Speech by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information, at the IDA Labs Official Opening

24 April 2014 - Speech by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information, at the IDA Labs Official Opening, on Thursday, 24 April 2014, 11.00 am, at the IDA Labs@HQ, Mapletree Business City.

Speech by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information, at the IDA Labs Official Opening, on Thursday, 24 April 2014, 11.00 am, at the IDA Labs@HQ, Mapletree Business City.

Ladies and gentlemen

1. I am happy to join you today for the official opening of the IDA Labs, here at Mapletree Business City as well as at the National Design Centre.

2. More than just a physical space, IDA Labs will work with its partners to offer a range of initiatives and programmes, with the aim to nurture a culture of creating and building in Singapore. It will be a platform where IDA and government agencies can partner the industry to experiment and develop new solutions. IDA Labs will also excite and attract young Singaporeans, from those in primary schools to students at the Institutes of Higher Learning, to tinker, build, and fix with technology.

3. The IDA Labs at the National Design Centre or NDC, which saw its soft opening earlier last month has seen positive response. More than 500 individuals from various government agencies, schools and start-ups have taken part in a range of activities. IDA and the National Library Board are looking into setting up IDA Labs@Library to encourage more people to engage in hands-on technology experimenting and building.

4. Among the activities offered to the public, robotics has been very popular with students. We are encouraged to see curious young minds getting excited about computational thinking. Developing computational thinking as a national capability is one of the ideas proposed by the Infocomm Media Masterplan Steering Committee. In fact, working with various partners and stakeholders, we have introduced coding and computational thinking to more students in schools, through our infocomm clubs, national competitions and enrichment programmes.

5. With the support of the Ministry of Education (MOE), IDA Labs will hold the Learn@Labs Day from 27 to 29 May this year. Students from secondary schools offering enrichment programme and 'O' level computer studies, as well as infocomm clubs members, will have the opportunity to tinker with technologies such as Arduino, Robotics and 3D Printing.

6. IDA Labs will also be working with the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Singapore Management University (SMU), to provide a platform for the SMU community including students, faculty and alumni members to test their ideas. Through this collaboration, IDA Labs will also facilitate the commercialisation of innovations either through co-development, or by adopting solutions to be used in government projects.

7. In terms of industry collaboration, IDA Labs will participate in a programme with Red Hat, a leading open source software company. Through this partnership, Red Hat will bring in engineering experts, designers, advisors and users into the Labs. Users will also have access to advice from Red Hat experts, and from the open source community. Silicon Valley innovation leader Intel will also be providing its latest technologies, R&D resources and technical expertise to IDA Labs users. Intel will also be rendering its global platform as a means for local ICT companies to bring their products to overseas markets. We will continue to work with the industry to enhance capabilities and spur innovation.

8. To help Singapore technology start-ups establish their credentials, increase their visibility to potential government and large enterprise buyers, as well as help them gain more business opportunities, I am pleased to launch the Accreditation@IDA programme, an accreditation process that allows companies to receive practical feedback on areas of improvement for their product. In the long run, we hope that this will instill the importance of quality control and assurance in our ICT companies' product development lifecycle and raise the overall quality standard of the technology product industry in Singapore.

9. To help accredited companies win work, IDA will put in place strategies to facilitate Proof-of-Concepts and product demonstrations to potential buyers and stakeholders. In addition, the Government procurement process is being reviewed to facilitate Government's procurement from accredited companies and enable Accreditation@IDA to be considered in place of financial grading for start-ups.

10. Through these various initiatives and collaborations, we will continue to support our companies and talent to develop innovative ICM products and services.

11. On this note, I would like to officially declare the IDA Labs at Mapletree Business City and NDC open. Thank you.

Last updated on: 13 Mar 2023