Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) is partnering with Singtel, the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Singapore Polytechnic (SP) to attract and build a ready pool of capable talent in 5G and emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things, cloud engineering and data analytics. Singtel will hire more than 500 people in Singapore over two years.
Training New and Existing Employees in 5G
Through structured training and courses, coupled with real work experience in the Singtel workplace, employees can develop and hone 5G domain expertise and related skills that will enable them to deliver innovative products and services to meet the needs of consumers and enterprises.
IMDA’s TechSkills Accelerator Company-Led Training programmes will also offer support by training associated roles such as software developers.
Mr Yuen Kuan Moon, Singtel’s Group Chief Executive Officer said, “In order for Singtel to capture new digital growth opportunities and drive digital transformation across industries, we have to pivot our workforce and pivot fast.
Having embarked on reskilling our existing staff, we are now hiring and training new employees on the job in 5G and emerging technologies.
The learning gained from academia will complement practical on-the-job training in our workplace to build the critical competencies needed to help transition enterprises to a digital economy. We are glad to partner IMDA, NUS and SP to build out the expanding 5G ecosystem that will move us closer to our Smart City goals.”
Mr S Iswaran, Minister for Communications and Information visited Singtel’s training headquarters at 8George today, where he was briefed on the company’s latest hiring efforts that is targeted at a range of fresh graduates and mid-career individuals. He also met Singtel employees currently being coached in 5G and new tech skills.
Mr Lew Chuen Hong, Chief Executive of IMDA said, “Singaporeans with the right tech skills can look forward to good job opportunities in a vibrant 5G ecosystem. Working with academia and Singtel will ensure that our workers have these skills in in-demand areas. I encourage leading enterprises to work with us to get our workers future-ready and accelerate Singapore’s digital transformation.”
Singtel will be focusing its hiring and training in Singapore in core areas such as 5G network engineering, digital services, 5G product and platform development, application development and advanced analytics.
NCS Looking for Talent in Emerging Technologies
NCS, Singtel’s wholly-owned subsidiary, will also be looking to grow talent for emerging technologies via NUCLEUS, its five-year career development programme which is targeted at grooming specialist and professional ICT talent.
Regionally, Optus and Singtel Group associates are also building a growing pool of tech and digital professionals to support 5G roll out, such as the launch of 5G sites across Australian major cities by Optus.
NUS and SP, as IMDA’s appointed 5G and Telecoms Programme Manager, will support Singtel and the rest of the industry by developing 5G-related training courses and academic programmes as well as collaborating with other Institutions of Higher Learning.
Some of the available Continuing Education and Training courses and postgraduate programmes will be credit-bearing modules that will also count towards an academic qualification such as a Master’s Degree from the universities and higher learning institution.
The 5G & Telecoms Programme Manager will also work with universities to provide hands-on training opportunities through 5G research laboratories and facilities, such as the 5G Garage in SP, set up in collaboration with Singtel and Ericsson.
To conduct a proof-of-concept on the use of space-based Very High Frequency (VHF) voice for communication between pilots and air traffic controllers for air traffic management, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and the Economic Development Board’s Office for Space Technology and Industry (OSTIn) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with partner companies.
The novel technology’s viability and advantages over ground-based VHF voice communications will be shown in the proof of concept, and the data will be gathered for international review, standards creation, and acceptance.
As global and regional air traffic continues to grow, CAAS is committed to leveraging new technologies to enhance air traffic management to improve efficiency and reduce carbon emissions, and to being a pathfinder and convenor of the public-private partnership needed to drive development and global adoption of such technologies.
– Han Kok Juan, Director-General, Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore
The Director-General added that the space-based VHF communications technology has the potential to revolutionise aviation, improving safety, effectiveness, and sustainability while expanding capacity to handle the growing demand for air travel. If this proof of concept is effective, it will be a big step toward acceptance and adoption around the world.
Pilots and air traffic controllers currently communicate with one another via VHF voice communications. For instance, pilots can ask for clearance to ascend or descend, and air traffic controllers can adjust a flight path in reaction to weather or turbulence.
