News In Brief

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Welcome to our ‘News In Brief’ column in which we digest all the news releases for you in no more than five paragraphs. Below are snippets of all the media releases we received from April 17 till the end of the week. This column updates regularly throughout the week.

Cloud Adoption Set To Surge 

Sydney, April 17: A new whitepaper from International Data Corporation (IDC) commissioned by Microsoft predicts that by 2026, public cloud adoption will generate billions of dollars in new revenue for organizations within the cloud technology ecosystem in Australia and New Zealand.
That includes organizations implementing public cloud technology – that is, customers – as well as suppliers of the hardware, software and services that enable its delivery.
The IDC Whitepaper, commissioned by Microsoft, titled Public Cloud Services Opportunities and Dividends to the Australian and New Zealand Economies, Doc #AP15023X, November 2022 finds that the adoption of public cloud services has risen steadily since the pandemic started, with organisations seeking to increase their capabilities and optimise costs.
IDC said this trend is set to accelerate as organisations embrace public cloud as the go-to platform for digital transformation.
The whitepaper also finds that public cloud adoption and adjacent areas such as security, data mining or analytics will create 596,750 jobs in Australia and 134,000 in New Zealand.
Approximately 20 percent of these jobs will require specific technical and IT-related digital skills.

Watsons Latest Collaboration

Kuala Lumpur, April 17:  As the leading health and beauty brand in Malaysia, Watsons is all about helping Malaysians look good and feel good.
This is evident too in this year’s film, as each family member achieves their best Raya look and feels good about each other, especially the Divatective sisters, embodying the true secret of Raya—forgiveness and love. 
This marks the third festive campaign conceived together between Leo Burnett and Watsons, starting with 2021’s futuristic Gaya Raya Luar Biasa, followed by the recent high-fashion Chinese New Year film featuring a rabbit DJ to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit.
Festive films have always been part of Leo Burnett Malaysia’s heritage, pioneering the format with PETRONAS over 25 years ago and setting the template for other festive films for Tenaga Nasional, Maxis and now Watsons. 
Through this collaboration between Leo Burnett and Watsons, Rahsia Gaya Raya was brought to life as this wonderful mix of mystery and over-the-top humour, with the help of Malaysian superstars Ayda Jebat, Fyna Jebat, Didie Alias, Faizal Hussein, Nabil Mahir and Sheeda Ali.

Star Symphony – The New Frontier of Rhythm Game

Kuala Lumpur, April 17: Isekai Studio, a Malaysia-based gaming firm, is pleased to reveal “Star Symphony”, its highly anticipated competitive rhythm game with integrated blockchain technology. At the “New Frontier of Rhythm Games” event, held today at DADI Cinema – Pavilion KL, the studio presented its latest progress on their game which brought together industry leaders, notable influencers and gaming enthusiasts for on-site demos, previews, and a speaker panel. 
Star Symphony is an innovative rhythm game that offers unique features such as powerful spell systems and strategic gameplay to give players a competitive edge.
A key highlight of the game is its blockchain-based gaming ecosystem, which enables players to have complete ownership and control over their assets, participate in peer-to-peer trading, collect rare digital assets within the game, and earn digital tokens to enhance their progress in the game.
With its diverse range of campaigns, music, and modes, Star Symphony caters to different gaming preferences and interests, appealing to not only casual and competitive gamers but also anime and music enthusiasts worldwide.
“Our team is thrilled to introduce Star Symphony to the world,” Shas Fung, CEO and Co-Founder of Star Symphony said.
“With its innovative game design, powerful mechanics, captivating in-game story and blockchain-friendly features, we believe it will revolutionise the rhythm game genre.”

