The German product safety and testing firm TUV SUD opened a new service centre here yesterday with a commitment to invest over $40 million in Singapore over the next three years.
The centre, established with financial support from the Economic Development Board, is at TUV SUD's office at the Science Park, where its water services unit is also housed.
The firm will recruit more than 50 research engineers, big data analysts, industrial cyber security and embedded systems specialists and functional safety experts over the next three years.
The staff will test and assess the new technologies developed by industry partners to ensure their "smart solutions" are integrated into the old infrastructure with as little risk and downtime as possible.
This is a new focus area for TUV SUD, said Dr Andreas Hauser, who heads the digital service centre.
"Classically, we have been checking products either in the lab or field to see if they work for 150 years," he added.
"Now, things are getting more connected. We don't have single products any more these days, we have systems, connected to servers."
Wearables, for example, are products connected to communication devices, and the market needs to be convinced that the personal data being transferred is secure.
Dr Hauser said: "We see a lot of innovations out there. And the question is always how to convince the market to adopt them. It's always the same questions. Is it safe? Is it reliable? Is it secure? Can I use it in an inter-operable way? Or am I going to be stuck with one provider for the next 10 years?
"We're not developing any hardware. We're developing new methods and tools to verify and validate those new, upcoming smart solutions."
Dr. Hauser has cited a smart nursing home installation being developed by A*Star (Agency for Science, Technology and Research) and the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) as an example of a project that TÜV SÜD can potentially collaborate on.
Munich-based TUV SUD, which moved its regional headquarters from Hong Kong to Singapore after it acquired PSB Corp and PSB Certification from Spring Singapore in 2006, will also roll out a PhD programme with SUTD to build up knowledge in the field of software-based verification of complex smart systems here.
Dr Hauser plans to recruit a core 10-person business development team to run the new centre by June.
"After that, they will hunt for corporate projects," he said.
TUV SUD hopes to establish partnerships with infrastructure players here, including the hospitals, SMRT Corporation and Changi Airport.
Note: This article has been edited for clarity.