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Speech by MOS Alvin Tan at V-Key's Digital Trust Symposium

Speech by MOS Alvin Tan at V-Key's Digital Trust Symposium

Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. Good afternoon. Thank you for having me at today’s Digital Trust Symposium organised by V-Key. 

Trust is Key in the Digital Economy 

2. In our digital age, the scale and speed of digital activity is astounding.

a. Every minute, it is estimated that consumers spend a million dollars online, Amazon ships over 6,000 packages, more than 1.3 million people make video or voice calls, and WhatsApp users share over 41 million messages.

b. At the same time, every minute, an average of 119,000 cyber-threats are detected, and over 70,000 records compromised.

3. As the digital economy grows, we will become more exposed and reliant on digital transactions, identity and data. Indeed, Trust Is Essential In Our Digital World. 

4. So where can and should we place our trust in this digital world? Well, we can think of trust as Misplaced or Displaced.

a. Misplaced trust leads to mistrust. Individuals and organizations can misplace trust on digital platforms when they are fraught with cyber-security issues. These include problems like online fraud, scam, spam, hacking, phishing, ransomware and DDOS attacks. 

b. Displaced trust leads to distrust. Platforms, organizations and individuals can also lose the trust of their users, customers and citizens, if they do not prove to be trusted stewards of data and privacy. 

5. Given these issues, what do we do?

a. Almost every organisation is a digital organisation, and they have a responsibility to steward and secure users’ data. This applies across many stakeholders in our economy, including governments, non-profits and private organizations. 

b. With the proliferation of digital products and services today, successful enterprises earn the trust of their users by being reliable stewards of their data. Without it, businesses and consumers will not have the confidence to freely transact on digital platforms.

c. Moreover, in a supercharged digital world sped up by COVID-19, trust is even more critical. Consumers and citizens will increasingly demand and expect reliable processes and technologies, like data privacy and protection.

6. Therefore, everyone has a part to play. 

The Role of Governments, Companies and Individuals’ in Building Digital Trust 

 7. Let’s start with Government. Specifically, how is the Singapore Government playing its part to deal with the potential issues of mistrust and distrust in the digital economy

8. It has to Deepen Trust & Widen Trust. Let me explain.

9. Deepen Trust: As a trusted digital hub, we have to deepen and strengthen the regulatory frameworks around data. 

a. For example, we recently passed amendments to the Personal Data Protection Act in February, which enhances consumer protection while encouraging innovation among organisations. We also developed an AI Governance Framework, which helps provide guardrails and parameters for the use of AI. 

b. We are also leveraging R&D to develop trust capabilities and new tech applications that will underpin the security of digital transactions. We have initiatives to encourage enterprises to invest in such new and emerging technologies. For example, the new Emerging Technology Programme by IMDA will co-fund the costs of trials and the adoption of frontier technologies. This will support commercialisation of innovations and diffusion of technologies.

10. Widen Trust: We must also widen trust, by expanding our connectivity and partnership with like-minded countries and organisations. Strengthening the wider ecosystem through partnerships and digitalization is important to building a digital trust hub. 

a. To access new markets and customers in the region, companies can tap on Singapore’s strong digital connectivity efforts. For instance, our Digital Economy Agreements (DEAs) with Australia, Chile and New Zealand will accelerate efforts to develop our digital economy and set high standards in digital trade rules globally.

b. Google and UOB collaborated on an SME Leadership Academy training programme, which aims to train 4,000 SMEs across a diverse range of sectors, in digital solutions by end 2021.

c. Facebook, in partnership with IMDA, launched its Facebook Accelerator Singapore to help start-ups grow and develop better ways of working with data. This is in line with IMDA’s efforts to promote innovative, data-driven start-ups in the Asia Pacific region. 

Trust will help build a thriving digital economy

 11. These efforts to deepen and widen trust, reinforces Singapore’s efforts to develop as a digital trust hub, allowing global and local enterprises to access opportunities from the digital economy conveniently and securely.  

a. For example, developing trust and privacy preserving tech for data protection in digital transactions offers significant economic potential. Grandview Research estimated that the data protection market will be worth $103.8 billion by 2027, growing at average of 31.3% annually from 2020 to 2027.

b. Hence, trust, as I shared earlier, is central to the Digital Economy. 

12. This is why V-Key’s efforts to promote digital trust is timely, because without it, our enterprises cannot grow and thrive.

Seizing opportunities for collaboration and growth in the Digital Economy through Scale-up SG

 13. Given the importance of digital trust and the vast opportunities in the digital economy, we want to ensure companies can seize them and grow more rapidly. 

a. We introduced Scale-up SG to accelerate the growth of local companies with strong potential. By grooming leaders in their respective fields, Scale-up SG will allow more companies to contribute to Singapore’s economy by creating innovative products and services and good jobs for Singaporeans.

b. V-Key’s Digital Trust Platform, which is being launched today, was actually conceived when CEO Mr Joseph Gan’s participated in Enterprise Singapore’s Scale-up SG programme, with fellow Scale-up CEOs!

c. As part of Scale-up SG’s Prepare phase, Joseph was inspired by the Stanford Executive programme on scaling growth mindset and aspiration. This led to discussions about the idea of a Digital Trust Platform with other Scale-up CEOs and his company’s Anchor Partner (Ernst & Young), which helped validate their business model and led Joseph to organise today’s Digital Trust Symposium.

14. The Digital Trust Platform creates a base for partnering companies to build and scale new products that promote trust and deliver reliable and cohesive digital solutions to their customers.

a. For example, companies with access to troves of information and networks of devices are still exposed to security risks. With the Digital Trust Platform’s ability to secure digital identity and authenticate access, companies will be able to deliver safe and trusted digital solutions to customers.

b. V-Key aims to scale their platform from 100 million users currently, to 1 billion across verticals such as telecoms and smart cities, for Singapore and global partners.

15. I am also delighted to see that V-Key’s participation in Scale-up SG has resulted in a mutually beneficial collaboration with Evercomm, another Scale-up SG participant. 

a. Evercomm partnered V-Key to integrate its building management system (BMS) with V-Key's V-OS authentication. This allows Evercomm to offer remote services using V-Key's secured cloud platform to its customers which was previously not possible, leading to new business opportunities in sectors such as hospitality.

16. Teaming up is the way to go, and I am glad that today’s event showcases the strong partnerships among our local companies. The four MOUs that we will sign today allow companies to provide more scalable solutions and expand internationally. 

a. In fact, out of these, three partnerships with V-Key, namely with Evercomm, OneBerry and Ascent Solutions, were forged during the Scale-up SG programme. 


 17. I began my speech by highlighting the scourge of mistrust and distrust in our digital age. I then mentioned how governments, companies and individuals all have a part to play to deepen and widen trust in the digital world. 

18. The Government will continue doing our part to be a regionally and globally recognised Centre for Digital Trust. We will be a place where start-ups and enterprises can grow and thrive because our culture, processes, policies and frameworks that we, in partnership with companies have built to steward data in a safe, secure and trusted way.

19. Local champions like V-Key are also doing their part to develop Singapore as a digital trust hub. 

20. So congratulations to V-Key and your partners for taking the next step forward together! I trust you will all do well in your journey! 

21. Thank you.

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