3M to set up 'smart urban' lab in Singapore

Technology vendor will spend S$10 million (US$7.03 million) over three years in a Smart Urban Solutions Lab to drive research and product development efforts in sustainable living.

3M Singapore has unveiled plans to spend S$10 million (US$7.03 million) over three years to set up what it is calling a Smart Urban Solutions (SUS) Lab, to drive research and product development efforts in sustainable living.

The investment was part of its global research and development (R&D) strategy to establish "megatrend-focused" teams across its global research facilities, the company said in a statement Wednesday. The aim was to address macro issues such as air quality and smart urban living, among others.

"The SUS Lab will have a regional responsibility for developing and commercializing solutions across Southeast Asia," 3M said, pointing to technologies focused on providing clean air and water as well as delivering energy efficiency for both consumers and businesses.

The local lab will aim to contribute to Singapore's smart and sustainable urban ecosystem, identified as one of five growth areas in the country's 2015 budget.

3M's senior vice president for R&D and CTO, Ashish K. Khandpur, said it monitored markets, consumer habits, as well as major global and local trends to drive technology development. "The launch of the 3M SUS Lab will help us address Singapore and Southeast Asia region trends around the need for clean water, clean air, energy efficiency, and more," Khandpur said.

Arthur Fong, 3M Singapore's managing director added that the company currently was part of pilot projects with local organizations such as Nanyang Technological University EcoCampus and Nanyang Polytechnic, which aimed to develop and testbed advanced lighting, data center cooling, and other building and construction technologies.

"Through the new lab, we are committed to help Singapore achieve its sustainability goals, such as equipping 80 percent of buildings with green functionalities, and deriving a 35 percent improvement in energy usage intensity by 2030," Fong said.

The Singapore research facility would focus on three key areas: energy, ICT integration, and environment and water. These would encompass smart energy management, sensing technology, and air filtration.