The Internet of Things in Cities: Singapore

With many urban challenges coming up in the near future, many cities are looking to local connectivity for the solutions. Singapore is a leader in this field, as they have already taken steps to ensure that the Internet of Things will help their city prosper in the years to come. What exactly are they doing?

IoT Infrastructure

Singapore is moving to an IoT infrastructure more out of necessity than anything else. With their senior citizen population expected to triple in the next 15 years, they have to prepare to deal with all the issues that come with that. Using an Internet of Things solution will help them provide the right care while also lessening the cost burden on their healthcare system.

Singapore will probably become a fully smart city within the next ten years. According to their prime minister, it’s not about specific technology so much as the ‘mindset needed to try new things’, as they don’t want to be limited by the current infrastructure. They want to envision an ideal scenario and create the technology required to make that a reality, fixing whatever issues come up along the way.

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“My IoT” services

Related to their healthcare situation, they’ve already established remote health services by placing sensors in the homes of many of their senior citizens. By monitoring their movements within the home, these sensors can collect and aggregate this data to give doctors a better idea of the citizens’ lifestyles. There are also wearable devices that these citizens wear that help monitor their blood pressure and heart rate, amongst other things. By observing all this data, these doctors can pick up irregular patterns that might be cause for concern and request that the patient come in. If they feel it’s an emergency, they can dispatch medical attention right away. These sensors are especially useful in monitoring the recovery of a patient after surgery.

The philosophy behind Singapore’s implementation of the Internet of Things revolves around inter-connectedness, data aggregation and data analysis. Their government wants everyone to take part in this IoT-based society, and they want to use data to improve their lives. But all that information is sensitive, which is why the local government is building its own telecom network to house it all. They are ensuring that it’s resilient against external hackers by running their own equipment in linking the network of sensors, which will be in the form of computer chips or surveillance cameras. This is a lot of work, but by controlling everything it leaves less room for potential breaches in security.

When Singapore solved local water consumption issues with a desalination plant and accompanying public policy, many other densely populated cities in developing economies with similar challenges followed suit. They are hoping to provide an even greater influence around the world with their shift towards an IoT-driven society. Considering how great its potential appears so far, perhaps other cities and countries would be wiser to follow suit sooner rather than later.