SINGAPORE - Speech-to-text audio transcription services for judicial proceedings and smart facilities management (FM) systems to help schools improve water and energy efficiency are among the upcoming projects under the Government's information and communications technology (ICT) plans this year.
Judicial proceedings are currently transcribed manually by human operators and an audio service could potentially complement the work of the transcribers in some cases, said the Government Technology Agency (GovTech) in a statement on Friday (June 10).
It added that implementing smart FM systems in all schools will also enable the monitoring of utilities consumption, increase labour productivity by automating some processes, and facilitate data collection for improving maintenance.
The agency announced its ICT spending plans on Friday during an industry briefing held at the Raffles City Convention Centre.
Over 300 industry representatives attended the briefing, which is held annually to share upcoming business opportunities with the industry.
In total, the Government's ICT spending for this year is estimated to add up to $3.8 billion, the same amount spent last year.
Over the past four years, the Government has spent about $12.6 billion on ICT.
Investments into projects that utilise emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, Internet of Things sensors, and data science will more than double from $0.79 billion last year to $2 billion this year, as the Government moves to better harness the potential of such technologies.
This makes up the bulk of the $2.6 billion the Government plans to spend on application development, including building new applications and upgrading existing ones.
A further $1 billion will be spent on developing more systems on cloud infrastructure.
Speaking at the event, GovTech chief executive Kok Ping Soon said one example of how hosting applications on the cloud has helped was demonstrated when Covid-19 forced schools to move to home-based learning.
The student learning space was hosted on a commercial cloud platform and enabled some 300,000 students to use the platform concurrently.
Other pandemic-related solutions were also run on the cloud.
For instance, the Gov.SG WhatsApp channel was built using Twilio, a commercial SMS platform commonly used by businesses for marketing purposes.
Another example was the Government's Go Where microsites, which were hosted on Amazon Web Services.
These sites helped Singaporeans locate mask collection points and Covid-19 testing centres, among other services.
Mr Kok said over 800 government systems, or about 55 per cent of all eligible government systems, are already hosted on the Government Commercial Cloud (GCC) service.
The GCC refers to a platform that allows government agencies to adopt commercially available cloud solutions for their services.
He added that Singapore is on track to have 70 per cent of eligible government systems on the cloud by next year.
GovTech said deploying applications on the GCC has helped the Government's ICT infrastructure become more agile and resilient, resulting in cost savings of between 30 per cent and 40 per cent for each system that was migrated onto the cloud.
The Government adopted a "cloud-first" plan to migrate most of its systems to the cloud in 2018. It has since spent over $200 million on cloud infrastructure and capabilities.
GovTech also said a greater proportion of projects this year will be co-developed with industry players.
It estimated that the percentage of such projects will rise to 27 per cent this year, worth about $1.04 billion. The percentage went up to 20 per cent last year from 11 per cent the year before.
Small and medium-sized enterprises are expected to contribute some 80 per cent of all potential procurement opportunities this year.
In a move to improve its evaluation of vendors, the Government will progressively begin including the requirement for technical assessments in its ICT tenders, such as coding tests and scenario-based tasks.
This will provide a more objective framework for assessing the capabilities of the vendors' technical teams, GovTech said.
Currently, the assessment is based on the vendors' curricula vitae and professional certifications, which may not objectively reflect the competency of the teams involved, it added.
Technical assessments will be tagged to individuals instead of companies and will have a validity period of three years.