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Singapore calls on tech community to address events industry issues

Winning proposals to be funded up to 70 per cent for qualifying project costs.

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has launched its latest Tourism Innovation Challenge for technology companies to propose and develop innovative solutions for pressing issues confronting the business events industry.

Through a series of engagement sessions conducted with more than 80 meetings and events industry members, STB identified key issues and put them into challenge statements for the Innovation Challenge.

Interested companies can respond with creative and scalable technology solutions tailored to address the challenge statements. The proposed solutions may be rooted in data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, data integration, indoor and outdoor tracking capabilities or other relevant technologies. Proposals will be evaluated based on their ingenuity and their ability to best address the problem areas, as well as companies’ track records and competencies.

The submitted proposals will go through two rounds of shortlisting. Those shortlisted from the first round can look forward to a private coaching session to refine their proposal and develop a viable product and business model.

They will then have the opportunity to showcase their concepts to participating business events stakeholders such as Professional Exhibition Organisers, Professional Conference Organisers, venue providers and booth stand contractors.

These ‘matchmaking’ sessions aim to help the technology solution providers get useful industry feedback and secure a suitable industry partner for prototype trial. After this round, selected proposals will be funded by STB for up to 70 per cent of qualifying costs to deliver feasible prototypes for trial.

STB director of digital transformation, Poh Chi Chuan, believes that technology is key to solving some of the pertinent problems among business events industry stakeholders.

“For technology companies, this Tourism Innovation Challenge offers a valuable platform to connect and partner industry stakeholders to develop innovative solutions that best address the industry’s needs and have the potential to be applied across the entire tourism industry,” says Poh.

According to Ace:Daytons Direct, which participated and won the MICE coLAB (the first events-centric Hackathon of its kind in Singapore to crowdsource for technology-enabled ideas and solutions for the industry) organised by STB in 2014, the Innovation Challenge will speed up and smoothen the process for business events companies in sourcing for technology solutions for their business needs.

“As early as 2003, we realised certain business challenges could be addressed through technology. So we started sourcing for such technology solutions but discovered the solutions providers then did not seem to understand the needs of the business events industry. This led us to invest heavily in developing our own MICEapp and in-house technical capabilities. Through STB’s Innovation Challenge, event companies and technology vendors will be brought together almost at the outset to develop viable solutions, thus saving time, cost and effort,” says Nancy Tan, managing director, Ace:Daytons Direct.

The call-for-proposal, held in partnership with the Singapore Association of Conference and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers (SACEOS), runs from 7 September to 14 December 2018.

The MICE Tourism Innovation Challenge is open to all Singapore-registered technology solutions providers.

In 2017, STB held Tourism Innovation Challenges for hotels and travel agents. To date, more than 20 solutions have been developed by technology companies in collaboration with industry stakeholders for the two sectors.