More jobs closer to smarter homes in Punggol, says Teo Chee Hean at ground-breaking of digital district

Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean (fourth from right), with Senior Minister of State for Transport Janil Puthucheary and Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and National Development Sun Xueling, looking at a scale model of Punggol Digital District on Jan 17, 2020. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

SINGAPORE - When it is ready in 2023, the Punggol Digital District will provide residents with more jobs that will be close to greener and smarter homes, while also offering greater convenience, said Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean on Friday (Jan 17).

Mr Teo was speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony for the 50ha district, which will house a business park that is being developed by national industrial estate developer JTC.

About 28,000 digital economy jobs are expected to be created by the district, including positions for artificial intelligence and cyber security.

"The entire Punggol Town with its housing precincts and the Digital District will serve as a living lab, for public agencies and companies to test out new ways of living, working and delivering services," said Mr Teo, who is also Coordinating Minister for National Security, in his speech at Waterway Point mall in Punggol.

"Fundamentally, that is what a Smart Nation will be judged by - the improvements to the living experience of our people."

The digital district will be powered by a software platform called the Open Digital Platform that integrates various smart technologies such as robotics and the Internet of Things to gather information including transport conditions, energy and water consumption, and even noise and rainfall.

The real-time data provided by the Open Digital Platform can be used by public agencies, companies and students to test green technologies and sustainable urban solutions, among other things.

Buildings in the Punggol Digital District are expected to be about 30 per cent more energy efficient compared to standard commercial buildings.

Mr Teo added that the use of data analytics will also allow for better planning and management of the town to deliver public services more effectively.

"For example, we can study footfall data to find the best places to locate community facilities and retail spaces that most conveniently serve our residents," he said.

The Punggol Digital District will house a business park that is being developed by national industrial estate developer JTC. PHOTO: JTC

Mr Allen Lin, co-founder of retail video analytics start-up Trakomatic, said he was excited to hear about the Punggol Digital District and its digital platform.

"Technology evolves so quickly today, with consumers expecting applications of increasingly higher quality," he said.

"Plugging into such a platform could allow us to develop prototypes quickly using actual visitor and shopper behaviour data."

With the Singapore Institute of Technology's (SIT) new campus to be located in the district, the business park will also be the first in Singapore to pilot a flexible land use arrangement aimed at fostering closer collaboration between students and businesses.

SIT's research labs and learning facilities could be located in JTC's business park buildings, while businesses' research and development facilities and start-up spaces could be housed in SIT's campus instead.

JTC said several of its business park buildings will be connected to the SIT campus via an elevated pedestrian walkway, similar to the one that links IMM mall, the Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability and Ng Teng Fong General Hospital in Jurong East.

SIT is piloting various projects on this industry collaboration model at its current premises in Ang Mo Kio.

"This is so that when we eventually move to Punggol, our students will find working with industry in real-world environments second nature," said Associate Professor Steven Wong, who is SIT's director of projects in the provost's office.

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