SMART’s Grants Boost Health Diagnostics

Singapore, April 18: The Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) has received grants from the National Research Foundation (NRF) to support three new research projects aimed at revolutionising health diagnostic capabilities.
The projects will focus on developing nanosensor and microfiltration technologies for the detection of foodborne bacteria and gut health, as well as infectious diseases.
Two grants were awarded to SMART’s Disruptive & Sustainable Technologies for Agricultural Precision (DiSTAP) interdisciplinary research group (IRG) for the development of a biodegradable food packaging solution that can detect and combat foodborne pathogens, and a sensor that can instantly detect the presence of Indole-3-propionic acid (IPA) in blood serum and stool samples.
The third grant was jointly awarded to SMART’s Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and Critical Analytics for Manufacturing Personalized-Medicine (CAMP) IRGs, along with the Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering (SCELSE), for the development of a novel diagnostic technique that can rapidly detect low-abundance pathogens in biological samples using electrostatic microfiltration technology.
The projects will build on existing technologies developed at SMART and encourage interdisciplinary collaboration among researchers from SMART and other CREATE research institutions.
The grants for these projects started on April 1, 2023, and will run for 18 months.
These initiatives will enhance the efficiency of the testing process and provide a more comprehensive understanding of pathogen sources and spread mechanisms in the food supply chain.
Additionally, the rapid diagnostic technique will aid in the diagnosis of infections and monitoring of cell therapy product contamination.

The Secret Kingdom’s Resounding Response

Sydney, April 18: “The Secret Kingdom,” an Australian action-adventure children’s film, has taken social media by storm.
The Australian action-adventure children’s film, directed by acclaimed filmmaker Matt Drummond, is set to release on April 27th in cinemas across Australia.
The film’s creation and release have generated significant buzz across various social media platforms, including sky-high video view rates.
Marketing and advertising for the film were designed and executed by Australian-based advertising agency, Ad Intelligence.
The campaign is delivering over 150,000 trailer views daily in Australia only, reflecting a receptive audience that is engaging with the characters and exciting plotline.
TikTok has welcomed the campaign to their famous short-form platform, noting that it has been received exceptionally well.

 SK Port Dickson Rolls Out GoTechUp Robotics 

SK Port Dickson Rolls Out GoTechUp Robotics Simulation Software for Robotic Program.

Kuala Lumpur, April 18: Tech Up Sdn. Bhd., a STEM education solutions provider, announced that Sekolah Kebangsaan Port Dickson (SKPD), Negeri Sembilan has selected the GoTechUp robotic simulation software for a virtual robotic learning program.
SKPD started using GoTechUp on 17 April through a program implemented every month in 2023 involving more than 600 students from Standard 3 to 6. 
In addition to this program, SKPD will continue its smart collaboration with Tech Up and use products from Tech Up in the activities of the newly established Robotics Club in the school.
GoTechUp robotics simulation software embodies self-learning concepts which help students to increase proficiency in programming and critical thinking skills through step-by-step lessons from Beginner all the way to Advanced modules.
GoTechUp features a user-friendly interface that enables students to learn robotics in an enjoyable way.
Besides Malaysia, it has also been used in Australia, Chile, China, Colombia, France, Japan, Hong Kong, Macau, the Philippines, and South Korea.

Intrepid Travel and UK YouTuber team Explore Sabah

Kota Kinabalu, April 18: Intrepid Travel has teamed up with a British travel YouTuber to bring his audience to Sabah for wildlife and nature exploration.
Initially planned for 2020, content creator Karl Watson and his 15 followers finally embarked on an 11-day tour to the Land Below The Wind this month with the help of Intrepid Travel.
They were from the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Czech Republic, Australia, Malta, and other countries. 
During the journey from April 3-14, the group scaled Mount Kinabalu, went on a river cruise down the Kinabatangan River, and explored Sandakan to learn about conservation efforts at the Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre as well as Selingan Turtle Island, among others.

