Even as competition in the mobile market heats up, the nation’s largest telco is investing in new technologies and developing a new growth driver. Bill Chang, CEO of the enterprise business group, talks about how the company is evolving from a telecoms play into a tech play.

SINGAPORE (Jan 8): Bill Chang stands amid an array of robotic arms, drones and droids. The CEO of the enterprise business group at Singapore Telecommunications is attempting to explain the possibilities that lie ahead for the country’s biggest telecoms company as it partners with Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) to explore new technologies that will make a difference to its customers.

At the launch of two corporate labs last month, Singtel had announced a five-year $42.4 million cooperation with NTU to run a lab called the Singtel Cognitive and Artificial Intelligence Lab for Enterprises (SCALE @ NTU). It will pool technologies from Singtel and NTU in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics and robotics to develop applications for smart cities as well as the healthcare, transport and manufacturing industries. The second lab — in collaboration with A*STAR — will work on projects related to smart building automation, robotics and the Internet of Things (IoT). Singtel said it might invest further in the intellectual properties (IPs) that come out of these collaborations.

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