Thursday, 23 November 2017

Singapore is watching you: regulator wants whole country wired

By Mary Lennighan, Total Telecom, in Singapore
Thursday 20 June 13

IDA exec calls for Singapore to be first 'smart nation' in the world, but likens process to moon landing.

An executive from Singapore's telecoms regulator the IDA on Wednesday shared a vision of covering the whole island with machine-to-machine (M2M) sensors that would collect data with the aim of improving people's lives…

An executive from Singapore's telecoms regulator the IDA on Wednesday shared a vision of covering the whole island with machine-to-machine (M2M) sensors that would collect data with the aim of improving people's lives.

What if we wired "every corner" of Singapore? Steve Leonard, deputy chairman of the IDA, asked at a keynote presentation at CommunicAsia. "[It] seems like it would be a good thing."

For Leonard, the key thing is to separate the concept of collecting "data" from that of gathering "information". It's "less scary," he said.

But even with buy-in from privacy advocates and regulatory bodies, there would still be challenges to deploying sensors everywhere, he admitted. Issues such as cost and maintenance would have to be resolved.

Leonard highlighted a number of areas in which data gathering would be particularly beneficial, including the usual suspects like healthcare, education, the environment and power consumption.

With a manageable surface area and some privacy legislation already in place, "Singapore has a unique opportunity" to become fully connected, Leonard said, issuing a call to educational establishments and industry: "We would love to work with you," on how this could be possible, he said.

But it will not be easy. Leonard likened his vision to former U.S. president John F. Kennedy's challenge to send men to the moon. "[At the time] there was not an understanding of how to do that," he noted.

"Singapore has the opportunity to be the first smart nation in the world" Leonard concluded.
 

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