by May Tan
April 11th, 2016

There has been a lot of talk lately on smart cities and smart technologies, and how they may come to enhance the way we live, work and play. Perhaps traveling by air to work, having kitchen appliances that can talk to each other, and us, and shopping at a pop up store made entirely out of 3D printing may not be a distant fantasy.

According to market research firm IDC, the Internet of Things (IoT) market in Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) will have 8.6 billion connected ‘things’. This could potentially be worth up to USD $583 billion by 2020. To put that into perspective, if the IoT was a country, it would be worth more than the nominal GDP of most countries in this region.

Singapore at the forefront
Earlier this year, Singapore’s Minister for Communications and Information, Dr. Yaacob Ibrahim, announced that the country’s Smart Nation vision has entered its “build” phase. As part of the nation’s Infocomm Media Masterplan, the private and public sector will cooperate on converging areas in the infocomm and media sectors to bring about smart technologies that focus on Singapore’s infrastructure and services.

So what can we expect and how will these developments benefit the sector? Here are some insights:

  1. Technologies that tap into the IoT can provide real-time actionable visibility and improve decision-making capabilities for organisations. It can be used for resource utilisation so that the appropriate transportation and manpower can be deployed.
  1. Video analytics can enable audiovisual data to be used for public safety purposes like tracking unusual crowd activity. This increased situational awareness will also allow traffic conditions to be better monitored, leading to less congestion.
  1.  The OneService mobile app will bring together seven government agencies on one common platform, making it more convenient for the public to send their feedback on municipal issues in Singapore.
  1.  A new Software and Development Centre of Excellence will be a testing lab for user research, user experience and consultancy services to government agencies. This will ensure better designed online services that will cater to people’s needs.
  1. The HetNet (heterogeneous network), which is currently on trial in the Jurong Lake District, will enable the use of communication technologies to function optimally and create strong connectivity for smart services.
  1. Currently being tested at the National University Hospital, a remote healthcare set-up will use smart devices to provide healthcare at patients’ homes. This helps patients to enjoy their independence, prevent complications, and minimise personal costs.
  1.  The government agency is also testing autonomous self-driving cars at One-North, with the aim of enabling people with disabilities to commute easier.

The concept of the Internet of Things has been around for more than a decade, but technology has only just started to catch up with the promise that it holds – ubiquitous interconnected computing.

The government of Singapore seems ready for the IoT revolution, but are we? Time will tell of course, but it’s definitely interesting to keep track of developments till its arrival.

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