15 May 2012 - Opening Address by Mr Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, at CloudAsia 2012 at Grand Hyatt Hotel

Opening Address by Mr Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, at CloudAsia 2012 on 15 May 2012, 9.15am at Grand Hyatt Hotel

1. Good morning ladies and gentlemen. I am pleased to join all of you today at CloudAsia 2012.

Cloud Adoption Progress

2. Today, the demand for cloud services in Singapore is strong with cloud service providers counting individuals as well as companies of all sizes as their clients. According to the Singapore Cloud Adoption Study commissioned by IDA in April 2012, Singapore continues to maintain its leading market position in ASEAN in terms of cloud adoption and maturity. Results of the study showed that Singapore is ranked third, after Australia and Japan, in terms of cloud adoption in the Asia-Pacific region.

3. The study showed that Singapore is an emerging regional data centre hub for both public and private cloud solutions, with cloud infrastructure readiness complemented by initiatives such as the Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network. It indicated that 50 per cent of businesses with Internet connection have already adopted Software-as-a-Service or SaaS. The projection is that market adoption of SaaS is to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 20 per cent, with one-third of all businesses in Singapore adopting SaaS by 2015. On the other hand, Infrastructure-as-a-Service adoption is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of about 21 per cent, led mainly by medium and large businesses.

Cloud and the Singapore Government

4. The Government adopts a multi-prong approach to cloud computing by leveraging on commercially available public clouds as well as implementing a private Government cloud, the G-Cloud, for Whole-of-Government use. Besides providing efficient, scalable and resilient cloud computing resources, G-Cloud generates cost savings by enabling standardisation and sharing of computing resources and applications at the Whole-of-Government level.

5. To implement the G-Cloud, the Government has called for a tender to provide cloud computing resources to the Whole-of-Government to address the different levels of security and governance requirements. I am pleased to announce the award of the G-Cloud tender to SingTel for a period of five years with the option to extend for another five years.

6. G-Cloud is scheduled to be ready for deployment by end of 2012. Through G-Cloud, Government agencies can procure cloud services easily to deliver Government services securely and quickly on demand, scaling up and down rapidly to cater to changing workloads, resulting in increased agility. It will be a platform for innovation where agencies can leverage on the G-cloud as a test-bed to pilot new and innovative applications for a small group of users without up-front cost and asset ownership.

7. For easy procurement of public cloud services, IDA has also put in place a cloud services bulk tender. The many users include the Ministry of Health, National Environment Agency, National Library Board and Urban Redevelopment Authority. Through this arrangement, public cloud service providers are qualified for use by ministries and Government agencies.

8. When the first Cloud Services Bulk Tender was called, a total of four public cloud service providers were awarded in March 2010 for a period of two years. In December 2011, another bulk tender was called to tap on the offerings of new public cloud service providers. Six public cloud service providers have been awarded the bulk tender for a period of two years with the option to extend for another year. They are aZaaS (with Microsoft Azure), CrimsonLogic (with ClearManage), NewMedia Express, PTC, SingTel and StarHub.

9. A second period bulk tender initiative, known as EnVision, was established for the supply of cloud-based video hosting and streaming services using the utility pricing model to ministries, statutory boards, organs of state and participating entities. Currently, there are a total of 20 Government agencies using EnVision for their corporate events, public education and information.

10. In addition, three schools, namely, Raffles Girls' School (Secondary), St. Joseph's Institution and St. Nicholas Girls' School have also been using EnVision. They have tapped on it for their communications with parents of current and prospective students, as well as their alumni. Videos on wide-ranging topics such as schools' events, achievements, performances and overseas trips, are available on their video sites. To encourage greater adoption by schools, IDA and the EnVision providers will provide a support scheme for schools to develop their own video sites. Under this arrangement, each school can enjoy up to six-months' worth of cloud resources, capped at $1,300, while they need to pay for only 50 per cent of the network bandwidth consumed.

Calls for Cloud Computing Proposals

11. Since 2010, IDA has launched four Calls for Cloud Computing Proposals to promote cloud adoption. Depending on the impact and scope of their proposed projects, industry, Government and R&D communities can receive support for compute and storage resources. The four calls have seen 57 projects awarded cloud resources to undertake test-bedding, proofs-of-concept and research. Some of the awardees include the Building & Construction Authority, Institute for Infocomm Research, iTwin Inc. and m9 Tech Solutions.

12. IDA is launching the fifth Call for Cloud Computing Proposals today. In Call 5, we are also supporting Big Data projects. Revolution Analytics will provide both expertise and advanced analytics software (Revolution R) to enable participants of Call 5 to work on and solve Big Data problems. Such support will be available for both Hadoop and HPC Cloud platforms running on the Alatum cloud infrastructure. Creating MapReduce jobs in Hadoop can be challenging for non-Hadoop programmers. For users with little knowledge of Hadoop, HP Labs Singapore provides Bamboo, an advanced platform that allows a guided and visual approach to Big Data processing without a steep learning curve. More details and information will be featured on the IDA website and I invite interested industry members to apply.

SaaS Enablement Programme

13. IDA supports efforts to convert existing software operating on the traditional upfront software licensing model to one that is cloud-based on a utility pricing model. At the Third Infocomm Industry Forum held on 25 October 2011, I shared that IDA had established a SaaS Enablement Programme or SEP. Under this programme, funding support will be provided for manpower, professional services and training expenses in relation to SaaS enablement efforts.

