By Nayela Deeba
Oct. 7, 2016
Minister Yaacob checking out the exhibition at GovTech launch. Credit: GovTech
Singaporeans can look forward to better citizen-centric services with the launch of the Government Technology Agency (GovTech).
The new statutory board will partner public agencies, industry and citizens to transform public service delivery through the use of technologies such as data science and analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning.
For instance, GovTech is working on MyInfo, Minister for Communications and Information Dr Yaacob Ibrahim announced at the launch of the new statutory board today (7 October 2016). MyInfo automatically fills in residents' data — including name, NRIC number and registered address — for online application forms from government agencies such as the Housing and Development Board. GovTech has partnered the Ministry of Finance and the Monetary Authority of Singapore to explore extending the use of MyInfo to simplify citizens' interactions with banks.
In an effort to simplify business transactions, GovTech implemented CorpPass last month as a new single corporate digital identity for businesses to transact with government agencies online. To further extend this, GovTech will collaborate with Singapore Customs to introduce the National Trade Platform — a one-stop next-generation trade information management platform — to support companies in the trade, trade finance and logistic sectors, said Dr Yaacob.
He added that GovTech will also encourage the co-creation of citizen-centric digital services. One way of doing so is by revamping the government's open data portal, data.gov.sg. It now includes a developers' portal where developers and industry can tap on the application programming interfaces (APIs) in the site to create useful applications.
Besides that, citizens are also actively encouraged to help GovTech to refine user experience design of digital services and take part in focus groups in GovTech's Digital Experience Lab.
Another role of GovTech is to oversee the security and resilience of the government's ICT systems. "Setting and raising ICT standards across the board is increasingly important as the interconnectedness of our government network means that the security system of the entire system depends on its weakest link," Dr Yaacob explained. As such, GovTech will be developing standards in areas such as data and the Internet of Things (IoT), as well as continue to conduct bulk tenders for the government's ICT needs.
Enabling Smart Nation
Apart from enabling a digital government, GovTech will work towards building Smart Nation infrastructure, platforms and applications by deploying ICT and related engineering such as IoT. The Smart Nation Platform (SNP) will feature common infrastructure and services such as a data sharing gateway, video and data analytics capabilities to better support public agencies' needs like urban planning and incident response. The SNP is also envisioned to provide public services such as smart mobility and utility management to help public agencies run the city efficiently.