SINGAPORE (June 27): Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has launched a series of initiatives to spearhead the city-state’s efforts to become a leading digital economy.

The initiatives were announced by Minister for Communications and Information, S Iswaran, at the Innovfest Unbound, an anchor event of the Smart Nation Innovations Week.

First, IMDA and the National Research Foundation (NRF) will set aside $40 million to build an open and inclusive 5G innovation ecosystem.

This will support 5G technology trials for enterprise use-cases, creating a series of new open testbeds, and research and development in 5G.

As a start, IMDA will explore clusters that have been identified based on their potential for export globally, to reinforce Singapore’s goal to be a global front-runner in impactful 5G use-cases.

These include sectors such as maritime operations, urban mobility, smart estates, Industry 4.0, as well as consumer and government applications.

Already, industry partnerships are ongoing. A technology call by IMDA and PSA have been awarded to Singtel and M1 to explore the use of 5G for the maritime industry.

The technology call will also study how 5G capabilities could potentially address PSA’s connectivity needs to enhance port productivity.

Another partnership, to accelerate the Industry 4.0 transformation, is also underway.

A*STAR, JTC and Singtel have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to deploy 5G at A*STAR’s Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre in Jurong Innovation District.

This partnership will aim to integrate 5G with technologies, such as Internet-of-Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI), to enable businesses to develop next-generation manufacturing solutions.

The next initiative is to drive transformation for Singapore’s Smart Estates.

IMDA is also working closely with government agencies and industry partners to develop the Smart Estates ecosystem and enable Singapore developers, Singapore-based technology companies and Built Environment service providers to innovate in Singapore and seize greater market opportunities in the region.

To support this, IMDA awarded $1.5 million for eight projects for the Smart Estates Call for Innovation Solutions (CFIS) with Ascendas-Singbridge and JTC. IMDA has also launched a new CFIS together with the Housing Development Board (HDB) and Frasers Property Singapore.

Lastly, IMDA has come up with initiatives to support the progressive legislation to facilitate new technologies in electronic transactions, such as Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) and Electronic Transferable Records (ETR).

IMDA has launched a public consultation to seek views on its review of the Electronic Transactions Act (ETA). This will ensure the ETA continues to be progressive, facilitate innovation in the Digital Economy, strengthen Singapore’s position as a hub for electronic transactions, and support Digital Government efforts.

According to IMDA, the ETA review will enable more transactions under the ETA, including property transactions, wills, and Lasting Powers of Attorney; provide certainty on the use of new technologies such as DLT, Smart Contracts and Biometrics; and update its Certification Authority framework.

Tan Kiat How, Chief Executive of IMDA says, “As we enter a digital-as-usual age, it is even more imperative for all segments of society to continue their urgent efforts to digitalise to be relevant and competitive. IMDA’s new multi-pronged, collaborative initiatives announced today addressing infrastructure, legislation and other challenges will further complement our existing efforts to accelerate Singapore’s transformation to an advanced Digital Economy, and I encourage all organisations to participate in these programmes.”