Singapore Airlines opens digital innovation lab

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Singapore Airlines last week opened its new digital innovation lab – known as KrisLab – as part of the SIA Group’s significant investment programme – aimed at making it the world’s leading digital airline.

The unveiling of KrisLab is the result of a year-long partnership with leading organisations, including Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), National University of Singapore (NUS). The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and the Economic Development Bureau (FDB) have been supporting this important milestone.

The opening of KrisLab at the SIA Group Sports Club was officiated by Minister for Trade and Industry, Chan Chun Sing, in the presence of representatives from key partner organisations.

KrisLab is designed as a collaborative workspace for SIA Group staff to develop innovative ideas and co-innovate with external partners, start-ups, established incubators and accelerators, enabling the SIA Group to fully embrace digitalisation and technology in all aspects of its business operations.

Blockchain, artificial intelligence and data analytics, among others, are used and explored by staff as they push the boundaries of tech innovation.

“The launch of KrisLab is a significant step forward in our digital transformation journey and encapsulates our ambition to be the leading digital airline in the world,” said Singapore Airlines chief executive officer, Goh Choon Phong.

“We are fully committed to further enhancing our digital capabilities by providing the right tools and infrastructure for staff to develop their ideas, as well as collaborating with external partners and start-ups to help solve business challenges.”

How does it work? Staff submit ideas and solutions for evaluation by the Digital Innovation Lab team based on key criteria, such as market readiness. Once an idea has been approved, the Digital Innovation Lab team injects the necessary funding and expertise to help further develop it into a prototype, before moving to implementation stage.

For example, KrisLab is using virtual reality technology to revolutionise the design of on board cabin interiors even faster than before.

In addition, the Digital Innovation Lab team is collaborating closely with research institutions such as A*STAR and NUS into deep-tech projects. This will give SIA a competitive edge in areas such as revenue management, smart seats, virtual training, and predictive maintenance for aircraft.

The design of KrisLab was the brainchild of students from LASALLE College of the Arts in a competition intended to nurture emerging talent and provide students an opportunity to translate theories into industry experience.

Under the guidance of LASALLE lecturers, students’ concepts were passed for final evaluation by the ultimate panel of aviation industry experts from both academia and SIA.

Meanwhile, SIA is busy fostering growth for its main assets – employees. A new programme has been launched called LIFE (Learning and Innovation for Everyone) to nurture digital mindsets.

LIFE is a three day learning festival for SIA Group employees who want to be part of the exciting transformation culture, by continuous learning. The means that they can learn new skills in the workplace and daily lives.

The festival offers workshops, expert talks from tech leaders and peer learning opportunities from across the SIA Group.