'3 types of standards needed' for smart nation

To further Singapore's plan to become a "smart" nation powered by big data, analytics and sensor networks, a committee has identified three types of standards that need to be developed.

These are in sensor networks, Internet-enabled objects or the Internet of Things, and domain-specific technologies such as those for healthcare and transport.

Announcing this yesterday, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, who is Minister-in-charge of Singapore's Smart Nation Initiative, said that standards are critical to make sure that everyone is on the same page and that independently developed systems can work with one another.

"Standards... create an environment where government agencies, planners, developers and manufacturers can come together, speak a common language and use the same set of guidelines to develop new technologies and smart solutions efficiently," he said. He was the guest of honour at the one-day Quality and Standards Conference 2015 at the Singapore Expo Max Atria.

Dr Balakrishnan, who is also Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, said that having standards would help in data protection and privacy issues, prevent the inappropriate use of data, and ensure user safety.

Ms Choy Sauw Kook, enterprise agency Spring Singapore's assistant chief executive (quality and excellence), added: "Users can be assured that smart devices will function optimally through seamless data transmission and connectivity." Others noted that smart technologies that meet standards will be easier to export to other countries.

The Internet of Things technical committee that identified the three areas comprises representatives from government agencies, schools, firms and industry associations. These include Spring Singapore, the Infocomm Development Authority, National University of Singapore, IBM and Microsoft. Two sets of standards for sensor networks are already available: TR38, which provides guidance for sensors used in public areas, and TR40, which advises on those for homes.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 13, 2015, with the headline '3 types of standards needed' for smart nation. Subscribe