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Huawei AI lab in Singapore opens with plans to help the country fill its IT skills gap

By Ken Wong - on 25 Nov 2019, 9:41pm

Huawei AI lab in Singapore opens with plans to help the country fill its IT skills gap

Huawei's new AI lab is located at their office in Singapore

Chinese tech company Huawei launched Singapore’s first 5G powered Artificial Intelligence (AI) lab last Friday. The company said that it will allow companies, schools and Singapore Government agencies access to the facility to test how 5G applications will work.

Huawei International chief executive Nicholas Ma said that the company also hopes to address an AI tech talent crunch here with some of the memorandum of understandings (MOUs) signed last Friday.

Nicholas Ma, Huawei International's chief executive showcasing some of their partners

The new lab, which cost Huawei more than US$10 million (S$13.6 million) to set up within its current location at Changi, is said to be the first AI lab in Singapore to boost 5G capabilities so users can also test 5G applications and solutions. Here's a quick glimpse of just how fast 5G can be if the right conditions are present as trialed in Huawei's AI lab:-

 

Why it matters

The Singapore Government recently announced its national AI strategy.  In it, the role of AI in Singapore’s smart nation initiatives was stressed to identify and allocate resources to key focus areas on a national level

Chief Marketing Officer of Huawei Cloud Asia Pacific Region, Neo Teck Guan explaining what their 1+3+n plan is all about

From many reports and news shared by the Government, we have gotten the message that AI is Singapore National Priority but because AI is still not pervasive in Singapore market, you see a lack in terms of AI architects and AI developers - Neo Teck Guan, Chief Marketing Officer of Huawei Cloud Asia Pacific Region.

He also commented, "Singapore needs to put more effort to develop this AI Talent and AI Ecosystem development and Huawei wants to be part of this to support the upcoming AI era."

 

Why should you care?

Well, if you are a student still in secondary school, or just entering an Institute of Higher Learning (IHL) like Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP), you may want to be learning the technology of the future.

Huawei also revealed its "1+3+n" programme where it is hoping to train up to 100 AI architects and 1,000 AI developers over the next three years focusing on three key areas of information, knowledge sharing, and consulting and design of an ICT talent skills framework.

Users of the AI lab will also be able to test 5G solutions.

The MOU with NYP includes measures to strengthen the relationship between the two. Some of these include utilizing the expertise and facilities at NYP to facilitate research, education, certifications, competitions and other activities that enhance and enhancing NYP students’ ICT skills development through structured internship programmes and projects with Huawei and their partners.

Neo said that Huawei would provide AI training to their Interns as well as AI developer resources including the free Cloud resources, ModelArts AI Platform and the Atlas Offline AI Developer kits in the AI Lab for the Interns to perform any hands-on practice. "We hope to achieve with them a good exploration of the technologies and apply their acquired AI skills to resolve real-life problems and challenges," he added. 

 

Who is using the lab now and what has been developed so far?

According to Huawei, the lab is open to government agencies, institutes of higher learning as well as small and medium-sized enterprises to use.

This weighing scale comes with a built-in AI system to speed things along in a supermarket instead of requiring human input to identify products first.

Huawei AI partner Digi used the lab to create a smart scale for retail use. It is able to recognise, weigh and price fruits and vegetables that are placed on it, potentially saving time for customers in a supermarket and help speed-up transactions performed. Improved customer experience such as this will certainly give consumers more reasons to perform in-shop transactions.