Singapore's IMDA to focus on four frontier tech areas

Tan Wee Kwang

At the Infocomm Media Business Exchange 2017, Dr Yaccob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information, said that Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has identified four frontier technology focus areas-AI and data science, cybersecurity, immersive media, and the IoT. 

1) AI and data science

Initiatives include AI.SG, a new S$150 million ($108m) national program to boost Singapore’s AI capabilities, and the establishment of the Singapore Data Science Consortium. Under the Techskills Accelerator (TeSA) program, IMDA announced the first TeSA Fintech project with DBS Bank to develop more professionals with capabilities in agile development, DevOps, information security, and data analytics for the financial services sector. 

2) Cybersecurity

Companies like Singtel, ST Electronics, Quann, Accel, and Deloitte have embarked on the Cybersecurity Associates and Technologists (CSAT) program to train more cybersecurity professionals for the industry. The government also established the National Cybersecurity R&D Programme in 2013, with funding of S$130 million ($94m) over five years, to develop R&D expertise and capabilities in cybersecurity. 

3) Immersive media

Ibrahim spoke about the potential of virtual and augmented reality across various industries, and focused on how it can be used in education and training. 

IMDA has partnered with Beach House Pictures to pilot the use of VR in five primary schools. Through the pilot lessons, about 400 students learned about design, architecture, and high-tech farming. Beach House Pictures has also collaborated with local startup Hiverlab to develop a customized VR classroom application for teachers to guide students on VR experiences to different locations around Singapore. 

IMDA and Tan Tock Seng Hospital will be collaborating with SideFX Studios to use VR and mixed reality to augment clinical training. The collaboration will develop immersive simulations for basic surgical skills and complex airway management, which is critical in life-threatening emergencies. 

4) IoT and future communications infrastructure

Enhancements are planned to the Nationwide Broadband Network, IoT networks, 5G mobile network and sensor networks, to enable businesses to leverage high-speed networks, real-time communications, and high accuracy location positioning. 

5G trials in Singapore have achieved throughputs of over 1Gbps with latency of less than 1ms. To encourage industry trials in 5G technology, the IMDA will waive frequency fees for 5G trials and conduct public consultations on the development of 5G in Singapore. 

“We need to develop strong digital industries in their own right, and catalyze their transformation of other industries to spur productivity and yield new synergies,” said Ibrahim. “Ultimately, we hope that all our efforts to prepare Singapore for the digital future will improve people’s lives.”

Another priority for the IMDA is to ensure that citizens can continue to be employed amid rapid technological change. To help displaced PMETs, IMDA has been working with partners like Workforce Singapore, Singapore Computer Society, e2i, and NTUC on initiatives such as TeSA Integrated Career Services, programs and courses for upskilling and reskilling PMETs, and new skill upgrading pathways.

First appeared on Enterprise Innovations

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