Singapore embarked on it Smart Nation journey in 2014, with
PM Lee Hsien Loong outlining
the vision of a “A nation where people live meaningful and fulfilled lives,
enabled seamlessly by technology, offering exciting opportunities for all.”
Singapore already had the foundations in place. In fact, it
was already on its way towards that vision. Singapore was a connected city with
nearly universal broadband access and one of the highest smartphone
penetrations in the world. The Government embraced technology to deliver digital
services to citizens. Medical records were being integrated.
Since then significant progress has been made. (Click here for
some of the milestones. A recently
study from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) offering an evaluation
of Singapore's progress in meeting the objectives of the country's 'Smart
Nation' strategy offers an excellent summary of the achievements.)
But in February this year, PM Lee expressed dissatisfaction
with the pace of progress and talked
about the need to move faster on the adoption of technology and Smart
This year, the Government carried out organisational
restructuring to enable the Government to be more integrated and responsive
in strategy and processes for its Smart Nation and Digital Government (SNDG)
A new body, called the Smart Nation and Digital Government
Office (SNDGO) has been formed under the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO),
comprising staff from the Digital Government Directorate of the Ministry of
Finance (MOF), the Government Technology Policy department in the Ministry of
Communications and Information (MCI), and the Smart Nation Programme Office
(SNPO) in the PMO. The Government
Technology Agency (GovTech), which drives
digital transformation within the public sector, has been placed under the
PMO and it has assumed the role of the implementing agency for the SNDGO. The
SNDGO and GovTech together form the Smart Nation and Digital Government Group
The Government identified
five national strategic projects which the government will focus on in the
- National Digital Identity (NID) framework, for
citizens and businesses to transact digitally in a convenient and secure manner
- e-Payments drive, to allow everyone to make
simple, swift, seamless, and safe payments
- Smart Nation Sensor Platform (SNSP), to accelerate
the deployment of sensors and other IOT (Internet of Things) devices that will
make our city more liveable and secure
- Smart Urban Mobility, to leverage data and digital
technologies, including artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles, to
further enhance the public transport commute
- Moments of Life (MOL), which bundles relevant government
services, across different agencies, to the citizen at key moments of his life.
This reduces the need for citizens to transact with multiple government
agencies, for a more seamless and convenient experience.
But Smart Nation is not
just about the government’s strategies and actions. It is essential to have
the private sector as partners on the journey. Academia also plays a key role
by providing the research foundations and also, educating the next generation
and equipping them with the skills required for today’s digital economy.
The Government released the Committee
on the Future Economy (CFE) report in February with seven
mutually-reinforcing strategies: 1) 1. Deepen and diversify international
connections; 2) acquire and utilise deep skills; 3) Strengthen enterprise
capabilities to innovate and scale up; 4) Build strong digital capabilities; 5)
Develop a vibrant and connected city of opportunity; 6) Develop and implement
Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs); and 7) Partner each other to enable
innovation and growth.
The Singapore government has demonstrated strong commitment
to bringing together different government agencies, local and international
private enterprises, including large corporates, SMEs and startups, as well as
academia and research institutions, to drive the Smart Nation journey.
Below we take a look at how some of the Singapore Government
agencies (or government linked agencies) have contributed towards Smart Nation.
Some are providers of digital services. Some are enabling digital transformation
within the government. Others are seeking to facilitate the building and growth
of innovative ecosystems. Yet others are regulators ensuring that the risk of
adverse outcomes is minimised. Sometimes, one agency plays more than one of
Several of the initiatives listed below involve more than
one government agency. Often institutes of higher learning and/ or the private
sector are also involved.
Much of the work done during 2017 is about laying the foundations
for the future.
Agency for Science,
Technology and Research
The Agency for
Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is Singapore's lead public sector
agency that spearheads economic oriented research.
A*STAR and its research institutes are involved in a
wide range of collaborations with the public sector local and international
universities, as well as industry to conduct pathbreaking research which can further economic growth and improve
lives. Below are just a few examples of initiatives A*STAR announced during
In July 2017, it was announced
that A*STAR will open two model factories at A*STAR’s Singapore
Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech) and Advanced Remanufacturing
and Technology Centre (ARTC), under the RIE 2020 plan, to simulate production
environments where companies can experiment and learn new manufacturing
technologies, allowing SMEs to test new technologies with the help of public
In September, A*STAR signed
a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with 13 companies who have expressed
interest to form a consortium with capabilities spanning across the entire IIoT
(Industrial Internet-of-Things) value chain. The IIoT Initiative will focus on
the digitalisation of industrial customer care, to meet the demand from forward
looking companies that are placing greater business emphasis on aftermarket
service and support.
