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IDA CEO's Remarks at iN2015 Media Conference at imbX 2009

16 June 09 - Remarks by RADM(NS) Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, at iN2015 Media Conference at imbX 2009

Remarks by RADM(NS) Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, at iN2015 Media Conference at imbX 2009, Singapore Expo, 16 June 2009, 10:30 am

Members of the media,

1. Thank you for coming today. Acting Minister for MICA, Rear-Admiral(NS) Lui Tuck Yew, this morning announced several new initiatives that IDA will be rolling out, as part of our iN2015 masterplan. We would like to share more details about them this morning.

2. As you know, IDA launched the 10-year masterplan in 2006, with a vision to transform Singapore into an Intelligent Nation, Global City, powered by Infocomm. Under this masterplan, IDA together with the industry launched a series of initiatives to develop our infocomm infrastructure and manpower, and use infocomm to enable key sectors such as education, healthcare, finance, trade and logistics. To support the iN2015 vision, it is important for Singapore to develop a vibrant infocomm eco-system. To this end, we will be guided by three thrusts, namely: encouraging sophisticated demand for infocomm; fostering creation of innovative services and knowledge capital; and strengthening Singapore as an Economic Hub. The new initiatives that we will be sharing with you are in line with the development of this vibrant infocomm ecosystem. Let me now elaborate on this.

3. To encourage the sophisticated demand for infocomm, several initiatives have been launched, targeting sectors like healthcare, education, transport and logistics, finance, government as well as the SME sector. For instance, initiatives for the healthcare cluster will aim at improving the quality of healthcare, minimise medical errors for patient safety, and potentially lower costs through the use of infocomm. In education, infocomm is being deployed to schools to provide learner-centric, collaborative learning environments beyond the classroom. At the IDA Booth later, you will get to see how lessons like Geography and History can be conducted through real-time multiplayer games, or the immersive learning lab which uses 3D games and simulation to promote experiential learning.

4. In the area of eGovernment, Singapore has been harnessing infocomm technology over the last 3 decades to improve operational efficiency as well as enhance service delivery to citizens and businesses. The next phase of eGovernment development will be an exciting one, with the deployment of the Standard ICT Operating Environment or SOEasy that will allow more than 60,000 public servants to use collaborative tools such as instant messaging, desktop video conferencing services and whiteboard sharing to easily connect and collaborate within and across agencies. The government will also be looking into emerging mobile technologies to meet the needs of citizens who are well connected and always on the go.

5. In the SME sector, we believe that infocomm adoption and its innovative use can further the growth and development of many of our local companies. To promote greater infocomm adoption and its innovative use among SMEs, we launched the SME Infocomm Package under the Infocomm@SME programme in June 2008. Since the launch, more than 1,700 SMEs have established their Web presence.

6. Consumers and businesses are becoming more sophisticated in their demand for greater connectivity and convenience. The Next Generation e-Payment Programme therefore aims to provide consumers with greater convenience through cashless payment at more places beyond public transportation. The Programme will leverage the huge base of stored value cards used for public transport today, so that consumers can also use such cards at food courts, provision shops and convenient stores, among others. IDA issued a CFC in April 2009 to catalyse the deployment of contactless payment acceptance points across Singapore for these stored value cards. I'm happy to share that IDA received 11 submissions last week and we expect to award in August this year. The deployment of these contactless Point-of-Sale terminals will also serve to support future mobile payment solutions, such as those enabled by Near Field Communication technology which will allow consumers to make payments conveniently by just tapping their NFC phones on these contactless terminals.

7. Beyond mobile payments, mobile phone users will also be able to experience richer and more personalised mobile services under IDA's new Digital Concierge programme. This three-year programme aims to encourage the development of informational, transactional and location-based e-commerce services on the mobile channel. Through such services, businesses can reach out to their customers more effectively through targeted marketing, and customers can also conduct transactions such as making bookings and payments as well as receiving tickets through their mobile phones. IDA will issue a Call-For-Collaboration later this month to seek industry collaboration on the development and deployment of the Digital Concierge programme.

8. Sophisticated demand for infocomm services will only increase as Singapore develops further as a highly-connected society. Already, about 80 per cent of households in Singapore have access to at least one computer at home in 2008, and 76 per cent have Internet access at home1. To ensure that all can have access to PCs and laptops and to the Internet, IDA together with industry put in place the NEU PC Plus programme to help low-income households with school-going children to have their own computers that come bundled with free broadband service. This is to ensure equal opportunity for access to the infocomm technology.

9. With the increased speed and scale of global competition, we need to foster the creation of innovative services and knowledge capital, and to add new value to the infocomm industry. Some of IDA's efforts in this area include the Infocomm Local Industry Upgrading Programme (iLIUP) and Overseas Development Programme (ODP). iLIUP and ODP aim to build up the local infocomm industry by leveraging MNCs' technologies and global business networks. Since 2002, iLIUP has helped infocomm local enterprises develop more than 540 new or enhanced products and solutions and achieved more than S$196 million in revenue, while ODP has helped them achieve S$111 million in export revenue. In addition, to encourage innovation among IT start-ups, IDA has partnered with another government agency, SPRING, in the Technology Enterprise Commercialisation Scheme (TECS)2.

