Before Covid-19, Singapore has long recognised the importance of digitalisation and aimed to be a Smart Nation. But because of the pandemic, the city-state, together with the rest of the world, realised digitalisation of their businesses and economies would be critical to their survival and accelerated the process.

Digitalisation is a broad technological and business process trend but there is a particular area that is an especially powerful thrust: the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI). Now, in times of need, both public and private sectors worldwide are focusing on leveraging AI to enhance productivity and competitiveness.

In Singapore, the government has implemented the National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy to leverage on AI to help transform the economy.

Meanwhile, global leading ICT provider Huawei has taken up the mantle to help foster the AI ecosystem not just in Singapore, but in the Asia Pacific region.

Already, Huawei has in Singapore an AI lab, launched late last year. Located at Changi Business Park, the AI Lab invites AI developers, government agencies and educators across the nation to conduct research, develop projects and leverage on its one-of-a-kind 5G capabilities to test 5G-enhanced AI applications and develop new solutions.

“Giving back to the community is a social responsibility for enterprises that benefits everyone. This is why we encourage AI developers and educators to come to our lab and use its facilities to create new applications that will help boost AI talent cultivation for the nation,” says Nicholas Ma, CEO of Huawei International.

Launching the AI Lab was just the start of Huawei’s all-rounded plan to boost the AI ecosystem. Now, with the aim of building an innovative and sustainable AI ecosystem that enables digitalisation and intelligent transformation, Huawei has launched its Asia Pacific Partner Ascend Program.

“To promote AI through education is a vital task for the people of today for the benefit of those who come tomorrow. Huawei aims to improve the conditions and quality of education for all our stakeholders by building the bridges that will fill the gaps in the digital divide, to equalise educational opportunities, and help improve teaching quality,” says Chang Xin, president of Huawei intelligent computing Asia Pacific.

This programme was officially launched on June 18 at Huawei’s online summit themed “Ascend to Pervasive Intelligence”. The event brought together government officials, business leaders, industrial experts and academic scholars to share their successful AI stories and industry insights. 

“Today, we are experiencing a social and economic revolution driven by AI. Huawei focuses its investment on AI research to develop fundamental AI capabilities as well as a full-stack AI portfolio that supports cooperation between cloud, edge, and devices,” says Daniel Zhou, president of Huawei cloud & AI business group, Asia Pacific region. 

“Coupled with a unified, efficient AI architecture, we want to provide abundant and affordable computing power. We remain open to collaboration with academia and industries, in order to drive the AI industry forward sustainably,” he adds.

Huawei, along with its partners, will manage the APAC Ascend Partner Program in three parts, consisting of Independent Software Vendor (ISV) AI Collaboration, Institute of Higher Learning (IHL) AI Talent Cultivation, and Government AI Industry Development.

The Independent Software Vendor AI Collaboration Program will provide independent software vendors (ISVs), innovators and entrepreneurs tailored benefits, such as Non-Recurring Engineering funding (NREs), knowledge transfers, Huawei HCIA-AI Certification exam-vouchers, Go-to-Market support and more.

The Institute of Higher Learning (IHL) AI Talent Cultivation Program will support higher education institutes to build and cultivate AI-related disciplines, talents and research based on the Huawei full-stack Atlas AI technological capabilities.

For governments, the Government AI Industry Development Program provides technical support in enhancing Asia Pacific countries’ AI innovation facilities using the Ascend technology. Huawei will also share its experience in terms of industrial best practices, and assist in policy matters.

Huawei’s Malaysian and Hong Kong representative offices have also signed a memorandum of understanding with local training institutes Infosyte and VTC to train the talents from the Ascend Program. 

“When it comes to AI ecosystem-based collaboration, Huawei has always focused on infrastructure. Huawei works with the academic community and industries to promote AI development, which advances both technology and industries as a whole. Ultimately, we hope to bridge the divide, and achieve shared success as soon as possible,” says Zhou. 

On that note, Huawei is also constantly innovating its own AI product platform to stay on top of its game. 

Just recently, Huawei released its full-stack Ascend AI software, which includes the Compute Architecture for Neural Networks (CANN) 3.0, MindStudio 2.0 full-pipeline development toolchain, and MindX 1.0 for Ascend application enablement. This software portfolio helps to streamline and integrate the process of developing the industry AI software to deploying the AI into real world applications. 

With this new AI product, the true value of AI can finally be unlocked, as it bridges the divide between AI computing and application. 

For more information about APAC Ascend Partner Program, visit: https:// bit.ly/313Lyhh.