Singapore opens smart cities development lab

Led by real estate group CapitaLand and an investment of up to SG$10 million, the Smart Urban Co-Innovation Lab aims to support 200 companies in the country over the next three years and has so far roped in 30 industry players, including AWS, Microsoft, and Schneider Electric.

A new lab has opened in Singapore with the aim to drive the development and deployment of smart cities applications within the island-state. Backed by an investment of up to SG$10 million ($7.36 million) over three years, the Smart Urban Co-Innovation Lab has already garnered the support of 30 global industry players, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft, and Schneider Electric. 

The research and development facility would help bring together players across the ecosystem, such as local tech startups, systems integrators, and international enterprises to "co-create solutions for smart cities, from ideation to testing to commercialisation". Launched on Wednesday, the smart urban development lab is led by real estate group CapitaLand and supported by government agencies Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Enterprise Singapore. 

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The facility is located at CapitaLand's 5G-powered site in Singapore Science Park and aims to provide a "real-world" living lab for local and overseas companies to exchange ideas, identify opportunities for new business models and innovations, and support the deployment of smart cities applications, CapitaLand said in a joint statement with IMDA and Enterprise Singapore.

The real estate group added that, together with its industry partners, it would set aside up to SG$10 million initially to drive the development and deployment of smart cities applications locally and abroad. The aim will be to help some 200 companies over the next three years use the lab's network of resources to jointly create such products and services.

Amongst the 30 industry players roped in to support the development facility are Panasonic, DHL, KONE, Johnson Controls, TPG Telecom, SPTel, MooVita, and NavInfo DataTech. These organisations would partner local companies to jointly innovate and test ideas at the lab as well as pilot trials at the Singapore Science Park, a 55-hectares site designated to support tests involving smart cities applications. 

The lab is also expected to provide several key features such as data, providing access to cloud services on Microsoft Azure and AWS and data sandboxes, proof-of-concept and deployment services including grant application support and testbed site support, and infrastructure support that includes outdoor and indoor 5G standalone network coverage as well as GPS base stations.

The Smart Urban Co-Innovation Lab would focus on six verticals: Advanced manufacturing, digital wellness, intelligent estates, smart mobility, sustainability, and urban agriculture. 

Enterprise Singapore's assistant executive officer Eunice Koh said: "The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the demand for sustainable urban solutions that contribute to the building of resilient and safe cities of tomorrow. Through the Smart Urban Co-Innovation Lab, smart tech providers can work on innovative solutions that have the potential to change people's lives for the better."

Koh pointed to local SMB technology provider Smarten Spaces, for instance, which had been working with KONE to tap contactless and other technologies to help building owners and managers provide a safe work environment for their tenants and employees. 

CapitaLand Group's senior executive director Manohar Khiatani said: "This living lab at our Singapore Science Park provides unique opportunities for collaboration and co-innovation with access to an ecosystem of innovators and thinkers, and the community of people working at the park and beyond."

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