A*STAR has also launched an IIoT Research Programme,
bringing together multi-disciplinary capabilities from A*STAR research
institutes, National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological
University (NTU), and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD).
This programme is supposed to focus Singapore’s efforts on IIoT, especially in
the development of highly reliable industrial wireless communications, advanced
data analytics, and industrial cyber physical security for cognitive and secure
A*STAR, Rolls-Royce, and Singapore Aero Engine Services
Private Limited (SAESL), announced
in September that they will invest up to S$60 million to set up a Joint Lab for
the development of Smart Manufacturing technologies for the aerospace industry.
A*STAR and NUS also signed
a MoU with leading pharmaceutical companies GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Pfizer, and
Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) to establish the Pharma Innovation Programme
Singapore (PIPS). The focus areas for PIPS include continuous manufacturing,
bio-catalysis, process analytical technology, advanced process control, and
enhanced pharmaceutical operations.The focus areas for PIPS include continuous
manufacturing, bio-catalysis, process analytical technology, advanced process
control, and enhanced pharmaceutical operations.
Recently, A*STAR signed
a MoU with SingHealth, the largest healthcare group in
Singapore, focusing on: (i) harnessing big data in precision medicine;
(ii) utilising smart health in a diabetes clinic of the future; and (iii)
innovation in immunotherapy and drug development.
The Building and
Construction Authority (BCA)
is an agency under the Ministry of National Development, championing the
development of an excellent built environment for Singapore.
The ITM for the construction industry was launched in
October. The ITM recognises key global trends which impact the sector such as
the digital revolution, rapid urbanisation and climate change and identifies
Integrated Digital Delivery (IDD), Design for Manufacturing and
Assembly (DfMA), as well as green building as key transformation areas to
address the challenges faced by the sector.
It envisions an advanced and integrated construction sector
with widespread adoption of leading technologies, led by progressive and collaborative
firms well-poised to capture business opportunities, and supported by a skilled
and competent workforce.
During 2017, BCA also reviewed
its 3rd Green
Building Masterplan, which was released in 2014.
New initiatives based on the review will be rolled out in phases for enhancing
the indoor environment quality for occupants, encouraging high energy efficient
buildings and greening existing buildings and spaces.
BCA will pilot a new set of criteria for the Green
Mark for Existing Non-Residential Buildings (GM ENRB: 2017) scheme for
one year, which include enhanced requirements for building owners to improve
the IEQ for its occupants and adopt smart control systems to operate the
buildings. For instance, smart building controls and strategies are being
introduced in GM ENRB: 2017 in the areas of energy monitoring, demand control,
as well as integration and analytics.
July, BCA announced a partnership with
the Singapore-Berkeley Building Efficiency and Sustainability in the Tropics
(SinBerBEST), to embark on a research collaboration to transform BCA’s flagship
Zero Energy Building (ZEB) into a positive energy building.
BCA’s SkyLab, a state-of-the-art rotatable test facility on
top of a 7-storey building, launched in 2016, has been conducting research in emerging
energy efficient technologies, such as smart lighting, chilled beam (an energy
efficient technology in air-conditioning) and thermochromic glass.
In November, BCA and d Housing & Development Board (HDB)
a Call for Proposal on using drones for Building Facade
Inspection. The objective of this Call for Proposal is to develop an
integrated inspection system, using advanced image-capturing drone and
computing technologies, assisted by artificial intelligence (AI) to perform
autonomous defect detection, based on image recognition and machine
The Singapore Economic
Development Board (EDB), a government agency under the
Ministry of Trade and Industry, is responsible for strategies that enhance
Singapore’s position as a global centre for business, innovation, and
Many companies have set up centres of innovation and
research & development in Singapore over the past one year. (To take a few
& Gamble, Dyson,
In November, EDB launched a
world-first tool to help industrial companies harness the potential of
Industry 4.0 in a systematic and comprehensive way, in partnership with global
testing, inspection, certification and training company TÜV SÜD.
Smart Industry Readiness Index serves as a diagnostic tool that companies – across
all industries and sizes – can use to better understand Industry 4.0 concepts,
evaluate the current state of their facilities, architect a comprehensive
transformation roadmap and deliver concrete, sustained value for their
businesses. (Click here for OpenGov’s in-depth look at
Civil Aviation Authority
of Singapore and Changi Airport Group
The Civil Aviation
Authority of Singapore (CAAS)
is the regulatory authority for
civil aviation in Singapore and continues to provide air navigation service. It
also has a role in the growth and development of the air hub and aviation
industry, while overseeing and promoting safety in the industry.
