The redeveloped Funan mall will open two months ahead of schedule in the second quarter of 2019, instead of the projected third quarter, thanks to smart technologies used in its construction.
This was announced on Friday (Sep 28) during its topping out ceremony, which marked the integrated development’s structural completion.
Its developer CapitaLand adopted new construction methods, such as virtual design and construction at the onset, as well as a top-down construction method for the building’s basement and main structure to be built simultaneously.
Precast concrete structural building components were also used to help cut down the construction time.
According to CapitaLand, this has resulted in manpower savings of around 15 per cent.
MALL TO FEATURE TECHNOLOGY LIKE FACIAL RECOGNITION
Aside from its construction, the S$560 million project was also designed around technological innovation.
The six-storey retail mall will be the first in Singapore to showcase a smart interactive directory which will use facial recognition technology to sort shoppers into demographic groups using factors like their gender and age, and recommend suitable stores to them.
Sensors will also be placed throughout the mall, providing data on shopper traffic and demographics through video analytics, allowing retailers to tailor more attractive offerings, said CapitaLand Retail CEO Wilson Tan.
READ: Funan retailers branch out virtually, but still believe in brick-and-mortar stores
“This facial recognition is anonymous in nature, whereby looking at people coming into the mall, all our social media digital walls can then showcase products more relevant to people visiting the mall,” said Mr Tan.
“Examples would be if we’re sensing more males coming in, and they’re middle-aged males, we can then profile products relevant to them,” he said. “During the weekends, we may see more families coming in, and that’s where we are able to showcase a different set of products.”
The mall’s retailers will also be able to analyse consumer data and insights – such as their age, gender and their purchases – via a merchant dashboard, with the data generated through CapitaLand’s membership app.
PREPARING FOR THE DIGITAL ECONOMY
Adopting such technology is crucial in order to thrive in the digital economy, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said during his speech at the event, citing Funan as a positive example of keeping pace with the times.
“The original Funan Centre, when it opened in 1985, was a general shopping centre,” said Mr Heng. “However, following the late 1990s’ tech boom, it was the sixth floor, the Computer Mart, that expanded and eventually occupied a large part of the mall.”
“Just as how Funan adapted to the previous tech boom and re-branded into the IT mall we knew and loved, Funan is now undergoing the next stage of transformation, to prepare itself for the digital economy,” Mr Heng said.
“With technology so deeply interwoven into our daily activities, even shaping our preferences as a consumer, retailers have to transform and adapt to this new normal.”
The former Funan DigitaLife Mall, which closed its doors in 2016 for redevelopment, will be replaced with a six-storey retail mall, two six-storey office blocks, as well as a co-living serviced residence called lyf Funan.
The retail and office components will be completed in the second quarter of 2019, while lyf Funan will be completed in the fourth quarter of 2019.
Source: Channel NewsAsia – 28 Sep 2018