This change in attitude will only develop further in 2019, as we move towards a redefinition of luxury: the modern consumer seeks out-of-this-world experiences, but with a conscience.
As luxury travel providers, we look to provide our guests with the opportunity to play their part in reducing the negative impacts of tourism by reducing their environmental footprint while also contributing to conservation efforts in a measurable way.
As part of this commitment, we will continue to pioneer sustainability-driven partnerships, building upon our collaboration with Conservation International, which focuses on enabling scientific research on the marine life of Indonesia and promoting the necessity for more marine sanctuaries.
Mr. Eylon Cohen
VICE-PRESIDENT AND GENERAL MANAGER, ASIA PACIFIC – ENTERPRISE AND EDUCATION
We foresee significant growth in educational technology as educators pivot to meet the learning needs of a digitally attuned audience. Video technology will continue gaining ground as an instructional medium, providing an interactive and immersive learning experience that is not only enjoyable, but also vastly enhances learning outcomes.
Highly popular among Asian audiences in recent years, we anticipate video adoption to be further driven by soaring growth of mobile devices and Internet connectivity. These continue to drive the use of video within the workforce as well, as today’s employees are looking to connect to their peers at work, similarly as they do in their personal lives.
To maximize the potential of videos, organizations will need to be equipped with tools to produce, share, and analyze video usage statistics for actionable insights.
This year, Kaltura expanded its teams of experienced senior personnel in Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong to provide dedicated local client support, and further entrench Kaltura’s presence in these markets. It also established business relationships and strategic partnerships with a range of local and global partner organizations for a broader regional reach, and secured a significant number of new clients in 2018, with business momentum expected to continue in view of a healthy pipeline of potential business in 2019.
Mr. Parveen Kumar
Grand Hyatt Singapore
There is a lot of talk of where the hospitality industry is heading towards in the next year, but we believe that guests’ well-being, sustainability, local experiences and seamless guest experiences through technology would be critical for the hospitality industry.
Regardless of the type of traveler, including the increase in millennial travel, we believe that every guest can benefit from the above factors. More importantly, with the amount of consumption made by the hospitality industry whether it is energy or food, we are in the perfect position to effect positive change to the environment and to guests who have chosen us to be their home away from home.
Advances in blockchain technology, cloud and mobile will also continue to change how the industry will function, from streamlined operational processes to a more integrated customer journey on mobile devices. We have seen so many hotels embrace technology in so many ways in 2018, and 2019 will be no different as we continue to do our best to exceed the needs of the modern traveler.
Mr. Kumar’s appointment as hotel manager for Grand Hyatt Singapore this year came after the birth of his second child.
Ms. Sandra Ng
GROUP VICE PRESIDENT FOR ICT PRACTICE
Digital transformation (DX) has accelerated from an emerging topic to a mega trend over the last five years. By 2020, at least 55 per cent of organizations will be digitally determined, transforming markets and reimagining the future through new business models and digitally enabled products and services.
IDC sees a growing divide between digitally-determined organizations that embark on longer term, enterprise- wide DX projects with clearly-defined roadmaps and KPIs that truly transform the organization to compete in the digital economy, versus digitally distraught ones which take on short-term, tactical initiatives without a clear strategic overview.
To be digitally-determined, Asia/ Pacific organizations require a blueprint that consists of a single enterprise strategy, resoluteness to make required organizational and cultural changes, a long-term DX investment strategy, and a single digital platform to scale technology innovations.
Onalytica ranked IDC #1 brand for digital transformation social influence for 2018. The company’s co-written study with Microsoft, ‘Unlocking the Economic Impact of Digital Transformation in Asia/ Pacific’, has been promoted in 17 markets with over 70M social media impressions. Meanwhile, its Digital Transformation Awards (DXa) attracted 680 nominations, and participation by top conglomerates and leading organizations across 12 markets.
