The Essential Little Red Speck – Singapore to establish
a Digital Exchange
IDA unveils the vision to digitise Singapore’s physical
assets through the establishment of a physical exchange
Singapore has always been a hub for trade. Since Raffles claimed
Singapore for the British Crown, Singapore has always been an
important exchange of physical goods and services.
But with intense competition in physical goods and services,
Singapore’s government has seen the need to fly up the
value chain, and key to that strategy is to establish Singapore
as a digital exchange where Singapore will be a trusted node
in the management and delivery of digital assets.
The potential is enormous. According to PWC: Entertainment and
Media Outlook 2003-2007, “Global entertainment and Media
Spending will reach record US$1.4Trillion by 2007 and digital
assets and digital services will contribute compound annual
growth of 4.8%.”
The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) has established
an ambitious program to digitise existing assets and create
new value chains in the development, processing, management
and distribution of digital assets
Singapore has resources to achieve this ambition. Singapore
is already Asia’s most connected city with some 13 Tbps
of direct internet connectivity. Its multi-racial society combined
with some of the strongest laws and enforcement on intellectual
property provides Singapore with the potential of realising
the vision to become a valued digital exchange. IDA is also
helping Singaporean companies to develop opportunities to learn
from the best in the world. For the first time Singaporean companies
were brought to the world famous Games Developers Conference
in March 2004. IDA is creating opportunities for Singaporeans
at home. And leading lights in the world of digital technology,
games and animation have come to Singapore to support IDA’s
Singapore’s technology industry was given such an opportunity
on Friday 23 April, 2004 at a networking event held by IDA and
SiTF at the Legends in Fort Canning. Participants at the event
were given the privilege of being presented with bold and ambitious
plans for the future.
The evening began with an address by Mr Thomas Lim, director
of games and entertainment at IDA. Mr Lim highlighted the potential
of the digital exchange. He pointed out that the online games
market in Asia alone would reach a billion US dollars by 2006
(online gaming in AP, May 03-IDC.) And Singapore already had
the world’s first digital cinema multiplex that was bought
by the Eng Wah group.
After Mr Lim’s presentation, Professor Thomas Furness
International Director HIT Lab NZ & Director HIT Lab US
gave a presentation on “Supermedia” and a new approach
to the collaborative creation of Digital Content. Professor
Furness has been called the “God Father,” of virtual
reality. And during his presentation, he showed the audience
how technologies like virtual reality could change the way people
approached aspects of their lives like learning.
The final speaker of the evening was Mr Scott Houston, Chief
Technical Officer, WETA Digital Ltd. WETA Digital lab is the
academy award-winning studio behind the special effects of Lord
of the Rings. Participants at the event were treated to a description
of how many of the special effects like Golum were created.
Mr Houston ended his presentation by highlighting the similarities
between Singapore and New Zealand. Both were small countries
with clever people who are willing to learn. He encouraged Singaporeans
to work with New Zealand.
Dinner was served after the presentations were concluded. At
dinner, guests were given the chance to mingle and share ideas.
Mr Choy Heng Wah, Director of Special Projects at ST Teleport
described the event as, “Encouraging. When you see another
small country like New Zealand break new boundaries and achieve
what it did with Lord of the Rings, it gives you tremendous
belief that we in Singapore can also achieve great things.”
Nick Arathimos, Director of East Asia for Investment New Zealand
was equally enthusiastic about the possibilities that a digital
exchange in Singapore could create. He said, “ We’re
keen to work with Singapore. Singapore has all the raw material
in place to build a fantastic digital exchange. We are keen
to work with Singapore to create a very strong partnership in
this enormous and dynamic industry.” Professor Furness
supported this sentiment. “ I think Singapore has got
what it takes,” he said. “It has the facilities,
it’s connected into the global system but more importantly
it has the people who want to make the possibilities happen
and I really look forward to seeing Singapore play its part
in the digital world.”
Could Singapore create its own version of Lord of the Rings?
Or could it even play a part in the next Lord of the Rings.
IDA will certainly be working to make sure that there is every
reason that a Singaporean company in a Singapore that is a digital
exchange will be able to do so.