Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information, at the IMDA Immersive Media exhibition at Parliament House, during the Budget 2018 sessions. (Photo: Dr Yaacob Ibrahim Facebook page)
(Photo: MCI website)
By Billy Teo
There is a lot of exciting news for people in the infocomm and media (ICM) sector after the recent Committee of Supply (COS) announcements in Parliament, where various initiatives empowering the digital economy were shared.
During his speech, Minister for Communications and Information, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, spoke about the “ABC” strategy, which outlines what the Government is doing to ensure that businesses and workers can thrive in the digital future:
- Accelerate the transformation of existing sectors;
- Build next-generation ICM companies; and
- Create next-generation ICM and technology sectors
There are plenty of interesting details in the various speeches and announcements, but here are five main takeaways involving IMDA and its partners from speeches by Dr Yaacob, as well as that of Dr Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State.
1. Over 20,000 more spots for tech skills training for you
Good news for students and professionals keen on picking up digital skills: The Government will invest another $145 million in the TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) programme over the next three years. The aim is to create another 20,000 training places by 2020.
(Fun fact: Over 27,000 TeSA training places were taken up or committed since the programme's launch in April 2016. That’s almost 39 places snapped up in a day!)
The TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) scheme will open up another 20,000 training places by 2020.
To ensure that Singaporeans are ready to dive into the digital economy, TeSA will expand its training offering to new sectors, starting with manufacturing and professional services.
Also on the cards are more programmes in frontier technology areas such as artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics, cybersecurity, Internet of Things (IoT), and immersive media.
There is also good news for mid-career professionals seeking new challenges. The Government will work with its various bodies, such as the Ministry of Education, and industry partners to help curate ICT job openings across different sectors.
Where necessary, professionals making a switch can also undergo sector-specific training to prepare them for their new careers. IMDA will also strengthen employment facilitation for mid-career individuals through initiatives like the TeSA pilot immersion programme.
Additionally, IMDA is working with partners such as SkillsFuture Singapore and Workforce Singapore, as well as with union and industry partners, to drive the TeSA initiative.
2. Support for cybersecurity start-ups
Singapore’s cybersecurity sector can look forward to two major initiatives.
IMDA and the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA), in collaboration with the National University of Singapore and Singtel Innov8, are supporting the development of an Innovation Cybersecurity Ecosystem at Block 71 (ICE71).
The initiative will help promising cybersecurity start-ups scale and internationalise.
CSA will also introduce a Co-Innovation and Development Proof of Concept Funding Scheme to support the development of cybersecurity solutions for national security, critical infrastructure (such as power stations and telecoms networks) and classified system users.
This will spur the commercialisation and adoption of cybersecurity solutions to address emerging industry needs.
The national e-invoicing system will help businesses solve a major pain point: The tedious, manual and time-consuming process of conventional invoicing.
Businesses keen to improve their operational productivity – and bottom lines – can look forward to a new national e-invoicing framework.
Invoices are critical in helping businesses track money flowing in and out. However, issuing and tracking invoices can be a tedious, manual and time-consuming process. Errors can also be introduced, which may result in a waste of time and money.
E-invoices that are automatically created, exchanged and processed digitally, which can speed up payments, cut costs, significantly reduce error rates, and even open up new financing options.
IMDA is evaluating existing technologies, standards and governance frameworks to determine what can be adopted or created for the Singapore context.
More details are coming soon, so keep an eye out for future stories on IMpact News.
4. Transformation of Kampong Glam
The historic district of Kampong Glam is all set for a digital transformation. (Photo: Wolfgang Sladkowski)
Dr Yaacob also shared that Phase 1 of Kampong Glam’s transformation will begin in the second quarter of 2018.
As announced previously, IMDA is collaborating with Enterprise Singapore, the Singapore Malay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and One Kampong Gelam Association to develop the historic district into Singapore’s first digitally-enabled retail neighbourhood.
The plan involves helping a pool of 200 merchants in the core area of Kampong Glam adopt digital solutions to improve their business operations.
Examples include adopting integrated point-of-sale systems, which enable cashless payments, inventory tracking and better financial oversight. Automating these back-end administrative processes will give merchants more time to focus on their products and customers.
IMDA is working with technology partners such as StarHub to integrate these business solutions, and Grab to introduce an additional platform for cashless payments and increase accessibility to the Kampong Glam area through ride-sharing opportunities.
These latest digital technologies will help enhance the visitor experience. Interactive digital products like augmented reality maps and immersive walking trails and games will also be developed to encourage visitors to explore and shop in Kampong Glam in a much more fun way.
Additionally, IMDA has teamed up with Temasek Polytechnic’s School of Business to increase the merchants’ online presence and help visitors discover them more easily.
With all these transformation initiatives happening soon, it won’t be long before we can enjoy the new digitally-powered Kampong Glam.
5. Innovation through matchmaking: Problems, meet your potential solutions!
With digitalisation gaining ground, there is a need to solve business problems that cut across sectors and disciplines.
Enter the Open Innovation Platform (OIP), a pilot crowdsourcing platform supported by a curated innovation process. The OIP will enable ICM companies to co-develop new solutions that address business problems.
Companies can join the OIP community as problem owners or solution providers.
The pilot will start with selected sectors – such as retail and logistics – to build up a marketplace of solution providers. IMDA will bring in tech experts in areas such as AI and IoT to explore how these technologies can be applied to business problems.
One of the goals of the OIP is to build stronger ICM companies in Singapore, by helping them collaborate with end-users to build new and innovative solutions that can be scaled and exported.
Here’s to our next generation of game-changers!
For more information about the initiatives from IMDA and other Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) agencies, check out the MCI Budget 2018 page.
For more details about IMDA's digital economy initiatives, visit the SG:Digital page on our website.
1. Main photo (top of page): Courtesy of Dr Yaacob Ibrahim Facebook page.
2. Image of MCI poster: Courtesy of MCI website.
3. Teaser image courtesy of MCI website.
4. Image of Kampong Glam by Wolfgang Sladkowski licensed under CC BY 3.0.