The infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) will be investing up to S$55 million in scholarships and training incentives to boost Singapore's infocomm talent pool over the next few years. It will also continue to promote wider adoption of infocomm, with S$70 million allocated for schemes such as Calls-for-Collaboration to co-develop infocomm business solutions.
|The Next Gen NBN is expected to catalyse the development of next generation infocomm services.
At the same time, fresh business opportunities are expected to emerge from the deployment of Singapore's Next Generation National Broadband Network (Next Gen NBN), which is expected to catalyse the growth and development of next generation infocomm services.
These are some of the measures that the government is taking to develop world-class enterprises and capabilities for a creative economy, said Dr Lee Boon Yang, Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts.
Speaking at the Committee of Supply Debate in Parliament in February, Dr Lee said IDA is investing about S$30 million over the next five years in scholarships. To date, about 150 scholarships have been awarded under the National Infocomm Scholarship scheme for undergraduates, which will be extended for another three years. A new Integrated Infocomm Scholarship will also be introduced to provide a direct route from polytechnic to university for outstanding "O" level students interested in infocomm studies.
To encourage infrocomm professionals to upgrade their capabilities, IDA will also invest about S$25 million to enhance its Critical Infocomm Technology Resource Programme. Sponsorship for infocomm courses and certification fees will be raised from 50 per cent to 80 per cent, while companies sponsoring their employees for these courses will also be eligible for Absentee Payroll at S$50 per day. The programme is expected to benefit 10,000 infocomm professionals over the next two years.
|About S$10 million is being set aside for the Infocomm@SME programme to support infocomm adoption by local SMEs.
In the area of infocomm adoption, about S$10 million is being set aside for the Infocomm@SME to support infocomm adoption by local Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). In addition, IDA continues to promote infocomm innovation amongst SMEs with S$5 million set aside from SPRING's Technology Innovation Programme. These programmes will enable IDA to help more SMEs adopt infocomm to enhance their business model and competitiveness.
Dr Lee cited the example of Gramercy Music, a music retail business which received support from IDA to implement an Enterprise Resource Planning system, helping the company to save costs and raise efficiency. IDA will partner SPRING to provide a single point-of-contact for relevant SME infocomm funding schemes to increase convenience for SMEs. It will also work with the Singapore Infocomm Technology Federation and the chambers of commerce to roll out these programmes.
To support local infocomm companies, especially those who have developed capabilities and solutions in the area of e-Government, IDA has established IDA International to promote their services overseas. Companies such as ST Electronics, Ecquaria and SQLView are already working with IDA International in the Middle East, Africa and Central and South America.
Looking ahead, Dr Lee pointed to developments such as the Next Gen NBN, which are expected to contribute to further cost reduction and greater vibrancy in the infocomm and communications sector. To further optimise the use of the Next Gen NBN, IDA will implement a neutral Singapore Internet Exchange to improve domestic Internet traffic routing and access to content, said Dr Lee. IDA will also foster the development of Next Gen Innovation Centres (NGIC) and the introduction of the Next Gen Services Innovation Programme to help companies develop prototype and scalable services over the high-speed network.
The NGICs are aimed at helping to lower the barriers for new Retail Service Providers (RSPs) to enter the market. These are physical centres that will bring together private, people and public sector end users and technology and service providers to create next generation services. By going to a NGIC, local companies can avoid the costs of acquiring or building their own infrastructure and focus instead on the development and delivery of next generation services that meet market needs. At these centres, RSPs can also get technical and business guidance to conceptualise, develop and prototype next generation services. The first NGIC, Cisco's Enabling Platform Innovation Centre was launched on 12 December 2008.
IDA will also launch the Next Generation Services Innovation Programme in the first half of 2009 as part of a larger effort to develop a thriving retail services layer that leverages the Next Generation National Infocomm Infrastructure. Through this programme, IDA will engage both local and foreign providers, enterprises and consumers, to use Singapore as their centre of excellence for next generation services. IDA will also engage industry players to participate in a pilot run to ensure the successful delivery of services on the Next Gen NBN.
Click here for the full text of Dr Lee's speech.