Singapore firms must embrace disruption: Tharman

Singapore firms must embrace disruption: Tharman

Mr Tharman was speaking at the launch of IBM's new Watson Centre, the first of its kind to integrate IBM's expertise in the areas of cognitive computing, IBM blockchain technology and design capabilities in one location.

IBM launch

SINGAPORE: Companies in the Republic must embrace disruption in order to maximise the enabling potential that technology offers, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said on Thursday (Jun 9).

"Many incumbent players will become disrupted, will become redundant. Some jobs too will become redundant," said Mr Tharman. "But there's something at the same time, profoundly enabling about these technologies in a new way. Whether it's about block chain or digital commerce, or even artificial intelligence. It's profoundly enabling for a much broader range of enterprises as well as human beings."

He added: "And our job in Singapore, we know there's going to be disruption but the reason why we're embracing disruption and a whole range of technologies is because we also want to maximise that enabling potential."

Mr Tharman was speaking at the opening of tech giant IBM's Asia Pacific headquarters - the Watson Centre - as well as a new design centre at the Marina Bay Financial Centre.


The new Watson Centre is the first of its kind to integrate IBM's expertise in the areas of cognitive computing, IBM blockchain technology and design capabilities in one location. It will also act as the regional centre for IBM researchers and data scientists, the company said in a press release.

Meanwhile, its new design centre IBM Studios Singapore joins a global network of 30 similar IBM studios including locations such as Chicago, Dubai, London and Shanghai.

The studio will host more than 100 designers and digital experts, who will work with companies across industries from financial services to healthcare to reinvent their businesses for the digital age through a combination of cognitive capabilities and experience design, IBM said.

By the end of 2016, IBM Studios Singapore also intends to "more than double" its team of resident creative designers, strategists, data scientists and technologists to work across the product and client-facing teams to conceive, rapidly develop, and test user-centric digital innovation, it added.

IBM Interactive Experience ASEAN lead Stefan Hirsch said the company's designers work with clients through the customer experience from strategy, creative and design to scalable digital, commerce, mobile and wearable platforms.

"We sit side-by-side with our clients and partners to invent and co-create personalised, innovative solutions using IBM’s leadership in cognitive, research and design to take digital experiences to the next level for clients," he said.

So far, IBM's cross-functional teams have commenced working with Singapore Airlines to implement two mobile Apps to support pilots in flight preparation help them keep track of assigned duties. Other partners such as DBS Group were also present at the launch.


Another company embracing advanced technology is Parkway Pantai - the healthcare giant is working with IBM to use cognitive computing to monitor patients' vital signs.

While still under development, IBM says its system could potentially reduce clinical documentation by as much as 25 per cent.

Said Dr Kelvin Loh, CEO, Singapore Operations, Parkway Pantai: "The amount of medical knowledge is constantly expanding and the amount of medical information we can collect from each patient is also enormous. The key to be able to provide better care and safer care is to react faster. To be able to react faster one way is to use - augment the capability our staff have using artificial intelligence."

Parkway Pantai says the system is set to undergo a pilot in its intensive care unit at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital later this year.

Source: CNA/mz/av