The Smart Nation: Powering Innovation
There are few places in the world better positioned to become a "Smart Nation" than Singapore.
Already, the city-state has one of the world’s most advanced Information and Communications technology (ICT) and Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructures. With a fiber network that stretches the length and breadth of the island, bringing high-speed Internet access to every home and office, and with an average of three mobile devices for every two of its citizens, Singapore is well placed to become one of the world’s first smart nations.
Ranked the second most globally competitive economy in the world by the World Economic Forum, largely because of its strong and reliable infrastructure, Singapore’s pioneering Smart Nation ambition has spurred rapid technological development and innovation across the country, all of which is set to thrive in the years ahead.
Powered by big data, analytics and next-generation sensor networks, Singapore is poised to change how large cities operate, whilst propelling the nation into a fully connected and smart tomorrow.
Building the Most Advanced Nation
As Mundipharma CEO Raman Singh puts it, “Singapore was always a country that was ahead of its game...[and in doing so] has established the standards of innovation.”
The Smart Nation initiative is truly Singapore’s innovative spirit in action, leveraging data and technology like never before to help enhance people’s lives in a seamless manner including:
- Helping government agencies deliver better services to citizens and businesses,
- Transforming how people live, work and travel,
- Revolutionising healthcare, and
- Providing greater efficiencies and safety.
The Singapore Effect
- According to the 2016 Global Innovation Index, Singapore is Asia’s most innovative economy.
- Singapore was ranked as the world’s top network-ready country in 2015 by The World Economic Forum
- Singapore is the world’s fastest broadband nation according to Ookla, and was ranked the top and fastest-changing digital economy by Tufts University.
- Global multinationals such as P&G, Nielsen, DuPont, GM and ADM continue to make Singapore an important part of their global innovation strategies, attracted by Singapore’s proximity to Asian markets and the ability to tap into the region’s future growth.
- Singapore was ranked third out of 50 global cities for having a “future-ready economy”—i.e. having the right infrastructure and technology to serve people and grow businesses. That’s behind the Californian cities of San Jose and San Francisco, but above the likes of London, Sydney and New York.
- Singapore hosts regionally significant innovation events that help develop the innovation culture by providing ideas and inspiration to startups, as well as means for them to source funding and market their products.
A notable example is the distinctive Blocks 71, 73 and 79 just outside the city, which house Singapore’s vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem including prototyping labs, start-ups, accelerator boot camps, venture capital firms and incubators. Successful projects include biotech incubator The BioFactory and Exploit Technologies, the technology commercialization arm of government research agency A*STAR.
Indeed, Singapore has created an ideal environment for the start-up industry: it makes a clear effort to reduce many of the logistical barriers associated with starting a business, including minimizing time to incorporation.
The government’s open data portal also gives start-ups access to data sets that make it easier to develop innovative ideas and share data. Apps that use this portal include:
Beeline, a mobile app that lets users crowdsource bus routes. If enough commuters ask for a new route, private bus operators make sure it is created. To date, more than 100 apps have been created using the open data portal.
MyResponder, a mobile app that mobilises the community to respond to cardiac arrest cases within their immediate vicinity.
OneService, a one-stop platform that enables citizens to send their immediate feedback on municipal issues they encounter.
Country-wide Innovation Hubs
Technological innovation is making significant impact across a wide range of industries across the country:
E-COMMERCE: Visa’s new innovation centre in Singapore is a collaborative space for partners to work with Visa to create new payment and e-commerce solutions, particularly for mobile and digital platforms.
CUSTOMISED SOLUTIONS: Insurer Allianz recently opened an Asia Lab at its Singapore headquarters to harness digital innovation and use advanced analytics to offer better solutions to its 18 million customers across the region.
PERSONALISATION: Nielsen’s innovation hub in Singapore is the first of its kind in Asia, empowering businesses to use data on shoppers’ behaviour to help provide personalised marketing insights for retail companies across the region.
COLLABORATION: BP’s Singapore-based Digital Innovation Organisation introduces emerging digital technologies to address business challenges faced in the oil and gas sectors through the collaboration of new ideas and thinking with external experts and contributors.