Mr Khoong Hock Yun, Assistant Chief Executive, Industry Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore Opening Remarks - Global Wireless Venturing Forum 2004, Suntec International Convention & Exhibition Centre, (Room 208 & 209)

Mr Khoong Hock Yun, Assistant Chief Executive, Industry
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
Opening Remarks - Global Wireless Venturing Forum 2004, Suntec International Convention & Exhibition Centre, (Room 208 & 209)
Singapore, 14 October 2004

Good morning ladies and gentlemen.

1. I am very pleased to join you here today as you examine wireless venturing opportunities in today's global marketplace. Let me paint you today's wireless and mobility context and environment, as I see it.

The Wireless & Mobility Context

2. I am convinced that there are massive opportunities emerging from the maturing application of Information Technology. Let me explain why. In the early days, IT systems were essentially standalone silos, implemented at the backend. As technologies developed, these systems became networked and increasingly interconnected.

3. Interconnecting backend systems and reduction of standalone silos created efficiency gains. Businesses and governments could more effectively service their clients and customers. This can clearly be seen in the Singapore e-Government experience. Interconnecting systems within the organisation and across government agencies have allowed us to provide the public with online services that are user centric. And this has created tremendous efficiency gains for the public sector, and time and money savings for customers. For instance, businesses can incorporate a new company online, cutting the waiting time from two days to two hours.

Potential for Wireless Technologies

4. I see the next phase of IT application as one of connecting these integrated IT systems to the real world. Here is where wireless and mobility play a key role, and it is also exactly where the tremendous opportunities for wireless venturing lie.

5. The mobility brought about by the use of wireless technologies holds much promise. Leveraging on wireless technologies to remotely connect users to enterprise systems, timely and accurate information can be received to support critical decision making. Mobile technologies enable people to overcome their physical boundaries and confines, and have access to corporate information and applications while on the move.

6. We are already beginning to see the emergence of such applications. For instance, public wireless LAN networks are now pervasively available. In Singapore, there are about 600 public wireless LAN hotspots, in cafes, libraries and fast food outlets nationwide. These hotspots are of greater concentration in the central business district, where you can find in certain areas, one hotspot every hundred metres. This facilitates enterprise users who wish to connect to databases and systems remotely.

7. Singapore is taking leading steps to make this mobile experience seamless. Together with Intel, we have recently validated public wireless LAN architectures that support interworking with both fixed and cellular (GPRS) networks. These are now ready for deployment by Wireless ISPs and telcos. In the near future, users will also be able to gain access to public wireless LAN by using their SIM card in mobile phones. This will be a more secure way for enterprise users to access corporate information in public wireless LAN.

8. Another emerging technology enabling data to be captured and accessed in real time is RFID. This capability is currently being exploited in industries such as retail, logistics and manufacturing, and can be potentially applied to other market sectors such as healthcare and transportation.

9. Consider also the area of machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. M2M solutions allow users to remotely control key business processes and functions via wireless-enabled devices. M2M-based control applications require systems to make decisions based on inputs gathered from a distributed sensory network. For example, a network of distributed motion sensors could detect when people are moving toward a building lobby and call an elevator. Wireless M2M therefore could be embedded in projects where wires aren't practical, such as with sensors measuring the stress in walls or bridges.

10. The industry is indeed catching on to this potential growth area. For instance, just a few weeks ago, IBM announced its intention to set up a new business unit dedicated to support products and services related to sensor networks. With an investment of 250 million US dollars and 1,000 staff, the new unit will focus on helping businesses to exploit sensor networks, such as systems that are able to quickly identify supply shortages and automatically adjust delivery schedules.

11. Interconnecting backend systems have created access to vast corporate info databases, and this has even been described as a 'tsunami' wave of data. Huge amounts of data can be processed for decision making. In addition, sensor networks also offer users real time information updates. Companies in the logistics sector, such as Fedex, find this a real advantage for just-in-time shipping. Even the libraries in Singapore have applied sensor tagging to books, so that the process of borrowing and returning books is automated, and inventory management of materials at different library branches is enhanced.

Growth Opportunities

12. The growth opportunities for wireless technology application are tremendous. For instance, a new study from the Wireless Data Research Group (WDR) projects the market for hardware, software, and professional and wireless network services for machine-to-machine (M2M) communications will grow at a 27% compound annual growth rate, expanding from 9.3 billion US dollars in 2004 to 31 billion US dollars in 2008.

13. So where exactly are the emerging opportunity areas? I believe that there are opportunities in both the personal communications and enterprise communications space.

14. For personal communications, voice has shown itself as the 'killer' application for connecting individuals. Data should also not be ignored, and data really extends beyond SMS/MMS. I think the future potential applications of wireless data technologies lie in the interconnected systems I talked about earlier. And I believe that the unexploited segment and unexplored potential for growth is particularly found in enterprise communications.

15. In the consumer content application space, there are the obvious SMS and MMS applications. With 3G arriving in Singapore by the year end, were expecting further growth in mobile content applications such as mobile games and downloads. This growth is driven by the characteristics of the Singapore market - strong mobile consumer market, with a technology-savvy user base ready to adopt new multimedia handsets.

16. In terms of enterprise application of wireless technologies, the benefits of bringing real time information to the user also creates many potential growth opportunities. The potential gains in productivity and efficiency within established market verticals such as transportation, healthcare and logistics provide a strong anchor for growth.

17. As these technologies are still developing, trials and test-beds to validate the business and technical models will be essential. We've started some of this activity in Singapore, leveraging on our strong IT capabilities and domain knowledge in various vertical sectors. Coupled with Singapore's excellent Infocomm infrastructure, we also have a friendly living-lab environment, with government support and collaboration of trials to encourage innovation, value creation and technology exploitation. And the technologies we are test-bedding and deploying in Singapore are extensive - high speed wireless networks such as wireless broadband, wireless LAN and 3G, applications that will drive broadband use such as IP Telephony, and emerging technologies such as ultra wideband.

18. IDA will continue to help industries to transform through use of IT. I'm sure that these two days at the Global Wireless Venturing Forum will provide you with further insights in the various areas of opportunities, and strategies for wireless venturing. I invite you to take advantage of the endless opportunities created by emerging wireless technologies, and to come and partner with IDA to test bed your solutions in Singapore.

Last updated on: 13 Mar 2023