New NEC facility on the lookout for Singapore talent

Among the guests at the opening of NEC's Advanced Centre for Experimentation in Biopolis yesterday were (from fourth from left) SMRT chief executive Desmond Kuek, Japanese Ambassador to Singapore Kenji Shinoda, Senior Parliamentary Secretary Low Yen
Among the guests at the opening of NEC's Advanced Centre for Experimentation in Biopolis yesterday were (from fourth from left) SMRT chief executive Desmond Kuek, Japanese Ambassador to Singapore Kenji Shinoda, Senior Parliamentary Secretary Low Yen Ling, and NEC Asia Pacific CEO Tetsuro Akagi.PHOTOS: NEC
Among the guests at the opening of NEC's Advanced Centre for Experimentation in Biopolis yesterday were (from fourth from left) SMRT chief executive Desmond Kuek, Japanese Ambassador to Singapore Kenji Shinoda, Senior Parliamentary Secretary Low Yen
Simulated public transport data can be handled in the centre's "situation room", which is designed to mimic a real command centre.PHOTOS: NEC

Urban solutions lab in Biopolis aiming to hire 50 new researchers and solutions engineers

Fifty new research and engineering jobs are headed this way, with Japan's NEC Corporation opening its Advanced Centre for Experimentation (ACE) in Biopolis yesterday .

The new centre and upcoming hires are part of a $100 million investment by the Japanese multinational in the Asia-Pacific, in its push to focus on research and development over the next five years.

The facility will be a laboratory for testing advanced solutions in public safety, transport, healthcare and other real-world issues before commercial application.

It will tackle projects in partnership with both government agencies and enterprises such as public transport operator SMRT.

NEC's previous tie-ups with the Government include providing biometric technology for NRICs in 1991.

It has also worked with the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Economic Development Board (EDB) to conduct facial-recognition video analytics trials in the Orchard Road area, in a public security project.

Ms Low Yen Ling, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Trade and Industry, said at the launch: "One of our key priorities is to equip our people - Singaporean workers - with digital skills, so that they can participate in and benefit from the digital economy."

  • $100m

    How much NEC Corporation is investing in its push to focus on research and development.

Over the next three years, 50 new researchers and solutions engineers will be hired at NEC Laboratories Singapore, which runs ACE. They will specialise in R&D in fields such as artificial intelligence, cyber security and the Internet of Things.

Head of NEC Laboratories Singapore Mervyn Cheah said these Singapore professionals will add to his team of 33, already comprising nine nationalities.

"Many ICT companies are trying to get (workers with) similar skill sets, and that is part of the shortage," he told The Straits Times, referring to the information and communication technology sector.

Ms Low also called attention to the NEC Talent Development Programme, launched last year in a team-up with the EDB.

The four-year scheme sets out to train 26 fresh graduates from local universities and prepare them for management roles at NEC. So far, 11 trainees have come on board.

Ms Low called this an example of how "Singapore has been partnering leading technology companies to develop digital talent through on-the-job training".

Mr Tung Meng Fai, EDB's director for infocomms and media, said in a statement: "This investment by NEC is a strong testament (to) Singapore's talent pool and innovation capabilities to drive the digital transformation of industries. The ACE will enrich Singapore's digital ecosystem and will foster new partnerships for the co-creation and commercialisation of new solutions from Singapore."

It was previously announced that 2,000 new digital-related jobs in the urban solutions domain will come to Singapore between this year and 2020.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 04, 2017, with the headline 'New NEC facility on the lookout for S'pore talent'. Print Edition | Subscribe