The Smart Nation initiative
In an April 2015 interview, Marco Obiso, Cybersecurity Coordinator for the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), outlined the promises and challenges of Singapore's Smart Nation initiative.
Singapore is well-positioned to embark on its Smart Nation vision due to its strong institutional capabilities and judiciary system, says Obiso; also noting that Singapore already has a trained workforce and a Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) in place.
Singapore is "manageably small" and "already highly connected," says Steve Leonard, Executive Deputy Chairman of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA).
Leonard points out that the Smart Nation initiative goes beyond the connected concepts already being undertaken in cities such as Copenhagen. While these cities are testing things like smart street lights, traffic lights and waste management systems, the Smart Nation initiative includes tackling the "big problems of the future, such as urban density and aging population," he commented.
How connectivity can make a difference in everyday living
The initiative's wired and wireless connectivity network trials will be carried out in Singapore for the remainder of 2015, says Leonard. The first phase of the project is about keeping everyone in the island city-state connected to the internet via their mobile devices.
The prospect of never-ending connectivity would be likely to ignite the next level of change in the daily lives of Singapore citizens. This change would impact every scale of living, including the way Singaporeans work, play and perform every day activities and even how they look after their families.
Regarding Singapore's vision for the future, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says, "Technology can make our lives more convenient than ever before. A family on an outing may soon be able to log into their smartphones and turn off the lights at home if they have forgotten to do so."
Other possible lifestyle technologies include driverless cars, wearable gadgets to pay for goods and services and a monitoring system for elderly citizens where home sensors would alert their caregivers or neighbours if something was out of the ordinary.
Home automation solutions are no longer uncommon (think automated lighting or centralised temperature control) and technologically advanced housing solutions have already expanded in the form of smart and environmentally friendly eco-cities, such as Songdo International Business District and Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town.
Recently, Panasonic announced its participation in another smart city, Tsunashima Sustainable Smart Town located at a former Panasonic factory site in Yokohama. The progression of the Internet of Things will continue to impact urban living greatly, resulting in connected technology being the norm in everyday living, both indoors and out.
With smart technology steadily making itself more and more of a necessity, Singapore's Smart Nation initiative is a sign of things to come and could be a springboard for the worldwide adoption of more connected technologies.
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