Government and enterprises, in an unprecedented period in history, have been compelled to accelerate and bring forward their digital transformation strategies. The pandemic has vaulted the governments and businesses headfirst into the next stage of digital transformation and online services.
Personalisation, efficiency and effective services are only possible with a comprehensive, 360o view of citizens and customers. This understanding is built on and powered by data. Indeed, there is a good case to be made that digital transformation is likely to fall short unless it is based on a solid foundation of “data transformation.”
To become a truly data-driven organisation that operates in real-time, agencies must deploy multiple modernisation initiatives, including application modernisation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, cloud, edge computing and analytics.
However, modern applications no longer live in isolation. They are built on microservices and rely on other services to move data between applications. Nowadays, modern distributed applications comprise hundreds of thousands of remote services operating in multiple tiers, all of which are loosely coupled and need to exchange data with each other. In such distributed architectures, reliable data and message distribution are key.
Government missions are no longer static, but continuously in motion, handling the “now.” To be effective, agencies need to continually innovate to provide seamless and easy-to-use services and improve the resilience and security of digital platforms for citizens and other stakeholders. Agencies need a complete streaming data platform that treats data in motion, whether it is driving action or producing real-time analysis. Such a platform must be capable of supporting workloads anywhere, anytime across the globe – whether it is in the cloud, on-prem or at the edge – and connect them all.
Pertinently, stored data is not useful when it is not being queried or used to drive decision-making. Agencies must start thinking about creating a central connective tissue that conducts their data across their organisations and handles their data in motion as it is created and flows to those who need it.
This question then is: Are data silos hindering innovation in organisations?
The Singapore government has taken bold measures to re-engineer government digital infrastructure to support modern application development. As organisations continue to migrate to the cloud and adopt microservice architectures, the data needs to be constantly streaming.
Agencies need a platform that draws together disparate applications, systems and teams with data being the backbone and making it easier to gain actionable insights. This platform should be able to unlock and repurpose the existing data for countless modern applications and use cases securely and efficiently.
The OpenGovLive! Virtual Breakfast Insight on 19 November 2021 was aimed at imparting knowledge on how public sector agencies can power mission outcomes, better serve citizens, ensure security and compliance, enhance IT efficiency and maximise productivity with a platform built for data in motion.
Harnessing data for responsive citizen engagement
Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief, OpenGov Asia, kicked off the session with his opening address.
The world has fundamentally changed and the pandemic has forced paradigm shifts in culture and perspective. Today, citizens are looking for a rich, smooth experience from their government. Against that backdrop, agencies must anticipate what citizens want and deliver it in a timely and seamless manner. For Mohit, interactions must be engaging, intuitive, anticipatory and personalised.
The key to delivering a more engaging citizen experience is knowing how to utilise data to produce insights. “Data can be a cost. But if you use it correctly and effectively, it yields rich returns on investment – actionable insights,” contends Mohit.
However, the challenge is, for the most part in the p[ublic sector, that data sits in silos. This compartmentalised arrangement prevents organisations from having a full view. Data silos, Mohit firmly believes, limit the growth of agencies and hinder the provision of services. Isolated systems not only magnify cyber, risk and compliance challenges, but they also hamper innovation. They produce inaccurate analytics and ultimately, are the root cause of poor citizen service.
To harness data fully, having a full view of data across the organisation is critical. “If you only see part of the problem, you may solve the wrong thing,” he claims.
Government agencies must keep up with the pressures of citizen demands and to do so, data needs to be simplified, available and accessible, allowing agencies to retrieve it whenever and wherever necessary.
This begs the question: How can data be made more visible and harnessed? How much of the data needs to be real-time and how much of it does not have to be so?
Event streaming can allow governments to deliver faster, more personalised and responsive engagements with citizens and other stakeholders. “Data is in the transition from being static to event-driven, from batch to real-time, from siloed to integrated,” Mohit observes.
In closing, Mohit emphasises that the data decree of our time is: visible, accessible, understandable, linked, trustworthy, interoperable and secure. He implores delegates to partner with organisations that can help them strategise ways to leverage data in motion. Experts can assist them to deliver responsive citizen engagements and can make their digital transformation journey smoother, cost-effective and impactful.
Formulating data strategies in the public sector
During the fireside chat between Mohit and Simon Herbert, Chief Data Officer, New South Wales Department of Customer Service, Simon shared his experience of how the New South Wales government has utilised data.
NSW Department of Customer Service is the first of its kind in Australia to have developed a comprehensive and robust strategy to get a wider picture of citizens and organisations.
