National Trade Platform grabs Smart City Award
Singapore’s whole-of-government (WOG) approach to problem solving continued to put the country in good stead, as it garnered three top awards in IDC’s recent Smart City Asia Pacific Awards 2016.
This was reflected in the three winning projects - a next-generation trade platform, a smart residential district and an initiative to develop a global hydrohub.
The Smart City Asia Pacific Awards are based on research firm IDC’s Smart City Development Index, a benchmarking framework to help smart city planners analyse the current state of their Smart City initiatives. It incorporates the views of IDC analysts across the region, the outcome of an online voting exercise to determine public opinion, and the assessment of an international advisory council.
Mr Gerald Wang, Head, Asia Pacific Government and Education, IDC, noted that several submissions and winners this year highlighted the impact of climate change, heightened global competitiveness, and a growing willingness to embrace disruptive digital transformation.
One award-winning project from Singapore is the next-generation National Trade Platform (NTP).
“The National Trade Platform represents a committed effort by the Singapore Government to continually equip itself with cutting-edge technologies and streamlined competencies so as to boost its national trade and logistics industries,” said Mr Wang, who also highlighted the wide participation of various agencies and private sector stakeholders in this initiative.
The platform, which won in the Economic Development category, builds upon the success of Singapore’s existing TradeXchange and TradeNet systems to facilitate more seamless data exchanges across the entire supply chain.
The aim is not only to boost operational efficiency, but also to catalyse innovation as firms gather new insights from the richer exchange of data.
Mr Ho Chee Pong, Director-General of Singapore Customs, said, “The NTP goes beyond a technology upgrade of TradeNet and TradeXchange. In building the NTP, we take into consideration current business needs and emerging trends in global trade. The platform leverages advances in technology to help businesses improve productivity in their interactions with government and business partners.”
The NTP can be seen as one key example of public and private sector co-creation.
Mr Ho added: “This project is also a journey on which the government collaborates and co-creates with business communities and service providers to build a vibrant and innovative trade ecosystem. The NTP will help to further solidify Singapore’s position as a leading global trade hub.”
From TradeNet to NTP
A short history lesson: In 1989, Singapore developed TradeNet to enable companies to apply for trade permits electronically, and obtain approval within minutes.
Ms Yeo Beng Huay, Chief Information Officer at Singapore Customs, said: “It contributes greatly to Singapore’s position as a competitive trading hub. TradeNet processes an average of 9 million permits a year, with total trade value more than 2 times of Singapore’s GDP.”
The former Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) collaborated with Singapore Customs to implement TradeXchange in 2007, to help companies improve data exchange with their supply chain partners.
As of March this year, TradeXchange has brought about economic benefits to more than 200 companies and enabled companies to achieve more than 7.5 million manhour savings (equivalent to $72.8 million).
Government agencies are now working together to reinvent and transform TradeNet and TradeXchange in order to create the NTP — thereby preparing Singapore for the new digital and data economy.
Ms Yeo said, “The NTP is a result of close collaboration between GovTech and Singapore Customs, with support from partners such as the MOF, MTI, MAS, MOT, EDB, SPRING, CAAS, MPA and IE Singapore. This is the WOG approach that we are adopting to serve the needs of the trading community, and to further boost our supply chain productivity and innovation.”
She added that the NTP will create new economic value by enabling companies to draw insights through its anonymous and aggregated trade data hub.
It will be an open innovation platform for co-creation: Service providers can tap on the NTP’s developer sandbox to build value-added services and applications for companies on the NTP.
Mr Kenneth Lim, Cluster Director, National Development & Transport Cluster at GovTech, said: “The vision of the NTP is bolder than its predecessors because it goes beyond just being a Government digital service. Trade and logistics are cross-border activities, and we look forward to closer collaboration with global players to enable smarter logistics.”
The project team members are elated by the Award. Mr Lim added: “It really encourages us, that by working with the logistics & trade companies in the ecosystem, we are moving together in the right direction. We hope that the NTP can be Singapore’s contribution to the global trade and logistics ecosystem, and enable Singapore to continue to thrive as a value-adding logistics hub in the world.”
Smart Buildings and Hydrohub
Two other Singapore projects won awards from IDC.
In the category of Smart Buildings – one of 14 functional smart city domains covered by the index – Singapore’s Smart Yuhua Residential Estate project was lauded for its plan to incorporate “smart living” into an existing public housing estate.
Solutions that are being introduced to transform Yuhua into a smart and sustainable estate include elderly monitoring systems, home energy and water management systems, a smart pneumatic waste conveyance system, smart electrical sub-meters and remote water meters, and a smart solar energy monitoring system.
In the public voting phase, the project stood out against other initiatives such as the Korea Micro Energy Grid Pilot Initiative for Public Buildings in Sejong Metropolitan Autonomous City in South Korea and the Smart Urban Housing Communities initiative for Taipei City, Taiwan.
Singapore’s plan to develop itself into a Global Hydrohub, which took top honours in the Smart Water category, pushes the envelope in its efforts to build up a sustainable supply of water to ensure resilience in the face of variable weather and growing demand for water.
- Teaser and main image (top photo): Creative Commons Singapore Port by Noel Reynolds licensed under CC By 2.0. Original image has been cropped.
- Creative Commons Port of Singapore by William Cho licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. Original image has been cropped.