New lab to help in creation, deployment of smart cities solutions

The Smart Urban Co-Innovation Lab aims to provide a real-world development and test-bed centre at Singapore Science Park. PHOTO: CAPITALAND

CapitaLand, together with 30 industry partners, is committing up to $10 million in South-east Asia's first industry-led laboratory to accelerate the development and deployment of smart cities solutions in Singapore and overseas.

Called the Smart Urban Co-Innovation Lab, or Lab, it aims to provide a real-world development and test-bed centre at Singapore Science Park, as well as a platform for various players such as local tech start-ups and global corporate enterprises to co-create solutions for smart cities.

Opened yesterday by Mr S. Iswaran, Minister for Communications and Information and Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations, the Lab is designed to further enhance Singapore's innovation ecosystem by focusing on close-to-market activities.

At the opening, Mr Iswaran said the Lab epitomises two important aspects of the way Singapore is going about its economic transformation - innovation and partnerships.

"On the innovation side, we recognise the need to come up with novel solutions and technologies as part of Singapore's longer-term competitiveness and economic growth," he said.

He also lauded its "innovation enterprise ecosystem, which allows for the interaction between these different enterprise archetypes and for innovation to come out".

The Lab, which takes up 5,400 sq ft - about the size of five five-room HDB flats - and is supported by the Infocomm Media Development Authority and Enterprise Singapore, will initiate calls for proposals and workshops, as well as facilitate proof-of-concepts and deployment.

It is set to benefit some 200 companies in Singapore over the next three years.

Mr Manohar Khiatani, senior executive director of CapitaLand, said: "This Lab is in line with our goal to be a smart, sustainable and community-oriented developer."

Currently, 30 industry players, including Amazon Web Services, Cisco Systems, Kone, Microsoft, Schneider Electric and TPG Telecom, have committed to partnering local firms to cooperate and test ideas or pilot trials for smart cities solutions.

The Lab will focus on six key areas - advanced manufacturing, digital wellness, intelligent estates, smart mobility, sustainability and urban agriculture.

One local firm involved in the Lab is Vizzio.AI, a technology company developing novel reality capture tools for 3D mapping using satellite imagery and artificial intelligence algorithms.

Dr Jon Li, chief executive and co-founder of Vizzio.AI, said the Lab has brought him many leads, from government to retail to real estate.

"We have seen a lot of incubators. But this Lab is practical and hands-on, and they brought us connections and brought us leads," he said.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 29, 2020, with the headline New lab to help in creation, deployment of smart cities solutions. Subscribe