For citizens, data was gathered through a sentiment survey conducted about COVID-19 and other critical events in Australia. About 700 people were interviewed every week across the different demographics to engage and understand what citizens felt about the pandemic as well as the myriad of disasters that beset the nation. The results of the survey were immensely helpful, “directly driving policy decisions”.
To aid businesses, the NSW government set up a business insights hub to comprehend how SMEs were hit by the pandemic. They acquired a wide range of data – accounting, credit, hiring – to analyse. Based on analysis of that data, travel, hospitality and the arts were identified as the worst-hit industries.
Agreeing with Mohit that “data is considered a strategic asset”, Simon shares his thoughts on how data could be used to deliver faster, more personalised and responsive engagements with citizens and other agency stakeholders.
The key to effective engagements, Simon feels, is to have a holistic citizen-centric view. In the current scheme of things, the view of citizens is segmented by the various agencies providing different services that often overlap. As a result, data is neither complete nor it is shared regularly nor promptly.
Simon shared that the NSW government did face challenges around privacy and identity. While a privacy act restricts the sharing of data, in real terms, there were no unique identifiers to distinguish the individual in Australia. To overcome this, two key programmes were introduced: Life Journeys and Government Made Easy.
Life Journeys tracks and identifies the key elements of the life of a citizen – graduation, marriage etc – while Government Made Easy seeks to reduce the number of times a citizen needs to re-enter their personal details when interfacing with different government services.
A sound data strategy, architecture and SOPs are critical to growth. It is an accepted fact, Simon contends, that to increase resilience, productivity and economic growth, organisations need to use data much more effectively than they are now.
“Everyone knows that cloud is enabling,”. Having a single data lake and warehouse is one of the keys to building a strong data foundation. That requires testing, proof of concepts and being able to accept failure as part of the process.
Simon added that self-service is also vital. Having too much control can stifle innovation. “Metadata must be automated” so that as data gets loaded, it is analysed via machines and made usable.
To sum up, Simon opines that agencies need to understand the use cases of real-time or near real-time data. Having clarity about the data that needs to be in real-time is critical. The key is to utilise technology appropriately in accordance with the needs of organisations.
Utilising Data in Motion to transform organisations
Damien Wong, Vice President, APAC, Confluent, spoke next about the use of data in motion to power digital leadership.
“The world is changing,” Damien opines. “The world has changed for the current generation because technology is shaping how businesses need to respond to these changing expectations. The younger generation have never walked into a bank branch, and likely will never understand why anyone would ever need to do so since everything can be done online today,” he notes.
Business and public service perspectives have been dramatically altered. In the past, technology was merely a support function. In today’s reality, technology is the business. While innovation was required only for growth in the past, business innovation is a matter of survival today. Running on yesterday’s data might have been sufficient earlier but is considered a failure by today’s standards. For Damien, coping with the digital transformation requires modern real-time data infrastructure.
Most organisations today, are “becoming software.” Ride-hailing, he said, was an excellent example. Not too long ago, people needed a taxi, they would call a taxi dispatch service, wait for the ride to be confirmed and look out for the vehicle to arrive – there was no information on how long the taxi would take to arrive or the ETA to destinations. Today, all that information is given almost instantaneously on apps.
This transformation is happening everywhere, and it is drastically causing people to rethink their approaches and systems:
- Cloud: Rethinking Data Centres
The cloud has changed how organisations think about data centres and running technical infrastructure. Today, every company is moving to the cloud.
- Machine Learning: Rethinking Decision Making
Machine learning has changed how decisions are being made, and this happens increasingly in an automated manner, driven by software that communicates to other software.
- Mobile: Rethinking User Experience
Mobile devices and internet connectivity have dramatically changed the user experience of how customers interact with organisations and have raised the bar for expectations.
- Data in Motion: Rethinking Data
Event streaming has changed how people think about and how people work with the data that underlies all the other trends.
The traditional use of data at rest is to consolidate data into a warehouse and apply analytics. Data in motion is, on the other hand, understanding the predefined actions that will be taken when encountering a specific event or data stream.
The rise of event streaming can be traced back to 2010 when Apache Kafka was created by the future Confluent founders in Silicon Valley. From there, Kafka began spreading throughout Silicon Valley and across the US West Coast. In 2014, Confluent was created to turn Kafka into an enterprise-ready software stack and cloud offering, after which the adoption of Kafka started to accelerate. Today, tens of thousands of companies across all kinds of industries the world over are using Kafka for event streaming.
“Data in Motion is the central nervous system for today’s enterprises,” Damien contends. “And Apache Kafka is the event streaming technology powering Data in Motion.”
If Kafka is the engine (the core technology), then Confluent is the ready-to-use product around that.
