Monday, 5 January 2015

Smart Nation Vision For Singapore

Singapore lays groundwork to be world’s first smart nation
A new platform, data sensors, trials at JLD and industry collaboration will help Singapore realise its smart nation vision

Singapore is en route to becoming the world’s first smart nation with the introduction of several new initiatives, including a new platform that encompasses the necessary infrastructure and technical architecture to support a smart nation ecosystem.

Unveiled at the opening of the Infocomm Media Business Exchange (imbX) event, these new building blocks are aimed at bringing together policies, people, and technologies in a concerted fashion that will help the country realise its smart nation ambition.

Singapore has made good progress establishing the backbone infrastructure to support big data and analytics, Internet of Things (IoT), and other transformational ICM technologies outlined in its Intelligent Nation Masterplan (iN2015), said Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information, during his opening address at imbX.

related: Archive for tag 'smart nation'

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Singapore unveils plan in push to become smart nation

The Singapore government has introduced a slew of initiatives as part of its goal to become the world's first smart nation, including a smart nation operating system, Internet of Things scheme targeted at homes, and pilot trials at a designated residential-business estate.

Announced Tuesday at the opening of the Infocomm Media Business Exchange (imbX) conference and exhibition held here this week, the initiatives cut across infrastructure, software, and services identified as necessary components to support a smart nation blueprint . These include the need for continuing enhancements to the nationwide broadband network (NBN) and national wireless network Wireless@SG .

Singapore has made good progress in laying the backbone infrastructure to prepare for big data and analytics, Internet of Things, among others, with its Intelligent Nation 2015 Masterplan, said Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim, during his opening address at the imbX show. The country is now putting together its next ICT blueprint spanning the next 10 years through to 2025, focusing strongly on data intelligence.

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Smart Nation will be next goal for Singapore

Soon after the separation from Malaysia in 1965, Singapore's first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew set a goal for the newly independent state: it will become a metropolis in 10 years.

Singapore's third Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Monday declared that the goal has been more than met - and he set a new goal for the Republic: "Ten years from now, we will be a smart nation!"

That will make Singapore one of the world's top cities.

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Infocomm Media Masterplan
Infocomm Media Masterplan seeks your views!

In the next 10 years, the Infocomm Media Masterplan aims to tap on infocomm and media (ICM) to enrich the lives of Singaporeans and create economic competitiveness for Singapore.

Come share your thoughts on the Infocomm Media Masterplan with us through our online survey!

On 31 Mar 2014, the Steering Committee released a consultation document that will guide the development of the Infocomm and Media (ICM) sectors until 2025, as well as highlight the opportunities available.

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Singapore Unveils Building Blocks of Smart Nation Vision

Singapore is gearing up to be the world's first Smart Nation, building on the achievements of the intelligent Nation 2015 (iN2015) masterplan. To support the vision and enable a Smart Nation, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) will be strengthening the hard and soft infrastructure holistically.

This includes developing the 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.

Announced today by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister of Communications and Information at the opening of the Infocomm Media Business Exchange 2014, he said, "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".

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Smart Nation Vision For Singapore
Singapore must take full advantage of its extensive and systematic use of technology, particularly IT, says PM Lee

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has officially unveiled a wide range of collaborative government initiatives to transform Singapore into a Smart Nation.

A Smart Nation Programme Office to be set up within the Prime Minister’s Office aims to bring citizens, the government and industry players together to identify issues, co-develop solutions, prototype ideas and deploy them effectively. Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, the Minister for Environment and Water Resources, will oversee this unit.

Speaking at the National Infocomm Awards (NIA) ceremony held on 24 November 2014,  PM Lee said that while the Government will lay the foundation including building the infrastructure, facilitating innovation and creating the framework for contribution, the participation of the whole nation is vital to make Singapore “an outstanding city in the world to live, work and play where the human spirit flourishes”.