10. Other more recent efforts in this area include the setting up of IDA International, a wholly-owned subsidiary of IDA in February 2009, to serve as the execution arm for public service innovation and partnerships with foreign governments. With innovative services ready for the market, IDA International, can help our infocomm companies gain access to new markets overseas and work with them to tap new business opportunities. Now, with the synergy to be derived from a new Global Business Development Centre of Excellence which will help to promote our
e-Government capabilities, we can better capture the value of Singapore's market position as a leader in e-Government, to boost infocomm export revenue3.

11. We will continue to build up our repository of innovative services and knowledge capital, and add new value to the infocomm industry. To catalyse the development and deployment of innovative products and services, IDA and the industry are working together to establish Next Gen Innovation Centres or NGICs which allow major corporations in collaboration with other infocomm companies to use Singapore as a test bed for new products, services and business models to meet the emerging needs of enterprises and consumers. The first of such centres is the Enabling Platform Innovation Centre or EPIC, a collaboration between IDA and Cisco Systems. Launched in December last year, EPIC aims to bring various players, from end-users to service providers together, to help conceptualise, create and deploy Next Generation services, leveraging on the Next Gen NBN. IDA is currently working with a leading technology MNC partner to set up another NGIC later in the year. The centre will support the development of new innovations in emerging enterprise computing technologies, catalyse adoption and develop our infocomm manpower.

12. The third thrust in growing the infocomm ecosystem is to strengthen Singapore as an economic hub. To do this, we need to continue developing our hard and soft infrastructure, including Next Generation networks and infocomm capabilities.

13. In an increasingly interconnected world, pervasive connection at ultra high-speeds must be made accessible and affordable to businesses and consumers. We are therefore putting in place the Next Generation National Infocomm Infrastructure which comprises wired and wireless networks. For the wireless programme, we will be continuing the Wireless@SG service till March 2013 and also aim to catalyse the deployment and adoption of innovative enterprise and consumer services. Indeed, this wireless infrastructure can be an economic-enabler that would continue to inspire innovative and workable concepts from both the public and private sectors. More details will be provided later this morning.

14. The other component of the Next Gen NII is the Next Generation National Broadband Network. It is an investment in a key infocomm infrastructure that will enable further economic and social development. In September last year, we announced the selection of the OpenNet consortium to design, build and operate the passive infrastructure of the Next Gen NBN. Deployment of the network to buildings has already commenced, and deployment into homes will begin from September this year, with 60 per cent of homes and offices to be covered by 2010 and nation-wide coverage by 2012. In April this year, we announced the selection of Nucleus Connect to build, design and operate the active infrastructure of the Next Gen NBN. Nucleus Connect is expected to start offering commercial services by the first half of 2010. Downstream operators will have Effective Open Access to the Next Gen NBN, which will spur competition in the development of innovative Next Generation broadband services to end-users.

15. For a glimpse into the future, do join the media tour later at IDA's Next Generation services booth. You will see how Singapore's Next Gen NBN is going to be deployed into homes and the kinds of services that can potentially be delivered over the ultra high-speed connection, to homes, offices and even outdoors, such as Interactive IPTV, high-definition video conferencing and telemedicine. At the Next Generation Broadband Forum tomorrow, which is part of this week's imbX activities, participants will get to exchange views and ideas on the deployment of Next Generation Broadband Networks and the development and deployment of Next Generation Services. I would like to encourage you to attend the Forum.

16. The development of infocomm infrastructure and services requires talented and capable infocomm professionals. The emergence of new business models such as cloud computing, virtualisation, Green IT and the need to constantly create new infocomm solutions to meet business needs require infocomm professionals who are both creative and technically strong. IDA has introduced many infocomm manpower initiatives such as Enhanced Critical Infocomm Technology Resource Programme, or CITREP, the National Infocomm Competency Framework or NICF and scholarships, to build our infocomm capabilities. This July, we will be launching two new programmes, namely the Infocomm Leadership and Development Programme, or iLEAD, and the Infocomm Training and Attachment Programme, or iTAP in short. These will complement existing efforts to develop, attract and retain infocomm talent at the student and professional levels4.

17. Once again, thank you for coming to this briefing, where I have had the opportunity to share with you how we are building a vibrant ecosystem that will support the iN2015 vision. My colleagues will now provide you with more details of the Wireless@SG programme, the iLEAD and iTAP initiatives, and the enhanced NEU PC Plus programme.

18. Thank you.

Notes to Editor:

1 Annual Survey on Infocomm Usage in Households for 2008, by IDA Singapore

2 126 IT proposals were received in the TECS grant call which closed in January 2009. Twenty-six have been shortlisted for the final review and successful applicants are expected to be announced in June 2009.

3 One of Singapore's Intelligent Nation 2015 (iN2015) goals is to realise a three-fold increase in infocomm export revenue to S$60 billion by 2015.

4 The number of infocomm professionals in Singapore grew 6.6 per cent to reach 139,000 in 2008, up from 130,400 in 2007.

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