Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan (Courtesy: Facebook page of Dr. Balakrishnan)
"The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to be the tsunami of the IT revolution, with an estimated 30 billion devices installed by 2020," said Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan in a Facebook post today. "In contrast, only about 2 billion personal computers and another 2 billion smartphones have been deployed."
Dr. Balakrishnan, who is also the Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation Initiative, underlined the point that a Smart Nation can enable people to improve their quality of life, and "The key is not technology, but to create opportunities for people to interact, build communities and have a higher quality of life," he said.
Dr. Balakrishnan had echoed similar thoughts at the Internet of Things (IoT) Asia conference which was held at Singapore Expo on 8-9 April. He was the conference's guest of honour.
How will IoT work?
"Each IoT device will have a unique ID, and transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction," he wrote. "The unit price of each IoT node is falling drastically, and will probably cost less than $1 for the ability to compute, connect, sense and take programmed action."
"This price collapse will fuel the explosion in the number of smart objects with hyper connectivity. As the devices become more energy efficient and rely on solar, wind or piezoelectricity, many nodes may even become energy independent" he said.
All these connected devices will generate a huge volume of data. "The societies that are best able to do big data analysis and derive deep insights will have a huge advantage, in improving services and achieving competitive advantages," he said. "On the other hand, those nations who do not prepare now will be face major disruptions and be left behind. There are also major concerns with privacy and security that will need to be addressed."
Singapore-Ahead of the Curve
Dr. Balakrishnan said that Singapore intends to get ahead of the curve. "We will invest in having the best cutting edge digital infrastructure," he said. "We will enhance the skills and capabilities of our people through education and SkillsFuture so that we can harvest the bountiful opportunities of the future. We will support research and development of new platform technologies through our research institutes, universities, polytechnic and ITE. Singapore will be the ideal test-bed for proof of concept and prototype solutions for the existential future challenges, just as we did for water." (Read this: NTU and NXP launch smart mobility test bed in Singapore)
He said that the country will promote open infrastructure, #openstandards, #opensource and #opendata to promote trust and openness. "We will promote innovation by tapping the wisdom of (experts in) the crowd," he wrote.
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