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COVID-19 prompts surge in digital adoption in Thailand

Video conferencing, risk management, cloud services and digital transformation have drawn interest by corporates in the wake of coronavirus outbreak, one business consultancy notes.

The firm sees no evidence that its customers, particularly in banking and retail, are putting less emphasis on technology or digital transformation projects, the firm’s Managing Director the firm’s Thailand branch stated.

During this crisis, businesses attach more importance to digital technology, which will be increasingly adopted, he said.

Collaboration tools and video conference meetings should be more common for work as they reduce travel and facilitate working from home.

Business continuity planning and risk management should become priorities. For example, skilled workers should not be clustered together to stop the spread of the disease among employees.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is important to gain insight into customer needs and helps reduce physical interaction during the epidemic. AI can also improve the digital customer experience and help companies understand behaviour changes.

Businesses are likely to give more weight to data privacy and cybersecurity as the Personal Data Protection Act is due to be fully enforced in May.

Thai businesses are concerned about digital disruption as customer habits have changed rapidly, citing the company’s 2020 report, “We, The Post-Digital People: Can your enterprise survive the ‘tech-clash’?”.

The research surveyed 6,074 business and IT executives globally, 60 of them from Thailand. Around 90% of Thai executives pointed out that rapid tech advancement and innovation would disrupt their industries.

The report also surveyed 2,000 consumers globally. Some 52 percent of them said technology plays a major role in almost all aspects of daily life.

It was noted that businesses must shift their mindset from ‘just because’ to ‘trust because’ — re-examining fundamental business and technology models and creating a new basis for competition and growth.

He pointed to five key trends companies must address over the next three years.

First, organisations will need to design personalised experiences that amplify an individual’s agency and choice, what the MD termed “the I in experience”.

Businesses need to increase their interactive relationships and work with consumers like partners or co-creators.

Second, AI should contribute to how people perform their work, rather than as a backstop for automation. The other three trends cover smart products and services, robots and in-house innovation.

According to another report, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission (NBTC) reported a significant increase in mobile internet usage and online shopping in January and February compared to the previous year.

The Secretary-General of NBTC stated that the commission had surveyed mobile internet usage from 2,554 samples and found that the usage of social media and online shopping applications had increased significantly in the past two months.

Popular apps have increased usage by over 80 percent compared to previous year’s statistics. The usage of social media platforms, as well as online shopping portals, have increased significantly.

One of the factors behind the increase in mobile internet usage is the outbreak of the Covid-19, which has made people avoid outdoor visits to shop and switch to online shopping instead. Furthermore, the virus situation has urged people to look for information and updates online more frequently.

In addition, in February 2020, people used significantly more mobile data per day compared to the previous month.

In January the average data usage per person stood at 136.6 megabytes per day, but in February the number jumped 88.2 percent to 257.06 megabytes per day.

This huge increase in such a short period signals the need for a faster network, therefore operators must push the 5G system into the market as soon as possible to cope with customers’ demand.

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