Huawei’s Tech4City Competition to tap on youth tech talents to drive smart mobility and sustainability financing

By Huawei

How can technology promote smart mobility and sustainability financing in cities? The second Huawei Tech4City dialogue held on 15 May explored how the Tech4City competition will provide a platform for young tech talents in Singapore to showcase their innovative solutions from April to July.

On 15 May, mobility and sustainability financing experts shared how tech can make an impact in their respective industries as part of Huawei's second Tech4City dialogue. Image: Huawei

The Huawei Tech4City Competition 2023 is back for its second iteration, following the success of last year’s run. In alignment with the objectives of Singapore’s Digital for Life movement, the competition aims to empower youths to leverage the power of tech innovation to shape the country’s future.

Revolving around the five key themes of well-being, learning, mobility, finance, and energy, the competition will allow participants to develop customised solutions for a range of real-world problems.

Delving into the topics of how urban transportation networks can serve communities better and the role of tech in green financing, the second Huawei Tech4City dialogue held on 15 May aimed to inspire participants to explore the potential of technology in mobility and finance.

Tech for mobility

Kaidi Yang, Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, National University of Singapore (NUS), presented on how emerging technologies, such as connected and autonomous vehicles can lead to transformative changes in mobility.

Integrating automated vehicles with urban infrastructure can bring many benefits, shared Yang. An example is the integration of traffic signal communication. Vehicles can anticipate traffic signal changes, such as when the light turns red, allowing them to adjust their braking speed and minimise stops.

Automated vehicles can further enhance ride-sharing services, he highlighted. In traditional ride-sharing systems, vehicle imbalances occur in situations like morning commutes. When many passengers travel from their homes to workplaces, there is a greater concentration of drivers in destination areas compared to residential places.

However, “automated vehicles can be… coordinated by the system”, said Yang. The operator can redirect vehicles to areas with higher demand, ensuring that ride-sharing services can efficiently meet passenger needs.

Beyond private ride-sharing services, technology can also make the public transportation system more commuter-centric.

Jeffrey Sim, the Group CEO of SBS Transit, shared that expectations of public transportation have evolved from simply demanding “operational excellence, safety, and reliability, to delighting… commuters”.

Real-time updates on traffic conditions and alternative transportation options allow commuters to plan their journeys and integrate urban mobility more seamlessly into their lives, explained Sim.

Smart mobility can also make public transportation more inclusive, he said. Assistive technologies can help the visually impaired navigate the stations more easily. Individuals from all walks of life can participate more fully in urban mobility.

Technology helps the transportation system become more sustainable too, said Sim, adding that “the highest single driver of electricity consumption is actually air-conditioning at stations”. Data-driven solutions allow them to optimise air-conditioning to be less intensive, yet still able to provide a comfortable temperature in stations.

How to harness technology for a sustainable future

Financial institutions are exploring how technology can help them become more sustainable and align with the Sustainable Development Goals, shared Ravindra Kumar, Head of Emerging Tech & Ecosystem at OCBC Bank.

Achieving a low-carbon transition entails increase in energy efficiency within, and outside of, the bank’s premises, where the latter can be enabled by green financing. Banks are looking for technological solutions that can enable them to collect reliable and real time data to support green financing, as well as increase energy efficiency across facilities. This can help in mobilisation and measurement of green financing, whilst lowering carbon footprint generated by energy-intensive assets such as data centres, said Kumar.

Zhang Weina, Associate Professor and Deputy Director at the Sustainable and Green Finance Institute, NUS Business School, shared how technological advancements in renewable energy solutions have ushered in new considerations in business financing models.

Sharing that the cost of solar energy has declined remarkably, Zhang explained how this trend positions solar power as an economically viable option for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) seeking to be more sustainable.

Solar simulation software allows companies to figure out the most financially sustainable business model. Zhang raised the example of PVsyst, a photovoltaic software that allows users to obtain data on energy production and operational costs. Such software helps to connect existing green energy technologies to the SME’s interests, she shared.

Huawei’s Tech4City Competition allows young innovators to devise creative solutions. From 26 March to 23 July, participants between the ages of 18 and 35 can sign up for the competition in teams of two to four members.

16 teams shortlisted for the semi-finals will receive mentorship in preparing for a video submission on 20 August. The top 8 finalists will present their solutions to the competition’s advisory council during the finals held in September 2023.

The champion will receive a grand prize of S$15,000, while runner-ups and second runner-ups will get S$8,000 and S$5,000 respectively. The remaining finalists will receive consolation prizes. The best innovation in mobility will get a cash prize of S$3,000, awarded by Huawei and SBS Transit.