Aerospace company Thales adds new ‘digital factory’ here
French aerospace company's new lab will create digital solutions and test them in Singapore for global implementation
French aerospace company Thales has added a new 'digital factory' to its stable of research labs in Singapore, which aims to produce high-tech data-based solutions for the region.
Launching it yesterday, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing described the research lab as a microcosm of what he hoped Singapore would embark on in the future.
From next year, the lab will house around 30 experts drawn from a mix of nationalities, including Singaporeans.
The Parisian company, which set up shop in Singapore in 1973, has around 700 employees here.
It aims to grow this figure to around 2,000 after it completes the acquisition of the Netherlands-based digital security firm Gemalto in the first quarter of next year.
The new Thales lab at Cross Street represents part of a 20 million euro (S$31 million) investment in Singapore over the next five years.
Staff numbers at the lab are expected to increase in that time and Thales hopes to draw from a talent pool of data scientists, software engineers, designers and cyber security experts from the region.
SINGAPORE AS TEST BED
These specialists will produce digital solutions, using technologies such as big data, artificial intelligence and cloud computing to solve problems faced by Singaporean firms and test them to see if they can be deployed worldwide.
Thales' vice-president of digital transformation Olivier Flous said: "What we want to do is to work with our Singapore customers to test these original products, and then to implement them worldwide to serve a global market."
The company's customers include Singapore Airlines, SMRT, Changi Airport and the Singapore Armed Forces.
Singapore was not a surprising choice as the location for the group's third digital factorygiven its heavy presence here and the proximity to Asian customers, said senior executive vice-president of international development Pascale Sourisse.
Thales' other digital factories are in France and Canada.
Mr Chan said the new Thales factory adds to Singapore's digital capabilities.
"We see exactly the model that we will be embarking on," he said on the sidelines of a tour of the factory.
"In this factory, we see Singaporeans working with talented people from overseas and around the world as part of a wider network.
"There are a lot of opportunities for Singaporeans to participate in such learning and the finding of solutions."