Singapore Launches $ 50 Million AI and Cybersecurity Research Program for 5G


A cyclist rides in front of the city skyline on Marina Bay in Singapore.

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SINGAPORE – Singapore plans to invest US $ 50 million in a program to support research on AI and cybersecurity for future communications structures, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced on Tuesday.

As part of the Future Communications Research & Development Program, Singapore plans to set up new communication testbeds in 5G and beyond 5G, support technology development and build a local talent pool.

5G refers to the fifth generation of high-speed mobile internet that aims to provide faster data speeds and more bandwidth to carry the growing web traffic. Many new technologies, such as self-driving cars, are supported by the rapid development and global use of 5G networks. For its part, Singapore plans to have full island-wide standalone 5G coverage by 2025.

The program will “support AI and cybersecurity research for next generation communications infrastructures,” Heng said at the Asia Tech x Singapore conference.

It will “support testbeds for innovative pilot projects and award grants for those who want to do research in communication science”.

Just as globalization has fueled decades of economic growth around the world, I believe the fast-growing digital economy can lead us into a better future.

Heng Swee Keat

Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister

According to Heng, who is also Singapore’s coordinating minister for economic policy, the program should also build international partnerships and strengthen cross-border cooperation.

Digitization of the supply chain

Singapore will also introduce a digital exchange known as the Singapore Trade Data Exchange or SGTraDex. It will enable multiple stakeholders – such as logistics players, shippers and buyers – to share valuable information such as freight locations in real time. The information should be encrypted and transmitted without being stored.

The initiative aims to eliminate significant inefficiencies in the movement of goods along the supply chain. Logistics and shipping companies could, for example, optimize handling and operations.

“According to the previous pilot projects, SGTraDex has the potential to release more than 150 million US dollars annually for the ecosystem of the supply chain,” said Heng. It would also speed up customs clearance, trade finance, insurance and other related activities, he added.

SGTraDex is similar to another initiative launched last year called the Singapore Financial Data Exchange or SGFinDex. It enables users to log in with their national digital identity to access their consolidated financial data – such as deposits, credit cards, loans and investments – from participating banks and relevant government agencies on a single platform.

Unleash the full potential

Heng pointed out that the ability to enable a secure and seamless flow of data can help countries realize the full potential of digitization.

Southeast Asia’s digital economy is growing rapidly and the internet sector is expected to exceed $ 300 billion by 2025, according to an industry report by Google, Temasek Holdings, and Bain & Company.

The coronavirus pandemic accelerated the digitalization surge as many large and small companies had to relocate their presence online due to social restrictions and bans.

“Just as globalization has fueled decades of economic growth around the world, I believe the fast-growing digital economy can lead us into a better future,” said Heng.