Singapore’s Hive to bring data science goodness to the people
By Benjamin Cher October 30, 2015
- Houses a multi-disciplinary team dedicated to public impact through technology
- Host of analytics and visual tools available to the team to measure impact
THE Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) has launched IDA Hive, the new home for the Government’s Digital Services team, and will house almost 100 data scientists, coders, engineers, designers, and other experts.
These experts are divided into a data science group, and a product design and development group.
The Digital Services team was responsible for developing and launching apps such as the Singapore Civil Defence Force’s MyResponder, the Ministry of National Development’s OneService, and the recently announced Beeline.
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“The Hive brings together, for the first time, a multi-disciplinary team dedicated to public impact through technology,” said Singapore’s Minister for Communications and Information Dr Yaacob Ibrahim.
“It enables the Government to be nimble and responsive in developing digital services and policies,” he said in a statement released to the media at the launch event.
The IDA Hive includes workspaces, and a ‘Design Experience’ lab to assess user experience – it includes a heat map of where users are focusing their eyeballs on, as well as engagement, performance and stability metrics dashboards.
The Government’s Digital Services team is tasked with improving government services and their impact through the use of data science and analytics, the IDA said.
The team also serves as a consultancy for other government agencies in developing new digital services.
Smart Nation, smart government
The IDA Hive is part of Singapore’s Smart Nation initiative, according to IDA managing director Jacqueline Poh (pic above).
Providing a better quality of life through a digital government is key in providing anticipatory services.
The three key objectives at Hive are designing better digital experiences, bringing agile development into digital services, and using data analytics to improve the economy as well as society, according to the IDA.
IDA government digital services director Mark Lim said that the Hive will bring creativity into the often-stereotyped bureaucratic environment.
“The Hive is a creative space for engineers and data scientists to come together to solve problems [for the public good],” he told Digital News Asia (DNA) at the launch on Oct 29.
For a project to be undertaken by IDA Hive, it has to fulfil three key criteria: It has to be impactful for the public, has to be innovative, and has to have cross-agency tie-ups.
“We are just a small elite team helping to solve the problems that are more critical to the citizens, and not all the problems the Government might face,” Lim said.
“We believe that if we can target the right areas, we can solve key issues that will bring maximum benefit to Singaporeans,” he added.
The IDA Hive will collaborate with both government agencies and industry players to test ideas and maximise their impact with technology, according to Lim.
Along with the launch of the Hive, the IDA also announced the public beta launch of the revamped Data.gov.sg, the Singapore Government’s portal of publicly available datasets.
Dashboards with the more popular and relevant charts are now available on the front page. Users can also preview datasets without needing to download them, and see in-depth datasets released through the blog section of the site.
An API (application program interface) is also being developed that would allow access to the Government’s open data with a single API key, instead of having to go to individual agencies, according to the IDA.
New analytics tools are also being developed to help government agencies analyse browsing patterns and app performance to improve user experience, the agency added.
These include an A/B email analytics tool, a mobile application analytics visualisation tool, and a visual heat map.
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