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Designing The Future Of Infocomm

16 August 2007 - Speech By Mr Leong Keng Thai, Deputy Chief Executive/Director-General (Telecoms), Infocomm Development Authority Of Singapore At The Splash Awards 2007, Singapore Institute Of Management.

Speech By Mr Leong Keng Thai Deputy Chief Executive / Director-General (Telecoms) Infocomm Development Authority Of Singapore At The Splash Awards 2007 on 16 August 2007, Singapore Institute Of Management.

Mr Wilson Tan, President, Singapore Computer Society
Mr Lee Kwok Cheong, CEO, SIM
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and gentlemen

A very good afternoon.


1. I am very happy to be here today at the Splash Awards - Designing the Future of Infocomm. I hope you had a splashing good time painting out the future of infocomm.

2. What does the future of infocomm mean? I thought about this last night. Then I remembered about the first desktop I had more than 20 years ago, in the early 80s. Now I know why it was called a desktop. It practically took the entire space on the top of my desk. It was a huge box with a CRT monochrome monitor sitting on top of it. In the box was a microprocessor with computing power probably less than what you have in your handphones today and it has an amazing 64K (not M) bytes of memory. It was definitely a luxury good reserved only for geeks. But in a mere 10 years or so later, that is by early 90s, we were told that we can surf for information on the Internet with a computer. Who could have imagined that we can source for almost any information at home or in the office using a computer instead of going to the Library and flipping through books.

3. At that time I had asked myself, what will happen another 10 years down the road, which is today? I had many visions and dreams too but never was I that bold to think that all communication and information research can be done on our mobile devices with so much power and at the size that can fit into our bags. In the first place, I never thought that our gigantic 'brick' mobile phone then could evolve so quickly to one that is not only a few millimetres thin but has multimedia functions.

4. Today I had the chance to browse through some of your creations to see how the future of infocomm is like in the eyes of the younger generation. What will infocomm be like in 2015? What are the new gadgets we can expect? And I am impressed by your innovative interactive designs. You have displayed bold expectations and dreams of the Infocomm landscape in Singapore.

Dynamic And Exciting Infocomm Future

5. I must say we are not that far from what you have imagined. Our future is definitely dynamic, exciting, rewarding and well-paying, and filled with opportunities. Let me share with you some impressive results. Our nation is witnessing an all-time high in revenue growth for the infocomm industry, with total revenue hitting over S$45 billion, which is a good 20 per cent growth from 2005 to 2006.

6. Our future infocomm landscape is taking shape as we develop a secure and trusted next generation ICT network. This network, with both wired and wireless components, will enable broadband internet access anytime and anywhere. The flagship programme from IDA, Wireless@SG, will be achieving its 5,000 wireless hotspots target in a few weeks' time. I hope that all of you are already amongst the 425,000 Wireless@SG subscribers who have been enjoying the benefits of being connected at public areas for free.

7. Also, the telcos are offering increasingly competitive broadband service plans and launching new services such as 3.5G, WiMAX and VoIP. With lower broadband prices and more options, we have seen a rise in the broadband subscriptions to 70 per cent of households on broadband in 2006, while 8 in 10 households own at least a PC.

8. Singapore has always been on the forefront of various economic sectors in the global arena. This year, the global community has taken notice of Singapore's infocomm-related strides. Since the launch of iN2015 a year ago to turn the nation into an intelligent nation, Singapore has emerged among the leaders in several global rankings. The latest is Accenture's e-government study called "Leadership in Customer Service: Delivering on the Promise". Singapore was ranked Number One, ahead of Canada and the United States. Accenture noted Singapore's edge in engaging its citizens and developing citizen-centric service models.

9. In Singapore, almost all our companies that have more than 250 employees already have a Web presence and are using the Internet and broadband. We would continue to require a pool of infocomm talent to service the industry. I am proud to say that our infocomm manpower resource has expanded by 7.5 per cent to almost 120,000 in 2006. The talent pool was also more qualified; with 83 per cent having received tertiary education. About half of the infocomm professionals work in infocomm organisations while the other half in end-user organisations in key economic sectors such as digital media, education, finance, healthcare, transport and many more.

You Are The Designer For The Future Of Our Infocomm Industry

10. While you take part in this challenge, you would have noticed that infocomm is a powerful enabler that allows you to break down barriers and define the future. Who knows, your imagination and your inventions may well be the next discovery that will transform the way we live, learn and play. I can sense your passion and creativity, which are some of the successful traits of a successful infocomm professional. Well-done!

11. Without doubt, infocomm will continue to be a strategic enabler and source of advantage as we progress into a world that is increasingly digital and connected. Infocomm is the backbone that enables the functioning of any industry.

12. As a global nation with little natural resources, Singapore needs to evolve to become a Global city powered by infocomm. In our next stage of growth, we need aspiring talents like yourselves, to meet the needs of a global economy, leveraging knowledge and networks of people and communications to gain competitive advantage.

13. On this note, let me send my heartiest congratulations to all the winners, and my deepest thanks to the Singapore Computer Society and the Singapore Institute of Management for co-organising the Splash Awards 2007 with IDA.

14. Thank you.