Re-Imagining The Future
It is a decade of radical global change. Growth and globalisation are giving way to disruption and digitalisation. Economic, political and social paradigm shifts have pushed nations to recalibrate their beliefs, principles and systems. Disruptive technologies and the Internet of Things are buzzwords in the throes of budding entrepreneurship and blossoming social media. Such a milieu inspired Singapore and JTC to re-imagine a vastly different future than previously thought possible.
Expansive industry transformation foregrounded JTC's efforts to create next-generation estates that not only cater to the new wave of technology-driven innovations and investments, but also provide inclusive, collaborative and sustainable spaces for the community. These large-scale living labs of industry, ideation, innovation and enterprise will transform the way we work, live, play and learn, preparing Singapore for the future economy.
It is fitting that whilst the Jurong of the 1960s was transformed from swampland into a mega industrial estate, next-generation estates are emerging 50 years later to address the needs of a re-imagined future, to again touch the lives of generations of Singaporeans to come. As Singapore forges ahead in this rapidly changing environment, what remains unchanged is the spirit of Jurong, to boldly deliver the impossible amidst the unknown.
In 2010, JTC, together with the Economic Development Board (EDB), unveiled the masterplan for the 50-hectare CleanTech Park, Singapore's first eco-business park. Located in Jurong Innovation District, CleanTech Park was envisioned as a large-scale integrated 'living laboratory' for innovators to develop, test-bed and showcase their yet-to-be commercialised eco-sustainable solutions. It offers both estate and building level test-bed opportunities for companies to demonstrate and validate their solutions, expediting their entry to market.
A unique feature of the park is a multi-layer masterplan that aimed to integrate existing terrain, biodiversity and greenery with new developments. It leveraged the natural terrain to establish the estate's storm water management system to harvest rainwater and channel it into storage for reuse.
Right at the core of the park is the five-hectare green zone, Jurong Eco-Garden, home to a diverse variety of plants and wildlife. The garden was also developed to meld with two existing dragon kilns in the park. To bring the community closer to nature, JTC has worked with various student and community groups on various programmes such as the Green Ambassador Programme, community gardening, as well as art installation by students from schools in the vicinity.
Several leading local and global clean technology-related organisations have made CleanTech Park their home. They include the Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute (NEWRI) and the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS) Testing and Certification Lab. A*STAR's Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre (ARTC) is also located in the park, test-bedding and developing remanufacturing technologies in partnership with NTU.
In support of industry transformation, JTC ramped up the development of innovative and flexible industrial spaces that come with shared infrastructure and services to help local enterprises review their manufacturing and business processes, improve efficiency, reduce operating costs and enhance their competitiveness. This began long before the concept of a sharing economy became popular in Singapore. First off the ground was the JTC Surface Engineering Hub at Tanjong Kling which was completed in December 2013. The high-rise facility is a unique development hosting an integrated ecosystem of companies in the surface engineering industry. The development features a centralised wastewater treatment plant that helps Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) reduce space requirements, operational cost and upfront capital investment, and accelerate the start-up of their operations.
The JTC Space @ Buroh was one of the ways we looked at transforming operations from land to space. This next generation factory incorporates structural provisions that allow companies the flexibility of installing their preferred material handling systems to move goods and machinery between floors. This effectively means what would usually be an operation across a large single-storey production space could now be integrated seamlessly over multiple floors. This resulted in a win-win situation, where companies can enjoy lower land rental (due to a smaller land footprint) without sacrificing their gross floor area (GFA), and we can optimise industrial land usage. Besides generic ready-built spaces, we also created developments to meet the needs of specific industry clusters . For the food manufacturing industry, JTC developed JTC Food Hub @ Senoko, Singapore's first multi-tenanted ramp-up development. It is equipped with an integrated cold-room warehouse facility, and tenants can outsource logistics services to a service provider located within the same building.
With the potential sharing of the delivery fleet, the number of trips will be reduced, contributing to productivity improvement in operations and practices. Located on a two-hectare site, trendspace (formerly known as JTC Furniture Hub @ Sungei Kadut) will be the first high-rise development to house furniture manufacturers, interior furnishing companies and materials suppliers under the same roof. The hub comprises flexible modular units that allow businesses to combine several units. Featuring a multi-use shop floor and integrated loading/unloading bays, it will enable companies to tap each other's competencies and share resources, thereby enhancing the industry's overall competitiveness. The JTC Logistics Hub @ Gul will be the first of its kind, integrating warehouse, heavy vehicle parking and Inland Container Depot (ICD) operations. Currently, such facilities are located in different places across Singapore, causing logistics operators to incur significant time on the road. By concentrating container depots, warehouses and a heavy vehicle park within a single development, the JTC Logistics Hub enables logistics players to cut down travelling time, reduce fuel costs and improve operational efficiency.