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Govt to make more data available for Smart Nation initiative
Singapore Central Business District skyline. TODAY file photo

The Government will commit to making more data available to the public as it seeks to get the private sector — especially homegrown companies — to play a big role in the country’s transformation into a Smart Nation, said Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan yesterday.

There have been doubts expressed by app developers, among others, over whether the Government will loosen the red tape in order to reap the full benefits of the Smart Nation initiative. They had cited past experiences where they faced difficulties in getting access to data.

In response, Dr Balakrishnan, who is overseeing the new Smart Nation Programme Office under the Prime Minister’s Office, said that as long as national security and privacy are not compromised, and there is protection against identity theft, data will be made available for the public and companies to tap.

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Be it an automated home system, seamless healthcare delivery or a driverless car, the Smart Nation initiative is all about improving lives for Singaporeans, said Dr Balakrishnan.

“There are many things technology can do, can offer. But I think the missing dimension to that is to realise that at the end of the day, it's about human beings. What we want,” he said.

“The products and services offered must be designed appropriately, must be accessible to normal people. Not just technophiles or engineers or hardcore geeks, but normal people like you and me who say, yes, I want to use this because it makes my life better, it makes it more convenient, it makes it more fun and it makes a difference to my daily life,” Dr Balakrishnan added.

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Senior citizens, students and SMEs first to benefit from smart nation initiative

Speaking to the media before the start of the Singapore Maker Festival, a gathering of inventors and DIY tech enthusiasts, Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation Programme Vivian Balakrishnan said becoming a smart nation is not about adopting technology solutions for the sake of technology but using it to meet the needs of people and improve their lives.

"This is about human beings, not about machines. It is about what people need, not what technology can offer," said Dr Balakrishnan, who is also the Minister for Environment And Water Resources.

With seniors, the aim is to ensure that they are not left behind. For example, remote monitoring of elderly people when they are at home empowers them to lead independent lives while allowing their families to have peace of mind.

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Smart or just Smarter Nation?
Huh? What smart nation? In my early twenties they had I vaguely recall the intelligent island vision and other successors. I think each plan lasted about ten years. So aren't we an intelligent nation already or in the new description, a smart nation?

I think the right frame is not smart but smarter nation. This bandwagon never stops.

The technology I kinda of read about to be incorporated to make a smarter nation are already here. We are simply just putting them together and integrating it in a fashion other cities do not have the political will to do the same. In other words, it is not too far wrong to say we can be viewed as catching up. But we want to catch up better than others since they never have the full works.

So what's after the smart nation? The dawn of robots? Do you still need every Singaporean as many can economically be replaced by machines? Luminaries like Stephen Hawkings and Elon Musk among others are brooding over the fall of our specie by then. I hope and I don't think they are right, but I am more worried about AI robotic soldiers and police officers. Meanwhile we will be accumulating experience with flying drones and massively intelligent networks. As usual I expect we will pay insufficient attention to security and privacy.

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Singapore on way to becoming world’s first smart nation

Amid all talk about how Singapore is set to become the world’s first smart nation, its stock exchange suffered yet another breakdown this morning putting investors on the edge.

Singapore is not a country that is all talk and no action, something that is common where populism sells — like India, for instance.

On Target: It is one country that plans well ahead and goes about executing them without any distraction or fear about the next elections. It has been on target with every one of its initiatives, including that of making Singapore a metropolis within the first decade after Independence in 1965 and transforming it into an Intelligent Island by year 2000.

Just this Monday (December 1), Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong claimed that “Ten years from now, we will be a smart nation!“

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Smart Nation

To be a Smart Nation, Singapore must rely more on IT and high-tech systems to improve our productivity to contain rising cost of living and to provide all a better way of life. This must be the main objective.

We should also not forget to use the bar-coding system extensively as it is also related to IT applications.

Many products on sale in the retail sectors have bar-codes. It has improved productivity tremendously although not all companies have the IT application to improve on store/inventory management using real-time technology. Such an IT application is needed by all sectors of our economy to improve on productivity, and priority should be given to make it available to all as soon as possible.

