Data-driven technology used to bring Singapore out of lockdown

COVID-19 safeguard’s in place as the country gets back to “normality”.

The Singapore Government has released a roadmap detailing a three-phased approach to restarting the country’s social and economic activities, all backed by data-driven technology.

As Singapore restarts its economy, data-driven tech solutions will play a crucial role in helping the nation safely and successfully get back on its feet.

According to GovTech, Singpore Government’s technology agency, developments like TraceTogether and SafeEntry have shown the potential of data-driven technology in helping the country adjust to the changes brought about in daily lives by COVID-19.

Temperature screening stations have become a regular sight at public spots across Singapore. Though these systems can automatically take body temperatures, dedicated staff must still be deployed to analyse the temperature readings and act if needed.

Many smaller companies and organisations, however, cannot afford to delegate temperature screening due to manpower limitations. In addition, current temperature screening systems have been described as inefficient, even causing long waiting times and queues during their initial implementation Delon Leonard, an AI engineer from the video analytics team at the Data Science and Artificial Intelligence Division (DSAID) of GovTech.

“To address these issues, we wanted to create a solution that could control entry across each screening station while minimising staff deployments,” he said.

That premise soon developed into the fully-automated, contactless VigilantGantry, which combines a video camera, thermal sensor and a gantry system.

Through its video analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) framework, the system checks for two things: First, if a visitor’s face is sufficiently exposed to make an accurate measurement; and second, if the visitor has a fever. Should either of these checks fail, the gantry will restrict access.

By leveraging technology to assume the responsibilities of a human operator, VigilantGantry will help to solve their manpower crunch, said Leonard.

With its video analytics capabilities, VigilantGantry can detect headgear like caps or helmets that could obstruct temperature screening. Currently VigilantGantry has been deployed at some institutes of higher learning and government agencies.

A way around the crowds

Essential services have operated continuously throughout Covid-19 period in Singapore to meet people’s needs. These include many retail malls, supermarkets, markets, banks, and post offices, among others. Measures to ensure safe distancing included guidelines on having physical separation of 1m between people for all services, and a cap of no more than one visitor per 16 square meters of usable space for retail malls, said Jazreel Siew, systems analyst at the Digital Planning Lab of the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) of Singapore.

“We collaborated with operators to bring together their crowd level information of malls, supermarkets, markets, and post offices and made it available to the public through This was designed to be an easy-to-use, map-based website that people can access on any digital device,” she said.

The website shows both near-real time crowd level information for malls that are able to provide it, as well as analytics on recent trends of crowd levels. People can also easily search for less crowded options nearby.





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