The Internet of Things (IoT) is a concept that is quickly gaining traction in the business world, with its potential capabilities creating excitement for many industries. At present, the true power it has is not widely understood, but with the work being done by several countries and organizations, the impact is becoming clearer.
Although there are several cities who may claim to be leading the way in IoT, particularly the San Francisco Bay Area, few have come close to what Singapore is currently attempting.
The city state currently has some of the most exciting projects surrounding the IoT, spanning from the support of the new technology by the city's government. From attempts to attract the leading companies in the space to operate in the city, through to adopting it in the day-to-day running of the city, their attempts are showing it to be a genuine leader in the space.
One of the most recent developments has been Dell opening their 'Internet of Things Lab' in the city, partnered with Intel. The idea behind the new lab is to help connect intelligent devices, speeding up the connection of legacy systems and analyzing data for usable information. Glen Burrows, Area Vice President at Dell pointed to the reasons for choosing to base the lab in Singapore - 'With a strong connectivity infrastructure and the government’s vision to create a Smart Nation, Singapore is the ideal choice for the location of our first IoT Lab in the region.'
The relationship with the government is also an important factor in the development of Singapore's IoT capabilities, with sensible approaches being taken, rather than being hesitant or gung ho with their implementation. Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim for instance said that 'open and interoperable standards are the crucial next step in unlocking the potential of IoT.' This approach will allow the city to grow its IoT capabilities in the correct way, rather than simply jumping in head first.
One of the ways they are doing this is through introducing it on a trial basis in a district of the city, the Jurong Lake District. Here they have installed over 1000 sensors across the area and what they refer to as ‘Above-Ground-Boxes' to house them and transmit the data. The importance of these boxes is in their high speed connectivity, allowing the massive amount of information being created by the sensors to be transferred quickly to centralized controllers.
They are also attempting to create autonomous public transport systems within the city, as Carlo Ratti, a smart city researcher, telling Wired that 'the mobility demand of a city such as Singapore could be met with 30 per cent of its existing vehicles.' The government are looking at autonomous vehicles to achieve this, with the IoT being a key component to controlling their movements and optimizing how they operate.
The introduction of schemes like these, plus attracting IoT-focussed companies to the city, has put Singapore in a strong position as leaders of the IoT across the APAC, and also other global leaders. Through intelligent implementation, government support and company investment, the future of connected technologies within the city is looking good and the world will look to how the city reacts in the coming years as an indication of how to implement similar ideas themselves.