Speech by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, at the Infocomm Media Business Exchange Opening Ceremony

19 June 2012 - Speech by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, at the Infocomm Media Business Exchange Opening Ceremony, Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre

Speech by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, at the Infocomm Media Business Exchange Opening Ceremony on 19 June 2012, Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre

Honourable Ministers,
Excellencies,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. I am pleased to join you this morning at the opening ceremony of the annual Infocomm Media Business Exchange or imbX.

Investments in ICT Growing Despite Slowdown in Global Economy

2. Yesterday, ICT ministers and senior officials who attended the 8th Ministerial Forum had a lively discussion on the ways in which ICT can be harnessed for economic growth and competitiveness.

The infocomm industry is a key contributor to Singapore's economy and plays a vital role in enhancing competitiveness and productivity.

3. In 2011, total revenue generated by Singapore's infocomm industry grew by 18 per cent to $83 billion, of which export revenue grew from 66 per cent to 71 per cent.

Infocomm manpower grew from 141,300 to 142,900.

4. As some of you may know, despite the general slowdown in the global economy, Gartner has revised the 2012 forecast of global IT spending growth upwards from 4.6% to 5.2%.

IT spending in Singapore has also been predicted to grow 5.5% year-on-year in 2012. This trend has been driven by the innovative use of ICT, adoption of mobile devices and services and increased demand for ubiquitous and high-speed connectivity.

Opportunities for More Innovative Services and Content with High-Speed Connectivity

5. In Singapore, our household survey shows that the proportion of resident households with broadband access rose from 82% in 2010 to 85% in 2011, while mobile penetration rate increased from about 144% in 2010 to 150% in 2011.

Consumers, businesses and government agencies have also started switching to ultra high speed Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network, or Next Gen NBN.

We have put in place an Open Access structure for this fibre network and we are pleased to note that there are currently more than 12 service providers differentiating themselves by packaging their ultra-high speed broadband plans with value added services.

To date, there are over 133,000 fibre optic subscribers, and we expect this to increase as the coverage for Next Gen NBN expands.

6. With high-speed connectivity, government and industry are empowered to introduce more innovative solutions and content.

Under Singapore's eGov2015 masterplan, we have developed the data.gov.sg portal which provides more than 7,000 government datasets for public usage.

To date, we have seen the development of more than 60 apps using the data sets, including augmented reality-based park navigation guides for users to find directions to amenities within public parks.

Another portal, mGov@SG, has also made it easier for citizens and businesses to locate more than 120 government mobile apps.

7. By end 2012, we plan to launch another two new initiatives, one of which is the OneInbox to provide citizens with one-stop convenience to receive government correspondences.

Our National Library Board, or NLB, will also be providing Wi-Fi access to its library users, as it moves towards becoming a digital library and to meet the demand for online retrieval of content.

More details on this will be announced by NLB later this month.

8. At last year's imbX, I had announced the launch of a Mobility Solutions Call-for-Collaboration, or CFC, a multi-agency effort led by IDA.

One year on, I am pleased to share that this has catalysed the adoption of infocomm solutions on smart mobile devices, wireless technology and mobile networks by over 150 user companies in the Retail, Food & Beverage, Hotels and Attractions Sectors.

The 28 projects awarded through this CFC will result in innovative solutions and a projected ICT expenditure worth $12 million in total.

9. For consumers, high-speed connectivity also brings about opportunities for better worklife balance.

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, or IDA, had launched a Call-for-Collaboration in April to invite industry players to conduct pilots for Home-Based Work and Smart Work Centres.

The results of this CFC will be announced at the end of this year.

Need for ICT & Media Infrastructure & Policies to Keep Pace with Developments

10. As technology continues to influence social and economic developments globally, Singapore remains mindful of the need to ensure that our infocomm and media infrastructure and policies keep pace with changes and demands.

Free-To-Air TV Channels to go Fully Digital by 2013

11. In the area of broadcasting, the world is switching from analogue to digital TV broadcasting as digital TV not only offers better image and sound quality, but also frees up scarce spectrum for other services, such as wireless broadband.

