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Thai banks to apply facial recognition tech for KYC

According to a recent report, The Bank of Thailand (BoT) is at the end of the testing phase of facial recognition software for the electronic Know Your Customer (e-KYC) technology in the regulatory sandbox, paving the way for banks to offer passbook account opening through mobile banking apps in the second quarter of 2019.

There are 10 financial and non-financial institutions expected to join at this stage.

According to the Assistant Governor at the BoT, in order to complete the regulatory sandbox, the institutions must prove that their facial recognition technology has accuracy, availability, and measures to prevent cyber-attacks and avoid fraud risk.

In addition, the technology must ensure requirements related to data security, privacy rules, and a process to keep e-signatures safe. They must also train their employees to clarify and solve customer problems related to the technology, she added.

The Thai central bank has chosen facial recognition technology for e-KYC because it can use reliable data such as citizen ID cards for comparison, and offers great convenience using smartphones that already have facial recognition functions and high accuracy for authentication.

In the future, opening passbook accounts through the digital channel at a second bank might not require customers to fill out their personal information again, as the second bank could acquire details from the first bank.

Many big banks have also been testing e-KYC technology in BoT’s sandbox.

This news is compounded by news that Thailand’s IT splurge is poised to hit THB540 billion in 2022, and AI and Big Data are the key drivers.

IT spending is expected to reach 540 billion baht in 2022 with a compound growth rate during 2018-22 of 5.4%, thanks to digital transformation driven by big data analytics, artificial intelligence, cloud and mobility.

Despite a saturated market, smartphones will account for 44.9% of the 452 billion baht in total IT spending in 2019, compared with 43.5% of 424 billion baht in 2018.

The report noted that Thailand’s IT spending in 2019 will grow by 6.5% to reach 451 billion baht as enterprises continue to invest in advanced technologies, banks invest in fintech and e-Know Your Customer, manufacturing tackles Industry 4.0, and telecom prepares for 5G infrastructure, according to the senior market analyst at IDC Thailand.

IDC excluded factors such as election prospects and policy stability.

The senior analyst noted that in 2019 hardware will be valued at 308 billion baht, 68% of total IT spending, as IT services make up 100 billion (21.84%) and software 43 billion (9.7%).

She noted that emerging technologies – like public cloud services, big data analytics, Internet of Things – will see two-digit growth in the next 3-5 years.

Despite uncertainties in the global economy and politics, enterprises continue to invest in strategic technologies for digital innovation and stay competitive.

A market analyst for software at IDC Thailand, foresees top trends in Thailand beyond 2019, noting that by 2022 over 61% of GDP will be digitised, with US$72 billion in IT-related spending mainly on mobile, social media and cloud.

Digital-native IT organisation will increase by 2022, and third platform technologies will account for 60% of Thailand’s IT spending.

Cloud adoption will help increase edge computing as enterprises demand real-time decisions and access data faster. By 2022, over 20% of cloud deployment in Thailand will include edge computing and 25% of end-point devices will execute artificial intelligence algorithms.

Some 70% of new applications in Thailand will use microservice architecture, making them faster to market. There will be significantly more developers because less technical skill is required due to the availability of less- or no-code development tools and the government’s coding training programme.

By 2024, a new class of professional developers will expand the number of developers by 20%.

Other trends are the digital innovation explosion, specialised software-as-a-service for vertical industries and quantum computing in hardware.

At least 20% of enterprises will use conversational speech technologies such as chatbots for customer engagement.

By 2023, IDC expects 3.5 million users to have blockchain-based digital identities. The top four global cloud service providers will host 80% of infrastructure-as-a-service and platform-as-a-service deployments in Thailand.

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