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Thailand Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) and Department of Health Service Support (HSS) recently announced that they will leverage the cutting-edge digital technologies of an online travel agency and metasearch engine to further improve accessibility and efficiency for the booking processes of Alternative States Quarantine (ASQ) packages for Thai repatriates and in-bound travellers during COVID-19. This collaboration makes Thailand one of the first countries in the world to digitalize the booking process.

Returning Thais and inbound travellers will be able to search for and book MOPH-approved ASQ properties via a dedicated booking platform that allows travellers to search availability, room type, and pricing in real-time. Quarantine hotel package bookings are required as part of the process to obtain approval from the local Thai embassies to enter Thailand.

The automation of the booking process benefits both the participating hoteliers and travellers by simplifying the search and booking process on one easily accessible platform. It allows MOPH and HSS to focus their efforts on maintaining health and safety standard protocols for participating in ASQ properties. Initially, the listed ASQ properties on the platform include those in Bangkok, Chonburi, and Phuket.

The Director-General of the Department of Health Service Support stated that Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) is an important mechanism that aims to benefit Thailand in two ways. The first factor is in the prevention and control of the spread of COVID-19, and the second is as a stimulus to help drive the economy by generating income for entrepreneurs.

For these hotel entrepreneurs to be part of the ASQ program, however, they must pass strict standard checks in six categories from the Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Defense. These include safety protocols that ensure on-site personnel fully equipped with medical supplies and training, processes that minimise disruption to the wider community and have an environmental management system to protect and control guests, and thus prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Alongside these requirements are is the professionalism of the country’s hospitals to support foreign travellers and Thai’s repatriating. ASQ helps to promote the country’s economy with the 113 hotels participating as ASQ properties generating THB1.2 billion revenue for Thailand to date. ASQ facilities, which allow flexibility to choose where to stay for quarantine, can be one way to attract foreign tourists again from all over the world and generate income for the country.

The online travel agency has a team of over 1,000 tech engineers in Bangkok working around the clock on cutting-edge solutions for customers, businesses, and governments across the globe. The digital booking platform for ASQ is now live, with more technology partners expected to join the program in the coming months.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Thai Ministry of Public Health has required that any Thai or foreign nationals travelling to Thailand must secure a COVID-19 PCR test with a negative result, COVID-19 health insurance and they must undergo a mandatory quarantine at Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) facilities.

The mandatory quarantine is required for foreigners permitted to enter Thailand such as diplomats and non-immigrant B visa with work permit holders including their families, business representatives and experts invited by the government, permanent residents, foreigners with Thai families such as Thai marriage visa holders, students and their guardians, medical tourists and their attendants, business visa holders, Thai Elite Visa holders, APEC Cardholders, special tourist visa (STV) holders, SETV tourist visa holders, non-immigrant O, OA and OX retirement visa holders and migrant workers with official documents.

New technologies and disruptive innovations are reshaping the way financial services are structured, provisioned and consumed. Banks need to recognise the growth opportunities stemming from digital technologies to initiate new platforms, new value propositions, and intelligent business models.

The ability of financial services providers to identify the demands of their customers and broaden the usage of right technologies will determine who will ultimately gain the much-coveted competitive edge.

Leading ICT executives from financial services industries in the Philippines and Thailand participated in OpenGovLive! Virtual Breakfast Insight to discuss key challenges surrounding the rollout of digital banking capabilities and strategies to enhance the customer experience.

The session witnessed an overwhelming response from the audience in terms of diversity and engagement. Comprised of senior FSI sector digital executives from banks and financial institutions, the attendees were eager to discuss, debate and determine the best practices to achieve fast and convenient product innovations and efficiency within the digital bank.

Knowing your customer is the key to enhancing customer service

Mohit Sagar: Banks need to understand that it is the customers who are changing the landscape

It is no surprise to see customers of today waiting impatiently for seamless services. They demand prompt services and immediate solutions to any problems they experience.

This notion of customers being time-starved was made by Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief, OpenGov Asia in his opening address.

Mohit talked about how the new wave of millennial customers are “born digital” and are demanding simple, fast and convenient digital experiences. The open banking approach is shifting the entire ecosystem at a rapid rate, where the requirements for traditional banks have been changing drastically.