Mr. Bertrand Saillet
FCM Travel Solutions & Flight Centre Travel Group, Asia
To conquer the risk of being eclipsed by digital start-ups, corporate travel companies will increasingly leverage technologies not only to transform their offering but also innovate within the organization.
With the increased demand for personalized, seamless and safe travel, the industry will see some exciting opportunities and developments, including incorporation of blockchain, data science and predictive analytics.
However, while it is easy to jump on the innovation bandwagon, it will be extremely important for business leaders to ensure that employees are prepared for the change. In the human-machine era, the key to successful transformation is to make employees feel confident of their skills, and to use the technology to augment their capabilities.
This year, FCM Travel Solution’s investment in its people, new clients and more advanced technology offerings, including its travel-intelligent chatbot SAM, paid off handsomely with the company being named ‘Asia’s Leading Travel Management Company’.
Mr. Julius Tan
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER AND CO-FOUNDER
With demand for energy rising in Asia Pacific, and the looming issue of climate change, energy efficiency and renewable energy will be a prominent issue moving forward.
In 2019, we’ll see more innovative ways of generating and consuming electricity, spurred by an open electricity market with more private electricity retailers from a deregulated marketplace.
Electricity consumers in Singapore and the rest of Asia will have more choices and better prices. With technological advances in renewable energy, blockchain and IoT, we’ll start seeing individual consumers generating their own electricity from personal solar panels, and selling them to other consumers over a commercial marketplace.
In 2018 Electrify formed partnerships with leading energy players in Asia, and raised US$30m for technology development. It launched its first test of peer-to-peer energy trading in Singapore.
Mr. Craig Nielsen
VICE PRESIDENT, ASIA PACIFIC
2018 has been a watershed year for cybersecurity across Asia, with critical information infrastructure such as healthcare and financial services weathering high profile attacks. This trend is expected to continue, spurred by digital transformation and the rapid adoption of emerging technologies.
We foresee this trend leading to a multitude of technology being deployed within organizations, contributing to the creation of an increasingly complex and expanding threat landscape. This will catalyze the adoption of an integrated platform-agnostic approach to cybersecurity that can deliver threat and data-centric defences spanning from device to cloud.
McAfee substantially augmented its ability to deliver on its device to cloud strategy through the acquisition of Skyhigh Networks, which boosts McAfee’s cloud security capabilities in line with the global shift towards cloud platforms, enabling it to provide visibility, advanced threat prevention, and data protection across public and private clouds in an open ecosystem architecture.
The company also launched the McAfee MVISION portfolio that delivers cloud- based management for a vast array of countermeasures and device types, leveraging native device controls, as well as new customer success solutions designed to offer a proactive end-to-end lifecycle engagement.
Mr. Terence Lyons
The Stakeholder Company
2019 will mark a turning point in the digitalization of the external world. The external threat radar for business has expanded exponentially, and today, 30 per cent of EBITDA is at risk across most sectors from policy, regulation, NGO action, project risks and reputational damage.
We expect to see the external affairs function embrace the new power of AI, machine learning, and scientific, data-driven strategy and tools. This will be transformative in moving away from the old tools of diplomacy, spreadsheets, gut feel, and Google. It’s a digital transformation of the external affairs agenda and a better, more transparent world.
In 2018, The Stakeholder Company grew from mapping 35 countries to 92, and reengineered proprietary platform from scratch for unlimited scalability – efforts that have made it the digitalization leader for Fortune 100. It aims to achieve 300 per cent growth in clients, people and revenue, go from evolutionary better to revolutionary better, and move from state-of-the-art tech to predictive machine intelligence to enable us to see the future.
Mr. Benjamin Low
VICE PRESIDENT, ASIA PACIFIC
Modern video technology, powered by AI and machine learning, is increasingly being used beyond security. The number of companies using it as a business driver will accelerate in 2019, and more innovative applications will be developed.
For example, video analytics can track customers’ routes in retail stores and how long they spend at each display. This allows retailers to identify hot and cold spots, and optimize their marketing and product placement. In healthcare, AI-powered video technology is helping professionals deliver more accurate diagnoses and improve overall patient care.
