Open Data Ecosystem Key to Smart Nation

By Tara Bal, Head of Communications, NetApp APAC


Singapore prides itself as a nation of great efficiency where technology plays a large role in supporting that. In light of the country’s strong mandate towards becoming a Smart Nation, technological innovation has never been more crucial. At NetApp, we see data as the foundation for innovation; as part of our Data Fabric vision, we provide solutions for smart data management that enable organizations to succeed.


From this, NetApp called together leaders from Singapore’s technology industry to share their views on data-driven solutions that are fast emerging in Singapore, and how an open data ecosystem can better the lives of Singaporeans. On 21 July 2015, invited guests and media gathered for a time of fierce debate and in-depth discussion on the immense role of data in society today.


Here’s a run-down of the day’s happenings! With me are our resident experts for the day, from left: Manik Bhandari (Accenture) Zafar Anjum (Kitaab), Eddie Toh (Intel), Rick Scurfield (NetApp), Jason Hunter (MarkLogic), Krish Arani (NetApp), and Hugh Mason (Joyful Frog Digital Incubator).




In his welcome address, Rick challenged the audience to imagine a day without data. He said, “Singapore’s pace of progress in the past 50 years is inspiring and with its Smart Nation vision, Singapore continues to lead the world. Data analytics provide the insights to create breakthrough solutions that improve people’s everyday lives, from optimizing the transport network, to ensuring the healthcare system meets the needs of rapidly changing demographic. This dialogue highlights the huge value for the public and private sectors to co-innovate, and the fundamental role that smart data management plays in the Smart Nation vision.




Manik and Jason emphasized the importance of breaking down the walls between the public and private sectors, as partnering together would require an open data ecosystem, where data can be generated, accessed and shared seamlessly across organizations.


Krish added, “Isolated, incompatible data silos prevent the full potential of big data from being realized.  Recognizing this, Singapore intends to mesh data from different sources to tackle future megatrends such as urban density and ageing population. Data Fabric, NetApp’s vision for the future of data management, enables organizations to seamlessly connect their data across a myriad of environments into a cohesive, integrated whole.”



 (View from the panel. Photo courtesy of Hugh Mason)


The panelists highlighted how the demand for innovation in the Smart Nation and the explosion in demand for data generation and analytics has also created greater opportunities for start-ups and businesses. With that, they are able to build applications that will deliver smarter solutions, reinforcing relationships between Singapore’s home-grown start-up economy and the Smart Nation economy.


Eddie, Hugh and Zafar also shared similar sentiments on the importance of building a stable start-up ecosystem in Singapore. According to them, Singapore will see the country’s next wave of innovation through start-ups and smart businesses that will use the wealth of big data available to create breakthrough solutions to benefit society.

Our entire conversation was brought to life by Yee Hui, a graphic illustrator from SketchPost, who drew the key takeaways of our session. It was a real crowd pleaser and served as a meaningful memento for each of them.


Smart Nation Panel Illustration - Edited_24 Nov.jpg

 A toast to the next 50 years of tech breakthroughs for Singapore!




All in all, this Smart Nation Panel was a wonderful success and we look forward to further conversations with the broader business community! Cheers!