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Sunday, 17.10.2021
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Today, there are more people and businesses proliferating technologies at unprecedented rates; however, it is also being done at rates faster than many cities can react. As we reach Industry 4.0, how we live must be made smarter. Hence, the gauntlet has been laid down for urban leaders to innovate and, if necessary, disrupt to solve perennial urban challenges.

Already a global forerunner in smart city initiatives Singapore believes that technological disruption is a global force to be both confronted and harnessed. This is what drives its Smart Nation ambitions, aimed at transitioning the nation to the next industrial phase.

Yet, getting there requires Singapore to match its smart city ambitions with scalable, beneficial real-world outcomes that embody the city-state with a high level of hyperconnected maturity. The Covid-19 pandemic will not be the only challenge Singapore will face and hence being hyperconnected will set it on the path towards becoming a truly sustainable and smart nation.

The building blocks of hyperconnectivity

Hyperconnected cities are those expanding their usage of advanced technologies across their urban ecosystem. It is a city that can unlock meaningful economic, business, and social values by leveraging technology to transform and securely interconnect critical areas of its urban ecosystem for its citizens. Such a city expands on the conventional understanding of smart city development as it not only focuses on the application of technology; but also connects governments, business, academia, and citizens to improve the delivery of smart services.

In evaluating the connectivity between key urban stakeholders and infrastructure, the Building a Hyperconnected City report (which Nokia worked with ESI ThoughtLab on ‘the Report’) states that this must be assessed by four pillars of city transformation: technology, data and analytics, cybersecurity, and connected citizens. There are 20 cities in Asia-Pacific currently classified as being hyperconnected, but they still vary according to their maturity stage. Singapore itself is classified as a leader in hyperconnected maturity and has even been dubbed the ‘smartest city in the world’, due in no small part to the proactive innovation measures its government and businesses have been taking in line with Smart Nation efforts.

IoT is powering a new era of hyperconnectivity in Singapore

Being a leader in hyperconnectivity, Singapore is continuously upgrading its IT infrastructure, data collection & analytics, telecommunications and mobility solutions to power holistic transformation. One relevant technology is the Internet of Things (IoT), which Singapore has recognized as an enabler to help make the best use of digital solutions that improve how its people and businesses use current (and future) urban infrastructure.

Singapore has already been championing the wider adoption of IoT in key sectors such as healthcare. Previously, much of this development was done to cater to the country’s increasingly ageing population. However, there has been an explosion of IoT innovation in this sector due to the pandemic.

Another challenge that Singapore is looking to help resolve via IoT is its limited road transport ecosystem. For instance, the country will begin rollouts of its next-gen electronic road pricing (ERP) system, which leverages IoT to help monitor and manage traffic conditions island-wide.

Singapore and the other hyperconnected cities surveyed by Nokia plan to accelerate their IoT deployments over the next three years. All of them have put IoT at the top of their lists – namely in terms of generating useful data that can be used to further improve urban management.

Singapore is using data to power its smarter city innovations

Hyperconnected cities are also those that can synergistically use advanced technologies and actionable data (from various sources) to improve urban management and sustainability. Many of the cities we surveyed are already taking advantage of data to better manage IT infrastructure and telecommunications, in addition to applying it to sectors ranging from financial services, mobility and transportation, and security (both physical and digital) to public safety, health, and wellness.

In Singapore, the government is already encouraging the greater usage of data in their respective ecosystems. This includes the creation of an open government data portal that provides anyone in the country with access to publicly available datasets. Which such platforms, the country’s urban stakeholders will have a base to apply data to myriad areas such as health, transport, education, and housing.

A hyperconnected Singapore

A hyperconnected smart city must be one that can produce tangible Returns on Investments (ROIs) to realize business, economic, financial, societal, and environmental benefits. To do so, such cities must also understand the specific areas of funding that can generate the most ROI.

According to the Building a Hyperconnected City report, governance projects are the ones offering cities the highest return across the main areas of an urban ecosystem. Especially in the e-governance sector, cities that are just starting to implement hyperconnected solutions see an average ROI of 2.6 per cent, whereas leading cities – which have more mature implementations – see a 5.6 per cent ROI on average.

It’s no surprise that Singapore – as a hyperconnected city – is home to a city with among the most e-services offerings and programs that can positively impact the urban living experience. This is as we discovered that, as cities like Singapore become more hyperconnected, the results are multiplied by the network effects – which refers to how hyperconnected services can generate more value as more people and organizations use them.

Singapore is also using its established smart city branding to boost its investment returns. For instance, it is cementing its leadership within the innovation economy by creating an urban business infrastructure that helps with the domiciliation of breakthrough Industry 4.0 technologies, which is expected to further boost its already thriving technology startup ecosystem.

Beyond technological investments, the nation is also investing in the future of its human capital. With Singapore rolling out 5G – which is anticipated to be applied for important physical sectors such as manufacturing and port operations – it is building the relevant talent pipeline to help the nation tap into new opportunities presented by the ever-evolving digital economy.

Rallying smart city efforts today for a hyperconnected future

With the speed at which Singapore has made its smart city achievements, the country’s ever-growing hyperconnectivity will push its urban decision-makers to better integrate complex infrastructure, multiple platforms, the need for different types of data, and customized applications. However, they must also exercise patience as building a hyperconnected city takes time. The results are worth it – Singapore can substantially improve its socio-economic welfare, environmental sustainability, as well as enjoy the benefit of accelerating growth and other positive outcomes of the multiplier effect.

Singapore’s urban leaders must also ensure continued citizen and stakeholder support. This can be done by conducting smart city initiatives with the needs of people and business in mind whilst staying alert of rapidly evolving technologies. This is a fundamental element in the creation of any smart city roadmap that requires making a noticeable improvement in the lives of citizens.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Steve Hwang

Quelle/Source: The Business Times, 16.08.2021

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