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Thailand working towards building an innovation ecosystem

According to a recent report, Thailand’s Electronic and Computer Technology Centre is working on integrating a range of technologies to benefit the nation.

Strong ambition is motivating Nectec which aims to build the advanced technology ecosystem for the country.

In order to achieve this, the agency will need to determine the best method for bringing in advanced technologies – including advanced sensors, artificial intelligence, and unstructured Big Data – to widespread commercial use throughout the economy, noted the Director of Nectec.

Thus, under its strategic mission, Nectec will focus on eight advanced technologies over the next four years.

First is the Thai People Map and Analytics Platform (TPMAP), based on Big Data concerning the Thai population, and which comes along with cybersecurity.

TPMAP’s first data set consists of health, education, address, spending and financial information.

This move has resulted in the collaboration between 11 organisations on collecting welfare data, and it will be completely integrated during this year.

Next, the agency will focus on a precision farming mission to drive smart agriculture. Nectec aims to support decision-making around technology, including an AgriMap and a precision control system, moving from fragmented implementation to integrated deployment throughout the whole nation.

The agency is in talks with the Thai branch of a multinational computer hardware company to collect satellite remote sensing data to support the precision farming mission. It is also working to launch a pilot for precision sugarcane farming with the use of remote sensing technology using AgriMap.

The third is the “smart factory” initiative which aims to support Industry 4.0. Nectec will establish the Cyber-Physical System Centre (CPS) as a demonstration centre, showing embedded systems, Internet of Things and other technologies used in the plant.

It was noted that many manufacturing plants in Thailand need technologies to help improve their competitiveness and capability. This centre will play the role of a demonstration centre and to test the systems, as well as to simulate how the smart factory system works.

The centre will be established this year, first locating at the pilot plant in Science Park before expanding to the Eastern Economic Corridor of Innovation (EECi) over the next two years.

Fourth is advanced sensor technology, including the terahertz sensor. Nectec’s Director stated that the agency’s three strategic missions – smart farming, smart industry and TPMAP – all require this kind of advanced sensor.

Next is artificial intelligence (AI). Boasting around 60 to 70 areas of AI expertise, Nectec aims to build AI as the country’s premier technology infrastructure, including in areas such as language processing, computer vision, face recognition and chatbots.

Nectec will establish a high-performance supercomputer for tech and computing AI, investing around Bt300 for three years. The move is to help facilitate universities and the private sector to upgrade their computing and training in AI.

Sixth is “smart city”, for which Nectec will play the role of developing the technology. The centre focus on developing CCTV technology. It will then provide this technology to smart cities for traffic monitoring and surveillance.

Other areas of focus include disaster management and city data management.

Another area of focus is science education. Nectec will collaborate with partners to co-develop the ecosystem for advanced technology throughout the country, both working to initiate R&D as well as actively work with the industry to make the use of advanced tech more widespread.

The agency has also developed the massive open online course (MOOC), a large e-learning system developed and provided by Nectec to nine universities, that then developed about 200 available online courses. Above 100,000 students now study through MOOC. The system can support concurrent users of up to 10,000 students.

Nectec will also focus on two future technologies – terahertz and quantum computing. There will be many more research and development initiatives around these two technologies in the future.

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