I believe it’s only a matter of time before businesses across the board start reaping the benefits of intelligent video technology.
London-based global information provider, IHS Markit, ranked Milestone No. 1 global video management software (VMS) vendor by revenue for the 10th year running, and No.1 in Asia Pacific. At MIPS this year, the Milestone Systems APAC community event, 1,500 of the company’s partners shared insights on how intelligent video technologies are changing the world. Milestone also opened a new office in Bangalore, and an Innovation Centre in Melbourne, which allows customers experience different solutions.
Mr. Karl Vään
CEO & CO-FOUNDER
There will be significant advances in blockchain technology, especially in industries like property. Blockchain technology is potentially a new type of Internet or a digital ledger, which makes it extremely promising and has the potential to disrupt the real estate industry. Like the origin of Internet, blockchain is a technology revolution that will touch a lot of people, but there may be hurdles when it comes to mass adoption by both users and investors.
One of these hurdles, which we believe will continue to slow down the industry as a whole, is the general misconception of cryptocurrency being the same as blockchain. We will continue to see slow growth in the adoption of blockchain in all aspects of real estate investment from due diligence to deal closing.
Blockchain definitely gives its challenges, thus the newly funded real estate ICO companies should be kept in eye to see how well they have put their raised resources into practice.
In 2018, BitOfProperty launched a real estate crowdfunding platform, and listed and funded first two deals: It also completed seed-round financing by LIFULL Co., Ltd, amd pre-seed by Spaze Ventures.
Ms. Anneliese Schulz
I am confident that the significant growth momentum in Asia will continue in 2019, as more organizations in the region realize the value of their digital transformation initiatives.
From our interaction with customers here in Asia, I predict that these will be the key growth areas: The combination of Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and predictive analytics will drive tremendous economic value as enterprises advance in their digital transformation journey – moving from pilot phase to more enterprise-wide deployments.
We will see the rise of Application Programming Interface (API) as enterprises strive to interconnect with the ecosystem to enhance competitiveness; Digital Twin as enterprises strive for operational process excellence; and the availability of DevOps capabilities as a standard, rather than an exception, in facilitating agility for change and innovation.
Asia Pacific Japan was the best performing region in 2017 for the company, and we see the momentum continuing throughout 2018 driven by the strong performance in all major markets. The region has seen consistent growth fueled by enterprise customers’ digital transformation initiatives.
Software AG has strengthened its Indonesia business presence with a new office opening to better serve a growing number of local customers. It has grown organically, with double-digit license revenue growth, and new strategic customer acquisitions across key verticals.
Mr. Kelvin Lee
CO-FOUNDER & CEO
From our vantage point as a private investment platform, we believe 2019 will see more opportunities for investments in Southeast Asia. Global trade tensions have brought SEA into the spotlight, shifting production lines over. This has created internationalization opportunities for businesses, and enhanced the overall attractiveness of the region as an investment destination.
This abundance of opportunities will catalyze a demand for growth financing. The shrewd businessman, however, will have rational price expectations in order to maximize value and retain market competitiveness. The private market is resource effective, and will be the first port of call to raise capital.
In 2018, Fundnel sourced over US$100 million worth of deals, including for the likes of SpaceX, Travelio and Vickers Ventures Partners. It was awarded a Recognized Market Operator license by Securities Commission Malaysia – one of 16 companies to hold this license, and the first company to have successfully received this license within the past two years. Fundnel CEO, Mr. Lee, is a member of The Singapore Business Federation’s Young Business Leader Network.
Mr. Axel Berkling
EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT FOR ASIA-PACIFIC
Urbanization and technological disruptions are transforming cities, and changing the way people live, work and move in them. Buildings are getting smarter with the ability to measure the environment and respond to authenticated commands of identified users, and granting greater access controls that ensure a secure environment.