 PPR Residents Celebrate ‘Raya Serba Baharu’

Kuala Lumpur, April 18: Hari Raya Aidilfitri festivities are certainly in the air, especially for more than 300 residents of Program Perumahan Rakyat (PPR) Laksamana, Jalan Peel, Kuala Lumpur. 
The PPR has been in the spotlight of late, thanks to a new web film by Malaysia’s favourite home improvement retailer, MR D.I.Y..   
The webfilm, called ‘Raya Serba Baharu-Barulah Raya’, is set at the PPR and stars two celebrities, Ara Johari and Wani Kayrie, who face-off in a home makeover challenge at the PPR.  The four-minute webfilm sees each of them decorating a home at the PPR, with the finished home with the most likes on social media winning the competition. 
The homes belong to a single mother of seven and a family with disabilities.  
The heartwarming film ends with a powerful lesson about remembering to give and lend a helping hand during the festive season. 

Airwallex Launches In Canada

Melbourne, April 20: Airwallex has launched its global payments services in Canada, offering businesses a faster, more cost-effective and transparent alternative to traditional banking. The platform provides local currency accounts in over 12 currencies, a multi-currency wallet in 44 currencies, and payouts to 150 countries via its proprietary local payment network. Airwallex’s full suite of global products, including multi-currency cards, spend management and online payments, will be progressively rolled out in the market. The launch comes as Airwallex continues to scale globally, covering more than 150 countries and enabling $50bn in annualised transactions. The company secured an online payment license in China last month.
According to Ravi Adusumilli, General Manager of Americas, Canadian businesses need to be able to scale without borders, move money across currencies with ease and manage their finances across markets with a single integrated platform. Airwallex is already supporting a number of Canadian businesses across e-commerce, professional services and technology sectors. Adusumilli said Airwallex was excited to support ambitious Canadian businesses that wish to grow internationally, quickly and economically, as well as international businesses with operations in Canada.
Airwallex is one of the world’s fastest-growing financial technology companies, operating across Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Americas with nearly 1,300 employees in 19 major locations globally. Airwallex (Canada) International Payments Limited is licensed to do business as a Money Services Business (MSB Registration No. 14460) with Revenu Québec, and is registered as a Money Services Business (MSB Registration No. M19395067) with FINTRAC.

Australian Manufacturers Fear Nation States

Sydney, April 20: BlackBerry has released the results of its Manufacturing Cybersecurity Study, which shows that two-thirds of Australian manufacturers believe their environment is too difficult to defend against escalating threats from nation state attacks.
The survey of 191 manufacturing IT decision makers across Australia revealed that while many anticipate an elevated risk of cyberattack in 2023, three-quarters of respondents fear nation state attacks on the sector, and 59 per cent are concerned about foreign governments spying on their facilities.
Additionally, 87 per cent admit to running core functions on outdated and unsupported legacy operating systems.
Jonathan Jackson, Director of Engineering, Asia Pacific and Japan at BlackBerry, warns that “cybersecurity has become a significant barrier to progress, and managers shackled by ageing hardware and outdated operating systems are challenged to unify security across old and new to forge ahead with modernisation”.
BlackBerry’s research also revealed that manufacturing IT decision makers in Australia are predominantly concerned with malicious malware attacks, phishing attacks and unauthorised access by non-malicious insiders.

FedEx Celebrates Milestone Anniversary

Kuala Lumpur, April 20: FedEx recently celebrated its 50th anniversary worldwide and 30th anniversary in Malaysia. To mark the occasion, the company illuminated the Kuala Lumpur Tower in its official colors of purple and orange, expressing gratitude for the community’s support and commitment to its customers.
The company’s journey began in 1973 in Memphis, Tennessee, with 389 employees and 14 aircraft. Today, it has a global workforce of nearly 530,000 and delivers 16.5 million packages daily worldwide. In 1993, FedEx introduced direct services to Malaysian customers, expanding its reach and capabilities. Over the years, it has continued to enhance its network, launching a transpacific next-day service in 1997 and opening a facility in Batu Kawan in 2020 to meet local customer demand.
As it celebrates this milestone, FedEx remains committed to staying ahead of the supply chain curve through innovative solutions. To mark its 50th anniversary, the company launched “50 Days of Caring” globally, with team members across Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa, including Malaysia, volunteering their time and donating items to support local communities. This reflects the company’s culture of giving back. In addition, FedEx recently announced that it has surpassed its goal of helping 50 million people through its FedEx Cares program by its 50th birthday.

