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Singapore unveils its smart nation efforts to better serve citizens

Nurdianah Md Nur | April 10, 2015
Besides launching a programme that enables low-income households to be digitally connected, the republic will also be opening a new centre to develop citizen-centric apps.

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) will be launching a new Software Design and Development Centre of Excellence (CoE) by mid-July this year to better serve its citizens.

To be located in Lucasfilm's Singapore campus at Fusionopolis, the 13,000 sq ft centre will house a small but strong core of coders and engineers capable of creating IT solutions within the government. It will provide facilities for user research and experience testing and consultancy services to government agencies to deliver citizen-centric digital services.

"We must ensure that our e-services can offer citizens the most user-friendly and optimally designed experience in a high-tech and seamless smart nation," said Minister of Communications and Information (MCI) Dr Yaacob Ibrahim at MCI's work-plan seminar yesterday (9 April 2015).

"[The centre will enable government agencies to do so by] tapping on the centre's expertise in research and data analytics to design and develop their dutiful services to better meet citizens' diverse needs and expectations," he added.

Home access programme
During the seminar, Dr Yaacob also provided more details on a Digital Inclusion initiative called Home Access programme, which is expected to benefit 8,000 low-income households in Singapore over the next four years.

First announced in 2014, the programme aims to ensure that everyone is included in a digitally connected smart nation. As such, the programme will offer 100Mbps fibre broadband connectivity and a tablet at a subsidised rate of S$6 per month to households with income less than S$1,900, do not have school-going children and have at least one Singapore citizen.

 In addition, Singapore telco M1 — which has been appointed by IDA as its broadband service provider for the Home Access programme — will conduct free regular training workshops for the beneficiaries. The workshops starting in June 2015 will help the beneficiaries learn how to use their tablets and email.

RSVP Singapore - The Organisations of Senior Volunteers will also be conducting training sessions for senior beneficiaries in May, announced IDA in a press release.

Applications for the programme are now open, with application forms made available at all community clubs and Ministry of Social and Family Development's (MSF) Social Service Offices.

The Home Access programme is developed by IDA and administered in partnership with community organisations and companies. According to Jacqueline Poh, IDA's managing director, the programme "will help lower-income households without Internet access to get connected to high-speed fibre broadband, thus helping help all groups to live, learn, play and feel included in a digitally connected Smart Nation."   


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