We Connect Things That Move

In February 2017, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s remarked that the country’s Smart Nation initiative isn’t moving as fast as expected. “We really are not going as fast as we ought to,” Mr Lee said at the annual tech summit Camp Sequoia where he was speaking to some of the world’s leading innovators and disruptors. Singapore aims to be the first Smart Nation in the world, infusing information and communication and IoT technologies into every aspect of citizens’ lives.

Then in March, the Government announced steps to “turbo-charge” the Smart Nation movement, reporting that experts say it is the private sector which has been found wanting and needs to step up. “By and large, Singapore companies seem to be waiting for the Government to take the lead in rolling out smart solutions. Others may also wait for the Government to call for tenders or contracts before proceeding,” said Dr Calvin Chan, an expert on e-government who is director of the Office of Graduate Studies at the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS).

The term “Smart Nation” is defined as a smart city that applies information and communications technology to solve problems in the country’s various sectors such as transportation, energy, health and human services, and more. Part of that communications technology is the Internet of Things (IoT), which is a growing field within the Smart Nations act, one that is defined as the inter-networking of physical devices, machines and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors and network connectivity which enable these objects to collect and exchange data.

Overdrive has made steps in leading the Smart Nation charge through the School Bus Project, a fleet management system that helps the parents of the more than 1,000 students who use the system track when their children board the bus, and when they arrive safely at school. This first-generation School Bus System uses a combination of NFC (Near Field Communication) and mobile sensor units to provide the location and data. This has helped the local bus service provider obtain easier tracking and greater efficiency: bus drivers can worry less about the operations – such as taking attendance – and focus on road safety. 

Philips Lighting, a leader in lighting products, systems and services has partnered up with Sentosa Development Corporation to pilot a connected street light management system in the island of Sentosa. This system is projected to yield positive results such as energy savings and improved lighting performance, reduced downtime and improved operational efficiencies by eliminating the need for physical manpower to check on the lights daily, and enhanced public safety due to improved visbility.

To tackle the strain on resources, Singapore’s hospitals are looking at ways to enable preventative and out-of-hospital care. Several public hospitals are already conducting trials for a tele-health rehabilitation system where data is transmitted wirelessly through sensors attached to chronic diseases patients’ limbs as they carry out therapy sessions at home. These solutions eliminate the need for patients to travel to and fro hospitals to wait for their appointments and empowers them to monitor their own conditions in the comfort of their own homes.

Three Smart Cities Singapore Can Take After

Amsterdam has built a reputation for itself for being a forward-thinking country, intent on using smart technologies in order to assist national issues such as energy conservation, infrastructure, mobility and more. One of its most prominent projects include experimenting with the storage of solar energy in electric cars in order to fuel an entire street with electricity to support a low-carbon economy combining electric transport, renewable energy and smart energy management.

Your Priorities, an open web-based platform has enabled citizens to submit their ideas on how to better Reykjavik and to promote online, democratic debate in Iceland and worldwide. These citizen-led ideas have been contributed by 60% of the city’s occupants, and the city itself has spent €1.9 million on developing more than 200 projects to prioritise and implement for the betterment of their people.

Barcelona’s “CityOS” strategy has borne fruit to several experiments to establish its own smart city. Once of its more outstanding projects detail how sensor technology has been implemented in the irrigation system in Parc del Centre de Poblenou, where real time data is transmitted to gardening crews about the level of water required for the plants – this is especially useful as the city had previously been affected by a serious drought period.


Paving The Way For A Smart City

“To successfully apply technologies that truly create a Smart City, Overdrive envisions greater and more open collaborations amongst different companies with different technology offerings,” said Mr Zen Chin, co-founder of Overdrive.

“We strongly believe in and passionately support Smart Nation, and we are determined to help it succeed.”