Microsoft teams up with Singapore in new Internet of Things project

Dave W. Shanahan

Singapore aims to use the power of the Internet of Things (IoT) to transform various industries; from healthcare to business. Singapore strives to be the first “Smart Nation” in the world. A “Smart Nation” is a country that uses technologies like the cloud, IoT, and analytics to solve some of the biggest societal problems in government, academics, and businesses.

Singapore is using IoT to solve one of its biggest problems; traffic management. With new cars being built with more sensors than ever before, along with the amount of data that traffic cameras and traffic lights gather, that’s a lot of info that needs to be utilized. Microsoft knows that a traffic analytic hub to analyze all of that data and turn the information into real time insights that can provide better plans to improve traffic in densely populated areas in-and-around Singapore.

Starting in 2011, the Land Transport Authority of Singapore (LTA) used its vast amount of land transport data on Microsoft’s Azure platform to provide real time insights to improve transportation. LTA has made their traffic information available to the public in a “Data Mall,” to help developers build mobile apps that draw from LTA’s traffic data.

Microsoft helped to inspire LTA’s initiative to utilize Singapore’s young population to create innovative solutions to some of the country’s most complex urban issues. Singapore has gained the assistance of over 50 IT partnerships to help public and private businesses use the power of IoT to analyze and use their company data to help grow and reinterpret the way they do business.

Jean-Philippe Courtois, President of Microsoft International, sees an important role that IoT plays in another area ripe for transformation,  healthcare across the globe:

“As the average age of our global population increases, healthcare is another area that could reap significant benefits from IoT. I’ve been impressed by the leaps and bounds healthcare has taken thanks to the help of technology. I expect to see this continue in 2016, with big data, analytics, and AI helping us to better understand complex health problems, and wearables (Microsoft Band) allowing individuals to effectively track their health and well being beyond their heart rate. Sensors and devices on individuals can also provide up-to-date information on vital signs, and could help healthcare professionals to monitor outpatients remotely. Being able to gather larger data sets could also provide some hints as to the cause of diseases, enabling doctors and scientists to diagnose conditions earlier and, perhaps one day, identify a possible cure.”

While Singapore is the first Smart Nation, it should not be the only one harnessing the power of IoT. Microsoft’s CityNext initiative is aimed at helping cities become smarter by improving its residents’ lives.

Singapore shouldn’t be the only country taking advantage of the benefits of IoT. Microsoft aims to partner with more countries and businesses to make IoT play a vital role throughout the world.