Google is offering a physical space that provides developers in Southeast Asia the resources they need to build products and grow their business, including access to the vendor's technologies and engineers, hands-on mentorship, and networking opportunities. Occupying 7,200 square feet within its Singapore office, the Developer Space @ Google Singapore is its first such facility worldwide that is "dedicated to developers", according to the US tech giant.
The new hub supports training workshops that Google hosts for developers and startups in the region, said Sami Kizilbash, Google's developer relations program manager. He pointed to a four-day machine learning bootcamp held last November, which provided a platform for participants to understand how Google Cloud could be tapped to better structure data for analytics purposes.
Kizilbash said the vendor would continue to run these workshops, as well as programmes such as LeadersLab and Indie Games Accelerator, and community-led initiatives, including Google Developer Groups and Women Techmakers.
"Developer Space @ Google Singapore [is] a space that brings together resources to help Southeast Asian developers, entrepreneurs, and community groups grow, plus earn more with their businesses," he said. "This is the first physical space dedicated to developers that sits inside a Google office, so developers here can look forward to benefiting from insights, hands-on mentorship and networking opportunities with various teams working at our Asia-Pacific headquarters."
Singapore's Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran described the new space as "an important catalyst" to develop and nurture the local developer community. Noting that the country is home to 200,000 enterprises, he said the government also have invested efforts into strengthening local digital skills and driving the adoption of digital tools such as artificial intelligence (AI).
Speaking at the launch of Google Space on Friday, Iswaran said: "Our goal is for these initiatives and industry efforts to work hand-in-hand to form a thriving ecosystem of opportunities for all. Technology and digitalisation have made possible a wealth of opportunities for everyone...[and] will ensure our businesses [are] more innovative and competitive."
He added that the relevant skillsets also would need to be cultivated to apply and make sense of the new digital tools. "Whether pertaining to data analytics, machine-learning or programming, sector cross-cutting skills and deep technical expertise are what will give Singaporeans and Singapore a competitive advantage," the minister said. "In particular, professionals capable of developing and programming the software needed to support the economy are in high demand."
Country's government has introduced initiatives to train 12,000 people in artificial intelligence skillsets, including industry professionals and secondary school students.
Estimated to cost US$350 million, the new facility will support Southeast Asia's growing online consumption and tap machine learning technology to reduce energy use, Google says.
Amid Alibaba's increased efforts to build up its cloud footprint, Google also is beefing up its coverage in Asia-Pacific where it says it will operate seven cloud regions by early-2019, up from just one region two years ago.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong outlines the government's plans to migrate some of its systems to the cloud and build a suite of standardised software components that can be used to more quickly develop new applications.
New pilots including a drowning detection system are in the works, as the government continues to push its smart nation goal alongside an open, API-driven framework. But it stresses the importance of security in rolling out new services and acknowledges the country needs to do better, particularly, following the SingHealth data breach.