Singapore pushes digital transformation for economic recovery  

Cyber security needs to go hand in hand with the digital transformation.

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has formed the SG Digital Office to drive the Government’s recent push to accelerate digital adoption in our community, as Singapore embarks on a phased economic recovery post COVID-19.

According to S Iswaran Minister for Communications and Information IMDA COVID-19 has irrevocably changed the way people live.

“While some of us have been able to make the necessary adjustments to work, learn or socialise from our homes because we are digitally connected, that is not the case for some of the elderly and vulnerable amongst us,” he said. “Their lives can be better if they too are as digitally connected. The Government recognises that in the wake of COVID-19, digitalisation is now both an imperative and an opportunity. Digitalisation can significantly improve the lives and livelihoods of our people.”

By establishing the new SG Digital Office and doubling down on our efforts to help every individual, worker and business go digital, said Minister Iswaran.

“For a start, SDO will recruit 1,000 Digital Ambassadors to help stallholders and seniors go digital. Working with like-minded members of the community, corporate entities, and individuals, SDO will drive Singapore’s national digitalisation movement, to ensure that everyone has a place in Singapore’s digital future”,” he said.

IMDA said SDO plans to educate and encourage all seniors as well as stallholders in hawker centres, wet markets, coffeeshops and industrial canteens to go digital, SDO will recruit and deploy 1,000 Digital Ambassadors by end-June 2020. Comprising both full-time staff and volunteers, they will work with companies, community groups and the public to engage these target groups over the next few years. Details on Digital Ambassadors are at Annex.

“SDO will mobilise a whole-of-nation movement to accelerate Singapore’s digitalisation by building on and ramping up existing efforts to equip every individual and business, including our seniors and small businesses, with digital tools and skills to participate meaningfully in the new social and economic environment post COVID-19,” said Minister Iswaran.

Digital Ambassadors will cover all 112 hawker centres and wet markets in June 2020 to encourage stallholders to adopt SGQR codes for e-payment.

“The outreach will be ramped up further from July 2020, to include coffee shops and industrial canteens,” he said. “Our goal is to engage 18,000 stallholders to help them get onboard the unified e-payment solution by June 2021.

We will also help those who have not begun using digital tools to get onboard with digital transformation, building on current momentum.”

IMDA, National Environment Agency, Jurong Town Corporation, Housing Development Board and Enterprise Singapore will provide a bonus of SD$300 per month over five months to encourage more stallholders at hawker centres, wet markets, coffee shops, and industrial canteens to use e-payments and avoid having to handle cash.

“They should not be left behind as the whole economy transforms,” Minister Iswaran.

“The Digital Ambassadors will also reach out to and raise the digital skills of 100,000 seniors by March 2021, up from the current annual target of 10,000 seniors reached through one-to-one skilling efforts.”

Joanne Wong vice president for Asia Pacific and Japan at LogRhythm said, this will help bring rapid digital transformation to Singapore.

“The new SG Digital Office is certainly a step in the right direction,” she said. “It is only prudent that we focus our efforts on traditional businesses, who are embarking on this transformation journey for the first time – equipping them with the digital know-how and tools will help to unlock new opportunities and level the playing field.”

Wong noted awareness and educate the importance of cyber security should also remain at the forefront of the transformation.

“While helping these business owners learn how to use digital tools, digital ambassadors must also teach basic cyber hygiene and best practices, so that inexperienced users don’t inadvertently expose personal, sensitive information and get exploited,” she said. “Digital transformation and cyber security should all the more go hand-in-hand, given that Singapore, one of the most highly-connected and developed countries in the world, is a common target among cyber criminals.”




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