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Japan’s NTT Data to set up research centre in SEA, bulk up Covid resilience

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NTT Data's Training Centre in Tokyo. The company plans to launch a Research Centre in Singapore next year. NTT DATA JAPAN/FACEBOOK

Japan’s NTT Data to set up research centre in SEA, bulk up Covid resilience

Top Japanese data solutions firm NTT Data Corp is launching a “centre of excellence” in Singapore with New Zealand strategic consultancy LeapThought NZ Ltd.

It is aimed at boosting the construction sector’s productivity and its resilience against Covid-19, labour shortages and supply chain disruptions.

NTT Data Singapore Ptd Ltd managing director Krishnappan Ramanathan told The Straits Times that the centre will open by next year, hire up to 40 engineers and focus on research and development, advisory services and business development.

“The aim is to accelerate the digital transformation of the architecture, engineering and construction [AEC] sector in Singapore,” he said, citing analyst predictions that the size of the sector will reach $22.5 billion by 2024.

Touching on the potential for NTT Data’s technology to transform the AEC sector in Singapore, Ramanathan said he foresees the entire process from pre-construction to post-construction maintenance becoming more digitised.

This could be done through the use of systems such as building information modelling, which taps artificial intelligence to more efficiently plan and design buildings, and virtual design and construction.

NTT Data Asia-Pacific Pte Ltd CEO Ken Tsuchihashi added that this is part of NTT Data’s plans to build up social infrastructure across Southeast Asia.

“From Singapore, we are using new digital technology to conduct various proofs of concept across different countries in Southeast Asia,” he said, describing the republic as Asia’s “digital hub” with its Smart Nation initiative.

Among other things, NTT Data is involved in education and remote connectivity projects in Singapore, and blockchain and fintech projects in Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

More recently, it has begun a project to preserve – in 3D for three-dimensional ones – the most fragile items in ASEAN museums, galleries and libraries using its Advanced Museum Library Archives Deposit (Amlad) technology.

Some 161 cultural assets from Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia – including Indonesia’s 14th century La Galigo script that is listed on UNESCO’s Memory Of The World Register – have been digitised in the first phase.

The project will be expanded to include heritage items from Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar and Laos this year, and then to the remaining ASEAN countries, including Singapore in future.

The shape, colour and texture of these items are captured in high definition, and visitors to the ASEAN Cultural Heritage Digital Archive website can view them up-close, even turning them around to see them at different angles.

A NTT Data spokesman said the goal was to prevent such assets from being lost due to disasters, accidents or ageing, and to preserve them for future generations.

NTT Data has used the Amlad archival system to preserve heritage collections at the Vatican, as well as the Japanese Diet library.

The Covid-19 pandemic undeniably has had a bearing on NTT Data’s projected revenue, but Tsuchihashi sees a silver lining.

He said: “Businesses might postpone or hold back some non-essential projects, but on the other hand, they realise they need to be more serious about promoting their digital strategy, and this could have quite a positive impact for NTT Data.”

Ramanathan added: “The conventional way of doing things will be less preferable to newer, more digitised and technological methods.”

THE STRAITS TIMES (SINGAPORE)/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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