Singtel, NTU, NRF to Spur Smart Nation Research with New Lab

Firms looking to develop AI and robotics under Singapore’s Smart Nation ambitions will soon have a new lab to support their efforts.

Called Singtel Cognitive and Artificial Intelligence Lab for Enterprises ([email protected]), it will be the result of recently-signed, five-year partnership between Singtel, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) and the Agency for Science, Technology, and Research (A*STAR).

The partnership will invest SGD 42.4 million (USD 31.5 million) to establish [email protected] Once opened, it will help startups and enterprises to develop Smart Nation applications for AI, advanced data analytics, robotics and smart computing. Critical areas of focus will be public safety, smart urban solutions, transportation, healthcare, and manufacturing. 

“As businesses face the rising threat of technological disruptions, companies are constantly seeking innovative ways to gain deeper insights through data analytics, better engage their customers and transform their operations through digitalization. To help companies address these challenges, we are stepping up our R&D efforts to develop deep capabilities in these focused areas,” Bill Chang, Chief Executive Officer, Group Enterprise at Singtel said in a press release.

[email protected] research aims to tackle challenges that any modern cities face in maintaining their infrastructure. It will champion the use of embedded smart sensors, AI, and big data analytics to streamline maintenance needs and reduce operating costs.

“For Singapore to achieve its Smart Nation vision, we have to keep pushing the frontiers of AI and develop innovative ways to process, analyze and utilize big data. This is how the collaborative effort between Singtel and NTU on cognitive computing will make a huge impact, improving productivity for businesses while making our cities smarter and more efficient,” Prof. Lam Khin Yong, NTU’s Acting Provost, Chief of Staff and Vice President (Research) said in the press release.

The facility will employ around 100 researchers from Singtel and NTU, and train a further 200 research engineers, graduate, and undergraduate students. The partnership will also expand the product range of Singtel and its regional ICT subsidiary NCS and will leverage NTU’s strong expertise in AI and data science.

“The lab will provide a platform for researchers and engineers from both academia and industry to work together to translate cutting-edge research into digital solutions and offerings by our companies, while nurturing a pipeline of digital talent who can drive Singapore’s Smart Nation journey,” George Loh, NRF Singapore’s Director (Programmes) said.   

Meanwhile, Singtel and A*STAR will collaborate on projects including smart building automation systems, robotics, and Internet of Things (IoT) applications.  

“Public-private partnerships and open innovation pave the way for successful projects that could benefit the Singapore economy and lives of Singaporeans. In this age where disruptions are emerging rapidly, such joint collaborations are all the more valuable. A*STAR is happy to partner with Singtel to drive R&D in the latest technologies towards applications across industries,” Prof. Tan Sze Wee, Executive Director of the Science and Engineering Research Council at A*STAR said.