Khoong Hock Yun, Assistant Chief Executive, Infocomm Development, IDA Singapore - Speech Wireless Mobility Showcase, Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza Singapore, 15 May 2002

Khoong Hock Yun, Assistant Chief Executive, Infocomm Development, IDA Singapore - Speech
Wireless Mobility Showcase, Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza
Singapore, 15 May 2002

Our Guest-of-Honour, Mr Lam Chuan Leong, Chairman of IDA,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
A very good morning to you.

In May 1919, Raymond Orteig of New York City offered a princely sum of US$25,000 for the first non-stop airplane flight from New York to Paris. Suppose in the year 1922, you were asked by one of the 2 aviators, Cabral and Coutinho, to join him on board the single-engine British seaplane to fly from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro. You would certainly want to think twice. Besides a strong heart, you would need to be a strong swimmer if the plane does not make it across. The flight took place, but it did not meet Orteig prize's condition. Not only did it stop on the way, Cabral and Coutinho actually changed airplanes on a small Atlantic island.

By 1927, Lindbergh, a determined airmail pilot who wanted to take up Orteig's challenge and make a non-stop trans-Atlantic flight. He found a like-minded designer at the tiny Ryan Airplane Company. Ryan specially built the spindly monoplane in just two months and named it Spirit of St. Louis. The word luck does not apply to the courageously focused intensity Lindbergh and Ryan brought to the one flight we remember.

So what was so special about Lindbergh's flight? Well, it was the longest, non-stop, heavier-than-air, trans-Atlantic flight and it was the first solo crossing from Long Island to Paris. In the aviation history, the flight was the last step that had to be taken before commercial trans-Atlantic flights began in the late 1930's -- 20 years after the first trans-Atlantic crossing and 35 years after the Wright brothers'. The world of commuting would have been different if this historical flight had not taken place. The success of Lindbergh's flight has drastically changed the way we travel across continents. Without Lindbergh, we may still be globetrotting today for business or leisure on board the Orient Express or Titanic-class ships!

Innovation - The Impetus For Change

The Lindbergh flight across the Atlantic Ocean shows that courage and determination is needed to bring ideas and innovation to reality. This flight was just one of the many cycles of innovation that occurred over 35 years before we arrived at the commercial planes we have today.

However, in today's fast moving high-tech industry, time to market is of the utmost importance and I think you will agree, that 35 years is a long time for any of us to wait! And I quote from Gary Hamel's "Leading the Revolution" - the amount of new wealth that a company can create is determined by the speed at which it gets the wheel of innovation turning. And the first stumbling block is often an inability of potential innovators to go from a fragment of an idea to a reasonably holistic business concept.

The challenges for a company today lie not only in its ability to come up with new ideas but also in its ability to deliver the product at the right price, with the right packaging and through the right distribution channels. The best way to measure the viability of a product is to deploy it in a real user environment through pilots and trials. The pilots and trials will help to answer critical questions on what is needed to provide a whole product or service to the market and how the market will react to such an offering. This mechanism will also help to establish credible references and gain early market acceptance.

Encouraging Innovation Through PATH

It is with this in mind that IDA had announced the Wired With Wireless Pilot and Trial Hotspots (PATH) initiative. PATH was introduced last May to help Singapore-based companies achieve world-class excellence in wireless development by encouraging proof-of-concept and proof-of-value of wireless applications and technologies. The first PATH project was the result of the Call for Collaboration (CFC) for Mobile Payment (mPayment) Solutions that were awarded last October. The projects include: NCS' YW8 (pronounced as "Why Wait"), Nokia's goVirtual, SysAtWork's TelePay and an upcoming project by ST Electronics. As a result of this CFC, MobileOne, SingTel Mobile and StarHub Mobile have also come together in July last year to work towards the development of a common platform for mobile payments.

