Singapore is well on its way towards becoming a Smart Nation. In order to achieve this vision, the Government has been working to include all citizens in this ambitious journey.
One of these efforts has included the establishment of IDA’s IExperience Centre, showcasing the possibilities and benefits of Smart Nation innovations and services to the public and businesses through a range of interactive and engaging exhibits along with functional and fun services and applications.
IExperience first started out in 2010 as a place to educate the public about Singapore’s Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network. Now, since its reopening in June of last year, it serves as a platform to share the goals and ambitions of the Smart Nation vision.
OpenGov took a tour of the IExperience Centre to learn more about their efforts to engage the community and educate them about the Smart Nation vision.
When we walked into IExperience, it was organised into five main zones that relate closely to our lives in a Smart Nation. These zones walked us through the various experiences including Smart Living, Smart Workspace, Smart District, Smart Data and Smart Discovery.
At the beginning of the tour, we were introduced to some of the technologies which have caused disruption throughout history. This included the telegraph, the telephone, and especially so, the computer.
We then moved on to a virtual tabletop and witnessed how a day in a smart city would operate if everything and everyone was connected and speaking to each other. A demo revealed how sensors detect a fallen elderly person, act promptly, alerting caregivers and calling for an ambulance in real-time.
The next zone, Smart Living, demonstrated how connected appliances, sensors, and networks will bring convenience to our everyday lives. Here, we saw a water heater turn on by simply a touch on a mobile app, an app prototype for automated grocery restocking, and a motion sensor video game for at-home rehabilitation.
The Smart Workspace revealed how Smart Nation will cater to ever-changing work commitments and styles, through flexible work arrangement pods and alternative work stations. A model of a work pod shown was compact, yet large enough to accommodate one person, a desk, a chair, printer, and a mini wardrobe.
To think that some people will conduct all of their work duties in a pod like this is remarkable, but it is the way forward in the increasingly mobile and globalised society we live in.
Singapore’s street infrastructure will forever be changed thanks to Smart Nation, we saw this in the Smart District. Here, we observed a smart street lamp, which will aim to conserve energy and provide security to pedestrians at night.
Moving on, we were presented an active touchscreen that would be placed at a bus stop terminal. The screen had many widgets and could show us when the next bus will arrive, while also allowing us to search directions to a particular destination.
Near the end of our tour, we were introduced to the range of government mobile applications, including the myResponder app, OneMap app, and NEA app. Each of these platforms represent the government’s efforts to harness data and analytics in order to bring better services to citizens.
We also explored some winning entries from The “Data in the City” Data Visualisation Challenge. In honor of SG50 celebrations, the public was invited to tell the Singapore Story using Open data and visualise how we live in Singapore.
One of the more interesting applications was an app that would tell you the nearest you could find your favorite dishes, such as Laksa, Mee Siam, or even Pizza. Using data, the app could pinpoint restaurants that served the selected dish in your vicinity.
As you can imagine, the IExperience Centre is home to a bevy of sensors and gadgets, all of which are monitored through the sensor dashboard near the front of the exhibit. It is easy to imagine that our lives will be wrought with sensors, devices, and technologies which will all communicate with each other, making our lives easier and more enjoyable.
Yet, the Smart Nation vision is still in a relatively nascent stage. There is a lot of work and collaboration that must occur before this level of intelligence and connectivity can become a reality.
At the end of our tour, we were prompted to answer what Smart Nation meant to us. I believe that a truly smart nation is one where everyone and everything is connected. We are living in the age of the Internet of Everything, meaning that anything that can be connected will be connected.
From the 12th through the 19th of March, the IExperience Centre will be hosting programmes for the school holiday. This is part of their plans to reach out to youth and educate them about the Smart Nation vision.
In case you want to visit during the school holiday and any other time, IExperience is situated at Esplanade Xchange, along the linkway between Raffles City and Suntec City.
It is open from 10.00am to 8.00pm daily. Admission is free.