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IDA Singapore committed to expanding Singapore’s capabilities

Zafar Anjum | Jan. 20, 2014
IDA to build government, industry and manpower expertise in data analytics

Steve Leonard

IDA Executive Deputy Chairman Steve Leonard (file photo)

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore's (IDA) commitment to expand Singapore's capabilities in data and analytics was underscored by IDA Executive Deputy Chairman Steve Leonard today at the inaugural Emtech Singapore 2014.

"Unlike some other resources, data does not deplete as you use it," said Leonard. "Data becomes more valuable the more you share it and use it.  The knowledge created through intelligent analysis of data enables us to deal with priority issues such as healthcare.  Data and analytics underpin our development towards being an increasingly Smart Nation." 

Studies have projected that data and analytics could generate an additional S$10 to S$17 billion of value per year for Singapore, which is already benefitting from such opportunities. 

IDA appoints its first Chief Data Scientist

From January 2014, Prabir Sen leads IDA's new Data Sciences Group, which will provide capabilities to IDA's data-driven projects. 

IDA sources said it will further train and recruit for its internal data talent group.

"Prabir and the entire IDA team are committed to building deep domain expertise in the 'art and science' of interpreting data," Leonard said.  "IDA has the goal of supporting Singapore's continued growth as a Smart Nation using data and analytics to improve the lives of citizens."  

Initiatives to develop data capabilities

According to a statement by IDA, it has already undertaken initiatives to develop data capabilities, including releasing data sets to encourage the public, the industry and other organisations to capitalise on the numerous opportunities that data has to offer.

Activities such as's Apps4SG Competition encourage participants to use government data to develop innovative applications that improve the way we live, work and play in Singapore.

IDA will continue to build on such initiatives, which will involve collaborating with other government agencies and bringing together the public and private sector to solve real-world problems, said an IDA spokesperson.

IDA's Data Innovation Challenge is another example of the Government's crowdsourcing effort to address data-driven business challenges with data sets provided by government and corporate entities.  The Data Innovation Challenge is an initiative by IDA to connect User Enterprises and Data Providers with Data Specialists, ICT companies, Research Institutes, and IHLs to develop prototypes, proof-of-concepts and analytics solutions for data-driven commercial problems.  More than 300 entries were received and six prototypes were shortlisted in the first challenge issued by DSM Engineering Plastics.  The Living Analytics Research Centre team from Singapore Management University won Round 1 with a predictive sales forecasting model that was the most accurate and innovative. 

To enable Singapore to be a regional analytics hub, IDA has also collaborated with leading players in the ecosystem as well as local Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) to provide academic programmes, to facilitate industry attachment programmes, and to develop and enhance analytics capabilities for local students and professionals.

EmTech is MIT Technology Review's global emerging technologies conference which IDA is supporting as host partner.


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