For SMEs in the metals, machinery and timber industries, they can look forward to the TimMac @ Kranji, designed in close collaboration with Singapore Cranes Association (SCA), Singapore Timber Association (STA), Singapore Metal and Machinery Association (SMMA) and Singapore Structural Steel Society (SSSS). The development features high technical speciﬁcations to replicate land-based environments in a multi-user, high-rise facility, as well as modular factory units with high ceilings and heavy floor loading to cater to heavy automation machinery and products. Two industry associations, STA and SCA, have also come on board and taken the lead to provide shared facilities and services in TimMac, so that tenants can benefit from economies of scale and lower start-up costs. This include chemical treatment, sawmilling, warehousing and an open yard for the assembly of large and bulky metal components. These are just some of the specialised facilities that we have conceptualised with the industry. JTC's strategy to assist local enterprises is bearing fruit. Clustering companies has fostered greater collaboration within industry sectors. Moreover, by sharing infrastructure and services, companies enjoy lower start-up costs, greater economies of scale and higher operational efficiency. You could say that JTC was an early disruptor too.
Driverless vehicles, drones, robots. The explosion in technological advancement has allowed us to do many things that were once in the realm of science fiction. It is transforming the way we organise ourselves, the way we live and the way we conduct business. To prepare us for the future economy, JTC is increasingly leveraging new technology to drive productivity and overcome challenges like resource constraints and rising costs. But we cannot do this alone without the expertise of our partners and industrialists. JTC has conducted three Open Innovation Calls to invite industrialists and companies to submit proposals to test-bed new ideas to intensify land use, improve construction productivity and manage our buildings and estates more sustainably. Projects that arose from this effort included a flexible, lightweight organic photovoltaic solar film, and drones for inspection of building facades.
Some of these solutions have been deployed in JTC's estates and buildings. We have also been an early adopter of productive construction technologies, materials and processes to increase productivity and safety. We partnered NTU's Robotics Research Centre (R2C) to develop a spray painting robot ("Pictobot") and a construction quality inspection robot ("Quicabot") to reduce manpower requirements, improve safety, and upskill the construction workforce. And to enable us to build faster, we have adopted Prefabricated Prefinished Volumetric Construction (PPVC), a modular construction method that can potentially achieve up to 50% savings in terms of manpower and time. This was used in our JTC Space @ Tuas project.
With more than nine million cubic metres of ready-built space under our management, it is imperative that we adopt innovative Facilities Management (FM) technologies to help us manage our buildings better, greener and faster. A key initiative is J-Ops, an integrated smart estate and building operations system, a cloud-based system that allows JTC to centrally and remotely monitor, analyse and optimise our estate and building services across all our developments. To further drive sustainability, JTC has also rolled out Singapore's first SolarRoof contract that allows for full export of solar energy to the power grid. Under this new model, Sun Electric will supply, install and maintain solar panels on the rooftops of 27 JTC buildings. This will allow us to optimise our roof space, while increasing the supply of sustainable energy to the market. We hope the initiative will encourage more developers to adopt this model and contribute to the growth of the clean energy market.
To help catalyse innovations and help companies bring their products to market faster, we have been making available our industrial estates and facilities for companies to test-bed their new urban solution and technologies. For instance, JTC has collaborated with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to allow the testing of autonomous vehicles (AVs) on a public road network. The trial sites in one-north and CleanTech Park provide opportunities to test and optimise the technical capabilities and infrastructural requirements necessary for AVs to operate safely on public roads. By embracing technology and working with our partners to drive innovation, improve productivity and develop sustainable solutions, JTC will continue to pioneer game-changing infrastructure that are relevant for the fast evolving future.
Entrepreneurs are a major driving force in making innovation happen, and are key to a dynamic economy. The local startup scene has seen significant growth and continued momentum over the past few years. As part of the government's efforts to support the startup ecosystem through funding, co-investments and the provision of infrastructure, the JTC LaunchPad marks a significant milestone in Singapore's entrepreneurship journey. Beyond the provision of ready-built space to house startups and entrepreneurs, JTC has been focusing on developing a synergistic ecosystem at LaunchPad so that entrepreneurs can benefit from the talent pool, technologies and industry networks from the institutes of higher learning, research institutes and leading companies in its vicinity.
