SINGAPORE (June 26): Singapore has just entered Phase Two of the reopening of the economy and now, we can dine-in at restaurants again and start hitting the gyms.

But the road to recovery is a tough one and should not be taken alone. “Closer cross-industry partnerships will be pivotal as Singapore moves into economic recovery,” says tech giant Huawei.

Remote education, telehealth, and artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled applications will be part of the new normal, says Nicholas Ma, CEO of Huawei International.

“Covid-19 is an accelerator of digital transformation. It is time for us to reach out, band together and discover new opportunities.”

This is a role Huawei has been playing in Singapore since 2001. In an effort to better reach out to the Asia Pacific region, Huawei has this year set up its regional headquarters of cloud and AI business in Singapore.

“Singapore, with its high-potential talent pool, is the leading AI innovation hub of the region,” says Jeffery Liu, president of Huawei Asia Pacific. “When it comes to AI ecosystem-based collaboration, we are happy to work together with the academic community and industries to promote AI development, which advances both technology and industries as a whole,” he adds.

To this end, on June 23, the company hosted the Huawei Ecosystem Summit 2020, which called for closer collaboration with local partners, as well as the acceleration of training and upskilling for ICT professionals. This is intended to boost joint solution innovation as Singapore doubles down on its push towards a digital future.

Huawei plans to build a sustainable ecosystem with its local partners. Part of its plan includes a $5 million investment in Singapore to nurture the ecosystem and strengthen joint solution innovation with its partners.

Meanwhile, the tech giant will still continue to focus on what it is best in — information and communication technology (ICT), with a focus on serving its four core industries of Government, Finance, Transportation and ISP (Internet Service Providers).

“Organisations will need to redesign their services to adapt to the new normal. Digital technology powered by 5G, cloud and AI will be pivotal in this transformation,” says Aaron Wang, managing director of Huawei Singapore Enterprise Business Group.

“Under Huawei’s AI strategy, we will focus on connectivity and computing in Singapore by building an open ecosystem with our partners, as we believe it will empower digital transformation for numerous industries, and help our ecosystem partners boost immunity eventually,” he adds.

In addition, Huawei announced at the summit that it has digitalised its 5G-powered AI Lab that was launched in Singapore last year. Users and local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will now be able to access the AI Lab’s applications easily via cloud and explore industryfocused digital transformation solutions.

The AI Lab’s capabilities have been further enhanced through its integration with the Virtual AI Academy. Trainees can reskill and upskill with free online training offered by Huawei that covers over 140 sets of courses in AI, 5G, cloud computing and big data. These courses are designed to train and certify all levels of users, from amateurs to professionals.

Since April, Huawei has partnered local firms to enrol over 300 local ICT professionals at its Virtual AI Academy for trial upskill training. Huawei aims to certify 1,000 ICT engineers in Singapore by the end of 2021.

“As a member of Singapore’s society, Huawei has a responsibility to deepen our longterm collaboration with local ecosystem partners, especially in this time of crisis,” says Ma, who believes that these upskilling efforts will speed up the recovery of the economy.

As it is, cloud, AI and 5G have helped industries advance. It is most apparent in the healthcare, education and finance sectors that have redesigned their services to better serve customers amid changing times.

For instance, Concord International Hospital in Singapore used the Huawei IdeaHub, an intelligent whiteboard to conduct telemedicine collaboration as well as remote video consultations to reduce cross-infection among medical staff. “It ensured communication efficiency and reduced contact between personnel,” says Yap Yaw Kong, chairman of Concord International Hospital.

Covid-19 has clearly pointed out that digital transformation is the way forward and now a necessity. “As the old saying goes, if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together,” remarks Ma. “Together, we will build a thriving ecosystem and usher in a fully connected, intelligent world.”

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Huawei AI Lab: