19 June 2007 - Keynote Address By Dr Lee Boon Yang, Minister, Ministry For Information, Communications & The Arts At The Official Opening Of The Infocomm Media Business Exchange (imbX) 2007, Singapore Expo.
Keynote Address By Dr Lee Boon Yang, Minister, Ministry of Information, Communications & The Arts At The Official Opening Of The Infocomm Media Business Exchange (Imbx) 2007 on 19 June 2007, Singapore Expo.
Ladies and gentlemen,
1. Good morning. May I first extend a warm welcome to the Honourable Ministers, Ambassadors and High Commissioners, participants, exhibitors and delegates to Infocomm Media Business Exchange 2007.
2. The response to this year's imbX has been excellent. The line-up of programmes, exhibits and conferences reflects the optimistic and upbeat business sentiment. I believe that the future for the infocomm industry worldwide is bright and bullish. Market research consultancy International Data Corporation, has forecasted that IT spending for 2007 in the Asia Pacific, excluding Japan, will see a US$13 billion increase from 2006. Growth in the ICT sector can be sustained and is likely to go on till 2011, when it is expected to reach a total of US$194 billion.
3. In Singapore, we are also witnessing healthy growth. The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore's (IDA) Annual Survey on Infocomm Industry shows that in 2006, the total revenue for our infocomm industry shot up almost 20% to S$45.4 billion (US$29.5 billion). The strong performance was driven by healthy growth in our export market. The export market accounted for some S$29 billion compared to S$22 billion in 2005 while the domestic market accounted for S$16.4 billion compared to S$15.8 billion in 2005.
4. The global growth of the infocomm industry is also supported by the increasing adoption and usage of ICT among governments, businesses and consumers. In Singapore, the government is leading by example in the adoption of ICT. Hence we have rolled out extensive e-government services and solutions and today we offer about 1,600 e-government services for always-on easily accessible services to Singaporeans. Our effort in this area has been noted. The latest Accenture's study on government customer service including e-government across 22 countries has placed Singapore at the top. The results of this study was released just yesterday with Accenture saying that Singapore's winning edge can be attributed to Singapore's "innovative approaches to proactively engage with its customers". I believe that our extensive use of ICT and e-government solutions had contributed to our top placing.
iN2015 Enables Usage and Innovation
5. Last year, I told you about Singapore's ICT Masterplan iN2015. Since then, a number of programmes and initiatives had been rolled out collectively by the government and industry to implement the iN2015 Masterplan. From the infrastructure angle, we are well into the process of developing a secure and trusted next generation ICT network. This network with wired and wireless components will enable broadband internet access anytime and anywhere.
6. The Wireless@SG programme has already been implemented. Today we have more than 3,400 wireless hot spots in Singapore with another 1,600 being added by this September. Already about 430,000 people have signed up to enjoy the free wireless broadband access around the island.
7. For the wired component, twelve companies and consortia have been pre-qualified to build Singapore's Next Generation National Broadband Network. When it is ready in 2012, this network will be capable of speeds of at least 1 Gigabits per second and of supporting bandwidth-intensive applications decades into the future.
8. The ultra high speed network will also propel the research and development of innovative applications and solutions for both business users and consumers. For instance, our Ministry of Education had launched the FutureSchools@Singapore programme. Five schools had been selected to leverage on digital technology for a more enriching and inspiring education experience. Students will experience immersive virtual environments and customised educational games for more engaged learning.
9. I am happy to announce that we will also launch a new pilot service today at imbX 2007. This is the Digital Concierge. It is a joint programme by the IDA and the Singapore Tourism Board. Through the Digital Concierge, we will offer visitors handy personalised and location-based services accessible via mobile devices such as handphones. Users can obtain a variety of information such as recommendations of interesting places to visit, where to eat and what to do. Singaporeans will also be able to discover many more interesting and exciting aspects of Singapore. When fully implemented next year, the Digital Concierge will support Singapore's Tourism 2015 goal of increasing visitor arrivals and tourism receipts to 17 million and S$30 billion respectively.
