17 April 2015
A*STAR unveils new technologies to boost productivity among SMEs
SINGAPORE — The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is partnering with SPRING Singapore, the Singapore Productivity Centre (SPC) and NTUC Health to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) adopt new technologies to boost their productivity.
Among the proposed measures, A*STAR is collaborating with SPRING to drive a wider adoption of ready-to-go technology platforms and a year-long pilot project to strengthen the performance of the Testing, Inspection and Calibration (TIC) industry, which collects and analyses data for customers. SPRING will provide funding for participating SMEs.
A*STAR also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with SPC to boost the use of technology in the food, hotel and retail sectors.
It also inked an MOU with NTUC Health for the exploration of research and development activities to increase the productivity of healthcare professionals as well as improve innovative technology in the sector.
“SMEs are an important part of our economy — they employ about seven out of every 10 workers and contribute nearly half of our gross domestic product. They are therefore crucial to Singapore’s economic resilience and vitality,” said Mr S Iswaran, Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade and Industry, at A*STAR’s annual SME Day yesterday, which was attended by staff from about 500 companies.
A*STAR showcased its products at the event, with its researchers on hand to help SMEs understand how they could benefit from these innovations.
The Magic Mirror Technology for Virtual Clothes is one innovation, for example, that has become commercially feasible.
The technology allows a person to try on articles of clothing virtually and upload them to social media. The commercial arm of A*STAR, Exploit Technologies, has licensed the software to four companies.
One such company is AIT Technologies. Director Nick Lee said the technology is so promising that it has the potential to bring in revenue that may overtake its core business by 120 per cent in one to two years.
AIT has deployed the technology in 20 shops, including Flesh Imp in Orchard Road, as well as sportswear store Bods.Bodynits’ Changi City Point and Jurong Point Mall outlets.
AIT wants to roll it out to 100 shops by the end of this year and intends to take it to the international stage in a few years. SMEs interested in a consultation to find a research product that fits their needs can visit www.a-star.edu.sg/SME.