Mohit stressed how it is crucial for financial services to deeply understand their customers and constantly reinvent their services as customers are always reinventing themselves with technology.

He stressed the importance of using available technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning as it enables the banks to focus on the customers and services, not a product.

Mohit concluded his presentation by encouraging organisations to collaborate with experts and partners who will help them accelerate their innovation journey and innovate to stay relevant in the current environment.

Key frameworks to assist financial institutions in digital banking journey

Annie Ong: It is important for banks to implement future-ready core banking architecture

After Mohit’s presentation, Annie Ong, Head of Business Development and Product Management, OneConnect Financial Technology, gave the welcome address of the event.

Annie began by expounding on the background of OneConnect Financial Technology and how they are exploring growth opportunities across Asia and the Middle East. She explained that OneConnect, as an organisation, has been dedicated to spearheading the financial service ecosystem, fully equipped with advanced technologies and data centres across the region.

She briefly explained the key digital solutions that OneConnect is spearheading:

  • Digital Identity Verification
  • Smart Lending Platform
  • Digital Bank-in-a-box-Solution
  • Insurtech Solutions

Annie also shared the digital banking frameworks of OneConnect solution which encompasses all the essential digital components to embark on a digital banking journey. Apart from key technology enablers such as eKYC, Anti-Fraud, Micro-expression, and Open APIs, she confirmed that OneConnect focuses on innovative technologies with the wealth of financial service industry experience that they have.

Product-focused to customer-focused

Keeping in mind the key frameworks of digital banking, Dhana Damodaram, General Manager Service Management & CIO Asia Pacific, Westpac Banking Corporation, offered his perspective to the delegates.

Dhana Damodaram: Banks should be embedded in the customer journey

Dhana started by stating the fact that banks were originally known for products such as cards, wealth and mortgages. The industry is now seeing a drastic shift where banks are moving from product-focused to service-oriented. Banks are starting to bring the services to where the customer is and thereby, aiming to provide any channel, anytime and anywhere banking.

He explained that this trend can be seen from rebranding exercises, as many of the traditional banks recently have been changing their taglines to align to customer-centric and smarter banking services.

Dhana asserted that banks should be deeply involved in the course of a customer journey and built into the process to provide seamless customer experience.

With this, as the banks move from product to service-focused and getting embedded into the customer journey, business-to-consumer (B2C) relationships are also changing from business-to-business (B2B) to B2C.

Dhana also claimed that with banks adopting the business models of digital banking, the revenue is expected to grow by 20%. Whereas banks that fall behind in digital banking disruption stand to lose an estimated 30% of revenue.

On the issue of ecosystem-based banking, Dhana emphasised the importance of portfolio management whereby banks should be certain of the specific segment of customers that they want to attract, and start building an ecosystem around them.

Polling Questions and Discussion

After the presentations by the three speakers, the session transitioned to an interactive discussion time with polling questions posed to the audience. The questions revolved around the main challenges and drivers of digital banking.

On the first question regarding the top priority in 2021, a majority of the room voted for removing frictions from the customer journey and improve their digital experience (68%).

A senior executive from Maybank Philippines shared that he voted for the use of big data, AI, cognitive computing and advanced technologies. He finds this increasingly important especially in times of current digital journey, as it enables the banks to onboard a customer without a physical presence. Such technologies are driving the need to remove physical presence on the premise of enhancing customer experience where the majority has voted for.

On the next question, delegates shared many different perspectives when asked for the primary business reason for offering digital banking. The audience was divided among business model (35%), attracting new customers (22%), competitive pressure (17%) and increase revenue (13%).

A delegate from CIMB Thai Bank voted for the business model as the primary reason because he felt that other options are the usual drivers for all banks. In digital banking, the concern is leaning more towards networks, partners and pricing model, and also streamlining the operation with automation. He believed that this would bring a competitive edge in the market and the rest are the subset of the business model.

On the same question, another delegate from UOB Thailand shared that the ultimate goal of banks is to increase revenue. Digital banking enables the banks to not only attract new customers but also to retain existing customers that will ultimately boost the revenue.

