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Singapore Smart Nation delegation by the City of Stockholm

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Developed nations face pressing problems such as rapid urbanization leading to high population density in cities, increasing elderly population and higher demands for transportation and energy levels. Sweden has long worked in an innovative way to address challenges in urban planning strategies via a holistic approach – by involving government, private companies and academia. In Singapore, there is an emphasis in taking a similar approach to address challenges facing the country. At a time when the City of Stockholm has defined a vision to become the Smartest City in the world by 2040, Singapore outlines its ambition to be the world’s first Smart Nation. When the two parties met during a delegation to Singapore on 4-5 April 2016, engaging discussions and the best of outcomes were to be expected.

A two-day delegation to Singapore was arranged by Business Sweden in Singapore together with the Embassy of Sweden in Singapore. The delegation was also a joint effort between the Singaporean and Hong Kong teams in order that the visitors proceeded to visit Hong Kong in consecutive days after Singapore. The aim was to share best practices and to provide an opportunity for a platform for future collaboration.

An opportunity to showcase innovative solutions

With many Swedish companies being part of Stockholm’s success stories such as participation in smart city projects in Stockholm such as Hammarby Sjöstad and other initiatives, the official visit of the CIO of City of Stockholm together with the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) and Stockholm University provided an excellent opportunity to showcase the collaborations.

Companies had the opportunity to participate in selected sessions of the delegation within the three focus areas 1. Smart Urban Transport for Connected Cities, 2. Energy Efficiency and Sustainability, 3. Health and Ageing Technologies. Ten Swedish companies with smart urban solutions participated in the activity: ABB, Axis Communications, Camfil, Envac, Ericsson, Kapsch, Kry, SALIG, Scania and Volvo Buses. The two days provided the companies with an opportunity to present case studies and engage with high-level decision makers in Singapore as part of a broader Sweden platform together with City of Stockholm and KTH as well as Stockholm University.

During the first day, the Swedish delegation was welcome by Mr. Steve Leonard, Executive Deputy Chairman at Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore and Mr. Tan Kok Yam, Head, Smart Nation Programme Office, Prime Minister’s Office and representing Minister Vivian Balakrishnan. Participants got a glimpse of the future urban solutions as envisioned by the Singaporean government before taking part in an open discussion.

The high-level discussions were taken to the next level with visits to respective implementing agencies such as the Land Transport Authority, Ministry of Health Holdings and the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources. Parallel events such as networking lunches and a dinner reception provided further avenues for discussing ideas and takeaways from the programme.

Tangible outcomes and long-term positioning

Following the delegation, companies mentioned that despite the short-time, many of the companies have had a positive outcome immediately after the delegation. For the longer-term, companies that had experience contributing to the smart city landscape in Sweden achieved a good branding towards Singapore stakeholders in order to position themselves as a smart city supplier. 

The companies’ part of the delegation have received information on new business opportunities and participated in tenders. Others have received requests for further information and follow up from governmental agencies, with one company invited to participate in a pilot project as proof-of-concept. Some of the Swedish companies have formed partnerships and are discussing ways to address the market by strengthening their capabilities together. It was also a consensus that everyone has built key networks and furthered their understanding in the market.