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Smart Nation Platform in the works: Yaacob

Government working with businesses and the community to bolster ability to connect, collect and comprehend, Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim said at the opening ceremony of imbX 2014 on Tuesday.

SINGAPORE: Plans are underway to establish a Smart Nation Platform (SNP) - a key component for Singapore to realise its vision of becoming a "smart" nation, Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim said on Tuesday (June 17).

"The SNP will comprise of key components such as the communications backbone, sensor networks, data analytics and real-world applications that will empower individuals, government and businesses alike," the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) said in a statement. The platform will be developed in various phases, with the first phase focusing on the connectivity and sensor aspects expected to be available by 2015, it added.

The Smart Nation Platform has three focus areas: connect, collect and comprehend. The Government is working to bolster capabilities in these areas, said Dr Yaacob, speaking at the opening ceremony of imbX (Infocomm Media Business Exchange) 2014.

In terms of "connect", the nation's communications backbone will be strengthened and extended through the progressive deployment of the Heterogeneous Network (HetNet) and above-ground boxes. The latter will provide street-level Internet connectivity by supplying points for fibre access and power, as well as the infrastructure needed to deploy sensors islandwide, Dr Yaacob said.

For HetNet, there will be trials conducted to explore areas such as seamless roaming within a mobile operator's network, the sharing of spectrum and energy resources, peak data rates, and quality of service and experience.

Dr Yaacob said: "If successful, consumers can expect to have more consistent user experiences as they roam across different types of networks, while businesses will be able to deliver more services for consumers." He added that an industry briefing will be held on July 1 to share more on the scope and processes of the trials.

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore had on Monday announced regulations governing the use of TV White Spaces, or Super Wi-Fi, which would increase the nation's wireless capacity and coverage.

The minister also shared that foreign phone numbers were allowed to register on Wireless@SG, the national wireless broadband network, from last Sunday. It was previously accessible only to those with local mobile phone numbers.

The number of Wireless@SG hotspots will almost double to around 10,000 from the current 5,200 by December 2015, IDA Assistant Chief Executive Khoong Hock Yun announced at imbX on Tuesday.

'EXPERIMENT AND INNOVATE'

"Collect" and "comprehend" will involve the deployment of an operating system through which public agencies can access essential sensor data. "This data will be protected, and managed, before being shared. Insights gained from this data will enable us to better anticipate citizens' needs and help in better delivery of services," Dr Yaacob said.

Through the three focus areas and other similar initiatives, the minister said Singapore is committed to collaborating with businesses and the community to realise the country's vision of becoming a smart nation.

Added IDA Executive Deputy Chairman Steve Leonard in a press statement: "SNP will serve as a foundation on which companies of all sizes, as well as government agencies, can experiment and innovate with new ways to collect, move and interpret data in order to better serve citizens. We welcome great ideas and input from across all communities and industries as we work to build Singapore into a Smart Nation."

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