Kampong Glam embarks on first phase of digitisation

Kampong Glam has launched five initiatives in its first phase of the neighbourhood transformation project in a bid to help traditional businesses in that area to succeed in a digital economy. The initiatives include e-payment methods, digital map and virtual in-store tours, efficient and integrated point-of-sale system, delivery services for goods and an augmented reality tool enabled in navigation.

According to a press statement, it estimated 150 merchants will be benefiting from these transformations. Yaacob Ibrahim, member of parliament for the Jalan Besar Group Representation constituency, has been appointed as special advisor to the project. He will engage with key stakeholders, and provide guidance on the development and prioritisation on the digital transformation of the neighbourhood to bolster the work on the ground.

The Kampong Glam neighbourhood transformation project was first launched in March this year, led by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), in collaboration with Enterprise Singapore (a joint company of International Enterprise and SPRING Singapore), One Kampong Gelam (OKG) association and the Singapore Malay Chambers of Commerce and Industry (SMCCI).

In the first launch, StarHub helped merchants embrace digital solutions in areas such as integrated point-of-sale systems, enabling cashless payments, inventory tracking and financial accounting in the first launch. Grab was also enlisted to enhance the visitor experience. It helped develop digital products such as additional cashless options for merchants and increase accessibility to the area. Meanwhile, its partnership with Temasek Polytechnic’s (TP) School of Business helped in increasing merchants’ online presence.

The project was aimed at strengthening the neighbourhood’s appeal to digitally savvy consumers and visitors’ interest in experiential retail experience. It also aims to help businesses pick up productivity through technology.

Following initial success in helping more merchants establish online listings and virtual tours on digital maps such as Google Maps, a Memorandum of Intent was signed between TP School of Business, IMDA and OKG to increase the involvement of TP students to continue to assist merchants on their digitalisation journey.

To further enhance the digital capabilities of the Kampong Glam neighbourhood, OKG will be working with key stakeholders to explore more ideas for a second phase of transformation. The press added that these may include pervasive outdoor Wi-Fi coverage, intelligent digital signages, Internet of Things-based visual identifiers, social media-based brand identity and e-commerce capabilities.

S. Iswaran, minister for communication and information said that the first phase is a start to more "collective efforts" brought in to the community by both the public and private sectors. He added that through the partnership, the merchants will be able to adopt "more innovative" digital solutions and "improve" their businesses.

“All businesses today, including traditional businesses, must digitalise to stay competitive in the digital economy. We are excited to collaborate with our partners to bring new digital options to Kampong Glam and enable more people to discover this gem of a neighbourhood," Jane Lim, assistant chief executive, sector transformation group, IMDA.

"Businesses now have more tools to engage their customers with an integrated experience that unites the physical and digital, and be better positioned to seize growth opportunities in a fast changing business environment,” she added.