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Thailand’s Digital Future: Initiatives for Regional Dominance 

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Mr Prasert Chandraruangthong, Minister of Digital Economy and Society (DE), along with the executive team of the Ministry of DE, has conducted an inspection tour in preparation for the official off-site Cabinet meeting No. 3/2024, scheduled for May 14, 2024, in Phetchaburi Province. This visit included a review of the submarine cable project at the Chalee 1 Phetchaburi submarine cable station and the Phetchaburi Meteorological Station. The primary goal of this visit was to follow up on progress in line with assigned policies aimed at driving “The New Growth Engine of Thailand” and preparing the nation to become an ASEAN Digital Hub.

Image credits: mdes.go.th

One of the most significant projects inspected was the submarine cable initiative, which is expected to enhance Thailand’s communication network significantly. The new Asia Direct Cable (ADC) project, currently under construction, will span 9,400 kilometres and connect six countries: China, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, and Thailand. The project is slated for completion around the fourth quarter of 2024.

This cable will bolster Thailand’s internet infrastructure and position the country as a key player in the regional digital economy. The enhanced connectivity will facilitate faster and more reliable internet services, which are critical for businesses and consumers. The project underscores Thailand’s commitment to improving its digital infrastructure, which is essential for supporting economic growth and attracting foreign investment.

The second focus area is the enhancement of weather forecasting capabilities through integrating artificial intelligence (AI). During the Phetchaburi Meteorological Station visit, Mr Prasert observed the use of advanced monitoring systems, including instruments and weather radar. He highlighted the importance of developing a robust data analysis and weather monitoring system utilising AI technology.

Implementing AI in weather forecasting, specifically through systems like the “Now Forecast” project, aims to improve the accuracy and efficiency of weather predictions. This technological advancement is expected to provide timely and precise weather reports, enabling better preparation and response to weather-related events. Accurate weather forecasting is crucial for disaster preparedness, agricultural planning, and daily life, ensuring the safety and well-being of the population.

The third engine focuses on developing a skilled digital workforce. Mr Prasert has tasked the National Digital Economy and Society Commission (NDEC) and the National Statistical Office with driving digital workforce initiatives. This includes deploying digital volunteers (VVD) who will be crucial in coordinating, disseminating knowledge, and providing technological assistance to the public.

The policy also promotes the “1 District 1 IT Man” initiative, which aims to ensure that every district has a dedicated digital officer to drive technological advancement at the regional level. This initiative is pivotal for building a robust IT workforce that will support and advance Thailand’s digital economy. “The policies assigned to the agencies in the lower central region are designed to enable regional agencies to drive projects in alignment with central-level policies. This cohesive approach is essential for the digital economic and social development of the people and supports Thailand’s goal of becoming an ASEAN Digital Hub,” said Mr Prasert.

By upgrading digital capabilities, enhancing weather forecasting with AI, and developing a skilled digital workforce, Thailand is setting the stage for significant economic growth and technological advancement. These efforts are crucial for establishing the country as a leader in the ASEAN region, capable of driving innovation and providing robust digital services.

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