Singapore outlines plan to become a Smart Nation

Singapore is building on the achievements of the intelligent Nation 2015 (iN2015) masterplan to be the world’s first Smart Nation, and strengthening its infrastructure towards that end, according to the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA).

The IDA will develop a Smart Nation Platform (SNP) and initiatives that boost soft infrastructure, such as creating standards for Internet of Things @ Home and building of talent in new areas like games science. Fifteen smart solutions will also be trialled at the Jurong Lake District (JLD), giving a glimpse of what a Smart Nation could look like.

Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister of Communications and Information announced the initiatives on June 17 by at the opening of the Infocomm Media Business Exchange 2014 (imbX 2014). “Our goal is to establish Singapore as a Smart Nation that taps on the potential of infocomm and media (ICM), and that nurtures innovative talent and enterprises. In this way, the ICM sectors can bring about economic growth and social cohesion, and better living for our people.

“We believe that a Smart Nation can become a reality if we successfully combine policy, people and technology in a concerted fashion. A key component in our Smart Nation vision is the Smart Nation Platform or SNP. As part of the SNP, we will further our capabilities in pervasive connectivity, by building new infrastructure and common technical architecture to support an innovative ecosystem across Singapore,” he said.

The SNP is aimed at bringing together a nationwide sensor network and data analytics abilities, providing better situational awareness through data collection, and efficient sharing of collected sensor data.

SNP will comprise a communications backbone, sensor networks, data analytics and real-world applications to empower individuals, government and businesses. The first phase, focusing on the connectivity and sensor aspects, is expected to be available by 2015.

In boosting the communications backbone, IDA will also be starting trials for the Heterogeneous Network (HetNet). HetNet is expected to allow for seamless connectivity, and the trials will validate technologies and capabilities of HetNet. A briefing on how the industry can participate in the trials is slated for 1 July 2014.

Various Smart Nation technologies will also be deployed and tested at JLD, which offers a “live environment and living lab”. As part of a Smart Nation to drive innovation and creation of new applications and services, services like smart queue monitoring, smart mobile navigation guides and autonomous buggies are to be trialled in the JLD, helping to bring benefits of these solutions closer to citizens and businesses. A District Management System which uses video and image analytics to estimate the level of cleanliness of a designated area will also be tested.

Steve Leonard, Executive Deputy Chairman, IDA said, “We have made great headway in just over a year from conceptualisation to real action in building Singapore as the world’s first Smart Nation. SNP will serve as a foundation on which companies of all sizes, as well as government agencies can experiment and innovate with new ways to collect, move and interpret data in order to better serve citizens. We welcome great ideas and input from across all communities and industries as we work to build Singapore into a Smart Nation.”

Part of the soft infrastructure in a Smart Nation also includes technical standards. IDA’s Internet of Things @ Home initiative will be looking to identify open standards which seek to enable seamless interoperability between connected smart devices as they are applied in a home setting. This will raise the potential of these devices in providing stronger benefits and enhanced user experience to home dwellers.

For citizens and businesses to reap the full benefits of Smart Nation innovation, services and solutions could also be equipped with easy to use intuitive interfaces or gesture control and services in virtual reality. Such interfaces and services can be developed by applying game science and technology, an area that IDA is exploring to determine its utility in non-game industries such as healthcare and education.

Visitors to imbX 2014, which includes the CommunicAsia2014 exhibition, will be able to view IDA’s showcase of Smart Nation possibilities. They include the replication of HetNet deployment through the integration of cellular and Wi-Fi networks; analytics solutions by Singapore-based tech startups; and the Smart Nation technologies to be tested in JLD.