Singapore's goal to drive biz mobile services 'largely on track'

Country sees traction in companies adopting common mobile services "enablers" co-developed as part of government-led IT roadmap, Intelligent Nation 2015, and plans for further rollouts, says ICT regulator.
Written by Ryan Huang, Contributor

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) believes its investment into a common set of mobile services enablers for businesses to leverage is paying off, and is "largely on track" to hit its mid-2012 targets in this area. The ICT regulator adds that it is gearing up for the next phase to seek more industry partners.

Under the national 10-year ICT blueprint, Intelligent Nation 2015 (iN2015), IDA in 2010 launched a program called Digital Concierge where the government agency and six industry companies jointly invested S$10 million (US$8 million) to nurture the local mobile service ecosystem.

Common set of mobile service enablers
Under the initiative, the necessary back-end infrastructure--"or enablers"--was developed to enable developers to create mobile apps designed to help businesses gain a competitive edge in engaging consumers.

"Since its launch, Digital Concierge has gained traction with 33 developers coming on board to develop 30 mobile services," said an IDA spokesperson. Some of the common services built so far include:

1. Moobifly. A content platform that allows businesses to develop and host Web sites with interactive functionalities optimized for mobile phones.

2. PayPal. Developed by the U.S. e-payment services provider, the platform is a mobile Remote Payment Enabler designed to allow secured remote payments to be easily and seamlessly integrated with mobile Web sites and apps.

3. TableDB. A table management and reservation enabler that helps food and beverage (F&B) businesses to automate reservations made by customers, through Web and mobile devices.

4. Places.SG. A shared business directory.

5. ShowNearby. A mobile service that provides mobile social networking features with quick access to localized content.

6. Smoov. A mobile service that provides users with personalized recommendations from a variety of content and services, through mashups, provided by partners.

On track to hit targets
The IDA spokesperson added that the program "was largely on track" to hit its targets, such as having at least 70 percent of businesses in the retail and F&B sectors to be listed on a shared business directory.

Other goals include helping 2,000 businesses reach out to customers through mobile-optimized Web sites, and activating a variety of "rich and personalized mobile services" to be accessed by at least 1 million users by mid-2012.

The IDA added that, so far, more than 18,000 businesses are available on the shared directory.

"The program does not only catalyze the adoption of the mobile channel by businesses, it also benefits the consumers in finding the service they require by increasing traffic to their businesses and encouraging market penetration," he said.

Building on momentum, industry partnerships
"In addition to driving the adoption of the existing suite of services, the Digital Concierge program continues to seek and work with partners in the industry to deploy new enabling-services and innovative mobile services," noted the spokesperson.

One example of a segment that will be expanded is mobile location positioning, specifically, in the deployment of a high-accuracy indoor location detection pilot conducted with local startup, YFind. This would drive the development of next-generation location-based services such as "indoor way-finding and footfall analytics".

IDA declined to reveal more details but noted that "more exciting developments are being planned with Digital Concierge partners", adding that these would likely be revealed later this year.

More progress is also expected as the result of a separate S$15 million (US$12 million) program, launched in 2011, to promote mobility tools for the retail, F&B, hotels and attractions sectors. A call-for-collaboration (CFC) closed in September 2011, attracting a total of 46 proposals from the industry, according to the IDA.

"This CFC aims to spur the adoption of mobility solutions across key customer-facing sectors," the spokesperson said. "With the increased availability of smart mobile devices, pervasive wireless and mobile networks today, there are new opportunities for user enterprises in these sectors to enhance customer experience, deepen customer loyalty, as well as improve operational efficiency."

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