Speech By Mr Zaqy Mohamad, Chairman Of Government Parliamentary Committee For Communications And Information And Member Of Parliament For Chua Chu Kang Group Representation Constituency, At The Opening Of Silver Industry Standards Exchange And Launch Of SS618 – Guidelines On User Interface Design For Older Adults On 23 March 2017, 9am, Singapore University Of Social Sciences, Performing Arts Theatre
Professor Cheong Hee Kiat, President, Singapore University of Social Sciences;
Mr Robert Chew, Deputy Chairman of the Singapore Standards Council and Chairman of the Silver Industry Standards Committee;
Ms Choy Sauw Kook, Assistant Chief Executive, Quality & Excellence Group, SPRING Singapore;
Distinguished Guests, ladies and gentlemen;
- I am happy to be here at this inaugural Silver Industry Standards eXchange.
- Over the next 50 years, Singapore will face a rapidly ageing population. By 2030, one in four Singaporeans will be over 65. To better prepare for this demographic change, the government has rolled out several initiatives, such as the Ministerial Committee on Ageing's Action Plan for Successful Ageing, and Smart Nation projects to enable our people to live meaningful and fulfilled lives, enabled seamlessly by technology.
Quality & Standards have and will continue to support the needs of the ageing population in Singapore
- Quality & Standards will play an important role to support these various national initiatives. Hence it is apt that the theme for this eXchange is "Age well with Standards".
- Since 2011, the Silver Industry Standards Committee (SISC) has been working closely with various partners to develop, promote and facilitate the use of Singapore and international standards to support active ageing in Singapore.
- To continue to support the needs of the ageing population, the SISC has developed a Standards Roadmap for the Silver Industry. The Roadmap charts the future direction of standards development and implementation for the next three to five years to support the national initiatives. I am pleased to announce the launch this Roadmap today.
- The framework for this Roadmap was developed in consultation with multiple stakeholders comprising government agencies, associations, institutes of higher learning, and industry players. It is based on four key elements to support elderly needs.
a) First, to enable them to live a quality life and age-in-place, that is, for the elderly to live
independently and safely in the residence of their choice;
b) Second, to foster an age-friendly and inclusive inter-generational work environment;
c) Third, to encourage the elderly to lead an active ageing lifestyle; and
d) Last, to enhance accessibility through suitable infrastructural design within the community and
home, and encourage pervasive use of digital solutions among the elderly.
- So how can standards help to achieve these elements of the Roadmap?
- First of all, standards can help to specify the minimum requirements of products and services used by the elderly. An example of this is the standard on nutrition for older adults which has already been implemented by healthcare facilities, nursing homes and "meals on wheels". This is to ensure the nutritional needs for the elderly are met.
- Second, standards can help in the deployment of new technologies or platforms, such as the new technical reference TR 45 on remote signs monitoring. TR 45 helps to improve the interoperability of patient data collected by the remote vital signs monitoring services and their integration with the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) and patients' Personal Health Record (PHR) systems. This will help to reduce the cost of deploying medical device integration solutions, which translates to cost savings for the end consumer.
- Third, standards can provide the recommended best practices and guidelines, such as the design guidelines for acute care in general hospitals to enhance the quality of patient care. It provides designers, consultants and healthcare personnel with a common understanding of the basic design guidelines and requirements, thus reducing deliberation and planning time, and ultimately leading to increase productivity and efficiency.
- Standards-setting can also help our enterprises to tap on the huge business opportunities in the silver industry. Ageing Asia, a market consultancy social enterprise based in Singapore, has ranked Singapore as having the highest market potential for the silver industry in the Asia Pacific region based on the spending capacity of each country's ageing population or spending capacity of the children to support the elderly.
- One such innovative local healthcare company that has tapped on standards to grow its business is Cadi Scientific, which specialises in wireless sensing, tracking and matching devices. It used TR 45 on remote vital signs monitoring in its SmartSense system – a disc-like wearable that automatically monitors a patient's temperature and location – to demonstrate its interfacing feasibility to a national healthcare portal. The adoption of this standard has given the company a first-mover advantage and facilitated its expansion into new overseas markets.
- Moving forward, SISC and SPRING will work with industry and key government agencies to support the development and implementation of more standards to meet elderly needs under this Roadmap. This includes the development of relevant quality assurance schemes to support the various initiatives.
Launch of SS 618 to support elderly needs when using digital products and online services
- Today, I am glad to announce the launch of a new standard for the silver industry, SS 618 – Guidelines on user interface design for older adults, that can help our government agencies and businesses reach out to the elderly. SS 618 helps application and service providers in designing digital devices and online services that make it easy for the elderly to access information and services. As Singapore progresses towards the vision of a Smart Nation, it is important that we address the "silver" digital divide where our elderly may not be able to access new products and services due to information inaccessibility.
- I understand that the Council for Third Age has already implemented SS 618 to help the elderly to navigate its website easily for information relating to active ageing, senior learning opportunities, special deals and concessionary rates, and upcoming activities.
- In closing, I would like to once again reiterate the importance of Quality and Standards in supporting the silver industry. I look forward to seeing greater industry, government and social sector participation in standards-setting to raise the quality and trust of their products and services and enable business growth.
- On this note, I wish you a fruitful and enjoyable event. Thank you.