Towards the State of Staying Totally Connected

Khoong Hock Yun, Assistant Chief Executive, Infocomm Development, IDA Singapore - Speech Comworld 2001, Suntec Singapore

Khoong Hock Yun, Assistant Chief Executive, Infocomm Development, IDA Singapore - Speech
Comworld 2001, Suntec Singapore
Singapore, 15 March 2001


1 I am delighted to be with you this morning and I would like to thank the organiser, HQ Link Pte Ltd, for inviting me here.

2 Today, I hope to share with you some thoughts on the opportunities provided by the internet revolution particularly, the role of web-based information devices and appliances in helping us stay totally connected to the web as a way to enhance our quality of lifestyle and the competitiveness of our businesses.

The beginnings of the Internet Revolution

3 Before the easy availability of the Internet, our computing devices primarily communicated with each other through dedicated communication infrastructures such as local area networks (LAN), wide area networks (WAN), and metropolitan area networks (MAN). In essence, such communications were based on fixed or pre-established communication links.

4 The Internet arrived and freed us of these constraints. For the first time, computing devices could use a common language, the Internet protocol, to communicate with other computing devices on the Web. The Internet gave computers their first "International language".

5 The Internet revolution that we experienced over the last 5 years is just the beginning, perhaps Phase 1 of many phases. The way we exploit the internet technology today is just a tiny example of what is possible and available through such a fundamental change in communications capability.

  • directory services, search engines, .... many of such basic things. Many companies actively pushed content to etc. Being deluged with content is not necessarily a good thing. For one, it could be very confusing to find anything or to see the relevance of any available content that meets our individual needs. In Phase 1, we are all expected "to work the Web"
  • What we are doing today is liken to putting up advertisements during a major broadcast event. During event intermissions, people run off to washrooms only to completely miss the expensive advertisements. Obviously our immediate need was to be at some place else. The usefulness and relevance of such information was of secondary importance. Always on internet technology allows us to retrieve the relevant information when we need it. Even better, the mobile internet will enable such information to be available when and where we need it. Web-enabled information devices and appliances will enable us to get the information and services when, where and in the manner we need it. Therefore, web-enabled information devices and appliances will play a major role in the future of the internet to help us stay totally connected.

Role of web-based information devices and appliances

6 What can we expect from Phase 2? Phase 2 must focus on how to make the Web work for us, how the Web can be leveraged to deliver appropriate content and services to us through appropriate web-enabled information devices and appliances.

7 Think of the internet as a big cloud of relationships of data about the world - both static and dynamic information - data about corporations, people, service offerings, service status, location of useful things, etc.

  • An internet data centre can be one repository of such data in such a cloud. Conceivably, even our personal data can be kept in such an internet cloud so that we can access our data anywhere in the world, anytime, using relevant forms of web-enabled information devices and appliances.
  • A web of connected computers that provide services to us can process such data, and the relationships of such data. For example, today, stocking trading services can inform us of stock buy/sell opportunities if a stock price has reached a predetermined decision triggering level. Therefore such an internet data cloud also represent application and service providers who supply the consumers with services that they most need.
  • Such data and services are made accessible to us through web-enabled information devices and appliances at the edge of such a cloud. Such devices and appliances need to be web-enabled and typically be always-on in order to enable us to fully hardness the power of the data and services within such an internet cloud.

8 These web-enabled information devices and appliances need to be simple, personalised and pervasive.

9 Mobile professionals. For example, if I were to make a presentation at a remote location away from my office or home, it is conceivable that I could come to such a meeting carrying only a mobile device like a cellular phone or a Personal Digital Assistant. I would then point such a device at the presentation projector, send the address of my presentation and my personal authentication information to the blue-tooth and web-enabled projector. This projector, which sits at the edge of the internet cloud, would use my authentication information, gain lawful access to my presentation in the internet cloud, and stream or cache the appropriate data for my presentation. After the presentation when I return to the hotel, the internet cloud can send reminders to me because it would know how to reach me - just like auto-roaming of cellular phones today allow the telecom service operators to be able to locate and connect us even when we are out of town. While being anywhere in the world, I could be reminded of bill payments or important events such as birthdays and anniversaries. When so reminded, I can access the appropriate address information from the internet cloud, make payment services or purchase and send gifts through an application service provider. And I can do all these without carrying my personal notebook computer with me. My hotel, various internet kiosks, or my personal mobile devices would allow me internet access to access the data and services in the internet cloud.