Confluent is a natural candidate for real-time operations like command and control, cyber security and other anomaly detection solutions. It can enable event-driven architecture that helps modernise IT applications and hasten the addition of new citizen services or capabilities. Apart from that, data infrastructure for data in motion, Confluent will help organizations move towards multi- and hybrid- cloud and DR operations.
Damien affirmed the need for organisations to emphasise digital leadership if they want to stay relevant. To achieve digital leadership, Data in Motion is the ultimate key, and Confluent is the trusted partner for setting Data in Motion for organisations.
After the informative presentations, delegates participated in interactive discussions facilitated by polling questions. This activity is designed to provide live-audience interaction, promote engagement, hear real-life experiences, and facilitate discussions that impart professional learning and development for participants.
The first poll asked delegates to rate their organisation’s use of data and data analytic tools for decision-making. Many of them felt that their organisations were doing good, with some tools in place (38%). The remaining votes were split between fair use of data in the decision-making process, although analysis is primarily a manual process (33%) and needing improvements in the tools to analyse (29%).
A delegate pointed out that his agency is working towards the democratisation of data. Currently, only a niche pool of data scientists works on the data. The idea is to have every staff within the organisation fully competent in utilising data.
In that regard, Mohit is convinced that data that is democratised and utilised by more people can result in more effective decision making.
Damien observes that there are areas for improvement. Agencies are thinking about ways to break down silos, getting the “right people get the right data at the right time,” and ensuring that the collaboration is facilitated.
On what their biggest data challenge is within their organisation, most delegates said it was that efforts to manage data are expensive (35%). The next largest segment (30%) were hampered by manually aggregating data to produce BI/reports for executive leadership. The remaining votes were split between being unsure of data quality and integrity (15%), the fact that current tools do not capture and make available the right data (10%) and how adding new data sources is difficult and time-consuming (10%).
Delegates most;y concurred that a significant challenge lies in getting buy-in. While data is being utilised in public services, a delegate remarked, not everyone believes in the need to leverage it. “People do not see the value of data holistically,” he opined.
Damien agreed that there is a need to change the perception of data as a bunch of statistics and to help people see how there can be real-time use cases in daily life and not just in corporate environments.
“Data is not seen as an asset,” Simon acknowledges. “There remains plenty of work in educating and motivating people to see the value of data and recognising data as an asset and an investment. Making data discoverable to raise the awareness to get it seen as an asset.”
Inquiring what delegates would consider as the greatest barrier to integrating more data and analytics into their day-to-day decision-making, most delegates indicated that they consider it limited access to data (29%). Compliance with data security and privacy requirements got 24% of the votes as id the inaccuracy of available data (24%). The remaining respondents indicated that they do not have the right tools to gather appropriate data (14%) or that there were cultural barriers (9%).
Even though Singapore is leading the charge in the field of digital transformation, there are mounting challenges. Mohit posits cultural barriers as an underlying problem. Agreeing with this point of view, a delegate said that communications play a vital role in shifting mindsets and culture – stakeholders need to understand what data can do for the organisation.
On the top driver of modernising applications in delegates’ organisations, responses were split between improving the speed and accuracy of business decisions (48%) and achieving better citizen service/experience (43%).
When asked about the biggest barrier to progress in the data journey of delegates’ organisations, most delegates indicated the disconnect between IT & business (30%) as the greatest barrier. The remaining votes were split between poor quality and availability of data (25%) and non-data-literate workforce (25%) and lack of leadership and commitment (20%).
The sixth question asked delegates to indicate what they felt were their organisations’ greatest strengths in terms of real-time data analytics and backend processing. Most of the delegates felt that deriving meaningful insights through real-time data analytics (41%) is their organisations’ greatest strength. That is followed by the ability to get voluminous data onto big data platform (35%) and the synchronisation of disparate data sources (24%).
In the final poll, an overwhelming majority of the delegates (65%) ranked the maturity of their organisation in processing real-time data as emergent (some processes and knowledge; non-standardised), followed by 25% for limited (ad-hoc, unstructured, uncontrolled or reactive) and 10% for structured (standardised, governance, scale, proactive).
Wrapping up the session, Damien thanked everyone for their enthusiastic participation and the robust discussions.
He appreciate that the session had offered insights on the key priorities of the public sector in Singapore when it came to data in motion and that every organisation is at a different stage and faced varied challenges. Damien reiterated the urgency of providing personalised and engaging citizen services in a rapidly changing world. With the right tools and the right partnership, better, faster and smoother citizen experiences can be created. It is clear that agencies will have to navigate through the lack of understanding towards data in motion with internal and external stakeholders.
