Minister for Information and Communications, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, unveiled the ICM Industry Transformation Map.
By Judith Tan
Singapore’s digital transformation is important and urgent for the country on both macro and individual levels.
It was first highlighted at the 2017 Budget discussion early this year, where plans were announced to reinvent 23 sectors that cover about 80 per cent of the country’s economy.
On 3 November, the Infocomm and Media Development Authority (IMDA) announced how it is plotting a new road map to empower the nation’s digital edge.
To get you up to speed, here are four ways the Infocomm Media Sector Industry Transformation Map (ICM ITM) will support and accelerate Singapore’s shift to a digital economy.
1. Grow the ICM industry’s value-add by about six per cent yearly and create more than 13,000 jobs by 2020
- Most of these are expected to be professional, managerial, executive and technical roles.
- It will harness the benefits that come with the digital economy: good jobs, stronger businesses and better quality of life.
Speaking of AI: One initiative will create AI libraries, starting with a national speech corpus in English.
2. Invest and build capabilities in four frontiers, namely artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics, cybersecurity, immersive media, and Internet of Things
- AI is a big part of Singapore’s plan to upgrade its ICM industry.
- In May, the Government announced AI Singapore, an initiative to invest up to S$150 million to catalyse, energise and boost Singapore’s AI capabilities.
- IMDA is working with both industry and community to grow new digital champions, and has signed partnerships with multinationals such as IBM, Microsoft and Samsung under the Strategic Partners Programme.
- IMDA will expand the Accreditation@SG Digital to underscore its value as a national programme. Its scope will go beyond tech startups and young SMEs to include the more mature SMEs and selective pool of international deep technology companies to be anchored in Singapore.
- To speed up the development of speech-enabled applications for local use, there are plans to create AI libraries, starting with a national speech corpus in English so that local companies can grab a slice of the burgeoning global speech and voice recognition market tipped to be worth S$25 billion by 2023.
- More concrete and specific initiatives on the other three fronts will be revealed in the coming months.
3. Strengthen the vibrant core of ICM professionals and companies for future roles and business opportunities
- IMDA will partner industry on programmes to strengthen the ICM core and prepare Singaporeans for a variety of job roles in other sectors, locally and abroad.
- An AI Business Partnership Programme will be put in place to match business requirements with appropriate solutions.
- An AI Singapore Apprenticeship Programme will be set up to grow the pool of talent by training 200 professionals over the next three years. This will be achieved through the TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) initiative.
The historic Kampung Glam district will be a test bed for retail digitalisation.
4. Guide companies and workforce across sectors in adopting digital technology to improve productivity and efficiency
- IMDA will identify key sectors, and work with the respective sector lead agencies to transform these sectors through digitalisation. This includes implementing ecosystem-wide innovative projects and developing Industry Digital Plans (IDPs) for SMEs.
- One of the ecosystem-wide projects has kicked off with the signing of a Memorandum of Intent by IMDA, SPRING Singapore, the Singapore Malay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SMCCI) and One Kampong Gelam on 3 November, to turn the Malay heritage site into a test bed for retail digitalisation at the neighbourhood level.
- The IDPs aim to guide SMEs in digital technology adoption through helping them understand the benefits of adopting relevant digital technologies, and provide guidance to ICM vendors in meeting specific digital technology needs.The Retail IDP, also announced on 3 November, will provide step-by-step advice to SME retailers in their digitalisation journey. There will also be sector-specific pre-approved digital solutions for SMEs.