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Singapore Standards Council to set benchmarks in emerging areas for post-Covid economy
SINGAPORE will work on new industry yardsticks to help companies do business in the post-coronavirus economy, Enterprise Singapore (ESG) and the Singapore Standards Council (SSC) said in an update on Wednesday.
Singapore standards and technical references are in the pipeline for areas such as biometrics and even air conditioning, which have been identified as some ways to strengthen business resilience and "emerge stronger from the pandemic".
The SSC will also focus on emerging areas such as environmental sustainability, for new standards in the year ahead, as well as support ongoing industry transformation efforts.
The latest move comes amid work on a strategic plan for the next five years, which ESG director-general of quality and excellence Choy Sauw Kook told a briefing has been tweaked to "incorporate some of these things that floated up through Covid-19, in addition to some of the other areas that we had planned for before Covid-19".
This is even as 59 of the 91 new standards launched in the year to end-March have already dealt with emerging areas such as smart manufacturing. ESG and the SSC reviewed 168 standards in the last financial year, said the new SSC year-in-review report.
Plans are now under way to develop a standard for autonomous robots that can clean public areas and buildings, while technical references - provisional standards that cover industry trials - are also being revised for the safety and efficiency of self-driving vehicles.
Green standards such as renewable power, energy efficiency and storage, and sustainable food production have been identified as emerging priorities for the council in the coming year.
These include rules on the deployment of floating solar farms, urban agriculture and aquaculture practices, and the responsible use of chemicals, antibiotics and pesticides in farming.
Meanwhile, the SSC plans to adopt international standards for “smart cards” enabled with biometrics such as fingerprints, as the use of such cards is expected to become more widespread for functions such as electronic payments and security access.
The council will also work with the Building and Construction Authority on its air-conditioning and mechanical ventilation standards for buildings, to take in new guidelines on how to contain the spread of respiratory viruses indoors.
Said Ms Choy: "When we first started off for the 2020 work plan, we were looking at a lot of these trends that are coming up, feedback from the industry with regard to things on sustainability, on digitalisation. But with Covid-19, a lot of these were accelerated."
She cited the fresh attention on Singapore's "30 by 30" goal of producing 30 per cent of its nutritional needs by 2030, as well as the added impetus from the pandemic to develop contactless delivery of goods and services.
“Our standards development efforts have changed over the years, not just creating standards after new technologies have emerged, but also developing standards alongside current advancements in science and technology,” SSC chairman Robert Chew added in a statement.
“This allows the standards to plug market gaps and support the commercialisation or use of new products, services and systems.”