Singapore tops charts again – this time for best performing global smart city

Supertrees, giant man-made structures housing vertical gardens at Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay.
The Straits Times

Singapore is now the top performing smart city in the world, according to a study by Juniper Research and Intel.

In the ranking of 20 global smart cities, Singapore topped the charts across all four areas – mobility, healthcare, public safety and productivity.

Juniper Research and Intel

As a result, the city-state also ranked first in the consolidated ranking, ahead of London, New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Seoul.

Juniper Research and Intel

Smart cities are cities which employ Internet of Things (IoT) technologies such as connected sensors, meters and lights to collect and analyse data to improve public infrastructure and services.

IoT has the potential to change the way citizens live and interact in their daily lives, and according to Juniper, could allow cities to “give back” 125 hours to every resident every year.

“Analysts tend to focus on the technical underpinnings of building a data-centric world,” says Windsor Holden, head of forecasting and consultancy at 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,” Holden said.

The top performing cities in the ranking stood out “because of their cohesive efforts to connect city municipalities, businesses and their citizens to address a growing need to improve livability,” the study said.

Singapore’s ‘Smart Nation’ initiative and its position as a city-state were seen as unique factors in its ability to execute a smart city vision, the study found.

As a result, Singapore’s was said to have undergone rapid transformation since independence, becoming the world’s top smart city.

Globally, smart cities have a lot to improve on.

The average peak-time vehicle speed in cities is a dismal 4 mph, causing driver to lose up to 70 hours per year, the study said.

An integrated IoT-enabled infrastructure of intelligent traffic systems, safer roads, directed parking, frictionless toll and parking payments can give up to 60 hours back a year to drivers otherwise stuck in their cars, it added.

Singapore was cited as an example, for its smart, connected traffic solutions, which are applied together with strong policy curtailing car ownership to reduce the number of vehicles on roads.

When it comes to health services, smart cities with connected digital health services were found to be able to play a significant role in creating efficiencies, and can save citizens almost 10 hours a year, with lifesaving benefits for both patients and caregivers.

Wearable apps, for example, can help people manage chronic conditions without hospitalisation.

Singapore again stood out in this area, for its focus on addressing healthcare service provision for elderly citizens through a range of technologies, including digital service platforms as well as remote monitoring devices, the study found.

In the realm of public safety, Singapore was lauded for having trialled smart video surveillance to detect criminal activity.

Improvements in public safety can deliver nearly 35 hours per year, according to the study.

Juniper Research and Intel