New innovation centre aims to help local tech start-ups bring AI, IoT products to market faster

SINGAPORE – Singapore technology start-ups looking to deploy their artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) products and solutions can do so much faster with help from the new PlanetSpark Innovation Centre.

Launched in Changi Business Park on Tuesday (Jan 12), the centre is an accelerator that aims to aid these companies develop a proof-of-concept of their offerings within six months, instead of taking possibly two to three years.

After that, the centre will try to help the companies commercialise their products in the next six months and introduce the firms to customers and other players in the industry.

The centre, which occupies 10,000 sq ft of office space staffed by 10 employees, is getting a $5 million initial investment by PlanetSpark, the entrepreneurial and investment arm of Singapore electronics component distributor Excelpoint Technology.

The joint investment to PlanetSpark is from Enterprise Singapore and Excelpoint.

The PlanetSpark centre is expected to help more than 30 local start-ups in the next three years.

One of the first to benefit is AI tech firm Seventh Sense, which is developing a product involving a body-worn camera linked to an AI module carried by a security personnel.

The firm is working on this with hardware partners like Excelpoint and PlanetSpark.

The AI module can process videos captured and generate alerts for both the wearer and for a central monitoring location when suspects are detected.

This cuts the need to send video feeds elsewhere to be processed, which can cost 10 times more.

The centre will have a panel of mentors from the private and public sectors to share expertise and experience with the start-ups, and can also establish partnerships with venture capital firms to provide funding to help grow start-ups with high potential.

Mr Varun Chatterji, co-founder and chief software architect of Seventh Sense, holding a ZCU104 board running a Resnet 50 Facial Recognition Model in real time. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Ms Phuay Li Ying, managing director of PlanetSpark, said that many Singapore hardware start-ups face challenges in accessing technologies from industry leaders, gaining market knowledge and finding channels to enter the regional market.

“The PlanetSpark Innovation Centre hopes to bridge this gap by innovating, incubating and inspiring,” she said.

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