Many of the countries in the Global Far East have made definitive innovations to the Internet of Things (IoT). According to the OECD, Korea is leading the world in devices online per 100 inhabitants at 37.9, with the next closest competitor ranking in at 32.7 (The US weighs in at a measly 24.9). In addition, China’s efforts to establish a solid base in the Internet of Things has been intensive; GSMA reported in 2015 that, “China leads the world in the adoption of M2M services, with 74 million connections at the end of 2014, representing almost a third of the global base.” And although these numbers are compelling, Singapore’s vision for a Smart Nation has already begun to show what a Smart City might look like.
The Smart Nation Initiative, as the Prime Minister’s Office explains it, “adopts a people-centric approach to rallying citizens, industries, research institutions and the government to co-create innovative solutions.” The idea is that government, big business, startups and everyone else would get involved in the creative process. Government agencies are releasing much of the data gathered from sensors around the city into the public domain for use in analytics and as a good-faith invitation to participate in the generation of IoT solutions. Public transit is already partnering with mobile applications like Beeline and MyTransport to ensure streamlined service in transportation, but maybe the most exciting development so far has been in their emphasis on smart home technology.
The Housing and Development Board of Singapore has extended smart home solutions to 3,200 homes in the Yuhua estate, including “elderly monitoring systems that provide peace of mind to caregivers of loved ones, and Utility Management Systems that help manage household utilities usage.” Singapore intends to extend the Internet of Things through a collective community of sensors and a unified platform. As far as specific technologies are concerned, maybe Singapore isn’t any farther along than anyone else. Products for the IoT are still developing to their fullest potential, and there is still so much progress yet to be made before the smart home is a widespread occurrence.
On the other hand, Singapore’s developments do show a great deal of movement in the big picture. By creating an environment where the IoT can thrive by facilitating city-wide programs and encouraging the expansion of Smart initiatives. In effect, Singapore is working to support a network infrastructure with public sensor data and extensive connectivity. The benefit of this will be that products released into this setting will have more initial use-cases, a higher rate of acceptance and will be able to interact with the IoT infrastructure already in place.