A new facility has been set up at the net-zero energy building at NUS Design and Environment (SDE). The OpenBlue Innovation Centre is a $50 million facility by Johnson Controls to create a future-ready built environment for Singapore and the region.
Supported by the Economic Development Board, the Centre is the latest to be housed at SDE4, which serves as a living laboratory to demonstrate and explore human-centric and integrated sustainable developments with public agencies and industry partners.
Other facilities at SDE4 include the 3D Scanning Laboratory, Green Building Technologies Lab, NUS-CDL Smart Green Home, and Urban Greenery Lab.
Smart, Safe and Sustainable Campus Strategy
Professor Yong Kwet Yew, NUS Senior Vice President (Campus Infrastructure), said, “NUS and Johnson Controls had collaborated on several campus projects and we are therefore very excited to extend our partnership through these new initiatives which are part of our Smart, Safe and Sustainable Campus strategies.”
“The opportunity to test Johnson Controls’ novel solutions on our campus and conduct joint research will help advance our ongoing efforts to build smarter, healthier and sustainable work, teaching and learning spaces for our staff, faculty and students.”
The NUS Kent Ridge Campus will serve as a testbed for a new breed of customisable, contact-free applications built on Johnson Controls’ OpenBlue platform.
Together with its ecosystem of partners, which includes NUS and Microsoft, the Centre is pioneering the use of a common configuration language that bridges core building technology, as well as behavioural, wellness and spatial data to develop solutions that meet new demands for safety and sustainability in connected spaces.
People-centric Integrated Design
Mr Visal Leng, President, Building Solutions, Asia Pacific, Johnson Controls, said, “The Johnson Controls OpenBlue Innovation Centre embodies our approach towards building dynamic and resilient spaces, injecting new lease of life into the built environment sector. Taking an unprecedented holistic and human-centric methodology, we are incorporating people and design perspectives, thus sparking greater innovation within industries and outside traditional boundaries.”
The Centre is expected to have more than 100 employees within four years, with strong focus on talent development with NUS at both the undergraduate and post-graduate levels. There will also be opportunities for collaboration on teaching and internship programmes.
A key area of partnership with Johnson Controls also includes joint research and innovation in the areas of built and urban environment, particularly in data analytics, sustainability and operations, as well as people and wellness.
Professor Lam Khee Poh, Dean of NUS Design and Environment, said, “We are thrilled to host the Johnson Controls OpenBlue Innovation Centre in SDE4 and to facilitate cross-disciplinary research and development initiatives across the entire NUS community. This partnership strengthens the School’s ‘Well & Green’ vision that emphasises a people-centric integrated design approach that generates sustainable and resilient value propositions in its endeavours.”
The Singapore Government has announced that they will combine the power of TraceTogether and SafeEntry, two technologies dveloped by the government to help prevent or slow the transmission of COVID-19 in Singapore
In order to resume larger-scale activities and further reopen the economy in a safer manner, TraceTogether-only SafeEntry, known as TT-only SE, will be progressively expanded to more venues.
The use of TT-only SE will provide added assurance that everyone present at these largerscale activities is better protected by effective contact tracing through participation in the TraceTogether Programme.
“TT-only SE ensures that if a COVID-19 case is identified, we can quickly inform close contacts in those locations through the TT Programme. The close contacts can immediately take the necessary precautions to keep their loved ones safe.”
By end of this year, we plan for all popular venues that currently require SE to transit to TT-only SE. The current scanning on-site QR codes with a phone camera, using SingPass Mobile for SE check-in, and scanning of personal IDs, will be disabled at venues where TT-only SE is implemented.
Instead, SE is allowed only if one uses their TT App to scan the on-site QR code, or if they let the on-site entry staff scan the QR code on their TT Token.
Staged Rollout of TT-only-SE
Since August 2020, TT-only SE has been trialled at selected venues where people are likely to be in close contact for prolonged periods, or where human traffic is high, to ensure that individuals at these venues are covered by the TT Programme.
