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RealTime IT News

Singapore's Annual Business Survey Goes On The Net

A government agency, a research institute, and a commercial organization in Singapore have partnered to provide an integrated survey processing system called the Survey Answering Guide Expert (SAGE) for conducting the country's Annual Business Survey this year over the Internet.

They are the Singapore Department of Statistics (DOS) of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Kent Ridge Digital Labs (KRDL), and an e-business solution provider Knowledge Engineering Pte Ltd (KE).

They aim to exploit advanced information technologies to facilitate data collection and achieve a faster turnaround in data processing for the survey which will start July this year for a duration of six to nine months.

SAGE incorporates secure, smart forms with embedded domain knowledge for online validation and error checking. The system manages and tracks the activities of these forms from creation to completion by respondents.

It also handles the multi-mode submission of survey data such as by snail mail or fax where hardcopy data is converted to electronic and stored in the survey database.

Techologies such as KRDL's intelligent character recognition (ICR) and its Advanced Coding Environment (ACE) module, which is a knowledge-based codification system for form filling, are applied in this system.

The SAGE project which cost approximately S$3 million will receive R&D funding from the National Science and Technology Board (NSTB).

"Some modules of [the] SAGE project started in January 1998, but the bulk started in August," said Dr. Choo Thong Tiong, manager of SAGE at KRDL.

He said the project will be completed by June this year and will go live in July.

Upon project completion, KRDL will transfer its form processing technology and intelligent character recognition (ICR) technology to KE for commercialization.