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IDA Infocomm Technology Roadmap Identifies Key Trends and Developments in Communications Technologies

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), together with the Infocomm industry, has identified key technological trends and developments that would impact the way we communicate over the next five years, leading to 2007.

Singapore, 26 November 2002 | For Immediate Release

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), together with the Infocomm industry, has identified key technological trends and developments that would impact the way we communicate over the next five years, leading to 2007. The joint insights, incorporated into IDA's fourth Infocomm Technology Roadmap (ITR)1, was released today at a technology seminar organized by IDA. The seminar (, 'technology development' 'ITR-4'), featuring a panel of IDA and Infocomm leaders speaking on communication technologies of the future, was attended by more than 500 industry players.

Dr Brian Chen, Chief Technology Officer, IDA, said, "Together with the Infocomm industry, we hope to paint a collective vision of future technologies that will strengthen Singapore's standing as a key Infocomm hub in the region. For the fourth Infocomm Technology Roadmap, we envision the emergence of an integrated broadband infrastructure that allows users to enjoy the convenience of 'anytime, anywhere, any device' applications and services. In arriving at this vision, IDA is once again encouraged by the active participation and interest of the Infocomm industry as it ensures the continued relevance of the roadmap as a definitive source for Infocomm players in Singapore."

Key technology trends and developments highlighted in IDA's fourth Infocomm Technology Roadmap include:

The 'New' Megabit Broadband for Better Two-Way Communication
By 2007, the present broadband characterized by ADSL and cable will replace dial-up as the dominant means for accessing Internet in Singapore. Moving forward into the digital era, Internet upload speed will level-up to match download speed to deliver not only better two-way communication, but to allow for greater collaborative work between two or more parties. This development will support the emerging trend towards decentralized and distributed computing in the next-generation Internet.

The Connected Home for a Connected Lifestyle
In envisioning the Connected Home of 2007, the Roadmap sees the convergence of 'infotainment' technologies that bring together information, communications and entertainment. These technologies can be conveniently accessed around the house using smart appliances and mobile handheld devices that operate over an integrated Internet Protocol-based home network with Internet broadband connections.

Against this backdrop, a range of digitized information from MP3 music files, digital photo collections, e-learning material, video files, to archives of family documents, will also find their way into the home of the future, with the personal computer, home entertainment systems, home media server or game console, managing and distributing this digitized information. The home of the future will eventually be smarter and more efficient, bringing about technological evolution in the home, saving time and improving quality of life.

Mobile Wireless going Broadband to offer New Ubiquitous Services
By 2007, 3G networks will be in place in most advanced countries. In addition, the computing capabilities of mobile handheld devices are expected to improve significantly. With these developments as well as the development of open standards, the vision towards ubiquitous connectivity, characterized by the concept of 'anytime, anywhere, any device', will gain greater ground as early as 2007.

In the area of mobile services, communication in the near future will evolve from simple voice calls to rich multi-party multimedia communications, mobile instant messaging and presence services2, location-based services3, as well as enterprise mobile solutions that bring common IT corporate applications to the mobile workforce. Other new services such as multimedia broadcast and multicasting will enhance communication features and open up enterprise opportunities such as in the areas of mobile e-learning, mobile web seminars, and corporate marketing/advertisement.

Security Technologies that Facilitate e-commerce Developments
Today, with globalisation, we are seeing the emergence of virtual organizations with increased inter-enterprise dealings/ transactions, leading to greater demands for security technologies. By 2007, we expect the confluence of security technologies to meet the demands of this increasingly sophisticated e-business landscape. In this respect, the Infocomm security technology scene will see the emergence of standards-based, end-to-end security framework to boost business and user confidence in conducting transactions over the entire e-commerce value chain.

The full Fourth Infocomm Technology Roadmap Report can be downloaded from the IDA website under 'Technology Development'.

