Mr Quek Poh Huat, Chairman of AETOS Holdings,
Mr Wong Heang Fine, Group CEO of Surbana-Jurong,
Mr James Tan, Executive Director & CEO of AETOS Holdings,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. Good afternoon. Thank you for inviting me to join you for the official opening of the new AETOS Complex.
2. As companies go, AETOS is a relatively young one. Still a teenager - about 14 years old – since you got started in 2004. But a teenager that is experiencing a great growth spurt. In the span of time that you have been around, you have grown to be one of the largest providers of security services in Singapore, a remarkable achievement made possible by a commitment to professionalism, up and down the ranks. So on this very happy occasion, I want to wish you very well for the future and heartiest congratulations!
3. This new building is, of course, a significant milestone. It is a new home, and it signals the beginning of a new phase. As you continue your journey of growth, this new facility enables you to raise your game, in terms of operational capabilities and staff training. If you do it well, you will be in a better position to serve your clients better, and make a bigger contribution to Singapore's safety and security.
4. Together with the rest of the security industry, AETOS is a key partner to the Home Team. You help protect many of our nation's critical infrastructure, buildings, and public spaces. You have supported many of the Home Team's operations to secure large scale events. There are too many to mention, but in the Straits Times today, I saw a full 2-page spread, and on the right-side, some of the events that you have helped to secure were listed – Southeast Asian Games, Youth Olympics Games, you name it. And these have all been very important in the Home Team's ability to detect and deter crime, and in today's context, terrorism. The threat is closer than you think.
5. Among all of these achievements, what encourages me most is that AETOS is very actively involved in developing and test-bedding innovative security technologies. You are deeply embedded in the process of us trying to induct new technologies into the industry. That to me is very significant. In other words, you have not taken your leadership position for granted. You continue to invest in your capabilities and you are bringing the industry along. By helping to meet the needs of service buyers in more effective ways, you are also helping the industry become more productive. Something which is core to Singapore's next journey of economic development.
NEED FOR INDUSTRY TRANSFORMATION
6. As many of you who are present today will know, MHA has been working with AETOS and other industry partners on ways to transform the security industry. Many of my colleagues are here today. Transformation is clearly needed to tackle the challenges ahead of us, as well as to take full advantage of the opportunities.
7. What are these challenges and opportunities?
8. For one, demand for security solutions and services will continue to grow. Much of the demand will be driven by new infrastructure. For example, we are building the new Changi Airport Terminal 5 which will one day have capacity to handle as many passengers as T1 to T3 combined. I was heavily involved in the design and development of the Changi East piece parcel. And T5 will be nothing like you have ever experienced before. Just imagine Terminals 1, 2 and 3 put together, that volume of passengers. Just imagine the kind of design, complexity and the operational challenges that we will face. But from day one, we were very clear that just because we have to handle more than twice the capacity, more than twice the number of passengers one day, it doesn't mean that we need to use twice as many people to get the job done. That is only on the east part of the island, on the western part of the island, Tuas Port and, in the not too distant future, the High Speed Rail between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. It will be a game-changer.
9. So with improved air, sea and land connectivity, undoubtedly, there will be more people and goods moving through Singapore. More large-scale events such as international trade shows, pop concerts and sports tournaments will be held here.
10. The industry will, however, be increasingly challenged to find the manpower to meet the growing demand for security services. It is not just the numbers but also the combination of skills and aptitude that you want to see in the people.
11. Growing demand coupled with an urgent need to address your manpower challenge mean that the industry is ripe for transformation. We also have a more educated and IT-savvy workforce, that can be deployed to manage and operate more complex security systems.
12. From that perspective, we have an unprecedented opportunity to uplift the industry and raise the standards of professionalism to a whole new level, one that is no longer headcount-driven but focussed on quality outcomes. In the transformed security setting, technology will be a key enabler that allows you to deliver security services much more effectively and efficiently. At the same time, jobs will become easier, safer and smarter.
13. To take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity, MHA has been working with our tripartite partners, to develop the Security Industry Transformation Map (ITM). The Security ITM will look into technology adoption, smart sourcing, and very importantly, enhancing skills of the individuals in the sector. We will also have re-align our regulatory environment to give full support to this transformation.
14. We are putting the final touches to the ITM and more details will be shared next month when we launch the ITM. But today, let me share just one example of how technology is transforming service delivery at AETOS.
ADVANCING THE SECURITY SECTOR THROUGH TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION
15. Conventionally, security guards are deployed at every building to monitor the security and fire systems. Very common, you see them all the time. The security officers are expected to conduct patrols and respond to suspicious incidents. But patrols are time-consuming, particularly when there are buildings that are larger, more complex and more varied in their design. On any given shift, unless you deploy an army of officers, in some cases, it may not be possible to give more than a cursory attention to any particular spot in a building. Technology promises to change all of that.
16. AETOS has deployed a system right here at the AETOS Command Centre and it is a breakthrough in many ways. The system uses sensors, CCTVs and very importantly, video analytics to perform security surveillance and fire detection of not just one building, but a cluster of several buildings at the same time. If there is an incident and a response is required, a mobile response force will be dispatched. Even with fewer officers, suspicious incidents can be attended to more quickly. AETOS is therefore able to help building owners reduce the number of security guards deployed without compromising security. In some ways, one could even argue that the security outcomes could be improved because people get tired. Machines break down, but if you maintain them well, they can go for many hours without rest, with far greater accuracy.
17. At the same time that this is happening, the security officers are freed up to perform higher value-added work. The appropriate use of technology to carry out routine, labour intensive tasks, allows the security officer to focus on tasks that are more complex or require human judgement, such as incident response. Also, they think about how to secure the premises better. Technology also allows a security officer to secure a larger area with greater effectiveness. All these will make our security officers more productive.
18. A number of technology solutions in the market have the potential to vastly improve how premises are secured. It is not just the technology of course. As security agencies always remind me, we also need forward-looking service buyers who are willing to redesign work processes to take full advantage of the technologies.
19. The use of technology will require some upfront investment, of course, with all of these equipment. However, buyers will reap the returns over time through more efficient manpower use and improved security outcomes. In this regard, the successful deployment of technology solutions by security services providers like AETOS will help to set new industry standards and spur greater adoption.
20. On our part, the Government will continue to strongly support the companies to invest in technology that improve productivity and create better quality jobs. I will be speaking more about these initiatives when we launch the Security ITM next month.
21. I want to wrap up by saying that the future for the security industry presents challenges, but also plentiful opportunities for companies that are innovative and progressive. So from that perspective, I think Surbana-Jurong was very strategic in its partnership in this acquisition. There is also scope for our security officers to grow their skills, and to take up jobs that are more impactful and rewarding.
22. Government, unions, and industry partners, like AETOS, have a shared interest to see through the industry transformation. As we congratulate AETOS on the happy occasion of the opening of the new AETOS Complex, we also usher in a new chapter for the company and hopefully, the beginning of an exciting era for the private security sector in Singapore.
23. I am given to understand that Aetos is Greek for eagle, and as we know, for the eagle, the sky is the limit. and so for AETOS as well, the sky is the limit for you.
24. Thank you.