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Uncovering how a smart nation can improve the lives of seniors in Singapore

Nurdianah Md Nur | Jan. 27, 2015
Seniors want easy-to-use technologies, autonomous cars, translation apps, and technology that aids home rehabilitation, according to the dialogue session.

Singapore's Smart Nation Programme Office (SNOP) has taken the first step to find out how a smart nation can improve the lives of citizens of all ages by holding a dialogue session with seniors yesterday (26 January 2015).

Five focus groups were formed during the session to gain insights on how technology can improve their lives at home, how they move around Singapore, live healthy lives and stay connected with loved ones.

Participants were found to be keen on driverless cars that park themselves, apps that translate various languages and dialects, and technology that aids home rehabilitation, reported Straits Times.

Tech-savvy seniors also expressed their qualms about how today's technologies were too complicated to use, reported TODAY. For instance, one of the participants, Dora Lim, found it a hassle to use Google Maps to find her way to her destination as it requires multiple steps. She thus suggested one-touch smartphone apps that can locate nearby healthcare centres and direct her to her desired destinations. 

For seniors who are less tech-savvy, the SNPO will work with grassroots and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to reach out to them. One of the NGOs involved, RSVP Singapore, said that they will have "separate engagement sessions to teach the seniors how to use a smartphone." However, there is a still a need for senior-friendly gadgets such as those requiring the pressing of only one or two buttons to function and are more picture-oriented, said RSVP Singapore president Koh Juay Meng. 

This dialogue session is the first of the series of discussions that SNPO will hold with Singaporeans to discover how technology can serve different segments of the society.  Such sessions will help ensure that "there's no digital divide on the basis of income," said Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore's Minister for Environment and Water Resources who also oversees the SNPO, at yesterday's session.  "Regardless of how well-off or not so well-off a family is, we make sure basic connectivity, basic computing, basic technical literacy is available -- especially to children," he added.


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