Singapore plans DaaS pilot to develop data industry

The data-as-a-service program is meant to kickstart the development of a nationwide delivery platform of public and private sector datasets, which would in turn spur more innovative applications to be created.
Written by Kevin Kwang, Contributor on

SINGAPORE--The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is looking to introduce a data-as-a-service (DaaS) program some time in the next three months, and it hopes the initiative will help foster a dataset marketplace which will, in turn, spark off more innovative applications by third-party developers.

During the CloudAsia2013 forum held here Wednesday, Ronnie Tay, CEO of IDA, disclosed that the agency has plans to launch its DaaS program to "catalyze the development of a nationwide platform that allows the efficient delivery of data, on demand, to interested data buyers to develop applications for in-house or business consumption".

To start off, a federated namespace registry will be introduced by which interested organizations will be able to make available their datasets for use, Tay noted. It will complement the data already available for public consumption, he said.

Building up of data "cottage industry"

Elaborating, Khoong Hock Yun, assistant chief executive for infrastructure & services development at IDA, said it will issue a call-for-collaboration in "July or August" for interested parties--both from public sector agencies and private enteprises--to signal their intent to make available some of their datasets, whether for free or for a fee.

The federated namespace registry acts as a mechanism whereby if a developer searches for data from the Land Transport Authority, for example, he or she would be able to see other related datasets made available by other organizations, he explained in an interview on the event sidelines.

The end goal would be to create a "marketplace" for data users to provide feedback on the datasets published online, and rank them according to areas such as usefulness and reliability, Khoong noted.

It is hoped this feedback mechanism would allow developers to more easily discover the data they are after, while also compel organizations to clean up their datasets and make it easier to use with elements such as standard APIs (application programming interface).

"The data industry, if there is such a thing, is a bit of a cottage industry right now. We hope the DaaS program will help develop it," he stated. "Innovation will lie in [developers melding] the cross-functional capabilities of the different datasets, which will make applications more attractive and holistic."

Private sector parties which have signalled their interest on an "informal basis" include Global Yellow Pages and Wilson Parking Singapore, Khoong revealed.

The pilot implementation of the federated namespace registry will run for two years once the CFC has been issued, the executive added. He said IDA has yet to discuss funding for the project.

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