IMDA to help Singapore thrive in the digital age

The statutory board will do so through industry development, regulation and community outreach and engagement.

By Nurdianah Md Nur
Oct. 3, 2016

Building an environment of trust
IMDA is also responsible for building an environment of trust by "creating smart and effective regulations that allow opportunities to be catalysed", said Gabriel Lim, Chief Executive Officer of IMDA and Second Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Communications and Information, at the media briefing. 

"Development and regulatory [are complementary]. You can't have proper growth without regulations but you also can't have regulations that are totally at odds with business requirements or the economy. Regulations should be pro-business and pro-public; they should create opportunities for Singapore," he explained.

In line with that, Dr Yaacob said: "As a regulator, IMDA will not just administer existing rules, but be a proactive partner for innovation, because innovation and entrepreneurship are key success factors in the digital economy. One way is to allow for more regulatory sandboxes, [which are] controlled spaces where we regulate with a lighter touch to promote innovation."

Improving everyday lives
To close the digital divide, IMDA will provide low-income households basic computing devices, such as tablets, with four years of internet connectivity under the Home Access Programme. Beneficiaries will also be guided on how to use their devices through classes at designated centres, or at home for those who are unable to travel. This is done in collaboration with the National Council of Social Service (NCSS), TOUCH Community Service, the Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC) and Lions Befrienders Service Association.

Additionally, IMDA is partnering The Good Life Co-operative (TGLC) and SATA Commhealth (SATA) to enable healthcare delivery to the community.

TGLC aims to put health monitoring station or self-help kiosk in every community centre or resident corner to allow Singaporeans to regularly monitor their health on their own. It is currently developing a system — with Philips Healthcare's help — which will be able to take one's weight and blood pressure readings for a start, and extendable to cover other vital signs later on. The monitoring station is expected to support 200 community users, and will be scaled to other parts of Singapore if the trial is successful.

Meanwhile, SATA has issued telehealth solutions by Napier Healthcare Solutions to 60 patients in the Chai Chee area. The solutions feature telemonitoring of vital signs — such as blood pressure, blood glucose level and blood oxygen level — tele-consultation and tele-rehabilitation. If this trial is successful, SATA will deploy it to the rest of it six clinics around Singapore.

"It is up to us to seize [the opportunities] and harness the full potential of technology and media to empower a future of possibilities for Singapore. [However,] it is no easy task, and will require open minds, hard work and most importantly, close partnerships between the government, industry and the people," Dr Yaacob concluded. 

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