BSL Welcomes RBA Reforms

Sydney, April 20: The Brotherhood of St. Laurence (BSL) has welcomed the findings of the independent review of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), which recommended reforms to help the institution better navigate the economic challenges ahead.
One of the key recommendations is the adoption of a dual mandate for the RBA to promote full employment and price stability when formulating monetary policy.
This will strike a balance between managing inflation and supporting employment.
Changes to the Board structure and composition will ensure greater clarity between monetary policy and corporate governance and provide the right skills and expertise for both functions. In addition, community experience and input will be crucial in ensuring that the interests of those who are most affected by poverty are heard and acted upon.
Given the economic forecast for 2023 and 2024, which is expected to be the weakest two years of global growth in decades, it is critical for the RBA to keep the needs of those already living in poverty in mind when making decisions.
With approximately 12.5 per cent of Australians living in poverty, the RBA has a responsibility to contribute to the economic prosperity and welfare of all Australians, including the most vulnerable.
As a nonprofit organisation that has been working to prevent and alleviate poverty in Australia for over 90 years, BSL remains committed to collaborating with others to find innovative solutions and ensuring that the voices of people with lived experience of poverty and inequality can contribute to evidence-based policy and practice.
The BSL recognises the importance of the RBA’s role in shaping economic policies that impact the lives of people living in poverty and looks forward to seeing the reforms implemented.

VCI Global to Acquire 70pct Stake in LOCUS-T

Kuala Lumpur, April 20: VCI Global Limited has signed a Memorandum of Agreement for a 70 per cent acquisition of LOCUS-T Sdn Bhd by its subsidiary, V Capital Kronos Berhad.
The purchase consideration is RM13,440,000, and the acquisition includes a first right of refusal for the remaining 30 per cent stake. LOCUS-T is a marketing agency specialising in digital marketing solutions in Malaysia, with an active client portfolio of over 1,000 SMEs and MNCs clients, including Amway, 7-Eleven, and SP Setia.
According to Dato’ Victor Hoo, Chairman and Group Director of VCI Global, the acquisition will provide an opportunity to cross-sell their business and technology consultancy business to LOCUS-T’s existing clients and vice versa.
The acquisition will also create a new revenue stream for VCI Global and complement its existing business and technology consultancy services with a new suite of consultancy services in the digital marketing space.
The acquisition is highly synergetic, and VCI Global will be able to leverage LOCUS-T’s digital marketing capabilities to assist its existing clients to grow their businesses.
As the world continues to move towards digitalisation, the acquisition will further enhance and reinforce VCI Global’s service offering to promote client stickiness by adding value to its existing and potential clients.
With over 20 years of experience and being one of the few agencies in Malaysia carrying both the Google Premier Partner and Meta Business Partner, LOCUS-T is a strategic acquisition for VCI Global to expand its presence in the digital marketing industry and tap into the existing large portfolio of clients of LOCUS-T.

Screen Time Rises Sharply

Sydney, April 21: The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released new data revealing that 90 per cent of children between the ages of 5-14 spend at least one hour a week on screen-based activities. While this percentage has remained steady, there has been an increase in the amount of time spent on screens, with 24 per cent of children now spending more than 20 hours a week on them.
This is up from 16 per cent in 2017-18.
Reading for pleasure has become less popular, with only 72 per cent of children now reading compared to 79 per cent in 2017-18.
The participation in creative activities has also decreased to 59 per cent in 2021-22 from 63 per cent in 2017-18.
Arts and crafts were found to be the most popular creative activity among children, with 39 per cent participating at least once a week.
The data also showed that creative activities were less popular with older children and more popular with girls compared to boys.
The report provides insights into participation and attendance at cultural and creative activities and events for both adults and children.

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