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Vol 19, No. 10, October 2015   |   Issue PDF view/purchase
When it is not just about size, you gotta' be Smart, too! iDA, Singapore

The mission of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is to develop information technology and telecommunications within Singapore with a view to serve citizens of all ages and companies of all sizes. IDA does this by actively supporting the growth of innovative technology companies and start-ups in Singapore, working with leading global IT companies as well as developing excellent information technology and telecommunications infrastructure, policies and capabilities for Singapore.

  1. Is there good data and bad data?

    Singapore’s Smart Nation will help us make better use of Big Data to help improve government services, develop new business opportunities for enterprises and a better quality of life for individuals. For example, Singapore seeks to create an anticipatory Government that can better serve our citizens to be able to be more participatory in engaging government, as well as business, to make more informed decisions and meaningful choices in their daily living. Data has been touted as the “New Oil”. It can be “mined” by explorers or innovators, often in new ways that give deeper and better insights which result in improved customer services, logistics and even entirely new markets.

    While it is relatively easy to amass large amounts of data, as the saying goes “garbage in, garbage out”. Good results and insights come from using good data in a correct way.

    There can be a real variation in the quality of datasets available, such as how frequently it is updated, completeness of the datasets (i.e. there may be gaps in the dataset). Without a set of common metrics to compare the relative quality of datasets, potential buyers face challenges, especially when choosing among similar datasets from multiple data providers. IDA realized that sorting datasets that have incomplete or outdated data versus good datasets can be a major challenge for the industry. As such, IDA encourages dataset owners to make use of the Data Quality Metric guidelines. These metrics are intended to help dataset owners measure the quality of their datasets and give potential users a base of comparison between similar datasets from distinct owners. Interested dataset owners can find the guidelines here (https://bit.ly/1zln2FJ).

  2. Data is everywhere, and including the Cloud services, if it were to remain in the storage area and not analysed, there is no good reasoning for data collection.

    • What are the approaches we could do to utilize and translate data analytical work for healthcare and drug development?
    • For Education, Health Policies, and insurance companies?
    • For predictive and forecasting purposes of potential catastrophic events?
    • For a better environment and climate; e.g. landfills, access to clean water, haze?

    First and foremost, to enhance usability of datasets, there is a need for datasets to be sorted, tagged and its data presented in a way that enables users to find data and datasets and glean valuable information that supports the user’s choice to rely on that dataset for their work.

    When we are dealing with raw data with unknown patterns, we need this to be transformed into actionable information before it can be used for decision making. There are a few ways to approach data analytics:

    The first is to define the areas of study. Data analytics is often used to approach a perceived issue such as how well different forms of telehealth are observed, taken to and completed but the boundaries for which we limit the information necessary to solve the issue are not. A clear definition and boundary set allows us to narrow datasets down to what is necessary and from that, to identify key insights and predict potential trends. For example, appropriate near-real time analytics on outpatient sicknesses can potentially identify mapping of the spread of malaria more quickly, allowing for faster reaction speeds.

    A second approach is to use predictive analysis on existing data. Data-as-a-Service (DaaS.sg) has a sample of ‘Haze’ datasets which continually collects existing data on the haze issue faced by Singapore due to forest fires in Indonesia. The information might be used to identify where the haze is and how it’s moving and therefore expand the usefulness of the NEA's published data in making decisions about outdoor activity during hazy periods. Citizens can better choose which and where outdoor activities can take place based on information provided by the dataset. The decision-making could further be enhanced by mashing it with other datasets such as Point of Interest datasets to narrow down specific venues and possible activities. Expanding on this idea, just imagine the use of environment sensors to help detect communicable respiratory diseases and hence help prevent catastrophic disease outbreaks.

  3. Are there any upcoming events by IDA that you would like our readers to know?

    For those who wish to learn more about the ecosystem as a whole, CloudAsia 2015 will be held on 28 - 29 October 2015 at the Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre. Attendees can expect to hear more about the latest technology and solutions in Cloud Computing, Data Centers and the Data-Driven Economy. To register for Cloud Asia 2015, please refer to https://www.cloudasia.asia/.

    To inculcate in students a culture of data literacy, and also encouraging them to undertake data-driven innovation (DDI) as part of school work, we are currently running a DDI Challenge for Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs). Students of local IHLs can take part and contribute ideas of how data can be innovatively used in mashups to address or provide insights to key challenges faced by Singapore today. Overall winners will be presented with attractive cash prizes during CloudAsia 2015. The submission deadline is 1800 hours, 30 Sep 2015. More details on the DDI Challenge for IHLs can be found at https://www.ida.gov.sg/About-Us/Events/2015/Data-Driven-Innovation-Challenge-for-Institutes-of-Higher-Learning-2015.

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