Before bringing the session to an end, he encouraged the delegates to connect with him and the team if they would like to explore ways Confluent can help and support agencies in transforming their organisation.
In a pioneering move to strengthen the capabilities of future robotic professionals, the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) has teamed up with seven esteemed local Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) to align and elevate learning outcomes in robotics courses.
This strategic collaboration aims to equip students with consistent knowledge and skills essential for their integration into the workforce and engagement in robotics work. The partnership, formalised through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed during the ROS-Industrial Consortium Asia Pacific Annual Summit, underscores a commitment to harmonising educational approaches in response to the dynamic landscape of Singapore’s growing robotics ecosystem.
This collaborative effort, led by Professor Quek Tong Boon, Chief Executive of the National Robotics Programme, addresses the imperative of cultivating a workforce adept in the Robot Operating System (ROS), an open-source framework pivotal in the development and control of robots.
According to Professor Quek, robotics courses are instrumental in shaping the skills, mindset, and capabilities of individuals, preparing them for impactful and rewarding careers in technology and innovation.
As ROS gains prominence in industrial robotics applications, facilitating seamless communication among robots with diverse manufacturers and user interfaces, the collaboration seeks to bolster the future workforce’s relevance and competitiveness. Likewise, it envisions empowering professionals to undertake higher-value tasks, aligning with the evolving demands of the robotics industry.
At the helm of this educational convergence is the ROS-Industrial Consortium Asia Pacific (ROS-I AP), managed by A*STAR’s Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre (ARTC). The consortium spearheads collaborative endeavours with Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore), National University of Singapore (NUS), Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP), Republic Polytechnic (RP), Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), Singapore Polytechnic (SP), and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD).
The ROS-I AP has been instrumental in adapting ROS capabilities to suit the hardware requirements of industrial applications. Traditionally, robots were programmed using proprietary solutions, constraining innovation.
Leveraging ROS’s open-source architecture, ROS-I AP catalyses the industry’s adoption of ROS by fostering collaboration, pooling resources, and sharing knowledge to drive ROS applications in manufacturing automation. The consortium also plays a pivotal role in training and outreach to cultivate a talent pool aligned with the increasing deployment of robots.
The MoU signifies a pivotal phase in a broader Train-and-Place programme championed by ROS-I AP, responding to the escalating demand for robotics-related skills in the Singaporean industry landscape. This initiative seeks to cultivate a skilled workforce capable of contributing to ROS-related projects within companies.
The collaborative efforts between ROS-I AP and IHLs aim to establish a standardised curriculum for ROS-based courses, ensuring a consistent quality of education delivery. The collaboration will also include monitoring the efficacy of course content through piloting in IHLs and assessing students, with a commitment to updating content to align with industry developments.
According to A*STAR, this holistic approach ensures that graduates across IHLs possess a baseline competency, instilling confidence in employers regarding the proficiency of these future robotic professionals.
Likewise, this collaboration signifies a concerted effort to shape the future of robotics education, ensuring that students receive a cohesive and advanced learning experience. As the robotics landscape continues to evolve, this strategic partnership not only meets current industry needs but also prepares the workforce for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in the dynamic field of robotics.
In a bid to empower food manufacturers to embrace sustainability, Enterprise Singapore (EnterpriseSG) has unveiled the Sustainability Playbook for Food Manufacturers. Announced by Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, Grace Fu, this playbook is a key component of the Enterprise Sustainability Programme (ESP), aiming to equip companies with the tools and insights needed for their sustainability journey.
Jeannie Lim, Assistant Chief Executive Officer (Lifestyle & Consumer) at EnterpriseSG, emphasised the imperative for food manufacturers to navigate global supply chain challenges, evolving sustainability regulations, and the rising demand for climate-conscious food products. Jeannie introduced the playbook as a comprehensive guide, offering strategies and resources to help companies incorporate sustainability practices into their operations.
The playbook, part of the ESP series, presents a step-by-step approach for food manufacturers, featuring checklists with recommended starting points for core sustainability strategies and relevant resources. It outlines three fundamental strategies to enhance sustainability:
- Optimising Resources: The playbook advocates for a review of current manufacturing processes to identify opportunities for resource optimisation. Investments in energy-efficient equipment, on-site energy generation like solar panels, and digitalisation for increased efficiency and waste reduction are highlighted.
- Valorising Food Side Streams: Encouraging the repurposing of food manufacturing by-products into higher value-added products, such as plant-based cheese and probiotic beverages. The playbook identifies key side streams in Singapore, including okara, brewers’ spent grain, surplus bread, and fruits, offering innovative solutions to meet consumer demands for healthy and sustainable products.
