7 Things You Didn’t Know About This Silicon Valley Of Asia26 Feb 2021
Mention Silicon Valley, and what comes to mind is a bustling community - home to the world’s densest concentration of innovative tech companies right in San Francisco, California.
Thankfully, digital nomads like you and I won’t have to fly 13,857 km away to experience the buzz. Right within our island-state sits a mini ‘Silicon Valley Of Asia’ situated in the south-west, along Singapore’s Technology Corridor.
Touted as the hotbed for innovation and R&D, Singapore Science Park is known as the technological epicentre of Asia. The sprawling hub is regarded as a melting pot of start-ups, multinationals and regional HQs, where talents connect, collaborate and bring forth innovative ideas.
With much to discover within this playground, we trawled the park to unearth 7 hidden facts you may not have known:
#1: A Coworking Space For All
Photo credit: Bridge+]
Looking to escape the isolation of a home office and work in the company of like-minded people? Why not head down to Bridge+ at Ascent, Singapore Science Park’s innovation community builder and workspace for all!
Nestled in between the stretch of eateries and the entrance of Ascent, Bridge+ offers a collaborative environment filled with a myriad of amenities to meet your working needs. Besides the actual coworking space, deep inside Bridge+ holds another facility unbeknownst to many.
Take a right turn into the entrance of Bridge+ and you will find yourself in the “experience room”. Officially known as the The Catapult, it is a first-of-its-kind Shared Executive Learning Centre in South East Asia. The space is designed to deliver training programmes in an experiential and immersive way through the latest learning technologies, and will set its presence at Rochester Commons early next year. Through the power of technology, The Catapult experience room defies boundaries and plays host to several hybrid events by enabling in-person and online sessions!
The centrepiece is a 180-degree immersive screen which facilitates shared virtual reality viewing experience during workshops, as well as expanded virtual conferencing capabilities. Curious how a hybrid experiential session looks like? Here is a snippet from our last hosted event:
[Photo credit: DSO National Laboratories]
It has been more than a year since COVID-19 first emerged. But the good news is, medical breakthroughs have led to vaccine discovery with the likes of Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Orford/AstraZeneca. While the discovery of newfound vaccines may be old news; unknown to many, the fight against the pandemic began early with these companies residing in Singapore Science Park.
Stepping up to the plate is DSO National Laboratories, Singapore’s largest defence research and development (R&D) organisation, and Acumen Research Laboratories, a contract research organisation. To address the urgent need for timely detection of COVID-19 infection, these two R&D companies were among the first to beat the clock in supplying diagnostic test kits authorised by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA)! On top of that, the scientists at DSO National Laboratories even managed to discover five antibodies that could potentially neutralise the virus that causes COVID-19.
[Photo credit: Weston Robot]
Bringing something new to the table is homegrown deeptech robotics company Weston Robot. COVID-19 has led to a rise in automation towards manual processes such as disinfection work, safe distancing measures and temperature taking.
Seizing the opportunity, the robotics firm jumped onboard and deployed their series of COVID-19 robots to take on these activities. Fully-autonomous with 4G-based remote controls in some, these robots handled tasks from sanitisation through UV light disinfection, patrolling to surveillance with ease and helped address manpower limitations brought about by the pandemic.
#3: Stands on a History of 40 years
There is more than meets the eye when it comes to this sprawling hub. Don’t be fooled by the polished exterior of the iconic Ascent, or the newest Shopee building located at 5 Science Park Drive. Take a stroll through the park and you will discover traces of history interwoven within this modern campus.
Night view of 5 Science Park Drive
Home to more than 300 MNCs, local companies and research organisations, the very first tenant dates way back to 1982. Det Norske Veritas (DNV) is a leading quality assurance and risk management global organisation that helps companies become safer, smarter and greener. Their entrance marked the beginning of many global partnerships currently residing in the park.
For the observant, you will notice how the hub is interspersed with a mixture of old and new buildings each with distinct traits, telling of each decade. One such cluster can be located at Singapore Science Park 1, where buildings take on the last names of famous scientists - James Chadwick, Marie Curie and Henry Cavendish, to name a few.
Years from now, you can look forward to a revamped Singapore Science Park as plans towards modernisation progress.
