Singapore: Singtel forges web of strategic partnerships with strong focus on AI

A Singtel executive passes a Singtel logo at their head office in Singapore April 8, 2015. REUTERS/Edgar Su/files

Singapore-based telecom conglomerate Singapore Telecommunications (Singtel) has partnered with the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) to develop smart digital technologies in the city-state.

Additionally, it has also partnered with bicycle-sharing service Mobike to collaborate in the domain of mobile payments and technology related to the Internet of Things (IoT).

Singtel, NTU and the National Research Foundation (NRF Singapore) are building a S$42.2 million ($31.3 million) corporate lab – the Singtel Cognitive and Artificial Intelligence Lab for Enterprises (SCALE@NTU) – that will develop and refine technologies in fields such as AI, advanced data analytics, robotics and smart computing.

This will enable Singtel and its subsidiary ICT enterprise NCS to develop new product offerings and applications in the relams of public safety, smart urban solution, transportation, healthcare and manufacturing. Meanwhile, Singtel and A*Star will collaobrate on projects including smart building automation systems, robotics and Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

This will see about 100 researchers from Singtel and NTU work at SCALE@NTU, while another 200 research engineers, graduate and undergraduate students will be trained in the lab. All technologies will be tested on Singtel’s NarrowBand-IoT and 5G mobile network in a model factory.

In an official statement, Bill Chang, Chief Executive Officer, Group Enterprise at Singtel, said, “This collaboration marks a significant step for Singtel to develop intellectual property in emerging technologies to support enterprises in their digital transformation and Singapore’s Smart Nation objectives. 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 digitalisation,”

The partnership with Mobike is complementary to this, though focused on mobile payments and the IOT space. This partnership extends to Singtel-owned Optus and associate telcos in Southeast Asia such as Telkomsel in Indonesia and AIS in Thailand; Mobike users can pay for trips using Singtel’s mobile wallet app Dash.

The Singtel-Mobike partnership will also explore the use of new IOT technology to provide more precise locations of bicycles and permit them to be easily located. According to Mobike country manager Sharon Meng, Temasek-backed Mobike is also open to partnering with Singtel to introduce technology such as beacons to prevent indiscriminate parking.

The two firms expect to begin a trial of such technology by Q1 2018. Singtel will also be able to access the 30 terabytes of big data generated daily by the 200 million Mobike riders worldwide to refine its prudct offering.

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