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National Day Rally 2017: Singapore focuses on integrating systems to realise Smart Nation

Nurdianah Md Nur | Aug. 21, 2017
Integrated systems will enable e-payments to take off and improve public safety and security, says Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
Screenshot of PM Lee speaking at Singapore's National Day Rally 2017 from the PMO's website.

Singapore is working to ensure that its systems and innovations are integrated in order to realise its Smart Nation vision, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the National Day Rally yesterday (20 August 2017).

He gave the example of the republic currently having "too many different e-payment schemes and systems that don't talk to one another" which makes it "inconvenient for consumers and costly for businesses."

"[To counter this], the Monetary Authority Of Singapore (MAS) has been working hard at integrating the different systems into one. MAS and our banks have also rolled out a new service called PayNow. It links your mobile number to your bank account, so you can pay [with just the recipient's mobile number or NRIC number, even if the sender and receiver are using different banks]," he said.

The need for an integrated national sensor network for public safety and security was also highlighted in the National Day Rally.

PM Lee said that even though Singapore has its own network of sensors -- such as police CCTVs at HDB void decks and lift landings, and PUB's sensors to detect water levels in drains -- the different systems are not interconnected.

As such, the integrated national sensor network aims to enable inputs from different sources to be combined. Thereafter, artificial intelligence may be applied to those data to detect anomalies.


People are key enablers of Smart Nation

Since Smart Nation projects require new/digital skills, the government is offering scholarships and sponsorships for engineering to ensure that there is enough of such talents.

At the same time, the SkillsFuture and Professional Conversion Programmes will help professionals build up the necessary skills such as analytics and coding. "This is one direct way a Smart Nation will create new jobs and opportunities for our people," said PM Lee.

To prepare seniors to be Smart Nation ready, the People's Association is offering a series of IT-related courses to enable them to keep pace with technological advancements. For instance, they can learn how to use social media platforms to connect with families and friends, or how to set up an online business.

Meanwhile, tech-savvy seniors are encouraged to become a Silver Infocomm Wellness Ambassador to help and inspire others to benefit from IT.

"This is how we will become a Smart Nation together -- by taking the initiative to improve ourselves, by helping others and bettering all our lives, by looking towards the future, and making Singapore a happening place where people love to live," asserted PM Lee.


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