#Asia Singapore’s ongoing tech push: VR in schools, more fintech, and tech IPOs


Singapore's Merlion and Central Business District

Photo credit: David Russo.

The way Singapore pushes technological adoption and evangelizes digital transformation is barely news anymore – the city-state is famous for its progressive attitude toward new technologies in almost every aspect of its society and economy.

Interesting is the speed at which it’s addressing the constant new challenges. Tech innovation waits for no one, and Singapore is one of the few countries that seem to understand this.

Speaking at the Infocomm Media Business Exchange opening ceremony, Minister for Communications and Information Dr. Yaacob Ibrahim made a number of announcements that address problems from educating the next generation of Singapore’s IT professionals to the challenges local tech companies face when they plan their public listing.

Rocky road to IPO

The Minister said that IMDA, Singapore’s main IT and media regulator, will collaborate with the Singapore Exchange (SGX). IMDA’s accreditation service, which vets promising local startups and helps them attract external investment and exit opportunities, will work with the country’s stock exchange to “increase accessibility to capital markets for tech companies.”

Dr. Ibrahim did not provide more details than that, saying that more will be announced next week.

Virtual reality schools and hospitals

Singapore has shown it’s interested in getting children engaged with technology early on and enhance learning in schools. Dr. Ibrahim announced that IMDA has worked with local production house Beach House Pictures to pilot the use of VR in five primary schools in the city-state.

About 400 students used VR to study architectural features on buildings, explore cultural landmarks, and experience high-tech farming. Beach House is collaborating with local VR company Hiverlab to create VR content for the classroom, enabling students to participate in virtual experiences along with their teacher.

IMDA is also working with Singapore’s Tan Tock Seng Hospital and visual effects studio SideFX to create virtual, mixed, and augmented reality experiences for clinical training. Medical trainees will be able to use the software to perform virtual surgeries and face medical emergencies. The collaboration was first announced last October, during IMDA’s official launch event.

Training tomorrow’s fintech professionals

The TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) will work with DBS bank on the TeSA Fintech Project, Dr. Ibrahim announced. The aim is to train professionals with the skills needed to innovate in financial technology applications and products. Skills include agile development, development operations, information security, and data analytics.

The tie-up takes place under the Company-Led Training program, or CLT. It’s meant to get companies from the private sector to co-invest in quickly training future tech professionals according to industry demand. Partner companies provide training for up to 12 months to candidates.

Part of the SkillsFuture continuous education initiative, TeSA was unveiled during Singapore’s 2016 budget announcement. Its mission is to help Singaporean professionals boost their IT skills by placing them in training programs and offering career advice.

Time for 5G

The Minister also stressed Singapore’s 5G infrastructure deployment, which is meant to address ever-growing demand from internet-of-things networks, virtual reality applications, and other processing power-hungry systems. Examples include autonomous cars, artificial intelligence applications, and cyber security improvements.

Network operators have already been running 5G trials in Singapore. IMDA wants to encourage further testing by waiving frequency fees so that companies interested to try out applications can do so. The agency has also launched a public consultation that will run until July 7, to get the industry’s feedback and ideas.

Dr. Ibrahim said the vision is to “nurture a digital society where all Singaporeans have access to technology, understand it, and benefit from using technology in their everyday lives.”

This post Singapore’s ongoing tech push: VR in schools, more fintech, and tech IPOs appeared first on Tech in Asia.

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