The communication must be trustworthy, direct, and immediate to ensure safe and effective air traffic management, particularly in congested airspaces and during abnormal and emergency situations.
Moreover, due to the ground-based nature of present VHF stations, there is little to no coverage for VHF voice communications in maritime, hilly, or remote places that are outside the range of ground-based stations, which poses operational challenges. Air traffic control will be safer and more effective because of the expanded coverage provided by space-based VHF voice communications.
Before they may be used for safe operations, space-based VHF voice communications must first undergo technical feasibility studies, evaluation, and standardisation by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
The CAAS-OSTIn and partner companies’ proof of concept is the first technical research where a specially manufactured satellite will be launched into orbit to contain VHF communications gear for such a trial, even though there have been earlier technical studies in this area.
The trial’s goal is to show that space-based communications are compatible with aircraft technology and already-existing ground radio stations, with equivalent speech quality, latency, and other standards to ground-based voice communications.
The trial will specifically show that space-based voice communications are feasible for the equatorial region, where the scintillation effect that degrades the quality of VHF audio communications is known to be particularly severe. Beginning in 2023, the proof of concept will take a year to complete. After that, CAAS will present the findings and data to the ICAO and ITU for review and discussion.
Between CAAS-OSTIn and partner companies, the program delivers strong complementary skills. The testbed for the trial will be provided by CAAS, a prominent provider of air navigation services that is at the forefront of technological development and adoption.
The development and application of space capabilities to aviation as well as the creation of a space eco-system will be examined by OSTIn, Singapore’s national space office, to support the endeavour. Moreover, joint ventures will put the satellite into orbit and supply the hardware and communications infrastructure.
The establishment of the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Multi-Modal Distribution and Connectivity Centre or DC Centre aims to improve both countries’ transportation and logistics ecosystems, as well as strengthen supply chain resilience and accelerate trade digitalisation.
The partnership, according to Josephine Teo, Minister of Communications, and Information, is an important step in the continued development of Singapore’s and Chongqing’s roles as mutual hubs of Southeast Asia and Western China, respectively.
As a key project of the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity (CCI) and logistics priority area, the DC Centre will be a physical location for multimodal operations in Chongqing and help build the CCI-New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor.
With this new facility in place, there will be greater opportunities for collaboration between Singapore, Chongqing, and other international partners in some areas.
– Josephine Teo, Minister of Communications and Information
Minister Teo emphasised first the improving logistics and transportation systems on both sides. To better integrate Chongqing’s key road, rail, and river logistics nodes and give logistics participants a smooth experience, the DC Centre will complement current and planned facilities including the Guoyuan Port and Yuzui Terminal South Yard.
In 2017, Minister Teo recalls the inauguration of the two joint venture companies of Singapore and China -the Sino-Singapore (Chongqing) Connectivity Solutions Company Limited or S1 and Sino-Singapore (Chongqing) DC Multimodal Logistics Company Limited or S2. Now, a training and placement programme will be formed between S1 and the Chongqing Finance and Economics College, with specialised training taking place within the DC Centre itself, to expand the talent pool of Chongqing’s logistics business.
Second, the Minister highlighted the improved supply chain resilience. In an era of global supply chain disruption, the CCI-New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor can determine its value by linking land and sea routes to provide the flow of essential goods, specifically perishable and time-sensitive supplies. To that end, she encourages all interested parties to join the Corridor by utilising key nodes such as the DC Centre and improving connectivity and trade flows between regions.
Minister Teo also stressed the hastening of trade digitalisation. In response to the growing importance of the digital economy, Singapore and Chongqing are encouraging the exchange of digital data and documents to improve supply chain visibility and facilitate seamless cross-border cargo movement. She welcomes more companies to join them in these endeavours, including those from adjacent sectors such as trade financing.
