Singapore attracts more test bedding of urban solutions

Panasonic to invest S$10.2 million (US$8 million) over next two years to set up R&D center focusing on energy management solutions, while industry watchers point out technology alone not enough for smart city success.
Written by Ryan Huang, Contributor

SINGAPORE--The eco town project in Punggol, a residential area in the northeast of the country, is shaping up to be a living laboratory for energy solutions--which is the first in Asia. It was started by a few government agencies in 2011, with most of the technology being developed by Panasonic, such as roof top solar panels and smart meters.

At the World Cities Summit, the Japanese company announced that it would set up its first Energy Solutions Development Center in the Asia-Pacific region, as part of wider plans to increase its efforts to use Singapore as a test bed for its urban sustainability solutions.

Yasuyuki Shintani, general manager of energy solutions development center at Panasonic, said that Singapore was an ideal location to be a "living lab" because of high density tropical environment and excellent infrastructure.

He was part of a panel discussion at the summit, where speakers highlighted that the key success factors for a smart city went beyond technology.

One of the speakers, Tay Hun Kiat, CEO of Sino-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City shared that some of the challenges he observed in China was the lack of common standards being established, which was holding back progress.

Another participant, Guruduth Banavar, vice president and chief technology officer of global public sector at IBM, noted that strong leadership was critical for policies to be pushed through effectively.

He added that Singapore was making good progress on the sustainability front and it should focus on integrating its various efforts to "go up to the next level".

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