14. IDA will be calling for applications under the SEP for Building Information Modeling or BIM and related software for the Architecture, Engineering and Construction community. The SaaS enablement of BIM software is aligned to the Building & Construction Authority or BIM adoption roadmap as BCA has mandated e-submissions of all building plans by 2015. SaaS-enabled BIM software will lower the barriers for BIM software adoption as it is made available to users on a subscription basis.

Adoption and Awareness

15. To encourage increased adoption of cloud computing, cloud computing is also now allowed under the Productivity and Innovation Credit or PIC Scheme, where the first $400,000 in costs incurred to acquire cloud computing resources would qualify for a 400 per cent tax deduction. Businesses can make full use of the PIC Scheme to invest in productivity and innovation.

16. To increase confidence and awareness in cloud computing adoption and share information on various cloud applications, a series of ten public talks on cloud computing was conducted from March 2011 to January 2012. These talks were co-organised by IDA, the National Library Board, Singapore Computer Society and Imperial College Alumni Association (Singapore) to promote awareness, education and discussion on cloud computing.

Cloud Security

17. One of the challenges to cloud computing adoption is security. There are many reasons for cloud security concerns ranging from lack of understanding to unavailable clear guidelines and standards. These concerns are compounded by extensive variations of cloud service offerings for different user groups and industry verticals. However, cloud security is not an insurmountable obstacle and can be addressed through a multi-pronged holistic approach with some key considerations.

18. Technology is the first consideration where there is a need to consider the risks associated with the introduction of new technologies such as virtualisation. A concerted effort among research institutes, industry vendors and practitioners is required to devise new management protocols, tools and processes to mitigate the associated risks.

19. Secondly, greater awareness of the security issues surrounding cloud computing is needed. This can be enhanced through various channels such as seminars, workshops and conferences.

20. Thirdly, a classification scheme for organisations needs to be created to identify the security management requirements of various information systems in the company. This allows every system to have a class or level of security that is unambiguously defined such that cloud users will be able to clearly identify and catergorise its security needs. To facilitate the creation of classification scheme, there needs to be a wider promulgation of cloud security standards and guidelines among cloud service providers. One way to do so is to introduce certification for the cloud service providers, similar to the ISO27001 certification for Information Security Management System.

21. Fourthly, for regulated industries or sectors of economy, it may be necessary to establish relevant policies and regulatory framework to govern the use and provisioning of cloud services to ensure some minimum level of compliance.

ITSC Cloud Computing Task Force

22. Last year, at the opening of CloudAsia, we announced the joint effort between IDA and Singapore's Information Technology Standards Committee or ITSC to establish a cloud computing standards coordinating task force in February 2011. The task force comprises representatives from IDA, ITSC, Singapore Computer Society, Singapore infocomm Technology Federation or SiTF, Information Technology Management Association as well as industry verticals worked on guidelines for issues with inputs from the industry.

23. The first working group under the task force developed a Technical Reference or TR document on guidelines, best practices for virtualisation security and highlights the key security risks associated with the use of virtualisation technologies, potential impact and proposes possible mitigating controls. The second working group focused on providing guidelines pertaining to cloud security and service level for public cloud services' users.

24. I am pleased to share that both TR documents were completed in March 2012 and are available to the public. Attendees of CloudAsia can enjoy a 20 per cent discount off the purchase price of these TR documents for a limited period.

Knowledge Capital Development

25. It was also announced last year that IDA was partnering with the Agency for Science, Technology and Research or A*STAR on a technology evaluation programme. The programme enables companies to develop cloud computing solutions based on technologies made available by the Institute for Infocomm Research or I2R and Exploit Technologies Pte Ltd through a short-term no-fee evaluation licence grant that also gives these companies an option to take on a commercial licence if their trial deployment proves to be successful and of value.

26. Arising from this partnership, I2R and IDA will jointly identify end-user challenges and requirements from industry and Government sectors. IDA solicits projects through its Cloud Computing Call for Proposals and makes available cloud resources to support project developments with I2R technologies, thereby facilitating research and developing outcomes into viable solutions through its innovation programmes. To date, two companies, namely Evvo Media and Reachfield IT Solutions, have benefited from this partnership. Reachfield uses technologies from A*STAR to develop cloud-based business solutions in the digital asset management domain. Evvo Media is evaluating a cloud-based technology that searches large quantity of videos based on the actual content in the video, rather than the description of the video content.

27. Our local infocomm companies will need to make the best use of their available resources for continued growth. Cloud presents a great opportunity for our companies, even small ones, to significantly improve labour productivity and competitiveness by enabling them to serve global customers out of Singapore. A key strategy in the Infocomm Industry Productivity Roadmap that was announced in March was to help our local infocomm companies embrace more productive business models such as cloud.

28. As part of the roadmap, IDA, in partnership with Workforce Development Agency and SiTF, will be putting in place a series of specialised master classes and courses to equip our companies with the necessary skills to transit to more productive business models. One of such skills identified is software product management - the management of the software product life cycle from planning and conceptualisation, to launch and retirement. The first software product management master class and course will be conducted in June by the 280 Group, a well known Silicon Valley product management consultancy firm. You may find out more about the master class and course from SiTF.


29. The CloudAsia event today is the second to be organised through a partnership between IDA and Informa Telecoms & Media Asia. We thank you for your attendance and continued support.

30. I am pleased today to also launch the second edition of the "Cloud Computing in Singapore" booklet. Apart from relevant information on Cloud Computing, the booklet also contains more case studies on organisations from both private and public sectors that are already on cloud computing. Copies of the booklet are available to all attendees today.

31. On that note, I wish you all an enjoyable and fruitful time here at CloudAsia 2012. Thank you.

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Last updated on: 13 Mar 2023