Singapore's economic miracle

Singapore is a small but amazing country. The year of independence, 1965, was the beginning of the path of the state from among the poor countries of the third world to one of the recognized world leaders, both in terms of economic development, and in terms of the standard of living and the technologies introduced. This year, Singapore topped the rating of smart cities according to Juniper Research. We will tell about the original way of this amazing ministate city, the successes achieved by it and the nearest prospects in our today's publication.


The Smart Nation project, supported by the Singapore government, has managed to unite entrepreneurs, scientists, officials and citizens within the framework of common tasks to introduce the latest technologies into everyday life and create a pragmatic and comfortable living environment. In the ambitious plans of Singapore - claims for the status of the most technologically advanced country in the world. “To survive, Singapore must be an extraordinary state. If we are ordinary, we simply will not become "- this was once determined by one of the national leaders of the 20th century and the authors of the" Singaporean economic miracle "Lee Kuan Yew.

After secession from Malaysia in the mid-60s of the 20th century, Singapore found itself in an extremely dependent and constrained position - without an army and support between permanently conflicting Indonesia and Malaysia, alone with social and economic problems, with extremely limited access to natural resources and, of course, the level of corruption traditional for the Asian region. From the point of view of human history, the time interval of 50 years looks very small, but these few decades have become a real test for the country, which it was able to pass with dignity.


The systematic development of a market economy, the influx of international investment, the merciless fight against corruption and skillful diplomacy in the foreign policy arena brought Singapore to the first positions in terms of welfare on a global scale. The rapid growth of the economy in the period from the 60s to the 90s of the XX century determined for Singapore, as well as for Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea, a place in the famous "four Asian tigers". A crucial role in this achievement was played by the development of electronics and the introduction of state-of-the-art technologies. This, in turn, enabled by the beginning of the third millennium to create in the country excellent conditions for further accelerated development of information technologies.

Some statistics

For success in implementing the program of mass introduction of high-speed Internet, which the city-state launched in 1998, the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) recognized Singapore as the best Intellectual Community of the Year in 1999 . The spread of the Internet at this stage was actively supported by the government, which allowed by 2003 to connect 65% of homes and workplaces to the network. At the same time, 74% of the population of Singapore owned a PC.

At the beginning of the 3rd millennium, Singapore focused on IT technologies, shifting the focus to creating the most comfortable conditions for the development of innovative business areas, both by attracting international intellectual resources and by supporting its own entrepreneurs and innovators. The slogan: “Registering a company online in 15 minutes” perfectly illustrates the main priorities of Singapore of that time, which are reflected at the level of large-scale government support for business innovation. From 2005 to 2014, the number of promising start-ups in the country increased from 24 thousand to 55 thousand. In 2013, Singapore's technology business initiatives attracted $ 1.7 billion in investment, overtaking Japan's leading competitors - Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong.


Separate attention deserve the results of the fight against corruption. Today, the state practically does not part with the place in the top ten countries of the world with its lowest level. According to the results of many ratings, Singapore has staked out its leading and top positions. So in the rating of Transparency International 2015, the country took the 8th place, and its closest neighbors are Malaysia and Indonesia, respectively, 54th and 88th.

According to the conditions for doing business, Singapore for the 9th year in a row tops the prestigious international rating of World Bank. Ookla granted Singapore the status of a country and a nation with the highest-speed Internet, and Tufts University the most dynamically developing digital economy in the world.

The unique business atmosphere and the promotion of IT initiatives have a beneficial effect on the development of the entire urban infrastructure. But if until 2014 these were rather separate, albeit large-scale projects, then since 2014 the integration of smart technologies in Singapore has reached the level of a national program.

Smart nation

The expert in the field of innovative development of cities, Bill Hutchinson, conditionally divides smart cities into versions: 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0. Smart City 1.0 develops without a common strategy; it automates individual, unrelated elements. Version 2.0 integrates initiatives, builds relationships, and aims to bring together as many sources of information as possible. In the smart city, according to version 3.0, complex strategic information is carried out, and intellectual technologies are becoming an integral part of the infrastructure. This is the level in its development today reached Singapore.

About the project Smart Nation

Singapore Prime Minister Li Xianlong announced the official launch of the nationwide project Smart Nation (“Smart Nation”) on November 24, 2014. The project provides for joint actions of the government, city residents and business structures to improve the quality of life of residents and modernize the economy. Given the high population density of 8,000 inhabitants per 1 square. km (200 times more for the same unit of area than in the United States, and a thousand times more than in Russia) and its total number of 5.7 million people put special demands on optimizing congested urban infrastructure systems.

The program includes five main areas: reducing the effect of overcrowding, solving the problem of the aging of the nation, improving the level and quality of medical care, creating a sustainable energy and transport network. In each area, the Smart Nation project has its own unique solutions.


