Briefing by RADM(NS) Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, at iN2015 Media Conference at imbX 2010, Singapore Expo

15 June 2010 - Briefing by RADM(NS) Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, at iN2015 Media Conference at imbX 2010, Singapore Expo

Briefing by RADM(NS) Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, at iN2015 Media Conference at imbX 2010, Singapore Expo, 15 June 2010

Members of the media
Ladies and Gentlemen

Good morning everyone

1. I am glad to see many of you are able to attend this media conference. This morning, Acting Minister for MICA, Mr Lui Tuck Yew, shared several IDA initiatives which we will be elaborating in more detail.

iN2015 Masterplan

2. Intelligent Nation 2015 or iN2015, launched in 2006, is Singapore's 10-year masterplan to realise the vision of Singapore being an Intelligent Nation, Global City powered by Infocomm, through strategies in various areas such as infocomm infrastructure, industry, manpower and sector transformation. The masterplan envisioned how infocomm would impact the way we live, work, learn and interact.

Realising the iN2015 vision, we are making good progress

3. As we approach the halfway mark of our iN2015 journey, it is timely to take stock of how the infocomm landscape has changed and to review our progress against our aspirations as set out in the masterplan. 

4. Despite the last two challenging years due to the global economic downturn, infocomm revenue grew 66 per cent from $37.9 billion in 2005 to $62.7 billion in 2009. Export revenue has also grown 83 per cent from $22.1 billion in 2005 to $40.4 billion in 2009.

5. Singapore continues to perform well in the various international rankings for infocomm. In general, Singapore has usually been the top ranked country in Asia and in the top 10 globally. In particular, Singapore has performed well in the e-government area, topping the Waseda University World e-Gov ranking in 2009 and 2010, and the government readiness sub-index in the WEF Global IT report. In the recently released IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2010 Report, Singapore gained two places to be ranked in first position.

Building Next Generation Nationwide Infocomm Infrastructure

6. To realise our iN2015 vision, we have embarked on 4 main strategies. One of the strategies is to build the Next Generation national infocomm infrastructure.

7. The Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network or Next Gen NBN is the nationwide ultra-high speed network that supports up to 1Gbps. To date, the Next Gen NBN has covered about 35 per cent of homes and buildings in Singapore and is on track to reach 60 per cent coverage by the end of this year, and 95 per cent coverage by 2012.

8. OpenNet, the appointed Network Company, commenced its commercial operations of offering wholesale fibre services in April 2010, while Nucleus Connect, the appointed Operating Company, commenced offering co-location and inter-operability testing services in May last month. Many downstream operators, such as Retail Service Providers and Application Service Providers are in talks with both companies on procuring their services.
9. Complementing the wired network is the Wireless@SG  network with more than 7,500 hotspots offering free Wi-Fi services with speeds of up to 1Mbps. To date, we have close to 1.6 million unique wireless broadband subscribers clocking an average of approximately 10.1 hours monthly. Earlier in February, we launched several enhancements to the programme. Users can now seamlessly and automatically login to the Wireless@SG network to access a suite of personalised services and applications. Together with their partners, our operators have rolled out a variety of enterprise services such as facility monitoring, cashless payment systems, location-based services and digital advertising.

10. As the Next Gen NBN is being rolled out to provide an open access environment to encourage the development of more services, we need to enable different service providers to easily interconnect with one another so that information from their subscribers can easily reach subscribers from another service provider's network. Today is the commercial launch of the Singapore Internet Exchange or SGIX. This neutral Internet Exchange provides local and foreign telecoms service operators a neutral and highly efficient Internet traffic exchange facility to exchange their Internet traffic. SGIX will serve as a central point of Internet traffic exchange, thereby also attracting foreign telcos to interchange their international Internet traffic through Singapore, and strengthening Singapore's position as an attractive infocomm hub. 

11. To strengthen the Next Gen infocomm infrastructure, the National Authentication Framework or NAF will be set up to provide a nationwide strong authentication platform to enhance the security of online transactions for Government, businesses and consumers. Toward this end, IDA intends to set up a wholly-owned subsidiary to own the infrastructure and offer strong authentication services. Businesses can look forward to leveraging a trusted and cost-effective common platform for strong authentication.  Consumers can benefit from the use of a common NAF authentication device to access multiple online services that use NAF for strong authentication. Last month, IDA issued a Request for Proposal for an Outsourced Operator to build the NAF system, and to manage the day to day operations.

12. Alongside the deployment of national infocomm infrastructure, we have also introduced programmes to facilitate the delivery and adoption of new services that meet market needs. The Lighthouse Series is a series of industry forums and workshops aimed at informing and engaging industry players to use the Next Gen NBN to deliver new and innovative services, while the BEACON series focuses on educating enterprises, consumers and government end-users on the benefits and possibilities of Next Generation services.

