By | March 29, 2007

What is World Economic Forum’s Networked Readiness Index?

Wikipedia’s Definition
“The World Economic Forum’s Networked Readiness Index (NRI) measures the propensity for countries to exploit the opportunities offered by information and communications technology. It is published annually. The NRI seeks to better comprehend the impact of ICT on the competitiveness of nations. The NRI is a composite of three components: the environment for ICT offered by a given country or community, the readiness of the community’s key stakeholders (individuals, businesses, and governments) to use ICT, and finally the usage of ICT amongst these stakeholders.”

1: Denmark (3)
2: Sweden (8)
3: Singapore (2)
4: Finland (5)
5: Switzerland (9)
6: Netherlands (12)
7: US (1)
8: Iceland (4)
9: UK (10)
10: Norway (13)

Source: WEF

Let’s break down why I think Singapore is on the list.

1) The environment for ICT offered by a given country or community,
90% of homes are wired for Fiber. FIOS is certainly viable in Singapore. Plus, we now have blanketed most of Singapore with wireless@sg, a free wifi service.

2) The readiness of the community’s key stakeholders (individuals, businesses, and governments) to use ICT,

65% of homes have broad band now. This number is expected to grow to 90% by 2015.Mobile phones are a craze among everyone. Typical lifespan of a phone is 14 months.

Companies are certainly expected to supplement workers with computers. However the abundance of blackberries seem to be less of a phenomenal here than in the US.
Many employees are not issued company laptops here. If there is an area in ICT that Singapore is lacking in, it certainly is with our Businesses.

eGov is a big initiative in Singapore.

GeBiz: A business center where suppliers can conduct e-commerce with the Singapore Government is a truly comprehensive website for tenders. Basically, the government is so big to local SMEs. If the SME wants some piece of the government’s business, they have no choice but to go electronic.

The Size of the Pie? S$620 Million Worth of Government Infocomm Tenders in FY06.

However the system is not entirely without bugs. While working at a certain office using gebiz, I was employed to churn reports from the gebiz system as System Administrators could not access the inter agency data using programs. Thus a human had to do it by hand. Inefficient and a waste of money.

From what I know, A*Star is the research arm of Singapore. Most of the research is government funded. The 2 Major technical Universities seems to be very involved in A*Star. A*star has a technology licensing company called Exploit Technologies. Companies can license their technology from Exploit to build new products. (Interesting side note: Urine Powered Battery). However because most of the high end research is done by the government sector instead of the business side, I wonder if Singapore needs to pursue some form of diversification. Also most of the research is done by non-Singaporeans. This is a sticking point as the researchers are highly mobile and a wrong turn on the economic front might plunge Singapore from research hub to back water.

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