Technology for Infrastructure for Asia’s Future Cities Seminar
Opening Remarks by SMS Janil Puthucheary at the “Technology for Infrastructure for Asia’s Future Cities” seminar at the AIIB’s Sixth Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors
27 Oct 2021
Good afternoon. Thank you for having me today at this seminar.
Singapore’s Approach to Smart City Development
When we think of a smart city, we often think of digital technologies in sectors such as health, banking, facilities management and transport. However, what actually makes these technologies tick and function together in a “smart” manner is the underlying physical and digital infrastructure, which facilitates the integrated management and deployment of these technologies to improve the lives of citizens and help businesses thrive.
Governments have played a key role in building up physical infrastructure to foster connectivity and accelerate the development of their societies and economies. Governments should take the lead to build up the digital infrastructure that the new digital age requires, and ensure that they are accessible, secure and benefit the broader public, just as we have done for physical infrastructure. Just as physical infrastructure drove the industrial economy, digital infrastructure will be key to the development of digital economies.
Today, let me share with you two examples of digital infrastructure projects that exemplify Singapore’s development as a Smart City.
Trusted digital identity is proving to be a key piece of digital infrastructure that enables businesses and consumers to transact securely and more conveniently. In Singapore, we have Singpass, our national digital identity for individuals. Singpass provides users with a single digital identity to transact with the Government and private sector organisations securely and more conveniently. While it had started off as a login service for Government digital services, it has now enabled users to perform transactions in the wider digital economy. For example, one can create bank accounts or sign insurance applications through Singpass. To date, Singpass has a user base of more than 4.2 million users and serves approximately 97% of Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents aged 15 and above. It facilitates about 300 million personal and corporate transactions every year. We are also looking to see how to make digital identity more portable, across borders, and are actively looking to pilot projects for the cross-border recognition and use of digital identities.
Singapore is building a cyber-physical platform known as the Open Digital Platform for the Punggol Digital District. The Open Digital Platform serves as an “operating system” for a smart district, enabling component smart systems to connect and to inter-operate, and for future applications to be incorporated in a modular manner. This results in the integration of smart technologies and greater efficiency in resource management, improving the lives of citizens and helping businesses thrive in the District.
I have shared Singapore’s approach towards the building of digital infrastructure, and look forward to a fruitful discussion with fellow panellists today.
Dr Janil Puthucheary
Senior Minister of State,
Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of Health
Minister-in-charge of GovTech Singapore