Smart Nation makes headway with 3 more projects

Singapore's Smart Nation ambitions got a fillip on Tuesday with initiatives announced at the Infocomm Media Business Exchange (imbX), and the launch of the exhibitions BroadcastAsia, CommunicAsia and EnterpriseIT 2015 to showcase the latest in smart technologies from some 1,800 exhibitors across 56 countries.

Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim, speaking at the opening of imbX, declared that Singapore has entered the "build phase" of its plan to become a Smart Nation, with concrete results of its first wave of projects to show for it.

"The Infocomm Media Masterplan (IMM), to be launched later this year, will put in place the necessary infrastructure that will serve as a key enabler for Singapore's Smart Nation," he said.

The first of three new projects unveiled under the IMM is Smart Logistics, a platform that will enable cargo owners, freight forwarders and ground handlers to leverage sensory networks in airports and seaports to track and manage their cargo in near real time.

Dr Yaacob said that, with this, even smaller players will be able to exchange and use information across their supply chain; Smart Logistics will also enable timely responses to unforeseen events during shipment and automate labour-intensive processes for all businesses.

Also announced on Tuesday was the Video Analytics Smart Nation Tech Challenge, which aims to bring individuals and businesses together to co-create technologies with the government.

Video analytics, which translate video footages into meaningful data, can potentially boost public safety, resource utilisation and situation awareness, said the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), the agency behind Smart Nation.

The challenge kicks off in July, and winners will be announced next January.

The third initiative, the Smart Health-Assist pilot in the Jurong Lake District, will be launched later this year, said Dr Yaacob. It entails deploying sensors in the homes of the elderly or those with chronic illnesses to monitor their health and to alert caregivers whenever these patients need attention.

The three projects are in their early stages of development, said Dr Yaacob, as he called on global industry partners and local startups to help develop these solutions jointly.

Vinnie Lauria, managing partner of Golden Gate Ventures, told The Business Times: "This opens up opportunities for young startups to address nation-level problems; most startups will never get the chance elsewhere, but I know IDA promotes validating startup technology for use in the government and large corporations."

Notably, two IDA-backed Smart Nation technologies have gained traction. One is MyConnection SG, a voluntary crowdsourcing app that has collected data from 4,000 users on its mobile network experience; the other is Beeline, a crowdsourcing transport app co-created with the Land Transport Authority.

Other smart homegrown innovations include MobiQuest's Smart Waste Management System, which remotely monitors fill levels of trashbins, SC Soft's RFID-equipped bike rental kiosk Innobike and Skyshot's 8K solar-powered time-lapse camera system.

This article was first published on June 3, 2015.
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