Singapore to hire 1,000 professionals to support 5G rollout

As Singapore prepares to roll out 5G, institutions from three sectors are coming together to hire and reskill 1,000 professionals.

The Singapore Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), the city-state’s main Mobile Network Operators, Singtel, M1, and StarHub, and education institutions, the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Singapore Polytechnic are working together to launch TechSkills Accelerator, an initiative that will provide high-quality training to Singaporeans to enable them to take on 5G jobs.

“Talent development is the next critical phase of our investment in 5G. This effort extends Singapore’s momentum in 5G following our investment in building infrastructure capabilities,” said Mr. Lew Chuen Hong, the Chief Executive of the IMDA.

30% of the 1,000 roles will be new, while the remaining positions will require professionals to be upskilled in areas including 5G, cybersecurity, and solution engineering.

“We have worked with the local MNOs to unlock the potential of 5G for these 1,000 professionals and will continue to do so to create good jobs and opportunities for Singaporeans,” added Mr. Hong.

Under the initiative, 5G Workforce Transmission Committees have been established to oversee general planning and development. The National University of Singapore and Singapore Polytechnic will be appointed as 5G and Telecoms Programme Managers, who will aggregate hiring and training requirements from the Committees and the wider 5G ecosystem players.

Professor Susanna Leong, Vice Provost and Dean of NUS said: “We are committed to working with the telecommunication operators and various sector leads to take an integrated approach in co-developing and providing frontier 5G tech skills training that deepens existing employees’ skills and prepare new talents with in-demand competence.”

Over the next three years, the overall plan is to equip a total of 5,000 professionals with the skills to become a strong workforce with 5G knowledge.

“We hope, through this participation, NUS could contribute in catalysing the development of innovative 5G applications and services, and enabling the transformative impact of 5G for enterprises,” added Professor Leong.

The first wave of TechSkills Accelerator training will begin at the end of 2020.

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Aspiring tech pioneers need to ‘do the opposite thing’ says Vietnam Minister

“Do the opposite thing,” Vietnam’s Minister of Information and Communications, Nguyen Manh Hung told university students and lecturers in an event at the Posts and Telecommunications Institute of Technology (PTIT).

As digital technology is at the core of the fourth industrial revolution, Minister Nguyen says that ‘doing the opposite thing’ should be the motto that drives the modern work ethic. This means embracing creativity and doing things differently from predecessors.

“Every revolution only creates opportunities for a few countries to make a breakthrough to become developed countries, and for a few universities to become top-tier schools,” Minister Nguyen.

Industry 4.0 technologies are associated with the creative destruction of legacy systems to create new ways of doing things, a statement by the Ministry of Information and Communications of Vietnam said.

In mature markets, technology pioneers may not have the courage to destroy what has come before, but those in emerging markets who have nothing to lose might have more opportunities to leapfrog the competition by inventing new, disruptive technologies.

“In the past, universities strived to become MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), the leading US technology university, and it was a difficult task. But nowadays, they don’t need to be MIT, and they use new technologies to do, teach and study differently,” the statement said.

Minister Nguyen urged the PTIT to set higher goals and take the lead in Vietnam’s domestic digital transformation.

“There are still enterprises that need MIT graduates and employ them. But there will be enterprises that want non-MIT graduates, and they will find workers among PTIT graduates. However, when doing things differently from MIT, one needs to do it in an excellent way,” the statement added.

PTIT already has the potential to become the country’s leading university in scientific and technology research, as ‘it belongs to a ministry of digital technology with 50,000 digital technology firms, millions of domestic workers and an annual revenue of US$100 billion’. 

Three companies that have seats in PTIT’s Council, namely Viettel, Vietnam Post and Telecommunication, and CMC are the leading technology firms in Vietnam. 

Therefore, according to Minister Nguyen several steps have to be taken in order to realise the university’s success.

Firstly, a goal of at least 25% of revenue from the PTIT should come from research works, and 25% of the time spent by professors and associate professors should be on research.

PTIT should build digital platforms and shift its contents onto these platforms. At least 70% of teaching content should be digitised, and lecturers and students should work together to turn the institute into a ‘miniature global country’, a digital environment where all activities are carried out virtually. 

A new department should also be established to provide tech training and reskilling with ample personalisation in its learning softwares.

In recent months, the Vietnam Government has been setting ambitious digital transformation efforts for the country with the aim of becoming a global technology powerhouse.

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Singapore’s Mapletree to buy another US data center for up to $262m

If the 14 data centers bought by Singapore’s Mapletree Industrial Trust wasn’t enough, the real estate investment trust has agreed to buy another US data center for up to $262 million.

The acquisition of the Virginia-based data center is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2021, Mapletree said in a statement.

The data center is fully leased on a triple net lease basis, meaning that the tenant is responsible for the maintenance and insurance costs of the facility as well as certain property-related taxes.

The tenant is said to be a ‘multinational company with a strong credit standing’, which has a lease term of more than five years.

The data center was valued by Cushman & Wakefield at between US$205 million (S$278.8 million) and US$266 million (S$361.8 million). Under the agreement, Mapletree will purchase the property for between US$200.6 million (S$272.8 million) and US$262.1 million (S$356.5 million).

The acquisition is in line with Mapletree’s investment strategy to acquire data centers globally beyond Singapore, as the Trust expects global demand for insourced and outsourced data centers to grow at an annual rate of 2.2%.

Cloud computing is also predicted to grow at a CAGR of 14% until 2024, with an accelerated growth due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has provided favourable tailwinds for the data centre segment,” said Mapletree.

The Trust has seen strong leasing demand for data center space from content, social media, e-payment, Software-as-a-Service and other information technology firms during the pandemic. Mapletree also justified their strategy by recognising that data centers were seen as essential infrastructure throughout the pandemic.

Upon completion of the sale, Mapletree’s assets under management will increase from US$4.8 billion (S$6.6 billion) as of 30 June 2020 to $5.06 billion (S$6.9 billion).

The Trust’s data center portfolio accounting for their total assets will rise from 38.5% as of 30 June 2020 to 41%, with 35% of its data centers located in North America.

Back in August 2020, Mapletree sold their Singapore data center to Equinix for US$91.2 million (S$125 million), which gave Mapletree the ability to fund other investments, reduce existing debt or make distributions to unit holders.

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So, what can you expect from a hub market, the downstream opportunities to the edge markets, and the innovation of technology in the space of Cloud Computing, connectivity, cybersecurity and data centers?

Register now to explore what the future holds for cloud and data centers in Singapore at our Digital Summit

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Singapore’s Mapletree to buy another US data center for up to $262m

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Stuart Crowley

Editor, W.Media

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