Stellar Lifestyle, the business arm of SMRT, has launched ‘Hive by Stellar Lifestyle’, an innovation space to help SMEs with practical go-to-market implementation solutions covering new consumer technologies and training studios, complemented with novel pop up stores.
Located within Esplanade MRT, ‘Hive by Stellar Lifestyle’ is Stellar Lifestyle’s latest initiative to develop a robust, innovative and digital ecosystem for SMEs. The launch of the hub kickstarts its innovation programme, which was launched earlier this year at InnovFest.
The hub was launched by Minister of Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong, and features key brands such as StarHub and TikTok alongside local brands. The space will be refreshed regularly to welcome other like-minded partners that support SMEs, complemented with a robust calendar of events and workshops.
‘Hive by Stellar Lifestyle’ will start by offering services to SMEs covering content creation, product testing and validation as well as fulfillment models.
Create social media content in a digital studio
On the content creation front, the hub has a dedicated digital studio for merchants and retailers to create social media content to attract and maintain customer engagement.
TikTok will be working hand in hand with Stellar Lifestyle to support its tenants’ and merchants’ digital transformations from offline-to-online social media content and e-commerce, create new content, as well as on-board their products TikTok Shop.
According to Jason Song, TikTok’s APAC head of small business engagement, TikTok looks to empower SMEs and local businesses to creatively engage audiences and sustain their growth through its platform.
Get a head start in the F&B industry in a co-working kitchen
Alongside that, the hub also offers a demo kitchen, Hive Kitchen, supported by its F&B accelerator partner Incubaker, to nurture local F&B entrepreneurs and help them get a head start developing new dining experiences for food connoisseurs.
Incubaker is Singapore’s first co-working kitchen studio for food-makers, from home-based businesses, and startups to MNCs, and allows them to connect their needs to a suite of services and resources such as access to suppliers, packaging companies, and venture capital seed funds, among others.
Additionally, it also offers kitchen solutions and events management services to support clients with project-based requirements. Hive Kitchen will be able to leverage Incubaker’s expertise and network to co-create and validate novel ideas and concepts in the F&B industry.
Distribution service point for tenants and merchants
‘Hive by Stellar Lifestyle’ also houses its partner Pickupp, a logistics technology company who operates a distribution service point for all last mile delivery needs within the train stations for the hub’s tenants and merchants.
Pickupp provides flexible, tech-driven logistics solutions, enabling businesses of all sizes to scale and thrive. Through highly optimised batching and chaining technology, customers can book a delivery anytime without sacrificing speed and cost, while real time GPS tracking provides end-to-end transparency.
In 2020, Pickupp also launched Shop on Pickupp, a one stop eCommerce platform offering all rounded payment and tech-enabled delivery solutions for businesses.
Merchants and tenants housed within Hive
Other than a demo kitchen, digital studio and a distribution service point, the hub also houses and has partnered various startups and local businesses. Here’s a look at some of them:
Singpost showcases its latest innovation, POPStop, at the hub. POPStop is a new facility which brings more convenience for consumers wanting to deliver parcels.
POPStop facilities, intended to be rolled out at MRTs by January 2023, will provide automated machines for parcel drop offs, named POPDrop, where customers can just drop in their parcels. Tracking details for the parcel can be checked on the SingPost app.
Alongside that, there will also be a vending machine, providing stationery such as pens and material boxes for shipments for greater convenience. Customers can come equipped with nothing but the item they want delivered, and get everything they need from the vending machine.
Le Tach Vending Machine
Meanwhile, Le Tach Vending Machine, a local startup importing high tech vending machines from the US, Japan and China, intends to introduce a new vending machine concept at the hub.
In Asia, it provides customers with popular drinks and snacks, with a focus on the healthier side such as chrysanthemum drinks, and will leverage on the latest technologies to create a one stop web portal to cater for all its customers’ needs.
It also provides mobile applications integrated with the vending machines to create added convenience for its customers.
Another local business housing its business within the hub would be logi-tech company Quickbot Technologies. Quickbot is conducting a proof-of-concept project in collaboration with Stellar Lifestyle, South Beach Consortium, and 7-Eleven using delivery robots on South Beach premises.
Quickbot’s latest product, a “Robotic Final-Mile Delivery” network, is currently in a test phase. Its last-mile delivery network harnesses robotics and AI technologies, machine learning and data-anaytics to extend the Final-Mile to Door Services for third party logistic and courier service providers.
In other words, it enables a fully automated delivery system, from the last mile, the very last step of a delivery process when a parcel is moved from a transportation hub, to a customer or retail store.
Other than Quickbot, local brand Octobox displays their autonomous store platform in the hub.
Octobox develops and operates unmanned stores in Singapore, and enables retailers to transition to unmanned stores. It currently has four outlets located at NUS’ University Town, NUS Bukit
Timah campus, Hougang and Kallang Community Centres.
The operating process of the unmanned stores is simple. Customers just have to register their palm prints on a biometric palm reader, enter an unmanned store, pick out their items, pay and leave with their items.
The technology then collects sales data, such as the most sought after product and the time and date of purchase, to help curate items for stores.
Working with Stellar Lifestyle, the brand hopes to introduce the new technology to more retailers and merchants by showcasing its potential at the hub, explained Jeffrey Sun, founder of Octobox.
Noyes Technologies intends to conduct a proof-of-concept programme at “Hive by Stellar Lifestyle” for tenants, merchants, and wholesale suppliers.
A Munich-based company founded in 2021, Noyes Technologies offers a robotised nano-
storage, “NoyesStorage”, the first solution on the market to automate the smallest storage areas from 10 meters by 10 meters.
