Infocomm Technology Roadmap Symposium 2012

The Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) of Singapore held a Symposium on 17 Aug 2012 to facilitate discussion of the technologies and the innovation opportunities outlined in the Infocomm Technology Roadmap (ITR) 2012.

The Infocomm Technology Roadmap (ITR) is a co-creation process involving many people, including colleagues from the government sector, leaders in the private industry and the broader community.

It hopes to tap on the invaluable industry insights, experiences and feedback from the community to improve the roadmap and develop a shared technology vision.

IDA has identified 9 key technological trends which are expected to impact the adoption of Infocomm Technology over the next 3 to 5 years. The last ITR established was in year 2005.

The 9 key technological trends are:
  1. Big data
  2. Cloud computing
  3. Cyber security
  4. ICT and sustainability
  5. Comms of the future
  6. Social media
  7. New digital economy

The IDA is similar to MDeC and MCMC of Malaysia, responsible for the development and growth of the infocomm sector in Singapore. IDA functions as the country's infocomm industry champion, the national infocomm master-planner and developer, and the Government Chief Information Officer (CIO).

The symposium was fun. I went there as a delegate. It had invited great speakers from all around the world who are experts in their respective discipline (all computer science related).

In my earlier posting, I have mentioned that by the time the generation of my parents had passed on, everybody would understand computer science. That time will probably come in another 50 years plus minus. In fact the generation Y and Z are already having the world population of 31% to 51%. This is reassured by Mr. Cort Isernhagen, VP IDC Insights - International who stressed that these are the new customers that we should worry about, these are the tech savvy who grew up with computers.

Isernhagen believes that survivability of systems is about getting more users to use it. I strongly agree with this. A system has no value if it is without two factors:

  1. Users
  2. Continuous maintenance

Let's take a good example. Windows XP which Microsoft has stopped development after service pack 3. On April 8, 2014, all support for Windows XP, including security updates and hotfixes, will be terminated. Users will still be able to download old updates and hotfixes from Windows Update. Microsoft recommends that users upgrade to Windows 7.

In fact, despite being the best selling Windows operating system in the history, nobody really care much now. Updates are available for even pirated installation.

It is always good to move on.

Thus, Isernhagen explained that this ITR is a good guide to ensure longevity of any system if you care enough to maintain it.

"The world must start producing sufficiently for the many in order to embrace sustainability" says Dr. Peter Cochrane, Founder of Cochrane Associates.

Dr. Cochrane was stressing a point of sustainability where he went on to remark that when individuals make decision to buy something for themselves, they think long and wide, on every aspect such as will it break down in 5 years ???

However, he found that majority of organisations are lacking such sustainability ethic when it comes to making decision for procurement. The only ethic is usually costs-related. This resulted in capitalism grew out of control and jeopardises sustainability of human being.

The world must think about better process and technology on moving food to waste and then back to food again as a closed-loop cycle and efficiently.

Cochrane believes that the future should be about nano-tech combine with bio-tech combine with IT and A.I. Everything we do will demand greater embedded intelligence - having intelligence in cars, food, tools, offices, homes, clothing, appliances and etc.

Chochrane thinks that data should understand data, that meta data will be the key.

The most interesting idea come from Mr. Bo Parker, Managing Director, Centre of Technology & Innovation PWC who talked about new digital economy.

I was kind of dissappointed initially because it didn't address how people should make money when there are going to be less job for human. What is the workable digital economy anyway ?

Nonetheless, Mr. Parker did talk about what should be happening now and in near future, that is systems talking to systems via APIs. And such integration should be highly scalable and has no issue with performance.

This is also similar to what MDeC is talking about solution stacking in Malaysia.

This is not really profitable in terms of business, but like Mr. Parker put it, it is inevitable because the world simply has too many choices of computer systems for users to choose from - consumers have enough variety to choose from. More importantly,  there is just not enough time to innovate everything while hoping that there is not going to be any competitor coming into the marketplace tomorrow - market dynamism is an every second headache.

"The cloud is going to replace Moore's law" says Dr. Norman Nie, Senior Advisor for Products and Strategy, Revolutionary Analytics.

In fact, this is true as some physicists believe that Moore's Law will come to an end soon where semiconductor up to the smallest scale will simply invite instability. In other words, there has got to be a limit and when it happens, people will stop buying new hardware more frequently as in now - to own computer with faster speed.

I feel that Singapore is trying to buy time. All these trends are actually not new, in fact it is the same everywhere and Malaysia too - no difference at all. Singapore has no competitor, its economy is doing well and there is no need to think-out-of-the-box to become different. The ITR 2012 will help with having a proper direction for the country and businesses but it shouldn't matter a lot because ultimately the ICT world is pretty much a free market ruled by trends.

Take a look at the preview of the ITR 2012. The final report will be published in November 2012.