14 October 2008 - Speech By RADM(NS) Lui Tuck Yew, Senior Minister Of State For Education, And Information, Communications And The Arts, At The National Infocomm Awards 2008 Gala Dinner At The Ritz Carlton Millenia Singapore
Speech By RADM(NS) Lui Tuck Yew, Senior Minister Of State For Education, And Information, Communications And The Arts, At The National Infocomm Awards 2008 Gala Dinner on 14 October 2008 (Tuesday), 7.30pm, at The Ritz Carlton Millenia Singapore
RADM(NS) Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive Officer of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA),
Mr Pek Yew Chai, Immediate Past Chairman of SiTF,
Ladies and gentlemen,
1. It is my pleasure to join you this evening to celebrate Singapore’s best in infocomm innovation. Since its inception in 2002, the National Infocomm Awards (NIA) have received tremendous support from both the infocomm and non-infocomm industries. More than 600 organisations from both the public and private sectors have actively participated in the Awards. We have been impressed by their interesting insights on how they have harnessed infocomm technology to drive innovation in their businesses. Their overwhelming participation is testimony to the importance of infocomm innovation in contributing to business growth and success.
2. Beyond the business sphere, infocomm innovation has transformed the way we live, interact, learn and transact. It has spurred our national economic and social development, as well as increase productivity and efficiency in the public sector and other sectors like trade, logistics, transport, education and healthcare. During this period of economic downturn, it is all the more important for our infocomm organisations to offer creative and innovative products and services to differentiate themselves from the competition.
3. At the national level, we are also improving our world-class infocomm infrastructure that has supported the development of innovative products and services to serve the needs of our businesses and consumers. As many of you are aware, Singapore is building the Next Generation National Broadband Network (Next Gen NBN). The Next Gen NBN will offer pervasive and competitively-priced ultra-high speed broadband connectivity to homes, offices, institutions of learning and other locations. On top of significant changes to the underlying infrastructure, the Next Gen NBN will, more importantly, spawn new opportunities and possibilities for innovation.
Innovation Drives Growth for Infocomm Companies
4. Indeed, innovation drives business growth for many of the world’s top companies. With new innovative products and services, companies can imbue loyalty among their existing customers and attract new ones. This is especially true in the infocomm sector where the Internet has levelled the playing field, forcing companies to compete globally.
5. Take for instance infocomm icons such as Apple, Google, HP, IBM and Microsoft. These industry giants have deployed innovation to their advantage and treaded similar paths to success. From their humble beginnings as startups just a few brief decades ago, these industry giants have constantly innovated to offer their customers a constant stream of new services and merchandise which have made them household names today.
6. Innovation can also help smaller companies offer value beyond their size. Our local companies recognise this and many of them have made inroads into overseas markets with their innovative products and services. Some of them are past NIA winners. Let me mention a few of them.
7. First, muvee Technologies, a winner in 2002, was one of the first to provide automatic movie editing for the mobile phone platform. Its products are sold in the United States, Japan, Korea and Taiwan markets. Its solutions have been incorporated into platforms for PCs and even smart devices such as digital cameras and mobile phones. To ensure that its products stay ahead of the competition, muvee has since enhanced its technology to allow co-creation and sharing of videos and images.
8. Next, e-Cop Pte Ltd, a winner in 2004, was the first in Asia to offer managed critical infocomm security services. In 2006, e-Cop was awarded a five-year contract to build a Cyber-Watch Centre for the public sector. Today, e-Cop operates the largest number of security operation centres in Asia, and has grown from a start-up to a company with a presence in more than 20 countries worldwide, including the Middle East, United States and Europe.
9. These past award winners may have started small, but they have made great strides and forged a spirit of innovation that has propelled them to grow from strength to strength and attain some level of success.
Infocomm Sharpens Competitive Edge
10. Besides recognising infocomm companies for their innovative infocomm products and services, the NIA recognise companies and organisations that utilise infocomm technologies creatively to increase productivity and effectiveness. For businesses, this usually means reducing the time-to-market for their products and services. For government agencies, this translates into enhanced service excellence to the public.
11. A good example is the Port of Singapore Authority Corporation (PSA), which manages the world’s largest transhipment hub. In the last three decades, PSA has harnessed infocomm technologies to simplify, synchronise and integrate millions of complex processes to make the port one of the world’s most efficient. PSA topped the NIA’s Most Innovative Use of Infocomm Technology category in 2006.
12. The innovative use of infocomm technology is just as important to help smaller companies differentiate their products and services in an increasingly globalised market environment. This year, the NIA organisers have introduced a new sub-category to specifically recognise the efforts of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in their innovative use of infocomm technologies. I am heartened to note from the nominations that SMEs from diverse business sectors, spanning real estate to the retail sector, have invested effort and resources to adopt infocomm technology to improve their business operations and gain a competitive edge in the market.
13. One of this year’s NIA finalists, TYLER Projects, is a young company started in 2004 by three 27 year-old entrepreneurs. Their multiplayer online game, “Battle Stations”, is Singapore’s first and most popular game on Facebook. Another finalist, YCH Group, which has made a name for itself in the logistics sector since it was founded in 1955, has been at the forefront when it comes to harnessing infocomm to support its business operations. Eu Yan Sang may be a traditional Chinese business, but it has incorporated infocomm technology to improve patient care and better manage inventory of medicinal herbs.
Embracing the Spirit of Innovation
14. This evening, we celebrate the spirit of innovation and the best in infocomm excellence. I am pleased to note that the nominations for the NIA came from diverse sectors, from the government to entertainment, and from both seasoned businesses and young start-ups. You are all ambassadors of the “Infocomm Singapore” brand, which exemplify the hallmarks of passion, innovation and dynamism. The judges were clearly impressed by these attributes exhibited by all participants. I was told that it was an arduous undertaking to select the 15 finalists and even more so, the eventual winners.
15. On this note, I congratulate all the winners and finalists of the NIA for their achievements. I am confident that all our participants will continue their relentless pursuit of innovation and enjoy even greater success.
16. Thank you.