From a dock scheduling system to manage truck deliveries, to the use of virtual reality to train medical students, Singapore's push to ride the digital wave will only grow stronger with the launch of the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) yesterday.
The newly minted agency, a result of a merger of the Infocomm Development Authority and the Media Development Authority, plays a key role in helping companies across all sectors think out of the box using the latest technology.
Its recent efforts include an urban logistics project with CapitaLand to reduce congestion at the loading and unloading bay of malls. Congestion is common as retailers want to replenish their stock by 10am when they open for business. A delivery truck usually parks at the bay for about an hour to unload goods.
But the use of locally based Gurusoft's dock scheduling and queue management system has changed things for CapitaLand's Tampines Mall and Bedok Mall.
Delivery trucks no longer all show up at 10am. They have to book a time slot via the dock scheduling and queue management system.
An in-mall handler receives and stores the goods on behalf of retailers, who can pick up the goods any time in the day. This means delivery can start as early as 7am without having the retailer at the mall to receive the goods. Trucks need only park at the bay for less than 10 minutes now.
IMDA is also working with Canadian-based Side Effects Asia Pacific to create a virtual reality (VR) tool. Medical trainees can hone their skin grafting or bypass surgery skills more quickly using VR tools - saving on expensive mannequins and cadavers which can be hard to come by. IMDA is in talks with restructured hospitals to use VR technology for emergency room training.
Meanwhile, Singapore-based production firm Beach House Pictures is creating VR content for Primary 4 and 5 pupils to use in Ministry of Education schools next year. Pupils can wear VR goggles to go on a heritage trail in Katong or Duxton rather than reading about it on a page.
Said Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim yesterday at the new agency's launch: "IMDA will continue to build on these efforts, to create growth and jobs for Singapore."