Sentosa to help drive Singapore's smart nation goal

Country's ICT regulator Infocomm Development Authority signs agreement with Sentosa Development Corporation to enable the development of new technologies that support the island resort's business operations.

Singapore's Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) has inked an agreement with Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) to drive the development of new technology and products that support the latter's business operations.

Local IT companies will be invited to innovate and prototype new technologies that can resolve Sentosa's real-world business challenges, potentially paving the way for these products to be commercialized. The island resort operator will present key issues it faces spanning transportation, landscaping, safety and security, as well as other areas of improvement such as guest experience and operational efficiencies.

IDA said such collaborations were in line with Singapore's smart nation ambition with the aim to "co-innovate and develop technology to address real-challenges" and drive improvements in tourism and hospitality, for example, in the areas of business automation and productivity.

It added that successful technologies and prototypes spawned out of the SDC partnership also can be replicated and customized in future deployments to meet the needs of citizens. Proposed areas of collaboration would include technologies used in autonomous vehicles for personalized transport and waste management, drones, and data analytics to improve safety and security.

First up on the proof-of-concept projects feature the use of video analytics to automate the monitoring of visitors to the island resort. In the following months, IDA and SDC also will jointly hold workshops to identify problem statements focusing on operational efficiencies and customer experience. These business challenges will be shared with local technology companies, research institutes, and institutes of higher learnings, which will be invited to pitch ideas and solutions for prototyping or pilot runs.

IDA Executive Deputy Chairman Steve Leonard said: "For the smart nation vision to succeed, we need to close cooperation between the government, startups, universities, research institutes, and big companies. We need to experiment and create innovative solutions across important sectors such as healthcare, transportation, finance, and logistics."

HetNet trials to begin from third quarter

The ICT regulator also announced the launch of HetNet trials at Jurong Lake District, a residential-business estate designated as the testbed for Singapore's smart nation technologies and services. HetNet, or heterogeneous network, is touted to facilitate more optimal use of wireless spectrum by enabling devices to switch between various types of wireless networks and allowing users to roam seamlessly between different networks.

Operators involved in the trials include M1, MyRepublic, Singtel, and StarHub, which will test the network in various locations such as lifts, pedestrian walkways, and MRT stations. According to IDA, the trials will allow industry players to assess optimal deployments to ease network congestion in areas with heavy human traffic.

They will also monitor the connectivity and seamless handover between cellular and wireless networks, for instance, when callers move from an MRT station where they are tapping a cellular network, to the elevator where they transition to a public wireless network, and to their private wireless networks at home.

Scheduled to roll out from the third quarter, the HetNet trials are targeted for completion by the end of the year.

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