Internet of Things (IoT) is a reality today, thanks to improvements in sensors, mobile communications, and user interfaces such as voice recognition. In 2019, we will see homes becoming adaptive – learning habits and anticipating needs.
Practical architectures will be developed to meet the needs of rapid urbanization, and an increasing aging population with subtle changes like giving larger fonts on screens, or holding the elevator door open just a bit longer.
But this is just the beginning, and the future lies in not making homes and buildings smart, but in making them wise to ensure smooth people flow.
KONE was ranked among the world’s most innovative companies in 2018 by Forbes magazine for the 8th time in a row. It expanded footprint and enhanced customer services in the Asia Pacific region, and increased training support through the opening of new training centers across the region.
Mr. Nelson Lee
CO-FOUNDER & CMO OF JEWELUXE® INTERNATIONAL
Lizard Storm Pte Ltd
The industry will move into the transition of pre- loved watches, as the last decade was spent on buying, while collectors are in a different phase in their lives with very different desires. The desire for independent brands will continue to rise with growing awareness of brands.
The rise of the subscription economy, such as Netflix and Spotify, will also change the watch industry forever. The subscription e-commerce market has grown by more than 100 per cent a year over the past five years, with the largest retailers generating more than $2.6B in sales in 2016, up from $57M in 2011.
JeweLuxe® Singapore 2018 saw Asia’s largest gathering of independent watchmakers totalling 15 and over 12 watchmakers from The Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants (AHCI), renowned academy of the world’s best independent watchmakers. Despite the challenging r etail market, JeweLuxe® still managed to see an increase in both footfall and sales this year.
Mr. Albert Ovidi
CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
JLL Asia Pacific
There are several technologies that are already well- known, but in 2019 they could have a big impact on real estate. Blockchain could help to improve transparency and reduce third-party costs involved in transactions, with smart contracts being used to automate money or asset transfers. Another way blockchain can facilitate transactions is tokenization – dividing ownership into multiple shares, allowing more investors to access the asset.
AI can be used for image recognition, allowing customers to classify and organize photos of properties more efficiently. Another technology to watch is 3D printing, which can make construction faster, with higher quality and at lower cost.
Among the achievements of JLL Asia Pacific in 2018 were Proptech Unleashed, the first proptech forum held at Innovfest Unbound; the launch of Propell Asia, a Singapore-based regional proptech accelerator; and JLL Liquid Lab, a testbed for workplace solutions.
Ms. Ankiti Bose
CEO & CO-FOUNDER
In 2019, we feel that e-commerce is going to continue to move towards integrated new retail that touches the customer across digital, social and offline touchpoints. Consumers no longer differentiate between online and offline, and expect a seamless experience when it comes to shopping.
Increasingly, full-stack commerce platforms that use technology to cut out middlemen and improve prices and service quality for end customers are on the rise.
At Zilingo, we think sustainability will come from continuing to create value for our merchants and customers – whether it’s through efficient and seamless management of their business or through discovering and shopping for fashion and beauty’s latest trends at the touch of a button.
Zilingo grew more than 11 times in sales and revenue over the last year. It launched in Indonesia where it rose to be a leader in the fashion e-commerce space. Vertically integrated, the Zilingo platform is now a full-stack tech platform for fashion and beauty businesses with over 17k merchant users.
Ms. Marina Mathews
FOUNDER & MANAGING DIRECTOR
We’ll continue to see a greater appreciation among organizations of the value of Public Relations, and how integration with their Sales and Marketing functions is integral to their business success in helping them to better command the attention of their audiences and influencing them.
2019 will see a heavier focus on micro- influencers. Micro-influencers, while not having the reach of celebrity influencers, are more relatable and perceived as more “authentic” and trustworthy, and therefore end up having deeper and more meaningful engagement with audiences.
And lastly, watch for a surge in campaigns shaped by intertwining insights and storytelling, whereby audiences and stakeholders contribute to content development.
