Smart Nation Singapore: Key Technology Drivers and Strategic Initiatives for 2023

Singapore as a smart nation is being seen as a role model by a lot of countries, especially in the ASEAN region. As a vision for a smart nation, the country focused on empowering its citizens to live their lives in a meaningful manner, powered by technology. Singapore has been active to harness the potential of technological disruption being faced globally to build new sources of competitive advantage to become a global digital leader. The country’s journey towards a smart nation stands on three major facets, i.e. Digital Economy, Digital Society and Digital Government. Through the course of this article, we will uncover the foundations behind Singapore’s smart nation journey and how technology will continue to power its strategic initiatives in 2023 and beyond.

Smart nation Singapore: Key statistics

Robust and comprehensive investments in digitalization, energy, mobility, business development, etc. have enabled the country to become a Smart Nation role model for the world.

Key technology drivers for smart nation Singapore

Technology has been one of the most important enablers in driving the growth of Singapore as a smart nation. The country has been active in adopting advances in technology drivers like AI, Quantum Computing, Trust Technologies, and 5G among others. Research and innovation in these technology drivers from Singapore is being used as benchmarks for other countries.

Artificial Intelligence

Pervading every aspect of business and consumer life, AI is considered to be a major force leading Singapore’s smart nation journey. The country has been making robust investments in the field of AI with a focus on creating impact across key sectors of the economy.

The country has made an investment commitment of $50 million towards AI talent development, and to open three new centers of innovation to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with testing new projects. Seven AI projects of national importance across healthcare, smart estates, education, border security, logistics, finance and government have been identified to facilitate technology led smart nation growth for Singapore.

Quantum Computing

Singapore’s position as a smart nation role model comes from its advancement and growth as an international hub for quantum technologies. In 2016, Singapore became the first nation to demonstrate a quantum light source in space, with the ultimate goal of building global QKD (quantum key distribution) networks via satellite constellations. The country has committed to an investment of $17 million+ to support three national platforms in its Quantum Engineering Programme (QEP) for up to 3.5 years. A focus on quantum communication, quantum key distribution, quantum imaging and sensing, are expected to play a major role in Singapore’s smart nation for 2023 and beyond.

Trust Technologies

Singapore as a smart nation is unlocking new levels of privacy and data protection laws. This is being driven by the adoption and generation of trust technologies. The objective is to promote technologies to facilitate data protection, which is being generated at an accelerated pace. Towards this, the country has launched a Digital Trust Centre (DTC) with an investment of S$50 million from the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and the National Research Foundation (NRF). This investment will help Singapore grow as a smart nation by focusing on creation of market-ready solutions, facilitating a new sandbox environment to mitigate data sharing problems and promoting talent in digital trust.

5G and connectivity

Finally, 5G and connectivity is expected to play an even more pronounced role than before in enabling Singapore as a smart nation. It is being seen as an enabler to leverage the potential of AI, digital twin, IoT, augmented reality, etc. As a part of the 5G Innovation Program, S$30 million has been committed to accelerate the adoption and commercialization of 5G solutions. Some of the top initiatives enabling smart nation growth with 5G include creation of Asia Pacific’s first 5G mobile edge computing for holomedicine capabilities to unlock healthtech possibilities, creation of 5G-enabled cinematic AR experience and ASEAN’s first maritime 5G AR/VR solution.

Top smart nation strategic initiatives for Singapore

As a part of its smart nation journey, Singapore has spearheaded multiple strategic initiatives to facilitate digital adoption across all sectors of the economy. Some of the top initiatives include:

National Digital Identity

Enabling consumers and businesses to access and transact with Government and other service providers via a convenient and secure digital platform, Singpass. The digital platform enables citizens to use their fingerprints, facial recognition or a 6 digit code to seamlessly check status of services, digitally sign documents, etc. with an added layer of security for data protection.


Introduction of several interventions to make financial transactions seamless with e-payment functionalities, including, direct real-time transfers, peer to peer transfers with personal identification number, interoperable and open-access e-payment, Singapore Quick Response Code and much more.

Smart Nation Sensor Platform

An integrated, nationwide platform that uses sensors to collect essential data which can be leveraged to develop smart solutions like tracking water leakages, drowning detection system at public pools with computer vision, personal alert button for elderly to get emergency help, effective urban planning with smart lamp posts, safer footpaths, etc.

Smart Urban Mobility

Adoption of digital technologies to reinvent the transportation infrastructure via several interventions including identifying commuter hotspots using commuter data for fleet route management, hands-free ticketing technology to make transportation inclusive, development of autonomous and self-driving vehicles.

2023 priorities for Singapore’s smart nation journey

While what Singapore has achieved in its smart nation journey is no small feat, the country is committed more than ever to keep progressing towards its vision. Here are some of the top priorities that the country will likely focus on in 2023 to further augment its smart nation status:

  • Develop technology leadership to facilitate co-creation of technology IP and enhance the country’s attractiveness as a test bed for smart nation technology solutions
  • Strive to maintain Singapore as a digital innovation hub by strengthening technology-policy nexus to develop new technology solutions, especially in trust technologies space
  • Enhance local capabilities via upskilling and talent development efforts
  • Build new partnerships for acquisition of new knowledge, talent networks, business capabilities and markets to develop smart nation value

With these priorities at hand, Singapore is all set to become a global digital leader thriving as a smart nation at the intersection of digital government, digital society and digital economy.

Stay tuned to this space to know more about the latest developments and insights on the technology landscape of Singapore and other ASEAN countries.

Vinod Singh
Managing Director

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this feature article are of the author. This is not meant to be an advisory to purchase or invest in products, services or solutions of a particular type or, those promoted and sold by a particular company, their legal subsidiary in India or their channel partners. No warranty or any other liability is either expressed or implied.
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