Welcome Address by Mr Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, at CloudAsia 2013

15 May 2013 - Welcome Address by Mr Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, at CloudAsia 2013 on 15 May 2013, 9.10am at the Marriott Singapore.

Welcome Address by Mr Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, at CloudAsia 2013 on 15 May 2013, 9.10am at the Marriott Singapore.

Ladies and gentlemen

Good morning.

1. It is my pleasure to join you at CloudAsia 2013. This is a useful annual event where we can gather to discuss and exchange ideas on the development of cloud computing and the Singapore cloud ecosystem.

Cloud Adoption in Singapore

2. We are pleased to note that Singapore continues to maintain its leading position in cloud adoption and maturity within ASEAN. According to the cloud adoption survey conducted by AMI Partners in December 2012, Singapore is ranked third after Australia and Japan in terms of cloud adoption in the Asia-Pacific region. The demand for cloud services in Singapore also remains strong with more organisations from both private and public sectors adopting cloud computing solutions, thereby increasing the presence of more cloud services providers. It is forecast that 33 per cent of enterprises using Internet in Singapore would adopt cloud computing by 2015.

3. We have also made good progress in developing a conducive environment for cloud computing. According to this year's 2013 BSA Global Cloud Computing Scorecard, a report to track year-on-year change in the international policy landscape for cloud computing, Singapore has risen from tenth to fifth position. The report noted Singapore's introduction of a data protection law, which it described as a modern and balanced privacy regime. It also scored Singapore highest in the component on infrastructure that is available in each country to support the digital economy and cloud computing.

4. With the increasing business shift towards the use of cloud computing solutions, IDA hopes to enhance cloud adoption for greater business competitiveness, and further develop the cloud ecosystem to increase the vibrancy and growth of our infocomm sector. I will highlight IDA's six key thrusts that support these objectives, and some of the initiatives and programmes in each of those thrusts.

Thrust 1 - Support Flagship Users of Cloud Services

5. The first thrust is to support flagship users of cloud services. IDA has launched six Calls for Cloud Computing Proposals since 2010 for projects to help companies, research institutes and government agencies to test-bed the use of cloud computing resources. To date, IDA has awarded a total of 75 projects with cloud services worth nearly $5 million, which go towards providing support for compute and storage resources.

6. One of these projects is the provision of cloud resources for the proof-of-concept project to port the COnstruction and Real Estate NETwork (CORENET) e-Submission System Disaster Recovery onto the cloud environment. CORENET, which is owned by the Building & Construction Authority, provides for the electronic production, submission, checking and approval of building plans.

7. IDA has also put in place the Cloud Services Bulk Tender and EnVision Bulk Tender to encourage government agencies to use cloud based services. The Cloud Services Bulk Tender facilitates their procurement of cloud services from a panel of pre-qualified public cloud service providers. Similarly, the EnVision Bulk Tender reduces the administrative load in procuring cloud-based and utility-priced based video hosting and streaming services.

8. Government agencies have been using EnVision for hosting and streaming videos for corporate events, public education and information since 2010. A total of 29 agencies have since put up more than 1,100 videos using EnVision. There are also 14 schools that have used EnVision to put up about 560 videos. To further promote such use among schools, IDA organised a video site competition in January this year. Afterwards, we will be presenting prizes to the winners of this competition.

9. To date, both bulk tenders have catalysed the demand of cloud services, with over 110 procurements of close to $4M in cumulative value.

10. IDA has also enabled companies to make available their software in the form of Software-as-a-Service offering. We have launched the SaaS Enablement Programme, or SEP, that funds SaaS enablement projects in specific industry verticals in Singapore. As of July 2012, for the construction sector, IDA has provided grants to two independent software vendors or ISVs, to SaaS-enable their construction software. IDA has also provided grants to four ISVs to SaaS-enable their Precision Engineering software for the engineering sector.

11. In support of SEP, IDA organised outreach efforts jointly with sectoral champions and industry associations to focus on vertical-specific experience sharing by cloud users and thought leaders. Recently, activities such as talks, networking sessions and surveys were organised with the Singapore Precision Engineering & Tooling Association, or SPETA, and the Association of Aerospace Industries (Singapore) for their members. IDA also held a seminar in September last year to provide industry partners with the know-how on delivering SaaS offerings using Application Packaging Standard for compatibility on different platforms.

12. To further spur the development of SaaS solutions and adoption of SaaS centric business models by ICT SME vendors, as well as adoption of cloud solutions by industries in line with the Infocomm Industry Productivity Roadmap's objective, IDA launched a multi-agency supported SaaS Call for Collaboration or CFC in June last year. By next month, the CFC would have supported at least 30 SaaS solutions, which are expected to be adopted by 3,000 or more enterprises. The majority of these would be SMEs, from multiple sectors such as real estate, early childhood education, maritime and logistics.

