Singapore’s Technology Roadmap prioritises Services 4.0

The Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) has launched a series of initiatives to support the infocomm media (ICM) sector.

The aim is to capture opportunities in the future of services ecosystem, as part of its Framework for Action to develop Singapore’s digital economy.

The initiatives were announced by Minister for Communications and Information, Mr S Iswaran, at IMDA’s second SG:Digital Industry Day, which saw more than 1,500 participants from the ICM industry attending the event.

Services and Digital Economy Technology Roadmap

Services 4.0 was identified through the Services and Digital Economy Technology Roadmap as a potential engine of growth for Singapore’s digital economy, as the services industry accounts for 72% of Singapore’s GDP and 74% of national employment.

The Technology Roadmap, conducted in consultation with local and international business leaders and technology experts, provides a scan of the digital technology landscape in the next 3 to 5 years, identifying the impact of key shifts and technology trends.

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Services 4.0: The future of services in a digital economy

Introducing a Services 4.0 strategy will help Singapore deliver next-generation services that are end-to-end, frictionless, empathic and anticipatory to customer needs.

As emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and advanced interfaces are made more accessible, services will be designed around customers’ needs, allowing customers to enjoy an improvement in service experience, offered predictively and seamlessly. This will also allow business to innovate and create new value quickly.

Services 4.0 is a vision that puts people at the centre, according to the announcement — harnessing technology for workers to have more fulfilling work, enabling businesses to innovate nimbly to capture opportunities in a digital marketplace, and delivering superior experience to customers.

Enhanced productivity

Productivity for workers is enhanced as machines do repetitive and mundane tasks, so workers can focus on high value areas where their creativity, analytical thinking, emotional intelligence and human insight would be required.

Workers augmented with smart machines and tools can also make better decisions through access to superior insights and be more creative due to enhanced design processes.

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To realise the Services 4.0 vision, the Technology Roadmap identified Cloud Native Architecture as the heart of the evolving ICM ecosystem, providing easier access to emerging technologies that will make it more cost-effective and scalable for companies, and help meet customers’ demands in an agile manner.

The ICM ecosystem will need to transform itself to remain relevant in the ever changing landscape. About 30 companies and associations have pledged their support for the Cloud Native Architecture by joining the pioneer batch of SG:Digital Cloud Community to promote the adoption of the Cloud Native Architecture.

“Leading business-to-consumer enterprises have already started their Services 4.0 journeys. Businesses of all sizes can benefit from the new technology shifts, and IMDA’s programmes will provide the support to help every business become a digital business”, said Mr Tan Kiat How, IMDA’s Chief Executive.

Projects and Programmes to support Services 4.0

To support companies’ participation in the Services 4.0 ecosystem, as a start, IMDA has initiated the following projects.

GoCloud for ICT SMEs

GoCloud6 aims to help ICT SMEs move to a Cloud Native Architecture, so that they can participate in future opportunities in Services 4.0. Traditionally, ICT solutions are built on complex and inflexible software architecture. GoCloud will equip ICT SMEs with digital capabilities in Cloud Native, Microservices and DevOps, transforming the way they develop, deploy and deliver applications. This will enable SMEs to unlock benefits of cloud computing and rapid software delivery, create services that are more flexible, scalable and adaptable, and significantly reduce their time to market. GoCloud will be rolled out in early 2019.

IMDA’s PIXEL expands its scope

PIXEL7 was launched in 2016 to grow the ICM innovation community through tech and media facilities – previously known as PIXEL Labs and PIXEL Studios. In line with Services 4.0, ICM companies will increasingly need to combine digital technologies, engaging content and human-centred design to build great experiences for their customers.

PIXEL will expand scope of its programmes, with a focus on bringing tech, media and design capabilities to develop customer-centric digital experiences. PIXEL has identified four new capabilities to support digital innovation for Services 4.0 – Design Thinking, User Interface/User Experience, Immersive Experiences and Digital Storytelling. These capabilities will be made available to the industry through regular workshops and masterclasses, as well as mentors and coaches for innovation projects. On top of existing incubation, production and prototyping facilities, PIXEL will outfit two additional labs to facilitate experimentation and testing of digital experiences – an Immersive Experiences Lab and User Testing Lab. IMDA will also work with strategic partners to bring innovation and acceleration activities and programmes to PIXEL, so that PIXEL provides a physical platform that connects our community with technical resources, expertise and market access opportunities. The new PIXEL programmes and facilities will be rolled out from Jan 2019.

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Digital Services Laboratory (DSL)

The DSL8 brings together research communities, ICM players and end-users to co-architect and engineer solutions across multiple technology domains right from early-stage to deployment. Mainly comprising engineering and technical talent, the DSL seeks to address industry digitalisation challenges and national strategic interest areas which could benefit from faster intermediation. DSL also looks to help significant projects overcome barriers including high costs and resources required for industry-scale transformation. By leveraging or translating emerging technologies from local research institutes and universities, DSL will work with the industry to co-develop innovative digital engineering solutions from early stage to deployment. DSL will look to accelerate technologies’ speed-to-market through partnerships, as well as work with relevant industry players to propagate successful models to the rest of industry. For technologies or solutions created by IMDA, such as a suite of Artificial Intelligence libraries9, they can be released as open-source to benefit and share with the ICM ecosystem. Available today are the first two: the National Speech Corpus announced in November 2017, and the Intelligent Sensing Toolbox.

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...