The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has recently released (3 November) the Industry Transformation Map (ITM) for the infocomm media (ICM) sector. Outlining the strategies to prepare Singapore for the digital economy, the ITM is expected to employ more than 210,000 workers (from approximately 194,000 workers in 2016), and create more than 13,000 new PMET jobs by 2020.
Speaking at the launch of the ITM, minister for communications and information Dr Yaacob Ibrahim said the ITM aims to grow the industry’s value-add by around 6% annually. This is almost twice as fast as the overall economy.
In fact, the ITM will prepare Singapore for the digital economy through three thrusts:
- By investing and building capabilities in four frontier technologies, namely artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics; cybersecurity; immersive media and Internet of Things (IoT)
- By strengthening the core of the ICM sector, and preparing the next generation of ICM professionals and companies for future job roles and business opportunities
- By guiding companies and workforce from the other sectors in adopting digital technology to improve productivity and efficiency
AI as one of the new growth areas
AI is one of four frontier technologies identified in the ITM to transform the ICM sector. National programme AI Singapore was set up in May 2017 with up to S$150 million fund to catalyse, synergise and boost Singapore's AI capabilities.
IMDA will work with AI Singapore to develop the AI ecosystem and make AI an enabler for growth and jobs. According to the release, companies can look forward to the following initiatives to help them adopt AI solutions:
- An AI Business Partnership Programme, which seeks to match business requirements with the appropriate solutions
- An AI Apprenticeship Programme to help grow a pipeline of locally-grown, globally known AI-ready professionals
- Open AI assets, starting with a National Speech Corpus; and Widen availability of AI solutions via SMEs Go Digital
Strengthening Singapore’s core of ICM professionals and companies
IMDA will partner industry on programmes to strengthen the ICM core and prepare Singaporeans for a variety of ICM job roles in other sectors - both locally and globally.
For example, the AI Apprenticeship Programme aims to grow the talent pipeline by training 200 professionals over the next three years. This will be achieved via the TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA), a SkillsFuture initiative.
IMDA will adopt a similar approach to grow the nation’s manpower core in the other identified new growth areas. IMDA is also collaborating with the industry and community to grow new digital champions.
To further develop and deepen Singapore’s ecosystem of tech companies, IMDA will also expand the Accreditation@IMDA programme. Currently, the programme helps to accelerate the growth of promising tech start-ups.
Additionally, Accreditation@IMDA will be re-branded to Accreditation@SG Digital (Accreditation@SGD) to underscore its value as a national programme.
Leveraging on Singapore’s branding allows the accredited companies to be better recognised overseas and help them export their capabilities and products.
Accreditation@SGD’s scope will also be expanded to go beyond tech startups and young SMEs to include the more mature SMEs, and a selective pool of international deep technology companies to be anchored in Singapore.
Guide other sectors to adopt technology
IMDA will work with the various sector lead agencies to develop the Industry Digital Plans (IDPs) for SMEs. The IDPs aim to guide these companies in technology adoption by helping them to understand the benefits of adopting relevant digital technologies, and by providing guidance to ICM vendors to meet the companies’ specific digital technology needs.
Through the IDP, SMEs can:
- Assess and identify their digital readiness and the digitalisation opportunities based on a broad understanding of their business operations, current level of digitalisation, and business expansion plans;
- Adopt pre-approved digital solutions and seek advice on digitalisation needs relevant to their sector; Participate in sector projects co-created by IMDA and industry leaders that aim to uplift the whole sector, enabling SMEs to exploit growth opportunities;
- Understand the training options available for their employees to build up a digital ready workforce.
In fact, the retail IDP had also announced on the same day that it will provide step-by-step advice to SME retailers in their digitalisation journey.
Taking reference from the retail ITM; IMDA and SPRING will also work together on new initiatives to catalyse the transformation in the Retail industry.
The agencies will pull together retailers and other industry stakeholders such as wholesalers, logistics companies and e-commerce marketplaces, to create omni-channel solutions to benefit traditional retailers. This will grant retailers the opportunity to both sell from their physical shops and be competitive online with the ability to transact and fulfil deliveries efficiently.
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