Singapore's 5th IT Roadmap Unveiled

8 March 2005 - Opening Address By Mr Chan Yeng Kit, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore At 5th Infocomm Technology Roadmap Symposium, Raffles City Convention Centre.

Opening Address By Mr Chan Yeng Kit, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore At 5th Infocomm Technology Roadmap Symposium on 8 March 2005, Raffles City Convention Centre.

Introduction and Welcome

1. It gives me great pleasure to be here today to open the 5th Infocomm Technology Roadmap Symposium. The theme for this Symposium is Singapore Infocomm Foresight 2015. The Infocomm Technology Roadmap identifies opportunities for Singapore arising from the possibilities created by new innovations in the fields of computing, communications and sentient technologies, enabled by the confluence of info, nano and bio-technologies. It is the result of many months of effort by IDA personnel working with infocomm researchers from within and outsides of Singapore. This Roadmap will form the technology thrust of the iN2015 Master Plan announced last Saturday by Senior Minister of State, Dr Balaji at the Singapore computer Society (SCS) IT Leader Awards 2005 & Gala Dinner.

Infocomm Technology Continues To Be Important & A Key Driver of Change

2. Although the global infocomm industry has taken a beating over the past few years as a result of the overspending in IT, the dot-com crash, and over-investment in telecommunications, the sector's prospects remain promising.

3. Infocomm remains a hotbed of innovation. Recent advancements, such as grid computing, P2P, and the semantic web all speak to the can-do spirit of the industry. Leading Infocomm vendors continue to invest heavily in R & D. I am told, for example, that Microsoft invested over 21% of its US$36.8 billion revenue on R&D in their last fiscal year (FY2004 ended 30 June 2004) - this works out to almost US$7.8 billion a year!

4. This pace of change will continue unabated if not accelerate. We can expect Infocomm technologies to develop in exciting ways and continue to be a key driver of economic and social change.

The Past and Present Are Guideposts to the Future of Infocomm

5. To anticipate the future, we should first understand the past. History helps provide a guide to the future.

6. The Infocomm world has seen dramatic change. In 1995, the most common form of wireless communications was the humble pager - it offered only one-way communications and delivered only numerals. Apple has just launched its Newton PDA without much success. Floppy discs were the standard medium for portable storage and, the Internet has yet to cross from the research community to society at large.

7. Today, just ten years later, mobile phones have displaced the use of pagers and there is a new generation of smartphones that behaves more and more like a PDA. We carry around thumb drives that are physically smaller than a single floppy disk - but with 1000 times the capacity! Broadband connectivity is becoming main-stream, and the Internet has become an indispensable part of our lives. Infocomm is underpinning a productivity revolution and transforming whole industries, for example, the travel and banking sectors.

8. What will the world look like 10 years from now, in 2015? In an era of exponential change, it is hard to imagine how the future will look like. But even in the sea change, certain constants such as Moore's Law (which states that computing power doubles every 18 months) and Storage's law (which states that storage capacity doubles every 12 months).

But Infocomm Itself Will Evolve

9. But Infocomm will not just be "(a lot) more of the same". Increasingly, new technologies will bear on the development of Infocomm. We believe nano-technology and bio-technology will shape the very essence of Infocomm.

10. Nanotechnology will change the substrate underpinning the Infocomm revolution. For example, nanotechnology will enable storage technology to make the next quantum leap when magnetic media exploits the spin of individual atoms making storage so cheap that we can carry terabytes of memory with us. We may never need to worry about forgetting something again!

11. Biotechnology may be in vogue today but if you look a bit deeper, you will find that there is a very strong inter-play between bio and info technologies. Many of the discoveries in bio-technology are made possible only because there are sufficiently powerful computers and software for this science to be understood. And, I like to highlight the cancer cell detection kit that was a winner at the recent HP/AWSJ Young Inventors Awards. This invention bridges the bio and info worlds to solve real world problems. You can find out more about this invention and other inventions in the nano and info space at the exhibition outside.

Singapore 2015 - A Nation Powered by Infocomms

12. We believe that the tectonic forces of Infocomm technology, nanotechnology & biotechnology will converge to bring about the dawn of a new era of smart, ubiquitous computing.

13. "Personal servers" - which converge the functions of a PDA, phone & video player - will replace portable computers and mobile phones. Utility computing will enable true computing "on demand". A new, entirely invisible economy will spring up alongside the Internet of today. Powered by embedded, wireless, smart, networked & collaborative sensors, it will transform the way we work, live and play.

14. Infocomm will be pervasive - it will impact every facet of our economy and society and improve the quality of our lives in as yet unimagined ways. This is our vision of Singapore 2015 - an intelligent nation powered by Infocomms.

Call to Action

15. While Singapore's future is bright, the next decade holds many challenges in store for us. For example,

(a) How can Singapore sustain its competitiveness and develop new pillars of growth where it can excel?
(b) How can Singapore continue to be a safe haven for its citizens in an increasingly insecure world?
(c) How can Singapore overcome the issues arising from the demographic trend of a greying population?

Intelligent Nation 2015 (iN2015) Master Plan

17. The 5th Infocomm Technology Roadmap paints a picture of where Infocomm technology is heading. It identifies possibilities created by the confluence of info, nano and bio technologies. It is the technology pillar in a national effort by IDA to craft Intelligent Nation 2015 (iN2015) - a bold, new master plan to take Singapore beyond our present "Connected Singapore" blueprint, to 2015, the nation's 50th anniversary.

18. Over the next year, IDA will work with the Infocomm industry, key economic sectors, research institutes and civic organisations to develop iN2015 master plan. We invite you to participate in this process to define and co-create our future. Your voice matters.


19. I wish you a fruitful symposium. Thank you.