OpenGov Asia earlier reported that 17 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were signed among Singapore and Chongqing businesses in 2020 on the side-lines of the Smart China Expo (SCE) Online, as enterprises continue to explore opportunities despite pandemic restrictions. The MoUs included collaborations in the built environment and manufacturing, as well as logistics and tourism for markets in Chongqing, Western China, and Singapore.
On the other hand, at the annual Smart China Expo in Chongqing in 2019, Singapore and Chinese companies signed 13 agreements for collaborative efforts to use digital technologies in education, manufacturing, and telecommunications.
In the same year, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), Enterprise Singapore, and the Chongqing Application Development Administration Bureau launched the Joint Innovation Development Fund (JIDF), an RMB$ 40 million initiative to promote the joint development of innovative products and solutions, which may include research and development and pilots to promote innovative technologies such as robotics, IoT, augmented reality, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence. The fund’s goal is to catalyse projects that have the potential to generate significant economic benefits for the companies and countries involved.
The Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT) is committed to building robust partnerships within the 5G ecosystem with a range of stakeholders including local industry and start-ups. C-DOT has continued to emphasise the evolution of a coordinated collaborative framework that supports multiple providers and promotes healthy competition amongst key 5G players in an output-driven and target-oriented environment.
Broadband, especially mobile broadband, has become an integral part of life. Its adoption was accelerated through the rapid expansion of 4G services across the country since 2015. Currently, 800 million subscribers have broadband access, compared to 100 million subscribers in 2014. According to a press release, through policy initiatives, the government has been able to give citizens access to mobile banking, online education, and telemedicine, among others.
Dr Rajkumar Upadhyay, Executive Director, C-DOT highlighted the vision of PM GatiShakti as it harnesses the country’s technological potential. This is done by creating an environment for the creation of path-breaking initiatives by local R&D, industry and start-ups. He underscored the importance of achieving synergy among various participants of the technology ecosystem to spur novel innovation and competitive spirit leading to the development of holistic indigenous solutions expeditiously.
He expressed confidence in emerging partnerships between R&D and industry in enabling the proliferation of indigenous 5G across the country and emphasised that effective collaborations would bring Indian products and solutions to the international market.
C-DOT is the premier Research and Development (R&D) centre of the Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications, Government of India. C-DOT has overseen the design and development of a host of telecom software applications such as optical, switching and routing, wireless and security. Further to developing an indigenous 4G solution, C-DOT now focuses its attention on 5G.
This month, C-DOT signed an agreement for collaboration in the area of Open RAN-based Radio Network for 5G solution. The collaboration will leverage the complementary strengths of Telecom R&D and private industry to speed the indigenous design, development and deployment of end-to-end 5G solutions that would be mutually beneficial to all stakeholders. Further, the partnership will go a long way to strengthen indigenous Intellectual Property as well as facilitate wider adoption and monetisation of national 5G products and solutions.
Earlier, Union Railways, Communications, Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said that at the current pace, he was confident that the deployment of 5G will begin in at least 20-25 cities and towns by the end of 2022. He revealed that India currently has the lowest price for data across the globe and that the price “is at least 10 times cheaper than what other countries are offering”.
In related developments, OpenGov Asia reported on the upcoming 5G spectrum auctions in July 2022. Digital connectivity has been an important part of the government’s policy initiatives through programmes like Digital India, Startup India and Make in India.
A total of 72097.85 MHz of spectrum with a validity period of 20 years will be put to auction by the end of July this year. The auction will be held for spectrum in various low (600 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz), mid (3300 MHz), and high (26 GHz) frequency bands.
The government announced that, in a first, there will be no mandatory requirement to make upfront payments by bidders. Payments for the spectrum can be made in 20 equal annual instalments to be paid in advance at the beginning of each year. This is expected to significantly ease cash flow requirements and lower the cost of doing business in this sector.
To meet the backhaul demand, the government has decided to provisionally allot two carriers of 250 MHz each in E-band to telecom service providers. The government also decided to double the number of traditional Microwave backhaul carriers in the existing frequency bands of 13, 15, 18, and 21 GHz bands.