13. Of the 30 SaaS Solutions, 11 will be highly innovative, with huge growth potential through aggregating demand and incorporating requirements from users. To-date, we have awarded development grants to seven of these innovative SaaS proposals. These solutions are also expected to be exportable to new markets overseas, and replicated to different industries, driving growth to the ICT industry. An example of such innovative solution is AstorJob, created by Astoria. This solution is custom-made specially for small maritime subcontractors to automate job management tasks and drive productivity through minimising work processes in invoicing and project document management. Such a solution is also highly demanded by many overseas maritime companies.

Thrust 2 - Attraction of Cloud Players

14. The second thrust in building the Singapore cloud ecosystem is to attract cloud players. Cloud service operators need to make significant investments in underlying infrastructure such as data centres, broadband connectivity and servers, as well as manpower resources for research and operations. IDA works closely with other government agencies in supporting global cloud service providers' activities in Singapore.

15. IDA has also undertaken a three-year strategic private-public partnership with the Cloud Security Alliance or CSA, which established its corporate headquarters in Singapore last year, to explore programmes that will further the security of cloud computing in the Asia Pacific region as well as training in cloud security competencies. The CSA will play a strategic role helping CSA corporate members to establish their presence in APAC and provide them with access to business opportunities and partnerships globally.

Thrust 3 - Competency Development for Industry & Manpower

16. The third thrust is to facilitate competency development in cloud computing for industry and manpower. In July 2011, IDA and the Singapore Workforce Development Agency included cloud computing job roles and competency standards under the National Infocomm Competency Framework for industry adoption. This enabled institutes of higher learning or IHLs and training providers to offer training programmes for professional development.

17. IDA has also collaborated with IHLs to launch in-depth and specialist-level training programmes. For example, in July 2012, IDA collaborated with leading cloud technology providers EMC and Microsoft to establish Centres of Attachment or COAs. These COAs offer practical, on-the-job training for specialist-level professionals to acquire expert and management level competencies. Last month, both Nanyang Polytechnic and Temasek Polytechnic launched the Specialist Diploma in Cloud Computing course for in-service professionals to upgrade their cloud computing skills.

18. Building upon the success of a public talk series conducted by IDA and National Library Board from 2011 to 2012, IDA will be launching a new public talk and industry sharing series. The new series will feature prominent cloud professionals speaking on various aspects of cloud computing, while the industry sharing series will provide avenues for successful cloud adopters in the industry to share their experience. These sessions will begin in July and will be held at IDA's Infocomm Experience Centre or iExperience located at the Esplanade Xchange.

Thrust 4 - Forge R&D Relationships and Build Knowledge Capital Assets

19. In addition to attracting key cloud players and developing the necessary competencies, Singapore seeks to harness its existing knowledge capital resources in our IHLs and research institutes to attract major corporate cloud R&D to be conducted in Singapore. Since August 2011, IDA has partnered the Institute for Infocomm Research on a technology evaluation programme or TEP, to help companies familiarise themselves with cloud-based solutions. The TEP allows ICT companies to develop cloud-based solutions through a short-term no-fee evaluation licence grant that also gives these companies an option to take a commercial licence if their trial deployment proves to be successful and of value. The solutions can be developed based on technologies made available by I2R.

20. IDA also signed Memoranda of Understanding on the TEP with the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University in October 2012 and with the Institute of High Performance Computing in March 2013.

21. Arising from the above partnerships, IDA and its TEP partners will jointly identify end-user challenges and requirements from industry and government sectors. To-date, six local companies have benefitted from the partnership through eight technology agreements.

22. IDA has also collaborated with IBM to promote and accelerate the adoption of cloud computing and associated business models through conducting applied R&D to tackle challenges and issues identified by users from Government and industry. The collaboration resulted in the formation of the IBM Cloud Lab in 2010 to provide an integrative capability that creates prototypes of innovative solutions required by the industry, facilitating the harnessing of research results and deployment, and shortening the timeframe to adoption.

23. The first result of the IBM Cloud Lab is the High Performance Computing or HPC cloud platform at NTU, which offers a combination of the best of high performance computing from HPC infrastructure, and the flexibility, self-services, scalability and virtualisation from cloud computing. This is being developed as a production pilot for use by NTU researchers. The three-year collaboration with IBM has been completed, with a total of four projects undertaken with user organisations.

