Driving Singapore's Smart Nation Future: Successful Local Implementation with Regional Potential
Tay Bee Kheng
Managing Director, Singapore & Brunei
Thought Leadership, Digitization, Collaboration, Smart and Connected Communities
When the Prime Minister launched the Smart Nation programme three years ago, Singapore put forth its ambition of creating a country where people are empowered by technology to lead meaningful and fulfilled lives.
Since then, we have become a model for the smart city aspiration across ASEAN thanks to the implementation of various initiatives across public services like healthcare, public transportation, urban mobility and home living. These included pilot projects such as surface-street trials of self-driving cars and buses to address road congestion, and testing IoT devices in public housing developments such as smart lighting, pneumatic waste-collection and sensors to monitor the elderly and disabled.
The success of Smart Nation hinges on the government’s systematic and holistic approach to its implementation. This requires a strong and robust regulatory framework as well as solid public-private collaborations where initiatives begin as a top-down approach as well as from the ground up.
For example, government mandated infrastructure and services roll out that require the adoption at every level of society, can be complemented by incubator spaces, contract incentives and coding programmes designed to entice startups and entrepreneurs to create apps and services that improve business productivity and city efficiency as well as enhance overall quality of life.
From government aspirations to real life solutions
Global technology players like Cisco have a significant role to play in sharing our experience, innovation, expertise and capabilities in strengthening Singapore’s technology infrastructure to make the Smart Nation aspiration a reality for every individual, community and industry.
For example, Cisco’s Low-Power Wide Area Network, which uses LoRa® technology and complies with the LoRaWAN™ (specifications defined by the LoRa Alliance), will enable various agencies and service providers to connect to and utilise a shared infrastructure for a more secure, seamless and cost effective IoT implementation.
Likewise, Cisco’s Smart Estate Consulting will create a blueprint for the smart estate. This can lead to its placement across all industrial estates to enable solutions such as digital ceilings, incentivise recycling programmes, electric vehicle charging, predictive maintenance, digital wallet, location analytics, pollution monitoring and much more.
Cisco also has the experience of deploying smart parking solutions to ease the ongoing challenges of congestions in major cities around the world. Our solution has allowed drivers to reduce the time taken to find parking spaces by providing information at critical junctions and spaces. Beyond that, it has also improved the management of season parking and enhance driver safety via License Plate Recognition and video surveillance.
Setting the standard for ASEAN
Cisco believes that Singapore has established itself as a model for smart urban development that other countries within the ASEAN region can learn from. Its small size and population is a strategic advantage, creating a life-sized smart city laboratory of sorts. This enables the rollout of pilot projects and new services quickly, while having the ability to pivot and address any pain points effectively.
Singapore’s implementation and success can then be scaled and adopted in various other major ASEAN cities. At Cisco, we are excited to be a part of these developments. Our commitment to a smarter and more connected communities has been well documented over the past decade.
Furthermore, our approach to IoT-enabled smart cities through an end-to-end open framework is aligned to Singapore’s holistic approach, as Cisco covers the provision of advisory, technology, platform, support, and operations services. These include developing tools for such services, including smart city architecture; cybersecurity; data and analytics; change management; master service integration; design thinking; solution design and implementation; optimisation and operational services; and financial and business case modelling.
The ASEAN population is facing an exponential growth rate. With a total population of more than 630 million in 2015, the region is expected to gather more than 660 million inhabitants in 2020 and more than 720 million by 2030.
Such growth is also driven by its urban population boom as seen in cities like Manila (12.9 million), Jakarta (10.3 million) and Bangkok (9.3 million). With such growth, there comes a more urgent need for the effective management of city services across all levels of society.
By following Singapore’s sophisticated methods and harnessing Cisco’s length and breadth of IoT solutions and capabilities, we believe that it would not be impossible for all major ASEAN metropolises to become globally renowned smart cities in the near future.