S'pore looks to emerging tech for ICT boost

Cloud computing and Web 2.0 expected to be among focus areas in Singapore's upcoming government tenders, offering business opportunities for vendors of different sizes, says industry analyst.

The Singapore government's upcoming IT investment will likely revolve around seven key themes, among which emerging technologies such as cloud computing and Web 2.0 initiatives will take precedence, according to a new IDC report.

Released Wednesday, the study stated that the country's ICT projects in fiscal year 2010, which ends Mar. 31, is expected to be aligned with seven themes: cloud computing, ubiquitous presence, social media, open data and services, data repository, business analytics, and sustainable technologies.

The Singapore government last month pledged to invest S$1.1 billion (US$798 million) alongside plans to call for 350 new tenders in the current fiscal year.

The IDC report noted that these tenders will focus on emerging technologies such as cloud computing, operations sustainability and "new ways of transacting information through new media and Web 2.0 initiatives".

Gerald Wang, Asia-Pacific senior market analyst of IDC's Government Insights, said in the report that of the 350 IT projects, more than 50 percent will be valued "under S$500,000 (US$362,100)".

"This allows for a myriad of business opportunities for participating vendors of different sizes, with a wide dispersion of smaller value contracts expected," he explained.

Wang also added that while the bulk of the ICT procurement activities remains decentralized across agencies, the various government bodies will still have to strictly adhere to central procurement guidelines issued by the Ministry of Finance.

The country's ICT regulator, the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA), will have the primary responsibility of carrying out centralized bulk purchases for common ICT goods and services. Other agencies would then purchase their IT needs from these projects, Wang said.

"Overall, the Singapore government is consciously investing in projects such as public services revamp, systems consolidation and other sustainable business solutions to better manage costs over the long term," the IDC analyst said.

"As such, proposals that will allow government agencies to reduce high upfront capital expenditures and manage operational expenses will be most well-received," he added.

In an earlier ZDNet Asia report, James Kang, assistant chief executive of IDA's government chief information office, said the agency will be focusing on numerous infrastructure systems upgrades, while a number of government agencies are also looking to implement business intelligence (BI) systems.

The IDA intends to spend in excess of S$10 million (US$7.2 million) on its BI system, and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) is looking at spending between S$500,000 (US$363,000) and S$3 million (US$2.2 million), Kang revealed.

At last week's CommunicAsia 2010 tradeshow, the Singapore government provided an update on its ICT roadmap including the launch of the Singapore Internet Exchange and National Authentication Framework (NAF).

The government will set up a fully-owned subsidiary to operate the NAF, a common security layer padded with the necessary redundancies and network made fully private to avoid security exploits. This infrastructure is expected to drive online transactions between consumers and financial institutions.

More funds were also pumped into the Digital Concierge project, aimed at growing the local mobile services ecosystem via the delivery of personalized and location-based services. The IDA said it is currently in collaboration with six other companies to jointly invest S$10 million (US$7.14 million) over the next two years to drive the initiative.