SINGAPORE: More than 13,000 new jobs are expected to be created for professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) in Singapore’s infocomm media (ICM) industry by 2020, Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim said on Friday (Nov 3).
Speaking at the Infocomm Media Development Authority’s (IMDA) one-year anniversary celebration, Dr Yaacob unveiled the Industry Transformation Map for the sector.
Within the next three years, the industry is set to have more than 210,000 workers, up from about 194,000 workers in 2016, he said.
The transformation of the industry will also serve as a growth multiplier for other sectors in Singapore, with its value-add expected to expand at about 6 per cent annually, almost twice as fast as the overall economy.
The ICM blueprint is part of the S$4.5 billion Industry Transformation Programme overseen by the Future Economy Council, where roadmaps are being developed for 23 industries to address issues within each industry.
The transformation map will prepare the sector by investing and building capabilities in four key technologies: Artificial intelligence and data analytics cybersecurity, immersive media and Internet of Things.
Another thrust is to prepare the next generation of ICM professionals and companies for future job roles.
The industry will also play a part in helping companies from other sectors adopt digital technology to improve productivity and efficiency through the Industry Digital Plans for SMEs.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AS A NEW GROWTH AREA
Artificial intelligence is one of the four technologies identified to transform the ICM sector, and Singapore has already begun investing in it.
“At first glance, AI may sound high-brow or obscure to most companies. This is not the case. AI is already present in our daily lives, and companies both big and small can leverage existing AI solutions to improve their business offerings,” said Dr Yaacob.
One initiative to help local companies adopt AI is the AI Business Partnership Programme. Local companies with potential problem statements will be paired with AI solution providers. Through such partnerships, it is hoped that proofs-of-concept can be developed and AI solutions eventually integrated into the company. IMDA will consider defraying adoption risks by co-funding up to 50 per cent of supported qualifying costs for suitable projects, up to a maximum of S$100,000 per project.
The Government will also build on the TechSkills Accelerator initiative to develop AI talent. It will work with AI Singapore to launch an inaugural AI apprenticeship programme. Apprentices will go through a combination of in-depth AI training courses and on-the-job training on industry projects.
“For a start, we will be targeting 200 apprentices to be trained over the next three years. The AI apprenticeship programme will equip professionals with key AI skills, such as in machine and deep learning, and in deploying AI,” said Dr Yaacob.
GUIDE DIGITALISATION JOURNEY OF OTHER SECTORS
Dr Yaacob also announced on Friday an Industry Digital Plan (IDP) for the retail sector, which will provide step-by-step advice to SME retailers in their digitalisation journey.
Dr Yaacob added that this initiative will help accelerate the pace of transformation for more than 22,000 establishments in the retail sector.
To complement the retail IDP, IMDA will also work with partners to use digital technologies to transform entire traditional neighbourhoods.
Kampong Glam will be one of the first precincts to get a digital makeover.
A digital roadmap for Kampong Glam is currently being developed, and is expected to be completed in the next three months. Work to implement the changes will begin in the second half of 2018.
The digital vision for the neighbourhood includes enhancing existing IT infrastructure in the precinct, empowering retailers there to go omni-channel, and deploying tecnology solutions across the entire district to enhance visitors' experience, IMDA said.
“Retailers in Kampong Glam can look forward to using data analytics to provide personalised services to consumers."said Dr Yaacob.
"Consumers can also navigate the precinct more easily, accessing real-time discounts and offers on-the-go. When completed, it would be an interesting showcase that interweaves tradition and digital technologies,” he added.
Mr Saeid Labbafi, chairman of One Kampong Gelam Association, said one of the ideas they are exploring is the use of digital maps.
“Many visitors when they visit Kampong Glam, they don't know the exact boundaries of Kampong Glam - which are Ophir Road, Beach Road, Jalan Sultan and Victoria Street. We are hoping that by having a digital map and putting all the businesses available on the digital map, it helps the visitors ... know better the activities and the type of businesses that exist here."