Inclusivity as a driver towards the Smart Nation reality
Interoperability and Inclusivity of IoT and Big Data is necessary to fulfill the Smart Nation vision. The way data communicates to each other is a key focus of the initiative. The Singapore government is imagining a landscape of interconnected systems that must be both inclusive and adaptable.
It was reported by the Statistics on Telecom Services that Singapore has 155% mobile penetration rate. This percentage equates to one cell phone per citizen. This number will only increase in the coming years. The wireless broadband population penetration rate is 188%. These numbers demonstrate the magnitude of wireless connectivity in the public sphere.
In achieving an inclusive Smart Nation, Singapore needs to cater to the populations that are aging, without access to internet, and disabled. Only then will Singapore be for all of its citizens.
“Smart Nation to begin with, is for all citizens. The whole aim of Smart Nation, for the Government, was to improve the quality of life for our people, using technology in a very much more pervasive way,” states Ms Jacqueline Poh, managing director at Infocomm Development Authority, to Channel News Asia.
Devices, software, and data networks are changing and growing at a quick pace. This is presenting Singapore with a challenge to create inter-connectivity between these technologies and the Singapore citizens.
"Things are going to change very fast, much more than we are used to, in the future. So we will never be 100 percent ready,” said Dr Raghunath, who is from the Singapore University of Technology and Design, to Channel News Asia.
With this drive towards inclusivity, the aging population must be taken into account. These generations will need help in embracing smart nation initiatives and technology. It was expressed by Dr. Calvin Chan of UniSIM’s School of Business that if this is not addressed, these groups will degenerating in a sense. What the IDA has done to combat this challenge is offer more than 95,000 tech training places through the Silver Infocomm Initiative.
Dr. Chan and his team of researchers are working to create adaptive design technology which is customisable to the user. Creating a sense of ease and accessibility will help elders have a positive user experience.
As the aging community would struggle to operate new technologies, others are struggling to afford access to the internet. The IDA plans to introduce new projects and measures that addresses this need. Enhanced NEU PC Plus is a program that has helped provide computer systems to households with school-attending children. The program has benefited 20,000 households since 2006.
With the goal of providing help to those with disabilities, the IDA has made a great impact on one man’s life. Mr. Kamaruddin Ahmad, whose leg was amputated due to diabetes, found help at the Infocomm Accessibility Centre run by Singapore Physically Disabled organization. They gave him the skills to acquire a position as administrator for a logistics company. IDA funds programmes like Infocomm Accessibility Centre as it meets the aim of its government to improve the quality of life for all singaporeans.
The IDA is a leader in Singapore as it works to include all of its citizens in its vision of a truly Smart Nation. It has implemented various programs to complement its long term goal. Through this, Singapore may become one of the first truly smart nations in the world and a model for many to follow.