13. IDA also launched the Next Gen Service Innovation Programme or NGSIP to support and co-fund the deployment of innovative and impactful Next Generation services. Through the first Call-For-Proposal, IDA selected seven proposals in February 2010 and the services from these proposals are expected to be commercially available from the second half of 2010.

14. To let Singaporeans experience Next Generation services that will be available over the Next Gen NBN, IDA is setting up the iExperience, which is a showcase of interactive and engaging exhibits designed to educate and excite visitors through a hands-on experience. iExperience will be launched this Thursday.

Developing a Globally Competitive Infocomm Industry

15. The second iN2015 strategy is to develop a globally competitive infocomm industry.  The infocomm industry is a key contributor to Singapore's economy. The presence of a vibrant infocomm industry fuels the growth of other economic activities and in turn adds jobs to the economy.

Anchor strategic functions and leading companies

16. Singapore's excellent infocomm infrastructure has made us a preferred destination to anchor shared IT services here. Global infocomm-user MNCs like UOB, BNP Paribas International Private Bank and Daimler have chosen Singapore to set up IT hubs to support their worldwide business operations. We have also continued to attract infocomm MNCs such as Equinix, and Amazon Web Services. Besides infocomm investments, these MNCs provide innovative platforms, generate sophisticated demand for infocomm services, and create high value ICT jobs and business opportunities for infocomm local enterprises or iLEs. 

17. To drive the development of more innovative infocomm solutions, IDA collaborates with MNCs like Cisco, Platform and Oracle to set up innovation centres in strategic and emerging technology areas. Today, there are 7 such innovation centres with a total investment of almost $80 million. As part of our efforts to infuse innovation and new business models and capabilities, IDA works with our wholly owned subsidiary, IIPL, to attract world-class global infocomm start-ups and entrepreneurs to use Singapore as a development and engineering base. Since 2008, we have attracted some 40 start-ups from countries such as the United States, Israel, Sweden, China, Germany and Finland, bringing more than $50 million in project investment.

Spurring infocomm innovation

18. One key focus of the industry development efforts is to help iLEs create IP that is commercialisable. The Infocomm Local Industry Upgrading Programme or iLIUP promotes strategic and mutually beneficial partnerships to enhance the capabilities and competitiveness of iLEs as they tap on the expertise and network of the MNC partners. Since 2006, iLIUP has helped 165 iLEs to develop more than 230 new or enhanced products/solutions, and trained close to 1,100 infocomm professionals.

19. The Technology Innovation Programme or TIP, in partnership with SPRING, aims to encourage Singapore-based infocomm enterprises to use technology to develop or improve products, processes or business models as part of overall business strategy. IDA and SPRING have supported more than 30 enterprises, generating infocomm investments of over $20 million. The Technology Enterprise Commercialisation Scheme or TECS is another scheme that IDA has partnered with SPRING in since 2009. TECS has supported 16 start-ups based on strong technology IP & a scalable business model, generating $9 million in project spending towards technical development of products or services.


20. To help more of our local companies make inroads into overseas markets, IDA has in place various internationalisation programmes. "Made-in-Singapore" infocomm solutions have earned a good reputation for being of high quality. To extend this mindshare internationally, the Infocomm Singapore Brand was created to help iLEs market their products and solutions overseas. The brand has seen good take-up by iLEs and is used extensively at international trade events such as GITEX, Mobile World Congress and imbX. The Overseas Development Programme or ODP serves as a platform for iLEs to team up with leading infocomm MNCs to establish an international presence. Tapping on the business networks, products and services of lead partners, iLEs can reach a bigger market.  Since 2006, 126 iLEs in partnership with 15 MNCs have benefited from this programme. 

21. IDA International was established in February 2009 to provide e-Government consultancy to foreign governments and to support the implementation of infocomm solutions overseas. IDA-I has provided local companies market connections to countries as far as the Caribbean, Africa and South America which are interested to adopt and adapt Singapore's experience in using ICT solutions to provide world-class public services. 

22. The Global Business Development Centre of Excellence or GBD COE, a joint effort by IDA, IDA International, IE Singapore, and SiTF will continue to help the Singapore infocomm industry scale up global business development and increase business opportunities in overseas markets. We will step up the GDB COE activities in the coming year to develop more promising new markets, provide advisory on market knowledge and possible business structure models, and enable more effective go-to-market activities.