The difficulties faced by businesses in accelerating the development and production of farmed meat and seafood through public-private partnerships are addressed by a multi-institutional research programme by A*STAR and its partners through the CentRe of Innovation for Sustainable banking and Production of Cultivated Meats or CRISP Meats.
The use of animal serum in the manufacturing process and high costs of culture media are key contributors to the challenging commercial viability of bringing cultivated meat and seafood products to the general population.
– Dr Ng Say Kong, Principal Scientist and Co-Director of CRISP Meats
Dr Ng added that projects are made to address the demands of the cultivated meat and seafood business, from the isolation and documentation of cell lines to the development of novel bioprocesses and animal serum-free growing mediums. It also addresses the high cost of animal serum and cell culture media. They use cutting-edge technology, such as multi-omics analysis to determine the metabolic needs of cells from various species to accelerate their growth rate, and artificial intelligence and machine learning modelling (AI/ML) techniques to speed up the media formulation process.
A diverse team of researchers is led by Dr Ng together with Dr Andy Tan, Senior Scientist and Co-Director of CRISP Meats in their collaborative efforts to develop various technologies that can support a profitable value chain for produced meat.
They also collaborate with cultivated meat companies to help them develop a variety of product formats, ranging from mincemeat products like nuggets and patties to whole-cut meat products like steaks and sliced meat parts.
The researchers intend to create a diverse range of cell lines to produce cultivated chicken, pork, and selected seafood, including fish, as these products are commonly used in Asian cuisines and are expected to gain popularity in Asian markets.
Sixteen (16) labs from A*STAR, the Singapore Institute of Technology, and the National University of Singapore are involved in CRISP Meats. The research teams focus on regional seafood, fish, and premium chicken breeds to identify cell lines from food species that cater to Asian palates.
Furthermore, in December 2020, the Singapore Food Agency approved the sale of the world’s first cultivated chicken nuggets, making Singapore the first country in the world to do so. The country is leading efforts to assist industry partners in making cultivated meat safe and affordable. This aligns with Singapore’s “30 by 30” food security national agenda, which aims to meet 30% of Singapore’s nutritional needs locally by 2030.
The demand for food is rising along with the middle class due to the expanding global population and rising protein intake. Alternatives to conventional protein sources, such as farmed meat and seafood, may be more durable and sustainable.
In addition, cultivated beef uses a lot less space for farming and is less prone to seasonal variation and climate change because it can be produced on demand in a lab. The commercial production of farmed meat and seafood will advance with research into reducing costs and increasing production and processing efficiency.
The Singapore Food Story Grant Call on Future Foods in 2021 funded the CRISP Meats, which was administered by A*STAR in collaboration with the Singapore Institute of Technology and the National University of Singapore to advance R&D in the cultivated meat and seafood industry. The goal is to attract companies for collaboration to develop integrated platform technologies across the value chain to support and anchor Singapore’s cultivated meat and seafood industry.
More users are now experiencing the convenience of conducting transactions in their native language as Singpass features four of Singapore’s official languages – English, Tamil, Malay and Chinese. By selecting their preferred language in the app’s settings, more users can experience the convenience of conducting transactions in their native language.
As more features are onboarded, this will better support citizens who are more comfortable transacting in vernacular languages.
– Josephine Teo, Minister for Communications and Information and Minister-in-Charge of Smart Nation and Cybersecurity
The legal divisions and other government departments were also tasked with ensuring that the texts comply with existing policies. Approximately 60,000 words had to be translated into three languages across two platforms immediately. Multiple rounds of checks were conducted to guarantee that nothing is lost in translation and to avoid translation errors.
The words were placed into a spreadsheet and delivered to a team of hired translators by the Government Digital Services (GDS) branch of GovTech. The translators are provided with mock-up screens to provide context for the content they are attempting to translate.
The team also helped the translators by developing a variety of technologies, such as locking worksheets to prevent accidental alterations and colour coding cells for readability, to decrease human error and continuously enhance the processes for producing high-quality translations. In addition, the spreadsheet is intended to automate key procedures and improve the efficiency of translating various strings to be included in the programme.
