THREE new initiatives - using robots in pre-schools, enhancing connectivity and developing tech professionals - were announced by the Minister for Communications and Information, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, at the opening of Infocomm Media Business Exchange 2016 (imbX). Dr Yaacob also shared progress of the Infocomm Media 2025 (ICM2025) plan launched last year, and articulated his vision of how Singapore is positioning itself for the future.
The minister noted that children, especially pre-schoolers, learn through imaginative play and storytelling. He added that the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is collaborating with SoftBank Telecom Singapore and Nanyang Technological University Robotics Research Centre to explore the use of social robots in early childhood education. Since April 2016, two social robots - Pepper and NAO - are being piloted at My First Skool Jurong Point and MY World@Bukit Panjang respectively, to complement pre-school learning through collaborative play and interactive storytelling. The pilot will run till October 2016.
The minister also announced that IDA will partner Aruba, M1, Skylab and Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) in a new Green WiFi Pilot@Sentosa initiative on Sentosa Island.
To be deployed along the Merlion Walk by early June, the pilot will explore using solar energy to power outdoor WiFi in a cost-effective and environmentally sustainable manner. IDA and SDC will review the results of the pilot - which is expected to go on for a year - and consider deploying more outdoor Wireless@SG hotspots across Sentosa. SDC will also be piloting a trial on its mobile app to ensure seamless connection to Wireless@SG.
Dr Yaacob also announced the members of the Governing Council of the TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) which was announced in March. To coordinate the development of TeSA, a Governing Council has been set up and chairpersons of Sector Committees have been appointed, who will in turn look into appointing their members within the next few weeks. IDA will also be identifying specialised lead training providers for different sectors.
Gabriel Lim, CE-designate of the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and co-managing director of IDA, will chair the Governing Council. Representing the ICT industry, members include Shirley Wong, chairman of Singapore IT Federation; Howie Lau, president, Singapore Computer Society; and Alvin Ong, president, IT Management Association. To represent the hirers in the economy, the council will include Robert Yap Min Choy, deputy honorary secretary, Singapore National Employers Federation.