How do you use technology to improve citizens’ lives? Tell us about your role or organisation.
I’ve been in various roles in the former Infocomm Development Authority, and I am now in the Accreditation team with the new Infocomm Media Development Authority.
I was part of the pioneer team at Accreditation when it was set up in 2014. It is the first programme in the world, by any local or foreign agency, to help the local tech ecosystem grow by establishing their credentials and win contracts with potential buyers. We provide an independent assessment on the tech company’s product claims and abilities to deliver.
Often buyers think that bigger companies will have better or more secure products, but that is actually not true. We lower the perceived risks of young companies to buyers through our assessments. This helps buyers to adopt innovative solutions from these companies quickly and improve their service offering.
For example, our accredited companies have sold video analytics solutions to government agencies and other enterprises. This could be used in places like customer service counters to provide better service and also for security purposes.
What has been the most exciting thing that you worked on in 2016?
Every year, we try to improve the programme and fine tune our initiative to find new ways to help our companies in their growth challenges.
At the start, the Accreditation programme was focused on providing assurance to buyers and also helping companies win work from government agencies.
But we’ve known all along that we have to expand beyond government. So this year, we’ve focus on building up the enterprise and internationalisation parts to help our companies grow beyond the domestic market. We have signed on Surbana Jurong and Lendlease this year to extend the enterprise leg. In the meantime, we will continue to work with other partners to provide enterprise growth opportunities for our accredited companies.
We are also trying to help the companies in their various marketing initiatives to increase their brand awareness, which will be useful for global expansion. Besides that, we are exploring new initiatives in helping our accredited companies in recruitment as they expand.
What tool or technique particularly interests you for 2017?
I guess it’s more of a trend, than a specific tool. In the recent years, we have been seeing an increased use of open source software in enterprise products.
We noticed that this has helped boost the technopreneur ecosystem because all open source tools help shorten the development cycle of enterprise products. It also boosts the innovativeness of their product. It’s a trend that developers and entrepreneurs should take a serious look at and see how they can use open source tools.
At the same time, buyers should also be more aware of the incorporation of such open source software in products. Even if they buy any enterprise product built with open source software, they should test the product and incorporate security policies into it.
If you were to share one piece of advice that you learned in 2016, what would it be?
It’s linked to my previous point on open source. Buyers must be aware and should incorporate the necessary security policies around open source to ensure that the product is secure and safe.
A lot of people may say that there are more eyes looking at open source software and more people working on it, and therefore, it’s more secure. But this shouldn’t be taken for granted. Developers or technopreneurs who want to use open source software should also implement their own security policies.
Another point on the use of open source software is that it can also decrease the competitiveness of entrepreneurs. This is because you have to put whatever you develop back into the society and community. Entrepreneurs should find a way to distinguish their product in their domain area, so that they have an advantage over the other competitors that will be coming out very shortly.
Who is your hero and why?
It’s our founding father, Mr Lee Kuan Yew. I am in government because I was inspired by him and his vision. It’s rare to see a person transform a country so quickly within a generation. He inspired people like me who want to contribute back to the society and build on what he had done.
And finally, if you could recommend us one place to eat, where would it be?
I would recommend Maxwell or Old Airport Road hawker centre, where you can find a mix of a lot of good local food. My favourite at Maxwell is the curry rice and tapioca cake. At Old Airport Road, it would be the char kway teow, wantan noodles, and rojak.