The Future of Digital Economy is here!


"Something Owned, Something Known, Something You" -
The Future of Digital Economy is here!

Many of us have different digital identities to engage in online activities, from social media to email correspondence. We have used these digital identities to register and download new mobile applications or even sign-up for new online services from email addresses to social media accounts. We have enjoyed the conveniences of easy access without requiring to create new digital identities for new services. Are you aware of the risks associated with digital identity theft should these service providers not handle the identities well? How can we stay vigilant of our own digital identity, just like being careful with our own NRIC or credit cards and minimising such theft risks? For an SME providing online products and services, who can we trust and partner with to ensure the online services are delivered to verified and authenticated users? I will attempt to answer these questions and provide insight into digital identities to help SMEs prepare for the digital economy.

Digital Identity Accountability

Clear accountability and good data stewardship are important considerations for using a common digital identity for engagement with any digital services. In response to digital identity misuse and probable reputation damage, identity providers like Apple and Google are very cautious about using Apple IDs and Gmail IDs. There are strong safeguards to protect your digital identity, like in the case of Gmail ID, the user gets a notification if another login attempt using the account takes place. It is a good practice for all online services to turn on 2FA (2-Factor Authentication) service, if available, so there is an alternate channel through which the service provider and the user can verify the login attempt to mitigate against identity theft.

This means to the SME offering digital services to consider using Apple IDs or Gmail IDs for accounts creation and logins to access their services online. These user identities are better managed. In any identity theft event, the identity providers are better prepared to handle these security incidents than if you do it by yourself.

Data-less Business Models

One of the key technology trends today is the proliferation of mobile payment options made available to consumers. With a QR code scanner or a tap of the Near-Field-Communication (NFC) enabled phone facility, the consumer can transact without taking out the wallet. Combining payment with many other periphery services, a multi-services provider like Grab provides excellent SME planning options to offer an omnichannel shopping experience. Users of the Grab application and mobile payment services for online shopping access their personal data without sharing it with the SME online merchants. With strong data privacy enforcement actions and reported data breaches being a common occurrence, the less data we gather from a user, the less there is to deal with to fulfil a transaction. Such a data-less business model addresses concerns about data privacy preservations arising from collecting personal data and saves the SME lots of investment and resources required to set up a system to capture and manage these personal data.

Balanced Proof of Identification

In today's zero-trust digital economy, we see more users becoming more demanding about ensuring they get-as-well-as-they-give regarding the verification of the digital service providers they choose to engage. The multi-services and omnichannel platform created by Grab uniquely balances this need to have the service providers, as merchants, be validated before they can present their services for any Grab users.

This means to the SME that users shall trust any online digital services presented with Grab. This trust relationship is invaluable to new online digital services set up by SMEs.

Ecosystem Development

Grab, competing aggressively with other multi-services providers like Alibaba, offers incentives to new merchants to be recruited as omnichannel service providers. Grab's user community has built up through the Grab Delivery and Grab Pay services is sizeable across the South-East Asia region. More exciting services recently announced include financial services like loans, and investment plans will offer more services to the Grab community of users.

SMEs should leverage these multi-services providers like Grab and tap on their fast-growing Grab user community base to acquire more customers in their digital transformation journey.

In summary, I would encourage all SMEs to reach out to the multi-channel service providers to enquire how to on-board their products and services to their digital services platform and reach out to a fast-growing digital market place within and outside of Singapore.