Huawei’s Tech4City Competition calls for youth to address challenges in healthcare and education with tech

By Ming En Liew

From April to July, youths aged 18 to 35 can sign up to participate in the Tech4City Competition, an annual event by Huawei to cultivate tech talents in Singapore and build a more inclusive and sustainable Singapore through tech innovation.

At the first dialogue session of Huawei's Tech4City Competition, participants heard from healthcare and education experts on the ways tech can be used to enhance care and learning. Image: Huawei

Returning for its second iteration, the Huawei Tech4City Competition 2023, organised in support of the national Digital for Life movement, builds on the success of last year’s run and seeks to empower youths to build the Singapore of tomorrow through tech innovation. This year, the competition focuses on five key areas: well-being, learning, mobility, finance and energy. 


“Digitalisation has always been at the forefront of advocating change and improving lives and livelihoods. It will continue to be a driving force behind Singapore’s economic growth, and create exciting opportunities,” said Foo Fang Yong, CEO of Huawei International. 


“This is why Huawei initiated the Tech4City Competition from 2022, to encourage local talents and young innovators to…build tailored solutions for a myriad of real-world problems, and to contribute together for a more inclusive and forward-looking Singapore growth story,” he explained. 


“We hope some of the use cases created by the youths [as part of this competition] can be implemented in Singapore,” said Charles Cheng, Managing Director of Huawei International, at a dialogue session for the competition on 13 April.

Charles Cheng, Managing Director of Huawei International, speaking at the Huawei Tech4City Dialogue held on 13 April. Image: Huawei

This dialogue session was one of three that will take place leading up to the proposal submission deadline of 23 July, with each session focusing on different aspects of the five key areas. The first session on 13 April focused on issues surrounding well-being and learning.  


Tech for well-being 


AI for early detection of dementia and interactive robots that help alleviate the work of caretakers were just some of the technologies highlighted by healthcare representatives during the 13 April dialogue session.  


Beyond spotlighting these tech use cases as sources of inspiration for youths keen to enter the competition, representatives also provided problem statements for the youths to consider. 


For instance, Xiong Lingxi, Senior Manager in Health Promotion Board (HPB)’s School Health & Outreach Division, Partnerships and Growth team encouraged youths to consider how healthy living can be made more fun, easy and accessible through tech.  


As an example, she shared that studies by the NUS Centre for Sleep and Cognition found that around 80 per cent of youths are sleeping less than 8 hours on weekday nights, with  heavy device use and revenge bedtime procrastination potentially contributing to sleep deprivation. She then prompted youths to consider how tech can be used to address sleep deprivation, as opposed to being another cause of it. 


Meanwhile, Karen Wee, Executive Director of the Lions’ Befrienders Service Association highlighted the role of automation and tech in elderly care, urging youths to consider how such technology can be enhanced in this area. 


“Technology can play a crucial role by supporting healthy ageing-in-place, allowing individuals to age in their own homes. By leveraging technology, we can empower individuals to remain independent and functional, ultimately enhancing their health and overall wellbeing,” added Yoann Sapanel, Head of Health Innovation at the Institute for Digital Medicine, NUS Medicine, in his sharing.  


“[Many of these technologies] were developed by people like you,” said Wee to the youths present at the session. “Take this as a very good opportunity by Huawei to…have a mentor who can support you and train you,” she added about the competition.  


Tech for enhanced learning experiences 


Imagine being the main character in a post-apocalyptic zombie-filled world, with the fate of the world hinging on your ability to devise a cure. This is how some pharmaceutical students at the National University of Singapore are learning valuable skills like assessing patients, prescribing medication and patient counselling.  


This is one way that technology can be used to enhance the learning experience of students, shared Tan Shui-Min, Chief Information Technology Officer at the National University of Singapore, at the dialogue session.  


Besides online games, she also gave examples of how augmented reality technology can help medical students visualise and better understand mental health conditions like hallucinations, which helps them better empathise with patients suffering from these conditions.  


“Interreality technology can transform education by enabling immersive and interactive learning experiences beyond the traditional classroom, acting as a catalyst for transformational learning that shapes the future,” she said.  


In showcasing these use cases, Tan expressed her hopes that it would inspire the potential contestants to consider how technology can play an important role in enhancing education in Singapore.  


Improving inclusivity 

The Digital for Life (DfL) movement aims to galvanise the community to help Singaporeans from all ages and walks of life embrace digital as a lifelong pursuit to enrich their lives. To date, more than 130 partners, including Huawei, have come together to drive about 140 ground-up projects under the movement.  

“Huawei’s Tech4City competition demonstrates how partners can play it forward by encouraging youths to create innovative solutions to promote digital inclusion,” said Douglas Goh, Director of SG Digital Office, Digital Engagement & Adoption, Asia Tech Programme Office and Digital Readiness Cluster, Infocomm Media Authority Development Authority (IMDA). 

“This initiative, in support of the national DfL movement, is an innovative and creative way to bring together Singaporeans to embrace digital learning as a lifelong pursuit, and be enriched by digital.” he said.  

Through initiatives in support of DfL, Goh hoped that it would spark some ideas among the contestants to use tech to support the less-abled in the community.  


Youths aged 18 to 35 who are interested in signing up for the competition can do so from 25 March till 23 July in teams of two to four members. 16 shortlisted teams will proceed to the semi-finals, where they will be assigned a mentor in preparation for a video submission on 20 August. After which, the top 8 finalists will be announced.  


The finals will be held in September 2023, with each finalist pitching their solutions to the competition’s advisory council. Winners stand a chance to walk away with a grand prize of S$15,000, with runner-ups and second runner-ups taking S$8,000 and S$5,000 respectively. Consolation prizes will also be awarded to the remaining finalists.  


This year, Huawei is also partnering with SBS Transit for an additional cash prize of S$3,000 for the best innovation in mobility.