Mr Khoong Hock Yun, Assistant Chief Executive, Industry Group Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore Opening Speech - Connecting the Community Media Showcase, Suntec Convention Room 209
Mr Khoong Hock Yun, Assistant Chief Executive, Industry Group
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
Opening Speech - Connecting the Community Media Showcase, Suntec Convention Room 209
Singapore, 8 September 2004
Good morning to our media friends and industry partners. Thank you for joining us this morning at this Connecting the Community media showcase.
1. How many of you here have aged parents or grandparents? And how many of you will feel comfortable leaving them alone at home for long periods of time? Well, the natural reaction is to feel uncomfortable and understandably so. Why? Because research has shown that old people are most accident-prone in the home. According to the Health Promotion Board website, among those aged 65 years and above, 20% of deaths are caused by falls, and as high as 60% of falls in this age group take place in the home. Just recently, I was told about an unfortunate incident where an 80-year-old woman slipped in the bathroom and laid helpless with a sprained ankle for over an hour until the maid discovered her.
2. Some months ago, I believe it was in April, one of my staff who lives in Yishun told me about a dengue outbreak in her estate. In a short period of one month, eight people got hit, three of them living just in the next block from her. She wasn't aware about it until she read it in the newspapers.
3. Now, these are not unusual incidents. I'm sure you have heard similar stories among your friends or family members. Wouldn't you want to be alerted in the quickest possible time if your parent or grandparent met with a mishap at home? And if there was a dengue outbreak in your estate, wouldn't you want to be alerted as soon as it happened, so that necessary precautions could be taken, such as checking for stagnant water around the home?
4. Now, these are very real problems in the community and there are more of such problems, judging from our industry partners' dialogues with community groups. So, for the second thrust of the Connected Homes programme, called Connecting the Community, our goal is to leverage Infocomm technology to come up with creative but simple solutions that can address community needs and solve community problems. By doing so, we hope that we can make people's lives a little bit better, more convenient and ultimately, enhance the quality of community living.
5. Just to give you a little bit of background, the Connected Homes programme was conceptualised to provide a platform for the industry to test, develop and deploy integrated IT solutions for the homes and the community. The first thrust - Connecting the Homes, was about delivering a rich set of content and services through multiple devices within the homes. However, in today's society, people tend to function more as individual family-based units. In our conversations with the various community and grassroots organizations, we got feedback that there is a need to better connect people to the various parts of the community such as schools, healthcare providers, community groups, retail outlets and recreational facilities. Connecting the Community seeks to create this connection - through the innovative use of IT.
6. So in January this year, we initiated a Call for Collaboration to invite industry proposals for Connecting the Community solutions and services. The CFC attracted the interest of 111 companies and four consortia consisting of 23 companies were eventually awarded. Some solutions proposed were aimed at enhancing "connectedness" within communities, for example, by improving communication and information flow so that real-time information updates on disease outbreaks for example, will be possible. Other solutions make use of wireless technologies to alert users if their aged parent or grandparent has met with an accident at home. Yet another solution is designed to help busy working parents keep track of their children's progress in school through email and SMS alerts of results and upcoming activities.
7. So if you look at the range of proposed solutions, there is something for everyone - from the family, to the target communities such as schools, businesses and healthcare providers, to the general public. I would also like to highlight that these solutions were not developed in a vacuum, but together with the actual users. In fact two Citizens Consultative Committees are represented in two of the consortia. So the solutions which you will see at the showcase were proposed to meet real needs faced by real people. They were not dreamt up by IDA, and they were certainly not the product of someone's over-active imagination. The consortia have gone through a great of effort to do their ground work in coming up with creative ways to leverage IT to benefit the communities.
8. IDA's vision for Connected Homes is to create a Connected Lifestyle by linking individuals to useful applications, services and devices within the home, to and from home and within the community. We will continue to work with our partners from the industry and community to realize this vision. We also look forward to your continued support in this endeavour.
9. I will now hand the floor over to my colleague, Ms Yip Yuen Fong who will give you more details on the Connecting the Community Call for Collaboration and the Connected Homes programme.