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New S$42.4m Singtel-NTU lab set up to develop, commercialise digital tech


TELCO Singtel and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have set up a S$42.4 million laboratory to develop and commercialise digital technologies.

The new Singtel Cognitive and AI Lab for Enterprises (Scale@NTU) will focus on artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics, robotics and the Internet of Things.

The five-year collaboration will work on commercialising such technology for use in areas such as public safety, transportation and healthcare.

One project is a smart surveillance camera called Claritas, developed by Singtel. It uses AI to intelligently recognise faces in real-time on the camera, rather than transmitting data back to a central server to do so. This allows companies or security personnel to track down individuals more efficiently.

The camera's intelligence can be improved by software written by NTU, which will let multiple cameras recognise the same person from different angles, said the university.

Another image search software from the university will boost the camera's intelligence to recognise logos or other distinctive features. The software, when uploaded into the camera, will ask it to trawl through footage to find a corresponding person wearing a T-shirt with such logos.

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who was at the signing of the laboratory's research agreement at the Singtel Comcentre in Orchard Road, said the Scale@NTU corporate laboratory is expected to train more than 200 engineers, researchers and students.

"These solutions have potential cross-domain applications, particularly in digital services and urban solutions," said Mr Teo.

Singtel will also work with the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) on a master research collaboration agreement. Under this five-year agreement, A*Star and Singtel will work together to use robots and automation to improve manpower efficiency.

Such technology includes a concierge service robot which can recognise voice commands and guide visitors to their destinations. Also on the cards is software that lets users tell a robot what to do and allows it to learn new things without the need to reprogram it.