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Smart City comes too late

Of course a Smart City would have a lot of stupid problems that they would not tell you. Now they are just telling you the good stuff, the things that you can have but need not have, and may not need or do not want, but have to pay for it. The American intelligence agencies are flooded with information gathered from their snooping around the whole world with all their sophisticated equipment and bugging gadgets. Now, who is going to read them? Who has the time to read them? It would need more than 56 man-years to read a day of information collected. It would need thousands of man-years to do that. Many people don’t even have the time to read more than two paragraphs of an article in the newspaper.

There will be a lot of information available. Who have the time to browse through them or to use them? Just like there are millions of apps in the market. How many do you need and how many millions you don’t need?
Now for the problems that many people are not counting on. You will be paying for the whole system and infrastructure like it or not. You will be paying for the information like it or not.

Do you still want a Smart City to tell you that you have forgotten to switch off your lights in the toilet or a bee was found in the Antarctic Ice? Are you smart enough to know what is good for you and what is unnecessary and still you will have to pay for it? Ask, who is benefitting from this Smart City and who is making all the money?

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What does the term “come out swinging’’ mean?

That’s how an ST writer described Magnus Bocker at a press conference yesterday on yet another glitch in SGX.

Now, the term comes from boxing – a boxer who immediately begins a boxing match by aggressively throwing punches. But the next phase kills me. He came out swinging, the article goes, “explaining in painstaking detail what happened in the bourse operator’s latest “incident”, what it plans to do next, addressing whether he would step down from his job and apologising for good measure’’. And there I was thinking that I was going to read a really dramatic defence and maybe some scolding from Mr Bocker!

Language aside, read BT for the best coverage of what happened at SGX especially the cost to brokers, investors and the reputation of our exchange.

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Smart City drive: More efforts needed to integrate, educate

First, we can take information gathering further by integrating information sharing among various government agencies. For example, if a town council receives calls about large groups gathering and smoking at void decks in a particular neighbourhood, can the frequency and nature of such incidents be collated and shared with other agencies?

Currently, the first agency informs other agencies, but somewhat in a haphazard manner. There does not seem to be a systematic way of storing such data in a centralised system to detect patterns such as possible gang activities or illegal cigarette sales.

Another benefit of better integration would be faster redress of grievances. Say, a stolen car is reported to the police; can information be shared almost instantly with the Land Transport Authority to locate it through sensors on the roads or at car parks?

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Smart Nation, SG50, and Categorical Inflexibility

To the PAP, SG50 is a useful vote-buying activity. Smart nation, in a certain way, presents the usefulness of technology in the eyes of the PAP.   However, the rigid classification of usefulness and uselessness will lead to a categorical inflexibility.  And the PAP will end up shooting the wrong targets, missing the usefulness votes and losing the uselessness votes.

The efforts and promotions that the PAP puts on SG50 will have a diminishing return on votes.  They see things in a straight line and think promoting pioneer generations, senior citizens, old kampung spirit, smart nation, democratic socialism, CPF and medical reforms will attract votes. However, all these useful activities are all pointing to their weaknesses. How come they have not solved these problems in the past 50 years

Smart nation, according to PM Lee, is to leverage on the latest technology to make life better.  He said, “One major initiative will be to allow people access to maps and geospatial databases by contributing to information such as animal sightings, traffic incidents or even the best mee pok eateries.” (

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6 ways a futuristic Singapore can be better than it is now

The Government recently launched the Smart Nation programme which aims to transform Singapore into the world’s first smart nation.

But what does a smart nation look like? What does the future hold for us? Flying cars may not be the way to go.