- Adopting Sustainable Packaging: Recognising the importance of sustainable packaging for global market access, the playbook encourages the reduction of packaging and the use of recyclable or sustainable materials with enhanced shelf-life stability.
To complement the Sustainability Playbook, EnterpriseSG, in collaboration with the Singapore Food Manufacturers’ Association (SFMA), announced the “Embracing Sustainability for Enterprise Growth in Food Manufacturing” course. This provides an introduction to sustainability concepts and equips food manufacturing companies with the necessary tools and support to take tangible steps towards sustainability.
The course, scheduled for Q1 2024, offers participants access to a sustainability assessment toolkit and personalised advisory sessions to kickstart their sustainability journey. EnterpriseSG will defray 70% of course fees for eligible businesses, making it an accessible and valuable resource for companies looking to enhance their sustainability capabilities.
According to Enterprise Singapore, their initiatives are poised to guide food manufacturers towards a future where environmental consciousness aligns seamlessly with business success. The playbook and course serve as inspirations, illuminating the path for companies to thrive in an era where sustainability is both a responsibility and a competitive advantage.
Digital tools are pivotal in advancing sustainable food manufacturing, revolutionising processes and fostering environmental stewardship. These tools optimise resource utilisation, emphasising energy-efficient equipment and digitalisation to enhance operational efficiency.
By identifying areas for improvement and implementing smart technologies, companies can minimise waste, reduce carbon footprints, and embrace eco-friendly practices. The integration of digital solutions allows for real-time monitoring, predictive analytics, and precision control, enabling precise resource management and minimising environmental impact.
Sustainable packaging initiatives, facilitated by these tools, further contribute to eco-conscious practices, aligning with global sustainability goals. The adoption of digital tools in food manufacturing not only improves operational effectiveness but also positions the industry as a leader in environmentally responsible practices, ensuring a more sustainable and resilient future.
The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) is spearheading an initiative to propel the nation’s capabilities in healthcare, Industry 4.0-driven manufacturing, and supply chain and logistics through the transformative power of 5G. This groundbreaking endeavour, known as the S$30 million 5G Innovation Programme, is not just a step forward but a giant leap into a future where innovation reshapes industries.
Launched in 2021, the 5G Innovation Programme is a testament to Singapore’s commitment to embracing emerging technologies. IMDA has forged strategic partnerships with key enterprises, including the National University Health System (NUHS).
In the healthcare industry, Singapore’s forward-thinking tech innovators, in collaboration with NUHS, have harnessed 5G to revolutionise patient care. The introduction of Mixed Reality-based Holomedicine in operating theatres stands out as a groundbreaking achievement.
This innovative approach not only enhances patient care but also redefines the entire healthcare experience. Announced in 2022, the initiative marks the Asia Pacific’s inaugural deployment of indoor private Enterprise 5G mobile edge computing (MEC) for Mixed Reality and Holomedicine capabilities in health tech.
A significant stride in healthcare also involves a collaboration with Republic Power to deploy 5G-enabled unmanned medical booths. These “Medbots” represent Asia’s first 5G-enabled unmanned pre-screening and teleconsultation medical booths. Equipped with state-of-the-art hygiene and safety systems, these booths support remote health screening and video consultations, offering an enhanced user experience that aligns with the demands of a digital era.
The impact of 5G extends beyond healthcare, permeating the realms of Industry 4.0-driven manufacturing, supply chain, and logistics. Collaborations with ST Engineering and DB Schenker have given rise to groundbreaking applications.
For instance, Singapore’s first 5G-enabled Digital Twin has been implemented for a logistics and supply chain company transforming warehouse and manufacturing operations, quality control, and customer experience. Simultaneously, ST Engineering’s 5G-Enabled Industry 4.0 Smart Factory boasts one of Singapore’s first 5G-enabled collaborative robots, revolutionising manufacturing processes.
Dr Ong Chen Hui, Assistant Chief Executive of the Biztech Group at IMDA, emphasised the agency’s commitment to architecting Singapore’s digital future. The goal is to build capabilities in various sectors powered by emerging technologies like 5G. IMDA’s collaboration with forward-looking companies signifies a concerted effort to unlock the full spectrum of benefits that 5G offers across a wide range of sectors.
As Singapore propels itself into the future, the 5G Innovation Programme stands as a testament to the nation’s dedication to progress. The partnerships with key enterprises underscore a collective effort to reshape, redefine, and transform industries across the country.
Singapore is not merely embracing change; it is pioneering a future where technology catalyses innovation and progress. The journey has just begun, and Singapore is at the forefront, shaping the narrative of a technologically advanced and future-ready nation.
