As we kickstart 2015, it's evident that there has been growing hype over Singapore's vision to transform the country into a 'Smart Nation' by harnessing the full potential of infocommunications technology (ICT). ICT has long been a critical driver of economic growth, and will become even more so as technological advancements such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data become increasingly pervasive in our daily lives. With its far-reaching impacts on how things work and life as we know it today, ICT is the keyto becoming a 'smart' nation and a necessary foundation for Singapore's successful future.
Rise of the Internet of Things and Big Data
Trends such as the IoT and Big Data are no longer new concepts today. Having been extensively popularised as disruptive technologies in recent years, both organisations and individuals alike are now more aware of such developments and their benefits -- take for example the common media illustration of IoT through the 'smart' fridge, which monitors the household's food requirements and communicates such information directly to the useror the store. As awareness continues to grow, the understanding that we need 'smarter' applications and devices has also become a general consensus.
However, the potential within such technologies extend far beyond what we know them for today. Back when the IoT was first introduced in areas such as supply chain logistics, its usage was limited mainly to tracking location and stock levels in real time. This has since broadened to allow a business' assets to give feedback and status updates, thus enabling the streamlining of system tracking and usage patterns to proactively develop greater efficiencies. The IoT's evolution over time is a clear reflection of how much more technology can do for us, with every organisation's business horizon extending continually as consumers continue to generate and share more useful behavioural data through personal devices and systems.
With the advent of IoT, every employee, asset and service in the work environment can be linked to centralised systems to help the business perform more efficiently, retain continuity and avoid failure -- and this is where Big Data comes in. The importance of being 'smart' arises as more and more devices are connected to the Internet at an ever decreasing cost, leaving organisations having to learn how to use this ever-flowing firehose of data.
Today's market has no problem producing and connecting new data sources, but the real battle lies in developing more intuitive tools - to meaningfully process and visualise such data, and ultimately reach the 'holy grail' position of being able to make predictive rather than retrospective decisions. Only with such abilities will organisations be able to filter out the distractions and produce genuinely actionable insights.
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