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SiTF changes with the times

It is rebranding to stay relevant in a fast changing landscape, says its chairman Saw Ken Wye.

Mr Saw says SGTECH will expand its membership base to include companies that leverage technology as a driver of their business.

IN a bid to remain relevant, the Singapore infocomm Technology Federation (SiTF) is refreshing its brand with a new name to reflect the increasing digitisation of companies in Singapore and to ensure that the tech industry continues to have a significant voice.

SiTF unveiled SGTECH, its new brand and identity, during the annual SiTF Awards held at Suntec Singapore alongside the 35th Anniversary Gala Dinner of the (infocomm and media (ICM) industry. The new brand will take effect in January 2018.

SiTF was founded 35 years ago and catered initially to IT providers. However, in today's digital age, the power offered by technology resides not only with the vendors, but with users as well, said Saw Ken Wye, SiTF chairman in an interview with The Business Times.

"The line between the digital technology suppliers and consumers of digital technology is blurring. As a federation, we want to be able to represent everyone in the industry. Today AirBnB and Grab are not technology providers but technology users. They have leveraged technology greatly to enable their business," he said. "Technology will always evolve and as a federation we will always be at the forefront, pushing the envelope of new digital technologies to our stakeholders." He noted that half of IT professionals are employed by non-IT companies today.

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The name SGTECH was chosen to represent the association's new mission of representing all businesses that use technology. "Tech" is the key focus, as technology will serve any company to enable its business, explained Mr Saw. And "SG" was incorporated into the name as SiTF represents and promotes the interests of Singapore-based businesses and organisations in the industry, and to reinforce its role as the voice of the industry here.

This year's SiTF Awards reflected this new dynamic with the introduction of product categories that covered frontier technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and the Internet of Things.

At the awards, SiTF also announced the formation of a new Artificial Intelligence & High Performance Computing (AI & HPC) Chapter, in addition to the established chapters catering to areas such as cyber security, digital transformation, cloud and Big Data computing. This new grouping will help users with tech adoption, developing talents and creating better awareness for Artificial Intelligence, SiTF said in a statement.

Looking ahead, Mr Saw said that apart from expanding its membership base to include companies that leverage technology as a driver of their business, SGTECH will also focus on three key areas: Being a business enabler to assist its members to build capabilities and find talent; providing industry insights to help companies understand new technologies better; and being a responsible advocate for its members. "We are confident that the impact of the changes we are undertaking and our activities will benefit our members, the tech sector and Singapore at large."