Unveiled in 2018 and currently under development, Punggol Digital District (PDD) is set to open progressively from 2024. This precinct, touted to be Singapore’s first smart business district, will integrate a business park and the new Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) campus, with residential districts, community facilities, parks and waterways.
In July this year, the first batch of global companies have secured their location at PDD, three years before its Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) date, with the promise of creating 2,000 jobs. The companies are Boston Dynamics, Delta Electronics, Group-IB, and Wanxiang Blockchain, and are international firms specialising in fields including: Artificial Intelligence, data analysis, cybersecurity, and blockchain technology.
All in, PDD is set to create 28,000 new digital economy jobs in key growth sectors, such as cyber security, data analytics, solution engineering, and artificial intelligence.
Some key government agencies such as GovTech and the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore will soon be relocated to PDD. Along with a network of tech associates, the PDD ecosystem hopes to promote opportunities for collaboration in the field of digital technology.
With the aim to nurture industry-academia collaboration, this district will also be the first in Singapore to integrate physical and digital spaces between a business park and an educational institution. Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong said the PDD will allow companies to tap on “industry partners, academic expertise, as well as industry-ready talent.”
This will also be the first time Singapore will see an integrated masterplan approach to establish strategic partnerships with companies to develop PDD’s Open Digital Platform. This platform seeks to transform user and community experience by integrating smart cities solutions within the district. Industry partners including local SMEs can collaborate to develop solutions and infrastructure for the platform.
For example, the Open Digital Platform, unique to PDD, provides seamless biometric access to facilities for tenants and mobile-phone enabled access to their premises for their visitors. The platform will also provide tenants and academics with real-time and historical data from estate and building management systems. Moreover, contributors can test their solutions on the platform using a digital twin of the whole precinct before deployment.
The district will also feature a vibrant and sustainable car-lite environment that connects to the greater Punggol area, bringing jobs and social amenities closer to residents.
Vulcan Post takes a look at the companies that will be hiring at this upcoming district.
Headquartered in Massachusetts, this engineering and robotics design firm was founded in 1992.
It was acquired by Google in 2013 and sold to Japan’s SoftBank Group in 2017. Hyundai Motor Group bought an 80 per cent stake in December 2020 for about US$880 million, and officially acquired a controlling stake in the company from SoftBank in June 2021.
The firm will partner Singaporean startup dConstruct Technologies and SIT to advance Singapore’s robotics developments. SIT students can use Boston Dynamics’ SPOT robot and dConstruct’s software programming tools to develop robotic solutions for campus-based applications.
Singapore is one of the first markets around the world where Boston Dynamics has its sights set to grow a developer network and supporting ecosystem. It plans to work with early adopters like GovTech to test and improve their robots’ capabilities and applications.
One of the global leaders in electronics manufacturing, headquartered in Taiwan and founded in 1971. Its current facility in Singapore was founded in 2010, but it plans to set up its regional headquarters in Kallang by 2022, as well as a satellite office at PDD.
The company’s smart solutions are integrated into PDD’s Open Digital Platform, and allow remote monitoring and data analytics of environmental and machine metrics. This integration is part of Delta’s PDD Smart Living Programme that allows firms to access smart living solutions for testing and learning.
Now, Delta Singapore is building a fully automated container smart farm at the PDD Site Gallery, which showcases new tech that companies can expect to see. Their container farm is connected to the Open Data Platform, and generates data that other local farmers can tap on.
Besides providing data on agriculture, Delta’s tech specialists will also test a range of smart solutions, including smart surveillance, lighting and crowd control systems. These will all be connected to the Open Data Platform that other companies and students can use to control systems, receive data, and optimise solutions.
The company is open to working in PDD with students from schools and institutions across Singapore to promote more interest in the field.
This international threat hunting and intelligence company headquartered in Singapore specialises in preventing cyberattacks. It was founded in 2003 in Moscow, Russia, and has been actively hiring local talents since 2019.
Group IB will locate their regional headquarters in the Punggol Digital District. Group-IB plans to collaborate with SIT to develop a virtual environment called the PDD Cyberpolygon Sandzone, which allows stress testing of applications, solutions and systems against cyberthreats in industries and academia.
In collaboration with the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore, JTC, SIT and other industry associations like Division Zero, the company is looking to build interest in cybersecurity in Singapore. It hopes to develop a local talent pool in Singapore that can fill up new cybersecurity roles that will open up over the next few years.
For instance, it initiated the PDD Connecting Smartness – Bug Bounty 1.0 programme, a competition in hacking skills through identifying bugs or vulnerabilities in existing systems within the programme. Winners earn internships at Group-IB alongside more industry professionals.
It’s now working with leading local universities to develop cybersecurity curriculum in the digital forensics, threat hunting, and cyber investigation spaces.
Likewise, blockchain company Wanxiang will also house its regional headquarters in PDD. This Chinese company was founded in 2015 and is one of the leading firms in China’s blockchain industry.
The blockchain solutions firm plans to bring its technology, capital and resources to propel industrial development and business adoption in the blockchain industry, starting from Singapore.
The Open Data Platform will allow them to test bed new use-cases for technologies such as blockchain, IoT, AI and 5G at the PDD.
Wanxing is now working with several local entities to kickstart their game-changing initiatives. For instance, they are partnering with the Infocomm Media Development Agency (IMDA) to develop blockchain solutions for cross-border trade and financing. They are also collaborating with local blockchain accelerator Tribe, to launch a blockchain makerspace and incubation programme.
The programme allows local startups to learn and address data privacy issues and improve their data management capabilities. The new makerspace will provide technical support and investment opportunities to promising projects.
In partnership with Singaporean training provider AGB Education Centre, Wanxing will launch a series of skills training programmes to groom mid-career professionals and offer certification in the fields of blockchain, cybersecurity, AI, data analytics, computer networking, robotic process automation, and cloud computing.
It also has future plans to explore potential collaborations with local institutes of higher learning and research, like SIT. It hopes to bridge new connections between China’s digital companies and Singapore brands.
The sheer amount of career prospects that come with these four global companies setting up shop in the PDD is definitely very exciting.
With a total of 28,000 new jobs to look forward to in the new precinct, Singaporeans interested in working in the tech sector have a very promising array of employment opportunities to choose at PDD in the next three years.
Featured Image Credit: WOHA