Lead agencies for Singapore’s infocomm and media sectors restructured to allow the nation to pursue new opportunities emerging from the convergence of these two fields.
With the convergence of the media and infocomm sectors a reality now in everyday life, the time is ripe for major changes to enable Singapore to capitalize on new opportunities — especially in the light of the Infocomm Media 2025 plan.
Speaking to the media at the sidelines of the Forum on Internet of Things in Smart Sustainable Cities on 18 January 2016, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information, said the government has been monitoring the landscape in terms of the convergence between infocomm and media for many years. “We recognise the challenges that this converged environment has created first in terms of regulations but also in terms of the opportunities it has created.”
“I think the time has come for us to really take a bold step to bring together IDA (Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore) and MDA (Media Development Authority) as a converged regulator and promoter.”
In his opening address at the Forum, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information, announced that the agencies will be restructured to create two new bodies, which will come into administrative effect on 1 April.
The first, the Infocommunications Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA), will spearhead the implementation of the integrated industry development plan Infocomm Media 2025 and oversee policy formulation for the converged environment.
IMDA will play a lead role in this environment to promote industry development and ensure that our regulatory environment is ahead of its time,” said Dr Yaacob. For example, businesses bundling telecom and media offerings currently have to work with both IDA and MDA for the rollout of their services. With the creation of IMDA and converged policy framework, these businesses will only have to work with one agency, which facilitates business planning.
The government will also continue to promote and regulate data protection in Singapore through the Personal Data Protection Commission, which will be part of the new IMDA. Dr Yaacob said this will ensure that public confidence in the private sector’s use of personal data is safeguarded, even as companies increasingly leverage the data they collect as a source of competitive advantage.
The second agency that will be formed with the restructuring is the Government Technology Organisation (GTO) which will lead digital transformation efforts in the public sector.
As Singapore gears up for the rollout of the Smart Nation platform and Smart Nation applications, talent is needed within government to lead the digital transformation, and one of the aims of GTO is to nurture the right talent to ensure that government digital services are head of the curve, said Dr Yaacob.
“As the nexus of technology and engineering capability within government, the new GTO will be well-placed to help government agencies capitalize on the speed of innovation and new technology trends such as robotics, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and Big Data.”
GTO will focus on providing a citizen-centric user experience and encourage the participation of citizens in the co-creation of public digital services. It will also ensure the security and resilience of the government’s IT infrastructure and help strengthen Singapore’s cyber defences. The Government will have unique needs in terms of cyber defences, said Dr Yaacob, and GTO will work closely with the Cybersecurity Agency of Singapore (CSA) to secure government services.
GTO will be headed by Ms Jacqueline Poh, currently the Managing Director of IDA, while IMDA will be headed by Mr Gabriel Lim, who is the current Chief Executive Officer of MDA.
You can read the full announcement in the official press release.