IDA envisions sensor fabric for Singapore

John C. Tanner
20 Jun 2013

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore wants to make Singapore the first country in the world to be covered by a sensor fabric that connects "everything" and collects data to improve the performance of areas such as healthcare, education, utilities and environmental monitoring.

Speaking during the Visionary Addresses session at the CommunicAsia Summit Wednesday, IDA deputy chairman Steve Leonard used the analogy of Formula 1, where both the cars and the track are wired with sensors that gather data as the cars zip around the track.

"They gather up to 25MB of information per lap per car, and the crews use that information to find ways to tweak the performance of the car and squeeze another 1/100 of a second out of it," he explained.

Leonard said that the same paradigm could potentially be applied on a macro scale to all of Singapore as part of the IDA's Intelligent Nation 2015 (iN2015) Masterplan.

Leonard outlined the potential challenges of such a project, such as the cost of installing and connecting sensors, making them as maintenance-free as possible, and making them multi-purpose rather than specific to a single app when possible.

He also cited examples such as RFID chips to track surgical tools in hospitals, wearable sensors for healthcare monitoring and research, augmented reality for educational apps, environmental sensors to monitor water levels and quality, and smart meters for more efficient and transparent energy usage.

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