The total area of ​​roads in Singapore, which moves about a million cars, occupy 12% of the entire territory, while the total residential area accounts for 14% of the city-state area. And here it is crucial for Singapore to reduce traffic loads. This problem is solved in several ways.

The city has an excellent public transport system. Most of the urban metro (Mass Rapid Transit (MRT)) is fully automated and operates in unmanned mode. Information about the time of arrival of the desired bus and the number of empty seats in it can always be found using a special application. The carsharing system is widespread.

Since 2010, Singapore has operated a contactless fare payment program in any public transport using cards. The city has a program of priority bus transportation at traffic lights, and at many crossings devices are installed that extend the green signal for the elderly and people with limited mobility after the application of the social card.

A significant reduction in the number of urban transport is planned to be achieved through the introduction of public unmanned vehicles. Now in the city such cars, developed at the National University of Singapore and the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) , are already being tested . Thanks to the optimization of traffic flows, it will be possible to reduce the number of traffic jams, which, according to experts, will give an economic effect of more than $ 40 million annually.

The electronic Parking Guidance System (PGS) will find a free parking space for the car enthusiast, while Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) will write the money for it, and ERP from the in-vehicle devices (In-Vehicle Unit, IU) will work. The same system will save the driver from the need to spend time paying for the use of roads and travel in certain areas of the city. The local system IU is determined by the citywide system by means of surveillance cameras and forms the corresponding account. One day of "unlimited" driving along the roads of the city will cost five Singapore dollars (about $ 3.5). The introduction of only one of this system allowed to reduce traffic during peak hours by 15% and increase the average speed of movement on city roads by 20%.

In 2015, a development plan for the urban transport system was developed.Smart Mobile 2030 with a perspective for the next 15 years with the introduction of vehicle interaction technologies among themselves and with urban infrastructure.

The cost of a personal small car and a 10-year license is another factor that really influences the load on the transport infrastructure. The high import tax accelerates the price of a small car up to $ 50,000, while depending on the engine size and the size of the car, the cost of a license that is paid regardless of the cost of the car ranges from $ 77,000 to $ 93,000.

An interactive map of Singapore provides in real-time information on what is happening in the area of ​​interest to you, down to the number of people, the level of traffic or flood.

Against the background of neighboring metropolitan areas, Singapore looks like an intellectual, aside from its will, having to endure a dubious company. So Phnom Penh (Cambodia) today can not boast not only the metro, but also traffic lights at individual intersections, the presence of road signs in the right places and a single city-wide bus system. In Koala Lumpur (Malaysia), the situation with ground transportation is simply catastrophic, in Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), motorized traffic flooded the roads, moving according to its own rules.

Caring for everyone

According to the World Health Organization, by 2025, the age of 10% of the world's population will exceed 65 years. In Singapore, this age limit will be overcome by 2030 and only every fifth inhabitant. In addition to numerous social and financial support programs, technology is actively working in this country to help retirees. So, for example, in the homes of the elderly, sensors are installed that analyze the movement in the living space of the house. If the time threshold without movement is exceeded, the nurse or relatives receive a text message. Now this service is being tested and will be distributed and maintained in the homes of citizens free of charge.

Another manifestation of care for the inhabitants of the city is the possibility of providing remote medical care. Today, in several hospitals in the city, diagnostic systems are being tested that allow to obtain the required information over wireless networks from sensors connected to the patient's body. Active state support will provide an opportunity to integrate telecommunication systems with doctors into social housing and the national health care system, as well as to use the capabilities of specialists from various communities to provide people with social and emotional support.

A tele-rehabilitation program is currently being developed, which will allow us to communicate with psychiatrists via Skype. In some cases, these services are indispensable and allow both parties to save time.


Singapore and ecology

The almost complete lack of natural resources, including drinking water, is becoming a powerful incentive for the development of environmentally friendly technologies, the use of renewable energy sources makes the issues of ecology, renewable energy. And this country has something to demonstrate: according to the results of a 2011 survey conducted by the Siemens Green Cities division, the city ​​received the highest rating for the development of environmental technologies among Asian cities.

Colossal “trees” in the city’s garden are not only famous landmarks. They effectively absorb heat and accumulate rainwater, and on top of each of the 18 structures there are solar panels that collect energy to illuminate the garden.


The sanitary condition of the city streets with the help of an advanced video analysis system and smart garbage containers, developed by the Temasek Polytechnic Institute and ZWEEC Analytics from Singapore, is automatically controlled.

The lack of fresh water has stimulated the creation in Singapore of a progressive water management system, including rainwater collection, purification and reuse systems for waste water. New, twice more efficient saline water desalination technologies are also being developed. Efforts in these areas are costly for the city-country budget, but their dividends are worth it: Singapore today provides expertise in water management in Asian regions.

