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Watch smart nation take off in Jurong Lake District

It will be largest commercial centre outside CBD and test bed for intensive smart nation initiative

The Jurong Lake District (JLD) is set to become the most futuristic part of the island, thanks to its status as a test bed for Singapore's push to become the world's first smart nation - PHOTO: SPH

The Jurong Lake District (JLD) is set to become the most futuristic part of the island, thanks to its status as a test bed for Singapore's push to become the world's first smart nation.

It will also be the largest commercial and regional centre outside of the Central Business District (CBD).

Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim said yesterday that the lake district is envisioned to be a mixed-use urban precinct characterised by sustainable development and connectivity.

He said this at the Infocomm Media Business Exchange 2014, (IMBX2014) opening ceremony at Marina Bay Sands. IMBX2014 is part of this year's CommunicAsia, EnterpriseIT and BroadcastAsia 2014 event organised by Singapore Exhibition Services.

The minister said that with the smart nation initiative, Singapore will build on the achievements of the intelligent Nation 2015 (iN2015) master plan. The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) will strengthen the hard and soft infrastructure in a holistic manner.

This includes developing a Smart Nation Platform (SNP) as well as initiatives that improve soft infrastructure, such as creating standards for the Internet of Things@Home and building of talent in new areas like Games Science.

Dr Yaacob noted that a smart nation can become a reality only if there is a successful combination of policy, people and technology. "A key component in our smart nation vision is the SNP. As part of the SNP, we will further our capabilities in pervasive connectivity, by building new infrastructure and common technical architecture to support an innovative ecosystem across Singapore."

On top of enhancing the existing connectivity in Singapore with technologies such as HetNet (Heterogeneous Network), the SNP will aim to bring together a nationwide sensor network and data analytics abilities, provide better situational awareness through data collection and efficient sharing of collected sensor data. HetNet allows for more optimal use of the wireless spectrum by allowing devices to switch seamlessly between various types of wireless networks.

The SNP will be developed in various phases, with the first phase (focusing on the connectivity and sensor aspects) expected to be available by 2015.

JLD is one of the new growth areas identified in URA's Master Plan to support economic growth for the next 10-15 years, and to decentralise commercial activity from the city centre. IDA, in collaboration with the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), Economic Development Board (EDB) and other government agencies, has launched the Smart and Connected JLD Pilots and Trials initiative, which will test smart nation applications that improve the quality of life and enable sustainable use of resources. The initiative will be progressively deployed and trialed from the third quarter of this year.

Fifteen projects will be trialed, each giving a glimpse of what a smart nation could look like. More than 20 companies are involved in these trials and around 1,000 sensors will be deployed. Devices called Above Ground (AG) boxes will provide the connectivity to the sensors. These sensors will provide data for a wide variety of solutions, focusing on three main areas: urban mobility; sustainability; and improving sensing and situational awareness.

The AG boxes comprise a ready-built common infrastructure for sensor deployment and can supply points of access for fibre-optics connectivity and power.

One of the new services to be tried out will be a smart queue monitoring system that will use advanced video sensing to determine, in real time, the length and flow of queues in places like taxi stands, where the queue and taxi arrivals can be determined.

One possible use of the data could be at shopping centre taxi stands where information like potential wait times can be provided to consumers. The information could also be sent to taxi companies to alert them of taxi demand and busy stands so that they can direct nearby empty taxis there.

Another pilot is aimed at enhanced energy management. The project will enable buildings and public spaces to better monitor and benchmark energy consumption as well as track initiatives to reduce energy usage.

National University of Singapore (NUS) is developing a system which will determine vehicular and pedestrian movement, as well as queue length at traffic junctions using video sensing. This will provide a better estimate of congestion at traffic junctions. At each junction, this can enable real-time optimised traffic light signalling that will benefit both drivers and pedestrians.

Each of the other projects aims to try out innovative services which make use of the huge amounts of real-time data that can be collected through the sensors connected to the integrated network.

IDA executive deputy chairman Steve Leonard noted that Singapore has made great headway in just over a year from conceptualisation to real action in building Singapore as the world's first smart nation.

He said: "One of the first building blocks for this vision to become reality is the development of SNP. It will serve as a foundation on which companies of all sizes, as well as government agencies, can experiment and innovate with new ways to collect, move and interpret data in order to better serve citizens. We welcome great ideas and input from across all communities and industries as we work to build Singapore into a smart nation."