Green outdoor Wi-Fi on Sentosa and robots in pre-schools as Singapore ramps up connectivity

An aerial photograph of the Merlion at Sentosa. Visitors to the Merlion Walk at Sentosa will soon be able to gain Wireless@SG access while outdoors. PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

SINGAPORE - More tech partnerships between the Government and industry players are in the pipeline, as Singapore ramps up its connectivity in its Smart Nation push.

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is working with Sentosa Development Corporation on extending outdoor Wi-Fi through green methods via solar power. It is also working with pre-schools to introduce interactive robots to help pupils learn and play.

These were announced by Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim at the opening of the Infocomm Media Business Exchange on Tuesday (May 31).

Visitors to the Merlion Walk at Sentosa will be able to gain Wireless@SG access while outdoors. The Wi-Fi access point there will be powered by solar panels in a pilot trial, which cuts cost up to 50 per cent and installation time by up to five times.

IDA is working with Aruba, M1, Skylab and Sentosa Development Corporation in this trial.

Visitors will also be able to gain outdoor Wi-Fi at Palawan Beach and Siloso Beach, as well as Fort Siloso Skywalk. These points are, however, not powered by solar panels.

"If this pilot is successful, we could potentially expand Wireless@SG to reach more outdoor areas in a sustainable manner, and bring public Wi-Fi coverage in Singapore to the next level," said Dr Yaacob.

He also announced a trial of using robots in pre-schools. Two social robots - Pepper and NAO - are being piloted in My First Skool Jurong Point and MY World at Bukit Panjang, respectively.

These pre-schools are collaborating with IDA and the Nanyang Technological University on how social robots can help pre-schoolers learn in interactive ways.

Dr Yaacob also provided updates on the TechSkills Accelerator programme, launched earlier in March, which aims to let job-seekers pick up skills in the infocomm technology sector.

A Governing Council made up of both government members and industry partners overseeing the programme has been set up. It will focus on creating job opportunities in the digital sections of three main areas: financial services, healthcare, and infocomm technology.

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