Developing Infocomm-Savvy Workforce and Globally Competitive Infocomm Manpower

23. Our third iN2015 strategy is to develop infocomm-savvy workforce and globally competitive infocomm manpower. We have set ourselves the target of creating 80,000 additional jobs by 2015. As of 2009, we have reached the half-way mark, with more than 41,000 additional jobs created.

24. We have in fact seen a continued growth of employed infocomm manpower, with a growth of 1.3 per cent growth in 2009 to reach a total of 140,800 jobs.

25. We have a multi-pronged approach for competency development with programmes like Techno-Strategists for professionals to acquire hybrid skills in various sectors like Financial services, Healthcare, Hospitality and Retail. The iLEAD programme was launched to train and develop infocomm professionals in emerging areas such as Cloud computing, Green IT, ICT Security and network engineering. 

26. Through our competency roadmap, we continually review ICT job roles and include them in the National Infocomm Competency Framework or NICF, and align them with Enhanced Critical Infocomm Technology Resource Programme or CITREP training courses. The NICF 2010 has a total of 250 job roles with more than 70 organisations having signed up to adopt NICF. Together with the Workforce Development Agency, industry partners and institutes of higher learning, we have set up four Infocomm Continuing Education and Training or CET Centres for professionals to pursue professional upgrading. We have also collaborated with our three universities and 34 industry partners to nurture industry-ready undergraduates through industry attachments and professional certification and upgrading.

27. We also believe in developing a talent pipeline and this can be seen in our various student outreach programmes on infocomm career possibilities, infocomm clubs at schools, and national infocomm competitions. As part of our effort to develop a pipeline of infocomm talent, we have the National Infocomm Scholarship and Integrated Infocomm Scholarship, with a total of 181 and 52 scholarships for the two programmes respectively awarded to date.

28. In achieving an infocomm-savvy workforce, we will continue our efforts in various initiatives to attract talent to study infocomm, provide students in our universities and polytechnic institutions with a world-class infocomm education, and upgrade our infocomm professionals in their careers.

Transforming Key Economic Sectors, Government & Society

29. The fourth iN2015 strategy is to transform key economic sectors, government and society with infocomm.

30. Over the last few years, infocomm usage and accessibility have been on the rise with home broadband access reaching 80 per cent in 2009, and we are well on track to reach our target of 90 per cent by 2015. Similarly, on the business front, we have also seen infocomm usage growing steadily across the enterprises. Household computer ownership has reached 83 per cent and mobile phone penetration is now at 137.5 per cent.

31. Singapore leads in e-Government globally, and infocomm continues to bring about changes in the way the Government serves and interacts with citizens. The iGov2010 vision is to connect with citizens through infocomm. Through the annual e-Gov perception surveys, we see an increase in satisfaction with the quality of e-Gov services and information. Continuing  with our e-Gov journey, we are currently formulating the next e-Gov masterplan. The next wave of e-Gov will see new models of collaboration with the private and people sectors, leveraging emerging technologies and social trends.

32. We have identified nine sectors in the iN2015 masterplan for sectoral transformation through infocomm.
33. In the Digital Media & Entertainment space, IDA has put in place the Digital Marketplace Programme, which aims to establish Singapore as Asia's trusted hub for managing and distributing digital content by attracting key media service providers, content owners, and aggregators. To date, we have attracted eight industry projects to hub content and services in Singapore as well as implemented two accelerator projects such as the world's first content fingerprinting contextual advertising and iScreener online platform for the Asia Television Forum. With the Connected Games Programme, we have launched two Games Resource Centres. The Nanyang Polytechnic Games Resource Centre collaboration with Sony Computer Entertainment focuses on building Playstation development capabilities while the Unreal Technology Lab at Singapore Polytechnic provides training and access to the Unreal Engine. 

34. In Education, we have various programmes that aim to foster an engaging and transformational learning experience through the innovative use of infocomm. Our six FutureSchools are collaborating with 15 industry players to develop 50 new products and services for learning, with some products starting to be piloted in the classrooms this year. The Experimentation@Schools programme will catalyse the development of innovative ICT tools in areas like Collaborative Learning and Learning on the Move. To support MOE's third ICT masterplan, the Learning Digital Exchange was implemented to provide quality digital resources for all teachers.

35. In the Healthcare sector, the vision of integrated health services is being increasingly enabled through the innovative use of ICT. There are several on-going programmes designed to equip healthcare providers across the continuum with the tools and electronic healthcare information to improve the quality and continuity of care. These programmes include the National Electronic Healthcare Record initiative and new initiatives in the primary, intermediate and long-term care sectors.

