Speech by Ms Indranee Rajah, Senior Minister of State for Law & Finance, at the Launch of the 'Smart Maxwell' Initiative
Ladies and gentlemen
1. Good morning.
2. It is a great pleasure to be here today to launch “Smart Maxwell”, an initiative by Maxwell Chambers which will take the hearing facilities into the digital age and re-define for users and practitioners what a truly world-class hearing experience means.
Achieving Many Firsts
3. Maxwell Chambers was set up in 2010. Since then, it has achieved many firsts:
a. It is the world’s first integrated dispute resolution complex, bringing under one roof hearing facilities and offices for practitioners and institutions.
b. As a hearing centre, Maxwell was ranked the most preferred hearing centre in the world in the Global Arbitration Review’s first hearing centre survey in 2013, just three years after it was established.
c. As an office complex for practitioners and institutions, it is
i. The International Centre for Dispute Resolution of the American Arbitration Association
(AAA- ICDR)’s first overseas office outside the United States;
ii. The World Intellectual Property Organisation Arbitration and Mediation Centre (WIPO AMC)’s first overseas office outside Geneva;
iii. The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)’s first regional office in Asia;
iv. The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)’s first office in Asia.
4. Maxwell Chambers has been setting new standards, but it is also staying ahead of competition.
Setting New Standards; Staying Ahead of the Competition
5. These achievements notwithstanding, we are now planning to take Maxwell Chambers to the next level, to stay ahead of the competition. We will continue to seek to be the global standard-bearer for hearing complexes.
6. First, we are expanding and upgrading hardware to meet growing demand. This is timely. Demand for Maxwell Chambers’ services has grown steadily over the years. During peak periods, it is fully booked and has had to regretfully turn away clients. In fact, the launch of “Smart Maxwell” today had to be postponed for over three months, because Maxwell Chambers did not have a room available to host this event.
7. To meet growing demand, we are setting up Maxwell Chambers Suites next to Maxwell Chambers here. When completed in 2019, Maxwell Chambers Suites will add 120,000 square feet of office space, tripling Maxwell Chambers’ current size. This will help to ease the demand crunch.
8. Second, we are transforming software, to re-define service and the hearing experience at Maxwell Chambers. The “Smart Maxwell” initiative which we will launch today will leverage technology to enhance convenience, comfort and security for users.
9. This will make Maxwell Chambers the first smart hearing facility in the world and further boost Singapore’s position as the world’s premier dispute resolution hub. “Smart Maxwell” is also in line with Singapore’s “Smart Nation” effort. It demonstrates how even in a sector with entrenched habits and practices, we can, with thoughtful stakeholder engagement and skilful implementation, leverage technology to improve the service experience and raise productivity, which all will benefit from.
10. As we all know, disputes can be a very intense and stressful experience for all parties involved – the disputing parties, the counsel, the arbitrators, the mediators, the witnesses.
11. Having good dispute resolution facilities can make a big difference to the entire experience. What we aim to do is to support you by making the environment conducive, and the hearings as fuss-free as possible, in practical ways. These include:
a. Easy booking of rooms, for whenever you need them;
b. Secure yet fuss free access to lifts and hearing and preparation rooms for everyone that you need to be there;
c. Smart controls for temperature, lights and other devices, so that you can be comfortable throughout
d. Convenient access to secretariat services such as printing;
e. Of course, easy ordering of food, as and when, as fuel for mind and body;
f. And there will be an introduction to the surrounding area for all that it has to offer in terms of
food options, culture and heritage, when you have to take an hour or two to take a short walk around
to clear your mind;
g. Last but perhaps most importantly, is the ability to get good hot coffee! Given the many late nights
and long hearings that dispute resolution entails having good coffee on hand is a must.
12. The app that Maxwell Chambers is developing with a local start-up, Habitap, and the robot that Maxwell Chambers is introducing (nicknamed Max) will do all these and more.
13. The roll-out you see today is only the first phase of “Smart Maxwell”. In the second phase, we will extend the app and its various features to Maxwell Chambers Suites when the refurbishment is complete in 2019. Users can then enjoy a seamless experience in Maxwell Chambers, whether during hearings or working from their offices.
14. Franklin from Habitap will share the features of the app with you in a while.
a. This is not the final version.
b. As I mentioned just now, stakeholder engagement is key to successful technology implementation.
They will work with you to understand your needs and see how they can tailor and customise technology to serve you better. If you have any additional features that you would like to see, Maxwell Chambers will be happy to hear from you.
15. Maxwell Chambers has achieved many firsts and we have exciting plans, through hardware and software enhancements, to take Maxwell Chambers to the next level. While these are important, I believe what undergirds them and what makes Maxwell Chambers truly special is the close partnership we have here in Singapore, between the Government, Maxwell Chambers, the various international dispute resolution institutions who have chosen to make Singapore home, and our practitioners and users from all over the world. I look forward to your input to “Smart Maxwell” and to your continued support.
16. Thank you.