IMDA rolls out new measures to help infocomm media sector ride on emerging tech trends

The GoCloud initiative will therefore help SMEs to move to a cloud native architecture. It is expected to roll out early next year. PHOTO: TWITTER/IMDASG

SINGAPORE - The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) launched a series of initiatives on Thursday (Nov 22) aimed at capturing opportunities in this fast-growing services industry.

The initiatives follow the unveiling of the Services and Digital Economy Technology Roadmap (SDE Tech Roadmap), which outlines efforts to help Singapore ride on emerging technological trends.

The services sector has been of particular focus in this effort, said Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran at the SG:Digital Industry Day.

The sector contributes to nearly 70 per cent of GDP (gross domestic product) and employs up to 75 per cent of the workforce. It also embodies a broad spectrum of enterprises engaged in a wide range of activities, such as logistics, infocomm media, banking and insurance to transportation.

The initiatives announced on Thursday will go towards transforming the sector to deliver services that are end-to-end, frictionless, empathic and anticipatory of customer needs.

Key to this ecosystem - termed Services 4.0 - is ensuring small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are able to leverage cloud technology for their businesses.

The GoCloud initiative will therefore help SMEs to move to a cloud native architecture. It is expected to roll out early next year.

Under this initiative, infocomm technology (ICT) SMEs will be provided with funding support and expert coaches to learn about the benefits of cloud native architecture, equip their employees with the relevant skills and knowledge, and get hands-on in developing cloud native applications.

Most ICT SMEs develop solutions based on traditional software infrastructure, which is highly complex and limited in scalability and flexibility. It could take weeks or even months for companies to amend their applications and redeploy new solutions.

As a result, ICT SMEs are unable to respond to customer needs quickly, face higher development costs and cycles, and take longer to go to market with their solutions.

While locally hosted traditional software can be adapted for the cloud, it is more efficient to have a cloud native system (software designed specifically to be deployed on the cloud) from the get-go.

"Cloud native architecture is not just about shifting a company's on-premise assets and resources onto the cloud. This is an essential step, but is by no means the complete path or solution," said Mr Iswaran.

"More fundamentally, cloud native architecture is a way to build and run applications on the cloud with flexible modular components, allowing companies to amend their applications quickly, and to scale up or down as required."

To promote the adoption of cloud native architecture, the IMDA has also introduced the SG Digital Cloud Community, of which about 30 companies and associations are now a pioneer of.

Other key initiatives by the IMDA to boost the infocomm media sector include expanding services at the Pixel facility at one-north, beginning next January.

Pixel will provide workshops, masterclasses and mentors in the areas of design thinking, user interface and user experience, immersive experiences and digital storytelling. Two labs will also be opened at the facility - an immersive experiences lab, and a user testing lab for digital products and solutions.

In addition, a Digital Services Laboratory (DSL) has been set up to connect researchers, industry players and government agencies, with the goal of developing digital solutions to overcome challenges in the services industry.

DSL, which is a two-year programme, will first look at addressing pain points in the built environment, lifestyle, modern services, as well as trade and connectivity sectors.

Projects undertaken by DSL will be selected by a cross-agency team comprising the IMDA, the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star), Enterprise Singapore and DI.SG.

Selection criteria include whether there are ecosystem-level economic benefits, and whether it aligns with national strategic interests. Selected projects will be granted up to 70 per cent in funding.

Lastly, the IMDA will roll out a series of launchpad programmes to help infocomm media firms enter overseas markets more quickly.

For a start, it will work to link businesses with talent and potential partners through the tech and media community in Jarkata, Bandung and Yogyakarta.

The launchpad programme will focus on three main activities: market immersion, half yearly or quarterly demo days for parties to explore collaboration opportunities, and curated professional services for companies to tap.

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