IMDA Singapore seeks to explore high-rise data centres and promote partnerships between MNCs/LLEs & SMEs
Mr. Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore and Coordinating Minister for National Security (Photo credit: Huawei)
The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) of Singapore announced partnerships with the industry yesterday to spur development of Singapore’s digital economy through development of infrastructure, expansion of local SMEs and growth of Singapore’s pool of skilled ICT manpower.
IMDA, Huawei, and Keppel Data Centres signed a Memorandum of Intent (MOI) to focus on a two-year collaboration for exploring the technical feasibility of a first-of-its-kind high-rise green data centre building.
Through the second MOI, IMDA will collaborate with Huawei to accelerate the growth of local small-and-medium sized enterprises (SMEs), by leveraging Huawei’s technical expertise and facilities, go-to-market opportunities and global business network.
In addition, IMDA and Huawei will jointly work on talent and capability building among local students in the ICT area. This initiative will include 45 overseas training stints and internship opportunities for students to explore new capabilities in technology areas critical to the future such as the Internet of Things, 5G, and cybersecurity.
A MOU was signed between Huawei and Singapore-based Internet of Things (IoT) company, Ascent Solutions, that specialises in cargo security and track & trace for smart logistics. The two parties will collaborate on a IoT tracking solution, which will be used by Huawei’s IoT network services in 170 countries.
Mr. Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) of Singapore and Coordinating Minister for National Security; His Excellency Mr. Chen Xiaodong, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of The People's Republic of China to The Republic of Singapore; Mr. Chan Yeng Kit, Chairman of IMDA, Permanent Secretary (Defence), Ministry of Defence; and Madam Sun Yafang, Chairwoman of Huawei Technologies, witnessed the signing ceremony at the ‘Partners for Tomorrow’ event.
While DPM Teo Chee Hean spoke about technological innovation being key to Singapore’s development to be a knowledge-based economy, saying, “ Transformative technology – from robotic drones to smart city solutions – is reshaping our economy, and disrupting business models. At the same time, this is creating many exciting new opportunities and good jobs.”
Mr. Tan Kiat How, Chief Executive Officer, IMDA, commented, “It is in Singapore’s DNA to be open to new ideas and embrace innovation. Through partnerships with leading industry players such as Huawei, IMDA aims to accelerate the transformation of our industries for a digital economy, expand the international footprint of our tech companies and jointly develop ground-breaking solutions for the global market.”
Green data centres
Front row, from left: Mr Wong Wai Meng (Keppel Data Centres CEO), Mr Tan Kiat How(IMDA CEO), Mr. Leihui(CEO, Huawei International) (Photo credit: Huawei)
The tripartite partnership between IMDA, Huawei and Keppel Data Centres aims to improve energy and land efficiency of the data centre industry in Singapore through the implementation of innovative technology and solutions. The partnership will leverage IMDA’s programmes to support the development of an Iconic Green Data Centre in Singapore; Keppel Data Centres’ capabilities to construct and operate the Iconic Green Data Centre; and Huawei’s technological expertise to develop innovative green data centre solutions.
Speaking on the occasion, DPM Teo said, “Data centres are at the heart of this digital infrastructure to deliver computing power, storage and networking for digital services. For this sector to grow sustainably, new approaches and innovations are required to optimise scarce land and energy resources and contribute to global sustainability and emission reduction efforts.”
The average data centre in land-scarce Singapore currently occupies a hectare of land and energy-related costs can contribute close to 50% of the operating expenditure. The average high temperatures and humidity of Singapore’s tropical climate add to energy expenditure. Reducing energy and land requirements would therefore be critical.
DPM Teo added that local companies like Keppel are capitalising on cloud computing, IoT, Big Data and advances in energy efficiency to develop next generation, high-rise data centres. Innovations in building design, rack design, intelligent controls, and new approaches to meet cooling needs, will help optimise land use and further reduce energy and carbon emissions by up to 15% (based on Power Usage Effectiveness or PUE which is the ratio of total energy consumed within a facility to the energy consumed by the IT equipment) from the current best-in-class service provider data centres in Singapore.
Supporting expansion of Singapore companies and growing the pool of skilled ICT manpower
Commenting on the benefits of partnerships DPM Teo said, “First, multinational companies (MNCs) and large local enterprises (LLEs) can partner our SMEs to create new products and services for the Digital Economy. SMEs can provide niche solutions for new market segments while MNCs and LLEs can use their technical expertise, facilities and network to enhance market access for new products.”
Through the second MOI, between IMDA and Huawei, 35 local companies will be jointly shortlisted through the Strategic Partners Program (SPP), and assisted for accessing the global market, leveraging Huawei’s breadth of technology capabilities, market insights and global business network.
Opportunities will be offered for the participating companies to develop products and solutions that address global market demands in specific sectors such as healthcare, logistics, financial services, public safety, public utility and more.
In addition, 45 internship positions will be offered with Huawei’s Seeds of the Future programme to university students and National Infocomm Scholarship holders.
DPM Teo said, “In Singapore, we will need more ICT professionals with a wide variety of skills – for instance, programmers, cybersecurity specialists, IT network engineers, user experience designers. There are opportunities not just for new graduates, but for redeployed professionals currently in the industry.”
The demand for infocomm professionals is projected to grow by more than 42,000 in the next three years (2017-2019). More than SG$120 million has been committed for ICT Manpower Development from 2016-2018.
IMDA has multiple ongoing initiatives in these areas. The Accreditation@IMDA programme provides promising Singapore-based tech product companies with resources and investment to help them build a track record locally, grow and compete on the global market. Recently, IMDA signed a MOI with Singapore Exchange to lower the barriers for IMDA-accredited companies to access capital markets. The TechSkills Accelerator was launched in Budget 2016 in order to train over 150,000 ICT professionals. Meanwhile, the SME Go Digital Programme assists SMEs to adopt data and ICT capabilities. In May 2017, IMDA officially recognised fifty digital solutions for SMEs under the Programme.