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Opening Speech by RADM(NS) Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, at CloudAsia 2011, Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel

1 June 2011 - Opening Speech By RADM(NS) Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, at CloudAsia 2011 Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel

Opening Speech By RADM(NS) Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, at CloudAsia 2011, 31 May 2011, Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel


1. In the infocomm realm, we are undergoing a paradigm shift, from the traditional model where infocomm applications are delivered and consumed within the enterprise environment, i.e. "on premises", to a model where these applications are delivered and consumed via the Internet as services, i.e. "in the cloud". This shift has been driven not only by the considerable savings in business costs for SMEs and global companies, but also the opportunities to more effectively engage customers to deliver infocomm enabled services over the Internet to consumers and enterprises, both locally and internationally.

Progress in Cloud Adoption

2. In Singapore, the private and public sectors have made good progress in cloud adoption. For the inaugural Youth Olympic Games hosted by Singapore last August, cloud computing played a key role in supporting the infocomm needs of this large scale event. A cloud-based platform was deemed the best solution to support technical infrastructure for the Games: it had a low setup cost and was fast, cost-effective, robust and highly scalable. Another key consideration was that the Games would be a one-time event, and therefore a cloud-based infrastructure would eliminate the need for post-Games management of hardware inventory. The cloud infrastructure, which was provided by Alatum, ensured secure data centre services to drive many key applications - games and results management, management of location passes, Internet applications, email services, web hosting and so on.

3. Similarly, measures to speedily scale the infrastructure were critical in managing systems performance and user experience for the Odyssey 3D virtual world platform set up in conjunction with the YOG event, which was provided by nGrid. The Odyssey 3D virtual world presented for the global audience an immersive virtual experience that encompassed sports, games, education and social networking. The YOG was among the most complex ICT projects for a sporting event held in Singapore, and IDA is happy to have enjoyed the partnership of industry players to very successfully meet the demanding ICT requirements for the Games.

4. Let me highlight another use of cloud computing in government. A period bulk tender, also known as EnVision, was called by IDA for the supply of video hosting and streaming services using the utility pricing model to government agencies. Many ministries and agencies such as MICA, MND, and MINDEF, IDA, MAS and IE Singapore are users of EnVision, as are schools such as St Nicholas Girls' School, St Joseph's Institution and Raffles Institution.

5. In continuing our efforts to share about cloud computing, IDA, together with the National Library Board, Singapore Computer Society and Imperial College Alumni Association launched a new series of public talks about cloud computing in March this year. Targeted at an audience that is not predominantly made up of ICT professionals, the series seeks to facilitate access to in-depth knowledge on cloud computing, with the aim of increasing awareness and education, discussing cloud computing related issues such as cloud security in order to enhance confidence in its adoption; and sharing on cloud applications so as to provide a better understanding of what cloud computing can best be used for.

6. I am also pleased to share that IDA is collaborating with the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) to conduct trials to ascertain the technical feasibility and business viability of cloud-based hosting of Building Information Modelling or BIM software for the Architecture, Engineering and Construction or the AEC community. The aim of this effort is to promote the use of BIM software on a utility business model by this group of users. Such an initiative may well give rise to an AEC community cloud.

7. For those who wish to hop on the cloud bandwagon but may not be sure how to, IDA has worked with the cloud community to create a "Cloud Computing in Singapore" booklet, which I am pleased to launch today. The booklet will be made available to all attendees of CloudAsia 2011. It has a directory of Singapore-based cloud service providers, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) independent software vendors, cloud technology companies, as well as a number of case studies on companies from a range of industry sectors which have implemented cloud computing in their operations.

8. Indeed, I am happy to note that there has been very good progress in various cloud computing initiatives in Singapore. First, we are seeing more cloud service providers using Singapore as a regional or global hub to host their data centres. Over the past twelve months, new cloud data centres established in Singapore include those set up by Tata Communications, Fujitsu, and IBM.

9. Second, we have seen more software companies and infocomm end-user companies establish new entities to encourage and enable cloud adoption. These include the Cloud Enablement Centre, a collaboration between the Singapore Infocomm Technology Federation (SITF) and Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP). This centre aims to foster adoption of cloud computing in the enterprise, especially SMEs, for improved productivity, increased revenue and value-add to the business. It will provide an interactive platform for the IT Industry to engage customers in training, consultancy services and project development involving cloud computing, as well as to showcase cloud computing solutions to industry partners and customers including the SMEs, enterprises and government. The NYP-Microsoft Cloud Innovation Centre, established in April this year, engages in R&D and develops enterprise business software services for the industry, by embracing an emerging class of social, collaborative and participative cloud services on the Internet.

