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Singapore government to spend S$2.4bn on technology initiatives

Funding will go towards building a national sensor platform, boosting the government’s cyber security capabilities and driving the use of robots

The Singapore government will dish out an estimated S$2.4bn (US$1.7bn) worth of technology contracts in the 2017 financial year to develop a national sensor platform and digital identity system, among other initiatives to speed up the country’s digitisation efforts.

Specifically, the contracts will bolster the government’s investments in data analytics, sensors and related software and systems, including communications infrastructure to link up datacentres and internet of things (IoT) devices.

The IoT devices, to be linked to Singapore’s national sensor network, will include sensors fitted to lamp posts across the country to relay weather information, such as humidity and temperature.

With cyber threats to the country growing, the Singapore government will also continue to invest in cyber security to ensure the public sector has capabilities such as advanced threat analytics and security automation.

One of the beneficiaries of this year’s government technology spending is Temasek Polytechnic. The tertiary institution will be seeking an industry partner to build an inventory robot that will use radio frequency identification to speed up the stock-taking process.

This will boost the efficiency of library operations, providing early detection of missing or wrongly shelved books. “Such initiatives aim to provide a cost-effective way to automate simple repetitive tasks and improve productivity,” the Government Technology Agency (GovTech) said in a statement on 24 May.

GovTech chief executive Jacqueline Poh said the government would continue to work with the industry, providing the foundational support to build Singapore as a smart nation. She also called for companies to boost their information and communications technology (ICT) and engineering capabilities to keep up with the fast-changing technological landscape.

“Besides the established companies, we are glad that there is a growing pool of small and medium enterprises [SMEs] that have stepped up and embraced new technologies,” she said. “Last year, SMEs accounted for about two-thirds of the total number of ICT contracts awarded.”

DC Frontiers is one such SME. The company’s artificial intelligence technology, which analyses networks of connections between people and companies, has been used by government procurement and internal audit teams to enhance and automate checks for conflicts of interest.

In the 2016 financial year, the government issued about S$2.8bn worth of technology contracts. .................................................................................................................

Read more on Artificial intelligence, automation and robotics

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