36. For SMEs, there are various initiatives to make infocomm accessible to them. The SME Infocomm Resource Centres have assisted more than 7,000 SMEs to learn and adopt infocomm. Through the SME Infocomm Package, we have supported some 4,000 SMEs to establish their first web presence. We have also supported more than 100 SMEs with a total of $6 million in grants to transform their businesses with infocomm, through the Technology Innovation Programme jointly administered by IDA and SPRING. Earlier this year, we introduced the iSPRINT programme, a $25 million initiative by IDA in collaboration with SPRING and IRAS, which caters to SMEs' different infocomm needs. Moving forward, we will look at initiatives that provide sectoral assistance to SMEs in sectors such as logistics, tourism and education.

37. For the Transport sector, the Infocomm@AirHub Programme promotes integrated and intelligent processes to reduce costs and improve productivity. IDA signed an MOU on the e-freight@Singapore programme in Jan 2010 with CAAS and four international and local trade associations. To enhance Singapore as a leading Air Logistics Hub, we aim to establish e-messaging standards and platforms for data exchanges and inter-connect more than 100 stakeholders across the air logistics supply chain. To elevate Singapore as a global destination for aerospace maintenance, repair and overhaul or MRO, we are looking at streamlining processes across up to 5 extended MRO value chains and catalysing the development of applications for optimal deployment of resources.

38. For the Financial sector, IDA's Next Generation e-Payment Programme will quadruple the number of contactless Point-of-Sales (POS) terminals from 5,000 to almost 24,000 by end 2011. This represents a joint investment of $16 million by IDA and the industry.  By leveraging the huge base of over 6 million CEPAS cards currently used for public transport, this initiative will bring greater convenience to consumers by enabling seamless use of CEPAS cards for payment in various cash-based segments such as food courts, provision shops and convenience stores. When fully deployed, the terminals are expected to generate over 94 million e-payment transactions a year, converting a significant number of cash-based payment to e-payment. In the longer term, this network of contactless terminals will form a key supporting infrastructure for future innovative services, such as Near Field Communication-enabled mobile e-payment.

39. In the Tourism, Hospitality and Retail sector, the Digital Concierge Programme aims to catalyse the growth of mobile services ecosystem in Singapore by encouraging the development of transactional, location-based and mobile commerce services for consumers and enabling businesses to target their customers more effectively through the mobile channel.

40. IDA awarded six companies in April 2010 through the Digital Concierge Call-for-Collaboration to jointly invest a total of $10 million over the next two years to develop and deploy common mobile shared services and enablers. These include a directory of businesses, location positioning integrated with the telcos and remote payment. All enablers will be accessible by businesses and third-party mobile service developers alike, allowing them to bring to market a wide variety of transactional, location-based and mobile commerce services.

41. In the area of trade and logistics, the TradeXchange was commissioned in 2007 to facilitate the exchange of information within the community. It provides a neutral and secure multi-party collaborative platform to integrate trade and logistics processes.

42. A Call-For-Collaboration was recently awarded to four consortia involving 22 companies in the trade and logistics sector. Industry and government will jointly invest $6.3 million on projects to integrate key processes in marine cargo insurance, freight management and trade financing through TradeXchange as the multi-party collaborative platform. Through such integration, companies will enjoy greater operational efficiencies, clearer supply chain visibility, faster shipment turnaround and increased productivity. For instance, suppliers can electronically apply for financing directly from their procurement systems to banks connected to TradeXchange.

43. The iN2015 vision goes beyond enhancing the economic competitiveness of the nation and the infocomm industry. It is also about enriching lives through infocomm. We have three digital inclusion initiatives that bring infocomm to the public. The NEU PC Plus Programme for needy students has benefited around 9,000 needy households through the provision of affordable computers, broadband access and software. The Silver Infocomm Initiative tackles the digital divide by honing our senior citizens' IT proficiency, while addressing their needs for affordability and accessibility to infocomm training and computer resources. To date, over 18,000 senior citizens have attended our training activities. For the disabled community, the Infocomm Accessibility Centre has provided tailored IT training to almost 3,000 people with disabilities, including the use of assistive technology tools to help them maximise their potential in school, at work and in everyday life.

44. We recognise that the global infocomm landscape will continue to evolve and present new opportunities as we continue on our iN2015 masterplan journey. Responding to the fast evolving environment, several strategic areas like Cloud Computing, Business Analytics and Green ICT, which have emerged more recently, will be incorporated into the iN2015 programmes.

45. On that note, I would like to thank you for coming to this briefing, where I have had the opportunity to share about the progress of our iN2015 journey.

46. Thank you.

Notes to Editor:

Annual Survey On Infocomm Industry For 2009 (214.29KB)

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Last updated on: 13 Mar 2023