Trials at Jurong Lake District to offer glimpse of Singapore as smart nation

A view of the Jurong Lake and its vicinity. -- ST PHOTO: SAM CHIN
A view of the Jurong Lake and its vicinity. -- ST PHOTO: SAM CHIN

SINGAPORE -Using your smartphone to sense the bumpiness of a bus ride and sending the data back to the local authorities will soon be a click away. Similarly, drivers will not be able to get away with illegal parking when advanced cameras that automate the work of enforcement officers are turned on. These cameras can also detect people smoking in prohibited zones.

These are some of the 15 trials that will take place at Jurong Lake District from the third quarter of this year in Singapore's push to be a smart nation to improve citizens' quality of life.

"What would a smart nation look like? The upcoming Jurong Lake District, or JLD, would provide us with a glimpse into the future," said Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim announcing the trials.

"We believe that a smart nation can become a reality if we successfully combine policy, people and technology in a concerted fashion," he said.

Dr Yaacob was speaking on Tuesday at the opening of the week-long Infocomm Media Business Exchange (imbX) infocomm trade show at the Marina Bay Sands. The imbX event features two shows: CommunicAsia, which focuses on telecommunication technologies, and BroadcastAsia, which focuses on media and broadcasting technologies.

Over 1,000 sensors will be deployed in Jurong Lake District under a public-private sector effort led by the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) to control and monitor everything from street lights and bus crowdedness to traffic and surveillance cameras.

"An important trend that will support our goal to become a smart nation is big data and analytics. It allows us to derive insight into behaviour and preferences. This can lead to more customised products and services that our people can benefit from and enjoy," said Dr Yaacob.

To cut duplication and speed up sensor roll-outs, a common platform in the form of above-ground boxes is being installed by telco M1. Above-ground boxes are typically installed at traffic junctions, parks or bus stops. They provide computers that collect data from wireless devices like cameras, sensors or users' mobile phones with power points and connections to the national fibre broadband network.

Other trials include an automated video sensing system to determine the cleanliness of public areas so the authorities can deploy cleaners to the dirtiest places first, and a navigation app to tell pedestrians how to get from one point to another without getting wet on a rainy day.

To boost the nation's communications backbone, the IDA will also be starting trials for a heterogeneous network (HetNet) that allows mobile users to seamlessly switch among cellular providers or to Wi-Fi operators when, say, a major disruption happens. The trials are expected to begin next year.