Thrust 5 - Provide Enabling Infrastructure

24. For Singapore to be a cloud computing hub to the rest of the world and region, another key thrust is to provide excellent enabling infrastructure. There would be a need for world-class high speed and seamless broadband connectivity within Singapore, as well as connecting Singapore with other major cities. Major infocomm infrastructure projects such as the Next Gen NBN, Singapore Internet Exchange and Data Centre Park play a key role in supporting a vibrant cloud computing ecosystem.

25. In 2007, IDA launched a Grid Services Provisioning CFC with the purpose of seeding the development of necessary infrastructure to provide infocomm resources on a pay-per-use basis, so that more firms can leverage on cloud services to develop new, innovative business models and infocomm services. A year later, three cloud providers, namely Alatum, nGrid and PTC, started offering commercial cloud services. The CFC was completed in November last year, with the cloud providers exceeding the agreed KPIs. There were more than 3,500 SMEs using SaaS, 89 enterprises using Infrastructure-as-a-Service and 87 SaaS ISVs with at least 10 paying customers each. Since then, more public CSPs have started to offer cloud services in Singapore.

26. Moving forward, the Data-as-a-Service or DaaS programme will be launched in second half of 2013 to catalyse the development of a nationwide platform that allows the efficient delivery of data, on demand, to interested data buyers to develop applications for in-house or business consumption. As a start, a pilot implementation seeks to enable efficient discovery of data via a federated namespace registry mechanism, together with data quality metrics to help interested buyers make better-informed purchases. This is expected to give rise to new uses that are data intensive in nature, enabling applications which were previously difficult to implement. This initiative complements the Government's efforts in making public sector data available to the public, as it focuses on the datasets from the private and people sectors. In conjunction with the DaaS programme, we have jointly worked with Singapore's Information Technology Standards Committee or ITSC to produce a Technical Reference on DaaS API, which was published last month and is now available at a discount.

27. Last year, I announced the award of the Government Cloud or G-Cloud tender to SingTel. Through G-Cloud, Government agencies can also procure cloud services easily to deliver Government services securely and quickly on demand. I am pleased to share that the G-Cloud is ready for deployment and has already been subscribed to by a few agencies, such as the Personal Data Protection Commission's website, and IRAS' Virtual Assistant launched in February 2013 to help answer queries on individual citizen's personal income tax assessments.

Thrust 6 - Build a Trusted Environment through Policy and Legislations

28. Last but not least, there is a need to build a trusted environment with the appropriate policies and legislation. The Personal Data Protection Act came into effect in January 2013. IDA has also embarked on several initiatives to address cloud security concerns commonly cited by IT managers in surveys conducted.

29. One outcome was the establishment of a cloud computing standards co-ordinating task force in 2011, a joint effort between IDA and ITSC. The task force comprises representatives from IDA, ITSC, Singapore Computer Society, Singapore infocomm Technology Federation, Information Technology Management Association as well as industry verticals, which worked on guidelines for issues with inputs from the industry. Arising from this effort, two Technical Reference documents on guidelines, best practices for virtualisation and cloud security have been developed and available to the public since 2012. To-date, over 63 copies have been sold. We have also received comments from industry to improve the technical references.

30. Separately, we have also embarked on the development of cloud security standards and guidelines for the certification of cloud service providers. The proposed standards adopt a multi-tier approach that specifies several tiers of security provisions, to cater for the different security needs of various cloud users. These standards and guidelines will highlight the key security areas to be addressed and associated controls needed in a cloud computing environment. The draft standards recently completed a two-month public commentary phase and are scheduled to be available as a Singapore standard in August 2013. Concurrently, we are embarking on cross-certifying the proposed standards with international schemes such as CSA's Open Certification Framework and facilitating CSPs' ISO 27001 certification to meet the multi-tier cloud security requirements.


31. IDA has put in place various initiatives and programmes to nurture a vibrant cloud ecosystem. Today, the 2013 edition of the "Cloud Computing in Singapore" booklet will be launched. It contains information on cloud computing, details of IDA's various programmes, as well as case studies of how certain organisations have embraced cloud computing. I hope you will continue to draw inspiration and knowledge from this booklet.

32. CloudAsia 2013 is the third to be organised through a three-year partnership between IDA and Informa Telecoms & Media Asia. In addition to our current focus on the Industry and Practice track, we are introducing a new track on cloud research and innovation for the technical and R&D community in this event. All participants can look forward to the insightful sharing and discussions covering a wide range of cloud research interests in this track.

33. Thank you all for your continued support and on this note, I wish you a fruitful and enjoyable forum.

Thank you.

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Last updated on: 13 Mar 2023