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Spotlight on Singapore

Spotlight on Singapore: The Future of Innovation

Mobility & Transport

Springwise takes a look at Singapore as a potential innovation hub of the future, with key examples of remarkable innovation from the city-state.

When it comes to hubs of innovation around the globe, what’s important to remember is that it’s not always about what’s happening right now. It’s about what could be just around the corner. One of the best examples of outstanding future potential is Singapore.

At the beginning of 2016, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong allocated USD 19 billion towards developing science and innovation in Singapore over the next five years. Now we are over halfway through that period and the positive effects are only too clear. According to the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), there are over 42,000 startups in Singapore. One in ten working-age people are in the process of starting their own company. Furthermore, there is a definite lean towards technology, particularly automation and Internet of Things (IoT).

It’s not only a pivotal point for those based in Singapore either. Dyson, the British manufacturer of household appliances, has plans to open a factory in Singapore to expand into car manufacturing from 2020. The EDB’s ‘Home for Business’ welcoming strategy makes it an ideal place for many international businesses. This is largely due to their excellent intellectual property laws and the wealth of technology talent already in place.

At Springwise, we have been mapping the growth of innovations coming out of Singapore in recent times. We have collected together three innovations as key examples of where Singapore is thriving recently. The primary industries flourishing in this growing hub are automation and IoT.

We have also spotted a trend towards innovations for smart cities. In Singapore, as it is a city-state, 100 percent of the 5.6 million strong population are urban dwellers. This anti-noise device, for example, was developed by Singaporean researchers. By projecting anti-noise through a speaker attached to a window grill, the device reduces noise pollution in densely populated environments.

Another innovation targeted towards smart cities is this autonomous robot-drone duo. The unit’s advanced algorithms and various forms of surveillance technology makes it an intelligent mobile surveillance tool. The technology can provide valuable information to human security personnel in order to make cities a safer place at a lower cost.

Known for its innovative IoT environment, Singapore’s talent is also being used to promote social good through innovations such as this autonomous wheelchair. This technology could lead to far easier mobility for those with physical disabilities. Not only does this help the patient, it also aids healthcare professionals, as patients are able to move freely, unassisted by another human.

These are just a few examples of recent innovation in Singapore. What is most intriguing to consider is the future possibilities. There is still over two years left of the EDB’s investment plan and with the growth of technological innovation so far, we can only expect such development to continue. The previous investments have already established a groundwork of strong intellectual property protection. This is in direct competition to other Asian markets, such as China, where intellectual theft is comparatively common. Factors such as this are warning signs to international companies just like Dyson; founder James Dyson cited it as a key reason in choosing Singapore over China for his electric car company.

Another key development that marks Singapore out as an ideal place for future innovation is the nation’s quick adoption of technology. Since the 1990’s Singapore’s technological environment has stood out globally, quickly adopting the internet and other developments since. The World Economic Forum’s 2016 Global Technology Report placed Singapore as the most Tech-Ready Nation out of 139 countries. Since then, as technology grows, so too has Singapore’s diverse technological capabilities, as evidenced through their research into dynamic innovation in the examples above.

Ultimately, it is clear to see that the foundations for strong innovative and technological growth are already there in Singapore. Innovation is all about looking to the future, and Singapore’s infrastructure and facilities are ideal for doing just that. Springwise is keen to see where this will take Singapore in the future and what future innovations will follow.