Singapore’s Smart Nation vision has made significant headway, given its top ranking in a smart cities study by Juniper Research. Sponsored by Intel, the study lists the top 20 cities in terms of how they employ the Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, such as connected sensors, metres and lights to collect and analyse data to improve public infrastructure and services. These technologies hold the promise to dramatically change the way citizens live, work and get around.

The study found that Chicago, London, New York, San Francisco and Singapore are the world’s leading cities integrating IoT technologies and connected services. These cities stand out because of their cohesive efforts to connect city municipalities, businesses and their citizens to address a growing need to improve “liveability” – specifically around mobility (San Francisco and Singapore), healthcare (London and Singapore), public safety (Chicago, New York and Singapore), and productivity (Chicago, London and Singapore) – as they transition to a smarter, more connected environment. Significantly, Singapore topped all the four key areas measured in the study.

According to Windsor Holden, head of forecasting and consultancy, Juniper Research, “We can’t overlook the importance of the real human benefits that smart cities have. Connected communities, municipal services and processes have a powerful impact on a citizen’s quality of life.” In Singapore, for example, the use of IoT-enabled infrastructure, such as applied smart, connected traffic solutions, has the potential to save drivers up to 60 hours a year. In healthcare, the city-state is on track to having one of the most IT-enabled healthcare systems in the world, which would make healthcare better, faster, cheaper and more convenient than it is today, with the completion of its Health IT Masterplan in 2021.

In the area of public safety, Singapore has trialled smart video surveillance to detect criminal activity, cited the Juniper Research study. Where productivity is concerned, top-ranked cities like Chicago, London and Singapore encourage digital innovation to address city challenges, and their citizens can easily access digital services and city information, which in turn enhance their productivity. Singapore also excels in having large, open-data stores and strategies to encourage private innovation either through funding, specialised testbed environments or city-wide initiatives to provide citizens with a variety of data.