2018 saw further business consolidation at Chrysler Communications as it continued to expand its client portfolio, with prestigious international brands such as Six Senses Singapore and The Garcha Group coming on board. Ms. Mathews also worked with clients that contribute to a good cause, such as Kick Sarcoma, a non-profit which aims to find a cure for this rare form of cancer; and Happy Hearts Fund, a charity that addresses the immediate and long-term needs of communities impacted by natural disasters.
Mr. Ashish Manchharam
FOUNDER AND MANAGING DIRECTOR
8M Real Estate
Guests will become increasingly demanding – and hotel operators will continue to innovate in order to differentiate their product among the typical hospitality models.
We will continue to see a desire for personalized, exclusive and emotional guest experiences. The role of the concierge will shift towards a more localized and bespoke approach – offering their personal insights and off-the-beaten-track recommendations, to ensure the hotel experience is tailored to each guest and neighborhood.
Technology will continue to play a part across all aspects of travel – from online booking apps to in-room check ins and user review websites holding an increasingly prominent place.
And, undoubtedly, the impact that the ‘Instagrammability’ of a hotel has on a customer booking decision will continue to rise as we move into a more social media-driven global community.
Ultimately, one trend will never cease to prevail – and that’s the authenticity of a hotel product. In such a competitive landscape, guests will remember something that offers genuine service, locally inspired and sympathetic design, and proven connections in the destination and its local culture.
Ms. Katharine Pooley
Katharine Pooley Limited
In 2019, critical interior design trends will be personalization and unique detailing and finishes as clients require a greater degree of differentiation from their peers.
The global elite and design avant- garde are similar in that they both understand that true luxury is rare and limited. Clients will be looking for limited editions, collectable art and sculptural pieces, and bespoke furniture and joinery in exclusive finishes. There will be far less interest in repeat ‘house’ designs and ‘off the shelf ’ procurement.
In 2018, Ms. Pooley designed and opened her new extended Design Studio in Knightsbridge – now one of the biggest interior design studios in London, with 47 interior designers and architects under her leadership. She has also completed ground-breaking installations worldwide, including private residences and hotels in Hong Kong, Washington D.C., China, France, London, Kuwait, Dubai. Kensington & Chelsea Awards 2018 named Ms. Pooley Entrepreneur of the Year 2018.
Ms. Siqi Chung
LEGAL, STRATEGY & COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR
Customers are on a hunt for unique experiences. In the past year, we’ve seen an increased interest in cocktail masterclasses, tipple pairings with perfumes, pop-up activations by retailers, parties in warehouses, and more. From carving of names on bespoke Belvedere bottles, to personalizing placards used for champagne rituals—customers are looking for that special touch.
There’s been an increasing interest in hip-hop music. 88 Rising changed the game for Asian hip-hop in recent years; their latest streetwear collaboration with GUESS cements their strong brand positioning with youth. At the same time, music from the 90s has been tugging at our heartstrings. Concerts such as A1’s Reunion Tour, Michael Learns to Rock and more, are instances of this trend. (Capital Zouk’s Total Recall night that features music from that era is growing in popularity among our consumers.)
Music festivals and event promoters have invested a lot more capital to bring a wide variety of electronic music to Singapore. On the parallel, we’ve witnessed customer fatigue when it comes to commercial EDM. Even Calvin Harris has distanced himself from that particular music genre recently. We are also on a keen lookout for opportunities to bring trendy F&B concepts targeted at millennials to Asia.
In 2018, the Singapore team transformed a cozy space within Capital ZoukOut into an intimate, hip hop-inspired speakeasy bar, Queens. Social gaming lounge, RedTail Genting, was also successfully launched in Resorts World Genting.
Ms. Cat Williams-Treloar
Founder & CEO
For Businesses in 2019, we’re expecting to see a shift back to authenticity, a focus on Customer Experience, and an industry-wide effort to restore trust in technology, brands and business.
At Humanisation, our mission is to drive brand growth by putting humans first on the inside & outside. I reckon that’s going to take us well beyond 2019.
