Spurring Innovation and Collaboration
06 Jul 2018

To boost knowledge exchange and explore new frontiers of partnership and growth amidst swift technological advancements, DSTA organised the inaugural Singapore Defence Technology Summit (Tech Summit) from 27 to 29 June 2018.

Emerging technologies such as data analytics and artificial intelligence have brought about not just new opportunities but new challenges as well. Against this backdrop, the Tech Summit was anchored on the theme “Impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4th IR) on Defence and Security”.

Delivering the keynote address, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean highlighted the importance of gathering global minds to collaborate, especially in light of the disruptive changes brought about by the 4th IR. He said: “As economies become more integrated and connected digitally, governments, companies and academia need to form partnerships to better address issues that cut across sectors and national boundaries. The more interconnected we are, and the more we rely on key nodes and critical information infrastructure, the higher the concentration risks. These can result in not just a local disruption, but potentially a system-wide global one.”


Beyond serving as a platform to encourage the sharing of knowledge and perspectives, the Tech Summit was also an opportunity for Singapore to play a “useful role in this region and even globally where progressive minds meet, where ideas flourish, and new paths are forged”, said Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen in his welcome address. He added: “We do not seek only to gather people who agree, but instead, through the contest of ideas and sharing of different perspectives, we hope to provide Singapore as a safe physical and intellectual haven where new possibilities abound and hope is renewed.”

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Over the three days, some 400 leading thought leaders, policymakers, chief executive officers and chief technology officers, academics and entrepreneurs from 17 countries convened in Singapore to explore new ways to innovate and build collaborations through a series of plenary and breakout sessions. Led by close to 40 global experts and luminaries, the sessions provided rich perspectives and spurred insightful discussions on key drivers of change in unmanned technologies, big data, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.

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To drive further discussions, the Tech Summit also included a tech showcase which featured the innovative use of emerging technologies. Several of some of Singapore’s key technology centres also opened their doors to the delegates to share initiatives and efforts that are shaping Singapore’s development as a Smart Nation. The technology centres included DSO National Laboratories, Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise, and the Littoral Mission Vessel among others.

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During the Tech Summit, Singapore also strengthened its collaborative ties with its partners by signing three agreements. MINDEF and the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence affirmed their long-standing defence technology relations through the renewal of the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperative Defence Research for the next decade. Separately, DSTA signed the first project agreement with Boeing to commence joint research and co-development in data analytics, and an agreement with Airbus to pursue joint cooperation in exploiting advances in digital technologies.

Many delegates saw the Tech Summit as a valuable platform to discuss ideas and find new opportunities to work together.

Professor Stuart Madnick, John Norris Maguire Professor of Information Technologies from the MIT Sloan School of Management in USA, agreed. He said: “I think that the whole idea of organising this Tech Summit is important as we all realise we are going through enormous changes in technology that are affecting private sectors as well as the military. The fact that Singapore has taken on the leadership role in organising this is something I am glad to see happen and I think this will be an important event to continue into the future.”

Dr Hong Won-Pyo, President and CEO of Samsung SDS from South Korea, said that the variety of expertise and organisations present at the Tech Summit reflected “different perspectives from different industries and different levels of interest”. He added: “I found this summit to be very valuable because many speakers are now talking about the convergence between the technology innovation from the enterprise and also the need for innovations in the defence industry.”

For more information on the Tech Summit, visit its website here