Mr Lam Chuan Leong, Chairman Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore  Speech - Identifying New Business Opportunities and Creating New User Value, Raffles City Convention Centre

Mr Lam Chuan Leong, Chairman
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore 
Speech - Identifying New Business Opportunities and Creating New User Value, Raffles City Convention Centre
Singapore, 21 May 2003

Good morning
Ladies and Gentlemen,


1. Singapore's economy has been hit for the past three years by a global economic downturn, war and terrorism, and now with SARS. The overall GDP for 1st quarter grew by 1.6% and growth forecast by MTI for 2003 will be between 0.5% - 2.5%1. How we fare will be dependent on the global economic outlook, and how Asia handles the SARS situation.

2. The Infocomm sector has not been spared, although SARS has somewhat benefited the use of Infocomm technology in telecommuting and online transactions.

3. The performance of the Infocomm industry around the world is not generally good. However, Singapore's Infocomm sector showed positive growth in 2001. Revenue grew from $26 billion in 2000 to $28 billion in 2001, and contributed 7.9% to Singapore's GDP, up from 7% in 2000. Our Infocomm sector has shown some resilience to the overall impact of the economic downturn for the past two years. There will still be challenges ahead. Nevertheless, we should not be overwhelmed by them. We should focus on what needs to be done to cope with the new situation. We should be prepared for a different future economic landscape.

Results of the MobileWorkforce Solutions Call for Collaboration

4. IDA, on its part, has continued to push ahead with our initiatives and plans so that we do not lose our momentum in growing the Infocomm sector. We will continue to develop the fundamentals of the Infocomm industry. During the past six months, IDA undertook a comprehensive range of developmental efforts to strengthen the foundations of the IT industry. Today, I will provide an update on two of these developmental efforts in the area of Wireless and Web Services.

5. First, in the area of Wireless, I am pleased to announce the results of the Mobile Workforce Solutions Call for Collaboration (CFC) which was awarded in May last year. This CFC has 3 aims:

a. First, to explore the use of wireless to improve the productivity of businesses.
b. Second, to enable Infocomm companies to develop new capabilities and products in wireless enterprise solutions.
c. And third, to help companies commercialise products and services that will meet market demands.

6. I am glad to say that a total of 52 companies, from both users and technology enablers, participated in this CFC. These companies are from a diverse range of industry sectors and operational conditions. For the user companies, they include a hotel chain, Raffles International, a property agency, ERA Realty Network, and a driving school, Comfort Driving Centre. The technology companies include MNCs like Hewlett Packard, as well as SMEs like Maya Systems Consultants, SysEng and Buildfolio. These companies invested some $10 million in the CFC. IDA contributed another $6 million.

7. The CFC has resulted in the development of 32 products and services, which are expected to generate revenues of some S$40 million over the next 2 years. This represents a three-fold return from the combined investment put in by the companies and IDA.

8. User companies that participated in the CFC have also benefited from the exercise. For example in the wholesale & retail sector, sales staff that use wireless-enabled PDAs to take orders, have managed to increase their productivity by up to 10%. In property maintenance, the technicians are able to respond to reported faults twice as fast as before.

9. For companies in the logistics sector, new job instructions can be passed down to field staff through the use of PDAs. As these instructions are presented clearly and in a visual manner, it has reduced unnecessary communications between the dispatch centre and the staff. Each dispatch centre staff in turn can handle more field staff. Companies have reported savings in communications costs of up to 70%.

10. Finally, for companies who need to monitor operations at remote locations, in construction for example, company managers can be updated on the latest operational developments at one-tenth of the time it previously required.

11. The results and outcomes of the Mobile Workforce solutions have been very encouraging. The benefits experienced by the user companies are concrete and in a competitive industry, businesses can make use of Infocomm technologies to create differentiators. You will get to hear actual examples from some of the companies later in this seminar.