The comprehensive initiative serves as a catalyst, propelling Singapore into a new era of digital prowess. It is not merely an adoption of advanced technologies; rather, it is a strategic alignment with the needs of the future, recognising the pivotal role technology plays in shaping economic landscapes on a global scale.
The 5G Innovation Programme signifies Singapore’s commitment to sustainable economic growth. By embracing technology as a driver of progress, Singapore is not just securing its current standing; it is laying the foundation for a resilient and forward-thinking economy. The emphasis on sustainability in this digital transformation ensures that growth is not just rapid but also enduring, with an eye towards environmental and social responsibility.
In an era where technology increasingly shapes the way we manage daily life, its impact on crucial legal matters is often neglected. A commonly overlooked concern revolves around decision-making in unique situations.
If an individual becomes incapable of making decisions, it’s important to note that their next of kin doesn’t automatically assume legal authority to oversee their affairs. Instead, they’re required to undergo a lengthy and cumbersome court process to gain access to bank accounts or manage insurance payouts.
With this in mind, Singapore offers an option to deal with such circumstances. The Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a crucial legal document allowing individuals to designate someone to act on their behalf if they become incapacitated. Recognising its pivotal role, the partnership between GovTech’s Services team and the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) under the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) in Singapore has led to a remarkable digital transformation in the LPA application process.
The collaborative solution from the Office of the Public Guardian Online (OPGO) is a pioneering platform aimed at simplifying and automating the LPA application process. This digital overhaul not only slashes the processing time from three weeks to a mere 15 minutes but also revolutionises the user experience.
The development of OPGO was not a mere technological leap; it was a carefully curated process. The team embraced design thinking methodologies, engaging stakeholders, conducting usability workshops, and even pilot-testing with various demographics, including medical professionals and legal experts.
The integration of the National Digital Identity platform brought forth Secure Electronic Signatures, eliminating the need for physical signatures and ensuring a secure environment for document verification. Data security measures were rigorously implemented to safeguard sensitive information, offering citizens peace of mind when engaging with the platform.
The OPGO team is eager to explore more avenues to ease citizen’s lives. They’re on a mission to integrate artificial intelligence and machine learning into document processing, anticipating even faster processing times and improved user experiences. By employing predictive analysis, they aim to broaden coverage with reduced manpower.
The agile methodology adopted, coupled with technology like low-code platforms, continuous integration and delivery practices, automated testing, and cloud technology, ensured adaptability and quality assurance throughout the project lifecycle. These measures were instrumental in refining OPGO’s usability before its launch and continue to facilitate its evolution.
The journey from manual processing to digitalisation has not only simplified bureaucratic procedures but also empowered individuals to take charge of their future in a technologically advanced, efficient, and secure manner.
In essence, the evolution of LPAs through technology is not just about paperwork; it’s a testament to how innovation can transform legal processes, making them accessible, efficient, and reliable for the benefit of society.
Since its launch in November 2022, over 57,000 individuals have used the OPGO portal to submit their LPA applications. The platform’s success surpassed key benchmarks for customer satisfaction, e-payment integration, digital signatures, and data pre-fill, proving its intuitive interface and functionality were well-received by citizens.
Until March 2026, citizens have the opportunity to benefit from a waived $75 application fee for LPAs, enabling them to use the efficient and user-friendly OPGO platform to secure their future.
Singapore recognises that technology has the potential to better people’s lives. They also understand that all segments of society should be able to understand, access and participate in an increasingly digital world.
OpenGov reported on the government’s commitment to supporting Singaporeans in this quest for perpetual learning. Senior Minister of State Tan Kiat How underscored the pivotal role of continuous learning and skills acquisition in navigating the dynamic landscape of the modern world. He shared the Forward Singapore report, a comprehensive guide to the nation’s major developmental shifts, urging those unfamiliar with it to explore its insights.
In a stirring address at the Emerging Enterprise Awards (EEA) 2023, Senior Minister of State Tan Kiat How underscored the pivotal role of continuous learning and skills acquisition in navigating the dynamic landscape of the modern world.
Emphasising that education should be viewed as a lifelong journey, extending beyond formal academic years, he articulated the need for individuals to adapt to the evolving demands of an ever-changing workplace.
Acknowledging the government’s commitment to supporting Singaporeans in this quest for perpetual learning, Tan Kiat How also appealed to business owners and industry leaders to create an enabling environment for employees to upgrade their skills. He highlighted the Forward Singapore report, a comprehensive guide to the nation’s major developmental shifts, urging those unfamiliar with it to explore its insights.
