Last updated: 13 March 2023
Published on: 01 February 2016
9 MINS READ
The final part of the 2015 year-in-review looks at IDA's role in supporting industry and innovation.
Public and private sector organisations will have to be smarter, more productive and more competitive if Singapore is to stay ahead of the economic curve.
And data analytics will play an increasingly important role in achieving this.
“With better connectivity and more powerful computational technologies, data analytics can be a powerful tool that enables our businesses to draw sharper insights into their customers and operations. It can make our businesses smarter, more productive, and more competitive, thereby powering our economic growth,” said Mr Koh Boon Hwee, Chairman of the Infocomm Media 2025 Steering Committee.
Innovating with analytics
Across Government, there is a growing momentum across agencies to use data better to engage the public and provide for more responsive and citizen-centric public services.
One example is Beeline , a crowd-sourced demand-driven shared private transportation experiment. Launched by IDA and Land Transport Authority in August, Beeline makes use of big transportation data and crowd-sourced travel patterns to identify potential private express bus routes and connect private bus operators to commuters who want more direct, pre-booked bus services during peak periods.
The introduction of Beeline followed the launch of other services such as OneService, a mobile app jointly developed by the Municipal Services Office and IDA to offer the public a convenient way to to provide feedback on municipal issues and MyResponder, a life-saving mobile application by the Singapore Civil Defence Force which leverages on location awareness to enable volunteers to assist with cardiac arrest cases.
IDA also worked with Science Centre Singapore (SCS) to launch an interactive smart learning space which offers dynamic content with customised learning experiences for visitors to the Science Centre based on their profiles.
Visitors to SCS are able to use the “Brain Explora” mobile app to enjoy dynamic content within the “Tuning In” Brain and Body” exhibition. Based on the user’s profile, the app differentiates between adults and children to offer age group-specific content.
Through user-generated data, the solution also offers analytics that provide insight into visitor behaviour and preferences, thus guiding SCS in the design of future content, exhibitions and other smart learning spaces.
These efforts are also part of the preparation for the new Science Centre, due to be completed by 2020.
Better insights at new Centre of Excellence
Many of these new services and initiatives are being hatched at the IDA Centre of Excellence in software engineering and data analytics, which was officially launched at the newly-opened Sandcrawler in One-North in October.
The IDA Hive is home to the Government Digital Services team made up of almost 100 data scientists, designers, engineers, coders and other experts who are giving government services and applications a tech makeover to better meet the needs of the public.
The unit seeks to leverage data and analytics to gain better insights into the needs of users to improve their digital government transaction experience. It also doubles up as a consultancy, assisting agencies on the development of new services or enhancement of existing ones.
The facilities include a Design Experience Lab fitted with a range of sensor technology to assess user experience, facilities to chart the progress of the services developed and even dashboards that provide engagement, performance and stability indices of digital services.
An enhanced SingPass was introduced in July with clearer instructions and more intuitive account management features to make it easier and more convenient for users.
Users can better navigate the site, and complete their tasks efficiently, access their account via mobile and update their SingPass account with ease online, anytime, anywhere.
To enhance security and better protect users’ personal data, a secure 2-step login process was introduced for e-government transactions involving sensitive data, such as financial or health information, or those that require high level of identity assurance.
For a start, more than 100 government e-services will require 2-step verification. These include the more commonly-used e-services provided by the Ministry of Manpower, Central Provident Fund Board and Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore.
Users will also receive SMS or email notifications for any changes made to their profile, so that they are always updated of their account activities.
As part of ongoing enhancements to the site, IDA recently rolled out an enhanced 2FA application process which makes setting up 2FA for their SingPass accounts a breeze.
Working with the Industry
Going forward, the Government will continue to invest in ICT to realise the Smart Nation vision, and seek collaboration opportunities with the industry to build capabilities and develop more citizen-centric services.
About S$2.2 billion worth of infocomm tenders were called in the financial year of 2015 with key areas of procurement focused on digital and data services, web services, infocomm infrastructure, as well as the development of the Smart Nation Platform.
Some of the public sector ICT initiatives that were highlighted at the annual Industry Briefing on Infocomm Initiatives in the Public Sector in May 2015 included plans by the Ministry of Education to acquire analytics tools and capabilities to mine its rich pool of existing data sets; the development of a next-generation work pass system by the Ministry of Manpower; the introduction of automation and self-service capabilities by the National Library Board; and the revamp of the National Trade Infrastructure by Singapore Customs and IDA.
Smart Tech building SME sector productivity and growth
IDA’s work to drive SME productivity and growth was focused on addressing SME needs at the sector level, based on priority sectors identified by the National Productivity Council (NPC), and on building high-impact enabling platforms that could better deliver sustained workflow change.
IDA built on its relationships with partner agencies and Trade Associations and Chambers (TACs) to identify problem statements for which sensors, analytics and autonomous systems could make a difference.
To date, more than 8,000 SMEs have benefited from IDA’s iSPRINT programme. In addition, over 100 pre-qualified packaged solutions has helped to ease deployment to SMEs in various sectors.
The 2015 SME Development Survey commissioned by DP Information Group reported that 70% of SMEs had benefited from ICT within a year of investing in them and more than half of the SMEs (52%) were able to generate business revenue with less manpower.
The SMEs who intended to invest in ICT and technology innovation in the next 12 months increased by 29%.
Highlights of the new projects deployed in the various sectors in 2015:
- Food and beverage (F&B): SMEs can reduce upfront device investment and potentially reduce 50% of the front-of-house workers operations by using the mobile-enabled ordering and payment solution.
- Land surveying and facilities management sub-sectors: SMEs can use a new Data-as-a-Service solution, powered by Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) for highly accurate geospatial data collection, with expected manpower savings of at least 50%.
- Manufacturing: SMEs can use the online business-to-business (B2B) marketplace to connect between those with excess inventory and those who need such materials, with expected benefit of at least 20% reduction in excess inventory and related cash flow improvement.
- Cleaning: SMEs can use the autonomous robot solution for wide space cleaning is capable of achieving the same work efficiency equivalent to three manual workers.
To showcase the impact of smart tech sector solutions to SME communities, IDA organised and participated in seminars and flagship trade shows. One major annual showcase is the Infocomm Commerce Conference (ICC) organised by the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI), which was attended by 7,000 SMEs.
The agency showcased SME sector solutions such as secure China go-to-market channel for food manufacturers, 3-D command and control centre for facilities managers, and site worker entry and exit tracking for the construction industry.
IDA was invited by Building and Construction Authority (BCA) to showcase smart tech solutions such as survey drones for the construction sector at the national pavilion in BuildTech Asia 2015, which was organised in conjunction with the Singapore Construction Productivity Week.
One of the event’s key highlights was the official launch of the Foreign Construction Worker Directory System (FCWDS). SMEs can use the system to hire trained and experienced construction workers who would otherwise be returning home, after the projects they were working on have been completed. About one-third of the 320,000 foreign construction workers leave Singapore every year.
The platform, operated by the Singapore Contractors Association (SCAL) and sponsored by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and guided by IDA, is expected to reduce expenses related to manpower agencies. It provides an entry point to the manpower-related construction sector resource management solutions that IDA is also working on.