ICT to Singapore
Trends and opportunities
In Singapore, the Infocomm and Communication Technology (ICT) sector is a
key enabler for almost every industry sector, and has enhanced Singapore’s
competitiveness by raising productivity and transforming business processes
in industries like finance, services and manufacturing. The ICT sector in
Singapore is regulated by the Info-communications Media Development
Authority (IMDA), the country's infocomm industry master-planner focused on
infocomm and media policy and regulation, industry and talent
development and Personal Data Protection Commission. A separate agency, the
Government Technology Agency (GovTech) handles issues related to Government
digital services and applied technology.
As an information and technology hub in the Asia Pacific, Singapore is a
regional base for most of the world’s top infocomm multinationals including
Microsoft, Oracle, Amazon Web Services, Google, as well as international
technology startup companies. It is also a global data management hub
connected to 15 active submarine cable systems, with a total submarine
cable capacity of 114 Tbps and more than 50 per cent of the commercial carrier and
carrier neutral data center space in South East Asia.
Based on a manpower survey in 2015, the ICT industry revenue saw a Compound
Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 15.7 per cent for the period 2009 to 2014,
reaching $167.1 billion in 2014. Currently, there are more than 150,000 ICT
professionals in Singapore. The number is set to grow as Singapore
progresses in its Smart Nation initiative (Smart Nation), launched 2014 by
the Singapore government.
In Smart Nation, Singapore strives to support better living, stronger
communities, and create more opportunities for all its citizens.
“Smartness” here refers more to how well the society uses technology to
solve problems and address existing challenges, rather than complexity
of the technology. Effectively, citizens, rather than technology, are
ultimately at the heart of Singapore’s Smart Nation vision.
Smart Nation is coordinated by the Smart Nation and Digital Government
Office in the Prime Minister's Office, supported by various government
agencies. There are also policies in place to facilitate innovation and
nurture a culture of experimentation, innovation, risk-taking, and eventual
adoption of new ideas.
Smart Nation focuses on five key domains in which digital technology takes
on a key role in Singapore:
- home and environment
- business productivity
- health and enabled ageing; and
- public sector services.
In contributing to the Smart Nation eco-system, both the general public as
well as businesses have been encouraged to co-create impactful technology
solutions that would address challenges in the key domains. Examples of
ongoing projects include:
- Smart Home technologies being test-bedded in Housing and Development
Board (HDB) estates as part of the “Smart HDB Town Framework”
A committee on Autonomous Road Transport being set up to chart the
strategic direction for Autonomous Vehicle-enabled land mobility concepts
- The setting up of a Centre for Healthcare Assistive and Robotics
Technology (CHART) at Changi General Hospital to facilitate collaboration
between academia, industry and research institutions, to develop healthcare
solutions leveraging on robotics and assistive technology.
In line with nurturing a culture of experimentation and sustaining
innovation, the Singapore government has enhanced a government open data
portal, and will continue to release more government data in machine
readable format so that the public and third party developers can glean
insights and put them to good use in developing solutions. So Smart Nation
will be built on data and the ability to move, collect and make sense
before insights can be gleaned and lives can be improved.
Australian developers can leverage opportunities in Singapore, particularly
those related to developing applications and contributing to building the
Smart Nation infrastructure.
Four key frontier tech capabilities of focus are:
- Immersive Media
- Artificial Intelligence (or AI) & Data Science
There is opportunity for education/training sector in the ICT sector. The
nature of jobs has been evolving with rapid development in technology as
well as changes in business models and consumers’ behaviours, and the
industry has been promoting the building of technical expertise such as
Business Analytics, Cloud Computing, and Green ICT, in order to build a
pool of highly skilled ICT professionals that are future and Smart
Singapore has an open business environment encouraging competition, so
foreign infocomm companies and talent can build on and complement
Singaporean ICT businesses. Competition is not only from Singaporean
companies, but also from Asian rivals such as:
- Japan, which currently leads in mobile services
- Korea, in multimedia and broadband services
- Hong Kong, in broadcasting and media services.
While the environment is competitive, it is also dynamic. It fosters
collaboration between industry players that can work towards developing
solutions, leading to positive commercial outcomes for the respective
Tariffs, regulations and customs
Singapore has few trade barriers and is one of the most liberal trading regimes in the world.
Standards play a key and integral role part in facilitating the development
and adoption of new technologies. IMDA works with various industry partners
and standards organisations both in Singapore and overseas to make
standards a part of Singapore's infocomm and media eco-system.
Infocomm standards in Singapore are developed on a consensus basis and are
the result of the collaborative efforts among government agencies,
tertiary institutions, professional bodies and the infocomm industry. The
IMDA Standards Team plays a key role in fostering and facilitating the
industry's participation in local and international ICT standards forums.
It is the Secretariat to the IT Standards Committee (ITSC), one of the 11
Standards Committee under the National Standards Council appointed by
ITSC provides a neutral and open platform for interested industry and
government parties to come together to agree on technical standards. The
ITSC Council comprises a Council with representatives from associations,
academia, research institutes and government agencies such as Association
of Small and Medium Enterprises (ASME), Defence Science and Technology
Association (DSTA), Institute of Systems Science (ISS) and SPRING
Singapore, amongst other key agencies, which chart the directions and
policies of Singapore’s IT standards.
In addition, there are also appointed Technical Committees and Working
Groups comprising of technical experts from the industry, academia and
research institutes to develop and promote national infocomm standards, and
participate in international infocomm standardisation activities.
Marketing your products and services
It is important to work with local partners or distributors and system
integrators who are well-connected and have a good knowledge of the
Singaporean business environment.
The pro-business stance of Singapore’s infocomm sector reinforces
Singapore’s ongoing interest in partnering and collaborating with global
players to jointly identify and leverage on-market opportunities.
Australian ICT firms find that the Singapore market is open to bilateral
agreements and strategic alliances, research and development, and
deployment of services to global markets.
Links and industry contacts
Info-communications Media Development Authority
Government Technology Agency
Intellectual Property Office of Singapore
Singapore Infocomm Technology Federation
Association of the Telecommunications Industry of Singapore
Singapore Business Federation
Smart Nation Singapore
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