During the annual Smart Nation and Digital Government Industry Briefing, the Government Technology Agency (GovTech) announced that the Singapore government plans to dedicate US$1.7 billion to working with the private sector in financial year 2017.
The government will work with industry vendors, including small businesses and startups, to develop technologies in data analytics and sensors as well as communications infrastructure that will connect internet-of-things sensor networks with data centers. In short, tech you need to make Smart Nation, Singapore’s vision of an always connected digital society, a tangible thing.
The Smart Nation Sensor Platform is a particular focus – a sensor network that covers the entire island and enables connectivity, data and video analytics, and data sharing between different government agencies. The project, previously known as just Smart Nation Platform, was first announced in 2015 by the Infocomm and Media Development Agency (IMDA).
In April, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong commented that the Smart Nation initiative isn’t proceeding as fast as expected. At the end of March, GovTech was placed within the Smart Nation Digital Government Group (SNDGG) to implement the Smart Nation agenda. The SNDGG was formed directly under the Prime Minister’s office to streamline and accelerate the process.
In 2016, expenditure and workload was mostly dedicated to laying down the foundations of the project. That focus on infrastructure, including data centers and cabling, is why this year’s budget is smaller than last year’s by about US$300 million. “This is basic infrastructure that we have to lay out to ensure that there is capacity for the growth of Smart Nation applications,” says GovTech chief executive, Jacqueline Poh. “In [financial year] 2017, the government intends to spend a larger proportion on digital and data, cyber security, and Smart Nation applications.”