The Changi Airport
Group (CAG) operates Changi Airport, the primary civilian airport for Singapore, and
one of the largest transportation hubs in Southeast Asia.
Changi Airport’s new Terminal 4 commenced operations on October
31 2017. T4 features Fast
and Seamless Travel (FAST) suite, which enable passengers self-service
options at various stages of departure – check-in, bag drop, immigration and
boarding. Facial recognition technology has been introduced for the first time
at T4. The technology is integrated in the FAST process to authenticate each
passenger’s identity. This automated process replaces the need for manual
identity verification by staff.
Changi Airport launched
the ‘Changi Airport Living Lab Programme’ in January, in partnership with
the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) to drive innovation over the
coming 5 years. The S$ 50 million Living Lab Programme is expected to
facilitate collaboration with innovation-driven companies and start-ups from
the private sector, to develop and demonstrate new technology solutions, in a
live airport environment.
Transport Industry Transformation Map (ITM), released in April by CAAS,
aims to achieve real value-added growth of 16% from 2015 to 2020 and boost
productivity by 3-4% per annum. In addition, it sets a target of creating more
than 8,000 new jobs in the sector by 2025.
For promoting innovation, CAAS will set up test beds and
support companies in experimenting with new technology and processes to solve
urgent challenges faced by the aviation industry.
For example, a first-in-the-world Automated Passenger
Loading Bridge is being developed by ST Engineering’s advanced engineering
centre, which will use precision lasers and cameras, with smart algorithms, to
guide the docking process safely and autonomously, even under harsh weather
Aviation Challenges (click here
have been launched to automate labour-intensive processes, in areas such as
narrow-body aircraft baggage handling, and build-up and breakdown of cargo
pallets and containers.
Innovations such as Autonomous Guided Vehicle trials to
transport food items, a one-man remote-controlled aircraft pushback air tug, integration
of Internet of Things (IoT) technology into daily ramp operations in the
form of Smart Watches and Bluetooth
bone conductor headsets are being used for productivity improvement.
In November, CAAS awarded a
contract valued at close to S$7 million, to develop a smart digital tower
prototype for air traffic control to be trialled at Changi Airport, over a
period of 22 months.
CAAS is also looking
into 3D-printed cabin parts.
Cyber Security Agency
The Cyber Security
is the national agency overseeing cybersecurity strategy, operation, education,
outreach, and ecosystem development. It is part of the Prime Minister’s Office
and is managed by the Ministry of Communications and Information.
A smart nation is a connected nation. And a connected nation
is vulnerable to cyberattacks.
In January this year, CSA formed
an Industrial Control Systems (ICS) Community to create an information
exchange of cybersecurity related matters in a trusted domain. Sector
regulators and Critical Information Infrastructure (CII) operators from the
Energy, Water. Maritime and Land Transport sectors have joined the community.
The Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) and the
Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) released
a draft Cybersecurity Bill in August. The Bill provides a framework for the
regulation of CII. It formalises the duties of CII owners in ensuring the
cybersecurity of their respective CIIs and provides CSA with powers to manage
and respond to cybersecurity threats and incidents. It also establishes a
framework for the sharing of cybersecurity information with and by CSA, and the
protection of such information.
Based on feedback
received from a public consultation, MCI and CSA said that they would refine
the designation of CIIs and work closely with sector regulators to streamline
and harmonise the obligations of CII owners under the Bill with their
respective sectoral regulations.
CSA also announced
the development of a new academy to train cybersecurity professionals. The
Academy will provide intermediate to advanced training to cyber defenders in
the government, and also invite selected parties in the CII sectors to join in
the training. The trainings will be focused on targeted niche areas that go
beyond what is normally available in the market.
CSA also continued to enter
into several bilateral agreements on cybersecurity cooperation.
Part 2 – Government Technology Agency; Housing & Development Board; Integrated Health Information Systems; Infocomm Media Development Authority; Intellectual Property Office of Singapore; International Enterprise Singapore
Part 3 – Land Transport Authority; Monetary Authority of Singapore; Ministry of Home Affairs; National Environment Agency; National Research Foundation; SkillsFuture Singapore/ Workforce Singapore; SGInnovate