Last year, Humanisation helped groundbreaking tech startups launch and scale in Commerce, Cloud & SaaS. And building a Blockchain brand. This year, it is partnering with more tech start-ups who believe in putting their customers first and making a human impact. Humanisation is geared up to grow its network of consultants, partners and freelancers, and keep championing a human-centric world.
Mr. Damian D’Silva
Folklore at Destination Singapore Beach Road
With the rapid modernization in the Singapore’s food scene, a younger generation of chefs and discerning local foodies are going back to their roots to learn about their food culture. They will be tracing back their culinary roots, exploring traditional recipes, and reviving long-lost heritage recipes.
Many would also see the need of preserving these recipes for the next generation, as most of these recipes and information that are available online and print may deem to be inaccurate and confusing.
There will be a growing number of Mod-Sin restaurants as Singaporeans seek to showcase their heritage flavors, while combining with modern techniques to express their take on traditional recipes. I believe it stems from an innate sense of wanting to discover oneself.
Chef Damian served as a judge for the MasterChef Singapore and represented Singapore in the Heritage Food and Dining showcase at the George Town Festival in Penang. He has built a strong kitchen team at Folklore that is able to deliver heritage recipes consistently.
Ms. Evangeline Leong
Founder & CEO
Kobe Global Technologies
With the advancement and accessibility of technology, we will be seeing more companies adopting technology in the influencer marketing industry. With the use of technology, influencer marketing industry can now be redefined.
We hope to get authentic, relevant and credible influencers to be paired with advertisers. From the data gathered through the use of technology, the industry can now focus more on relevance rather than just reach and style-fit. With supporting and relevant data provided by technology, we can see more companies getting on board with using influencers and allocating a higher marketing budget for it.
In 2018, Kobe Global Technologies saw campaign renewals from advertisers, which is not common in the industry. It also won big accounts, including Pepsi, Calvin Klein, and Circles.Life, and exceeded its annual sales target by 250 per cent.
Mr. Fernando Arévalo
Preludio Private Limited
2019 will be a very exciting year in the industry, with the gastronomic spotlight shining on Singapore’s food scene. This will be an opportunity to show what the people here are really made of. Singaporean foodies are craving for change and innovation, and we are in a country that is desperate to show the world its potential.
New restaurants that are created based on concepts of the past won’t have much room in the minds of consumers in Singapore. Being produce-oriented, sustainable and environmentally conscious is a responsibility, not a great marketing strategy.
Creativity and breaking the trends are the future of the food scene, and those without the guts to change will not survive the fierce competition in one of the biggest gastronomic capitals in the world.
In 2018, Preludio successfully funded, developed, and executed a restaurant concept based on Mr. Arevalo’s personal philosophy of restaurants, fine dining and human behavior.
Mr. Jeremy Sim
Director, Industry Solutions
Manufacturing & HighTech, Qlik APAC
Customers are more independent, more impatient, and less trusting of businesses than ever before. They have no qualms about voicing their dissatisfaction and are presented with a myriad of options – making it easy for them to jump over to any competitors.
And while many businesses say they are customer-first, they are actually customer eventually.
In 2019, it’s not about what you sell, but how you sell. It’s about making your customers successful, building relationships by doing the right thing, and focusing on the long-term even when it’s hard. By focusing on your customers, your business will grow better. It’s growth with a conscience. In 2019, that’s how you can build a truly remarkable company.
2018 saw Mr. Sim performing two pivotal roles at Qlik: as the man responsible for driving business in the manufacturing sector within Asia Pacific, and as the MD of greater China region. He spent time supporting his daughter in her ballet performance as member of the principal cast, and also managed to lose 5kgs from weight through exercise and diet.
Mr. Nicholas Lee
General Manager, Personal health
Philips ASEAN Pacific
We predict that 2019 will be a tipping point where we see artificial intelligence (AI) and connected devices becoming much more mainstream in helping people to lead longer, healthier lives.