Here’s a wishlist of 6 things Singapore can aspire to in the next few decades:
  1. Smart driver-less transportation network
  2. Sleep-cycle optimised working hours or 24-hour economies
  3. Death of offices
  4. Online shopping to replace shopping centres, but not small specialty shops
  5. Bubble-domed green estates
  6. Smart networked homes
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Vision of a smart nation is to make life better
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the National lnfocomm Awards 2014 Ceremony. He envisions a "smart nation" which uses the latest technology to benefit the country. - ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

The need for Singapore to be a "smart nation", using the latest technology to benefit the country, is about making life better for the people and more.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also envisions it helping the nation to keep abreast of leading cities such as Shanghai, San Francisco and Sydney.

Bringing the current piecemeal uses of technology into a cohesive, nationwide whole "will make our economy more productive, our lives better, and our society more responsive to people's needs and aspirations", he said yesterday at the launch of the Smart Nation initiative.

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The story of a smart city is the way to go forward, so much promise like having paradise on earth. On the other hand many have rightly said that an infrastructure that is going to do every small little thing for the people would take away the people’s instinct to think and make them stupid in the process.

What Singapore, or any country, needs are smart people. If you are still not sure what that means, look at Japan. Japan is a country of smart people. Smartness in this case is not like making everyone a super talent, but making everyone a thinking person, a caring person, everyone thinking that he is a Japanese and Japan is his country, his home. When the people, like the Japanese, think that way, you would have very little need to have to depend on computers to keep the country in order. The people would not only be disciplined, responsible and proud of being citizens of the country, they will keep the country clean and in order. No more littering, no more graffiti and would even pick up litters left by careless people.

Smart people would transform a country into a garden paradise with very little effort and very little mechanization or computerization. Alas, you can only have such a country like Japan when the people are of one mind, think alike and acting and responsible, and very country proud, like home proud.

related: Han Fook Kwang’s ‘How to be a smart city’

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Han Fook Kwang’s ‘How to be a smart city’

Han Fook Kwang’s “How to be a smart city (technology not included) published in ST on Dec 21, 2014, is admirable only as an alarm bell for an impeding disaster for Singapore. Other than that, he does not offer any solution to the problems elicited in his article.

First, his definition (to his credit, he did say “according to one definition”) of a Smart City is taken word for word from Wikipedia. Nothing wrong with that, except it is conventional literacy graciousness to cite a source when one quotes verbatim from someone else’s writing. HFK goes on to say: “But just as having a smartphone doesn’t make you a smart person, a digitally smart city isn’t necessarily one that’s doing all the right things by its citizens and making their lives more pleasant.”

Isn’t that stating the obvious? His piece is also a non-sequitur if his intention is to discourage the “lazy and wasteful behaviour” of Singaporeans “to simply toss rubbish down Housing Board chutes”.

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How to be a smart city (technology not included)
People's actions matter more in making city a better place to live in

What makes a smart nation smart?

This might seem like a stupid question, but it's worth asking, now that a brand-new agency has been set up to make Singapore one.

That's the recently announced Smart Nation Programme Office headed by Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan.

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A New Vision for Singapore
Economic growth is not the only measure of a successful society. ASSOCIATED PRESS

Singapore has made great economic strides over the 50 years since independence. With a GDP per capita of $55,000, the island state is, by this measure at least, the most prosperous country in the world. Yet rather than being proud of their country’s achievement, measures of social harmony and happiness indicate that Singaporeans are far from pleased with the status quo.

Looking behind the numbers, it seems that Singapore’s economic success has wrought havoc on less measurable, but no less important, aspects of life: Freedom, compassion and equality. It is the degradation of these values that has contributed significantly to Singaporeans’ disenchantment with the current system.

Even before the Reagan-Thatcher era of neoliberal economics, Singapore adopted a market-driven approach in which even value systems and social life were commodified. When the government wanted fewer births in the 1970s, it paid women to undergo tubal ligation. When it changed its mind and wanted more births, it gave tax incentives to couples to have more babies. When it wanted the children to demonstrate strong character, it rewarded their desirable traits with cash.

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Singapore is a Smart Nation
– Tankoktim: Smart Nation
– My Singapore News: Going hysterical over SGX glitches
– Blogging for Myself: Smart or just Smarter Nation?