The Senior Minister of State asserted that embracing technology as a strategic enabler is integral to overcoming traditional constraints and enhancing competitiveness. He underscored Singapore’s pioneering role in digital technology adoption, dating back to the 1980s when the nation became one of the first in the world to integrate computers into its public service and workplaces.
Singapore places a paramount emphasis on the pivotal role of digitalisation in revolutionising its educational landscape. With a focus on enhancing learning experiences, fostering global competitiveness, and preparing students for the future workforce, the nation is embracing innovative teaching methods and personalised learning through advanced digital tools.
The integration of technology not only streamlines administrative processes but also facilitates seamless transitions between in-person and online learning models. This commitment to digitalisation reflects Singapore’s dedication to staying at the forefront of educational innovation, equipping students with essential technological skills for the evolving global landscape.
This commitment to technological advancement has persisted, forming the bedrock of Singapore’s digital foundation. Senior Minister Tan shed light on the government’s SMEs Go Digital programme, an initiative integrating emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud services into Industry Digital Plans (IDPs).
These IDPs serve as roadmaps, guiding businesses across various sectors in adopting digital solutions and upskilling their workforce. In a recent example, the Tourism (Attractions) IDP incorporated AI to streamline workflows and provide data-driven insights, enhancing decision-making for attraction operators.
The government’s holistic approach extends beyond specific sectors, with a thorough examination of industry disciplines sector by sector. This involves updating strategies, incorporating emerging technologies, and ensuring that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can boost productivity and competitiveness while navigating the complexities of digital transformation.
Senior Minister Tan cited the Chief Information Security Officers-as-a-Service initiative, where cybersecurity consultants aid firms in enhancing cyber resilience through “check-ups” and tailored health plans.
Encouraging firms and networks to actively engage with these programmes, Senior Minister Tan emphasised the need for Singapore to embrace its agency in shaping its future. He urged the nation to leverage its strong foundation and the strategic roadmap outlined in Forward Singapore.
As Singapore charts its digital odyssey, the EEA 2023 serves as a platform not just for acknowledging achievements but for inspiring a collective commitment to a future where technological innovation and lifelong learning propel the nation to new heights.
The Senior Minister of State added that Singapore’s exceptionalism relies on collective ambition, hard work, and unity, ensuring that the nation continues to defy the odds and stand as a beacon on the global stage.
Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Defence, Heng Chee How, and Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information and Health, Dr Janil Puthucheary, recently visited the Critical Infrastructure Defence Exercise (CIDeX) 2023, underscoring the government’s commitment to fortifying national cybersecurity.
The exercise, held at the National University of Singapore School of Computing, witnessed over 200 participants engaging in operational technology (OT) critical infrastructure defence training.
Organised by the Digital and Intelligence Service (DIS) and the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA), with support from iTrust/SUTD and the National Cybersecurity R&D Laboratory (NCL), CIDeX 2023 marked a collaborative effort to enhance Whole-Of-Government (WoG) cyber capabilities. The exercise focused on detecting and countering cyber threats to both Information Technology (IT) and OT networks governing critical infrastructure sectors.
This year’s edition boasted participation from DIS, CSA, and 24 other national agencies across six Critical Information Infrastructure (CII) sectors. With an expanded digital infrastructure comprising six enterprise IT networks and three new OT testbeds, participants operated on six OT testbeds within key sectors—power, water, telecom, and aviation.
CIDeX 2023 featured Blue Teams, composed of national agency participants serving as cyber defenders, defending their digital infrastructure against simulated cyber-attacks launched by a composite Red Team comprising DIS, CSA, DSTA, and IMDA personnel. The exercises simulated attacks on both IT and OT networks, including scenarios such as overloading an airport substation, disrupting water distribution, and shutting down a gas plant.
The exercise provided a platform for participants to hone their technical competencies, enhance collaboration, and share expertise across agencies. Before CIDeX, participants underwent a five-day hands-on training programme at the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF)’s Cyber Defence Test and Evaluation Centre (CyTEC) at Stagmont Camp, ensuring readiness for cyber defence challenges.
On the sidelines of CIDeX 2023, the DIS solidified cyber collaboration by signing Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with key technology sector partners, expanding its partnerships beyond the earlier agreement with Microsoft earlier in the year.
Senior Minister Heng emphasised the importance of inter-agency cooperation, stating, “CIDeX is a platform where we bring together many agencies throughout the government to come together to learn how to defend together.” He highlighted the collective effort involving 26 agencies and over 200 participants, acknowledging the significance of unity in cybersecurity.
