While at work, do you worry about your aged parent or grand parent who is alone at home? Do you wish you could more easily keep track of your child's progress in school without having to take leave to meet the teachers? If there was a disease outbreak or a molester on the loose in your estate, wouldn't you want to be alerted as soon as possible?

Singapore, 8 September 2004 | For Immediate Release 

IDA's Connecting the Community Initiative Banks on Innovative Use of IT to Solve Community Problems

While at work, do you worry about your aged parent or grand parent who is alone at home? Do you wish you could more easily keep track of your child's progress in school without having to take leave to meet the teachers? If there was a disease outbreak or a molester on the loose in your estate, wouldn't you want to be alerted as soon as possible? If you have encountered any of these situations, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore's (IDA) Connecting the Community initiative may provide the solution you need. With the objective of addressing community needs through innovative use of IT, the IDA initiated a Call for Collaboration (CFC) in January to seek out proposals for integrated IT solutions which can solve common community problems. Four consortia were awarded in August. A public trial to test the proposed solutions is scheduled to start in February 2005 and would involve over 2,500 trial users.

The proposed solutions and services were unveiled today at a media showcase featuring highlights of the 24 integrated solutions developed by the consortia. The consortia are made up of 23 companies, ranging from IT solution providers to Citizens Consultative Committees (CCCs) and healthcare equipment providers. The proposed solutions address a range of needs, starting from the family, to target communities, to the general community. For instance, families will benefit from emergency alerts activated using wireless technology if aged parents meet with accidents at home. For target communities such as schools, there is a solution which enables parents to easily monitor their children's progress in school through SMS and email. The general community will benefit from real-time information alerts via electronic notice boards at void decks.

Connecting the Community is the second thrust under the IDA's Connected Homes programme which was conceptualised to provide a platform for the industry to test, develop and deploy integrated IT solutions for the homes and the community. Commenting on the programme, IDA's Assistant Chief Executive, Industry Group, Mr Khoong Hock Yun said, "Connecting the Community aims to use IT in innovative ways to connect people to various parts of the community such as schools, healthcare providers, community groups, businesses and facilities. Our goal is to leverage Infocomm technology to come up with creative but simple solutions that can address community needs and solve community problems. By doing so, we hope that we can make people's lives a little bit better, more convenient and ultimately, enhance the quality of community living".

The four consortia participating in the Connecting the Community CFC are BELINK or Bishan East Link (led by Cyber Business Network), Golden Years Community (led by NTUC Income), Paya Lebar Online (led by NCS Pte Ltd) and UniHome - One World (led by Universal Gateway International Pte Ltd).

With a strong emphasis on enhancing the communication and information networks within the community, BELINK and Paya Lebar Online have the Citizens Consultative Committees (CCCs) of Bishan East and Paya Lebar as consortia members. Having the valuable input of the grassroots, the consortia were able to tailor their solutions to meet the specific needs of the two communities.

Golden Years Community offers a suite of services targeted at the middle-aged and senior citizens (aged 50 years and above), offering personalized products and services like healthcare, shopping and travel, to encourage them to lead more active and engaging lifestyles.

With the ability to deliver information, services and entertainment to families anytime, anywhere through multiple devices, the UniHome solutions were proposed with the aim of enhancing family ties and estate community living. Apart from the application which lets parents easily keep track of their children's school performance, another application enables residents to request for services and provide feedback to management councils and property managers, as well as book facilities and pay for services.

The Connecting the Home trial concluded in March this year. Arising from the CFC, 35 new applications and solutions were developed by four consortia. Some of these solutions have been commercialized, for example, UniHome's Connected Home solution has been fully deployed at the Water Place condominium. Other condominiums projects like The Tessarina, The Equatorial, Amaryllis Ville, Simsville and Rafflesia have modular solutions starting with the UniHome Portal. The total project value of these roll-outs by UniHome is estimated to be over S$1.2 million. NCS from the World@Home consortium has enhanced its Intelligent Surveillance module in partnership with interior designers and M&E contractors, and this is commercially available now. Members from the two consortia, World@Home and MyStarHome, have also collaborated to enhance their Intelligent Home Automation and Control module, scheduled to hit the market within the next 3 months.

IDA embarked on the Connected Homes programme in 2002 because of the strong growth potential exhibited in this market. IDC expects the worldwide installed base of households with a network to grow from 37 million in 2003 to nearly 111 million in 20081. In addition, the Cahners-In-Stat group projected that home networking revenue derived directly from home networking hardware and the incremental value of networking connectivity on entertainment equipment will grow from $6.2 million in 2004 to $8.5 million by 2008. The total value of equipment that incorporates a home networking connection will jump from $8.3 billion in 2004 to $17.1 billion by 20082.

For more information on the proposed Connecting the Community solutions, please refer to the Annex3.


Notes to Editor:

1 Applications and Consumer Electronics to Drive Home Network Growth, IDC press release, dated 1 September 2004

2 Digital Domicile: Home Networking Hits it Big, Cahners-Instat report, dated April 2004

3 See Annex (55.74KB) on the proposed Connecting the Community solutions

About Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is committed to growing Singapore into a dynamic global infocomm hub. IDA uses an integrated approach to developing infocommunications in Singapore. This involves nurturing a competitive telecoms market as well as a conducive business environment with programmes and schemes for both local and international companies.

For more information, visit https://www.imda.gov.sg/

For media clarification, please contact:

Chia Sher Ling (Ms)
Corporate & Marketing Communication
Tel: +65 6211-1840
Email: chia_sher_ling@imda.gov.sg

Quotes from Consortia

It is good to see the Industry's effort in bringing IT into the Bishan East Constituency. This initiative will help to build a stronger link for the Bishan East Community. I hope that it will become an effective day-to-day platform for the residents to communicate with the grassroots organizations and the various community service providers (business, education, healthcare and facilities providers, etc) on the happenings in the Bishan East neighbourhood."

Mr Wong Kan Seng, Minister For Home Affairs And Member Of Parliament For Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC Representing BELINK (Bishan East Link) consortium

"Our objective is to provide the middle-aged and senior citizens with seamless connectivity through an integrated community portal. The Golden Years Community project aims to empower them to use technology to gain easy access to services that can improve their lifestyles."

Mr Tan Kin Lian, NTUC Income Chief Executive, Representing Golden Years Community consortium

"I am very happy that we are able to put IT application to good use, to help the residents improve their quality of life. Through the Paya Lebar Kovan Community Portal, our residents can use online services and conveniently connect with their friends in the neighbourhood. Our older residents are not left out in this IT project. They will greatly benefit from the Remote Diagnostic Monitoring System, where they can store the data on their medical screening for regular monitoring for themselves and their relatives. Also, we will help the business community with our e-Billboard at Kovan City where they can advertise their services at competitive rates to reach out to the residents."

Madam Cynthia Phua, Member Of Parliament for Aljunied GRC Representing Paya Lebar Online consortium

"UniHome delivers innovative 'Connecting the Community' services via an open and scalable community platform to efficiently aggregate information, applications and services to user communities anywhere, anytime, and through multiple devices"

Dr Jong Hee-Sen, Executive Director, Universal Gateway International Pte Ltd Representing UniHome consortium