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The Future is Now!

If you live on an island, you know that no man is an island. Teamwork is the grease which turns the wheels.

This is the belief which led to Singtel’s newest building – the FutureNow Innovation Centre. Located at Exter Road, the Centre was established to provide businesses the assistance they need to be future ready.

A Collaborative Innovation System

At the launch, Minister for Finance, Mr Heng Swee Keat gave a speech which championed the necessity for innovation. Moreover, he asserted, “Innovation thrives in an ecosystem, where various entities support and leverage off each other’s strengths.”

The FutureNow Innovation Centre was built to support the Singapore government’s push for digital innovation and transformation among six selected critical industries. These industries include manufacturing, built environment, trade and connectivity, essential domestic services, modern services, and lifestyle. These were identified as part of an Industry Transformation Maps scheme which aims to promote deeper integration of services between the public and private sector.

Room for the industries to learn are plentiful with the telco’s showcase. The Centre exhibits industry case studies and a host of technologies. One can find cloud, software defined networks, data analytics, artificial intelligence, cyber security, Internet of Things, robotics, and the opportunities for 5G ready for display.

Additionally, enterprises can even connect with the telco’s legion of industry partners. Companies may network to source for innovative business-to-business (B2B) solutions and service. Singtel’s impressive global market reach presents collaborative enterprises with impressive prospects. In collaboration with the telco and its customers, the FutureNow Innovation Centre will provide fertile grounds for the buzzing of fresh ideas.

Mr Bill Chang, the telco’s Chief Executive Officer reiterated, “Together with the advanced technologies through our various research and development labs, product development and extensive partnership eco-systems, we are bringing innovative and impactful services and solutions to help accelerate enterprises in their digitalisation journeys.”

To push the edge of the envelope, local institutes of higher learning such as the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University, will collectively conduct research in the telco’s labs. Investments into the lab are directed toward the development of “deep technology capabilities and intellectual property in cyber security, artificial intelligence, advanced data analytics, smart computing applications, building automation systems, robotics and industrial Internet of Things.”

Together is the Way Forward

The telco’s efforts were lauded by Mr Heng. “Singtel is putting together its expertise in the telco market, familiarity with Singapore and regional customer bases, and exposure to digital solutions, to partner SMEs to digitalise and innovate. It is a contribution to pervasive innovation and economic transformation.”

To add to the conversation of much needed innovation, Mr Heng outlined the roles government, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), and educational and research institutions have to play.

Mr Heng assured that the government will continue to facilitate and create conditions for firms to innovate and grow.

SMEs on their part must create good jobs and opportunities for workers. They must also keep the economy vibrant. His advice to SMEs was to stay agile and constantly question if how the product can be more valuable to customers and stakeholders.

Finally, educational and research institutions to carve out new breakthroughs with the help of government and industry partnerships.

Similar to the telco’s latest establishment, Enterprise Singapore lists eight Centres of Innovation for SMEs. The Centres of Innovation boast laboratory facilities and consultancy services, as well as training courses. The expertise of these Centres is also diverse.

Judging by the intensity in which Singapore is getting future ready, the future looks bright.

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