The second TECH4Community Festival brought together companies and volunteers to help the public participate in a digitally-enabled society
By Janice Lin
Singapore has made great strides in its digital economy push, but as this effort surges ahead, it is just as important to ensure that segments of society – particularly the less digitally inclined – are not left behind.
One such effort to bring technology closer to the community was the TECH4Community Festival on 28 to 29 April 2018, organised by SGTech with support from the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA).
Held at the Our Tampines Hub, the event attracted over 15,000 visitors and brought together more than 250 volunteers from 20 SGTech members, including Accenture, Dell EMC and Microsoft, which showcased digital products used at work and at home, and gave Tampines residents practical, hands-on coaching on the use of technologies like cashless payments.
The goal was to help all in the community, particularly the less digitally-savvy, hop on the bandwagon and participate meaningfully in a digitally enabled society.
Activities at TECH4Community Festival showcased how technology can influence and empower various aspects of our lives through learning, play and work.
Ms Koh Li-Na, senior director of IMDA’s Digital Readiness Cluster, said: “This (event) is a significant one because it shows that the (tech) industry is going beyond the business of technology and is prepared to contribute to building society, by equipping Singaporeans with basic tech skills to improve their lives.”
Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, guest of honour and then-Communications and Information Minister, said Singapore wants to build an inclusive digital society where no one is left behind, but the government is unable do this alone.
Events like TECH4Community Festival, he noted, play a key role in creating awareness and bringing technology to the heartlands.
“Our partners have an important role to play, and they are in a position to reach out to the community and, more importantly, help everyone along in this very big future.”
Partnership to help citizens build digital skills
Joining in on the effort to help residents embark on their digital journey is the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), which has forged a partnership with IMDA to work together on programmes to help citizens pick up basic digital skills, as well as promote coding and digital making in the community.
Under this tie-up, which was announced at TECH4Community Festival, ITE will become one of over 30 Silver Infocomm Junctions, which hold customised, affordable and accessible infocomm training classes for seniors.
The institute will also continue to be part of the Friends of Silver Infocomm programme under which their students can volunteer in outreach and education efforts to help seniors learning to pick up digital skills.
“The digital transformation we're seeing today is happening at a very rapid rate. It’s very real and it (gives) no regard to age, whether old or young. So it’s important for us to reach out to the elderly, … to create awareness in them and point them towards organisations that are able to help them gain knowledge and more competency in the digital space,” said Mr Ho Seong Kim, organising chairman for TECH4Community Festival.
In addition, to foster greater inclusivity, ITE will also help in the development of technological solutions that can support independent living among persons with disabilities.
Getting residents to flip the DTV switch
Held in conjunction with the event was the first-ever Digital TV (DTV) Carnival, an IMDA initiative aimed at helping residents switch to digital TV.
IMDA will offer a DTV Starter Kit to all Singaporean HDB households which do not currently subscribe to Singtel or StarHub pay-TV services, thus helping these households to continue receiving local free-to-air programmes after analogue TV signals are switched off from 31 December 2018. Over 400,000 eligible households are expected to benefit from this initiative.
Each DTV Starter Kit will allow eligible households to either redeem an indoor antenna and digital set-top box for free or enjoy $100 off selected DTV equipment at participating electronic stores.
Apart from getting information on how to link an indoor antenna and set-top box, eligible households can also redeem their DTV Starter Kits at this series of DTV Carnivals, which will be held in the heartlands from now until 31 December.
Tampines resident Ms Eliana Seow, 59, was at the DTV Carnival to redeem her DTV Starter Kit and learn how connect to digital TV. She said: “I’ve been hearing that we need to switch to DTV soon, but I had no idea how to do it! I’m glad for the free set-top box, and for the people here who showed me how to set it up.”
For more information on switching to DTV to receive digital broadcasts, visit www.digitaltv.sg.