10 Health-monitoring. The location-based services have been touted by some people as a platform for killer applications for the future. Many of such "killer apps" are life saving in nature. As the populations turn increasingly grey, health-monitoring devices take on greater prominence. For example, a web-enabled watch worn on an elderly person can serve as a health-monitoring device and remotely trigger off the e-911 rescue services when necessary. Paramedics and doctors can also use web-enabled devices and personal authentication keys to retrieve critical medical records of the patient from the Internet.

11 Telematics. In the area of the area of telematics, a term coined by car maker General Motors for its OnStar service which on-board Internet devices turn the car into a mobile extension of the office, as well as a moving entertainment centre with crystal clear radio and videos on demand. It would be possible with such information devices and appliances and use of voice recognition technology that we could process or leave e-mails and voicemails while driving to work or home. In fact, it has been reported that General Motors has formed an alliance with Fidelity Investments to provide drivers with financial information to allow them to trade stocks from their cars.

12 Maintenance, repair and operating supplies. Web-enabled devices can also be useful in MRO, or maintenance, repair and operating supplies. For example, an aircraft technician on the field who needs updated information while repairing an airplane can access such information using a wireless web-enabled display device. The technician can look up procedures, check which spare parts to use and in what quantity to service a particular turbine engine. He or she can also gain access to the company's spare parts portal to order the necessary spare parts and to log in the estimated repair time.

13 Supply chain collaboration. The Internet can be used for supply chain collaboration. Global companies like BP Amoco are using the Internet to display their requirements and allow vendors to make bids online. Similarly for Adaptec, a maker of data transfer and communications hardware and software, has substantially reduced design-to-delivery cycle times and saved millions in inventory reductions through Web-based collaborative design processes with key suppliers in Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan.

14 Little wonder then, in the not too distant future, the net is the computer and the information storage device. By offering the right mix of information and services, and the right usage environment, we can encourage companies and consumers to put their data on the Web, to use some personal profile information, coupled with location specific information from global positioning systems or cellular based tracking systems so that consumers can get the information they want at the time they need; specific to the location they are at; and be presented with the most relevant options for taking action.

Singapore: Vibrant Infocomm Hub and testbed of web-enabled devices and appliances

15 Singapore, with our strong broadband infrastructure and major initiatives in the broadband wireless arena, stands to further enhance Singapore as a conducive location for the development and test bedding of web-enabled devices and appliances, content and services for the Internet.

16 As of December 2000, Singapore's mobile penetration rate reached 75%. Recently, Pyramid Research reported that Singapore's and total mobile phone revenue would surge by 49% to US$1.3 billion by 2005. With at least 274,000 broadband users, over 6,000 MNCs and many of them operating as regional HQs, Singapore has a technology-savvy population and a wide range of sophisticated enterprise users. Together with a vibrant content development environment, availability of specialised wireless skills and technology, and an English-speaking workforce with Asian roots, Singapore is an important reference and ready test market for wireless developments in Asia.


17 In summary, we started with fixed connectivity as computing devices communicated over dedicated links and languages. The internet provided us with flexible connectivity as computing devices talked with a common universal language, the Internet Protocol. With always on web-enabled information devices and appliances, data and services in the internet cloud, we will have brought the era of being "always connected". Web-based information devices and appliances are the keys to helping the "web work for us".

18 Therefore, I am glad that the CommWorld exhibition is a showcase of our competence and capabilities in the infocomm sector and I would like to congratulate HQ Link for putting up this showcase and I wish you a very fruitful time at this event.

19 Thank you