Yong Ying-I, Chief Executive Officer, IDA Singapore - Speech JWCC MOI Signing Ceremony, Regent Hotel
Yong Ying-I, Chief Executive Officer, IDA Singapore - Speech
JWCC MOI Signing Ceremony, Regent Hotel
Singapore, 20 June 2001
Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, Good afternoon.
1 The world continues to change rapidly around us. The slowdown of the technology sector has shaken many companies. The US economic slowdown has affected companies in Asia. We hold our breaths in anticipation as to when and how rapidly the American tech sector will recover. But despite this shock to the system, technology - that "great, growling engine of change," as Alvin Toffler (ref: American writer, Future Shock, 1970) called it -- is not standing still. And Singapore is not standing still either. We remain committed to the vision of becoming Asia's premier infocomm hub, and we will continue to press ahead.
Wireless Technology - Advancements & Initiatives
2 Wireless technology is an inherent and important aspect of Singapore's infocomm development. Hence, soon after we liberalized access to the telecommunications sector last year, the Singapore government said that we would issue 3G broadband wireless licenses. Despite the weakening of sentiment this year, we decided to proceed with the early issue of licenses. This was specifically because we believe that wireless will be a hugely important industry globally, and Singapore intends to be a player. There is a saying amongst tech players, that if we're not on the steamroller, we're destined to become part of the road. Singapore wants to be on that steamroller. The early issue of licenses despite the business uncertainties will allow services to start early, making Singapore one of the first few countries in Asia to launch services. We do not see the 3G licence as a stand-alone event, but as an integral part of a bigger and broader effort to develop the wireless industry.
3 Despite the business uncertainties, the challenge of wireless development is filled with certainty:
The certainty that the technology will move forward
The certainty that competition will continue to intensify
The certainty that demands for skilled manpower will increase
The certainty that product lead times will get even shorter
The certainty that creativity and innovation will determine the leadership positions in the industry.
4 These certainties provide a frame of reference for our efforts. Now, let's consider what ought to be on the canvas within this frame. Since I sit on the boards of a number of arts groups, let me try this art analogy. What will we need to create a vibrant painting? We need skill, imagination, a palette of paint, many canvases that allow for trial and error, a community of artists to fuel our creative juices, and yes, a good dealer who'll promote our art to the world.
5 Art is not that far removed from technology. As a studio is to an artist, so a living lab is to wireless development. IDA's initiatives focus on creating that living lab for wireless development, to give our industry players the tools to excel, a vibrant community of industry players to provide stimulus and partnership, and a platform to market to the world.
6 The concept driving the Wired With Wireless development program was explained by Minister for Communications and IT Mr Yeo Cheow Tong when he launched the program late last year. On 22 May, last month, my chairman announced the first of the specific initiatives under the Wired With Wireless development program. These focused on the possibility of a dynamic test bed of innovation in the form of PATH (Pilot and Trial Hotspots) and on collaborative overseas technology transfer and market access through OBC (Overseas Business Centers).
7 Today, I am delighted to announce two new "Wired With Wireless" initiatives that focus on market development, creativity and innovation.
Market Development (MADE)
8 The first initiative Market Development, or MADE, for short, focuses on facilitating market development through enabling test marketing, joint market research and promotion activities. Through these activities, MADE will play the art-dealer role by assisting in the formation of alliances with global players and promotion of good potential "artists".
Wireless Technology Alliance (WTA)
9 Creativity and innovation are the tenets of IDA's second initiative - the Wireless Technology Alliance, or WTA, for short. And this is why we are here today.
10 We all know that in knowledge industries, it is creativity and innovation that determine success. But no one entity has all the good ideas. Indeed, it is widely recognized that innovation usually comes from the bringing together of separate, even conflicting, ideas. The wireless industry players - whether they be corporations, research centers, or user groups - can go further if they embark on the journey together. In order to grow the wireless sector in Singapore, the WTA initiative aims to encourage industry alliances that allow for innovation of wireless products and services in an environment that promotes technical expertise and marketing reach.
11 We are here today to witness the first partnership under the Wireless Technology Alliance initiative between Sun Microsystems, Singapore's Center for Wireless Communications, and the IDA. Recognizing that Java is a leading platform for Internet and mission critical applications, the Java Wireless Competency Center will be a regional hot bed for R&D, software development, testing, and integration of integrated wireless stacks. The Java Wireless Competency Center will fuel, nurture, and accelerate the growth of our wireless industry; it will foster the transfer of skills and best practices from Sun Microsystems and the Center for Wireless Communications to local wireless players.
12 The two initiatives that I have announced today demonstrate IDA's commitment to make our vision of becoming a living lab of wireless development and Asia's hub for infocomm development a reality.
13 The opening of the Java Wireless Competency Center especially heartens me. I would particularly like to thank Sun Microsystems for its demonstrated belief in Singapore's capabilities. The collaboration between Sun Microsystems and the Center for Wireless Communication will undoubtedly contribute to our industry's growth, knowledge, initiative, and sophistication. We will all benefit from this collaboration.
14 I'd like to close with one parting thought - a famous Japanese proverb says: "If you sit on a stone for three years you will get used to it." My message today is that Singapore is not sitting on any stone at the side of that road. We are definitely on the steamroller.