Asia Business Summit 2015
2015 Smarter World Summit
8 October 2015
Hotel InterContinental, Singapore
The 2015 FT-ACI Smarter World Summit took place on 8 October, at Hotel InterContinental, Singapore. The guest-of-honour for the summit was Singapore Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation Initiative, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan. The official sponsor for this year’s summit was Unilever.
The summit focused on new emerging technologies resulting in possible future worlds, and their impact on businesses and consumers. The event drew over 200 delegates from various industries. The majority of the delegates were C-suite level executives, and the Summit attracted the attendance of several overseas delegates as well. Co-chaired by ACI’s Special Advisor Professor Bernd Schmitt and FT’s Asia Editor David Pilling, the full day summit featured a total of 6 panel discussions and 2 keynote presentations, with networking breaks throughout the day.
The summit commenced with a brief introduction by David Pilling. Shortly after, Professor Schmitt opened the summit, giving his keynote speech about possible future worlds, in a very apt spacesuit costume alluding to 2001: A Space Odyssey, which symbolized the rapid advancement of technology, how the film, produced in 1960, anticipated many technologies that have changed and impacted our lives today. Professor Schmitt highlighted that the precise impact of the future may be uncertain, but one thing is clear: We have been living in dramatic times over the last 15 years, and we will continue to live in dramatic times in the coming 15 years as the internet of things, 3D printing, virtual reality, robotics and cyborg technologies will be commercialized.
Following the keynote address, the summit continued with lively and engaging panel discussions, moderated by David Pilling or Professor Schmitt. The panels for the morning were, “Drawing on Big Data and Connecting with Customers”, “Robots in a Commercial Environment”, and “The Evolving Role of the Marketing Manager”.
The guest-of-honour, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation Initiative, presented his keynote speech on “The Singapore Smart Nation Initiative”. He spoke of utilising technology to the best of our abilities and to be able to keep up with the ever-changing technologies. Dr Balakrishnan also touched on the digital revolution, and how the pace of innovation and change has been immense. Technology has also reshaped what we typically consider “traditional” industries. Today, mobile banking services allow companies to reach out to millions of unbanked customers in developing countries. Dr Balakrishnan also shared that educational platforms like Coursera have made it possible for anyone who has internet access to learn from top universities and organizations. Through all these points, he stressed that Singapore, as a country, must be ready for change. Dr Balakrishnan concluded his speech by touching on the challenges for a Smart Nation, and how to overcome these challenges to co-create it to the benefit of all citizens.
The second keynote speech was given by Mr Richard Bowcutt, Senior Vice President Asia Pacific, Commercial Marine, at Rolls-Royce. Mr Bowcutt touched on the innovation leap of faith, and shared his expertise on how B2B marketing can help to bridge that gap. The afternoon panels following the keynote speech were, “Transforming Industries with Disruptive Innovation”, “Tackling Emerging Cyber-security threats”, and “Deep Dive: The Ethical and Societal Implications of Hi-tech Development”.
Professor Schmitt provided the delegates with closing remarks, summarizing the highlights and the key points discussed throughout the day. The delegates were then treated to a rousing closing performance by the NTU MJ Hiphop dance group, who performed in gorilla and spacesuit costumes against a futuristic city skyline backdrop. Following the summit, the delegates, speakers and moderators adjourned to the Victoria Bar at Hotel InterContinental for drinks and a final networking session.
This highly unusual and innovative Summit captivated the audiences and provided fresh insights on technologies and the future of businesses and consumers. Many delegates commented on the well-organised and invigorating speeches and panel discussions. They stressed that they Summit will prepare them for the rapid advancements in technology. Stay tuned as we bring you video snippets of this year’s panels, keynote speeches and highlights soon.
We’ll see you next year, for the next Smarter World Summit.