10. Third, there has been good progress too in our efforts to ensure that infocomm graduates and professionals are trained and kept abreast of advances in cloud computing. IDA has been working with our industry and educational institute partners to put in place the necessary framework and support for companies and workers to upgrade their competencies in the new cloud space. The NTUC Learning Hub worked with University of California at Berkeley to launch a series of cloud computing courses this February, and those taking the courses can enjoy funding support under IDA's CITREP (Critical Infocomm Technology Resource Programme) programme.

11. Microsoft Singapore and NYP signed an MOU in April to deploy cloud curriculum on a large scale. NYP also became the first cloud-ready institution in Singapore where all students will be trained starting from Year One. The programme will train 4,000 students and 100 faculty members over three years, starting last month.

12. Fourth, we have made progress in addressing impediments to cloud adoption. With the growth of cloud computing, we recognise the importance of an ongoing dialogue with the industry on issues such as cloud security, best practices for virtualisation security, and checklists for service level agreements on SaaS and Infrastructure-as-a-Service. IDA worked with Singapore's Infocomm Standards Committee or ITSC to set up a cloud computing standards co-ordinating task force in February this year. The task force, which comprises representatives from IDA, ITSC, Singapore Computer Society, SiTF (Singapore Infocomm Technology Federation) and ITMA (Infocomm Technology Management Association), will work on guidelines on these issues with inputs from the industry.

13. To build knowledge capital in cloud computing, IDA has been collaborating with Yahoo!, HP and Intel in the Open Cirrus Cloud Computing test bed. Through this three-year partnership, there are now 15 such research projects undertaken by Singapore universities with the industry.

14. At the opening of CloudAsia last year, we announced IDA's collaboration with IBM in its Cloud Lab Singapore. The cloud lab provides an integrative capability that creates and prototypes innovative and repeatable solutions required by the industry. This can help quicken the harnessing of research results and the deployment of solutions by industry, thereby shortening the time to adoption. The first project under this collaboration is the High Performance Computing cloud platform at NTU (Nanyang Technological University) - a first-of-its-kind in the world - which will offer a combination of the best of high performance computing from HPC infrastructure, and the flexibility, scalability and virtualisation of cloud computing. The first user to benefit is NTU's School of Art, Design and Media which will use the new HPC cloud platform for rendering digital animation media to create rich content for its media and entertainment projects. In time, this HPC cloud environment will be available to a wider pool of researchers and students at NTU, and potentially to commercial users as well.

15. I am pleased to announce that IDA is also partnering A*STAR( Agency for Science, Technology and Research) in a programme where companies can develop cloud computing solutions based on technologies made available by the Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R) and Exploit Technologies (ETPL) through a short-term no-fee evaluation licence grant that also gives these companies an option to take on a commercial licence if their trial deployment proves to be successful and of value.

16. Last year, IDA issued two calls for proposals to undertake innovative cloud based projects. Such projects will help to enable infocomm infrastructure development for iN2015 vertical clusters. They are also specific lighthouse projects that illustrate and promote the use of cloud computing. Successful proposals were provided support in terms of compute and storage resources drawn from the National Grid Service Providers, and other Singapore-based cloud service providers, including Amazon Web Services, Savvis, and Tata Communications.

17. After evaluation of the submissions by government agencies, research institutes, universities, polytechnics, and private sector companies, a total of 35 project proposals were awarded cloud resources worth over $500,000. Of the cloud resources awarded, the R&D proposals made up 50 per cent, industry 36 per cent and government the remaining 14 per cent. Examples of the awarded project proposals include cloud-based digital animation rendering, testing virtual private cloud and cloud-based mobile apps, tele-health monitoring, and audio fingerprinting, just to name a few.

18. Today I am pleased to announce that IDA is launching its third call for cloud computing proposals. This time, we have the support and participation of the following cloud service providers: Alatum, nGrid, and Tata Communications. In this call, we will emphasise several industry verticals, such as Transport, Education, Manufacturing & Logistics, Construction and Digital Media. The earlier-mentioned A*STAR short-term no-fee evaluation licence grant can be leveraged upon in conjunction with this call. More details can be found on the IDA website. I invite interested industry members to apply.


19. Today's CloudAsia event is made possible through a partnership between IDA and Informa Telecoms & Media Asia. We have agreed to co-organise an annual four-day event to promote cloud computing and adoption for three years. This partnership builds upon the brand name that has been established over the last six years, initially that of 'GridAsia' and subsequently 'CloudAsia'. We thank you for your attendance, and look forward to your continuing support in the coming years.

20. On that note, I wish you an enjoyable and fruitful time here at CloudAsia 2011. Thank you.

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