Smart Nation must benefit elderly, mobility and data security: PM Lee

SINGAPORE - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Singapore can serve as a testing ground for computer scientists and engineers from all over the world to try out new tech ideas.

The nation's compact size and proven ability to scale new projects makes it suitable for prototyping and test-bedding innovations, he added.

He was speaking at the Founders Forum Smart Nation Singapore, a reception to mark the start of Smart Nation Innovations week.

While Singapore welcomes innovative ideas, Mr Lee stressed that the three priorities of the Republic's Smart Nation vision are to help the elderly age where they live, address transport issues even as land gets scarcer and for it to become a safe, secure data marketplace.

Mr Lee said: "technology can help the elderly live independently and in their own communities with their own support networks, and give their children peace of mind" with the integration of sensors, apps and remote monitoring, which helps the elderly age in place and connect with others while staying in touch with their children, grandchildren and caregivers.

Mr Lee also pointed out that technology can address the issue of transport in densely-populated Singapore. He referred to successful ventures such as electronic road pricing and water technologies, and added that Singapore is embarking on its Smart Nation journey with the same determination to produce useful solutions.

In addition, Mr Lee said that the government has been keeping datasets open and available to the public via as data is encouraged to "unclock value and innovation". However, he acknowledged the release of data is still a work in progress as application programming interfaces (APIs) are "not as polished and standardised as they should be".

200 top founders, investors and corporate bigwigs from the US, Europe and Asia attended the reception today to discuss how they can use Singapore as a gateway to tackle the world's urban challenges.

The event is a collaboration between London-based Founders Forum and the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), the technology arm of the Singapore Government.

Over the next day, these industry players will exchange ideas and engage in problem solving on global megatrends such as urban density and ageing population that Singapore as a Smart Nation is taking lead in tackling.

They will also discuss the impact of these trends on the healthcare system, transport networks and ability to use resources such as energy, food and water sustainably.