The Stack Archive

Singapore to create OS linking 100M smart objects

Tue 17 May 2016

Singapore’s foreign minister Vivian Balakrishnan announced today the country’s aspiration to create a bespoke operating system that would link 100 million smart objects in Singapore alone. The new OS is intended to be completed within the next five years.

Speaking at Innovfest UnBound, the government-sanctioned technology conference that represents the anchor of the week-long Smart Nation Innovations series, Balakrishnan said, “I want IDA to create a national operating system for 100 million smart objects. Stop to think about it. 100 million smart objects, just in Singapore.”

The ‘IDA’ Balakrishnan refers to stands for the Infocomm Development Agency, the government group tasked with bringing the Smart Nation initiative to reality. The plan for the smart objects OS falls under the Smart Nation initiative, Singapore’s plan to combine technology from the public and private sector to turn Singapore into the world’s most technologically advanced nation. Balakrishnan himself is the minister in charge of the Smart Nation initiative.

In his speech, Balakrishnan was not referring to the existing plans for a Smart Nation Operating System (SN-OS) [PDF], a spokesperson for the IDA said. Rather, he was speaking about a brand-new, highly ambitious plan to install sensors all around the island to gather data from many different types of smart objects which could include smartphones, cameras, traffic signals, and and automated transit vehicles.

The data would be transmitted securely to the government, where it could be used to help administrators make policy decisions. The minister also stated that he would like the system to be open-platform, so that private sector entities could take advantage of the data accumulated as well. As an open-platform system, individuals could also build apps to parse data for specific purposes.

Balakrishnan said, “Ultimately, it’s creating a system to analyse and create actionable insights and applications. It’s a big enough number to provide the scale but we are a small place called Singapore. I am hoping it will be an open platform which creates a huge range of opportunity for app developers to leverage off it and that is a worthwhile challenge. The thing we can do, as a single layer and being a small compact island is roll it out quickly and we can test it.”

He added, “I want people to come to Singapore and when they leave to say ‘I have seen the future and it works.’”


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