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Singapore in push to become “smart” nation

Singapore is pushing to become a “smart” nation by using technology to enhance transport, eldercare and other public services.

SINGAPORE: Singapore is pushing to become a “smart” nation by using technology to enhance transport, eldercare and other public services.

A “Smart City” is defined as one that has a forward-looking approach to the use of technology.

IT firm NEC has fitted one of the five World Cup stadiums in Brazil with information and communications technology which allows the stadium management to monitor the crowd and control public safety – and it is also test-bedding some of those solutions in Singapore.

Keiji Yamada, senior vice president and head of NEC Laboratories Singapore, said: "We introduce certain kinds of surveillance technologies -- camera surveillance, audio surveillance and the monitoring of social media.

“Those technologies can be applied together to realise public safety. We can extract some of the symptoms of some accidents or some crimes, then we can alert the government agencies."

An NEC-led consortium is one of four groups participating in Singapore's Safe City Test Bed.

Initiated by the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Economic Development Board, the test bed looks at how technology and analytics can aid urban management and public safety.

Insights gleaned from it will be revealed at next week's World Cities Summit 2014.

Observers said initiatives like the test bed will help drive Singapore's push to become a smart nation.

Greg Unsworth, Asia Pacific Technology Leader at PwC Singapore, said: "There's a lot of technology parks around the world -- not necessarily cities, but technology parks where a lot of these Smart City concepts are being trialled and tested.

“There's examples in Russia -- Skolkovo, for instance. Some other areas being developed in the Middle East, for example, and Israel, are other good examples of capitalising on innovation. But Singapore's certainly looked at as a potential leader in this area."

Besides helping to make cities safer, infocomm technology can be applied to other areas like public transport.

Sensors and cameras can track overcrowding levels and alert operators of the need to increase the frequency of buses or trains, making taking public transport a much more pleasant experience. 

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