Last updated: 13 March 2023

Published on: 05 July 2018


Collaborations are key in an evolving digital landscape, said IMDA representatives at two fireside chats at the recent innovfest unbound

Tech Saturday Upsized
The "Media Hub Singapore" panel discussion on the second day of innovfest unbound 2018.

By Chia Han Keong


A traditional television production company partners a virtual reality start-up to produce social studies material for primary schools. Such cross-industry collaborations will become increasingly prevalent in Singapore’s evolving digital economy landscape, as both content producers and technological innovators seek to reach a wider consumer base.

This is the trend going forward shared by Ms Angeline Poh, Assistant Chief Executive Officer of Industry Development, Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).

She was speaking at a panel at innovfest unbound, Asia’s largest innovation event organised by NUS Enterprise and unbound, in partnership with IMDA. The event, held on 5–6 June at Marina Bay Sands, was part of Smart Nation Innovations (SNI) Week, which celebrates Asia’s most noteworthy tech developments and innovation case-studies for public and private sectors.

(Check out IMpact's coverage of the innovfest unbound opening ceremony.)

Ms Poh’s panel, with the theme “Media Hub Singapore”, included Mr Daniel Seal, CEO of unbound global and Mr Rohit D’Silva, Managing Director of Fox Networks South East Asia, Hong Kong and Australia.

Platform for collaboration

Angeline Poh
Ms Angeline Poh: The future may look a little messy, but it offers exciting opportunities for all industries.

Ms Poh cited the aforementioned example in which TV production company Beach House Pictures and virtual reality technology company Hiverlab combined to produce social studies lesson materials for the Ministry of Education, with the support of IMDA.

“Content producers will be collaborating with companies who are developing top-end technology such as virtual reality, augmented reality or photo-realistic visual effects, and then further partnering players from other industries,” she said.

With the global digital landscape ever evolving, Ms Poh feels that it is imperative for tech companies and content producers to continuously collaborate and develop new capabilities to thrive in such environment.

To enable this, the IMDA is planning to unveil an open innovation platform this year. The platform will help companies come together and collaborate through a crowdsourcing manner. Companies from any industry with complex problems that need multi-disciplinary solutions can post them with a cash bounty to rally a community of “solvers”.

Solvers may include creative companies or individuals, or even hobbyists such as coders and hackers.

“Such partnerships will help transform the infocomm media sector. The future may look a little messy, but it offers exciting opportunities for all industries,” she added.

Developing AI through partnerships

Yeong Zee Kin
Mr Yeong Zee Kin: We hope that tech companies can find Singapore a good place to park some of their AI functions.

Getting the right structure for tech companies to thrive is equally crucial, and the IMDA has set up a digital economy framework whereby enterprises can have an open conversation on how to develop the digital climate.

Take artificial intelligence (AI) technologies for instance. Digital industries are facing a challenging landscape in which consumers expect AI functions to be pervasive in every digital device. How then can tech companies find ready solutions to their AI needs?

At a separate fireside chat at innovfest, Mr Yeong Zee Kin, IMDA’s Assistant Chief Executive Officer of Data and Protection, noted that this is why IMDA rolled out a matchmaking programme between research institutes and AI-keen companies.

“We hope that tech companies can find Singapore a good place to park some of their AI functions, and through our partnership framework, we can be able to attract talents to come and work here, thus driving our growth in innovation,” Mr Yeong added.

He was speaking on the topic of “AI, The Next Frontier: Powering Singapore’s Digital Transformation”, a panel discussion together with Ms Tiffani Bova, Salesforce’s Global Customer Growth and Innovation Evangelist.

Angeline Poh
Ms Angeline Poh: We have since changed to ‘Made by Singapore’, and are moving towards ‘Made with Singapore’.

Meeting demands of a larger market

Be it content or technology, the size of addressable market has exploded with the advent of digital platforms such as mobile phones. It may seem daunting to take on the challenge of reaching a bigger audience or consumer base and meeting its huge demands, which is why partnerships and collaborations are more important than ever.

“For the media industry, it’s about striking up partnerships both locally and regionally, complementing the art of storytelling with the science of storytelling,” said Ms Poh. “It is also about getting richer insights into different markets of customer preferences, so as to be able to make better-informed creative decisions.”

She feels that Singapore’s digital landscape transformation can be illustrated with the evolution of the well-known tagline, Made in Singapore.

“Such a phrase is limiting nowadays, with the world becoming ‘flatter’ with digital advancements,” she said. “We have since changed to ‘Made by Singapore’, and are moving towards ‘Made with Singapore’.”