Standards and protocols being developed for smart towns: HDB CEO

Standards and protocols for developing smart towns are being worked on as Singapore marches ahead with its Smart Nation drive, said Dr Cheong Koon Hean, chief of Housing and Development Board (HDB). She was speaking at the annual Urban Land Institute Asia Pacific Summit.

Dr Cheong Koon Hean, chief of Housing and Development Board (HDB).
Dr Cheong Koon Hean, chief of Housing and Development Board (HDB). Photo courtesy:

She said, “One very important thing we need to do… is to develop a protocol standard.”

“As we try and develop some of these smart towns, we are working to develop standards with the industry … so that all manufacturers will know that if you follow these standards, there’s inter-operability of all gadgets,” she added.

Dr Cheong told that once these are in place, even if technologies change, there would be a basic set of protocol for people to follow.

Experts opine that as collecting data to respond to citizens’ needs or improve service will be a main objective of the Smart Nation drive, common protocols must be put in place to enable data from any number of smart systems to be sent to the command centre at the Government’s end. For instance, data could be sent to the relevant authorities from high-tech rubbish bins when they need to be emptied, analysts said.

In addition to this, there are standards for Internet of Things (IoT) devices — or devices connected to the Internet — that need to be set with regard to inter-operability and cyber security, the experts added.

The CEO  also set out the benefits which can be achieved if smart initiatives are rolled out at an average public housing precinct. For instance, households could enjoy a 60-per-cent saving in energy costs for lighting or a 66-per-cent saving for annual potable water use. Using smart waste systems could also reduce the manpower needs by 70 per cent.