Nicholas Tan: Getting a stronghold of an ecosystem and driving digital banking is crucial over the coming two years

When asked about the biggest challenge when orchestrating an ecosystem, 35% of the delegates voted for security concerns, while 29% voted for prioritisation of ecosystem roadmap and creating an ecosystem mindset/culture.

While delegates agreed that all the challenges have to be addressed, one delegate shared that he voted for security concerns based on the experience he faced when expanding an ecosystem with partners from different industries. He learned that the concept of security was very different from the banking perspective.

After the completion of the discussions, Nicholas Tan, Head of Ecosystems and Partnerships, OneConnect Financial Technology addressed the audience with the closing remarks.

He shared the journey of Ping An group and how they have built adjacent ecosystems to support core business growth. Nicholas claimed that OneConnect was able to increase the number of users who interact through different digital channels 11 times over 7 years, and migration of financial customers also spiked from 8% to 35%.

Based on OneConnect’s experience and case studies, he stressed the importance of customer engagement through ecosystem for banks and thereby bringing the customers back to the financial services.

Nicholas thanked all the participants for their enthusiastic participation. Nicholas urged the delegates to reach out to the OneConnect team to explore ways of taking their ecosystem and digital banking journey forward.

The cabinet will be asked to endorse the country’s first artificial intelligence (AI) ethics guidelines by December 2020 to ensure the proper use of this advanced technology, the National Digital Economy and Society Committee (NDESC) stated recently.

Speaking at an AI ethics forum yesterday, the Secretary-General for NDESC stated that AI is useful for many aspects and it is vital to find a framework for its proper use. AI is a powerful tool that can be used both positively and negatively, she said.

AI ethics principles have been approved by the NDESC, which is chaired by the Prime Minister. The NDESC office plans to ask the cabinet to endorse these guidelines for public use of AI by next month. The NDESC operates under the Digital Economy and Society Ministry.

Energy, agriculture and healthcare are three key sectors that can leverage AI and the need is to educate all parties in using AI morally, she said. Ethics guidelines for other digital technologies could be rolled out in the future. The AI ethics guidelines cover six principles.

First, AI needs to be used to support competitiveness and sustainable development.

Second, it must take laws, ethics and international standards into account. Accordingly, AI needs to be researched, developed, designed and used in service in ways that comply with laws, norm and ethics, and fend off human rights violations and privacy breaches.

AI should not be used to frame human destiny while the design of it must cater to humans as a centre, said Ms Vunnaporn.

The third concerns transparency and accountability. All stakeholders, ranging from researchers and designers to developers to users, need to have accountability, with AI engagement through their roles.

The fourth involves security and privacy. AI, she said, must not be developed to commit fraud or cause threats to others. AI should have mechanisms that allow humans to interfere with its system to prevent harm.

The government should also work with other countries to stem the development of AI technology to automate weapons, she said.

The fifth concerns diversity and broad coverage without monopoly or discrimination. The final principle involves reliability, as AI technology must be reliable and create public confidence in its use. The NDESC Secretary-General said AI should also have the ability to gather and process user feedback.

Speaking at the same forum, the National Technology Head of the Thailand branch of an American multinational technology firm, said that company has a special unit responsible for ensuring AI development is ethical. Three aspects need to be carefully considered when AI is developed, he said. The first concerns the decision to grant loans and the second is linked to health risks. The last is human rights violation risks, such as facial recognition.

The Chief Executive of a Bangkok-based data service analytics firm said the company has an AI board that thoroughly considers AI projects that could have ethical risks, such as those in connection with the military.

True Digital Park announced the launch of a digital academy to boost digital skills among members of the public through cooperation with various global tech enterprises. Major global IT firms taking part in the academy include the world’s mightiest tech giants.

The President of True Digital Park stated that said the House of Digital Academy, which will serve as a digital learning centre, is projected to provide learning programmes for 200,000 people in the first year of operations and 700,000 people over the subsequent three years.

The Park is now paving the way to encourage Thais and particularly new generations to upgrade to the necessary level of digital literacy. True Digital Park, located in Bangkok’s Phra Khanong district, is operated by True Group to serve as a tech and start-up hub in ASEAN. The House of Digital Academy aims to help Thais advance and grow in their workplaces and business operations in the digital era.

