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[Singapore] NUS Enterprise and IDMI Turns Campus Into Huge “Living Lab”

VIPs checking out the NUS Living Lab booth at InnovFest 2013.

Trialling interactive digital solutions can be somewhat of a headache without sufficient beta testers to do proper market testing, so the folks at NUS Enterprise and NUS Interactive and Digital Media Institute (IDMI) earlier this week announced an initiative that would turn the National University of Singapore (NUS) Kent Ridge campus into a gigantic test bed to help new interactive digital media (IDM) or info-communication solutions get off the ground. In order to make this happen, both soft and hard infrastructure support have been laid down by the university in over 100 buildings on more than 200 hectares of land, with the ability to tap on its more than 40,000 potential tech-savvy users – faculty staff and students – as living, breathing test subjects in pilot projects.

“When developing new apps or solutions, researchers and developers typically test them on a small scale or within a laboratory setting. This may not be representative of the real world. Through the NUS Living Labs, we have created a pervasive and extensive testbed for commercialising projects to be scaled up in a live environment,” explained Professor Lawrence Wong, Deputy Director, NUS IDMI. “The key advantage of the NUS Living Lab will be its infrastructure support available for testing, pilots and trials.”

“The NUS Living Lab is an excellent resource for all innovators – whether they be NUS researchers creating new innovations; tech start-ups developing novel apps and solutions; or SMEs needing a large scale trial platform,” affirms Dr Lily Chan, Chief Executive Officer NUS Enterprise. “We hope the first users of the NUS Living Lab will emerge from our business partnering session, held during InnovFest 2013, where we aim to link up industry partners with innovators.”

“The NUS Living Lab is an excellent platform for both parties to see whether new solutions work in an actual setting. This could be instrumental in sealing business deals, commercialising novel technologies and bringing new solutions to global markets,” she adds.

The NUS Living Labs will provide support to developers and researchers creating new solutions and applications, with priority given to solutions in the area of mobility,education and lifestyle. The NUS Living Labs provides the following support:

• Sensing technologies – Sensors have been installed in key public areas around campus, including bus stops, dining areas and building entrances. These are location, video, vehicular system and environment sensors.
• Shareware – A repository of assets are available, such as mobile communication infrastructure, data sets, maps, building blueprints, databases and a library of APIs.
• Coordination and support – Innovators and businesses can tap upon research assistance from IDMI.

The NUS Living Lab will be available for research organisations, start-ups, SMEs and MNCs wishing to test out new applications on a collaborative basis. IDMI has already commenced a few pilot projects, including one that measures crowd density in major facilities such as airports, hospitals and tourist attractions, as well as another that helps detect a flu outbreak. The first test-bed users of the NUS Living Lab are expected to emerge from a business partnering session held during InnovFest 2013.

Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.

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