10-year vision for infocomm, media sectors unveiled

10-year vision for infocomm, media sectors unveiled
Photo: AP
Panel seeks feedback from industry and public
Published: 4:13 AM, March 31, 2014
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SINGAPORE — In the years ahead, seniors could tap on enhanced speech and visual recognition technologies, coupled with more intuitive user interfaces, to control and navigate content with ease, while communities could be part of a virtual “kampung”, using their time, not cash, to pay for services rendered.

Students from the primary to post-secondary level could be studying coding and computational thinking and at the tertiary level, those not studying infocomm and media (ICM) — such as students in law, healthcare and business — will be encouraged to take it as a recognised minor, with subjects such as data analysis, modelling and simulation on offer.

These are among 13 ideas that a high-level steering committee — formed by the Government to chart the next phase of development in the ICM industries — has proposed as part of its vision for the next 10 years, starting from next year.

The ideas are grouped under five strategies: To ensure a “pervasive, agile and robust” infrastructure, build vibrant ICM sectors, develop human capital, enable people and businesses to harness infocomm technologies, and to create a research and development ecosystem that supports innovation and commercialisation.

Stressing that the ideas are all preliminary and subject to refinement, the committee yesterday released its 10-year infocomm and media master plan for public consultation. It hopes to consult the industry and public from next month to August to get feedback and glean new ideas.

The two sectors have been rapidly developing due to the prevalence of high-speed connectivity, widespread use of mobile devices and digitisation of information. Currently, these sectors contribute about a 10th of Singapore’s gross domestic product. The nominal value-added of the infocomm and media sectors respectively jumped from S$19 billion in 2008 to S$21 billion in 2011, and from S$6.4 billion in 2008 to S$8 billion in 2011.

The committee hopes the master plan can contribute to a better quality of life for Singaporeans through innovative solutions, encourage the creation of revolutionary products and services here, and build a nation that advocates cutting-edge technologies.

Under its strategy of enabling people to harness infocomm technologies, the committee’s proposed virtual “kampung” would see an individual, for instance, earn two “time-credits” for helping someone with a service, such as grocery shopping. He can then spend these two credits on someone else who offers another service, such as providing tuition for his grandson.

The committee called this system a Community Time Exchange. Known as time banks overseas and a hit in the United States and United Kingdom, it will help connect people together and build stronger communities, said the committee. Some examples overseas include the Fair Shares community time banks in Gloucester and the Nippon Active Life Club in Japan.

To establish an agile, pervasive and trusted ICM infrastructure, an idea proposed by the committee is the installation of a common sensor infrastructure outdoors.

Currently, outdoor sensors are deployed in an ad-hoc manner, with limited coordination and planning across service providers, resulting in long and costly deployment processes, said the committee.

For instance, the traffic light and street lighting control system is under the purview of the Land Transport Authority, the PUB has water-level sensors for the monitoring of the drainage system and the National Environment Agency regulates water pollution and quality in Singapore’s sewerage system through water-quality sensors.

By setting up a new infrastructure for nationwide sensor deployment, termed Above Ground Box, sensor infrastructure across the island can be more “speedy, secure, cost-effective and scalable”, said the committee.

As for the new media service for seniors, Mr Eddie Chau, a committee member and the founder of iSentia Brandtology, pointed out that the technology today “needs to be revamped just to suit the next generation of seniors”.

For instance, a computer mouse may be tough to use for seniors who have problems with hand mobility, he said. “So how can they get engaged when they can’t even move or click it? There are a lot of things we need to do, (there are) a lot of opportunities,” he added.

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