Smart Nation Singapore Analysis + Art/Design Intervention

In 2014, Smart Nation is an initiative launched by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. According to the initiative, it aims to support better living, stronger communities, and create more opportunities for all, by how well a society uses technology to solve its problems and address existential challenges. There are five key domains that they have highlighted that will have significant impact on the citizen and society, and in which digital technology can have a needle moving impact – Transport, home and environment, business productivity, health and enable ageing, and public sector services. In those areas, they also hope to co-create with citizens and businesses to address them. To enable the co-creation to happen, the government strives to facilitate innovations by the public and the private sector by putting in place appropriate policies and legislations to nurture a culture for experimentation, encourage innovation and the eventual adoption of new ideas.

The first question that came into mind was whether heading in the direction of making Singapore a especially technology-dependent society the correct or most suitable way? It is undeniable that technology has the knack for growing increasing more advanced and more accessible to many at a extremely rapidly rate over the years, reaching to many people and places originally inaccessible with just a simple action. It is also true that the technologies are increasingly being improved, bringing along with many benefits but also many negative aspects simultaneously as well. It also scares me if our society was so dependent on technology, what would happen when there comes the time when that technology where we depend on so desperately in our lives breakdown or disappears? While it is a good idea to harness technology to our advantage, I think it is also equally important to keep in mind of being overly-dependent on it.  

Using the example of the HealthHub’s new caregiver service, it allows one to easily access their own health records as well as their loved ones anytime, anywhere. What i found that was good about this app was that it allows for quick viewing of data no matter where you are or what time it is. This may also be extremely beneficial and convenient for those who are giving care to people whose medial is a top priority for concern and to keep in check, such as the elderly or young children,  where one can easily be updated of their latest medical conditions and appointments. However, technology being the double-edged sword, I also wonder whether such connivence would actually decrease their physical interaction? For example, one can easily check with his/her smartphone despite their busy work schedules, how his elderly parents are doing. If they do not live under the same roof, does that means that he/she has a lesser responsibility to check up personally on the elderly parents since they are doing fine? Which may snowball to a worser case scenario of family ties becoming increasingly strained or distanced. I think this question is especially crucial for developed countries like Singapore where there is a large population being the elderly.

 Art/Design Intervention:

“Propose a media art or design intervention to Smart Nation. Be imaginative and creative with your idea and support your idea with illustrations or diagrams.

This intervention can be an idea for a public art proposal, a creative use of data visualization using the open source data collected for Smart Nation, a proposal for an interface (think not just digital but incorporating cultural and social dynamics) in the public transportation system or any other public spaces or in the home.  The topic is open so I’d like to see what you can think of, stretching your imagination while putting thought and critical consideration of the Smart Nation initiative and the lecture in class.”

Initially i thought maybe i could do something with the open source data collected for Smart Nation. After browsing through the various data available for use, i thought to do something that was not commonly done yet but considered important information. I chanced upon the one about carpark rates and thought why not develop from there? Carparks are a necessity for drivers and sometimes they hesitate going to a particular place because they are unaware of the nearby places where they could park their cars or they worry about the cost.

Below is a super brief sketch of the idea or concept of the interface:



 What i had in mind was users can first key in their intended destination (or if not, they could just choose from the list of pre-setted locations), their purpose, age group(?) and estimated duration. The purpose and estimated duration could be optional so users can choose not to put in anything however, I thought to include those to give a better “recommendation” at the bottom(sorting button area). It also shows a map with the scrolling bar at its side(not on top of the map because i feel that it obstructs the viewing experience) that acts like a slider for zooming purposes (maybe fades out when not in use? something like what mac does?). Below it displays the carpark location and parking rates and users can choose to maybe arrange it based on their preferences (eg. distance, price,etc). I was thinking also to make it like a online thing, where it displays this under the location and price rates so one can view which carpark their friends used or something along those lines (eg. current/frequency).

From there, maybe the users click the “drive to” icon which goes to another page. The top part is sort of like google maps? Where you can have a option to swap the to and from. The page also displays the traveling time, traffic flow of that particular road (real-time update picture maybe?), and the nearby amenities or attractions. I was thinking also to include at the bottom maybe a comments section where friends or people in general who used that particular carpark can share about what they felt/opinions/suggestions. Maybe past and/or personal stories from that place can be shared by people who use / used it before. 

Style-wise, I was thinking of making use of icons, colours and illustrations so that it looks aesthetically much better. Maybe some fun animations and interactive functions but generally something that is immersive/engaging but not too complex to use to engage users from all age groups. 


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