Opinion: It is 2015, are we there yet, Singapore? (video)

At the strike of midnight on the 31st December 2014, we officially entered  2015. 2015 is a very special year for Singapore. It is the Nation’s 50th birthday. Many may think that Singapore is very young (which is true). I am proud to say that what Singapore has achieved in such a short period of time is no small feat.

in2015-singapore

I remembered many years ago, I saw this video about what Singapore will become in the year 2015. At that time, it triggered a lot of thoughts in my mind. I wondered if ‘that’ 2015 depicted in the video will become a reality or not (I am also wondering if this is the video that causes me to become a tech blogger or not). Here is the video.

Fast forward, it is now 2015. Have we achieved what we perceived 10 years ago? BTW, the video is actually an interpretation of the iN2015 Masterplan 10 years ago.

Did we achieve that kind of technologies shown in the video. I would like to take a few minutes to dissect the 6 minutes video.

1. Marina Bay Sands, Marina Financial District

The video started to show Marina Bay Sands, Esplanade and the Marina Financial district.

2015-mbs

Glad to say that we have achieved it.

CHECKED!

2. Real Time Translation

Next, it showed a scene where this Mrs. Ang is interacting with a Japanese and the device she is wearing has instant Japanese to English translation.

2015-speech-translation

Can this be possible? The answer is a “Yes”.  Check out the Skype Translator. It has been previewed. I am sure it will make significant progress this year.

CHECKED!

3. Transparent Tablet

Moving on, we had a taxi driver reading the news in a transparent foldable tablet device.

2015-transparent-tablet

Unfortunately, it may take some time for this kind of device to become a common item. The closest device I can find is a transparent smartphone which is just a proof of concept.

The only thing that is possible or exist is that our national newspaper, The Straits Times, is already digitized and easily available on multiple platforms for consumption.

Nay

4. Taxi Pick Up

Next scene is about the Taxi Driver being tasked to pick up Mrs. Ang’s son via an email and with a map of the location.

2015-taxi-pickup

I have to say that this is actually quite pathetic. In fact, today, we have so many apps (Uber, GrabTaxi and etc) that can do the job efficiently. And modern email software (i.e. Gmail) can also add a schedule to your calendar with the location stated nicely (and you can use Google Maps to reach the place).

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I guess the only let down by our Land Transport Authority is the launch of Taxi-Taxi@SG app. It has received many negative feedback for being useless as it can neither book a cab or specifically let the cab driver knows your location. It only shows the taxis’ location and allows you to prompt the system to ping your location.

CHECKED!

5. Smart Glasses

Next, an expatriate talking on a smart glasses. Not the coolest looking glasses, IMHO.

2015-smart-glasses

I guess this has already been achieved. Thanks to Google, we now have the Google Glass that is 100 times better looking than this one above. Unfortunately, it is still not available in Singapore.

CHECKED!

6. Car HUD

With the same scene, it shows a manager communicating in the car via HUD.

2015-car-hud

Unfortunately, we don’t have such advance HUD yet. However, I think Navdy will fill this gap at the moment.

CHECKED! Maybe..

7. Pretty Digital Assistant

Next, this Toby guy called out a sweet looking Digital Assistant.

2015-digital-assistant

No, we don’t have that yet. The closest I can think of is Apple Siri or Google Voice. Unfortunately, they are not that “smart”. Maybe Microsoft Cortana could be the champion for this one at the moment.

Nay

8. Car Park Information and Guidance

Next, this guy in the car is searching for carpark in the vicinity. Again, a sweet voice is guiding him with information of the nearest carpark and the availability of the parking lots.

Although we don’t have such a nice sweet voice to talk to us in our car, we do have apps that provide such information.

2015-car-park

So, I will say it is a YES.

CHECKED!

9. Interactive Transparent Tablet

In this scene, this primary school student is using the transparent tablet to take pictures and to talk to a digital professor.

2015-interactive-tablet

Unfortunately, we don’t have that yet. I am counting on Corning to come up with one.

Nay

10. Intelligent Shopping

In this scene, a teenage girl is shopping in a mall. while walking, her device informed her of some good deals nearby.

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2015-proximity-shopping

I am glad to say that we do have such technology on trials in Singapore using Beacon Technology. Personally, I was invited to check out this technology. I think it will be cool if it has a standard protocol for all.

So, I say it is a yes.

CHECKED!

11. Indoor Position and Mall Maps

In the same shopping mall scene, the girl is guided by an indoor maps of the mall with indoor positioning.

2015-shopping-mall-maps

I am glad to say that we do have such maps in Singapore shopping malls (from Google and HERE maps).

As for indoor positioning, there are news about it but I am not sure when it will be a common scene here.

CHECKED! Maybe..

12. Payment Mode and Personalize Shopping Experience

The girl made a payment by scanning her whole palm on a device. Not the nicest way to pay something IMHO.

2015-payment

We do not have such thing yet and I am glad about it. Instead, we do have PayWave-kind of payment by just waving our card on a device. And recently, Zalora had a pop-up store where you can try out the clothes and you can purchase them online in that store. The clothes will be delivered to your house.

And as for the personalize touch (i.e. changing the color of the lipsticks and etc) in the video, I think there are apps that you can do that. Recently, I was invited to Raoul to test out their new iQNect system. It has a monitor that you can try out the clothes virtually which I think is very cool.

Click Here to Read about It

So, the verdict is…

CHECKED! Maybe..

13. Health Concierge and Monitoring

In the scene, a senior citizen is exercising and the health watch on her wrist actually activated someone to call her as her heartbeat seems abnormal.

2015-health

No, we don’t have a hologram with a virtual doc telling you what you should do. But we do have such devices that could measure your ECG and activate a professional to talk to you should your ECG is showing abnormal spikes. Read my review here.

And recently, we are flooded with many health bands, watches that monitor your heart beat. One of them is the TomTom Runner that I reviewed. So, it is a Yes!!

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CHECKED!

14. Hologram Display

The final scene is a bit far-fetched in my opinion. A crystal ball that can project video to the walls.

2015-hologram

I don’t have anything remotely similar to this.

Nay

So, what is the results?

Results

Out of the 14 scenes that I picked from the video, I have

  • 7 YES
  • 3 Maybe YES
  • 4 NO

Not too bad for a vision that is from 10 years ago. Actually, Singapore changes its masterplan according to the current situation. So, if the technology does not exist, it means that we might have to adjust the plan.

In fact, in 2014, Singapore has introduced the Smart Nation Platform (SNP). Currently, an area in Jurong is undergoing tests to make sure that the technology can help the nation. I am looking forward to it. Here is an excerpt of the SNP

As part of the Jurong Lake District redevelopment plan, IDA will also be rolling out the SNP to the Yuhua area, the first heartland estate where connectivity and sensors will be enhanced to enable better community services for the residents of the area.

You can read all about it HERE (PDF File).

So, Singapore, I am looking forward on what you can achieved in 2015. I am proud to be a Singaporean witnessing your transformation from a third world to a first world country.

No nation is perfect. Likewise for Singapore. However, if our people can work together harmoniously towards common goals, I am sure we can achieve the dreams  we had set for this nation.

Happy 50th Birthday Singapore!

PS: I think #SG50 will be the most overused Hashtag for Singapore this year.

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