SGTech, the trade association for the tech industry in Singapore, on Friday launched a landscape report into digital trust, which details how Singapore could grow the digital trust sector by nearly three-fold by 2027 – from S$1.7 billion ($1.19 billion) currently to S$4.8 billion ($3.36 billion).

This estimate does not include the additional multiplier effects digital trust could have in enabling growth in numerous other sectors within the digital economy, SGTech said in a statement.

Entitled ‘Digital Trust: Unlocking the Next Wave of Growth in the Digital Economy’, the white paper offers a unique, broader definition of digital trust, namely: “The confidence participants have in the digital ecosystem to interact securely, in a transparent, accountable, and frictionless manner.”

The paper also highlighted digital trust’s importance to Singapore and the world, surveys the latest key trends around the globe, and recommends opportunities for individuals, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), enterprises, the government, and other digital economy stakeholders to capitalise upon.

Singapore’s success as a global hub for business, shipping, finance, aviation and services has long been known to have been built on trust, and this paper puts forward the position that Singapore has immense potential to leverage this trusted reputation to provide a similar competitive advantage in the digital space, built on digital trust.

With a sizeable global market-segment opportunity of S$385 billion ($269.87 billion) and an expectation to double this to S$765 billion ($536.23 billion) over the next five years, SGTech said it is crucial for Singapore to maintain its edge by defining the current landscape, identifying the trends, overcoming the challenges, and making the most of the opportunities in the domain of digital trust.

It also said this has significant implications for Singapore and its workforce.

The white paper expects the digital trust sector in Singapore to employ up to 34,000 people by 2027, more than double the current 15,000.

The study further points out that if the strong growth in privacy enhancing technologies (PETs), distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) and digital identity solutions continues, the sector’s employment demand could grow even further – up to 45,000 in the same period.

These projections assume Singapore maintains certain leadership positions in the digital economy and the white paper recommends how these can be attained.

“The promise of the global digital economy hinges on whether there is trust among economies, companies and individuals to transact with one another,

“We at SGTech believe that digital trust is key to surmounting challenges in this space,” said SGTech Chair Wong Wai Meng.

According to him, Singapore has a unique opportunity to position itself as a global digital and data node built on trust, further strengthening our hub status for global businesses, hence the firm’s focus on this important topic of digital trust and this early study is to chart the landscape, size the market and map the path for Singapore.

Philip Heah, Chair of SGTech’s Digital Trust Committee, said between January 2022 and August 2022, a series of 80 interviews were conducted with leading experts in digital trust domains across the world.

“Our broader definition of digital trust is important for stakeholders to understand the growth opportunities in digital trust that go beyond cyber-security, which accounts for more than half of the sector in Singapore currently, and to identify where these new avenues of growth could come from,” he said.

“This white paper also identifies five key trends that are shaping the landscape – namely, (1) widespread misinformation and its ill-effects to people; (2) the growth and mainstreaming of expectations towards privacy and the responsible use of data; (3) the rising number of cyber-crimes in Asia-Pacific; (4) the rise of data localisation, sovereignty, and challenges to cross-border data flows; and (5) the growing demand for digital trust skills and risk management solutions. We trust the recommendations put forth in the paper will help overcome these potential pain points,” he added.

NetSfere and Amazon Web Services (AWS) are Presenting Sponsors of the white paper, with Lenovo, Intel and Microsoft as supporting sponsors.

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