To embrace the digital switchover in Singapore, the Media Development Authority, or MDA, had last year, conducted a digital broadcasting trial using the latest Digital Video Broadcasting - Second Generation standard, or DVB-T2 standard, to determine if the standard is suited for broadcasting Singapore's free-to-air television signals.

With the successful completion of the trials, I am pleased to announce today that Singapore's free-to-air TV channels will go fully digital by the end of 2013 using the DVB-T2 standard.

12. To ensure a smooth switchover, there will be a simulcast period, where both digital and analogue free-to-air television signals will be broadcast to ensure all households have time to get accustomed to receiving their free-to-air TV signals digitally.

Singapore will complete the switchover from analogue to digital broadcasting by 2020, in line with ASEAN's agreed timeframe for making the switch.

4G Auction of Spectrum

13. In the area of telecommunications, IDA has been actively reviewing its radio frequency spectrum planning and allocation policies to ensure the availability of spectrum to meet the industry's needs while maintaining alignment with telecommunication developments.

For example, in January last year, IDA allowed Singapore mobile operators to deploy 4G services using their existing spectrum, which were originally allocated for 2G and other wireless broadband services.

Since then, the mobile operators have launched commercial long term evolution (LTE) services in Singapore, with plans for extensive LTE network coverage by this year.

IDA has recently also sought views on its proposed framework to allocate a total of 320 megahertz of spectrum for 4G services.

Once this framework is finalised, IDA intends to conduct a 4G spectrum auction by 2013.

Data Centre Park

14. Alongside greater connectivity is the increased demand for data-hosting facilities.

Singapore has drawn out plans to construct a Data Centre Park to attract world-class Internet and media companies to host their content and services in Singapore.

The proposed Park will be a specialised industrial park for data centres, supportive of the setting up of premium Data Centres.

Green ICT Tax Incentive

15. IDA is also mindful of the need for sustainable development of data centre infrastructure.

To encourage energy efficiency in data centre deployment, a new tax incentive, known as Investment Allowance Scheme for Energy Efficiency Projects (Data Centres), has been introduced in March 2012.

Companies will henceforth be able to claim 30% to 50% of their qualifying expenditure on installation of energy efficient equipment in data centres as tax relief.

Harnessing ICT to Enable Growth in Key Sectors

Data & Analytics

16. We are seeing a future where Data & Analytics is becoming a key competitive differentiator for enterprises.

Companies that leverage on Data & Analytics can glean greater insights about their customers and operations and make data-driven, informed decisions to increase their efficiency and competitiveness.

A survey conducted by MIT Sloan School of Management, in collaboration with IBM Institute, concluded that companies that leveraged Data & Analytics will outperform their peers by more than two times.

17. IDA has hence, identified Data & Analytics as a strategic focus area and is taking an integrated approach in seeding adoption of analytics in various sectors.

This includes developing the analytics capabilities of our ICT industry and manpower, and putting in place scalable cloud computing infrastructure.

Last month, IDA and its industry partners announced their plans to jointly invest a total of $5.3 million to develop a suite of analytics shared services for the Retail and Wholesale sector.

Software-as-a-Service

18. While businesses generally recognise the advantages of ICT, heavy investments on hardware, software and maintenance services are stopping some smaller enterprises from adopting ICT.

19. The adoption of Software-as-a-Service, or S-a-a-S, solutions will help lower ICT expenditures, as enterprises can pay per use, for software services hosted by SaaS solution providers.

I am pleased to announce that IDA is issuing a $21-million Call-for-Collaboration to develop high-impact sector-specific SaaS, in partnership with SPRING Singapore, Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, Ministry of Education and e2i.

This CFC targets sectors where many SMEs are largely manual in their core operations, such as the education, services, maritime and logistic sectors.

Conclusion

20. This year's imbX has attracted participation from almost 2,000 companies and over 53,000 delegates from around the world.

It will be a showcase of not just the latest infocomm and media technologies, products and solutions but also a good platform to network and drive discussions on new industry developments.

21. I wish you a fruitful and rewarding experience at imbX. I now declare imbX 2012 open.

22. Thank you.

Last updated on: 13 Mar 2023