Empowering Singapore’s manufacturing sector with an intelligent cloud

 |   Kevin Wo, Managing Director, Microsoft Singapore

The world of manufacturing is experiencing a major transformation as digital technologies are re-shaping what is possible, from achieving new levels of operational efficiency to unlocking new innovative business models.

In Singapore, where the manufacturing sector contributes about a fifth of the nation’s economic output, digital transformation is essential to the health of our future economy. A recent expansion of the sector that started late last year after consecutive quarters of slowing growth has been attributed by industry watchers to structural shifts that have improved the performance of the sector, including a national Industry 4.0 push centred on industry transformation and capability-building in areas such as automation, manpower, technology and go-to-market strategies.

According to the Microsoft Asia Digital Transformation Study involving 327 business leaders in the manufacturing industry in Asia, 79 percent agreed that they need to become a digital business to enable future growth.

Recently, we spoke to over 300 business leaders in the region from the manufacturing sector as part of the Microsoft Asia Digital Transformation Study. Through their responses, it is evident that they see an urgent need to embrace the 4th Industrial Revolution, with 79% of them agreeing that they need to transform to a digital business to enable future growth. Eight-one percent (81%) of them also believe that they can develop new products and services by harnessing new data and insights.

As a company with the mission to empower every organisation and individual on the planet to achieve more, the manufacturing sector is one such community that we want to make real and lasting impact in. This is why in the last two weeks, we have embarked on two initiatives that will help us cement our commitment to help the manufacturing sector in Singapore transform digitally and position the nation for the future; for the digital economy.

Kevin Wo, Managing Director of Microsoft Singapore (left) signing the membership agreement for the A*STAR advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre (ARTC) with A*STAR (right).

Firstly, Microsoft signed on to become the 48th consortium member of A*STAR’s Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre (ARTC). ARTC’s vision to be a world-renowned Centre of Excellence for advanced manufacturing and remanufacturing technologies, processes and systems is anchored on its role as a platform built upon strong public-private partnerships across the supply chain, with technology as its focus.

With this, Microsoft becomes the first technology company to be part of the ARTC Consortium, and will provide our wide-ranging knowledge and expertise on the latest technologies to ARTC and its industry members.

A key priority for our collaboration with ARTC and its members under the ARTC Model Factory programme is the development of capabilities in cloud-based communication and processes, such as big data analytics and connectivity, which are critical to the success of smart manufacturing. Specific focus will also be put on artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT) platform and immersive technologies.

On Friday at the IIOT World Tour, Microsoft also became a key technology member in an Industrial IoT Initiative led by A*STAR. The Initiative is designed as industry-led consortium to bridge the gap between research and industry needs relating to Industrial IoT technologies, and accelerate the adopt of IIOT solutions.

A*STAR signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with 13 companies including Microsoft, to collaborate on the digitalisation of the industrial customer care sector under A*STAR’s Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) Initiative. Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Trade & Industry and Ministry of Education, Ms Low Yen Ling (centre) was the Guest-of-Honour at the event.

Through this public-private collaboration led by A*STAR, Microsoft looks forward to bringing support and rapid innovation to help create new opportunities for digital manufacturers in Singapore and the region. Whether it is using Azure IoT Suite to cloud-enable industrial investments; extending openness and interoperability in industrial manufacturing; or securing IoT infrastructure and endpoints, we hope to empower the industry to harvest greater intelligence as a catalyst towards their vision of the future of manufacturing.

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