Citizens and businesses can look forward to better and more citizen-centric services with the establishment of the new Government Technology Agency or GovTech. The new statutory board will spearhead the Government’s digital and data strategy. It 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.
Spearheading digital transformation
At the launch of GovTech this morning, Minister for Communications and Information Dr Yaacob Ibrahim elaborated on the new agency’s direction. He announced that GovTech – which manages the national digital identity SingPass – and Ministry of Finance will partner the Monetary Authority of Singapore over the next year to explore extending the use of consent-based personal data platform MyInfo to the financial sector. This Proof-of-Concept aims to simplify citizens’ interactions with banks by eliminating the provision of personal documents for verification.
Another initiative addressing citizens’ needs is new digital platform Parents Gateway which will bring greater convenience to parents on school matters such as fee payments and signing of consent forms. The Ministry of Education and GovTech will be testing out the Parents Gateway concept at five schools beginning November 2016.
Businesses will also benefit from GovTech’s move to streamline government-business transactions. For instance, CorpPass was launched last month as a new single corporate digital identity for businesses and other entities – such as non-profit organisations and associations – to transact with Government agencies online without the need to handle multiple login IDs. GovTech will also collaborate with Singapore Customs to build the National Trade Platform, a one-stop next-generation trade information management platform to support companies in the trade and logistics industry, as well as adjacent sectors such as trade finance.
Enabling Singapore’s Smart Nation vision
GovTech will also play an important role in the building of Smart Nation infrastructure, platforms and applications by deploying information communications technology (ICT) and related engineering such as the Internet of Things (IoT). The Smart Nation Platform (or SNP) is being developed by GovTech with common infrastructure and services such as a data sharing gateway, video and data analytics capabilities. This helps public agencies with their sensor deployment needs, the sharing of data collected and data analytics to support needs like urban planning and incident response. The SNP is envisioned to help public agencies in the efficient running of the city, including the provision of public services such as smart mobility and smart utility management.
Keeping systems resilient and secure
GovTech will also play a critical role in overseeing the public sector’s ICT infrastructure, putting in place policies for critical infrastructure and cybersecurity to enable the operation of a secure and resilient Smart Nation. As part of efforts to ensure that ICT systems are interoperable and to make the most of recent advances in technology, GovTech will be developing standards in areas such as data and IoT, as well as continue to conduct bulk tenders for the government’s ICT needs.
Developing tech and engineering capabilities
GovTech will raise technical capability across the public sector by building and strengthening in-house technical expertise and capabilities in six areas – application development, cybersecurity, data science, geospatial technology, government ICT infrastructure and sensors & IoT. For example, GovTech’s Data Science team is working with various government economic agencies on Pulse of the Economy, an initiative that uses high-frequency big data to develop new indicators for better economic and urban planning.
In line with capability building and talent development, GovTech will also expand the Smart Nation Fellowship Programme which was first launched in March 2016. The first two Smart Nation Fellows – selected from nearly 300 applicants – started their stints progressively with GovTech’s Government Digital Services unit at Hive from July 2016.
Working with citizens for co-creation
GovTech will create platforms to enable citizen and industry’s co-creation of citizen-centric digital services. GovTech has revamped the government’s open data portal, data.gov.sg, to include a developers’ portal where developers and industry can tap on the application programming interfaces (APIs) in the site to create useful applications.
Citizens are 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. This will enable GovTech and its public sector partners to design and deliver meaningful products and solutions tailored to citizens’ needs.
Jacqueline Poh, Chief Executive, GovTech, said: “Technology is playing a disruptive role in many sectors and Government must tap on it in new ways to deliver better value to citizens. The formation of GovTech marks a new chapter in the way we use technology to improve the wide range of services and touchpoints that the public sector has with our citizens and businesses.
GovTech will build on the strong foundation established by the Government Chief Information Office to support the building of a Smart Nation. Key to our mission will be collaborating closely with citizens, industry and various public sector agencies, to create the next generation of innovative and meaningful digital experiences.”
As part of its launch, GovTech will be organising a public exhibition at the foyer of Star Vista over the weekend of 8-9 October, showcasing the array of citizen-centric digital services and products developed with public sector partners. The exhibition is free and opens from 10am to 8pm.
The above is a media release by GovTech Singapore.
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