From now till mid-November, TT-only SE will be implemented in venues with activities that involve larger groups of people. These include live performances, business events, places of worship conducting congregational and other worship services with more than 100 people and cinemas. Members of the public who intend to attend these activities are encouraged to download the TT App or collect their TT Token as soon as possible.
By December, TT Tokens would already have been widely available for a substantial period of time. TT-only SE will be implemented at all popular venues where SE is currently mandatory. This would include workplaces, schools, shopping malls and F&B outlets. The latest list of venues which will transit to TT-only SE will be updated on an ongoing basis at www.safeentry.gov.sg/deployment.
TraceTogether Programme Crucial for Effective Contact Tracing
TT and SE are critical digital tools that allow us to quickly contain the spread of COVID19 the moment it is detected, so that we can safely ease our measures and continue to resume economic and social activities.
These tools help to stem multiple generations of spread and prevent large clusters from forming. We seek everyone’s cooperation in using SE and participating in the TT Programme, to make Singapore safer from COVID-19.
In collaboration with
The TraceTogether App was launched in March by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and GovTech, as part of the world’s first national digital contact tracing effort.
Since then, it has been used extensively by the MOH and the product team has been busy improving its effectiveness and building enhancements, without compromising on security. We took a look behind the scenes to learn more about the testing process:
The first thing we realised? They use a lot of phones. Like a lot.
How many smartphone models can you name? Our guess is not a lot, especially beyond the flagship models of Apple, Samsung, Huawei, and Google, am i right?
In reality though, the phone population in Singapore isn’t just made up of more prominent models (the iPhones, the Galaxies, the Pixels), but also less glamorous models – say, like the humble Oppo A5.
Why does this matter? Because for TraceTogether to work effectively, the team has to make sure that ALL devices can be detected by each other – not just the popular ones. To help with this, the team maintains a ‘device farm’ – a collection of over 100 different devices representing the majority of the devices used in Singapore by market share.
The new TraceTogether tokens also go through the same stringent testing
In case you’re wondering whether or not there will be compatibility issues between smartphones and the newly introduced Tokens, the team has also been working hard to ensure that this communication is smooth.
TraceTogether Tokens, also based on BlueTooth proximity tracing, are tested alongside the App to ensure interoperability. This is done by calibrating distances to account for close contact range.
As the team conducts more trials and in turn collects more data, they are able to make more refined estimates that help improve the accuracy of digital contact tracing when used by MOH.
Indeed, in the eyes of Team TraceTogether, there’s no Apple vs Android, Token vs App – all devices are the same.
The GovTech office doubles as a makeshift testing ground
When the team needs a conducive environment to simulate real-world conditions, it’s fortunate that they have the GovTech office at Sandcrawler! This space has a wide variety of different office layouts and is divided into different zones, each simulating different types of areas that TraceTogether needs to operate in.
The GovTech office as a testing ground
For example, one zone with wide-open spaces can simulate, say, a void deck or a mall’s atrium, while a more intimate space can simulate tight spaces, such as public transport.
Both phones and tokens are then placed randomly in each zone. The goal here is simple:
1) Devices in the same zone must be able to detect and classify other devices in close proximity via TraceTogether
2) TraceTogether should not deem other devices in different zones as being in close proximity.
This process is repeated again and again, with varying combinations of phones and tokens in each zone, until the team is satisfied. Intense!
The testing never stops:
“One of the mistaken impressions that people have is that TraceTogether is a static programme. It’s not. It was developed in a very compressed period of time. And we’ve been working hard with MOH contact tracers to support their workflow and processes, while also constantly making the app more convenient for citizens,” explained Jason Bay, Senior Director, Government Digital Services.
“We also urge users to continue using SafeEntry and TraceTogether, which are complementary products – and not substitutes. One focuses on the locations you have been to, and helps jog your memory if you are asked to help in contact tracing; the other looks at person-to-person interactions.”
So to keep safe, remember to update your app to the latest version, and keep it open in the background whenever you head out!
