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eGarage - Putting a Stake in the Industry

Mrs Tan Ching Yee, Chief Executive Officer, IDA - Speech Official Opening of Hewlett-Packard - Ngee Ann Polytechnic eGarage, Ngee Ann Polytechnic Singapore ...

Mrs Tan Ching Yee, Chief Executive Officer, IDA - Speech
Official Opening of Hewlett-Packard - Ngee Ann Polytechnic eGarage, Ngee Ann Polytechnic Singapore

Singapore, 26 February 2003

Mr Wee Tew Lim, Chairman of the Advisory Committee for the School of Information & Communications Technology and Deputy Chairman of Ngee Ann Polytechnic Council,
Mr Tan Choon Seng, Managing Director of Hewlett-Packard Singapore,
Mr Chia Mia Chiang, Principal of Ngee Ann Polytechnic,

Distinguished guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen


I am delighted to join you today at this official opening of the eGarage showroom in the School of Information & Communications Technology (ICT), Ngee Ann Polytechnic. Today's event marks an important milestone in the strong partnership between Hewlett-Packard Singapore and Ngee Ann Polytechnic. It is a partnership that is pivotal in the development and showcasing of possibilities in emerging technology areas for the infocomm industry.

Roles of the Institutes of Higher Learning in the Infocomm Industry

Institutions of higher learning, like Ngee Ann, are very important to the infocomm industry. You are both the cradle - providing the nurturing - and the crucible - providing the trial by fire - for future leaders and entrepreneurs of the infocomm industry. One cannot talk about Ngee Ann without remembering that your distinguished alumni include Sim Wong Hoo and Wong Tai.

Since its establishment in 1982, your School of Information & Communications Technology has trained some 4,500 graduates for the infocomm industry.

Besides the full time Diploma course in Information Technology, Multimedia Computing and Mobile Computing, the School also contributes to the continuing professional development of infocomm professionals. By organising part-time Specialist and Advanced Diploma courses and short courses for the industry, your programmes have allowed our Infocomm professionals to stay relevant amidst the rapid technological advancement.

Besides manpower development, our IHLs are also fertile ground in encouraging the development and commercialisation of new technologies and innovations. Singapore cannot compete head-on with the likes of China and India, with their vast talent pools. We need a distinguishing factor. This must be the ability of our infocomm professionals to be more than programmers and code-writers. Our infocomm professionals must be inventors and creators, who can innovate and develop new solutions and applications that meet real business needs. And how better to combine real business needs with fresh and enthusiastic minds than to bring together industry and academic partners in meaningful projects like the eGarage project.

The eGarage

The garage is a powerful symbol for the inventive sprit of Hewlett Packard, and indeed for the whole of Silicon Valley.

I am very pleased that HP and Ngee Ann Polytechnic have worked together, to bring the spirit of that first garage into Ngee Ann. While we cannot afford to buy the real thing, what is important is not the physical asset but the spirit of "dare to try, dare to invent" that we would like to infuse among the students in Ngee Ann.

It is through active involvement with industry that an educational institution can provide up-to-date and relevant manpower training and development to meet the needs of a constantly changing infocomm industry.

From eGarage to "Living Digital Hub"

At the national level, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is positioning Singapore as a "Living Digital Hub" for emerging technologies. While Singapore will never be as big a market as China, India or the regional countries, Singapore has a fighting chance to be the most interesting location for companies to test if their new infocomm products, services or business concepts will work in a real-world environment. IDA constantly identifies new technology areas where Singapore can excel and play a leadership role. Two of these are mobile wireless technologies and XML web services.

To be a living digital hub at the national level, we need a network of garages and laboratories that can contribute to the larger efforts. The eGarage is one. I am glad to see that eGarage has already started projects in the areas of wireless communications and web services. I am confident that, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, with its track record of being a pioneer in the use of wireless technology on campus, will offer itself as a test-bed for web services and point the way to eventual industry adoption.

On this note, I would like to congratulate Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Hewlett-Packard, and their technology partners for their fruitful collaboration on the eGarage. I wish all of you success in nurturing the spirit of innovation and enterprise among the students, and in developing more exciting new applications.

Thank you.