The key to sustainability is collaboration through open innovation

Jo-ann Huang
The key to sustainability is collaboration through open innovation

TechInnovation 2018 brings together technology providers and seekers on its 7th edition at SWITCH

Singapore’s leading technology-industry brokerage conference TechInnovation is back for its 7th edition.

Organised by IPI and held from 18 to 19 September at Marina Bay Sands, TechInnovation’s Crowdsourcing sessions bring together a group of speakers from leading-edge companies, featuring Yip Mann-Fai, General Manager of the Singapore Innovation Hub at United Technologies Corporation (UTC) Climate, Controls & Security, and OTIS; Dr Shin Fujita, General Manager at Shimadzu’s Asia Pacific Innovation Centre; Claus Nehmzow, head of BP’s Digital Innovation Organisation in Asia Pacific; and Dr Stefan Jakob, Global R&D Director of Nutrition and Animal Health at Adisseo.

These speakers will share their ideas, challenges, and opportunities to potential partners and collaborators, inviting them to co-develop new innovative solutions.


Innovating for sustainability

Yip Mann-Fai is a firm believer in open innovation and collaboration and says that innovation is essential to a company’s long-term sustainability. Before joining UTC – the global aerospace and building solutions firm listed on the New York Stock Exchange – in May, he spearheaded the Open Innovation Platform at Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).

The four-year stint allowed Yip to appreciate the importance of partnerships between large organisations and external tech talents and expertise. He is a first-time presenter at TechInnovation’s Crowdsourcing session, to be held on Day 1 of the event.

“In recent years, we have witnessed many large companies going out of business due to disruptions to their business models, brought about by their more tech-savvy competitors,” said Yip. “UTC needs to stay ahead of the pack through increased research and development spending and continuous collaboration with start-ups, universities, and deep-tech companies.”

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One such innovative solution is the OTIS ONE IoT service platform. A unit of UTC, OTIS is a pioneering maker of elevators, escalators and moving walkways. Its ONE IoT service platform was launched at May’s World Elevator Expo in Shanghai. The ONE platform aims to gather real-time information from elevators and escalators via sensors. It can round up and analyse data from more than 300,000 connected units. OTIS’ customers then get to save costs and time on maintenance, resulting in OTIS gaining a competitive edge among its competitors.

Another innovation is the UTC’s Center for Intelligent Buildings, a first-of-its-kind technology, innovation and collaboration center showcasing United Technologies’ products and integrated systems.


Why companies need to collaborate

Shimadzu, a global leader in analytical instruments, hopes to collaborate with academia and industry partners. One of their first collaborations in Singapore is with the National University of Singapore (NUS) Environmental Research Institute (NERI), which had invented a new phosphate sensor for water quality monitoring.

“Together, we will transform this invention into compact and low-cost nutrient probes that can be deployed in the field,” said Dr Shin Fujita. “The probes are highly demanded for combating algal blooms that release toxic compounds into water reservoirs, making our drinking water safer.

Dr Fujita seeks to locate new science and technology that can be evolved into practical analytical and medical solutions, at TechInnovation’s Crowdsourcing sessions. “We are able to provide appropriate engineering designs, manufacturing and marketing capability, in line with our corporate philosophy – Contributing to Society through Science and Technology,” he said.

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Claus Nehmzow said he enjoys working with start-ups as “they can drive innovation much faster than we could internally and are often venture capital financed”. He joined BP in April 2014 after moving to Singapore from Hong Kong, where he ran his own start-up business. His prior background is mostly in management and technology consulting.

BP is actively pursuing the latest digital technologies to improve its advantage within the energy space. “Blockchain will help to connect different trading partners, using an independent technology to delegate trust and increase inefficiencies in the process,” he said.

On top of blockchain, BP is also looking at quantum computing and quantum sensors, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and robotics.

“One of the projects we are doing in Singapore is to explore the inspection of the inside cargo tanks of oil and gas tankers via drones. This will eventually eliminate the need for scaffolding and rope access, and improve efficiency and health and safety,” Nehmzow explained.


Creating success through collaboration

Animal feed additive specialist Adisseo is working with the feed industry to improve sustainable animal protein production. Animal and dairy production are resource-heavy practices, and Adisseo addresses this by creating additives, for example amino acids, enzymes, probiotics, etc, that will boost the nutritional value of animal feed and resulting in a healthier and more efficient production of animal protein.

One of Adisseo’s significant projects is a successful partnership with Novozymes, the world leader in biological solutions, to launch Alterion, a unique probiotic for poultry.

Alterion has been developed from a unique strain of Bacillus subtilis, a naturally occurring bacterium found in soil. Added to feed, it allows farmers to better control gut health of their animals, it limits development of unwanted bacteria in the animal’s digestive tract, and it optimises feed conversion, meaning less feed consumed to raise an animal.

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“We are convinced that the big leaps in innovation are coming from technology transfer, bringing together different industries which are at the first sight of view not connected to each other,” said Dr Stefan Jakob.

“Moreover, breakthrough innovation is often coming from start-ups or smaller-sized companies, with which Adisseo likes to connect and foster an atmosphere of innovation for them and grow together with them,” Jakob added.

Meet these speakers and more at TechInnovation 2018. Register today. TechInnovation is a partner event of the Singapore Week of Innovation & TeCHnology (SWITCH) 2018.


Disclosure: e27 is a partner of TechInnovation 2018

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