Healthcare organizations will increasingly be able to use AI and automation to deliver faster, more efficient and more precise treatment for patients. In addition, we expect that smart technology will become more commonplace in the home too, particularly as APAC’s consumers become more conscious about the benefits of healthy lifestyles. Innovations such as smart connected toothbrushes and blenders, together with mobile health apps will have a role to play in helping people prioritize prevention over treatment.
Ultimately, we hope that 2019 is the year that APAC makes significant in-roads in tackling the burdens of chronic diseases and healthcare skill shortages through wider use of smart technologies.
Last year, Mr. Lee moved to Singapore to take on the role of general manager, Personal Health, Philips ASEAN Pacific. He set up a partnership with World Heart Foundation to raise awareness of the importance of heart health in APAC, and joined the Rapha Cycling Club, a professional cycling club where they cycle around 100km twice or thrice weekly.
Mr. Terence Mak
CEO and Founder
The outlook for location-based marketing definitely looks promising, as more offline businesses realise its potential to enhance their ability to reach consumers within walking proximity to drive in-store traffic, and launch promotions to attract and retain customers. In Asia, 5 million merchants could potentially benefit from this disruption, which allows brick-and-mortar businesses to optimise audience reach.
In 2019 we can expect to see more offline businesses looking for alternatives to online mediums such as Google and Facebook, which have limited capabilities in helping brick-and-mortar businesses build followers. This would then translate to a rise in the adoption of location-based marketing platforms allowing offline businesses to design and run campaigns across multiple outlet locations in real-time at a fixed price.
Since launching for merchants in February 2018, WhereIsWhere has registered over 2,500 retail locations across Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam. In Singapore, its partners range from local brands, including Sushi Express and Old Chang Kee, to major shopping malls such as Millenia Walk and even lifestyle companies like Wing Tai. On a local scale, its app has over 170 brands across Singapore, and it is still growing, with the support of industry associations such as ORBA.
Vincenzo Esposito Vinzi
Dean & President
Higher education will be reshaped by three megatrends:Higher Education will continue to become even more globalized. Business schools need to become dual gateways between regional economies and local communities on the one hand, and their international students on the other hand.
Higher education will shift more and more towards innovation and responsible leadership. Learners will have to become producers. Business schools will need give meaning to the leadership of tomorrow and foster critical thinking and train leaders that can think beyond ‘business as usual’.
The separation between on-site and online education will become less defined. Schools will need to offer coherent learning experiences across all their programs and channels. Business schools will need to develop online experiences that can offer the same level of experience and engagement as on-site learning.
In 2018, ESSEC’s global MBA entered the Top 100 in both the Financial Times and The Economist for its first year. It launched a new campus project, Campus 2020, which includes a Research Green Tower and a Creative Learning Center; it also launched Digital Campus, offering the same level of learning experiences online, anytime, anywhere and on any device.
Mr. Zachary King
Vice President, Commercial, Asia
Co-Chair, Asia Programmatic Committee, Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB)
Data-driven marketing (through the use of programmatic technology) will continue to expand to include TV, digital out-of-home, radio and podcasts. This expansion opens up a further $350Bn in spend via programmatic, so expect that the industry will continue to race forward.
The surge towards ‘MadTech’, defined as confluence of marketing, advertising and technology, continues as the industry shifts towards a consumer-centric approach. Consumers do not care about the channel, and prioritise experiences. MediaMath is now fully integrated with IBM Watson, providing a complete stack from programmatic ad buying right through to every marketing touch point IBM can power.
Consultancies like Accenture will become more active players in programmatic after acquiring buying platforms.
This year, MediaMath sealed a partnership with IBM Watson Marketing. It took measures to clean up the adtech ecosystem through initiatives such as open letter to supply-side platforms and transparency through blockchain. It obtained US$225M in new funding by Searchlight Ventures to remain the only private, globally scaled independent demand-side platform in the market.