September 26, 2020

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Developing an IoT system for Thailand

Thailand is looking to develop a better ecosystem to support the Internet of Things (IoT) which has been heralded as an important tool. This technology will help the government attain its ambitious goal of building smart industries following the Covid-19 period.

5G wireless technology, which promises super-fast exchange of data, is crucial but was not emphasised when a multinational networking and telecommunications company looked at how the country can move towards the fourth industrial revolution focusing on technological advances.

Experts instead proposed an IoT ecosystem that requires a combination of key players such as technology service providers and the government to jointly facilitate factories connecting their machines, making them “speak” to one another and having them work automatically with a minimal amount of human involvement.

At a webinar on smart industries, it was noted that the local ecosystem was not ready for IoT. The webinar was co-organised by the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau, the Thai Chamber of Commerce, Post Today and Bangkok Post.

Some state regulations make it difficult for developers to design new equipment for use in certain industries. Procedures that need official approval are usually time-consuming and do not encourage product development in the country. Some entrepreneurs are also uncertain whether they should adopt high-tech equipment at their factories, the Managing Director of a holding company under the largest and oldest cement and building material company in Thailand and Southeast Asia.

An automated warehouse, for example, can help businesses better manage their stocks without the need to employ many workers, but factory owners view the technology as too expensive and tend to ask when they will see returns on investment if they decide to build it. Experts feel it is not necessary to look into the future and calculate what entrepreneurs will gain, because “the investment already paid them back yesterday”.

Building an automated warehouse, in which items are stored, sorted and picked along vertical space by a computer system, is a sound investment from the start because such management helps businesses reduce storage areas and better manage costs.

OpenGov Asia also recently reported that social distancing has made everyone more dependent on technology, and new health techniques highlight the power of 5G, cloud technology and artificial intelligence, the President of the Carrier Business Group of the Asia Pacific branch of a Chinese multinational technology company noted.

Thailand, which is striving to become the region’s digital technology leader, has also taken a very aggressive approach towards both mobile and fixed broadband development.

To stimulate the 5G development and alleviate some of the investment required for operators, the Thai government has introduced flexible payment terms that allow 700 MHz and 2600 MHz licenses to be paid over ten years.

In addition to long-term planning well underway, Thailand has also proactively accommodated the needs of users dealing with social distancing and financial uncertainty with additional support for users including providing upgrades of FTTH services to 100Mbps and xDSL services to maximum capacity.

Policies like this have allowed the country to easily accommodate the change in digital dynamics brought on by COVID-19 and these early investments will also better position the economy for faster recovery post-pandemic.

The ASEAN region is predicted to be one of the biggest, if not the biggest, economic entities in Asia. I light of this, proactive policies that accelerate the deployment and adoption of digital services are key to moving the economy ahead and ensuring continued reliable operation even in the face of adversity.