10. A recent IDA survey shows that more could be done to help Singapore's small & medium enterprises, or SMEs, tap the power of infocomm technology. I am therefore pleased to announce that IDA will launch a new Infocomm@SME programme. This programme is not just to equip SMEs with basic ICT know-how. Infocomm@SME is aimed at helping SMEs to explore the latest ICT technologies and solutions to transform and enhance their businesses. For a start, SMEs can obtain assistance by visiting the SME Infocomm Resource Centre at Singapore Polytechnic. They can get advice on commonly used applications such as e-mail, IP telephony, anti-spyware and anti-virus. By end 2007, business registration will seamlessly be integrated with simultaneous domain name registration to facilitate on-line presence of our SMEs. IDA and SPRING will provide up to S$5 million from the Technology Innovation Programme (TIP) for innovation and growth for SMEs under the Infocomm@SME Programme.
Interactive Digital Media (IDM)
11. Last year, the Singapore Government committed half a billion dollars to fund R&D in Interactive Digital Media. We have identified IDM as a growth sector which has the potential to make significant contribution to the Singapore economy. We will create a vibrant and sustainable eco-system to inspire and spark off many creative ideas and innovations in IDM so as to turn Singapore into an important IDM hub.
12. Some early initiatives included the establishment of Singapore-MIT game lab called GAMBIT, an acronym for Gamers, Aesthetics, Mechanics, Business, Innovation,Technology. Currently, 31 of our brightest students are already at work at MIT in GAMBIT designing and building games and learning how to optimise and manage the creative process of game construction. Last month, we launched a programme to fund creative individuals and start-ups in the IDM sector. It has already attracted some 50 project proposals including some which are certainly very interesting and had great potential. In addition, dozen of companies, both local and multinational, have embarked on innovation IDM projects in Singapore as well.
13. Hence I am delighted to announce that EON Reality, one of the world's leading interactive 3D software providers will also be setting up its headquarters and an R&D centre, called EONExperience Lab, in Singapore. The lab will showcase state-of-the-art 3D and holographic display tools to enhance online sales, marketing, training and collaboration for customers. The Media Development Authority and Economic Development Board are working closely with EON Reality to develop this cutting-edge facility that will be housed in Singapore's soon-to-be-ready Fusionopolis.
14. On the digital broadcasting front, Singapore is the first country in Southeast Asia to introduce High-Definition TV or HDTV trials last year. Our early adoption of the Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) standard has led to commercialisation on the cable platform in January 2007. Commercial HDTV services will soon be available through Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) with free-to-air terrestrial likely to follow soon after.
15. In addition, today's plethora of mobile devices offer us a promising new way to deliver digital TV and media services anytime, anywhere. South Korea, Japan, China, US and several European countries have launched commercial mobile broadcasting services. The Media Development Authority is also studying this new technology and assessing how to introduce it to Singapore consumers. MDA will consult the industry and consumers in due course.
16. This year's BroadcastAsia will also feature three homegrown companies, Innoxius Technologies, PGK Media and GoMobile, putting their mobile broadcasting offerings on trial and will be showcasing their new technologies at the Singapore Pavilion. By taking advantage of our advanced infocomm infrastructure, conducive business environment as well as support from Media Development Authority, they are able to test their innovations and business concepts here, eventually leading to commercialisation and export.
17. imbX 2007 provides a comprehensive and in-depth showcase of the immense potential of ICT, broadcasting and media to better our society and enhance human achievements. We are delighted to host this event and to share with you our experiences in deploying digital technologies for a connected and intelligent Singapore. We have made progress. But there is still much work to be done. We will work together with the ICT industry, the IDM sector, our ICT professionals and companies to create a brighter digital future for everyone.
18. I would like to thank all participants for coming to this year's imbX and wish everyone a rewarding time at this event. Honourable Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen, it now gives me great pleasure to declare imbX 2007 open. Thank you.
- Infocomm Industry Survey for 2006