Moments of Life, an anticipatory service, is one of five immediate areas of focus for Singapore in the months ahead, the country’s Smart Nation and Digital Government Office has revealed.
Singapore plans to push services to people at key events during their lives, bringing together services currently delivered by different agencies on a single platform.
In 2018, it will launch an app with services for starting families and raising young children. These services will be further expanded in 2020. For instance, new parents could automatically be sent information on birth registration, infant care and kindergarten admissions.
It will provide more services for other major life events from 2022, according to a timeline from the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office.
The service will make it “far more seamless” for citizens to transact with multiple agencies, GovTech CEO Jacqueline Poh said last year when plans were first announced.
Other digitally-advanced nations have in recent years launched such predictive services. New Zealand has introduced predictive services for the beginning and end of life this year. Estonia has predictive services for new parents and the elderly, made possible by its government-wide data exchange platform.
Besides Moments of Life, Singapore’s other “strategic national projects” are: a National Digital Identity framework; an e-payments strategy; a sensor platform; and data analytics to improve public transport.
The National Digital Identity Framework will provide each citizen with a unique digital identity and authentication, so that they may securely transact with the government and certain private sector services related to banking and healthcare, for instance.
There are plans for the digital identity system to be operational in three years’ time, according to the Smart Nation office. The country will also work with the private sector to create services such as signing of digital agreements and secure storage of digital documents, and work towards widespread adoption in five years’ time.
E-payments is another key focus for Singapore. The country recently launched the PayNow e-payment system, which allows people to transfer money to each other using their mobile phone number instead of their bank account number. It is now building the software for small businesses to receive payments from customers via smartphones. In 2019, it plans to start e-payment trials at hawker centres, which are found in residential areas across Singapore, and which mostly accept cash payments.
Singapore is currently lagging behind countries such as China in the e-payments area. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong noted in his National Day Rally 2017 speech this past Sunday how “in major Chinese cities, cash has become obsolete” and “even debit and credit cards are becoming rare”. He said that Singapore “must simplify and integrate [its] systems” to boost e-payments.
The fourth priority is an island-wide sensor network, which will include smart connected lamp posts and noise, water and sewage monitoring. Data collected on the sensor platform will help agencies improve on city management, safety and security, public and municipal services, urban planning, security and incident response, traffic management and maintenance of public spaces.
The final priority is transport. Singapore will use data to create on-demand public bus routes and shorten waiting times, and in the long-term, will use autonomous vehicles to tackle a shortage of manpower.