SINGAPORE: Singapore has earmarked S$40 million to build an open, inclusive 5G ecosystem, and is looking to clusters like maritime operations and urban mobility for their export potential.
The funds will be used to support 5G tech trials for enterprise use, create new open testbeds and for R&D in areas like cybersecurity for the next-generation mobile network, said Communications and Information Minister S Iswaran at the opening of the Innovfest Unbound tech show at Marina Bay Sands on Thursday (Jun 27).
For a start, the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) will explore clusters such as maritime operations, urban mobility, smart estates, consumer and government applications and Industry 4.0.
“These clusters have been identified based on their potential for export globally, reinforcing Singapore’s goal to be a global front-runner in impactful 5G use cases,” the agency said in a press release.
It also highlighted two industry partnerships to prepare for the eventual rollout of 5G, which is slated for 2020.
A call by IMDA and PSA to explore the use of 5G tech for the maritime sector was awarded to Singtel and M1, with the aim of looking at how 5G could help PSA to boost productivity.
“We see much potential in 5G augmenting our port operations – supporting remote tele-operation of equipment, complementing crane automation and enhancing Automated Guided Vehicle operations – through IoT (Internet of Things) adoption within the port,” said PSA’s regional CEO for Southeast Asia Ong Kim Pong.
Trials will be conducted at the PSA Living Lab in Pasir Panjang Terminal from the third quarter of this year, and will last for 18 months.
The other partnership is in the Industry 4.0 arena. The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), JTC and Singtel have signed a memorandum of understanding to deploy 5G at the Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre in Jurong Innovation District. It will look to integrate 5G with other cutting-edge tech like IoT and artificial intelligence to help businesses develop new manufacturing solutions, IMDA said.
One example is to improve the accuracy in tracking the location of automated guided vehicles on the factory floor, thus improving safety and productivity, it added.
Singapore-based companies can apply to tap on the 5G funding, with applications open from now until May 2020.
The other local telco, StarHub, told CNA that it is interested in and will apply to tap on the grant.
"This is as we are in discussions with a number of enterprise and government clients to conduct 5G trials and explore new business models," a spokesperson said.
Of these developments, Mr Iswaran in his speech said: "These are exciting developments. But this is only the beginning as we forge ahead in the digital economy by leveraging the potential of 5G – a key digital infrastructure of tomorrow."
There will also be an open testbed site set up at PIXEL in one-north, so that more can experiment with the new mobile network.
IMDA said this will be the first open testbed and is aimed at tech and media start-ups in one-north. It is expected to be ready in the first half of 2020 and will primarily facilitate use cases in immersive and casual or serious games, before progressively extending its support to others like content streaming, IoT and drones.
As for R&D, the agency said it will work with the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore and National Research Foundation to support efforts in the cybersecurity space. More research funding to support other areas like communications networks will be announced at a later date, it added.
BUILDING SMART ESTATES
On Wednesday, IMDA also shed more light on its Call for Innovative Solutions (CFIS) with Ascendas-Singbridge and JTC. Eight projects were picked by the three parties, and a grant of S$1.5 million will be used to support these.
One such example is a 3D Digital Twin project by local start-up Graffiquo, which will allow for the development of capabilities like 3D model of an indoor environment as well as new security measures for data integrity, IMDA said.
The agency also said it is working with the Housing and Development Board (HDB) and Frasers Property Singapore for a new smart estates CFIS.
Besides looking at solutions for smart environment and estate management, the new call will focus on the community and people aspects in terms of living and working in the targeted estates like Alexandra Technopark and Punggol's Oasis Terraces.
“In high-density cities like Singapore, innovation and technology are game-changers that can help provide a more livable environment for citizens," said HDB's group director for Building and Research Institute Johnny Wong, adding that more than 80 per cent of the population here live in HDB flats.
"Through the CFIS, we hope to open doors to more innovative ideas and solutions that could further enhance the HDB living experience."
IMDA also said on Thursday it is looking to review the Electronic Transactions Act, which would include enabling more transactions under the Act such as property transactions, wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney.
It will also look to provide certainty on the use of new technologies like biometrics and smart contracts, it said.
The public consultation on the review was launched on Thursday and will run until Aug 27 this year, the agency added.