Yeo Cheow Tong, Minister for Communications & Information Technology - Address SITF's Wireless Chapter Launch, Regent Hotel
Yeo Cheow Tong, Minister for Communications & Information Technology - Address
SITF's Wireless Chapter Launch, Regent Hotel
Singapore, 15 August 2001
Mr Willie Cheng, Chairman SITF
Mr Yip Hon Mun, Protem Exco Chairman, SITF Wireless Chapter
1 I am very happy to be here tonight for the launch of the SITF Wireless Chapter. The SITF has been very active in engaging the industry during the past year, and has formed many specialist chapters, which include the ASP Alliance Chapter, e-Learning Chapter, and Singapore Enterprises Chapter. I must congratulate SITF for its latest initiative, the Wireless Chapter.
Wireless Industry Outlook for Asia
2 The Yankee Group has forecasted that cellular Internet revenues in the Asia Pacific will increase by more than five fold, from US$7 billion in 2001 to US$40 billion in 2004. Asia remains a promising market, with its many tech-savvy users. The tremendous usage of popular applications, such as SMS, and the high mobile penetration in countries like Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore will drive demand for newer mobile technologies further. Consequently, our region is likely to lead the world in the adoption and development of futuristic mobile phones and services.
3 As of June this year, Singapore's mobile penetration rate stands at about 75%, and we are well on the way to becoming a living lab for wireless developments in Asia. By capitalising on our good broadband infrastructure and an increasingly vibrant telecommunications market, Singapore intends to be an important value-added partner in the global wireless space.
Wireless Developments in Singapore
4 We want to develop Singapore into an Infocomm hub and a centre for wireless developments. A key factor to achieving this is innovation. This would include doing R&D for new products, services and applications, and carrying out the consumer testing here.
5 In this regard, I am glad that we are seeing an increase number of made-in-Singapore innovations. Let me quote a few examples. Our homegrown wireless R&D facility, the Centre for Wireless Communications or CWC, holds 7 patents with 37 pending. CWC's latest innovation is Cellonics, which is modelled on biological cell behaviour to achieve breakthroughs in encoding, decoding and transmission of digital information. Another homegrown company, NewsTakes, holds patents for its developments in products called Content Adapt and Bandwidth Adapt. Both optimise the delivery of media-rich content for different web devices and displays.
6 Apart from CWC, Singapore also plays host to other incubation facilities such as Ericsson Cyberlab, NEC's W-CDMA R&D Centre, HP Mobile e-Services Bazaar and CAP Gemini Ernst & Young's Global Wireless Internet Centre. Other partnerships include the Mobile Internet Lab formed by Ericsson and Temasek InfoTech School, as well as the Mobile Computing Centre established by Palm with Temasek Polytechnic. I am also encouraged by the partnership between our very own MobileOne and EdgeMatrix to form the Wireless Intellect Labs. The partnership will license its research and technologies to third party wireless industry players.
7 As an added push to our wireless development scene, companies are actively exploring ways to provide innovative wireless services. As an example, M1 customers can now use SMS to order drinks from certain vending machines and charge their purchases to their mobile phone bill. Another example is homegrown logistics provider, YCH Group. Using WAP technology, YCH's Intrabution Management System allows its customers to monitor their inventory through mobile phones and PDAs.
Government's Support for Wireless Developments-"Wired With Wireless"
8 The Government will continue to strongly support the development of wireless industry capabilities. IDA has introduced four "Wired With Wireless" initiatives to enable companies to deploy innovative applications and services, facilitate technology development and speed to market. The first is the Pilot And Trial Hotspots or PATH initiative. This aims to encourage pilots and trials of innovative wireless applications and services in Singapore. The second initiative, the Overseas Business Centres or OBC, facilitates technology transfer and market development. The first OBC partnership was formed on the Tokyo site of HP Mobile e-Services Bazaar, to facilitate joint technology and market development with Japanese partners. The third initiative is the Wireless Technology Alliance or WTA. It serves as a platform for the sharing of technology, co-development and co-deployment of new wireless products and services in Singapore. The first project under this initiative is the Sun Java Wireless Competency Centre, formed by Sun Microsystems and CWC. And the last initiative, Market Development, facilitates test marketing and joint marketing activities with companies to enable speed to market.
9 To promote collaborative efforts across the industry, IDA will also develop a series of Calls For Collaboration, or CFC, to focus on specific areas of wireless technology. The first CFC was issued in May this year to develop Mobile Payments Solutions. This resulted in the recently announced collaboration between MobileOne, StarHub Mobile and SingTel Mobile to allow application and service providers to use their infrastructure to develop mobile payment solutions. This is indeed a significant achievement for the Singapore wireless industry, as it goes to show that in a fiercely competitive telecommunications business environment, key business rivals can still cooperate to grow and develop the market as a whole.
Catalyst for Industry Success - SITF Wireless Chapter
10 As you can see, there have been many concerted efforts within a short span of time to grow the wireless industry. The SITF Wireless Chapter too has a role to play. The members possess the necessary skills and industry experience to act as a catalyst to develop the wireless market as a whole. It can also provide a proactive industry platform to address some of the challenges and opportunities of the mobile E-economy locally and globally.
11 The joint efforts mentioned by me a few minutes ago, and the many others still in the cooking stage, will enable Singapore to become a living lab for wireless development in Asia. They will complement the Government's efforts to support our industry players with the tools and the environment to excel, and build a vibrant community of industry players to provide the capabilities and partnerships for the global market.
12 On this note, I congratulate SITF and participating companies on the launch of the Wireless Chapter. Sun Tze once said, "Opportunities multiply as they are seized". Now is the time for companies to use this platform to seize the opportunities available and multiply them many times.