How Singapore can become the world’s first Smart Nation

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Keeping in mind the need to embrace next generation in Information Technology & Communications and drive smart work styles and lifestyles for various communities – Singapore is on its way to possibly become the world’s first Smart Nation.

Singapore is positioning itself for the next wave of opportunities arising from the convergence of the infocomm and media sectors. Under the guidance of the Infocomm Media Masterplan (IMM), the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore(IDA) will be pushing forth bold new ideas and initiatives to drive Singapore’s Smart Nation vision.

Minister for Communications and Information, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim shared some of these plans, at the opening of Infocomm Media Business Exchange 2015 (imbX 2015).

One idea being explored under the IMM is Smart Logistics. It aims to allowdifferent parts of the logistics ecosystem (e.g., cargoes owners, freight forwarders, ground handlers) to leverage sensory networks in airports and seaports to gain full visibility and insights of their supply chain, enhance productivity and make better business decisions. For example, companies would be able to obtain real-time information on their shipment’s environmental conditions as it travels, heighten their cargo integrity in the process of change of custody, automate labour intensive processes, and bring about overall inventory reduction.

“Building the world’s first smart nation is only the beginning of the next phase of Singapore’s development in information and communications technology. It will be a long journey, but our experience has equipped us to face up to the challenge. With the collaboration of our global industry partners, local start-ups and fellow Singaporeans, we will innovate together to enable better lives for everyone,” explained,  Minister for Communications and Information, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim launching the global ICT mega event CommunicAsia, EnterpriseIT and BroadcastAsia.

“Smart Cities, Smart enterprises and Smart Lifestyles are more than just buzzwords – today they have surely become a reality and are now a part of our lives. At CommunicAsia, EnterpriseIT and BroadcastAsia, we are presenting the latest technologies and solutions for a smarter way to work and play,” said, Lindy Wee, Chief Executive of Singapore Exhibition Services.

Focusing on driving innovation and experimentation, a series of challenges under the Smart Nation Tech Challenge initiative will be launched. The challenge seeks to push boundaries, and look into creating new technologies that can address real-world problems, and create commercially viable solutions that are scalable locally and abroad. The first challenge aims to create or enhance video analytics solutions that can improveplanning and operations in the areas of public safety, resource allocation, and situational awareness.

Steve Leonard, Executive Deputy Chairman, IDA said, “Experimentation as part of innovation is critical in Singapore’s Smart Nation journey. With many different industries and various communities making this journey with us, we have all the right ingredients to achieve the vision. However, we need people to be bold in seeing the future and taking some risk to pursue it. We all need to be open to new ways of tackling current and future problems. We can, and should, be the builders of solutions to global challenges in areas such as health, transport and resources.”

In a Smart Nation,data and analytics will be playing an increasinglyimportant role. At a community level, the access to rich data, innovative products and ideas can help citizens to create actionable solutions that can benefit the society. The Government can also leverage on the concerted effort across agencies to use data better, to engage the public, and provide for more responsive and citizen-centric public services.

One example of how the Government is adopting this approach is through the Beeline experiment, a crowd-sourced demand-driven shared private transportation concept first shared in April 2015. By making use of big transportation data and crowd-sourced travel patterns to identify potential private express bus routes, Beeline aims to connect private bus operators to commuters who want more direct, pre-booked bus services during peak periods. Commuters can also suggest new routes, evolving the system for the better.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) and IDA are inviting commuters to take part in the experiment by using the upcoming beta version of the Beeline mobile app, which will be available from July 2015. With the mobile app, commuters will be able to book seats on Beeline bus routes once these become available. Interested commuters can visit www.beeline.sg to get the latest updates on the app. So far, two private bus operators, Bus-Plus Services Pte Ltd and Aedge Holdings Pte Ltd, have indicated their interest to participate in the experiment. As more responses from commuters and bus operators are received, the Beeline concept will be refined further.

Lina Lim, Group Director, Policy and Planning, LTA said, “Beeline seeks to experiment with a new travel option for the daily commute. If the experiment proves to be viable in the longer run, it could supplement the already extensive public transport network. The combination of the flexibility of data analytics with the predictability of transport planning allows commuters to go beyond customising their routes and be assured of a comfortable ride at the same time.”

Separately, the MyConnection SG mobile app seeks to improve information transparency and the quality of experience for users. The app utilises voluntary crowdsourcing to gather information such as usage experience of coverage on mobile cellular networks. Since the start of the pilot in October 2014, more than 50 million data points have been gathered, and the results have been positive. For instance, they showed that mobile users had good 3G service coverage experience island-wide, while coverage experience on 4G had been improving. Additionally, MyConnection SG has helped to identify areas with high utilisation as well as potential cellular blind spots. These results will help plan for efficient upgrades for a better user experience.

Visitors to imbX 2015 which includes the CommunicAsia 2015Exhibitionwill be treated to some of the new and interesting innovation that the Singapore tech ecosystem has to offer.They include heterogeneous network technologies that can supplement existing connectivity networks, bringing about true seamless connectivity; an experiential job training showcase where gadgets such as Samsung Gear Virtual Reality glasses can create virtual training environments; and a sensor island, which is a visual display of the collated data collected by video sensors arrayed around the IDA Booth.


Telecomdrive Bureau
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