|Haji Lane in Kampong Glam.|
Kampong Glam, Singapore’s first digitally-enabled neighbourhood, has launched five initiatives in its first phase to help traditional businesses there succeed in a digital economy.
The neighbourhood transformation project is led by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), in collaboration with Enterprise Singapore, One Kampong Gelam (OKG) association and the Singapore Malay Chambers of Commerce and Industry (SMCCI). It is aimed at strengthening the neighbourhood’s appeal to digitally-savvy consumers and visitors interested in an experiential retail experience, and helping businesses become more productive through technology. Some 150 merchants are already benefitting from the transformation.
Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Member of Parliament for the Jalan Besar Group Representation Constituency, has been appointed as special advisor to the Kampong Glam digital transformation project. As special advisor, Dr Yaacob will engage with key stakeholders, and provide guidance on the development and prioritisation on the digital transformation of the neighbourhood.
The first phase of the neighbourhood’s transformation comprises five digital initiatives:
- E-payments, for convenient transactions;
- Digital map listings and virtual in-store tours, for improved merchant discoverability;
- An augmented reality-enabled navigational tool with digital marketing features, to
help visitors navigate through the neighbourhood;
- Convenient, affordable shopping delivery services, so customers can “shop without
shopping bags”; and
- An integrated point-of-sale system, to help businesses become more efficient
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 at the launch between Temasek Polytechnic (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 is working with key stakeholders to explore new ideas for a second phase of transformation, which 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.
“I am encouraged to see how merchants in Kampong Glam have adopted digital solutions. Most
merchants recognise the benefits of digitalising their businesses but they need some help to make
the first step. This where the associations, industry partners and government agencies can provide
the resources and support. The appointment of Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Member of Parliament for the
Jalan Besar Group Representation Constituency, as special advisor to the Kampong Glam digital
transformation project, would provide a familiar face on the ground offering support to merchants
on their digitalisation journey.
“This launch of the Phase 1 initiatives is just the start. With the collective effort from the community,
public and private sectors entering into mutually beneficial partnership, I am confident that merchants will adopt more innovative digital solutions, creating an even better visitor’s experience in Kampong Glam and improving their business opportunities,” said S Iswaran, Singapore Minister for Communication and Information.
“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. 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,” said Jane Lim, Assistant Chief Executive, Sector Transformation Group, IMDA.
“Kampong Glam is a neighbourhood close to many Singaporeans’ hearts, with a rich blend of rich history and culture, as well as modern retail shops and contemporary eateries. Strengthening our digital presence helps our merchants better connect to a younger generation of locals, as well as overseas visitors, to give them a chance to experience our unique mix of retail experiences and cultural heritage, said Saeid Labaffi, Chairman, OKG.
“We want to help businesses grow and there is a need for the traditional merchants to embrace technology, to open up the opportunity to increase their business multifold,” said Azhar Othman, Chairman, SME Centre@SMCCI. “This is where our advisors come in, to work hand-in-hand with the merchants, to get them online.”
“As the lines between the physical and digital world continue to blur, our small and medium sized enterprise (SME) merchants need to keep pace by adopting new mindsets and digital capabilities that enable them to fully participate in this ever-evolving economy. Embarking on this digital journey will allow businesses to better engage their customers not only here at Kampong Glam, but also beyond the precinct, bringing new opportunities to showcase the unique offerings of our SME merchants and reach new customers,” said Chew Mok Lee, Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Industry Clusters, Enterprise Singapore.