Look no further than Punggol Digital District (PDD) for the possibilities for Singapore as a smart nation. What the Singapore Government envisioned is turning to reality.
In 2007 at the National Day rally, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong unveiled the plans for Punggol 21. 10 years later, the plans became reality.
Three years later, the government announced that they have secured the first batch of global companies to the district – ahead of its temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) date. They are Boston Dynamics, Delta Electronic Int’l, GROUP-IB, Wanxiang as well as a network of tech associations.
This has been the Singapore story for the last 50 years – that what the government promises, it delivers.
More than 2000 tech-related jobs are expected to be created at the PDD, ranging from fraud hunters, data analysts and solution engineers to AI and block chain developers.
A living lab
Punggol Digital District is a living lab where innovations in cybersecurity, smart living, and estate management are pioneered. What makes all these possible is the Open Digital Platform (ODP).
The ODP integrates various smart technologies such as facilities management, security, and autonomous goods delivery systems, thereby optimising energy and resource efficiency in the district. It is co-developed by JTC, GovTech and ST Engineering.
Of great advantage is that data consolidated can be replicated in a ‘digital twin’. This This real-life 3D model of PDD allows companies to experiment and test-bed solutions securely and without the risks usually associated with actual trials. It paves the way for ideas to be brought to market faster.
“With the amount of district data collected, the digital twin allows playback of historical data. We can simulate events to improve district operations such as traffic flow in the car parks, or optimise cooling and lighting requirements during different times of the day,” Mr James Tan, Director of JTC’S Smart District Division, said.
Access to bright minds
With the Singapore Institute of Technology cited just around the corner, access to bright minds at the PDD is just a few steps away. In this environment where academic spaces are located next to office spaces, doors are open to more opportunities between academia and industry.
For the 11,000 students and 500 academic staff of SIT, this is an exciting approach to sharpen their knowledge and hone their skills. Students will benefit from an applied learning environment, while businesses can tap talents from SIT to co-create new solutions easily. It’s a win-win for all.
Going green with sustainability
PDD is built with sustainability in mind and no detail is overlooked. Buildings are oriented to maximise daylight and positioned to optimise wind movement. A smart grid tracks and manages energy use in real time. All these means buildings in the district are 30% more energy efficient compared to other conventional buildings.
Autonomous buses as a means of transport means not just a comfortable ride but also a smaller carbon footprint. Several charging docks will also be available in the district for EV owners.
Where possible, resources are maximised for longevity as well. “Food and horticulture waste will be recycled into fertiliser. Grey water is recycled for flushing toilets, while rainwater collected in eco-ponds is channeled for irrigation use,” explains Miss Sophia Ng, director of the Infocomm Media and Startup cluster at JTC
PDD isn’t just a business park or a thriving hub for smart digital technologies. It is set to be the landmark destination for Punggol residents.
“Punggol houses an estimated population of 187,800 people, with numbers set to rise over the next few years as more developments take shape and new residents and young families move into the town,” adds Miss Ng. “We have built PDD with the community in mind. It will be a 24/7 place.”
Well-integrated with its surrounding, PDD is close to Coney island. The old Punggol Road will be transformed into a 1.3km-long pathway full of greenery and rustic charm.
What’s more, nature surrounds the district via verdant foliage that blends into community spaces. A tree-lined thoroughfare doubles up like an artery that takes visitors to various parts of PDD. Amenities, such as restaurants, retail shops, childcare centres, and a community club will complement the community’s needs.