How COVID-19 has accelerated Singapore’s digital citizen services

  • Government
  • Solutions
  • 2020
  • Wee Luen
November 03, 2020

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Singapore’s government and businesses have outpaced global peers in delivering innovative, secure digital services, including healthcare, government support services and education, to citizens.   

Telehealth, smart-chatbots, mobile apps and distance learning are just a few of the latest digital service offerings that Singaporeans now see as the rule rather than the exception. People are seeking personalised, predictive digital services that just ‘work better’ or fulfil their desires to self-serve. 

COVID-19 has only heightened demand for services that respond, act, and communicate in ways that complement the human experience. According to Accenture, three out of four Singaporeans support more digital government services, and more than 70% percent expect the Southeast Asian nation state to collaborate with global enterprises to foster more home-grown innovation.  

Organisations are still battling with many offline processes, but Singapore’s Government has continued to innovate and deliver new technologies to benefit citizens. Singapore’s Smart Nation and Digital Government Group (SNDGG), comprising SNDGO and GovTech, is developing Smart Nation infrastructure and applications, investing millions and partnering with industries to co-create and fast-track the adoption of digital payments, e-invoicing, as well as advanced digital tools such as OneService, ActiveSG, SingPass Mobile, LifeSG and more.  

A big part of Singapore's digital leadership in 2020 stems from the government’s sustained investment in digital preparedness. Long-standing partnerships between government and industry have built trusted capabilities in new technologies, which drive the Smart Nation agenda. GovTech and several other government agencies are using the Now Platform® to deliver smart experiences for citizens and improve productivity for their employees. 

 Singapore’s government also enables other organisations, industry-wide to build digital foundations, boost ICT and engineering capabilities and innovate within the fast-changing technology landscape. Fostering open conversations with industry leaders on how to help local organizations leverage digital transformation has been a catalyst for the nation’s rapid progress.

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A once-in-a-generation opportunity

The pandemic, among many other changes, has also created the opportunity to rethink how we live and work. 

As Singapores’ economy recovers, the speed to deliver such solutions will be a key focus, with citizens’ security and privacy top of mind. Digital trust is more important than ever, particularly for services that involve personal data. Globally, citizens will increasingly expect governments to set new, national standards across industries with the mandate for connected, secure digital capabilities.  

With secure, cloud platforms, the possibilities to accelerate personal, secure digital services are endless and rely on enduring collaboration. Fuelling ‘tech for good’ requires common national risk and compliance standards to protect citizens and their data – and that requires continued collective thinking. 

 Thanks to increasing availability of open government datasets, initiatives like the Developers.Data.gov.sg resource have allowed citizen developers to create more than 100 apps. In the fight against COVID-19, Singapore’s facial recognition technology, TraceTogether tokens, and contactless temperature scanners are a few of the local innovations that will likely become mainstream worldwide.  

Intelligent citizen experiences are simple
The pandemic has shown just how quickly people and organizations can adjust to new ways – witness the digital transition to online learning; the global shift in many sectors to remote working; and the advances in telemedicine – changes that occurred in weeks that would otherwise have taken years. 

Digital experiences are table stakes.  If an app can track movements of a takeout order down to the minute, then why not the processing of test results, a new passport or property taxes – and a unified payment system for all services?   

Underpinning these new ways of living and working are powerful cloud-based platforms – including the Now Platform – which deliver secure, compliant digital workflows with intelligent automation.  

In Singapore, the digital maturity of its citizens coupled to strong technology leadership from government and industry has given the country an enviable edge on the road to economic recovery and advancement. 

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