The Singaporean Government has restructured the Info-Communications Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) and the Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) to form the Info-Communications Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA) and the Government Technology Agency (GovTech). A new branding and a campaign around the concept of #EmpoweringPossibilities has been launched to show off the breadth of the new organisation’s remit.
According to a speech given by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, minister for communications and information, at the launch, last Friday, the newly formed unit will help Singapore reap the benefits of digital disruption. “First, by developing a strong ICM sector to power and transform our economy. Second, by building an environment of trust. And third, by ensuring that every Singaporean benefits from convergence and technological progress,” he said.
One way the country plans to do this is by increasing training in this sector via the TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) which has had 1,000 Singaporeans trained in the past three months. The scheme aims to have over 20,000 trained by 2020.
He also said the country was investing in technology such as VR but is looking how it can be applied to the medical trade; “IMDA will not confine its efforts to the ICM sector, but work in every sector which can benefit from using ICM better. For instance, in urban logistics, IMDA is working with SPRING and CapitaLand to reduce delivery times to shopping malls by up to 70 per cent. IMDA is launching Smart Facility Management pilots at malls across Singapore, to automate tasks like cleaning, landscaping, and building maintenance. In healthcare, we are working with animation and special effects company SideFX to develop a Virtual Reality (VR) tool to train doctors to do emergency procedures. And in education, we are working with local media company Beach House Pictures to create immersive worlds using VR, so that our students can live out the lesson rather than just reading it off a page.”
Three Strategies Outlined
The authority has three strategies to lead Singapore to a digital future, Dr Yaacob said.
First, it will develop a strong infocomm media sector that will power and transform the economy. For example, IMDA will launch the Smart Facility management initiative, which will help small and medium-sized enterprise service providers from sectors such as cleaning and landscaping, to incorporate smart technology in facility management in buildings. These include the use of sensors, analytics and autonomous systems.
The authority is also working with companies to explore the use of virtual and augmented reality for programmes such as interactive virtual journeys for students to learn social studies, and virtual training programmes for healthcare professionals to practise life-saving skills.
IMDA will also help mentor and nurture promising startups through a collaboration with leading media company Mediacorp on its Mediapreneur incubator programme. Mediacorp said in a statement that the partnership will complement Mediapreneur’s efforts to nurture media-related startups by providing mentorship in areas such as technical product testing, building of financial models and fund raising pitches, tailored to the different growth stages of startups. To date, there are 16 companies under the Mediapreneur programme, and the number of mentors involved has increased from 12 to 16. Nine startups have also commenced phase two of the incubator programme. As for its second strategy, IMDA will build an environment of trust through regulations. In light of technological changes, it will update legislation such as the Telecommunications Act and Films Act. It will also harmonise the media and telecommunications regulatory framework for greater consistency. IMDA’s third strategy is to improve Singaporeans’ lives through
As for its second strategy, IMDA will build an environment of trust through regulations. In light of technological changes, it will update legislation such as the Telecommunications Act and Films Act. It will also harmonise the media and telecommunications regulatory framework for greater consistency.
IMDA’s third strategy is to improve Singaporeans’ lives through infocomm media technologies, to ensure that all can benefit. The authority has partnered non-profit and social service organisations to bring infocomm media technologies to the elderly and lower-income groups. The re-structuring of IDA and MDA was announced in January 2016, and follows the introduction of the integrated Infocomm Media 2025.
The re-structuring of IDA and MDA was announced in January 2016, and follows the introduction of the integrated Infocomm Media 2025 masterplan in August 2015.
The government has also announced the board for the new department, which will be led by former Permanent Secretary (defence) Chan Yeng Kit, who is now the chairman of the board for the IMDA.