JTC corporation
Feature | JTC Corporation

Creating A Smart And Sustainable District

JTC is a tech-enabled, data-driven organisation that develops industrial infrastructure which makes manufacturing and innovation possible in a city environment.

Since its inception in 1968, JTC Corporation (JTC) has played a major role in Singapore’s economic development journey by developing land and space to support the transformation of industries and create quality jobs. With the advent of digitisation, manufacturing is rapidly evolving to a data- and technology-intensive model. There is also a greater emphasis on environmental sustainability, and manufacturing is becoming increasingly greener and cleaner. To address these trends, JTC will harness technology and data to develop industrial infrastructure that is well-designed and sustainable, and that enables partnerships to be fostered among businesses, government, research institutes in our estates.

An example is the upcoming Punggol Digital District (PDD), which is envisioned to be a vibrant and inclusive district where cutting-edge technology and social innovation will transform the way people work, live, learn, and play in the future. The district integrates a business park, a university, and community facilities that aim to enable close collaboration between industry and academia. Primed to house key growth sectors of the digital economy, PDD will be home to an ecosystem of open innovation and a conducive test-bed environment that enables businesses and the community to thrive in a digital economy.

PDD is the first smart district in Singapore where the physical and digital infrastructure are fully integrated. The district will be home to Singapore’s first open digital platform (or ODP) which integrates smart estate solutions and technologies, allowing district managers to monitor, analyse, optimise, and control the various smart sensors within the district. Imagine a future workplace where you can unlock your office doors with just your face, or where you get your parcels delivered to you via mobile robots. Powered by big data and analytics, the ODP will transform the PDD user experience, and optimise operations and resource consumption within the district.

Such projects are born from the combined efforts of talented individuals at JTC, who are unwavering in their desire to contribute to Singapore’s growth. 28-year-old Chin Zhi Hui is one such individual, and he spoke to BrightSparks, reflecting on his journey with JTC.

Chin Zhi Hui

Chin Zhi Hui 
JTC Undergraduate Scholarship
Project Manager (Smart District Division)
Master of Engineering (Engineering Science)
– University of Oxford

Ground-breaking Work

Zhi Hui’s current project on the Open Digital Platform is his most significant yet. It’s a necessary step as Singapore moves towards building a Smart Nation, and the team finds inspiration by examining how smart city technologies are implemented in other countries. “Through working on this project, I’ve learned much more about the way Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT) systems work. It’s an invaluable experience,” says Zhi Hui.

Such innovative and ground-breaking projects are the norm at JTC, shares Zhi Hui, who enthuses that JTC is definitely a place to be if you look forward to working on such projects in your career. “Teams are given the flexibility to test out novel technologies and ideas; the culture of openness and innovation allows us to find new applications for well-established technologies, or even try something totally new.”

To Zhi Hui, being able to see a project through from conceptualisation to implementation is what makes his work rewarding. “It’s about the sense of accomplishment when the project is completed,” he says, recounting one of the first projects he was involved in when he first joined JTC. “I worked on the one-north Gallery, which was a sort of visitor centre for one-north when we marketed the estate. Seeing it from its conceptual design to its official launch was not a short period–it took about nine months–but the experience gave me the opportunity to learn more about the estate, and share this with others who came to visit the gallery.”

“The culture of openness and innovation allows us to find new applications for well-established technologies, or even try something totally new.” Zhi Hui

Working On Game-changing Projects

Having worked in different roles, Zhi Hui has gained a wealth of experience in different areas in the short three years since he’s joined the organisation. In his previous division, he and his team worked on the master plan of one-north, a 200-ha research and business park, and home to a community of 50,000 knowledge workers, where he ensured that the development of the estate remained relevant to Singapore’s needs and interests in economic development. JTC’s emphasis during the project was on creating a liveable and enjoyable estate that made it not just a place to work, but also somewhere that the community could come together to connect and forge collaborations.

His time at JTC has also given Zhi Hui the opportunity to work with external partners. “There’s something to learn from everyone–especially if they’re from a different field–and I always find myself learning several things from working with them (external partners),” Zhi Hui states. It is a vital part of his work, one in which Zhi Hui emphasises the importance of being willing to look at things from a different perspective and being open to learning new things.

Spurred By Curiosity

Zhi Hui’s decision to apply for the JTC scholarship started from simple curiosity. As a young child living in one of the JTC flats next to Jurong Industrial Estate, he was curious about the presence of industrial buildings in his surroundings. Learning that such estates were planned by JTC, and researching the role JTC played in Singapore’s economic development, Zhi Hui felt that the work was both interesting and meaningful to him.

Besides a meaningful career path which he enjoys, the scholarship gave him the opportunity to study overseas, where he was able to gain a broader perspective of things. Now, he takes that experience and applies it to his work as a Project Manager in the Smart District Division. His work will take Singapore’s estates to the next generation, hopefully spurring on a new generation of curious minds, much like his own.

To those who find themselves considering the JTC scholarship, Zhi Hui has these words of wisdom: “I recommend that you join the JTC internship to better understand the work that we do. Familiarise yourself with the way we work, and get to experience our friendly-working environment for yourself before making your decision!”