As part of a larger strategy to transform how IT is delivered across the firm, General Electric (GE) has launched its Asia Digital Operations Centre - the first such facility in Asia, the centre will support the multinational conglomerate's global information technology services and operations.

According to The Straits Times, the centre, which opened yesterday, provides round-the-clock infrastructure, systems engineering and IT support. Housed within the firm's premises at The Metropolis, it has minimal staff now but will eventually have about 60 employees, including engineers in network and security, enterprise applications and reliability, as well as technical product managers.

The multinational conglomerate revealed that the number of software jobs at the centre could grow threefold over the next five years.

Additionally, GE is partnering SP Group to develop capabilities in Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) and intelligent applications to enhance the reliability and efficiency of Singapore's power network.

Engineering and digital experts from the two firms will work together to create tools that make use of data analytics and artificial intelligence to improve asset performance and reduce unplanned downtime in network operations, translating into cost savings for customers.

Agreements were also signed with Spring Singapore to develop an incubation programme for technology start-ups, and with Singapore Institute of Management's entrepreneurship centre, Platform E, to set up a co-working space to support Industrial Internet entrepreneurship locally and in the region.

"The Industrial Internet represents a multibillion-dollar opportunity for the industry," said GE chairman and chief executive Jeff Immelt told The Straits Times at the launch yesterday.

"We look forward to working with our partners in Singapore to build a digital ecosystem and support entrepreneurship in the country," Immelt added.

Beh Swan Gin, chairman of the Economic Development Board, told The Straits Times that GE's collaboration with local partners will help the tech community manage the growing opportunities in Industrial IoT in Asia, and that the group's new centre will provide Singaporeans with "many exciting opportunities and rewarding careers in the digital industrial economy".

GE first set up a manufacturing presence here in Jurong Industrial Estate in 1969. It now has close to 4,000 employees here across major businesses such as aviation, healthcare, power, as well as oil and gas.

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