IDM R&D unveils initiatives to support local, international R&D needs

MUMBAI: The Interactive and Digital Media (IDM) Research and Development (R&D) Programme Office has unveiled its comprehensive initiatives to support and develop IDM R&D in Singapore. The move is already garnering local and international industry support.

The news follows last year's announcement that the National Research Foundation had allocated SGD $500 million (USD$325 million) over the next five years to fund the development of a strategic IDM research programme. The foundation was to set up a multi-agency IDM R&D Programme Office within the Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) to spearhead the growth and development of Singapore's IDM sector.

The following four initiatives have been formulated to create an effective IDM eco-system involving all stakeholders including entertainment companies, institutes of higher learning (IHLs) and consumers:

Drive demand for IDM services: To anchor and jumpstart the demand for IDM services, the IDM R&D Programme Office will seek the proposals of companies interested in developing applications, services and platforms that could generate new business models.

Grow a network of local and international research organisations to augment the capabilities of the local IDM sector: Under this initiative, the IDM R&D Programme Office will call for research proposals from the world's top IHLs and Research Institutes (RIs) to address key focus areas and custom-tailor R&D results to the needs of both the local and larger international IDM industries.

Encourage the generation of innovative ideas and projects for the IDM R&D landscape: An online virtual jam session for idea sharing, i.Jam will be piloted in late January 2007, encouraging consumers to contribute their ideas and explore R&D projects. Ideas with potential for commercialisation will be further supported by the IDM R&D programme office through mentors from the industry or IHLs. With a full-scale launch slated for July 2007, i.Jam is envisioned to be a platform to capture and nurture ideas into viable projects.

Establish Singapore as an international test-bed for IDM-enabling infrastructure and applications: The funding of innovative applications and services generated by the IDM R&D Programme Office will be administered by MDA, the Economic Development Board (EDB) and the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA). This extensive governmental support will help elevate Singapore as a global R&D leader.

Speaking on the issue , Mica permanent secretary Dr. Tan Chin Nam said, "The economic potential of IDM is tremendous and its impact transformational. Collectively, the implementation of the four initiatives, together with the efforts of the agencies including MDA, EDB, IDA, A*STAR, the Ministry of Education (MOE) and Mica, will help position Singapore as a global media city."

MDA CEO Christopher Chia added, "Going forward, as we prepare to move into the digital age, MDA will actively engage the community and work closely with our industry partners to ensure that consumers will enjoy more tangible benefits with the roll-out of these initiatives."

To provide focus for the R&D initiatives, three R&D directives have been identified:

- Animation, games and effects - to strengthen investments in technology R&D, tools and platform development, as well as explore new genres.

- Media intermediary services - to invest in technical capabilities in the organisation, distribution and security of digital media.

- On-the-move media services - to invest in R&D to identify new ways of reaching and interacting with mobile-connected people who are always on the move.

IDM R&D executive director programme office Michael Yap said, "We aim to bring together all the stakeholders including IHLs and businesses to build sustainable and vibrant industry sectors around these R&D focus areas. The four initiatives unveiled today provide the IDM R&D Programme Office with the necessary means to do so."

The IDM sector is projected to make a significant contribution to the growth of the media industry that aims to realise a value-added contribution of S$10 billion (UDS$ 6.5 billion), up from S$3.8 billion (USD$ 2.5 billion) in 2003, as well as create approximately 10,000 new jobs by 2015.

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