Cisco-NUS launch US$40 mil corporate lab to boost S'pore's innovation

  • Foster industry-research collaborations within science & tech ecosystem
  • Need to be nimble and innovative to reap the benefits of digitialisation

Cisco-NUS launch US$40 mil corporate lab to boost S'pore's innovationCisco and National University of Singapore (NUS) launched a Corporate Laboratory to boost innovation and research in key technology areas. Established with an investment of US$40 million (S$54 million) over five years, the Cisco-NUS Accelerated Digital Economy Corporate Laboratory is supported by National Research Foundation, Singapore (NRF Singapore).

Based in the NUS Kent Ridge campus, the Corporate Lab will bring together talent from NUS and Cisco to focus on five strategic research areas, with the aim to boost Singapore’s knowledge-based innovation-driven digital economy. The focus areas are:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI): Exploring usage of technologies like machine learning to transform and scale customer service operations of large businesses
  • Healthcare: Developing an enabling network and intelligent infrastructure for healthcare in hospitals and at home
  • Cybersecurity: Strengthening Critical Information Infrastructure through research into advanced, network-centric cyber threat detection
  • Urban Infrastructure: Developing architectures and solutions to support design and operation of urban infrastructure and smart industries
  • Future Workforce and Productivity: Driving productivity by understanding who needs to learn, how they learn, and how to generate skills and competencies needed for a future-ready workforce

Digital-first interactions, hybrid workforce are likely to become ubiquitous

These technologies are key not just in relation to successful digital transformation of businesses but also to efforts of governments across the world as they look to digital adoption to improve citizen services.

This is especially critical right now as companies and countries prepare for a post-pandemic future where digital-first interactions, a hybrid workforce, and smart urban infrastructure are likely to become ubiquitous.

The success of all these trends will be underpinned by cybersecurity and the ability of businesses and governments to keep critical information infrastructure safe from malicious actors.

Naveen Menon, President for ASEAN at Cisco, said, “Over the past 18 months, we have seen the role technology has played in keeping the world running as we grappled with the pandemic.

“As we prepare for a post-pandemic future, one thing is clear - technology will be central to every aspect of businesses and governments, and their interaction with consumers and citizens. In this digital-first era, building local innovation capabilities that deliver globally relevant solutions will be critical to the success of countries. At Cisco, we are delighted to have the opportunity to play our part in Singapore’s growth through this collaboration with NUS.”

Ensure Singaporeans have access to tech, skills to use it safely, confidently

Singapore is among the global leaders in adoption of technology through its Smart Nation initiative, which focuses on Digital Economy, Digital Government, and Digital Society.

These are respectively aimed at: digitalising industries to increase business efficacy and create new jobs and opportunities; using data, connectivity and computing decisively to transform the way citizens and businesses are served, and the way public officers are enabled to contribute fully to their work; and digital inclusion to ensure all Singaporeans have access to technology and are equipped with the skills to use it safely and confidently.

Professor Tan Eng Chye, President of NUS, said, “Digital transformation is an inevitable direction for businesses and societies, and this has been accelerated by the Covid-19 situation. We need to be nimble and innovative to reap the benefits of digitialisation.

“Data sciences, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, optimisation and analytics are NUS’ key research strengths. We are therefore very excited to partner Cisco to jointly create scalable systems solutions and capabilities to capitalise on data and artificial intelligence technology to improve our living environment, create economic opportunities, and build a more connected and resilient society.”

Professor Low Teck Seng, Chief Executive Officer of NRF, said, “This partnership will help foster stronger industry-research ties, and pave the way for more industry-research collaborations within our science and technology ecosystem.”

Liz Centoni, Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy Officer, and GM, Applications at Cisco, added, “As we move into the digital-first future, businesses have a unique opportunity to leverage the advancements in technology to solve key issues, opening up new revenue and growth opportunities. We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with NUS on this initiative in Singapore.”

Developing technology enablers for a smarter Singapore

The Corporate Lab is led by Jeremy Lim, Manager of the Cisco Singapore Co-Innovation Center, and Associate Professor Biplab Sikdar who is a faculty member of the NUS Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, as Co-Directors.

The Corporate Lab will employ and train more than 100 researchers, analysts, engineers and students to work on 15 research projects. It will also provide scholarships for doctoral students who will work on projects associated with the Corporate Lab.

In addition, the Corporate Lab aims to deliver 17 new technology solutions, 12 improved products and services in areas such as AI, healthcare, supply chain, urban infrastructure and cybersecurity, and also benefit/partner at least 100 Singapore-based companies to use and refine the developed solutions.


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