The initial translations were then sent to an external vendor for review. After that, the translations were imported into the app, and multiple rounds of testing were carried out to ensure that the user interface across different devices could accommodate the new words, especially since most of the translated text takes up more screen space than the English version. Internal native speakers were also given test builds of the translated app to correct contextually incorrect word choices and review the accuracy and design.
Finally, Citizen Translators – native speakers and writers who volunteered with the Ministry of Communication and Information (MCI) to review translated materials and help raise the translation standards of public communications in Singapore have provided feedback to further refine the translations. Their feedback was reviewed by the same team of internal translators, and some changes were incorporated into subsequent app releases as part of ongoing efforts to improve app usability.
While the multilingual feature has been released successfully, additional development remains. The usage of a spreadsheet to facilitate translations prevents translators from having a side-by-side comparison of how the app appears and what is being translated, which can delay translations.
In addition, for each batch of translations, engineers must manually insert or export new word strings into the system, limiting scalability. Furthermore, users may also still encounter untranslated content via the Singpass app. While the data labels in a user’s profile are translated so that monolingual users may locate the relevant data, the data values provided by the respective government agencies are only available in English to prevent mistranslations and maintain the agencies’ data accuracy.
The GovTechies from the National Digital Identity team who worked on the translation project are Zheng Yurong, Associate UX Designer; Law Xun Da, Associate Software Engineer; and Tay Li Soon, Lead Product Manager -all are continuously collecting feedback from multiple agencies to enhance translation quality.
Singpass is one of the eight national strategic projects managed by the Government Technology Agency (GovTech) and supporting Singapore’s Smart Nation objective. It is the digital identification of a Singaporean resident that enables convenient and secure access to over 2,000 government and private sector services online and in person.
An interactive installation that explores the impact of climate change and sea-level rise 100 years from now is the highlight of a project dubbed “Adapting Waterfronts: Postcards from the future, Singapore 2122” – this lets the citizens witness how the nation’s coastline has changed in the past, now, and the future.
The exhibit displays “Postcards from the Future” that envisage sea-level rise adaptation in the twenty-first century and were produced by scientists, architects, and artists. These postcards are part of a guided tour along a proposed heritage route of Singapore’s historic waterfront, which uses Augmented Reality (AR) installations to visualise place-based changes over time at specific spots, bringing the past, present, and future to life.
Gabriel Tenaya Kaprielian, an assistant professor of architecture at Temple University, created the “Postcards from the Future” project in association with the Earth Observatory of Singapore at Nanyang Technological University Singapore (NTU Singapore).
The project was part of a U.S. Scholar Fulbright and additional assistance was provided by the National Heritage Board, National Archives, and Collection of the National Museum of Singapore.
Moreover, the physical installation of the piece is housed in a Pop-Up Gallery at the foot of Mount Palmer, which also acts as the beginning point for Singapore’s “Adapting Waterfronts” AR historical waterfront route.
To address the worldwide challenge of sea-level rise adaptation, the Adapting Waterfronts project’s distinctive breadth brings together the innovation from various groups across disciplines. This fosters transdisciplinary collaboration and international cooperation. By recasting the problems caused by sea-level rise as opportunities for design innovation, the initiative aims to foster community optimism and empower informed action.
While many nations are preparing for a predicted 1-meter increase in sea level by 2100, high-emission models predict a possible 5-meter rise by 2150. Coastal towns across the world will need to prepare for uncertainty since it is unclear how quickly the ice sheets will melt and because of the added effects of greater floods brought on by more extreme weather occurrences.
Adapting Waterfronts speculates on how Singapore can develop a long-term planning framework that supports climate change resilience and biodiversity in a win-win strategy that ups the role of nature-based solutions that embrace tidal ecologies in urban environments as part of the Green Plan and City in Nature vision. It does this by providing a platform to exchange knowledge and enable discourse about future sea-level rise.
