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ST Engineering, Surbana Jurong to team up on smart cities with A*Star

TEMASEK-OWNED Surbana Jurong and mainboard-listed ST Engineering are tying up with government researchers to develop smart cities solutions, in twin deals disclosed on Monday.

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) will work on digital tools with an eye to commercialisation, the public research body told the press in joint statements.

A*Star and Surbana Jurong will together tackle the digitalisation of urban planning, building design and simulation, and operations and maintenance services. Separately, the agreement with ST Engineering focuses on robotics, mobility, communications and health technology.

Solutions born from these projects could include facilities testing and inspection technology for Surbana Jurong, or advanced material-handling robots and all-weather self-driving vehicles for ST Engineering.

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The move is expected to benefit small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) partners in both infrastructure consultancy Surbana Jurong and defence and engineering player ST Engineering's value chains, the partners stressed in press materials.

For instance, Surbana Jurong has agreed to weave technologies commercialised by A*Star's SME and startup licensees into its products and services. The group's new headquarters in Jurong - dubbed the Surbana Jurong Campus - has also been named a technology test-bed in efforts with A*Star, startups and small businesses. The 68,915 square metre (741,795 square foot) development is slated for completion by 2021.

Meanwhile, ST Engineering's partnership with A*Star "builds on our commitment to build a strong ecosystem involving our local enterprises", according to president and chief executive Vincent Chong.

The latest collaborations also aim to fuel international growth for Surbana Jurong and ST Engineering, which is 51 per cent-owned by state investment firm Temasek Holdings.

New A*Star CEO Frederick Chew said that the science and technology agency "is committed to strengthening local enterprises such as ST Engineering, in particular to expand its overseas markets through digital innovation and deep tech".

He added: "I am confident that this collaboration will create new opportunities within the local ecosystem in Singapore, and exciting opportunities for ST Engineering's SME partners in overseas markets."

Rear-Admiral Chew took over A*Star in April while still serving as deputy secretary of technology at the Ministry of Defence, during which he was tasked with streamlining the defence technology ecosystem and building up the ministry's industry relationships.

He also sits on the boards of the Defence Science and Technology Agency and DSO National Laboratories.

Meanwhile, Wong Heang Fine, Surbana Jurong's group CEO, said: "We have focused strongly in recent years to adopt digital technologies and see good potential in further digitalising our solutions for the planning and design of smart cities. Our competitive advantage lies in our ability to deliver consultancy solutions across the full value chain, including facilities and asset management."