GE opens first Asia digital operations centre in Singapore

GE chairman and chief executive Jeff Immelt, who was in Singapore yesterday for the launch of the Asia Digital Operations Centre, said the company looks forward to working with its partners here to build a digital ecosystem and support entrepreneursh
GE chairman and chief executive Jeff Immelt, who was in Singapore yesterday for the launch of the Asia Digital Operations Centre, said the company looks forward to working with its partners here to build a digital ecosystem and support entrepreneurship in the country.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

Multinational conglomerate General Electric (GE) has beefed up its presence in Singapore with a new high-tech support centre.

GE's Asia Digital Operations Centre, its first such facility in Asia, will support the New York-listed group's global information technology services and operations, as part of a larger strategy to transform how IT is delivered across the firm.

The centre, which opened yesterday, provides round-the-clock infrastructure, systems engineering and IT support. It has minimal staff now but will eventually have about 60 employees, including engineers in network and security, enterprise applications and reliability, as well as technical product managers.

GE said the number of software jobs at the centre, which is housed within the firm's premises at The Metropolis, could grow threefold over the next five years.

In addition, GE is partnering Singapore grid operator SP Group to develop capabilities in Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) and intelligent applications to enhance the reliability and efficiency of Singapore's power network.

Engineering and digital experts from the two firms will create tools that make use of data analytics and artificial intelligence to improve asset performance and reduce unplanned downtime in network operations, GE said. This means customers could reap cost savings from predictive maintenance.

GE also signed agreements with Spring Singapore to develop an incubation programme for technology start-ups, and with Singapore Institute of Management's entrepreneurship centre, Platform E, to set up a co-working space to support Industrial Internet entrepreneurship locally and in the region.

"The Industrial Internet represents a multibillion-dollar opportunity for the industry," said GE chairman and chief executive Jeff Immelt, who was at the launch yesterday. "We look forward to working with our partners in Singapore to build a digital ecosystem and support entrepreneurship in the country."

Dr Beh Swan Gin, chairman of the Economic Development Board, noted that GE's latest investment in Singapore reflects the expanding role of Asia as the growth engine of the global economy.

"It should be no surprise that a key economic development priority for Singapore is to work with companies to pursue the opportunities in Asia, to address the needs of customers in Asia," he said.

Dr Beh added that GE's collaboration with local partners will help the tech community manage the growing opportunities in Industrial IoT in Asia, and that the group's new centre will provide Singaporeans with "many exciting opportunities and rewarding careers in the digital industrial economy".

GE first set up a manufacturing presence here in Jurong Industrial Estate in 1969. It now has close to 4,000 employees here across major businesses such as aviation, healthcare, power, as well as oil and gas.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 13, 2017, with the headline 'GE opens first Asia digital operations centre'. Print Edition | Subscribe