IDA and MDA reorganise to ride the wave of digital economy

Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) and Media Development Authority (MDA) have been re-organised into two new agencies namely, Government Technology Organisation of Singapore (GTO) and the Infocommunications and Media Development Authority (IMDA).

The restructuring follows the launch, in August 2015, of the Infocomm Media 2025 plan, the first integrated industry development plan for the info-communications and media sectors. According to a statement sent to the press by the two bodies, the formation of the new entities recognise the importance of the "Digital Economy" in transforming many sectors in the economy, as well as the need to support the transformation of government service delivery through even more intensive use of IT.

The new IMDA will develop and regulate the converging infocomm and media sectors and will implement the Infocomm Media 2025 plan, to create a dynamic and exciting sector, filled with opportunities for growth. This will be done through an emphasis on talent, research, innovation and enterprise. The new IMDA will also deepen regulatory capabilities for a converged infocomm media sector, safeguarding the interests of consumers and fostering pro-enterprise regulations.

With more pervasive use of data, the Government will continue to promote and regulate data protection in Singapore through the Personal Data Protection Commission, which will be part of the new IMDA.

"This will ensure that public confidence in the private sector’s use of personal data is safeguarded, even as companies increasingly leverage the data they collect as a source of competitive advantage," read the statement.

Meanwhile, the new GTO will lead digital transformation efforts in the public sector. It will focus on providing a citizen-centric user experience and encourage the participation of citizens in the co-creation of public digital services.  The GTO will continue its efforts in ensuring the resiliency and cybersecurity needs of our government infrastructure.

The GTO will help government agencies capitalise on the speed of innovation and new technology trends such as robotics, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, and Big Data.  The new organisation will also play a vital role in supporting Singapore’s Smart Nation vision, especially in delivering the Smart Nation Platform and Smart Nation applications.

The GTO will also focus on developing new technology capabilities as well as attracting and nurturing ICT engineering talent that will provide a strong foundation for Singapore’s Smart Nation ambitions.

Shirley Wong, chairman of the Singapore infocomm Technology Federation (SiTF), explains that the change is timely and reflects the convergence of Infocomm Technology and Digital Media industries.
The new government agencies, she said, will play a critical role in ensuring the success of the Infocomm Media Masterplan 2025 and Singapore’s Smart Nation initiative.

However, she adds that greater clarification is needed on the impact of the new organisations on industry.

Wong said conversations will continue with the two agencies on creating a vibrant and exciting infocomm and media industries. She looks forward to engaging the new agencies on the way the Infocomm and Media industries can collaborate closely to prepare the public and private sectors for the digital economy.

IMDA and GTO will be established in the second half of 2016.