The Assurance, Care and Engagement (ACE) Group, in partnership with the Smart Nation and Digital Government Group, the Building and Construction Authority, the Economic Development Board and industry partners such as The Singapore Contractors Association, will be distributing more than 450,000 contact-tracing devices to all migrant and local workers living or working in dormitories, as well as those in the Construction, Marine Shipyard and Process sectors.
The distribution of the devices will be carried out in phases from 18 October 2020 and is expected to be completed by early November 2020.
Contract Tracing Devices purpose built for worksite environments
The contact-tracing devices, BluePass tokens, are purpose-built for the dormitory and worksite environment. They are compact and water-resistant, and can be worn at all times.
They will be interoperable with and complement the use of the TraceTogether app on migrant workers’ smartphones, as some workers may not always be carrying their phones at work and at the dormitories.
The ACE Group and sector agencies will trial and evaluate how these tokens function and perform in the rugged work environments, and how the data from the tokens can help improve contact tracing and the quarantine process when new COVID-19 cases are detected.
Tokens will help minimise COVID-19 transmission and work disruptions
This will benefit employers and workers because only close contacts will be isolated, thereby minimising any work disruptions.
Data can also be extracted from the tokens, to assess the extent of intermixing amongst the workers. This can help employers and workers better understand how preventive measures can be taken to minimise intermixing and potential transmission of the virus.
The contact-tracing devices will be distributed with the support of the Forward Assurance and Support Teams to migrant workers living in purpose-built dormitories.
Workers living in other types of accommodation will be issued their devices at Regional Screening Centres for Rostered Routine Tests.
Self-collection points will be set up for workers residing in decant sites and other forms of accommodation. Employers and workers will be informed of the collection dates subsequently.
Photo Credit: www.gov.sg
Enterprise Singapore and the Asia-Pacific Committee of German Business (APA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to support enterprise development through industrial and digital transformation in sectors of common interest, including advanced manufacturing, digitalisation and innovation, medical technology and healthcare, and future of mobility.
Under the MOU, Enterprise Singapore and APA will co-organise the refreshed Germany Singapore Business Forum Connect which will feature sector-specific events held throughout the year to facilitate more frequent collaborations between German and Singapore companies.
Mr Peter Ong, Chairman of Enterprise Singapore and Co-Chair of GSBF Connect, said, “In this changing business environment, our enterprises need to connect with one another in more and better ways. Germany and Singapore are trusted partners who place a high emphasis on delivering quality and innovative products and services. The MOU between Enterprise Singapore and APA will cement this commitment to help our companies collaborate and leverage each other’s strengths. I look forward to forging new partnerships with Germany, and welcoming our German friends and partners to join us for the upcoming series of GSBF Connect events.”
Partnerships between Singapore and German companies are expected to grow as both countries deepen business ties through a suite of initiatives. In the last four years alone, the Germany Singapore Business Forum (GSBF) has brought together more than 400 German and Singapore companies.
Platforms such as the GSBF have raised interest amongst Singapore companies to explore opportunities in
Germany, as reflected in the number of business missions to Germany led by Enterprise Singapore which has almost doubled on a year-on-year basis.
The number of business missions to Germany increased from 13 in 2018 to 22 in 2019, benefitting over 150 companies in 2019, across sectors including advanced manufacturing, medical technology and healthcare, future of mobility, and e-sports.
Prof. Axel Stepken, Chairman of the Management Board TÜV SÜD AG and Co-Chair of GSBF Connect, said, “Singapore is attractive to German companies in several ways – as a proven long-term partner with whom new technologies and innovative business models can be developed, but also as an experienced bridge builder into the emerging ASEAN region.
“Singapore has a strong record as a leading R&D hub and digital trendsetter, while German companies are known for their ability to manufacture state-of-the-art machinery and products. I still see many fields and sectors in which we can bring our specific strengths together. With the GSBF Connect, we want to make a relevant contribution to realize these untapped potentials.”
The first edition of GSBF Connect, dedicated to the manufacturing sector, will be held virtually during Industrial Transformation ASIA-PACIFIC 20203 on 21 October. A second edition of GSBF Connect will be held during the Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology on 9 December 2020.
