Ladies and Gentlemen,
1 It is my pleasure to join all of you here this morning at the opening ceremony of the annual Infocomm Media Business Exchange or imbX.
2. I am particularly pleased to note that this event, showcasing the latest in infocomm and media, has grown from a small telecom trade show in the 1980s to today’s global platform. Almost 2,000 companies and over 50,000 global delegates will be participating in this year’s event to share insights on key infocomm and media issues.
3. The ICT ministers and senior officials from Asia, the Middle East and Europe also had a lively discussion yesterday on the opportunities and challenges facing our communities in view of the changes in the way we access information and services due to developments in the infocomm sector.
4. Today, Singapore is recognised as one of the leading adopters of ICT across sectors. In the latest Global IT Report1 by the World Economic Forum, Singapore came in second out of 138 economies for its use of ICT. Singapore has also been ranked first in e-Government by the Waseda University2 for the past three years. Both rankings attest to the pivotal role played by ICT in Singapore’s national innovation and business strategies. I am glad to share that Singapore is on track to achieve our vision of an Intelligent Nation, a Global City powered by infocomm under our iN2015 masterplan.
New Challenges and Opportunities Ahead
5. The growth of the global infocomm sector has been positive and encouraging. According to Gartner’s report, worldwide IT spending in 2010 totalled US$3.4 trillion and it recently revised the forecast for global IT spending growth for 2011 from 5.1 per cent to 5.6 percent3 . In Singapore, our infocomm industry revenue grew by 12.2 per cent to reach $70.39 billion in 2010. With Gartner’s forecast, the projected increase in spending presents tremendous business opportunities for the ICT sector.
6. A key area for ICT development is in the mobile space. The convergence of social networking, location sharing and mobile devices has created new opportunities and challenges. Consumers are no longer just using their mobile phones for telephony or SMS, evident in the proliferation of tablets and other mobile devices over the last 12 months.
7. The evolution of these mobile devices has greatly altered the way we communicate and how we consume content. To meet the increasing mobile communication needs, Singapore is looking at the allocation of spectrum to pave the way for operators in Singapore to deploy 4G technology in the next few years. This technology will offer end-users higher data speeds and lower latency. The “always connected lifestyle” is now a global phenomenon.
Developing Mobile Space in Singapore
8. Singapore’s mobile penetration rate of 145.5 per cent4 is complemented by our pervasive wireless infrastructure of more than 7,500 hotspots around the island. As part of the eGov2015 masterplan announced yesterday, we will also be developing a one-stop government mobile site to help users discover and access the various mobile services offered by different government agencies.
9. The Government is keen to collaborate with the industry to harness opportunities presented by the mobile space and to develop mobile solutions for businesses. To this end, IDA, together with NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute, SPRING Singapore and the Singapore Tourism Board, will issue a Call for Collaboration and set aside $15 million to facilitate project proposals from the industry to provide mobile solutions for the Retail, Food &Beverage, Hotel and Attractions sectors. Through this initiative, we hope to be able to accelerate the use of mobile technologies, such as mobile commerce or wireless point-of-sales, to enhance business competitiveness and to spur innovation in the development of mobile solutions.
Conducive Environment to Catalyse Innovation
10. To further catalyse innovation and the development of new business models, we have begun the deployment of the Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network, or the Next Gen NBN in short. To date, the network has achieved over 70 per cent5 coverage nationwide and is on track to hit 95 per cent by mid-2012. I am heartened to note that Retail Service Providers have begun to introduce ultra-high speed broadband access and value-added services such as online storage and cloud-based, Software-as-a-Service solutions to businesses and end users. To meet the increase in online transactions, IDA has also put in place a National Authentication Framework to further strengthen and secure Singapore’s infocomm infrastructure.
Broadcasting Developments in Singapore
11. The media sector also looks set for an exciting and challenging year ahead. The pervasiveness of the Internet has resulted in a change of consumer viewing patterns. This has in turn, prompted our content operators to be more innovative in their content delivery platforms.
12. I am pleased to announce that within the next year, consumers in Singapore and overseas will be able to freely access MediaCorp’s seven ‘Free-to-Air’ channels on the Internet. This initiative will also be a good way for overseas Singaporeans to keep abreast of events at home through the latest local TV programmes and be entertained by other programmes that MediaCorp has rights to. MediaCorp will be announcing the details of this service nearer the date of its implementation.
13. With the success of its ‘original web dramas’ for its xinmsn portal, MediaCorp will also be launching a new interactive service in the second half of 2011 known as “Over-the-Top” or OTT. This new service will offer free and premium content over broadband and will be available on different platforms such as TVs, PCs, tablet devices and mobile phones.
14. At last year’s Broadcast Asia, MDA announced that Singapore would be embarking on a year-long nation-wide 3DTV trial. One year on, we are pleased to share that the trial has been successful and our Pay-TV operators, StarHub and SingTel, as well as Free-to-Air operator MediaCorp, are now able to transmit 3D content into homes. SingTel’s mioTV has also recently successfully screened the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Manchester United in 3D-format to all its subscribers.
15. Singapore is also on track in our plans to go fully digital, in line with ASEAN's committed timeframe to switch off analogue TV transmission between 2015 and 2020. Following ASEAN’s adoption of the DVB-T standard for Digital Terrestrial Television, Singapore is looking into the early migration to DVB-T2, the second and latest generation of this standard. The move will result in enhanced viewing experiences for consumers and provide them with greater choices in TV content and services.
16. MDA is now putting in place a nationwide trial network to determine how the new standard can be suitably adopted for Singapore’s terrain. With this network, Singapore will be among the first in the region to establish a wide scale DVB-T2 trial infrastructure. MDA is planning for the trial network to be installed by September 2011.
17. I would like to urge industry players to leverage on the DVB-T2 coverage to test-bed new and innovative content, hardware and services. I am pleased to note that there is already industry interest to trial innovative use of digital signals for future content and services development over the DVB-T2 infrastructure, which augurs well for our local media industry.
18. In closing, I wish all of you a fruitful and rewarding experience at the various trade shows and conferences. I now declare imbX 2011 open.
1 Global IT Report 2011: http://www.weforum.org/issues/global-information-technology/index.html
2 Waseda University World e-Government Ranking 2011: http://www.cicc.or.jp/english/news/e-GovRanking2011e.PDF
3 According to Gartner's "Forecast Alert: IT Spending, Worldwide, 1Q11 Update", published on 29 Mar 2011
4 As of March 2011
5 As of end April 2011