Courses offered by the academy will be designed by tech partners that are well-versed in their respective fields of expertise, the President stated. Digital literacy is vital for workers in all sectors, particularly in the new economy, he added.

The academy would also be beneficial for new graduates, currently standing at about 500,000 a year. Many new graduates are finding it difficult to secure employment due to the economic climate.  Digital skills are also needed as many businesses and organisations are gearing up for digital transformation, he said.

The academy is expected to expand and it is estimated that it will cover an area totalling 45,000 square metres by 2022 to accommodate growing demand from trainees through its various digital literacy programmes.

This is another proud project under True Digital Park that combines the efforts from alliances of leading local and international tech companies that jointly aim to boost digital technology skills among the country’s workforce to meet the demands of the market.

Through the academy, the Thailand branch of a Chinese tech powerhouse will offer classes providing certification in the area of cloud system analysis. Moreover, an American networking hardware company will offer online Networking Academy courses to provide learners with relevant skills and knowledge in this area.

The Thailand branch of the world’s largest search engine and the tech giant is participating in the Saphan Digital Project, which aims to share knowledge through free online courses for small- and medium-sized enterprises, non-governmental organisations and members of the public. This project is in cooperation with the Commerce Ministry.

True Digital Park

OpenGov Asia previously reported that Southeast Asia’s start-up ecosystem has been booming over the last couple of years, being earmarked as one of the most attractive destinations for investors. Thailand, in particular, is a nascent market for entrepreneurship. The Thai government has been working to build the country’s tech ecosystem in recent years.

The National Innovation Agency, a government agency aimed at encouraging innovation, overhauled its financial support programme for start-ups to help move progress along quicker and allowing them to access THB44 billion in funding.

The agency’s main goal is to build 3,000 innovation-based start-ups in the next decade, to nurture the start-up ecosystem and generate growth. It also works in partnership with True Digital Park (TDPK), the country’s first and Southeast Asia’s largest digital innovation hub.

Based in Bangkok, the global start-up destination is a playground of sorts for innovation, providing space for work and daily living in an integrated community. Initiatives like these emphasise Thailand’s dedication to a digital transformation.

Thailand’s TDPK is where such digital transformations can find their genesis. With the amount of talent and investment that the park brings together, it provides crucial knowledge creation that is supportive of digital innovations. By positioning itself as a hub where innovation thrives and sprawls, TDPK empowers the region’s start-up ecosystem and boosts its potential exponentially.

A multinational technology company headquartered in Shenzhen announced plans to invest THB700 million in establishing its third data centre in Thailand next year, as part of its support for Thailand to become the digital hub of ASEAN.

The amount is equivalent to the total investment in its first data centre, in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) in 2018, and the second in Bangkok, in 2019. The announcement was made by the chief executive of the Thailand branch of the tech powerhouse, in an address to the “Powering Digital Thailand 2021: Huawei Cloud and Connect” conference at Centara Grand at CentralWorld on 11 November 2020.

He stated that the company has its mission, which is to grow in Thailand and contribute to Thailand. With its end-to-end solution technology and global experiences and expertise, the firm believes it can contribute more to try to support Thailand to be the regional hub.

The tech giant has seen the tremendous progress made in the growth of the digital economy in Thailand, starting with Thailand’s 4.0 policy, which reflected the country’s strong ambition to become a digital leader in the region, Mr Deng said. However, Thailand’s digital economy currently contributed less than 20% to GDP, and there was still a big space to promote digital technology adoption and development in the country.

The digital economy could also help with the country’s economic recovery, especially now it had been further damaged by the pandemic. Thailand’s digital infrastructure is now ready to be empowered into a leading position, thanks to the government’s efforts to accelerate the adoption of 5G through 5G licence auctions in February 2020. The company is confident of Thailand’s potential to become ASEAN’s first digital hub, and this will help the country’s digital economy contribute to 30% of the GDP by 2030.