Furthermore, Adapting Waterfronts: Postcards from the Future, Singapore 2122 is free to access for all. The content contained in “Adapting Waterfronts” is speculative fiction created by Kaprielian and other contributing artists with the purpose of inspiring the imagination of the audience by examining various sea-level rise adaptation scenarios and strategies
The images are artist renderings and do not explicitly reflect the scientific findings or stance of any of the partner organisations. Site locations of present photographs are approximations of the location in the historic images.
Meanwhile, researchers at NTU and other leaders in Artificial Intelligence (AI) have recently come up with an important standard for AI security due to cybersecurity threats like hacking that pose a big risk to AI systems -in response to calls to protect the integrity of AI programmes and build trust in AI solutions.
The standard will be used to influence worldwide standardisation plans in this field by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), marking a significant achievement that ranks Singapore among the world’s most advanced nations in AI security.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has announced the first use case of NovA! to assist financial institutions (FIs) in assessing the real estate sector’s long-term viability. NovA!, an industry-wide AI platform for financial risk insights generation, is part of the National AI Programme in Finance and collaboration between Singapore-based banks and local FinTech firms.
NovA! will provide a valuable tool to help FIs generate prompt and actionable insights using structured and unstructured datasets and advanced computing.
– Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief FinTech Officer, Monetary Authority of Singapore
Sopnendu added that this would make it easier for financial institutions to direct funds to projects and businesses that achieve sustainability performance goals.
In the first part of the programme, the focus will be on making it easier for FIs to evaluate how companies affect the environment and spot new environmental risks. FIs would be able to use NovA! for their Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) risk assessment when making, underwriting, and servicing loans linked to sustainability.
Moreover, FIs can use NovA! to find real estate corporate borrowers whose sustainability metrics can be improved by comparing their past environmental performance to that of their peers. On the other hand, during the underwriting process, NovA! will help FIs set the right sustainability performance targets (SPTs) for the borrowers by comparing the borrowers’ SPTs to the NovA!-made SPT Industry Benchmark
In addition, for loan servicing, NovA! will compare the borrower’s self-declaration with the actual sustainability performance indicators using metres or sensors to find greenwashing.
The NovA! ESG use case will also cut down on the time it takes for FIs to collect, process, and analyse data by using natural language processing (NLP) to automatically pull relevant information from documents. This will make it cheaper for FIs to run their businesses. It will be integrated with MAS’ Project Greenprint to support FIs’ sustainability journeys.
Greenprint will be used to supplement NovA!’s insights-generation capabilities, which will be made available to its partners via APIs.
Since the NovA! consortium was announced in November 2021, 16 members have joined. The development of NovA!’s ESG use case is being led by a core team within the NovA! consortium. The members’ areas of responsibility are:
- Lead FIs: Contribute to solution design, data provision and product validation
- Commercial Lead: Provide industry input and commercial perspectives
- Product & Tech Lead: Provide the machine learning platform for the first use case.
- AI Tech Developer: Provide AI capabilities in areas of solution development, with a focus on Natural Language Processing
- Project Consultant: Facilitate subject matter discussions among the consortium members
Joint exercise for cyber crisis
MAS together with the Banque de France (BdF) and the Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel et de Résolution (ACPR) has recently carried out a joint crisis management exercise focused on cybersecurity threats. The initiative is part of the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Cybersecurity signed by those agencies in 2019.
The joint exercise tested the effectiveness of the three financial authorities’ cyber crisis coordination and response when dealing with scenarios such as ransomware, zero-day vulnerabilities, and IT supply chain attacks.
Given the global nature of cyber threats and the interconnectedness of the financial systems, cross-border cooperation is becoming increasingly important in ensuring financial stability and the resilience of critical financial services.
The joint exercise demonstrates MAS, BdF, and ACPR’s commitment to sharpening the collective response to major cyber-attacks targeting cross-border financial institutions via effective information sharing protocols. Such close collaboration improves the global financial system’s ability to maintain operational resilience and stability.