Singapore hopes to be the first-ever ‘smart nation' — a nation that utilizes the Internet of Things (IoT) to solve some of the country's biggest problems, through its partnership with Microsoft.
Some of the biggest societal problems in the nation are being met by Singapore's leaders with a rather revolutionary approach.
Rallying the academic, business, and government sectors, along with startups, to come up with innovative solutions — Singapore is the first country to fully utilize the advantages brought about by IoT techno.
As the first-ever ‘smart nation' in the world, Singapore hopes to revolutionize healthcare, logistics, transportation, businesses, and education in the nation by using IoT to come up with more logical and data-based solutions.
One of the country's biggest problems, traffic management, is responsible for leading the Singaporean government into adapting technology-based innovations as long-term solutions.
In 2011, the country's Land Transportation Authority (LTA) hosted a vast repository of land transportation data on Microsoft's Azure platform.
The data gathered by the agency was made available to the public through a “Data Mall”, in the government's hopes of helping developers build useful mobile apps that can be prospective problem-solvers. Through the information collected by the platform, app developers and program builders were given an insight on the roots of the country's obstinate traffic management problem.
Today, Microsoft is committed to helping Singapore realize its goal through the help of a dedicated team working to enable the country's local ecosystems. As of date, the team has empowered over 50 IT partners in the country, including application developers and independent software vendors, individuals from both public and private sectors.
Jean-Philippe Courtois, President of Microsoft International, stresses in a blog post the importance IoT will play in the future:
“As the average age of our global population increases, healthcare is another area that could reap significant benefits from IoT. I've been impressed by the leaps and bounds healthcare has taken thanks to the help of technology. I expect to see this continue in 2016, with big data, analytics, and AI helping us to better understand complex health problems, and wearables (Microsoft Band) allowing individuals to effectively track their health and well being beyond their heart rate. Sensors and devices on individuals can also provide up-to-date information on vital signs, and could help healthcare professionals to monitor outpatients remotely. Being able to gather larger data sets could also provide some hints as to the cause of diseases, enabling doctors and scientists to diagnose conditions earlier and, perhaps one day, identify a possible cure.”
Leveraging the Power of IoT
Microsoft hopes to leverage the power of IoT by utilizing vast amounts of untapped data that will help every sector improve operations through the establishment of an IoT-connected world.
Microsoft International's president, Jean-Philippe Courtois, emphasizes, however, that Singapore should not be an “isolated example”, but rather a “point of inspiration” for all other nations. According to Courtois, Microsoft is eager to help more governments and private companies make IoT a crucial instrument in forming solutions.