This opens a wide range of application areas in different sectors, especially in Singapore, such as postal services, industry, e-commerce and (food) retail. It optimises logistics processes and reduces costs to the necessary minimum.
Within the hub, commuters can look forward to salads and smoothies from Blooom, a concept by
Singrow, a local urban farming specialist with innovative agri-technology solutions for producing premium-quality fruits and vegetables.
The smoothies and salads are made using locally grown and produced agriculture. Some of Singrow’s agriculture, such as its strawberries are grown in Singapore’s tropical climate with an IP registered technology.
StarHub showcases its Smart Digital Retail Solution at ‘Hive by Stellar Lifestyle’. It provides services from Point-of-Sales, mobile ordering, and customer relationship management to in-store analytics and engagement, and accounting systems.
These solutions are intended to help improve in-store shopping experience and reduce operating costs for a seamless and convenient customer journey.
According to StarHub, to move beyond the hype and enable real opportunities, it is working with some of Singapore’s most exciting enterprises and SMEs to reimagine and redefine how businesses can increase efficiency, empower the workforce and accelerate innovation with 5G.
Stellar Lifestyle is supporting 1Cool’s endeavours in providing cool and pleasant alfresco dining experiences and could potentially explore deploying their evaporative cooling units, DewCoolers, at its train stations.
1Cool applies its patented low-energy and eco-friendly technologies to provide sustainable cooling solutions in commercial, industrial, institution and residential settings.
Its DewCoolers can filter and cool outdoor air to near the dew-point temperature without
any change in its humidity ratio. The cooling units can be applied as standalone devices in place of an aircon, or as a hybrid application alongside aircons to improve fresh air and ventilation.
“Stellar Lifestyle truly believes in innovation, as evidenced by their funding support for the test-bedding of our innovative sustainable cooling solutions for alfresco dining,” said Daniel Tan, the founder of 1Cool.
Waffles Technologies showcases its POS-CRM (Point-Of-Sale to Customer-relationship-management) enhancements to retailers and merchants at the hub, enabling food and retail businesses to kick-off marketing, right from the POS.
With POS fully integrated with their backend system, the company provides insightful data to understand customer’s preferences, and stations frequented, among others. SMEs can personalise their rewards and deliver the best customer experience through its affordable POS-CRM combo.
Teredo Analytics provides preventative solutions that may help SMRT and Stellar Lifestyle identify potential lift abnormalities, providing convenience to commuters who rely heavily on lift access (elderly,
parents with strollers, disabled and cyclists with folding bikes).
The company draws on its domain expertise in acoustics, IoT and artificial intelligence to develop an acoustic health monitoring solution for lift motors. This tailor-made solution monitors the lift motor’s health 24/7 and provides an immediate alert to the maintenance team if a machinery acoustic anomaly is detected.
Providing robotics solutions, Reachbots Automation may be able to assist SMRT and Stellar Lifestyle in monitoring safety critical assets in the built environment, such as MRT stations and transit properties, for enhanced public safety and smoother commute.
The company designs and manufactures autonomous modular mobile robots for hard to access, inaccessible confined space and heights to perform mission critical tasks, for higher productivity, better safety practices, and cost savings for stakeholders.
“I would like to thank the Stellar Lifestyle team for supporting and opening opportunities for Reachbots that go beyond their retail arm, to collaborate, develop and showcase our robotic solutions that will help ensure that safety critical assets in facilities are properly and regularly inspected,” said Rayner Tan, co-founder of Reachbots Automation.
Nestled within the hub, XPACE@HIVE will use the space to help new brands test out and validate the use of smart vending options and autonomous technologies to provide an enhanced in-store experience.
XPACE@Hive, launched by the parent of companies in the F&B industry X-Inc, is an integrated co-retail concept for brands of all sizes to introduce and test their newest and latest products.
Conceptualised to provide brands with a modular and hassle free go-to-market solution, XPACE@Hive utilises innovation and autonomous technology for brands to adopt and take a shot at success on the launchpad.
Addressing the challenges of today and opportunities of tomorrow
To manage ‘Hive by Stellar Lifestyle’, Stellar Lifestyle partnered Padang & Co, an innovative catalyst for corporations and government agencies.
The company enables corporations and the government to address today’s challenges and opportunities of tomorrow through collaborations with startups and communities.
Other than managing the hub, Padang & Co will also work with Stellar Lifestyle to design and deliver the SME programmes at the hub.
“We envision the Hive as a dynamic environment not just helping SMEs to level up but also offering real business opportunities to great startups,” said Derrick Chiang, CEO of Padang & Co.
A testbed for new concepts
Additionally, Stellar Lifestyle also has plans for the space to serve as a testbed for new concepts such as
retail automation and nano fulfilment within retail spaces.
This includes an Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) supported Robotics Middleware Framework (RMF) that will interlock with last mile robotics delivery, to address common interoperability gaps between robotic fleets and building infrastructure such as lifts and gantries.
“We are excited to partner Stellar Lifestyle to provide support in making last mile robotics delivery more accessible to our local retail SMEs, and we look forward to working closely with technology partners to deliver innovative robotic solutions,” said Leong Der Yao, assistant chief executive of sectoral transformation group, IMDA.
The first of many innovation hubs
“Hive by Stellar Lifestyle” will be the first of many innovation spaces that Stellar Lifestyle hopes to introduce across the MRT network over the next few years.
Stellar Lifestyle is also looking for innovative partners to:
• Increase operational efficiency and lower overall cost of operations through offline-to-
online digital transformation
• Improve customer stickiness by providing pertinent data analytics tools to help tenants
better understand their customers better
• Create new compelling in-store experiences for commuters within the train stations
• Formulate environmentally sustainable solutions for tenants and merchants to achieve
Featured Image Credit: Stellar Lifestyle