Singapore has merged two major government departments in recognition of the convergence between media and technology.
The government has merged the media development authority (MDA) with the infocomm development authority (IDA), creating one centralised group called the info-communications media development authority (IMDA).
New branding and a campaign around the concept of #EmpoweringPossibilities has been launched to show off the breadth of the new organisation's remit.
According to a speech given by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, minister for communications and information, at the launch last Friday, the newly formed unit will help Singapore reap the benefits of digital disruption.
“First, by developing a strong ICM sector to power and transform our economy. Second, by building an environment of trust. And third, by ensuring that every Singaporean benefits from convergence and technological progress,” he said.
One way the country plans to do this is by increasing training in this sector via the TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) which has had 1,000 Singaporeans trained in the past three months. The scheme aims to have over 20,000 trained by 2020.
He also said the country was investing in technology such as VR but is looking how it can be applied to the medical trade; “IMDA will not confine its efforts to the ICM sector, but work on every sector which can benefit from using ICM better. For instance, in urban logistics, IMDA is working with SPRING and CapitaLand to reduce delivery times to shopping malls by up to 70 per cent. IMDA is launching Smart Facility Management pilots at malls across Singapore, to automate tasks like cleaning, landscaping, and building maintenance. In healthcare, we are working with animation and special effects company SideFX to develop a Virtual Reality (VR) tool to train doctors to do emergency procedures. And in education, we are working with local media company Beach House Pictures to create immersive worlds using VR, so that our students can live out the lesson rather than just reading it off a page.”
The government has also announced the board for the new department, which will be led by former Permanent Secretary (defence) Chan Yeng Kit, who is now the chairman of the board for the IMDA. The full list of board members has been published online.