Smart-cities lab opens in Singapore Science Park

rectangular brown wooden table and chair set

THE Smart Urban Co-Innovation Lab, said to be the first industry-led lab in South-east Asia for smart cities solutions development, opened on Wednesday in CapitaLand’s 5G-enabled Singapore Science Park.

The property giant and its industry partners have committed up to S$10 million as a start, for the development and deployment of solutions in Singapore and overseas.

The lab was initiated by CapitaLand and supported by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Enterprise Singapore (ESG).

It will bring together leaders in the smart cities space to co-create and test innovations in a live environment, together with local enterprises in the built environment and technology sectors.

Powered by 5G connectivity, the lab will benefit some 200 companies in Singapore over the next three years, said CapitaLand, IMDA and ESG in a joint statement.

It focuses on six industry verticals: advanced manufacturing, digital wellness, intelligent estates, smart mobility, sustainability and urban agriculture.

It is located at The Galen at the 55-hectare science park, and will function as a resource integrator of ecosystem players – such as local tech startups, system integrators and global corporations – to develop solutions for smart cities, from ideation to testing to commercialisation.

Local and overseas firms can thus exchange ideas, identify opportunities for new business models and innovations, and facilitate the deployment of smart cities solutions.

So far, 30 industry players have come on board to partner local companies to co-innovate, test ideas in the lab or pilot trials at the Singapore Science Park. They include Amazon Web Services, Cisco Systems, Johnson Controls, Microsoft, MooVita, NavInfo DataTech, Schneider Electric, SPTel, TPG Telecom and Vizzio.AI.

Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran, who launched the facility on Wednesday, said that participating local enterprises and startups can gain visibility with larger industry players and later also segue into opportunities in the region.

Mr Iswaran also noted that the lab epitomises innovation and partnership – two important aspects of Singapore’s economy transformation. These are key to Singapore’s longer-term growth and competitiveness, and will be an important way in which the Republic anchors its role as a node in the regional innovation ecosystem, he said.

The lab will focus on close-to-market activities and initiate calls for proposals and workshops, and facilitate proofs of concept and deployment.

CapitaLand’s senior executive director Manohar Khiatani said: “Our partners can potentially leverage CapitaLand’s significant scale by piloting their projects at our properties in Singapore and overseas.”

The Smart Urban Co-Innovation Lab is also part of the mainboard-listed company’s efforts to stay at the forefront of tech developments “so as to bring innovative and sustainable real estate products and services to our customers”, he added.

IMDA assistant chief executive officer Jane Lim noted that the lab reinforces Singapore’s strengths as a deep innovation ecosystem where tech, industry and government work together to create and accelerate solutions for smart cities.

“These are the new opportunities we are seizing in a digital economy, which will enable us to emerge stronger,” Ms Lim said, adding that the Covid-19 pandemic has sped up demand for sustainable urban solutions that contribute to the building of resilient and safe cities.

Through the new lab, smart-tech providers can work on innovative solutions with the potential to change people’s lives for the better, according to Eunice Koh, ESG assistant CEO.

For instance, Smarten Spaces has been working with KONE to use contactless and other technologies to help building owners and managers provide a safe work environment for tenants and employees. “We will continue to work with our small and medium enterprises to tap such opportunities and find the right partners to scale their solutions,” Ms Koh said.