New Cisco-NUS Corporate Lab to accelerate Singapore’s digital transformation

NUS and global technology leader Cisco on 5 Nov launched a Corporate Laboratory to boost innovation and research in key technology areas, including areas like artificial intelligence (AI), healthcare, urban infrastructure and cybersecurity. These capabilities are crucial in driving Singapore’s knowledge-based, innovation-driven digital economy.

Based at NUS’ Kent Ridge campus, the Cisco-NUS Accelerated Digital Economy Corporate Laboratory was established with an investment of S$54 million over five years, and is supported by the National Research Foundation Singapore (NRF Singapore).

The Lab will take a multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary approach to accelerate Singapore’s Digital Economy transformation by developing solutions to automate and scale business operations; developing intelligent infrastructure for healthcare; building and operationalising secure and resilient next-generation infrastructure for Internet of Things and enterprise environments, and harnessing technology to augment and drive productivity of a future-ready professional workforce.

Minister for Trade and Industry Mr Gan Kim Yong, who attended the launch ceremony as the Guest-of-Honour, said, “This significant partnership between Cisco and NUS attests to Cisco’s confidence in Singapore for companies seeking to develop their R&D capabilities here, and in our research institutions such as NUS.”

Mr Gan noted that the cutting-edge technologies developed by the Corporate Lab can be accessed by companies looking to digitally transform their businesses to help them compete more effectively. “Partnerships between companies continue to be an effective way to spur innovation and reimagine business models. I encourage more to follow the example of Cisco and work with us to uplift the entire ecosystem, which will benefit everyone,” he added.

The Corporate Lab will bring together talent from NUS and Cisco to focus on five strategic research areas to boost Singapore’s digital economy. The areas are:

  • Artificial Intelligence: 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

    Delivering the opening remarks at the launch ceremony, Professor Tan Eng Chye, President of NUS, noted that the Corporate Lab will combine the academic prowess of the University and the insights of Cisco to “create wonders”.

    The new Corporate Lab will work on very current and concrete areas. Prof Tan elaborated, “Cisco-NUS Corporate Lab will develop a new range of innovative technologies and solutions that will benefit businesses, industries and society, and help our economy and infrastructure with digital transformation.”

    The co-directors of the Corporate Lab are Mr Jeremy Lim, Manager of the Cisco Singapore Co-Innovation Center – who will lead the Lab – and Associate Professor Biplab Sikdar, a faculty member of the NUS Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

    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.

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

    Mr Irving Tan, Chairman of Asia Pacific, Japan and China at Cisco, described the Corporate Lab as a platform for innovation, intellectual property creation, digital talent development, as well as economic and societal impact.

    He noted that the work of the Corporate Lab should not only have local benefits and impact but should extend regionally and globally. “This will help further Singapore’s standing as a global innovation hub as well as NUS’ position as a leading global university. For our part, Cisco will look to utilise our global footprint and industry leading channel ecosystem to commercialise and propagate these solutions regionally as well as globally,” Mr Tan said.

    Professor Low Teck Seng, Chief Executive Officer of NRF, said, “The Cisco-NUS Corporate Lab will develop critical digital capabilities across multiple domains including healthcare, cybersecurity, urban infrastructure, which are strategic and important areas of research for Singapore to ensure Singapore continues to maintain our competitiveness as a global Smart Nation.”

    He added, “This partnership will help foster stronger industry-research ties, and pave the way for more industry-research collaborations within our science and technology ecosystem.”

    Ms Liz Centoni, Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy Officer, and GM, Applications at Cisco, commented, “At Cisco, we firmly believe that innovation can happen anywhere. That is why we are committed to working with partners worldwide to develop and commercialise next-generation technologies and solutions so they can benefit users everywhere. We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with NUS on this initiative in Singapore.”

    Looking ahead, Prof Tan said NUS looks forward to a fruitful partnership with Cisco.

    “The Cisco-NUS Corp Lab is off on a strong start, and I am confident that the Corp Lab will create many exciting technologies that will further accelerate Singapore’s digital transformation,” he said.