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Google Cloud ties up with AI Singapore on skills training

Google Cloud is working with Singapore’s national AI programme to build up the country’s talent pool in machine learning and AI

Google Cloud has teamed up with Singapore’s national artificial intelligence (AI) programme to build up the country’s talent pool in machine learning and AI.

Under AI Singapore’s nine-month apprenticeship initiative, budding AI engineers will undergo two months of intensive training followed by hands-on experience in real world projects.

These projects include those that have been spearheaded by AI Singapore’s 100 Experiments initiative to solve problems for businesses through AI, and to support the growth of local AI start-ups.

With the partnership between Google Cloud and AI Singapore, companies will have the opportunity to use Google Cloud’s AI and machine learning services to produce minimal viable products, with half of the project costs co-funded by AI Singapore.

One Singapore start-up that has benefitted from AI Singapore’s programmes and its partnership with Google Cloud is Oceans.ai. The company has built an asset inspection platform that uses drones and robotics to identify defects in industrial equipment, such as those used by the oil and gas industry.

“We’ve built a basic inspection and reporting platform, using Firebase and Google Cloud services like the Cloud Run engine and cloud storage,” said Vinod Govindan, founder and managing director of Oceans.ai, adding that the company is now building an AI engine to identify asset defects using drone imagery.

Govindan said using Google Cloud has enabled it to speed up development time, along with the flexibility to build front-end applications using Firebase. “Once the AI engine is developed, we expect to use Kubernetes and some AI components in the Google Cloud platform in our deployment,” he added.

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So far, Oceans.ai’s platform has been able to reduce the time taken by its clients to complete their asset inspection work by 30-50%. This can be slashed by another 30% using the AI engine, Govindan said.

Laurence Liew, director for innovation and maker space at AI Singapore, said the partnership with Google Cloud is not exclusive, adding that there are projects in the 100 Experiments initiative which run on Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

That said, Liew noted that the Google partnership is a “natural extension” of the work that AI Singapore is already doing with cloud providers and will attract more companies to the 100 Experiments programme and the Google Cloud platform.

Google Cloud has been touting its AI capabilities for some time now as it competes with other cloud suppliers for a slice of the public cloud market.

“We have an open-source methodology and we’ve been dealing with AI for a long time,” said Paul Wilson, managing director for public sector at Google Cloud Asia-Pacific. “We've really developed AI all the way up to the silicon layer with our TPUs [tensor processing units].”

Google Cloud has been maintaining its growth momentum, benefiting from its Google One approach of driving cross-sell and integration opportunities across its portfolio.

Overall, it grew 56% in the first quarter this year to account for a 7% market share, according to market data from Canalys, which noted that cloud-native development and cloud migration among Google Cloud customers has been boosted by the company’s focus on industry-specific solutions, machine learning, analytics and data management.

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