When it comes to talent wars, Singapore is up there with the big names.
Genome Startup’s latest 2019 report identified the island nation as a “Next 30” hub of entrepreneurship, alongside global cities Beijing, Berlin, London, New York, and Paris. It came first in connectedness, and second in talent and performance in the global rankings.
The focus on talent will be crucial in Singapore’s quest to be a smart nation. Enterprise Singapore has recently launched various initiatives to strengthen the local startup ecosystem, together with global partners.
The Data Generation
For a smart nation to take off, grooming that prized entrepreneurial mindset needed to turn ideas into action will be a crucial part of the journey. For Learning-By-Doing proponents, this includes preparing the next generation for the data-driven era.
Enter TIBCO Software. The global analytics leader is collaborating with Singapore's Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) to launch the NYP-TIBCO Centre of Innovation for Connected Intelligence. The center looks to help students use connected intelligence insights to make better business decisions.
“This collaboration with Nanyang Polytechnic will deliver the data analytics skills needed in the region and provide early awareness of data, so the next generation of workers are industry-ready upon graduation,” said Erich Gerber, TIBCO’s senior vice president for EMEA APJ. “It is crucial that we influence young people’s relevant skills by exposing them to leading connected intelligence solutions, such as TIBCO Spotfire. We believe that this program could be groundbreaking in terms of the potential economic impact.”
Students will use TIBCO solutions to learn new competencies and skillsets to meet industry needs in application and solution innovation.
Gerber pointed out that the collaboration was mutually beneficial. While the resulting community development will help drive smart nation initiatives, TIBCO also recognizes that nurturing next-generation talent was a wise investment in the future for the company.
“The value of what you’re doing in life has a lot to do with the network and relationships you build. So, this is for the long haul,” he said.
Getting Real with Data
Data analytics skill sets will be in strong demand with the global rollout of 5G IoT technologies. To prepare for that, the lab will focus on real-life scenarios where companies can leverage data in real-time to make informed decisions that will drive business impacts.
“TIBCO, which is recognized by industry analysts as leaders in Data Science, Master Data Management (MDM) and API Management can bring real-life case studies to NYP and share insights on the latest trends," said Daniel Wee, director of NYP School of IT.
Through close partnerships with industry projects, NYP would be able to “address the training needs of the workforce [and] create a community in connected intelligence, where educators and learners can work on real-life projects to support businesses with the latest TIBCO software knowledge.”
Wee added that the industries NYP was keen to expose their students to were healthcare, retail, food, and advanced manufacturing.
“NYP is the first institution which has both IT and Business Schools collaborating with an analytics leader like TIBCO,” said Wee. “Being data-savvy is important. However, it also requires business knowledge. With both schools collaborating with TIBCO, we are now able to bring tech and business together to maximize the benefits of data and technology.”
Both TIBCO and NYP will collaborate on research and development with regards to new areas of connected intelligence, including emerging communications technology and solution domains.
Collaborations such as this are only the first step. Smart nation initiatives will face numerous challenges. The data explosion from the impending IoT uptake will present important ones, especially around data privacy.
“Everyone is trying to own that end-to-end experience of customers, which is fine as long as personal data is protected,” explained Gerber. "As consumers, we accept some of these privacy trade-offs because we understand the benefits in return, but the question is, where do you draw the line? This is one of the most important challenges we will see in the next decade or two as governance in this area will take center stage.”
Another area of concern would be the human factor in automation. Citing the example of crane operators who ironically fell sick when they were training to operate their cranes remotely, Gerber pointed out that this was barely being addressed.
At the end of the day, when all plausible scenarios have been predicted, there is still the uncertainty which the human factor "fortunately" brings.
“Until of course the dawn of the singularity,” he conceded. But that is a whole new story for another day.