Cisco and Singapore Pools: Innovation, Security and Trust
In this day and age, digital transformation is key to a company’s success.
Cisco Systems is a pillar of the digital age, helping companies of all sizes develop a roadmap for their digital transformation journey, transforming the way people connect, communicate and collaborate.
“We use technology as the bridge between hope and possibility,” explains Andy Lee, Cisco’s Managing Director for Singapore and Brunei. “We help our customers build simpler, more secure and more cost-effective networks, in order to help them, not only unlock today's opportunities, but also to ensure they are ready for the future.”
Cisco was chosen by Singapore Pools as a key technology partner, helping them leverage technology from AI and big data to automation and cyber security in order to make better, more informed decisions. It’s a long-standing relationship built on mutual trust and a shared enthusiasm for innovation.
“Cisco has been the main technology provider for Singapore Pools' IT infrastructure for the past eight years, serving not just their corporate functions, but also their needs as they progress, improve and expand,” Mr. Lee explains, adding that the partnership’s success is also partly due to his strong working relationship with Teck Guan Yeo, Singapore Pools’ Chief Business Technology Officer.
“I've known Teck Guan for a long time, and I know that he knows who to call when something happens,” says Mr. Lee, adding that - even when there isn’t something happening, the two of them often stay in contact. “It's nice to catch up over a cup of coffee as well,” he laughs.
At the heart of any successful partnership is trust and an understanding of a shared vision. “We have a deep understanding of Singapore Pools' core vision, business priorities and how they run their operations,” says Mr. Lee, emphasising just how important “collaboration and trust” are to the success of their joint venture.
During the past 12 months, as the world found itself thrown into a new, often uncomfortable reality, Cisco has been an essential part of Singapore Pools’ support structure, as the company made the transition to a remote working model “almost overnight.”
Mr. Lee stresses just how important technology has been as an enabler in managing that transition, something that has only served to elevate Cisco’s importance to its partners. By leveraging its cutting edge networking solutions, Cisco has been able to help partners like Singapore Pools “ease the transition to the new digital reality of a remote and distributed workforce.”
One of the key challenges that Mr. Yeo and Mr. Lee found themselves faced with last year was the sudden surge in cybersecurity challenges that arose from the global shift to working from home.
“In a world where employees are expected to work from anywhere on any device, task security needs to be the foundation of success for any digitalisation effort,” says Mr. Lee.
Cisco’s threat defence platform is the largest in the industry, blocking more than 20bn threats to its customers every day. Before and during the pandemic, it’s been a valuable tool in helping Singapore Pools “maintain the cybersecurity and data integrity that allows their business to continue working.”
Both Mr. Lee and Mr. Yeo are irrepressible disruptors whose work is never done. Yeo has big plans for Singapore Pools, and Mr. Lee plans on being there to help every step of the way.
“We are proud to partner with Singapore Pools on their digital transformation journey to streamline and automate all their manual processes,” says Mr. Lee. “We look forward to working closely with them to drive productivity, efficiency and long term business resiliency, in order to ensure a seamless transformation from the old to the now to the new.
Who Will Be the Next Tech Giant to Back Bitcoin?
PayPal was the first truly major tech giant to throw its weight behind Bitcoin, unveiling a cryptocurrency buying-and-selling service in October. Next was Tesla, which shocked onlookers in February by announcing the purchase of $1.5 billion in bitcoin, as well as plans to accept the cryptocurrency as payment.
Since then, things have calmed down as far as Big Tech and Bitcoin are concerned (although a number of banks have rolled out cryptocurrency investment services for their wealthier clients). This raises the question: when will another significant tech firm take the plunge and back bitcoin?
This is a difficult question to answer, if only because the bitcoin market is in something of a funk right now. At the same time, regulators worldwide are looking to restrict crypto in the name of curbing money laundering and other illicit activities. Nonetheless, rumours continue to swirl through the sector that a few other important names in the tech industry may be on the cusp of embracing bitcoin, with Apple being the most notable.
Is Apple Buying Bitcoin?
If you tend to spend any amount of time on Crypto Twitter, you may be aware of rumours to the effect that Apple has recently bought something in the region of $2.5 billion in bitcoin.
Such rumours were almost certainly a desperate attempt to boost the price of bitcoin. And given that the market didn’t witness a sudden, dramatic rise (but rather a steep loss), it seems pretty clear that Apple didn’t buy a substantial quantity of bitcoin in the past few weeks or so.
That said, there remains a good chance that Apple will enter the cryptocurrency sector at some point, even if it won’t be adventurous enough to buy crypto for itself. Back in May, it placed a job ad for a business development manager for “alternative payments.”
Such a manager would be tasked with cultivating partnerships with “strategic alternative payment providers,” implying that Apple may be weighing up the possibility of launching its own cryptocurrency-purchasing service (à la PayPal) via Apple Pay.
Needless to say, it would be huge for Bitcoin and cryptocurrency if the Cupertino company were to follow through with this.
Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook?
Rumours have also revolved around possible bitcoin interest from Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, although there’s a little less substance to most of these rumours.
Back in October former Goldman Sachs hedge fund manager Raoul Pal predicted that Microsoft (along with Apple) would buy bitcoin in five years. Unfortunately, a CNN interview with Microsoft’s Brad Smith in February (shortly after Tesla’s bitcoin purchase) revealed that the company had no plans to purchase crypto, although Smith vaguely hinted that it might one day change its collective mind.
More interestingly, Amazon purchased three cryptocurrency-related domain names back in 2017: amazonethereum.com, amazoncryptocurrency.com, amazoncryptocurrencies.com. Nothing has been heard since then, while a job listing from February of this year revealed that the retail giant may be planning to launch its very own digital currency.
Facebook is another tech firm with plans for its own digital currency (Diem, formerly known as Libra). As for whether it’s likely to turn to bitcoin, a few relatively respected figures within the cryptocurrency industry (e.g. Alistair Milne) did spread rumours in April that the social media company would disclose bitcoin holdings on its Q1 financial statement. This didn’t happen, although Mark Zuckerberg did reveal in May that one of his pet goats is called “Bitcoin,” fuelling further speculation as to his and his firm’s interest in the cryptocurrency.
Risks and Rewards of Cryptocurrency
Again, it’s arguable that some or most of the rumours are generated largely to pump crypto prices. But if bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies do continue to appreciate in value and attract more adoption, it will become increasingly harder for large tech companies to ignore them.
But at the moment, it’s likely that most major tech firms will shy away from actually buying bitcoin, if only because it remains highly volatile and unpredictable as an asset. And as we saw with Tesla, buying a massive chunk of the cryptocurrency effectively turns you into a hedge fund overnight, something which can adversely affect your stock price if bitcoin goes down.
Even so, there’s clearly a considerable amount of money tied up in the cryptocurrency market. And with numbers of holders growing every year, it’s only a matter of time before other big tech firms attempt to siphon off some of this value for themselves.