How Singapore Is Using the IoT to Build a Smart-Nation Platform

Chan Cheow Hoe, Singapore's chief information officer, says Internet of Things technologies are playing a role in most of the city-state's projects regarding transportation, health care and environmental sustainability.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Nov 10, 2016

Singapore has a tradition of integrating technology into its infrastructure—it was one of the first counties to use RFID-based fare cards for its public transit system, for example. So it comes as no surprise that the island city-state of 5.5 million people is heavily invested in smart-city technologies. This fall, IOT Journal sat down with Singapore's chief information officer, Chan Cheow Hoe, to learn more about how he and his team are developing and evaluating IoT-based solutions to civic issues.

We limited our conversation to three key topic areas: transportation, sustainability and health care (particularly with regard to Singapore's aging population). What follows is a transcript of our conversation, edited for length.

Chan Cheow Hoe
IOT Journal: Let's start with your background. You've been CIO of Singapore since early 2014, but before that, you worked at the consultancy Ernst and Young?

Chan Cheow Hoe: Yes, I've been in the tech sector all my life, but am very new to government. It's a big switch—such a big change.

IOT Journal: What brought you to it?

Chan: A mid-life crisis [laughing]! No. At a certain point of time, [I felt that I] wanted something different. But also the people from government told me that they wanted someone from outside, someone with a fresh pair of eyes. You're able to really question the way things have been done. I'm open to things that we could do better [in government].

For me, it's about impact. In the private sector, it's about making money. But when you're in the government, you realize that there are a lot of things that you can impact, and if you do the right things, it really does benefit the right people. I think, all of the sudden, you realize there is more to life than making money.

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