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Singapore to offer secure identity verification service for companies by Q3

The trial of lamppost-as-a-platform and expanding the Moments of Life service to other life stages will kick off from the third quarter of this year, GovTech announced at the annual Smart Nation and Digital Government industry briefing.

Singapore to offer secure identity verification service for companies by Q3

A user exploring the SingPass Mobile app on his smartphone.

SINGAPORE: Businesses looking to securely conduct visitor registration or customer acquisition at roadshows will be able to tap on a new service offered by the Singapore Government later this year, as part of its efforts to develop a national digital identity.

Called SG-Verify, the service will allow businesses to perform secure identity verification and data transfer through the scanning of QR codes, said the Government Technology Agency (GovTech) in a press release on Tuesday (May 28). It added that this will be introduced by the third quarter of Financial Year (FY) 2019.

Mr Kwok Quek Sin explained at the sidelines of the annual Smart Nation and Digital Government industry briefing on Tuesday that banks and financial services companies, as well as charity organisations, could potentially benefit from the new offering. 

Using the example of charity organisations who deploy employees to recruit new donors in public spaces, Mr Kwok said people tend to avoid doing so because after hearing about the cause, they still have to fill up forms, which could be a time-consuming affair. 

With SG-Verify, people can just scan the QR code using their SingPass Mobile app to share the necessary details with these organisations, he added.

SG-Verify was introduced as part of the continuous development of a national digital identity for Singaporeans so they can more securely transact with the Government and businesses. 

The national digital identity, in turn, was identified as one of five platforms the Government will develop to meet the outcomes stated in the Digital Government Blueprint, which was unveiled last June.

READ: National Digital Identity system to be cornerstone of Singapore’s Smart Nation vision

READ: E-payment, digital signature options for all government services by 2023

The other four platforms are: Singapore Government Technology Stack, Smart Nation Sensor Platform (SNSP), Moments of Life (MOL) and Adaptive Digital Workplace. 

As part of the development of the SNSP, GovTech said the lamppost-as-a-platform trial will start in the third quarter of this year in one-north and Geylang. It will assess the efficiency of using these lampposts to provide connectivity to and power various kinds of sensors, and test different uses for different needs like security. 

These could include environmental sensors to monitor air quality and noise, cameras to detect and count personal mobility devices in public spaces, it said. 

Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO) deputy secretary Tan Kok Yam told CNA last February that one use case will be to deploy video sensors, thereby enabling facial recognition systems. He also tried to allay privacy concerns then saying the authorities has no plans to use it to probe into how people live their lives. 

For public servants, the Adaptive Digital Workplace is meant to enable them to work more productively and collaborate better with other officers, the agency said. 

It added that as part of the public sector’s shift to commercial cloud, the Microsoft 365 suite of products will be progressively rolled out from the second quarter of FY2019. 

As part of the blueprint’s one-year milestone, GovTech also tracked the satisfaction level of citizens and businesses with government digital services.

It said that 78 per cent of citizens polled indicated they were very satisfied (rating of 5 and above on a scale of 6) with the services in Calendar Year 2018, compared with 73 per cent of FY2016. Data for FY2017 is not available due to survey review, the agency said on its website. 

Similarly, there was an uptick in overall satisfaction among businesses, with 69 per cent indicating they were very satisfied compared to 64 per cent during the same timeframe.

READ: What next for smart nation Singapore? Getting citizens and SMEs to embrace digital 


GovTech on Tuesday also announced more than 60 per cent of its FY2019’s total info-communications and technology (ICT) contract value will be put towards developing digital services on the five aforementioned platforms. The estimated procurement value for FY2019 is between S$2.5 billion and S$2.7 billion.

Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can participate in 80 per cent of the total amount of Government tenders, it said.

To make it easier for businesses to work with the public sector, GovTech said it worked with the Finance Ministry to streamline and introduce new procurement methods for ICT contracts.

For instance, it is putting in place a new partnership model for the industry to co-develop projects with Government agencies on the Singapore Government Technology Stack.

Another initiative is to enable “dynamic contracting” in bulk tenders to allow new suppliers and requirements to be introduced throughout the contract period, thus providing more opportunities for companies to join the panel of suppliers.

Mr Kok Ping Soon, chief executive at GovTech, said in the press release that while citizens and businesses are more satisfied with government digital services, there is “still room for improvement”. 

“In FY19, with our focus on the five key technology platforms, there are many opportunities for public agencies to collaborate with the industry, especially the SMEs, in using technology to improve the lives of citizens, serve businesses better, and provide effective and convenient public services,” Mr Kok said.

Source: CNA/na(rw)


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