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Singapore government ups ICT spending by 30% to fuel post-pandemic recovery, digital transformation


The Singapore government plans to increase its ICT spend by 30% in its fiscal 2020 to SG$3.5 billion ($2.52 billion), as it looks to fuel the adoption of digital technologies and help businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Small and midsize businesses (SMBs), in particular, will be able to participate in 80% of such procurement opportunities. GovTech Singapore, which oversees the public sector's ICT deployment, said it would focus its 2020 budget on five areas including the development of new digital tools to respond to COVID-19 as well as digital services that support citizens and businesses. The government's ICT expenditure also would facilitate the development of systems running on cloud and the use of data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and sensors within its sector. It also would be looking to drive modernisation of government ICT infrastructure, said GovTech.

Singapore deploys robots to remind nature lovers about safe distancing


Visitors to parks, gardens, and nature reserves in Singapore may now run into a four-legged robot deployed to issue reminders about the need to observe safe distancing amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Dubbed Spot, these Boston Dynamics' droids also are equipped with cameras to track the number of visitors at parks. Part of a pilot launched by Singapore's National Parks Board (NParks) and Digital Government Group, which comprises Smart Nation and Digital Government Office and Government Technology Agency (GovTech), the robots aim to help efforts to ensure safe distancing measures are adopted and reduce the manpower required for park patrols. The Boston Dynamics Spot robots have been deployed, for a fortnight during off-peak hours, over an area spanning 3km in the River Plains section of Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, said the government agencies in a joint statement Friday. A recorded message will be broadcast from the robots, reminding visitors about the need to practise safe distancing.

National Day Rally 2017: 'Smart' lamp posts to become key nodes for surveillance and data collection


SINGAPORE - Plans are underway to turn every lamp post into a smart lamp post that can carry and transmit information gathered from surveillance cameras and sensors around the country. The network of interconnected lamp posts could form the spine of the Smart Nation Sensor Platform (SNSP), which aims to use artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to analyse, for instance, video footage collected by government agencies. These could be used to detect anomalies and predict situations such as potentially unruly crowds and traffic congestion. "We are making every lamp post a smart lamp post to mount different types of sensors," Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in his National Day Rally speech on Sunday (Aug 20) when he spoke about making Singapore a Smart Nation. The AI-based video analytics system is slated for a trial in Orchard Road and selected housing estates from October (2017).

UK firm to power face verification in Singapore's digital identity system


Singapore has inked a deal with British vendor iProov to provide face verification technology used in the Asian country's national digital identity system. Already launched as a pilot earlier this year, the feature allows SingPass users to access e-government services via a biometric, bypassing the need for passwords. The agreement also sees Singapore-based digital government services specialist, Toppan, involved in the deployment of the facial verification technology. Both vendors were selected following an open tender issued by Government Technology Agency (GovTech) and months of user tests, the companies said in a joint statement Tuesday. Its agreement with the Singapore government also is the first time the vendor's cloud facial verification technology is used to secure a country's national digital identity.

Singapore government pushes on with cloud migration


Singapore's public sector is ploughing ahead with its five-year cloud migration plan, with more than SG$870 million ($623.56 million) worth of contracts dedicated this year to moving more of its systems over to the commercial cloud. One such system is the Inland Revenue Interactive Network (IRIN), which is used by 5 million entities and 2,000 officers each year, and is getting an update that will include a shift to a microservices architecture. Singapore in late-2018 unveiled a five-year roadmap to move the majority of its on-premise IT systems to a commercial cloud environment, as it looked to speed up the delivery and improve quality of government services to its population. Since then, more than 150 systems classified as "restricted" and below have been migrated to a commercial cloud platform, said GovTech in an update Wednesday. The government agency oversees the public sector's ICT strategy and deployment.