#4: Saturated with Sustainable Smart City Technology
Imagine how much convenience and efficiency a city filled with optimised infrastructure, mobility and utilities can bring? Not a dream of the future, the 5G-ready Singapore Science Park has what it takes to elevate our nation into a fully developed smart city.
As Singapore’s largest 5G smart estate trial site, the park goes all out when it comes to implementing and testing sustainable innovations to address growing urbanisation challenges. Apart from the widely publicised Smart Urban Co-Innovation Lab, Autonomous Shuttle Service and Intelligent Building Platform, here are a few smaller scale, but equally essential innovations implemented across the park:
Installation of Solar Panels: Over at Ascent, solar panels have been installed with the aim to further reduce the building’s daily operational footprint in the coming year.
Electric Vehicle Charging Stations: Currently only located at basement car parks, the park will progressively install more electric vehicle charging stations across the entire campus to meet the goal of becoming Singapore’s largest public charging electric vehicle network of the future.
Optimised Ventilation System: Innovative air conditioning and mechanical ventilation system optimisation will be implemented to aid energy efficiency through 2021. With better ventilation, a 20% reduction in energy consumption will be expected across the park.
#5: TGIF! BBQ Night inside the Park
All work and no play? Not so at Singapore Science Park. If you are looking to hold a get-together after work hours to bond with your colleagues and friends, you will be pleased to know there are barbeque pits located at The Gemini in Singapore Science Park 2 available for booking*. (Gentle reminder to adhere to existing social distancing measures by keeping to a group of eight!)
If barbequing is too much of a hassle, consider checking out the savoury local zi char fare such as the Famous JB 101 at Sparkle for their signature dishes such as crab beehoon soup and curry fish head, or head over to Diamond Kitchen at The Oasis at Singapore Science Park 1 to try out their popular dishes such as pepper crab, superior stock clam bee hoon and hot plate beancurd. There is definitely something to suit every palate.
[image credit: fit·bloc]
As for those looking to squeeze in a workout during lunchtime or after work, you will be delighted to know that Fitbloc resides within The Oasis as well. Catered to every fitness need, Fitbloc is Singapore's largest indoor fitness and bouldering gym and comes fully equipped with three rock climbing walls, a weights room, studio and swimming pool.
If nature is your game, both SSP and one-north are excellent neighbourhoods to take to the pavement, whether you are a serious or casual runner. Check out these scenic jogging trails within the park for a good cardio workout.
*Available only to tenants of Singapore Science Park. Simply complete and email the BBQ request form to the facility manager in-charge.
#6: Art at Play
From the Kinetic Movement by Edwin Cheong at Ascent to oil paintings by Gloria Kee at The Aries, art is alive around the park. Creativity and concrete go very much hand-in-hand at Singapore Science Park. Curated to enhance the space, incorporating artworks within the architecture plays an important role in showcasing the vibrancy and concept of the built environment.
At the iconic 5 Science Park Drive building, located out in the open is the towering MyEquilibria, a 7m tall ‘Fitness Tree’. Designed by Vito Di Bari, MyEquilibria redefines art, fitness and community by combining all three elements into one.
Beyond an art piece, the sculpture doubles up as an outdoor fitness system - perfect for the community looking for a convenient workout! Covering up to nine sports disciplines from callisthenics, stretching, yoga and more, it definitely is a game-changing concept and gives new meaning to contemporary art.
#7: Spot a World War II Pillbox
[Photo credit: National Library Board (NLB)]
Turns out, although Singapore may be a relatively young nation, it is scattered with secret war sites and hidden bunkers that detail our eventful history. Hidden in plain sight, there is actually a little gem located at the junction of Pasir Panjang Road and Science Park Road.
At the entrance of Singapore Science Park 2 stands the Pasir Panjang Machine-Gun Pillbox. Tracing back to World War II, the pillbox is one of the many that were built in the 1930s to strengthen Singapore’s coastal defense before the war broke out across the island. It now lies within the area guarded by the 1st Battalion of the Malay Regiment which later battled invading Japanese 18th Division troops.
From a WWII Pillbox, community facilities to innovative sustainable technology, this ‘Silicon Valley Of Asia’ is filled with rich history and fun for the community! Now that you have uncovered these 7 lesser-known facts about Singapore Science Park, which is your favourite?
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