by Cristina Lago

Singapore and Malaysia smart city projects among IDC’s SCAPA winners

Jul 12, 2019
Technology Industry

Now in its fifth year, IDC’s SCAPA recognises ‘excellent’ private and public organisation initiatives across 12 smart city functional categories

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Credit: Getty Images

Smart city projects from Singapore and Malaysia have been recognised as ‘outstanding’ at the recent IDC Annual 2019 Smart City Asia/Pacific Awards (SCAPA).

The Singapore Tourism Analytics Network by Singapore Tourism Board (STB) was named Top Smart City Project for Economic Development, Tourism, Arts, Libraries, Culture, Open Spaces.

The Top Smart City Project for Public Safety – Smart Policing went to the National Digital Identity Facial Biometric System by the Immigration and Checkpoint Authority of Singapore – an award shared with China’s Suzhou Wujiang Public Security Bureau.

Country Garden Pacificview’s Forest City in Johor, Malaysia, won the Top Smart City Project for Smart Buildings.

SCAPA’s contenders were judged using IDC’s Smart City Development Index framework. 

The Smart City Development Index is an evolving six-stage bench-marking framework that helps smart city planners analyse the current state of their Smart City initiatives. It includes a public vote and an international advisory council vote.

“We’ve seen a surge in cutting-edge future city projects being deployed across first-tier cities in developed economies,” said Gerald Wang, Associate Director, Head of IDC Government Insights and IDC Health Insights Asia Pacific, in a statement.  

“This signals a strong turnaround and commitment by advanced Asia Pacific governments to create the best ‘live, learn, work and play’ digital ecosystems.”

A network which studies tourist behaviour

STB’s Singapore Tourism Analytics Network, also known as STAN, is a platform that gathers and analyses tourism data, such as hotel industry information or travellers’ spending patterns, so tourism officials can make more informed decisions on tourism management. 

Other data collected by STAN includes hotel stays lengths, modes of travel, movement patterns and website traffic – among others.

According to Singaporean media startup GovInsider, thanks to STAN the STB was able to know that Chinese and Indonesian visitors are the ones who usually spend the most money while shopping in the city-state. STB passed these insights on to local businesses which then created marketing strategies aimed at these two population groups.  

Before being named Top Smart City Project for Economic Development, Tourism, Arts, Libraries, Culture, Open Spaces at SCAPA, STAN won the Best Data award at the GovInsider Innovation Awards during the Innovation Labs World global summit in 2018.

Biometrics for border identification

In April, Singapore’s Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) began a six-month trial for a national digital identity biometric system.

Using one of the automated arrival lanes at Tuas Checkpoint immigration hall, at the border with Malaysia, the system captures travellers’ facial and iris images to verify their identities. Once clearance is obtained, exit gates open.

The National Digital Identity Facial Biometric System replaces a multi-biometric facial authentication and thumbprint recognition system which has been in place at the immigration control since 2017.

Singapore citizens older than six years old, with passports issued since January 1, 2018 and with their iris biometrics already enrolled with the ICA, are all eligible to participate in the trial.

Biometric identification is also in place in the country’s Changi Airport, where the fourth terminal is using passenger facial recognition and fingerprint scanners before boarding on planes.

Dream housing in Iskandar

The Top Smart City Project for Smart Buildings was awarded to the idyllic sounding ‘Forest City’. This housing development built by Country Garden Pacificview Sdn. Bhd. was established under the Economic Transformation Plan of the Malaysian government in 2006, with investment from both Singapore and Malaysia’s governments.

The development spans approximately 30 square kilometres within the Iskandar special economic zone (SEZ), at the southernmost tip of Peninsular Malaysia bordering Singapore. 

It consists of four human-made islands, a golf resort and an industrial park. The city, which Forbes names as one of “five new cities that are set to shake up the future”, houses more than 15,000 residents.

Forest City features smart security systems to ensure its residents’ safety, including smart doors and elevators that use facial and fingerprint recognition, as well as invisible electric fencing.

Using the Forest Lift App, residents can access a variety of community services, a cloud-based community digital library and even multilingual support and welcome guides.

With residents from over 30 countries, Forest City has also organised multicultural events to encourage cultural exchanges. To date, the community has celebrated Chinese New Year and Japanese Cultural Day; and in May, a tie-dying workshop using Henna and Chinese handcrafted items aimed to further foster cultural understanding between residents.