Public-sector IT tenders to hit record $2.2b this year

Public-sector IT tenders to hit record $2.2b this year
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, speaking at the launch of the 2015 Founders Forum (FF) Smart Nation Singapore on 20 April 2015.

A record $2.2 billion worth of public-sector technology tenders will be up for grabs this year, as Singapore embarks on its smart nation journey.

This financial year's big-ticket items include the infrastructure for the smart nation scheme and the Singapore Customs' new trading system. Overall, nine in 10 tender opportunities are below $5 million in value. In 2005, the Government set aside the same amount - $2.2 billion - when it installed standard computer systems across all of its agencies, among other things.

The Government's financial year started last month.

Ms Jacqueline Poh, managing director of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), said at a briefing yesterday at the Suntec convention centre: "As more technology is used within the Government, and with Singapore's thrust towards becoming a smart nation, it is inevitable that the amount spent on technology increases."

The tender to build Singapore's smart nation backbone will include a network of 103 Aggregation Gateway (AG) boxes to supply power to surveillance cameras and traffic sensors currently being deployed islandwide. Such boxes also provide links to the Internet, to allow the data collected by cameras and sensors to be transmitted promptly to the relevant public agencies.

Another tender has been called to build a public-sector telecommunications network that would link the AG boxes to the Internet. Both tenders are being evaluated.

Singapore Custom's new trade documentation system is slated to come online in 2017 and will replace the existing TradeNet, which was created in 1989 to automate the declaration and submission of permits for shipments.

Dubbed the National Trade Infrastructure, the new system will further streamline trading processes, including exchanges among businesses, and enhance the security of the exchanges.

Details of the system revamp have not been disclosed.

Singapore Customs chief information officer Yeo Beng Huay alluded to some inefficiencies when she said that between 50 per cent and 70 per cent of data must be entered into the system more than once.

More than 700 people attended yesterday's event, including infocomm executives, civil servants and business developers.

Last year, $1.95 billion was spent to beef up public-sector services, including a new Ministry of Manpower call centre that uses virtual assistants to answer simple questions.

This year's spending includes an initiative by the Education Ministry to provide schoolwide Wi-Fi access in schools.

A tender for the project will be called in the third quarter of this year.

This article was first published on May 28, 2015.
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