Moving Forward - Growing the Web Services Industry

12. I will now share with you IDA's plans to grow the Web Services sector.

13. In April last year, IDA signed a Memorandum of Intent (MOI) with Microsoft to launch a nationwide web services initiative called .NET MySingapore to develop Web Services in Singapore. The initiative comprises a community Web Services project, development of a new .Net training curriculum, and the establishment of an IDA-Microsoft Overseas Development Programme to help our companies export their products.

14. In October last year, Microsoft, together with NTUC Income and National Computer Systems (NCS) brought the community Web services project to reality through its launch of the BigTrumpet portal. The portal provides NTUC Income's 1 million policyholders and the general public with a single point of access to information on career opportunities and training activities. Value-added services such as financial planning and secure data storage are also made available through the portal. At the same time, Microsoft also announced its new training curriculum for postgraduates with the Institute of Systems Science (ISS), and its Overseas Development Programme with IDA to help Singaporean IT enterprises access markets overseas. To date, about $14 million has been committed by the partners under the initiative, of which IDA provided $4.5 million in grants.

15. I am pleased to note that Phase II of the BigTrumpet project has recently been completed, incorporating added features such as MyTravel for travel-related services, MyCar for vehicle ownership services and MyHealth for services promoting a healthy lifestyle.

16. IDA believes that the growth potential for Web Services is high. We are heartened to note that the industry shares IDA's optimism in Web Services. To date, 10 companies have worked with IDA to implement 12 projects for Web Services with a total project investment of S$35.5 million. IDA supported S$8.5 million in the development costs for these projects.

17. One example is a project by local IT company, S & I Business Applications. It has leveraged on Web Services to develop a software solution that enhances connectivity within the enterprise, and extends collaboration between business partners in the e-marketplace. Through this software, trading partners will have full visibility on the flow of information in both their supply and demand chains over the Internet. As a result, they will be able to make the necessary adjustment to their processes or inventories whenever necessary, thereby reducing their business costs. This software is currently ready-to-go-to market. The company will share with you details of this project later in this seminar.

18. Another project supported by IDA is the Web Service Reference Architecture (WSRA) developed by the Java Smart Services Lab (JSSL). What the WSRA provides is a "template" with 2 parts:

a. A set of guidelines on ways to create and deploy Web Services, and
b. A software implementation of core services to accelerate Web Services adoption

These guidelines and components can be downloaded from JSSL's web site and are licensed to the public for royalty-free use.

19. Given the successes and strong industry support, IDA will do more to grow the Web Services sector. I am pleased to announce that we will be formalising our efforts for Web Services development under a single programme called WEAVE. Through WEAVE, IDA hopes to drive about $80 million industry spending in the development of Web Services in Singapore over the next 3 years. IDA will contribute some S$40 million to support these efforts under WEAVE.

20. WEAVE will fund, amongst others, pilots and industry-wide projects; training costs for professionals to attend identified Web Services courses; development of new software; enhancement of existing Web Services solutions; and deployment of infrastructure solutions.

21. The key targets under the WEAVE programme over the next three years, are to have 20% of companies2 in Singapore adopt Web Services, up from the current 8%, and to train 600 professionals in Web Services.

22. I am happy to note that the Singapore infocomm Technology Federation (SiTF) strongly supports our efforts in Web Services as shown by the formation of the SiTF Web Services Chapter last October. IDA will be very happy to work closely with the Chapter and their members to build a robust Web Services value chain.

23. In conclusion, I am very encouraged by the co-operation amongst the various companies, industry associations like SiTF and IDA. We all clearly share the optimism that the Web Services sector is a key area of growth in the Infocomm industry for Singapore. So let us work together to bring about the success of the WEAVE programme.

24. Thank you.

Notes to Editors:

1 Performances of the Singapore Economy in First Quarter 2003 and Outlook for 2003: Ministry of Trade and Industry Press Release, 19 May 2003.
2 The sample size is obtained from IDA's Infocomm Business Usage Survey 2002 which includes companies with less than 10 employees to those with 500 employees and above.


Last updated on: 13 Mar 2023