Singapore Telecommunications Limited, commonly known as Singtel, has on Wednesday debuted its initiative to advance artificial intelligence (AI) development in Singapore and the region, tying up with global and local ecosystem partners across AI, renewable energy, sustainable technologies and talent development.

The initiative comes as the company is scaling its regional data center business, having gained a foothold in new markets beyond Singapore like Indonesia and Thailand where it is building a new generation of green, sustainable and hyper-connected AI-ready data centers, Singtel said in a statement.

Central to the initiative are four sets of strategic memoranda of understanding (MOU) including collaborating with NVIDIA to make AI adoption more accessible in Singapore and across the region; tapping the renewable energy expertise of Gulf Energy, Medco Power, Sembcorp and TNB Renewables to accelerate Nxera’s journey towards net-zero emissions; establishing a co-innovation platform with technology partners to improve power and water efficiency and operational resiliency; and creating a Regional Sustainable Data Centre Academy with five institutes of higher learning to train more than 150 students annually for its data center business, ecosystem partners and the industry.

“The launch of the Nxera data center brand is a key milestone for our data center business as we look to expand our footprint in the region beyond 200MW over the next three years,” said Bill Chang, Chief Executive Officer of Nxera and Singtel’s Digital InfraCo unit.

“As we build out our data center business, we are putting in place a purpose-driven, fully aligned group of ecosystem partners with distinctive capabilities and unique platforms that will help us grow this digital infrastructure in an AI world – sustainably and responsibly,

“This means democratizing AI access for enterprises, introducing renewable energy and sustainable technologies, and helping produce the talent for our new generation of data centers,” he said.

Given their aim to achieve operational net-zero emissions for our data center business by 2028, he said these partnerships are critical to laying the groundwork for turning digitalization into a driver for decarbonization,

“Of course, we are also doing our utmost to support the Singapore government’s recently announced National AI Strategy 2.0 and green ICT agenda,” he added.

According to the statement, Singtel’s key initiatives including supporting national and regional AI development; driving sustainable growth through renewable energy partnerships; test-bedding sustainable solutions for commercial deployment regionally; creating new regional training academy to build a strong talent pipeline.

Singtel’s Digital InfraCo unit and NVIDIA will collaborate on opportunities to support Singapore’s updated National AI Strategy 2.0 to drive innovation and create new value through AI.

In becoming an NVIDIA cloud partner in the region, Singtel will democratize AI access for enterprises, large and small, to NVIDIA GPU clusters hosted in Nxera’s AI DC platform in the region.

Customers can leverage Singtel’s extensive fixed broadband network, submarine cables and 5G high-speed network connectivity together with the patented Paragon cloud platform to orchestrate their AI workloads in a multi-network and multi-cloud environment.

Nxera will also provide customers with carrier neutrality to meet all their connectivity resiliency needs.

To achieve operational net-zero emissions by 2028, Nxera is working with leading energy players such as Sembcorp in Singapore and Gulf Energy, Medco Power and TNB Renewables in the region to tap on their renewable energy initiatives.

Gulf Energy and Medco Power are partners in Nxera’s data center joint ventures in Thailand and Indonesia respectively.

Nxera also aims to achieve the lowest PUE and the highest water usage efficiency as part of developing the most sustainable data center platform to power the AI future.

In the area of sustainable technologies, Nxera and its partners, comprising local enterprises Deston and SGP Global as well as global leaders QCT, Shell, Stulz and Supermicro, will establish a co-innovation platform to develop and test liquid and immersion cooling and also water-saving technologies.

When these technologies are operationalized, they will be implemented in DC Tuas in Singapore and data centers in the region.

DC Tuas will have a PUE of 1.23 at full load and will be one of the lowest PUE and most efficient data centers in Asia.

Nxera also intends to develop a smart internet of things (IoT) and digital twin platform with local software company Red Dot Analytics to monitor, manage and optimize its data center operations, using the platform’s predictive and simulation capabilities to achieve better overall energy efficiency and operational resiliency.

Meanwhile, Nxera is creating a Regional Sustainable Data Centre Academy in collaboration with institutes of higher learning to develop talent for the industry which is facing a shortage due to the rapid growth in data center capacity in Southeast Asia.

The academy will launch in mid-2024 with Singapore Institute of Technology, Nanyang Polytechnic, Singapore Polytechnic, Temasek Polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education as its first partners.

It is expected to train more than 150 students annually, particularly in new areas of data center development such as sustainability and high-density AI environments to create high-value jobs in Singapore and the region.

Nxera will also jointly develop curriculum and training programs incorporating practical workplace asynchronous learning for existing undergraduate, diploma and ITE DC-related courses and upskilling opportunities for seasoned and mid-career professionals, including competency-based, stackable micro-credentials that align with the latest technologies and practices as well as mentoring from industry experts.

This collaboration will be extended to other institutes in its regional markets of Thailand and Indonesia in the next phase.

Serving the digital infrastructure needs of hyperscalers and enterprises, Nxera is currently developing three AI data center projects.

The new 58MW DC Tuas in Singapore and data centers with partners Telkom and Medco Power in Indonesia and Gulf Energy and AIS in Thailand will increase its total pipeline capacity to more than 200MW from its current operational capacity of 62MW in Singapore.

These new data centers will be standardized for customers across countries to give those with multi-country operations a consistent experience and greater speed to market, and Nxera will continue to execute on this approach as it expands its footprint in Asia Pacific.

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