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Singapore’s Smart Nation Strategy

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Due to few natural resources, Singapore has to be creative to build its economy. Its use of innovative finance to rid the city of inadequate and unattractive housing and provide dignified public housing to the majority of its citizens has been hailed at many urban conferences as an example to other developing economies.

The Singapore government has never shied away from taking calculated risks in investing in the future. The nation has become one of the most developed and richest countries in the world by pursuing its smart nation strategy to protect its technology and growth prospects in the region.

Singapore needs to innovate and enhance its growth strategy to overcome our physical limitations and bring good jobs and opportunities to all Singaporeans. As part of Singapore’s roadmap to become a smart nation, the enhanced growth strategy for the digital economy will go hand-in-hand with the digital government strategies.

The Smart Nation plan encourages innovation and collaboration between citizens and companies to improve growth and the lives of people. Despite being heavily pushed and backed by the government, officials repeatedly emphasise that a smart nation is not built by the government, but by everyone – citizens, companies, and agencies.

Singapore has developed Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data science to invest in deep capabilities to catch the next wave of scientific innovation. Singapore will draw on partnerships with other government departments, research institutions, AI startups and companies developing AI products.

The potential gains from an enabling technology like AI are massive. These technologies have begun to disrupt and redefine the way we live, play and work. They also bring immense opportunities for growth, if we can harness them and build new capabilities.

One area where the government hopes to see a return on its US$109 million AI investment is in tackling challenges in transport and urban management. Other sectors include finance and healthcare. Data has also been identified as a key growth stimulant. According to the National Research Foundation, more than 50% of Southeast Asia’s data centres are located in Singapore. The city-state wants to take advantage of this and create data-driven solutions to not only improve the lives of citizens but also build products and services that can reach into regional or global markets.

In Singapore, the GovTech agency began looking outside traditional data sources on unemployment and GDP to assess areas of potential economic growth. The Pulse of the Economy uses real-time big-data sources, such as the amount of electricity used in a certain area of the city, or the number of people getting off at a bus stop, to provide an up-to-date picture of economic activity in a certain area.

Government agencies are then able to identify areas of growth and formulate strategies. One example of where this could be used is in assessing crowd density data to see how people commute and use parks and other social amenities. The data can also be used to inform transport modelling to relieve congestion and provide public transport alternatives.

OpenGov Asia reported Singapore has left a true mark of success over the last few decades and is recognised around the world as one of the leading financial hubs with a thriving digital economy, successful commodity trading practices, and more. It is evident that the industrial realm in Singapore is playing a specific role and proactively generating productive results to support this cause.

Singapore’s national research agency has established a new lab in collaboration with a local manufacturing software company to assist manufacturers in strengthening their Industry 4.0 capabilities. The S$ 18m lab, set up by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) and Singapore’s local manufacturing company, will imbue the latter’s manufacturing execution systems with artificial intelligence (AI) and industrial internet of things (IIoT) capabilities.

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