Singapore's mCommerce scene has gained some momentum with the ongoing mPayment trials. Close to 15 merchants in Suntec City are now enabled with m-commerce. Other merchants such as Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Eng Wah Cinemas, Ritz Apple Strudel, Bossini, National Library Board, and a number of Fuji Film Outlets are also m-commerce enabled. One of the merchants, Sincere Photo Studio in Tampines Town, has reported a 25% increase in sales for photo printing services, by allowing customers to order photo prints online, pay by the mobile phone and have the prints delivered to their doorsteps. Beyond the trial projects, other mPayment offerings that can be expected in Singapore include payments for car park fees and taxi fares, as well as checking NUS exam results by students using the mobile device.

I would now like to show a 4-minute video that gives a snapshot of the various mPayment services that have already been deployed at various locations in Singapore today.

Singapore - The Working Living Lab

Our pilots arising from the PATH initiative have gained some recognition internationally. In January this year, an European online magazine, named Singapore as one of the "Top Mobile Cities to Watch for in 2002". The same article cited Singapore as the Living Lab for wireless developments and highlighted our mPayment solution trials as a key development to look out for in 2002.

At Asia's first Wireless International Advisory Roundtable last year, Mr Hiroaki Takeichi, the Board Member and Group President of Fujitsu Limited's Network System's Group, cited that Singapore is the best place to showcase wireless developments because of our leverage through an English-speaking, highly educated and IT-savvy population that allows faster feedback from the end users.

Therefore, Singapore is poised today as a living lab for wireless developments in Asia. In Nov 2001, IDA had issued 2 other Call for Collaborations (CFC) for the development of Mobile Workforce solutions as well as applications using J2ME-based wireless Java technology. This is to encourage the development of more wireless applications and service for businesses and consumers.

For the Mobile Workforce CFC, 58 proposals were received out of which 20 consortia were awarded. The total value of the Mobile Workforce projects is S$16 million, of which IDA is supporting up to S$6.5 million.

The projects awarded are in a diverse range of industry sectors such as buildings and facilities management, construction, hospitality, logistics and property sales. The trials comprise of solutions in four categories of sales and field force automation, supply chain management and remote monitoring. The companies in each of these trials will be using wireless solutions to realize potential benefits such as cost-savings, better customer service and shortened sales cycles.

For the Wireless Java CFC, 45 proposals were received, and 6 consortia were awarded. The awarded proposals will trial innovative mobile applications on Java 2 for Mobile Devices (J2ME) - a platform that will ease the development of interactive multimedia applications. The total value of the Wireless Java projects is S$1.8 million, out of which 40% will be supported by IDA.

In a short while, our chairman Mr Lam Chuan Leong will be handing out the congratulatory letters to the 26 consortia. With the kind permission of these consortia, we will also be sharing project descriptions of the trials in the hope that these efforts will become valuable reference sites for others in Singapore and overseas.

An Expanded Path

Our next step for PATH will be to facilitate the integration of applications, platforms and devices to provide a seamless connectivity for everyone on the go, anywhere, any time, and on any device. We will need to determine how to effectively leverage the use of bluetooth, infrared, 802.11 and in the future, 3G, to enable a mobile lifestyle for Singaporeans.

IDA has just completed our Pervasive Wireless Access CFC. We will soon be able to assess how to turn this concept of seamless connectivity into a reality. We will also be facilitating more pilots and trials in the areas of location-based services and wireless multimedia which are part of the focus areas identified under the Wired With Wireless Programme. With this mind, I am pleased to announce that we have increased the amount of funds set aside for the PATH initiative by S$30 million for wireless projects. This increases the original PATH funding from the S$48 million announced last November to a total of S$78million.


In conclusion, the PATH initiative, coupled with the Call for Collaboration (CFC) mechanism has been an invaluable tool in the building of end-to-end solutions through the amalgamation of different strengths within the industry's value chain. It implies that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts and companies working together can create better whole products and services. Indeed, we hope to see how wireless technologies can change the way we work and live, just as Lindbergh's flight on the monoplane has changed the way we commute.

Thank you.