THE building blocks in Singapore's smart nation push are coming together with the calling of yet another major tender.
This time, the authorities are looking for contractors to design, build, commission and operate an islandwide network of 103 "above-ground boxes", in the first phase of Singapore's smart nation rollout.
Above-ground, or AG, boxes are typically installed at traffic junctions, bus stops and Housing Board void decks to supply power to surveillance cameras, as well as traffic or weather sensors, which are also being installed across the island.
Such boxes also provide links to the Internet to allow the data collected by cameras and sensors to be transmitted to the relevant public agencies promptly.
Tender documents seen by The Straits Times stated: "The main challenge for sensor deployment outdoors (is) getting connectivity and power to these sensors."
The AG boxes will cover 12 areas, including Little India, the Civic District, the Central Business District and Yuhua, Teck Ghee and Marsiling housing estates.
The boxes will connect cameras used to increase round-the- clock street surveillance, and sensors for monitoring the safety of the elderly in their homes, for instance.
The new AG boxes will add to the two built by telco M1 late last year for the first smart nation trials in Jurong Lake District.
These trials include setting up sensors in parks for lighting that can be adjusted based on the time of the day and motion detection, and cameras to alert traffic wardens to illegal parking.
When contacted, M1 said it is interested in participating in the tender, which closes next Wednesday.
Telcos Singtel and StarHub, as well as aspiring telco MyRepublic, also said they are interested in participating.
This tender comes after a separate one called in January to build a public-sector telecommunications network that will link the AG boxes to the Internet.
Key components of this "Internet Protocol (IP) core" network, which carries sensitive public-sector information, will be owned by the Government for security reasons.
This is unusual as the Government typically leases rather than owns such networks.
Mr Mike Ang, president of the Association of Telecommunications Industry of Singapore, said: "The whole (smart nation) project may sound expensive.
But conceptually, it could save costs in the long run as various government agencies will be able to aggregate their connectivity needs on one network."
This article was first published on Mar 9, 2015.
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