Expanding Our Footprint in Asia-Pacific’s Digital Hub – Singapore

Transforming into a Smart Nation with Interconnection

An artist’s rendering of Equinix Sg4 in Singapore.

Singapore is truly one of a kind. The country places a huge amount of importance on robust governance, physical and digital infrastructure and meritocracy and takes pride in being a strategic business hub – factors that are critical to not just sustaining but future-proofing its potential. Unsurprisingly, the Lion City also leads the way when it comes to building a smart digital nation. Singapore recently came out on top in the Asian Digital Transformation Index 2018.[1] This was partly due to the nation’s commitment to long-term digital strategies as well as its plans to adopt and advance emerging technologies such as 5G, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Sensors, Data Analytics, Robotics, and Cybersecurity. These new technologies are expected to touch nearly all facets of Singaporeans’ lives from Transportation, Health and Enabled Living, Education, as well as reduce the nation’s carbon footprint.

As an industry leader who is regularly expanding, we understand the challenges for businesses as they look to scale up and become more agile in order to accelerate business growth – especially in today’s highly competitive market. That’s why we are committed to helping businesses to succeed in the digital era through interconnection and are proud to announce the development of our fourth International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data center in Singapore, called SG4.

SG4, a new facility scheduled to open in Q4 2019, will provide interconnection and premium data center services to help businesses with their IT transformation and cloud adoption initiatives. It will help support the digital infrastructure of Singapore as the government strives to transform the country into a connected society via a variety of initiatives.

Building a Smart Nation

The 53-year old nation has constantly strived to be a leading economy, powered by digital innovation, and recently reinforced by initiatives undertaken to become a true Smart Nation. The government has introduced several national projects, such as building a more robust e-payment network and driving smart urban mobility across the country, to ensure all segments of the population will be able to use and benefit from digital technologies. These projects include unifying Singapore’s e-payment landscape at hawker centers, coffee shops and industrial canteens, as well as introducing autonomous shuttles in Sentosa, an island resort off Singapore’s southern coast.

More than just embedding new technologies in the country’s ecosystem, the city state has resolved to provide opportunities for businesses to leverage assets in order to achieve their digital transformation goals such as the establishment of grants like the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG). Introduced in Budget 2018, the PSG aims to support the adoption of off-the-shelf technologies. Other previously established programs like the SME Go Digital program are also testament to Singapore’s dedication to smooth the path toward digital transformation for local businesses.

Ushering the Services 4.0 Era

With the recent announcement of initiatives to fulfill the Services 4.0 vision this past November, the Singapore government highlighted the importance of emerging technologies, such as AI and automated service solutions. Initiatives outlined by the government have been aimed at promoting the adoption of such technologies to help workers engage in more fulfilling work, enabling businesses to efficiently innovate to capture digital opportunities, and delivering superior customer experience. Services 4.0 has been positioned as Singapore’s response to the Services and Digital Economy Technology Roadmap (SDE TRM), allowing the country to deliver next-generation services that are end-to-end, frictionless and anticipatory to customer needs.

Singapore’s Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) launched a series of initiatives in November 2018 to support the infocomm media (ICM) sector in developing a services ecosystem. These include programs such as PIXEL, slated to go live in January 2019 – which will focus on bringing tech, media and design capabilities to develop customer-centric digital experiences.

More opportunities with more interconnection

With the Singapore government eager to embrace innovation and technology to transform the city-state into a Smart Nation, what can businesses do to leverage current initiatives and ride this wave of opportunity?

As Smart Nation initiatives such as e-payment services and autonomous vehicles take flight, the issue of data privacy has become a nation-wide concern. More emphasis has been placed on data laws such as Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA), which was designed to govern the collection, use and disclosure of personal data in Singapore by any private organization. As demand soars for greater interconnection bandwidth, businesses that choose to work with the nation on their payment and driving initiatives need to maintain data locally while being used globally, and this can be achieved by re-routing data with greater Interconnection Bandwidth. In terms of cyber security, interconnection is also needed as businesses migrate to private data traffic exchange that bypasses the public internet as they mitigate digital threats.

Looking to address industry digitalization challenges and identify national strategic interest areas with Services 4.0, a Digital Services Laboratory (DSL) has been initiated to bring research communities, ICM players and end-users to co-architect and engineer solutions across multiple technology domains from the early-stage to deployment as part of Services 4.0. This is where businesses can co-opt with the DSL team to support real-time interactions which enable AI and data services as Services 4.0 envisions a more automated ecosystem.

This positive outlook is indicated in the second volume of the Global Interconnection Index, a market study published by Equinix, which predicts that Singapore’s Interconnection Bandwidth capacity will more than quadruple by 2021, reaching 394 Tbps at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 47% through 2021.  With business ecosystems continuously experiencing an increase in mix of customers, partners and employees – these factors combined require digital ecosystems and interconnection to scale.

Supporting the Smart Nation journey

Without highly connected ecosystems and scalable digital infrastructure, these visions will be difficult to turn into reality. The government’s focus on deepening Singapore’s digital economy means the island nation is set to be Asia’s digital hub – and recognizing this potential is exactly where our expanded footprint with the new SG4 comes into play.

The SG4 IBX will consist of an initial capacity of 1,400 cabinets and directly connect to our three existing Equinix IBX data centers in Singapore, enabling customers to securely interconnect with hundreds of companies across different industries, including financial services, cloud services and IT, communications, media, physical sciences and engineering, in real time. This also includes a broad range of network services from 200+ global networks and 150+ cloud and IT service providers. It provides interconnection and premium data center services to help businesses with their IT transformation and cloud adoption initiatives, acting as the backbone of Singapore’s digital infrastructure.

By deepening our capabilities in the market and working to support the government’s plans, we continue to power businesses in Singapore’s digital transformation journey.

Through exploring collaborations and best practices, we believe that Singapore provides businesses with the opportunity to take their achievements to a greater scale, and Equinix is proud to support the nation’s objectives in benefitting customers not just locally, but on a regional and global level as well.

[1] The Asian Digital Transformation Index 2018

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