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Singapore Embraces Tech Innovation to Build Resilient Digital Nation

Singapore continues to grow in stature as a global tech and innovation hub as many tech giants build their companies in the nation. Built on high-quality infrastructure and a vibrant ecosystem of over 3,400 start-ups and 600 investors, the city-state was ranked the fifth most innovative city in the World Economic Forum’s 2019 Innovative Cities Index. In 2021, it has now emerged as the second most innovative economy on a media company’s Innovation Index, for showing resilience amidst the tumultuous COVID-19 situation.

The country’s efforts to spur innovation form part of a larger vision to build a resilient, sustainable and digital nation. In December 2020 Singapore’s five-year Research, Innovation and Enterprise plan was released, committing S$25 billion in funding research and development efforts to maximise the unique opportunities unveiled by the pandemic.

Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister stated that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated technological trends and structural changes that will reshape the global economy and throw up new challenges for societies. Science, technology and innovation will be critical to overcome COVID-19, and in enabling the country to emerge stronger.

To further catalyse Singapore’s innovation ecosystem, IMDA is supporting the growth of local companies, providing avenues for collaboration, commercialisation and internationalisation. Accordingly, IMDA has launched various programmes to help businesses embrace innovation, such as a virtual crowd-sourcing platform, accreditation programme, and award programme for tech innovations.

The virtual crowdsourcing platform bridges hundreds of enterprises according to their needs. No longer do companies have to rely only on internal teams to address their biggest pain points. Instead, companies present their challenges through the platform, opening themselves to a wider spectrum of possible problem solvers for their challenges. In turn, up-and-coming tech providers rise to the occasion—engaging enterprises they might never have reached otherwise and embellishing their portfolio with successful innovation projects.

Meanwhile, the accreditation programme spotlights promising Singapore-based tech companies to help them establish credentials and build business traction. By positioning these companies as qualified tech providers with the capability to deliver, the programme enables their solutions to reach potential government and large enterprises.

One IMDA-accredited company developed visual search technology that revitalised the shopping experience for a global sportswear brand in response to COVID-19 restrictions. Given the need to minimise interactions, the company’s visual search provides customers with a self-serve shopping experience. Through the app, customers can scan items on display with their smartphone cameras and search for size and stock availability.

While innovation may initially seem daunting, it usually shines the most during the times of great uncertainty. Innovation not only helps enterprises stay afloat, but the solutions generated through such efforts also strengthen Singapore’s resilience as a whole in the ongoing fight against COVID-19.

Singapore has continued to develop new tech innovations in different areas, including cybersecurity. As reported by OpenGov Asia, A Singapore cybersecurity firm launched the world’s first solid-state drive (SSD) embedded with Artificial Intelligence (AI) data security. As the last line of defence to protect data at the hardware level, the SSD can guard against both remote and physical attacks, boasting a range of features including temperature sensors to detect unusual movements that occur.

During an incursion, the device will alert the user via email and lock itself to prevent any physical tampering. Users may then unlock the device via a dynamic authentication process. For clients with high-security needs, such as the military, data may be automatically wiped should the device fall into the wrong hands. This innovation was a breakthrough and a significant step in increasing security and safety for end-users, having put AI into the firmware layer of an SSD.

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