The first LaunchPad is located at one-north, a work-live-play-learn district home to key knowledge and innovation-based industries such as biomedical sciences, infocomm, media electronics and engineering. The JTC LaunchPad @ one-north is located in the heart of this vibrant estate, and the atmosphere within this 6.5-hectare site pulsates with energy and is abundant with opportunities to accelerate innovation in the marketplace. The LaunchPad cut its teeth at Block 71, a former flatted factory at Ayer Rajah which JTC and its partners had transformed into a startup-ready ecosystem. In 2014, two more blocks – 79 and 73 – were retrofitted and constructed respectively to meet the demand for such spaces. Officially launched in 2015,
LaunchPad @ one-north doubled in size within two years with the addition of three blocks – 75, 77 and 81, to accommodate its community that had now more than quadrupled to 5,500 people in over 800 startups and close to 50 enablers. With the introduction of two more blocks, 67 and 69, the eight blocks in LaunchPad will offer 56,000 square metres of plug and play space for the community. JTC LaunchPad @ one-north is home to a diverse range of startups, such as ShopBack, nuTonomy and Visenze, who have raised more than $10 million in cumulative fundings. The presence of enablers such as NUS Enterprise, NTUitive and QuestVC also serves to provide mentoring support, nurture new ideas,
as well as groom the startups. For example, through the help of the enablers, Carousell has grown into a 120-man-strong company and graduated into their own space in town. As Singapore's startup scene gathers rapid momentum, JTC has expanded LaunchPad to another part of the island state. The next LaunchPad opened at CleanTech Park in the Jurong Innovation District, a next-generation work-live-play-learn-create estate. The JTC LaunchPad @ Jurong Innovation District houses advanced manufacturing, clean technology and engineering startups. Startups here enjoy close proximity to Nanyang Technological University, research institutes and a network of corporations. They are also able to bring ideas to reality right in their own backyard – by tapping shared facilities such as the prototyping workshop and production floor.
The progress towards Industry 4.0 and the advent of digital technologies, big data and the internet of things will not only transform the way we work, but also shape the work spaces of the future. To position Singapore's industries for the future, JTC is planning and developing next-generation estates that bring industries, academia, and enterprises together in a collaborative work, live, learn, play environment. These next generation industry and business districts – Jurong Innovation District,
Punggol Digital District and Woodlands North Coast – will play host to cutting-edge digital technologies and urban solutions, and offer a sustainable, seamlessly connected and car-lite environment that is conducive for the workforce of the future. Jurong Innovation District is envisioned to be a revolutionary mixed-use estate that will meet the new demands of the transforming manufacturing landscape. It will house growth areas such as advanced manufacturing and urban solutions. The District will serve as a living lab for new innovations, where companies will be able to house their whole value chain of activities within the district, and bring ideas from laboratories to prototype, test-bedding and production.
The District is located near to the future port at Tuas, and offers opportunities to envisage how manufacturing, logistics and shipping can be better integrated to give Singapore a sharper competitive edge. Punggol Digital District will be a vibrant mixed-use business district that will house key growth industries such as digital and cyber security. It is designed to facilitate industry-academia collaboration between the industries and the Singapore Institute of Technology. In addition, the District will be Singapore's first Enterprise District, where JTC is piloting a new flexible zoning at the district level, instead of individual land parcels. This means that companies and institutions engaging in different but complementary activities can co-locate in the same development and achieve greater synergy.
Concurrent with the development of Jurong Innovation District and Punggol Digital District is Woodlands North Coast. The new heart of the Woodlands regional centre, Woodlands North Coast will be a vibrant mixed-use estate set within a lush, live-work-play-learn environment. An innovation hub fostering co-creation of ideas through industrial, research and academic collaboration, Woodlands North Coast will be a new building with flexible zoning, aimed at housing manufacturing-related service providers who form part of the manufacturing value-chain, but whose operations do not meet the criteria for industrial park space. With integrated mixed-use districts that facilitate extensive collaboration and provide sustainable and vibrant workplaces that bring jobs closer to homes, JTC is creating tomorrow's industry spaces, priming Singapore's industries for the future economy.