“The Most Wired and Effective in Promoting the Use of IT among its Citizens”

What e-content means in Singapore:

A: E-content stands for products or services that are electronically delivered.

What is the current status of e-content in your country, including national e-content development across all the sectors of the industry?

In Singapore, where appropriate, the delivery of many products and services has become digital (electronic). This phenomenon is significantly aided by Singapore’s government-drives towards making Singapore a highly-connected and IT-savvy island. Besides establishing high-speed broadband connectivity, the Singapore Government has also initiated many programmes to encourage the proliferation of Internet adoption and IT literacy.

Which e-content area is best developed in your country?

The best developed e-content in Singapore, and most significant in my opinion, is e-government. The Singapore Government, through the Infocomm Development Authority, has established many initiatives to make Government services available electronically. The impressive and comprehensive e-citizen portal is a case in point. Most consumers of Government transactions can be found on this portal. A survey of 75 countries by the World Economic Forum and Harvard University in May 2002 has named Singapore as the ‘Most-wired Government and Most Effective in Promoting the Use of IT among its Citizens’.

Which sectors in your country are the leaders in e-content development?

The Government or Public Sector followed by the Business Sector is the most aggressive in developing e-content.

Please describe the progress of e-content development in your country.

The progress of the development in e-content in Singapore can be seen from the perspective of the rapid growth in household computer ownership of 35.8% in 1996 to 68.4% in 2002, and Internet penetration of 8.6% in 1996 to 59.4% in 2002. The most popular e-content is e-communication services like e-mail, chat, and instant messaging.

Please list the major initiatives which have influenced and spurred the development of e-content in your country.

Some of the major initiatives undertaken by the Singapore Government are:

IT 2000 Singapore

The Intelligent Island initiative which was spearheaded by the now defunct National Computer Board in 1991.

The National IT Literacy Programme

The National IT Literacy Programme was initiated in 2001 to equip Singaporeans with essential basic computing and Internet skills. This programme helps them to improve their employment opportunities and enhance their quality of life. It was spearheaded by Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower and the Infocomm Development Authority. The target is to equip 350,000 Singaporeans with basic computer and Internet skills over three years. The training will be quick, easily available and affordable.

The Masterplan for IT in Education

The Masterplan for IT in Education is a blueprint for the integration of information technology (IT) in education as a strategy to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

What have been the major bottlenecks in the development of e-content in your country?

In my opinion, a lack of consumers of e-content due to low IT literacy amongst older Singaporeans (45 years and older) and less educated Singaporeans is a problem.

Secondly, people lack confidence in the level of security for e-business transactions, especially personal banking.

In developed countries ICT has become part of daily life and e-content development is primarily left to the initiatives of individuals or organizations. On the other hand, in less developed countries, the development of e-content is largely dependent on ICT infrastructure. Please give a detailed analysis of the situation in your country.

In 2001, the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy organization named Singapore as having the best physical infrastructure in Asia. In addition, Singapore was named first in e-commerce infrastructure in Asia, and fourth internationally by the World Competitiveness Yearbook 2000.

How do you see the future of e-content development in your country?

I predict that e-government, e-inclusion and e-health content will probably reach a state of maturity while e-learning (with e-science), e-business, and e-entertainment will continue to grow. E-culture will be likely to lag behind.

As an expert in your country, what would be the five most important pillars of e-content development?

» E-content must serve a real purpose or need;
» E-content must be economically sustainable;
» E-content must be simple and easy to use;
» E-content must NOT be driven by technology but be people-centric;
» E-content must be adaptable in line with rapid technological changes.

Please explain which is the most preferred medium for e-content development: Print, TV, the Internet, Radio, Mobile/Wireless or a combination of some of these?

Looking at the rapid proliferation of mobile/wireless devices, I would say the mobile and wireless medium would be the preferred e-content platform in Singapore.

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