It’s clean-up time in Singapore’s SME sector … with robots!
By Benjamin Cher April 27, 2016
- Robot-as-a-Service to address manpower crunch in cleaning services SME sector
- Can be retrofitted into existing cleaning machines to ‘autonomise’ them
THE Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) has officially launched a Robot-as-a-Service (RaaS) pilot by V3 Teletech that it believes would help alleviate the manpower crunch in the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector, specifically in cleaning services.
The pilot is part of the Ministry of Manpower’s Lean Enterprise Development initiative announced last year to help SMEs adapt and grow despite the manpower shortage.
Becoming ‘manpower-lean’ and depending more on technology to increase productivity is going to be a fact of life, according to Minister of Manpower Lim Swee Say.
“In the last five years, we added more than half a million workers and jobs in Singapore, and of these, half were local workers,” he said at a ‘Learning Journey’ event for SMEs.
“Over the next five years, the increase in the number of local workers will be less than half at only 100,000 – this is a sharp drop.
“Shortage of manpower may become a bottleneck that prevents Singapore’s economy from growing,” said Lim, adding that increased productivity and innovation could compensate.
The pilot RaaS solution by V3 Teletech features an autonomous controller which is equipped with an onboard camera and sensor to record images, and features collision prevention software. The controller is also able to connect to the cloud for remote monitoring and analysis of cleaning tasks.
The autonomous controller can also be fitted onto existing industrial cleaning machines such as mechanical scrubbers.
The RaaS pilot falls under the enhanced iSprint scheme, which allows SMEs to get subsidies for approved vendors and solutions, without needing to submit a claim.
“SMEs are facing a shortage in manpower, which inhibits their growth,” said Andrew Khaw, IDA’s Productivity Growth Through ICT senior director.
“Technology is an alternative,” he told DNA on the sidelines of the event.
In working to help SMEs overcome the manpower shortage, IDA would be focused on “speed and reach,” according to Khaw.
“First is speed – we don’t wait for other people to make it pervasive, but we pilot it first and then scale it.
“Second is reach – we think about sector by sector rather than one company at a time, so that the impact can be felt across the whole sector,” he added.
The IDA will also be focusing on four key technologies: Sensors, data, analytics, and autonomous systems.
Singaporean SMEs Part 1: The government’s guiding hand
Singaporean SMEs Part 2: On the ground
Singaporean SMEs Part 3: The view up there
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