Dr Janil echoed this sentiment, emphasising CIDeX’s role in the Whole-of-Government (WoG) cyber defence effort. He remarked, “Defending Singapore’s cyberspace is not an easy task, and it is a team effort.”
He commended the strong partnership between the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore and the Digital and Intelligence Service, recognising the exercise as a crucial element in strengthening the nation’s digital resilience and national cybersecurity posture.
By leveraging collaboration, innovation, and a robust defence strategy, Singapore aims not just to protect its critical infrastructure but to set a global standard in cybersecurity practices.
CIDeX 2023 serves as a compelling embodiment of Singapore’s unwavering dedication to maintaining a leadership position in cybersecurity practices. This strategic exercise underscores the nation’s commitment to cultivating collaboration and fortifying its resilience against continually evolving cyber threats.
Beyond a training ground for sharpening the skills of cyber defenders, CIDeX 2023 encapsulates the government’s profound commitment to adopting a robust, collaborative, and forward-thinking approach to safeguarding the integrity and security of the nation’s critical infrastructure in the dynamic landscape of the digital age.
The Chief Dental Officer of the Ministry of Health (MOH), Associate Prof Chng Chai Kiat highlighted their role in fostering collaboration, exploring innovation and propelling oral health into the future. Digitalisation, a key element of this transformation, takes centre stage providing a vibrant space for scientists to delve into technological advancements shaping the future of oral health.
Over the next few days, 60 local and international speakers will unravel cutting-edge technologies, artificial intelligence (AI), digital dentistry, biomaterials, orofacial devices, therapeutics, and more.
Oral diseases, affecting 3.5 billion globally, not only compromise health but also pose a substantial economic burden. In Singapore, the 2019/2020 National Adult Oral Health Survey revealed high prevalence rates, emphasising the need for effective strategies.
Assoc Prof Chng underlined the significance of oral health surveillance studies, crucial for policymaking and health system planning, while research becomes a driver for innovation in delivering quality oral care.
Population health takes precedence, aligning with Singapore’s healthcare reform through the Healthier SG initiative. The ageing population becomes a focal point, prompting the need for preventive care to ensure good oral health. Population oral health studies become instrumental in understanding responses to interventions across generations, contributing to effective policymaking.
A notable endeavour is the SG70 cohort study, “Towards Healthy Longevity,” integrating oral health research into mainstream public health initiatives. Led by the National University of Singapore, it examines the effects of biological, lifestyle, and socioeconomic factors on healthy ageing. A representative sample of 3,000 Singaporeans aged 70 and older will be followed for the next 10 to 15 years.
Digital dentistry solutions take a leap forward with the ongoing development of a clinically integrated workflow to produce removable partial dentures efficiently. Spearheaded by SingHealth-Duke NUS Medical School, this research proposal employs 3D dental prosthesis printing, biomaterials, and regenerative dentistry, catering to the oral needs of an ageing population.
Industry collaboration has become integral, and a noteworthy example is the development of an antiseptic mouth rinse with anti-viral properties. Originating during the COVID-19 pandemic, the study by the National Dental Centre Singapore has successfully partnered with a homegrown oral care brand, showcasing a synergy between oral health research expertise and industry knowledge.
Digital dentistry solutions have revolutionised dental practices by offering precision, efficiency, and enhanced patient experiences. Utilising advanced technologies such as intraoral scanners and CAD/CAM systems, these solutions ensure precise measurements and accurate diagnoses.
Digital workflows streamline traditional processes, significantly reducing chair time and enabling same-day restorations. This benefits practitioners in terms of time efficiency and enhances the overall patient experience, as digital impressions replace traditional materials, providing a more comfortable and less intrusive procedure.
Customisation and aesthetics are paramount in modern dentistry, and digital tools like CAD/CAM systems allow for the creation of highly customised dental prosthetics tailored to individual patient anatomy. The precise colour-matching capabilities of digital technologies contribute to restorations that closely resemble natural teeth, achieving superior aesthetic outcomes.
Additionally, improved communication between dental professionals is facilitated through digital platforms, enabling seamless collaboration on multidisciplinary cases. The ease of sharing digital records with laboratories, specialists, and other team members fosters better coordination in delivering comprehensive patient care.
Beyond the immediate benefits, digital dentistry offers long-term advantages such as cost-effectiveness, as reduced material costs and increased efficiency offset initial investments.
The accessibility and secure storage of digital patient records contribute to better continuity of care, while ongoing technological advancements, including the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and 3D printing, ensure that dental practices remain at the forefront of emerging trends.
Hence, digital dentistry has become an essential component of modern dental care, providing practitioners with tools to deliver high-quality, patient-centred services in a technologically advanced environment.