S'pore addresses gap in enterprise mobility talent

Infocomm Development Authority announces expansion of AMPlify initiative to educate wider audience of mobile developers on enterprise features, with plans to pump S$3 million to help build talent base.
Written by Kevin Kwang, Contributor on

COMMUNICASIA, SINGAPORE--Singapore has spotlighted enterprise mobility as an industry with "bright prospects" and has expanded its Applications-on-Multi-Platform Simplify (AMPlify) initiative to increase talent pool coverage and include fresh graduates and students from institutes of higher learning (IHLs).
It also will inject S$3 million (US$2.4 million) this year to support the project, according to an official from the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA). 
Andrew Khaw, senior director for industry development group at IDA, said the growing use of wireless broadband by enterprises and the country's mobile-savvy, sophisticated consumer base were two factors the government agency zoomed in on the industry. He noted that at 150.4 mobile subscriptions per 100 inhabitants, Singapore is above the average of 117.8 per 100 inhabitants for developed countries. 
Enterprise wireless broadband adoption in the city-state also doubled from 16 percent in 2009 to 31 percent in 2010, Khaw said during his speech Thursday at the Smart Mobility@SG 2012 conference, held during this week's imbX tradeshow.
More companies here are also considering deploying business mobile apps. Citing Symantec's 2012 State of Mobility survey on Singapore, he said 77 percent of respondents were discussing the idea of developing custom mobile apps, while 75 percent were evaluating corporate appstores and 54 percent were looking to make line-of-business apps accessible via mobile devices. 
IDA had these industry trends and opportunities in mind when it launched AMPlify in June 2010, signing up Google, Microsoft, Nokia and Research In Motion (RIM) as launch partners, Khaw noted. Since then, more than 40 developers have acquired skillsets related to mobile analytics, cloud computing, user interface and user experience (UI/UX) development, payment and advertising through the scheme, he added.
In line with the enterprise focus, he announced the expansion of the scheme to include new industry partners, namely IBM, Motorola Solutions, HTC, Samsung and SAP. These companies, together with Microsoft and RIM, will help support the local developer ecosystem and the initiative is expected to benefit more than 100 developers and another 150 students in a year's time.
As to who will benefit from the expanded AMPlify program, Khaw told ZDNet Asia at the event sidelines previous target segments included the "experts" and "gurus" among mobile developers. This will change as fresh graduates and students from IHLs can now benefit from the scheme to upskill on relevant IT knowledge, he said. 
The official also pointed out the program will match partnering multinational companies (MNCs) with local developers to provide the latter the required development platforms and resources to suit up on enterprise-related skillsets. These include mobile architecture--which, for example, focuses on enterprise architecture integration and cloud enablement--mobile development, mobile operations such as device management and security, in-memory computing, and UI/UX design, he stated. 
Currently, the local developer community is quite "tapped in" with the latest consumer technologies through formal educational curriculum and tech forums, but AMPlify hopes to meld their existing knowhow with enterprise-relevant skills, Khaw explained. Most of the S$3 million (US$2.4 million) fund will go toward training activities, he added.
Enterprise focus for developers
Kenny Hay, business unit executive of Websphere at IBM Asean, shared with ZDNet Asia that Big Blue signed up on the AMPlify initiative due to its enterprise mobility focus and it came at a good time because its customers were asking for such internal architectures capabilities. For instance, insurance firms now are looking at enabling their agents to complete the transactions of new policies and insurance claims on-the-go. This is not the case currently as agents have to return to the office in order to complete the paperwork, Hay noted. 
He said the company will be conducting workshops on topic areas such as security, device management and regulatory compliance because these are areas developers are struggling to understand and come to grips with. Some of the funding of these workshops will come from IDA, he revealed.
IBM will be looking to partner 10 to 20 developers as part of its commitment to the program, he added. 
Similarly, Motorola Solutions hopes to build up a strong business-to-business (B2B) developer community through its participation in the initiative and is looking at 50 possible developer partners to find suitable collaborators. 
Pauline Tng, the company's director of sales, ISV (independent software vendor) and alliances for Asia-Pacific, said: "We look forward to connecting with more local ISVs to develop applications on the RhoMobile suite--our HTML 5 Web development framework--where an application once written, looks and runs similarly for different devices regardless of their current operating systems."

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