SINGAPORE: The “digital revolution” has changed the way companies in Singapore operate. Companies are beginning to learn more about their customers with the help of new technologies, and this has helped some of them develop better services.
For instance, the security cameras at some malls can do more than help staff look out for shoplifters. Using a system developed by local video analytics firm Kai Square, shop owners and landlords will be able to estimate the number of visitors to different parts of the store, as well as create profiles by estimating the age and sex of these visitors.
Kai Square said it has installed around 10,000 of these cameras around Singapore. Kai Square, whose shareholders include Singtel’s Innov8, has also installed the system in countries such as Malaysia, Taiwan and Australia. Besides retail, the video analytics system is also used to track ships.
“Companies today need to understand that the digital tsunami is here, and therefore we need to adapt and leverage on technology as much as possible,” said Ernst & Young Advisory’s managing director Mildred Tan.
Ernst & Young said firms without the technical expertise can work with technology companies that can provide help on a regular basis.
Kai Square, for instance, manages the data analysis for its customers, charging around S$200 a month for a store with four cameras.
Sophisticated tracking systems are also being used in the car rental business. Smove, a start-up specialising in hybrid cars, uses a built-in data logging system to track its cars and analyse customer usage trends.
The firm has also incorporated other technologies in its business, such as allowing customers to unlock a car using an EZ-Link card that had been pre-registered. Drivers in parts of western Singapore can even rent Smove’s vehicles on an hourly basis with unlimited petrol, and return the cars at designated lots. These measures reduce handing over time.
“Singaporeans are a practical bunch, so definitely the cost for customers is lower as well, because hybrid cars are twice as fuel-efficient as a normal car,” said Mr Joseph Ting, head of operations at Smove. “In our scheme, we are actually able to offer an unlimited mileage, and all petrol included in the pricing, because we run hybrid cars.”