Singapore and German SMEs have collaborated in co-innovation projects under the Germany-Singapore SME Funding Programme, jointly managed by Enterprise Singapore, and AiF Projekt GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.
A new partnership between Singapore Polytechnic, German testing, inspection and certification company TÜV SÜD, industrial automation leader Delta Electronics and Singapore’s Smart I4.0 Transformation Alliance (SiTA) was announced on 14 October 2020.
A recent Straits Time survey revealed that 8 in 10 employees in Singapore want to work from home and have more flexibility.
As employee expectations and needs change in the new normal, the necessity to have creative and intelligent digital workspace has become the top priority for all employers. Appreciating the relevance and expedience of this issue, OpenGov Asia hosted an OpenGovLive! Breakfast Insight on 15 October to learn about and explore modern digital workspaces for the new normal.
The session witnessed an overwhelming response from the audience in terms of attendance, diversity and engagement. Comprised of senior public sector digital executives from various Singapore agencies, the attendees were eager to discuss, debate and determine what a digital workspace would look like.
Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief at OpenGov Asia, opened the session by recapping how the world was forced to adapt to new ways of working and how that has fundamentally changed the way organisations – public and private – function.
With the remote working in place, it is important to ensure employees have the necessary access to relevant data and applications from any device at any location at any time. Mohit emphasised that this need to enable broad access to employees across an organisation raises significant security issues. The immediate acknowledgement and feedback from delegates validated this concern.
This issue becomes even significantly magnified in the public sector as they did not get the chance to slow down during the pandemic and, on the contrary, were under greater pressure to continue to deliver existing citizens-services and additional emergency measures as well.
Mohit stressed that it is key is to strike the right balance between making data accessible and keeping it safe. He concluded by advising delegates from public sector industry to partner with the right people, experts in the field, who can make it easier for them to strike the access and safety balance rather than trying to do everything inhouse.
After Mohit’s thought-provoking presentation, Prem Pavan, Area Vice President Sales and Services Asia (ASEAN & Korea), Citrix shared his learnings and experience with the audience.
Prem began by explaining that Citrix as an organisation has been dedicated to enabling digital workspaces that are fully equipped with all employee requirements, irrespective of the physical space they are working from.
He brought out some interesting remote working trends they had observed over the last 6 months. These trends highlighted the conclusion, many had already come to, that remote working was here to stay. Not only because of the current pandemic but because employees are more productive, feel more comfortable at home and do have some hesitancy in coming back to their offices just yet.
Prem also opined that the adaptive workplace with a greater focus on cloud and digital transformation is going to be the new norm for organisations across the board – in both the public and the private sector. Additionally, existing physical workplaces will undergo fundamental infrastructural changes in terms of seating plans, desk space and collaborative common areas.
Although remote working is set to become the new norm, it is not without its own set of challenges. The biggest of these is enabling secure access to various data and applications to employees using different devices from different locations at different times.
Prem reiterated the need to nail the act of balancing security, productivity and competitive differentiation. In closing, he offered Citrix’s full support to all public sector organisations in their digital workspace journeys.
After Prem’s informative presentation, Lynn Warneke, Corporate Operations Director and Chief Information Officer at the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) at Victoria shared her thoughts on the topic.
Lynn began by revealing to the audience that she was a true believer in the digitisation of citizen experience by digitally empowering the staff in the public sector and had done this when she joined the DPC two years ago.
Her goal was to enable a high-performance DPC through a collaborative and personalised staff experience enabled by flexible workspaces and premium digital tools and processes underpinned by effective services and solutions.
The first step towards achieving this goal was strategy formulation that rested on four pillars:
- Strengthening Foundations
- Maturing Operations
- Partnering in Reform
- Transforming Experience
The second step included initiating a program, IGNITE, that would help combine the physical, the digital, and the people transform their physical environment, introduce new digital platforms and tools and assist the workforce to move to new ways of working.
