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Pushing the borders of digital innovation

The SG:D Techblazer Awards 2019 honours organisations that have made great strides in their innovation journey.

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Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran (10th from left), SGTech chairman Wong Wai Meng (ninth from left) as well as co-chairs of the Techblazer Awards Committee, Howie Lau (extreme left), Michael Yap (second from left), Shirley Wong (sixth from left), together with the winners of the 2019 SG:D Techblazer Awards at the gala event.

FROM an artificial intelligence tool to help doctors make faster diagnoses to a digital platform for managing Singapore's trees, local organisations that developed or adopted ground breaking technologies were honoured for their innovative spirit at the Singapore Digital (SG:D) Techblazer Awards held on Nov 5.

Some 10 organisations were recognised as Singapore's most innovative, and received their awards from Minister for Communications and Information, S Iswaran at the Tech Industry Night gala dinner, which was organised by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and industry association SGTech.

Now in its second year, the SG:D Techblazer Awards is billed as Singapore's highest accolade for tech innovation. In addition to corporate and public sector participants, three student teams also received awards in the new Student Techblazer category, which seeks to recognise and inspire the next generation of innovators. The seven organisations and the three student organisations were winners in three categories: Most Promising Innovation, Best Adoption and Student Techblazer.

Technologies such as deep learning and artificial intelligence (AI) were a common theme among the winners.

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Medtech company BioMind clinched the Gold award in the Most Promising Innovation category for its deep learning diagnostic support system that helps doctors review magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) images.

In the same category, CashShield's fraud-detection product and Tookitaki Holdings' anti-money laundering solution both won the Silver award.

Meanwhile, students from the Singapore University of Technology and Design won the Gold award in the Student Techblazer category for their simulated data platform, Bifrost.

The public sector was also represented at the awards, with the National Parks Board snagging the Best Adoption (Public) category for its new digital tree management system that helps effectively manage its database of all the trees in Singapore.

"We are in an era of unprecedented disruptions and changes, both in technology and by technology. Through their innovative solutions, the winners have demonstrated how to lead the way to address today's challenges by exploiting technology," said Wong Wai Meng, chairman of SGTech.

"We received over 300 submissions spanning three categories, which shows we are getting very strong support from the industry. The submissions were also of a very high quality; it took the judges many rounds of serious deliberation before deciding on our winners."

VALIDATION FOR BUSINESSES

Mr Wong said that being recognised at the SG:D Techblazer Awards provides validation for the winners' business and solutions.

"The awards have allowed them to gauge their solution's market-readiness and built credibility for their brand. It has created an avenue for the winners to meet potential collaboration partners. The recognition has also boosted their staff morale," he said. He also noted that past winners have rapidly expanded into overseas markets, while others have co-developed improved versions of their winning solutions.

For the schools, participating in the awards would spur their students to "leverage on their learning and experience from the competition, and inspire them to greater heights in their tech innovation journey".

Howie Lau, IMDA's chief industry development officer said that the innovations showcased at the awards reflected the willingness of local SMEs to leverage technology to improve their services.

"Overall, we saw a wide span of innovative solutions for all sectors, supporting Singapore's Digital Economy," he said.

Mr Lau added: "The awards also aim to spur greater innovation from the recipients and propel them to greater heights in the region and internationally, with the hopes that these companies will also blaze the trail for others."

DIGITAL PARTICIPATION PLEDGE

As part of the awards gala night, organisations that pledged to help businesses, employees, customers and the community acquire skills and adopt technology were also honoured at the inaugural Digital Participation Pledge (DPP) Awards, which recognise organisations that have made a positive impact on Singapore's digital readiness.

Since the launch of DPP in March, close to 900 organisations from the private, people and public sectors have taken the pledge to help equip everyone with digital skills and adopt technology.

The initiative is administered by the Ministry of Communications and Information and IMDA.