At the 4th Infocomm Technology Roadmap Seminar, IDA also shared with the industry its trial results in Free-Space-Optics and Wireless LAN. Key results include :

Free-Space-Optics (FSO) Trial
The potential of FSO as a last-mile access communication link is widely recognized by the industry. However, it is also recognized that free space can be an unpredictable medium for data transport. As such, IDA conducted an FSO trial from February to June 2002. It concluded that FSO, which relies on infra-red lasers to transmit data over the air, can be used for high-speed data communications between buildings. It also represents an alternative last-mile communication link where laying of cables may not be economically viable and/ or physically possible. However, the trial also concluded that careful network design, incorporating considerations such as FSO link distances and environmental factors, such as rain and haze, will be key in optimizing the potential of FSO. Detailed results of the FSO trial can be downloaded from the IDA website under 'Technology Development' and 'Technology Trials'.

Next Generation Wireless LAN (NGWLAN) Trial
Wireless LAN (WLAN) has been the initial driver for the widespread use of systems based on the IEEE802.11b standard4. However, WLAN presently faces several drawbacks in areas such as throughput, security, roaming and quality of service. As such, IDA conducted a trial from April to October 2002 on the Next Generation Wireless LAN (NGWLAN), to assess its ability to address today's limitations in WLAN. The trial concluded that compared to WLAN, NGWLAN can offer better security features and mobility support. It can also offer throughput that is three to four times more than the current WLAN. Detailed results of the NGWLAN trial can be downloaded from the IDA website under 'Technology Development' and 'Technology Trials' from 15th December 2002.


Notes To Editors:

1 Infocomm Technology Roadmap (ITR)
The Infocomm Technology Roadmap aims to align Singapore's technological direction with worldwide Infocomm developments and charts the vision, trends and developments of the technology landscape in Singapore for the next five years. It also aims to help the industry keep abreast with future directions and trends, and to assist the industry to identify business opportunities for competitive advantage. Early adoption of emerging Infocomm technologies is essential to give Singapore an added competitive edge in business and economic opportunities. The first Roadmap, released in July 2000, identified broadband and mobile wireless as the key technologies for the local Infocomm industry. The second Roadmap, released in March 2001, focused on trends and developments in home networking and Infocomm e-Commerce security. The third Roadmap, released in February 2002, focused on key technologies in the Next Generation Internet, including Optical Networking, Photonics, Web Services, Peer-to-Peer and Grid Computing.

2 Mobile Instant Messaging and Presence Services (IMPS)
In today's online world, messaging services such as 'ICQ', help Internet users keep a buddy-list of friends or colleagues so that when their online presence is detected, we can initiate chats or file-sharing with them. The same service concept goes for Mobile IMPS except that the form factor is now the mobile phone instead of the PC. Mobile IMPS can also make use of location-based services (see footnote below) using positioning technologies to tell the user that his or her buddies are just around the corner (within a specified proximity) so that they can, for instance, arrange to meet.

3 Location-based Services (LBS)
Location Based Services make use of positioning technologies (eg: Global Positioning System or 'GPS') to determine a mobile user's current location. This location information can then be used to provide innovative services such as navigation and map guiding services, buddy-finder (as used in mobile IMPS), pull-and-push services (such as a retail store sending discount coupons to a mobile phone user in its proximity), or for locating the physically challenged, children or the elderly in emergency situations.

4 IEEE802.11b
The current and existing generation of the WLAN system is mainly based on the IEEE802.11b standard. This system operates in the 2.4 GHz band. The total available bandwidth is 83.5 MHz. It could only provide a theoretical maximum data rate of 11 Mbps, and the data rate will reduce to 5.5 Mbps, 2 Mbps, and 1 Mbps, respectively, as the signal quality deteriorates.

About Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is a dynamic organisation with an integrated perspective to developing, promoting and regulating info-communications in Singapore. In the fast-changing and converging spheres of telecommunications, information and media technologies, IDA will be the catalyst for change and growth in Singapore's evolution into a vibrant global info-communications technology centre. For more information, visit

For media clarifications, please contact:

Ms HO Hwei Ling
Senior Manager, Corporate Communication
Tel: 6211 1996
Fax: 6211 2227