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Speech by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information, at the Opening Ceremony of imbX 2014

17 June 2014 - Speech by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information, at the Opening Ceremony of imbX 2014 on 17 June 2014 at 9.25 am at Level 4, Simpor Room, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore Convention Centre.

Speech by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information, at the Opening Ceremony of imbX 2014 on 17 June 2014 at 9.25 am at Level 4, Simpor Room, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore Convention Centre.

Your Excellencies

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

Good morning.

1. I am happy to join you today at the annual Infocomm Media Business Exchange, or imbX. At the Ministerial Forum on ICT yesterday, we had a fruitful discussion on the opportunities that infocomm technology brings for the development of Smart Cities. Today, I would like to share how Singapore can make use of the latest technological advancements to realise our vision of becoming a Smart Nation.

2. An important trend that will support our goal to become a Smart Nation is Big Data & Analytics. It allows us to derive insight into behaviour and preferences. This can lead to more customised products and services that our people can benefit from and enjoy. Thus, it will play a critical role as companies enhance their business operations and improve their value proposition to consumers.

3. Another trend is the Internet of Things. This is where devices and objects are embedded with communication capabilities that make them identifiable or machine readable. With these capabilities, devices can be linked to one another and connected to networks to enable collaborative sensing and sense-making to make business processes more efficient, and our lives more comfortable. With this growing trend, Singapore is managing our spectrum supply to cater for this anticipated new demand for connectivity. Last evening, I announced that we will be introducing the TV White Space regulatory framework to provide for greater capacity and data connectivity. We have also made it easier for devices to connect and tap on telecommunications infrastructure, such as Wireless@SG, the national wireless broadband network. Just last Sunday, we extended the Wireless@SG to allow the registration of foreign phone numbers. I hope you have been able to enjoy the free Wi-Fi service thus far.

4. Singapore has made good progress in laying the backbone infrastructure to prepare for Big Data & Analytics, Internet of Things and other transformational ICM trends and developments with our Intelligent Nation (iN2015) Masterplan. We are in the process of formulating the Infocomm Media Masterplan to guide the development of our infocomm and media sectors in a holistic manner up to 2025. Our goal is to establish Singapore as a Smart Nation that taps on the potential of infocomm and media, and that nurtures innovative talent and enterprises. In this way, the ICM sectors can bring about economic growth and social cohesion, and better living for our people.

5. There are many “smart cities” around the world, which have already begun wiring up and connecting themselves to drive better efficiency and benefits for citizens. They include Barcelona and Santander in Spain, Amsterdam and many others. As cities continue to grow, demands on urban infrastructure will also increase and resources will become scarcer. It is therefore imperative to develop smart communities which are driven by intelligence, integration and innovation. We believe that a Smart Nation can become a reality if we successfully combine policy, people and technology in a concerted fashion.

Smart Nation Platform

6. A key component in our Smart Nation vision is the Smart Nation Platform or SNP.  As part of the SNP, we will further our capabilities in pervasive connectivity, by building new infrastructure and common technical architecture to support an innovative ecosystem across Singapore. There are three focus areas in the SNP: “Connect”, “Collect and Comprehend”.

7. Under “Connect”, we will strengthen our communications backbone, and extend connectivity through the progressive deployment of Above Ground (AG) Boxes and the Heterogeneous Network (HetNet). The AG Boxes will provide street level connectivity points by supplying points for fibre access and power, and the ready common communications infrastructure for sensor deployment. The HetNet trials will explore areas which include seamless roaming within a mobile operator’s network, resource sharing of spectrum and energy efficiency, peak data rates as well as quality of service and experience. If successful, consumers can expect to have more consistent user experiences as they roam across different types of networks, while businesses will be able to deliver more services for consumers. IDA will be calling for an industry briefing on 1 July to share more on the scope and processes of the trials.

8. Under “Collect and Comprehend”, we plan to roll-out an operating system where public agencies could be plugged in to essential sensor data. This data would be protected, and managed, before being shared. Insights gained from this data would enable us to better anticipate citizens’ needs and help in better delivery of services.

A Smart Nation Test-Bed

9. What would a Smart Nation look like? The upcoming Jurong Lake District, or JLD, would provide us with a glimpse into the future. JLD will be the largest commercial and regional centre outside Singapore’s Central Business District.  It is envisioned to be a mixed-used urban precinct characterised by sustainable development and connectivity. IDA in partnership with several agencies has approved several pilots and trials of smart technologies in JLD, such as the use of video analytics to detect traffic conditions at junctions more efficiently. Another pilot would be the use of autonomous vehicles to ferry passengers along paths for first or last mile portions of their journeys.

10. As part of a Smart Nation, we are also looking into using technology to provide services and applications that can benefit the people.  For example, we are exploring smart home solutions, particularly in the areas of wellness, active aging and energy efficiency. The industry can play a part by partnering us in establishing common IOT standards within the home setting, as well as identifying new innovations in the home space.

11. Another area where the industry can play an important role would be in Game Sciences and Technology. In this area, the mechanics of Game Science and thinking are adopted in the design and development of applications and services. To promote the technology, we will be launching the IDA Labs on Wheels bus where youth can learn about Game Science.

A Smart Nation Future

12. Singapore is firmly committed to collaborating with businesses and the community to realise our vision of a Smart Nation. More importantly, it will allow cities like ours to learn, adopt and innovate in a constantly changing environment.

13. The convergence of infocomm and media technology, the prevalence of personalised products and services through insights gained from data analytics and other ICT developments give us added reason to continue to meet at forums such as the imbX. As Asia’s largest ICT and media showcase of technologies and solutions, it provides us with the opportunities to engage in important discussions around ICT and its impact on the future. As we begin this year’s imbX, I wish you a fruitful and rewarding experience here, and a memorable stay in Singapore.

14. It now gives me great pleasure to declare imbX 2014, open. Thank you.