Lynn shared the outcomes of strategising and implementing the above-mentioned program which includes:
- Improved collaboration
- Easier communication
- Stronger engagement and improved connection for distributed staff
- Enhanced individual and team flexibility
- Higher productivity
Lynn concluded on a positive note by highlighting the silverling that has emerged out of the dark cloud of the COVID-19 pandemic. This silver lining is the realisation that digital transformation can genuinely enhance organisations’ capability to deliver and can be implemented over a short span of time.
After Lynn, D.N. Prasad, Senior Director, Strategy, People, and Organisation from Government Technology Agency of Singapore spoke about some of his learnings.
Prasad started by emphasising the importance of people as the most valuable resource in today’s world; and since their wellbeing is the responsibility of senior leaders in any organisation, the onus on leaders is high.
He felt that the world is still in the process of learning and adapting to the new normal which he called the “current normal” which seems to change every day.
Prasad suggested the best way for organisations to go through this dynamic time to prioritise people, leadership and culture. In addition, it is important to understand that the workplace is undergoing fundamental changes. The future workspace will have social (digital/virtual) collaboration at its core rather than a designated physical place.
Like Lynn, Prasad advised the delegates to look at the positive side that has emerged out of the crisis. It includes better focus and decision making in companies, more willingness to innovate, more agile work culture and better customer solutions.
He concluded by sharing some call to action points for the leaders in organisations:
- Have a more holistic rather than individualistic approach
- Drive continuous change in the organisation
- Be the role models for others to follow
After the information presentations, the programme moved into the interactive polling session.
On the first question regarding initiatives that are of highest priority in the current times, the delegates seemed equally split amongst all four options with a slightly higher inclination towards technology simplification (32%).
A senior delegate from a media company reflected that for him, understanding and motivating employees working remotely is the biggest challenge. It’s hard to encourage the employees to collaborate and coordinate when you have no physical contact with them.
On the next question about being well equipped to support a fully remote workforce, a major chunk of the delegates voted that they have all the tools required to allow remote work seamlessly (48%).
To this, a delegate from the National Library Board reflected that he voted for not fully supportive of the remote working because even though the employees have all the tools and technology they require to work from home, the problem is a loss of a personal connection; no tool or technology can help establish that connection.
On the final question of the biggest security challenge faced by organisations with a remote workforce, a majority of the audience voted for lack of robust tools to proactively detect malicious user-behaviour (40%).
An executive from the telecom industry shared that she voted for endpoint management because, with the flexibility to work remotely, employees are bringing in a number of their own devices that leads to major security issues and concerns. She also shared that this is not a challenge for their organisation currently, but they are putting in a lot of effort to avoid it.
The session concluded with closing remarks from Prem. He thanked all the delegates and speaker for joining the session and sharing their insights and feedback.
He re-emphasised the importance of people, the need to simplify processes and technology and the vital role of leadership in this process as some of the key takeaways from the session.
In closing, he invited delegates to learn more about this extremely important topic at the upcoming summits and sessions organised by Citrix.
PM Lee Hsien Loong made a speech at the Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Centre Groundbreaking Ceremony on 13 October 2020, in the presence of Mr Sung Yun-mo, Minister of Trade, Industry & Energy, Republic of Korea and Mr Chung Eui-sun, Executive Vice Chairman, Hyundai.
He opened by mentioning the history Hyundai has with Singapore. “Singapore’s relationship with Hyundai goes back a long way. It started when Hyundai Engineering and Construction (HDEC) helped us reclaim land at Pulau Tekong in 1981, nearly 40 years ago.”
“As for Hyundai Motor the first Hyundai cars appeared on our roads in the mid-1980s.”
“First Facility of its kind in the world”
The Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Centre is the first facility of its kind in the world. It will allow Hyundai to develop new automotive technologies, including the production of electric cars. The new facility will be located in Jurong Innovation District, which already houses a vibrant ecosystem of researchers, technology partners and factories of the future.
The PM added “In fact, you will be neighbours with the NTU Smart Campus, which aims to be a living testbed of tech-enabled solutions like electric vehicles. I hope that this will make it easier for your discussions to bear fruit, and for Singapore technology to power Hyundai cars all over the world.”
