in Research

Smart Nation is a long-term initiative by the Singapore government to enhance the quality of life in Singapore using technology. This initiative was developed for a number of reasons. Firstly, technology is ever-changing and its integration into people’s lives are exponentially rising. Taking advantage of this integration of technology could let the nation to be more efficient in many aspects including public infrastructure such as libraries, public transportation, or hospitals. Secondly, Singapore has always thrived in the global market because of its wise risk-taking in terms of innovation. A country with so little resources had always needed to be in touch with the modern times to keep up with the global economy. Furthermore, there are issues regarding demographic challenges such as aging population and population density. Smart Nation vision was one of Singapore’s efforts to keep abreast of the technology and IT development taking place in the now, even taking advantage of it to improve its own quality.

Regarding the specifics, Smart Nation focuses on 5 different areas which are transport, home and environment, business productivity, health and enabled aging, and public sector services.

Smart Nation thus aims to solve these issues using technology. Visions of the future had taken place with, for example, driverless cars being tested out to manage public transportation better. Remote healthcare is envisioned to be able to “relieve the pressure on hospitals”.  Technology such as personalized medicine with DNA sequencing “could allow better treatment of patients”. Such initiatives deal with all aspects of lifestyle and if pushed forward for development, may make lives better for many.

On the same note about innovation, Singapore has also enhanced the government open-data portal such that many information is available to the public, who may use it to innovate solutions that may enhance people’s lives. An example of this would be the many bus arrival time apps or travel websites such as gothere.sg that is available thanks to this availability of traffic-related data from Land Transport Authority.

Intervention Idea

For me, the libraries in Singapore are amazing infrastructures that go underutilized save for students using the tablespaces for studying. Rarely do I see people borrowing and reading books for leisure at the National Libraries. To enhance people’s engagement with the library, I propose to use the data on libraries published under the Open Data by National Library Board.

Analysis:

People do not visit libraries because of:

  • Distance – It is not convenient for them
  • Comfort – Some people would rather read in the comforts of their own home
  • Lack of information  -people may not know whether their books are available because portals providing such information is not readily available/ not easy to use. Furthermore, people may find it hard to find books they would enjoy from such many choices.
  • Physical books as outdated – They may prefer to read e-books on their smartphones or Kindle.

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I propose a mobile application that may allow users to browse the book collection in the mobile phones. “Read” are the books they have borrowed or read digitally, “Reading” are the ones they are reading, and “Will Read” are the ones they have marked to be read. Additionally, e-books should be made available within the application to be read on their phones. Delivery costs extra but allows the user to borrow books without going to the libraries. Books will be suggested to readers according to the ones they have read or will read.

At the libraries, I was thinking that it would be helpful if we can enter our app ID to find out whether there are any books that we would like within the library, for those who likes the experience of going to the library.

As an avid reader myself, I hope that love of reading may be spread through technologies such as this and that people who do not enjoy reading previously may learn to enjoy it as well.