SINGAPORE (Dec 25): On Dec 4, Singtel joined forces with Nanyang Technological University (NTU) to set up a $42.4 million R&D laboratory to expand its ICT offerings. The five-year partnership aims to develop new applications in the artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics, robotics and smart computing spaces. These new solutions will help Singtel serve customers in the areas of public safety, smart urban solutions, transport, healthcare and manufacturing. Singtel is also working with A*STAR in fields such as robotics and automation systems.

At an event to announce the partnerships with NTU and A*STAR earlier this month, Singtel showed off several technologies that could make their way into these joint labs. One of them, a robotic system created by A*STAR and I2R, allows a robot to learn new motor skills by mimicking human movements. The system, which is in the pilot stage, would make it easier for factory workers to collaborate or train robots without having to learn programming.

“I think disruption is the name of the game,” says Bill Chang, CEO of Singtel’s enterprise business group. “If anything, [the rate of disruption] is getting faster. What is differentiating [one company] today is just another ‘me too’ tomorrow. That means all of us have to be ready to transform more rapidly. So, you have to try and build deep capabilities to be on the cutting edge.”

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