The new Innovation Centre will enable Hyundai to pilot new manufacturing models, to meet the demand for mass personalisation of cars through small-scale factories in urban areas. It is an investment of almost $400 million, and may produce up to 30,000 vehicles per year by 2025, five years from now.
Singapore’s drive for autonomous and electric vehicle roll out
Singapore has also been developing plans for autonomous and electric vehicle research and development.
“Singapore’s goal is to have all our vehicles run on cleaner energy by 2040, in line with our Paris Agreement commitments, so that our air is cleaner, and Singaporeans can have a better quality of life. Earlier this year, we announced plans to catalyse Electric Vehicle demand, and to build Electric Vehicle infrastructure like charging points ahead of demand. Now we are taking another step to anchor the value chain here with Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Centre, as the first Electric Vehicle manufacturing facility in Singapore.”
“Automotive activities are becoming viable in Singapore once again. Electric Vehicles have a different supply chain, fewer mechanical parts and more electronics, which plays to Singapore’s strengths. That is why global companies producing automotive electronics like Delphi and Infineon are already in Singapore and have been here for some time.”
“We hope this will open up new growth areas for our economy, and create exciting jobs for Singaporeans, for example Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) engineers, data scientists, cobot technicians and digital supply chain strategists. These job titles did not even exist a few years ago, but these jobs are now on the cutting edge, and demand new skills. Young Singaporeans may not have these skills in the first instance, but they will learn from the engineers that you bring here from Korea and elsewhere in the world, as we did in the past. And over time, I am confident that we will build up a Singaporean workforce with these skills.”
The Prime Minister noted that the HMGICS is an important milestone in the economic relationship between Singapore and South Korea. It will pave the way for more Korean companies to invest in Singapore, partner with local suppliers and SMEs, and collaborate with universities and research institutes.
He added that Government authorities and agencies such as EDB, JTC, ESG and A*STAR will all work closely with Hyundai to support these partnerships. He said that “Hyundai Motor is already in discussions with NTU and A*STAR, for example, to use AI in autonomous driving.”
Imperial College Business School and the Lee Kong Chian School of Business at Singapore Management University (SMU) yesterday launched the Singapore Green Finance Centre (SGFC), Singapore’s first research institute dedicated to green finance research and talent development.
The SGFC is supported by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and nine founding partners: Bank of China Limited, BNP Paribas, Fullerton Fund Management, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Schroders, Standard Chartered Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, and UBS AG.
An advisory board, which includes MAS, both academic institutions, and the nine founding partners, will provide guidance on the strategic direction of the SGFC.
Mr Ravi Menon, Managing Director of MAS, said, “MAS is committed to developing a vibrant green finance research and talent ecosystem in Singapore, to support Asia’s transition to a low carbon future. The SGFC will be an important part of this ecosystem, bringing together two leading academic institutions in environmental science and financial economics. We are especially heartened by the strong industry support for the SGFC, which will be key to its success.”
The SGFC will draw on the respective strengths of Imperial and SMU in climate science, financial economics, and sustainable investing – equipping professionals with new skills and developing a strong pipeline of green finance talent.
Its research and training will enable financial institutions, corporates, and policymakers to improve the management of environmental risks, develop financial solutions to promote environmental sustainability, and design policies for a sustainable future.
Research to support the transition to a low carbon future
The SGFC will pursue research to help develop strategies for policymakers and financial institutions to support Asia’s transition to a low carbon future. The research will be co-created with industry to ensure applicability and relevance, and will cover three key themes:
- transforming businesses by integrating climate-related data and environmental, social & governance (ESG) considerations into decision-making
- designing policies and new initiatives that can improve the efficiency of green finance markets
- catalysing the development of green finance solutions.
To equip professionals with skills in climate finance and applied knowledge in Asian markets, the SGFC will offer an array of courses across various levels – undergraduate, post-graduate, continuing and professional education.
This will develop a strong pipeline of green finance talent which financial institutions and service providers can tap as they expand teams and deepen green finance capabilities to serve the growing needs of Singapore and the region.