Plans for the nearest "15-year-old"

Without stopping at what has been accomplished, this in its own way unique mini-state continues to build and implement its ambitious plans. Among them, the development program until 2030, approved at the government level, implies, inter alia, utilization of up to 70% of its waste, improvement of energy consumption by 35% compared to 2005, certification of 80% of buildings according to the BCA Green Mark rating. , increasing the share of public transport in the structure of the transport system of the country to 75%. These areas are only a small part of Singapore’s sustainable development program for the foreseeable future. Detailed information about the approved plans and prospects for the development of the city is updated on the website .

Having become a unique testing ground for cutting-edge technologies, Singapore today has already learned how to successfully export cutting-edge ideas. One of such platforms for adaptation of own inventions became the city of Tianjin in Celestial. Cleaned from the consequences of heavy chemical pollution of the territory of the former industrial zone, an eco-city is being built there today, which is assigned the role of a pilot project, an example for the Chinese settlements of the future, where the level of environmental pollution has reached a critical one. Singapore, together with China, acted as an investor, dividing the investment portfolio in a 50/50 ratio. The city should be "surrendered" by the mid-2020s and will create comfortable conditions for the life of 350 thousand inhabitants.

Another of the developments of Singapore at the junction of high technology - smart wallpaperwith microphones, sensors and speakers implanted in them over the entire area.



Externally invisible, they are controlled by a computer located in the next room or in a part of a building specially reserved for this purpose. So the wall becomes part of a single ecosystem of living space, creating not only a special level of comfort and coziness, but also quite tangible practical values.

On the basis of information collected centrally in the city, more than 100 initiatives have already been launched. About 650 different online services are available on the ecitizen public services portal . Conversation with different municipal services can be synchronized into one mailbox through Oneinbox platforms . All data, comfortably structured in directions, can always be found on the informationcity ​​portal .

Singapore is looking for talents

Staying true to its strategic priorities, the Singapore government actively supports initiatives and invests serious funds in research of talented developers based on the laboratories of two leading universities in the country - National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University. The total investment in this area over the past 25 years amounted to nearly $ 22 billion. This has allowed to bring the projects of many promising young engineers and researchers to a commercial level. Since 2011 alone, these investments have given life to 400 start-ups and allowed 800 patents to be registered. This year, the government has invested $ 13.8 billion in new five-year research support plan.

In March 2016, Info-communications Development Authority of Singapore launched the “Smart Nation Fellowship” program aimed at attracting intellectual potential to Singapore - scientists, developers and engineers from around the world for a period of three months. So the government of the country creates new opportunities for accumulating and creating conditions for the development of technologies of the future, which will be able to improve people's living standards and qualitatively develop the infrastructure of the city. You can always try your luck to professionals in the field of IT - technologies on the project site, where relevant applications are accepted.


Singapore is a start-up paradise

The government and the initiative circles of Singapore have a particular "weakness" for startups. The country is positioning itself as a global laboratory for testing new ideas and technologies. Creating the best conditions for development, Singapore is actively attracting IT-business. At an opportune moment, here it turns out to be its convenient location in the center of Southeast Asia — over 4.2 billion people live within a radius of five to six hours of summer. Almost 95% of the city is covered by high-speed Internet (1 Gb / s). And this brings its results: today, 40% of all start-ups in Southeast Asia have settled in Singapore.


Startup Wednesday in Singapore

In 2011, in the Ayer Rajah Industrial Estate industrial area, the Block 71 building (Blk71) instead of the planned demolition was subjected to a large-scale reconstruction and turned into a unique technological hub, which sheltered 250 startups, investors and business incubators. According to the estimates of The Economist, “the densest and most efficient business ecosystem in the world” was created here. In 2015, two more were added to Block 71 - Block 73 and Block 79, called BASH (Build Amazing Startups Here), which created opportunities to double the number of involved startups.

Singaporean Privacy

In accordance with the laws of Singapore, any decision related to the use of the collected Smart Nation data does not require further coordination in court or with the opinion of citizens. Here, in the mass, everyone agreed that the state better understands what information and to what extent it can and should possess. So, for example, since 2011, absolutely all roads and lanes in Singapore are under vigilant video surveillance. This allows, on the one hand, to eliminate the impunity of traffic violations, on the other, to provide an unprecedentedly high level of control over the entire urban ecosystem. And it was here, in Singapore, that a person who threw a cigarette butt out of a high-rise window paid for it with a $ 14,000 fine.

In Singapore, a one-party political system has been adopted, and the limitations of freedom of speech are quite acutely felt. In the 2016 World Press Freedom Rankings, Singapore ranks 154th. And this is also the forced payment of the inhabitants of the country for the growth of the welfare and care of the state. For a person who first came to Singapore, the ubiquitous “second eye” causes an ambivalent feeling, but an absolute majority of city residents have already made their choice: some freedoms can be sacrificed if the ultimate goal of such restrictions is to increase the welfare of the population and technological development of urban infrastructure. And a special role here was played by a high rating of trust in the government, which, by deed, proved loyalty to its priorities and promises.


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