NUS, StarHub to Pilot 5G VR, AI Solutions in a Net-zero Energy Building

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The National University of Singapore (NUS) and StarHub have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on 12 December 2019 to jointly advance innovation in virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) solutions over StarHub’s 5G network in NUS’ net-zero energy building located at the School of Design and Environment (SDE).

The NUS-StarHub partnership marks NUS’ first step towards enabling the adoption of 5G.

NUS and StarHub will harness the latest 5G technologies to design and test advanced VR and AI solutions. The two partners will also jointly develop use cases to demonstrate the application of 5G capabilities to deliver solutions that will enhance learning, advance cutting-edge research, and address industry needs and challenges.

The research activities will be conducted at a new dedicated 5G laboratory hosted at the NUS SDE4 building, which is Singapore’s first newly-built net-zero energy building1. The new 5G laboratory is currently under construction and will be operational early next year.

The SDE4 building serves as a living laboratory to explore human-centric approaches to develop solutions that promote integrated sustainable development, and facilitates the test-bedding and development of green building technologies. By leveraging 5G as a key enabling technology, the SDE4 building offers a conducive research environment for the development and trial of practical VR and AI solutions that focus on people-environment wellness within a sustainable ecosystem.

Powering these 5G proof-of-concepts at the SDE4 is StarHub’s 5G network, broadcasting on 3.5GHz trial spectrum. 5G offers ultra-reliable low-latency communications and significant improvements in bandwidth performance – the two qualities required for VR and AI solutions to interact seamlessly without lag or signal dropouts.

Mr Tommy Hor, NUS Chief Information Technology Officer, said, “NUS recognises the possibilities offered by the use of 5G technology to sharpen our competitiveness in the fields of education, research and innovation, as well as entrepreneurship. This collaboration with StarHub enables us to seize the opportunities provided by 5G as a key enabling technology, to create practical solutions that will benefit the University and the wider community. This is important and essential in ensuring that NUS continues to thrive in the global digital economy.”

Mr Sebastian Tan, Head of 5G Centre of Excellence, StarHub said, “Collaborating with the NUS School of Design and Environment on 5G excites us, as its aspiration to improve lives with technology strongly resonates with ours. With 5G, distance is no barrier when it comes to experiential learning and productivity gets a boost through workflow automation. There is much to be done to realise the full power of 5G, and we are eager to bring together the most advanced technologies and the best brains to co-develop solutions relevant for the people of Singapore.”

Professor Lam Khee Poh, Dean of the NUS School of Design and Environment, added, “The School is excited to pilot the experimental use of 5G technology in the SDE4 living laboratory to support human-centric research and advance education initiatives. This is in line with our Well and Green agenda where we endeavour to conduct research on sustainable buildings concurrently with the wellness of occupants in mind, as they interact with the built environment.”