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Infocomm Technology Roadmap Symposium

Mr Leong Keng Thai, Acting Chief Executive/Director-General (Telecoms) Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore Opening Address - Third Infocomm Technology Roadmap Symposium, Suntec Singapore

Mr Leong Keng Thai, Acting Chief Executive/Director-General (Telecoms)
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
Opening Address - Third Infocomm Technology Roadmap Symposium, Suntec Singapore
Singapore, 28 February 2002

Mr Leong Keng ThaiGood morning distinguished guests and the media. Yesterday, IDA just held the 2nd Infocomm 21 Industry Dialogue. We discussed on Thought Leadership with CEOs from the infocomm industry. We talked about business issues regarding the economic restructuring, the services sector and we consulted the audience for inputs to the next version of Infocomm 21 Masterplan.

A discussion on Executive Leadership would be incomplete in the knowledge economy, without a discussion on technologies that are driving change. As such, we are following up today on Technology Leadership.

I will like to share with you what I see as the role and benefits of a collective Technology Leadership by our local infocomm community. This community includes, amongst you present today, representatives from the media, the infocomm industry, research and academia, government agencies, businessmen and investors, policy and decision makers and infocomm savvy users.

Some of the technologies we are going to hear today may well be strategic technologies that are fast becoming economic pillars in the major global marketplaces such as China, Japan, US etc. For Singapore businesses, policy makers, investors, researchers to stay relevant and to internationalise, they need to be plugged into the strategic technology options and trends taking root in major marketplaces. The early identification of strategic technology needs by the industry is also useful for a sound manpower development strategy.

Strategic role of a collective Technology Leadership

Define Technology Leadership in Singapore context

Let me start by defining the role of Technology Leadership in Singapore's context. Some of you in the audience may ask, does Singapore have enough clout and technological prowess to undertake the role of Technology Leadership? Certainly, we cannot compare our limited resources to huge countries like USA and China. To dictate Technology Leadership in the context of the global economy, I doubt few can do it single-handedly. Even countries like USA, Japan and China would have their leadership presence felt only in selected strategic technology areas.

In reality, contributions by inventors and industry leaders around the world define what is known as the Leading Technology Envelop and Industry Trends. That is how I see Technology Leadership in the global perspective - It is a combined contribution by capable entities globally to define what is the latest cutting edge and what is the leading industry practice.

By Technology Leadership in Singapore, we mean the identification and common pursuit of a vision in strategic technologies. So that we can then align and pool together our diverse resources, programs and expertise to create a competitive local critical mass and a mutually beneficial ecosystem in these technology areas. This way, we can strive to advance the Global Technology Envelop in the related fields and be a contributing technology player and/or a relevant business partner.

Identification of Technology Choices and its framework

There will be some strategic technology areas that can benefit from an extra collective push to make locally based industry more competitive or to further develop the related ecosystem. We need to focus our positive energy to identify these collaborative areas that are aligned with the Global Strategic Technology Trends and Market Needs. Once the technology areas are identified, we should have a common vision in each of these areas.

A well-defined common vision in these technology areas serves to guide multi-player collaborations. Individuals may have differing strategies and trade secrets on how to achieve a vision, which is fine. In fact, that actually makes our technology identification and development process a robust and trustworthy one, by giving space for individual pursuits and closed door manoeuvres.

To manage a nation-wide call for collective Technology Leadership in strategic technologies is an impossible task for IDA alone. Therefore, we need your full support, your continued participation, to bring out the positive benefits of a collective Technology Leadership to elevate our economy's competitiveness as well as that of your organisation. In this knowledge economy, the combined brainpower is king.

Illustration of Benefits

In the last roadmap, we talked about Connected Homes. One of the initiatives IDA has facilitated through its Technology Group is the formation of working groups like the Broadband Homes Working Group with its Residential Gateway Task Force and Broadband Applications Task Force. These working groups, comprising of leading MNCs and Singapore companies, are now developing a reference design for a full-service residential gateway on a pro-competitive basis.

Besides other IDA programs related to the first roadmap areas such as Interactive Broadband Multimedia (IBBMM), Wired with Wireless, Call for Collaborations, work by IDA is also in progress in areas of infocomm security and PKI. Manpower development program in e-security was already announced, we are doing interoperability testing with Japan and Korea, and more appropriate announcements would be made known in near term when ready.

For this current roadmap, the IDA Technology Group is considering enhancing expertise in Photonics and Grid Computing. They will also look at architecting a National GRID infrastructure that may go beyond academic usage to encompass industrial demands for high-end computing. Your feedback is valuable to us on these possible activities. IDA has also announced in January this year its partnership with BioInformatics Institute to nurture manpower in Grid Computing. This manpower initiative aims to equip trainees with the skills to participate actively in the deployment of cyber-infrastructure to meet the needs of Biomedical Sciences research and development in Singapore. You would also hear about some follow-up activities in the area of web services in near term.

We hope all these activities are only the beginning of more interesting initiatives and proposals to come from the community. The Infocomm Technology Roadmaps are all but a jumpstart springboard to assemble and network like-minded individuals from the industry to pursue a particular technology area. For the ecosystem to be developed, we will need a richer and wider range of activities, coming not only from IDA, but also from the community at large. We can only help to start the ball rolling.


With this, I will like to ask for your participation and support in developing a collective Technology Leadership, through activities like the Infocomm Technology Roadmap Initiative and related follow-up activities.

I wish everyone a fruitful and enjoyable day ahead. Thank you.

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