11 August 2015 - Speech by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information at the launch of Infocomm Media 2025, on 11 August 2015, 3:40pm at BASH.
Speech by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information at the launch of Infocomm Media 2025, on 11 August 2015, 3:40pm at BASH
Mr Koh Boon Hwee, Chairman, Infocomm Media Masterplan Steering Committee
Steering Committee and Working Committee members
Ladies and Gentlemen
I would like to thank the Steering Committee, including the working committees, for their hard work in the past two years. Back in 2013, I set up the committee to see how we can seize the opportunity arising from the convergence of the infocomm and media technology, and develop a plan for the infocomm and media sectors in a holistic and integrated manner. I believe Infocomm Media 2025 charts the directions that we should take to ensure that Singapore stays at the forefront of innovation.
2. The bold use of technology, guided by earlier infocomm and media masterplans, has been one of the contributing factors for Singapore’s success. We have been able to use technology to overcome our physical constraints and improve our economic productivity and dynamism. We have invested heavily in R&D and grown research institutes that work alongside our companies to develop new solutions for transportation, water management and housing. We have pushed for e-Government and automated the delivery of public services in areas such as the collection of taxes and payment of utilities. Today, we are able to conduct many of these transactions online in a seamless manner. We have attracted international companies and entrepreneurs to establish their presence here. Our home grown companies are also doing well and our own talents have been making waves overseas.
3. With Smart Nation, we envision Singapore as a nation where people lead meaningful and fulfilled lives, enabled by technology, and with opportunities for all. Infocomm Media 2025 will play an important role in helping Singapore achieve this vision, with strategies to grow the key enablers including infocomm media infrastructure, agile enterprises, skilled manpower, and cutting-edge technology and research. In this vision, we see infocomm media powering economic and social transformations that will improve people’s quality of life, and contribute to sustainable and quality economic growth.
4. My Ministry supports the strategic directions and recommendations set out in Infocomm Media 2025. While some ideas will require further study, we are already putting the wheels in motion for others. Earlier this year, I highlighted that we are building the Smart Nation Platform which will collect and convey sensor data. Today, various agencies deploy sensors to improve their ability to better manage public safety, monitor the environment, or control traffic. When deployed in a coordinated manner using our Aggregation Gateway (or AG) boxes, the data from these sensors will generate insights that will enable the government to operate holistically and manage the city more effectively. Data from the nationwide sensor network will also provide residents with more timely information to guide their daily activities. We have begun to conduct trials in the Jurong Lake District, which is our test-bed for the development and deployment of innovative technologies in these areas.
5. Infocomm and media can also transform the way people live. In education, for example, teachers can make use of data analytics to customise curriculum and pedagogy to match individual abilities and guide us in our continuing learning and training.
6. As Singapore moves ahead in its Smart Nation journey, there will be huge demand for infocomm and media professionals with a range of skills. While we can attract more talents to join us, I believe that we must equip our own people with the relevant skills and deepen the experience of our Singapore core. We will help Singaporeans acquire the necessary skills to thrive in the new environment. We will improve the employability and competitiveness of our ICT and media talents, including opening up new opportunities for poly and ITE students. We will groom our manpower to meet the needs of emerging areas such as cyber security and data analytics. We will pave the way with major employers to develop the manpower pipeline: already, we see global partners such as Microsoft, Google and our local players such as DBS bank and Singtel coming on board to provide on-job training and projects.
7. We are going further upstream to develop computational thinking as a national capability, open up opportunities for our young people to advance careers through structured internships and certifications and pave the way to increase our infocomm professionals for critical areas through tech conversion and placement. This is in line with Singapore’s SkillsFuture effort, to invest in our people throughout their lives.
8. I recently attended Hackathon@SG jointly organised by IDA and the Information Technology Standards Committee (ITSC) and witnessed how our students, some as young as six years old, came together to code and create solutions as diverse as easing traffic congestion, to matching nurses and home-bound patients. We want to encourage more to start young, adopt this “maker” mindset, innovate and co-create the next phase together.
9. This “maker” mindset can also be extended to the creation of content. In a world where people are communicating more and more through videos and images, stories are a powerful mode of communication. The Infocomm Media 2025 report recognises that storytelling is an important skill that we need to hone among Singaporeans. Recommendations like Story Lab aim to develop storytelling skills from a young age to encourage the creation of original and innovative stories for all media platforms. We also want to deepen our capability to produce high quality content. Participating in initiatives such as Discovery First-Time Filmmakers and FOX Format Labs have allowed our Singapore producers to hone their craft. Some, like filmmaker Kenny Gee, have also leveraged crowdfunding to bring their stories to life. Kenny, a Media Education Scholarship recipient, raised close to USD$30,000 for his short film, The Body, through crowdfunding platforms. The film was screened at the Singapore International Film Festival 2014, and nominated for the 6th Singapore Short Film Awards this year.
10. I am confident that the recommendations in the Infocomm Media 2025 report will enable us to harness the power of infocomm media, to bring about impactful outcomes for Singapore and enhance the quality of life for Singaporeans. But we cannot do this alone. Just as this report was borne out of strong partnership and consultation among the private, public and people sectors, realising the vision of Infocomm Media 2025 will require people like you to join us – to spark new ideas, to break new ground and to make Singapore a better place for all. Only then can we strengthen our Singapore economy, improve the lives of our people and ultimately, make Singapore a better place for ourselves and for generations to come.