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What Is Smart Nation and What It Means for Singaporeans?

Credit: Zhao

“Smart” cities make use of technology to improve processes, such as transportation, surveillance and information integration. Singapore, despite its leading role in medical and biological technology, has been lagging behind in integrating technology into the city.

Cities like Dubai, Hong Kong, and New York have already made huge strides in this regard to improve the lives and comfort of their citizens.

Thankfully, in his National Day Rally, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong emphasised Singapore’s drive toward creating a smarter, technology driven city. Some of the improvements he mentioned, could have an impact on the way we travel, pay for goods, and how we communicate.

Here are three ways that Singapore is looking to get “smarter”.

No more hassle of parking coupons

Motorists in Singapore know what a hassle parking coupons can be. Fortunately, we can finally say good-bye to parking coupons for good. Singapore is launching a new app called parking.sg.

The app will replace parking coupons and give the user the ability to set the exact time they wish to park. Furthermore, motorists can extend parking sessions remotely through the app.

The app is expected to be launched by October.

Pay for anything with your smart phone

China is at the forefront in this regard with apps such as WeChat Pay and Alipay so widely available. You can even use these apps to pay street vendors.

Singapore, on the other hand, does not have an integrated system that is widely accepted. Many vendors are reluctant to accept e-payments, preferring instead to use cash or card. With this in mind, PM Lee emphasised the importance to build a single system that connects customers, merchants and banks alike.

One such system that is being touted as the answer to this is the PayNow service, which is currently being offered by seven banks here. It allows users to transfer money to each other just by using the recipients mobile phone or identification card number.

Smart lamp posts

In the era of the “Internet of Things”, any device can be connected to the Internet. This is already commonly seen in televisions, refrigerators, and vehicles.

One interesting possibility that PM Lee brought up was for “smart” street lamps. This means that each street lamp will be able to transmit intelligence from surveillance and sensors installed on them.

The aim is for the network of lamp posts to form part of Singapore’s Smart Nation Sensor Platform. With this system, the police and relevant authorities can detect anomalies and predict or even prevent potential threats to our country.

The Foolish takeaway

Singapore is looking to advance into a smart nation that takes advantage of emerging technologies to improve the lives of citizens of the country. These are just the early days of a “Smart” nation so we can expect more interesting developments to occur in the future.

Meanwhile, for more (free!) investing insights, sign up here for your FREE subscription to The Motley Fool's investing newsletter, Take Stock Singapore. It will teach you how you can grow your wealth in the years ahead.

The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore contributor Jeremy Chia doesn't own shares in any companies mentioned.