The data centre market

OpenGov Asia recently reported that Asia Pacific data centre and cloud providers are among the fastest-growing in the world, with cloud revenue far outstripping data centre revenue. In particular, forecasts by the firm pegged cloud revenue in the region at four times more than data centre revenue over the four years to the beginning of 2025, with cloud revenue projected to increase by 87% and data centre revenue by 22%.

The report looked at the market landscape for data centres and cloud services in the region, namely Southeast Asia countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, as well as Australia, China (and Hong Kong), Japan South Korea, and Taiwan.

According to the report, there is one sq m of data centre space for every 522 people in the Asia Pacific region, with hubs such as Australia, Hong Kong, and Singapore having a notably higher data centre floor space “per head” than the rest of Asia.

China has the largest data centre space in the APAC (and second-largest globally), accounting for 43% of data centre space in the region with 1.7 million sq m of space forecast for 2021. Elsewhere, the next largest data centre market in APAC is Australia and Japan with 11% each, with Singapore in fourth place with 10%. Singapore is understood to be under a moratorium on new data centres that could last until 2021, though it is unclear if it is still in effect.

Smaller data centre markets are poised for further growth – with South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam forecast to have the highest increase.

A leader in digital banking and one of Thailand’s largest banks and a Singapore-based financial consultant, a subsidiary of China’s leading technology-empowered personal financial services platform, recently announced the launch of FinVest, an online wealth management platform.

The new digital investment platform is aimed to help retail investors in Thailand gain access to a full spectrum of onshore and offshore investment products at a low minimum investment amount through the extensive network and relationships brought by the two parties.

FinVest aims to provide personalised investment solutions for retail investors. The online investment platform that has been built in partnership between the two entities caters to digitally savvy investors, providing access to more than 600 funds from 15 Asset Management Companies in Thailand.

Additionally, FinVest offers a curated client experience, including an enhanced design as well as user-friendly and mobile-friendly screen flows. In designing the mobile app, the entities prioritise the needs of retail investors. These include the ability to make informed investment decisions and the access to relevant investment knowledge provided by the firm and the bank in collaboration with a wealth-tech and investment specialist and investment solutions provider in Thailand. The ultimate goal of this collaboration is to make sure of the best investment journey to all investors.

The CEO of an online Internet finance marketplace stated that Thailand is one of the fastest-growing markets in Southeast Asia and continues to see rapid wealth growth and economic development. Partnerships and the sharing of technological know-how are defining the financial industry across the region, making significant improvements to the quality of service and offerings to clients. Through this collaboration, investors now have access to international investment opportunities that have previously only been available to a select few.

The CEO of the consulting firm noted that digital technology is rapidly changing the way investors use financial services. They are increasingly using digital channels to purchase financial products and invest. FinVest offers clients the convenience, efficiency, intelligence, and ease of use through a personalised online wealth management platform that will help Thailand and its economy stay at the forefront of the digital financial revolution taking place across the region.

An executive of the bank stated that in 2020, Thailand’s total outstanding capital market value is worth around THB44 trillion. Of this amount, investment in mutual funds totals THB4.8 trillion or around 10%. Of late, the younger generation has shown increasing interest in mutual funds, preferring to conduct transactions via digital channels and seeking products related to Thai and foreign equity instruments.

Moreover, open-architecture investment is growing every year. Development of the FinVest digital platform will help enhance investment potential for Thai retail investors, allowing them to directly invest in global mutual funds via FinVest.

FinVest marks a cooperative effort towards digital technology development; the bank which has extensive digital banking expertise; the Singapore-based company (under the online Internet finance marketplace) and the wealth-tech firm, ensuring that the FinVest platform is in alignment with the Thai capital market under the supervision of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Thailand.

This cooperation also reinforces the bank’s status as a complete banking service provider, based on a combination of its own digital banking expertise and that of the world’s leading partners and fintech experts.

FinVest seamlessly caters to local investors with round-the-clock digital access to comprehensive information about their accounts, market insights and intelligence relevant to their portfolio, while opening the door to premium onshore and offshore wealth management products. The platform also adopts strict Know Your Product (KYP) and Know Your Customer (KYC) compliance procedures, alongside an Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and an anti-fraud system, to meet regulatory requirements.

A multinational technology company recently held its annual “Seeds for the Future 2020” event in Bangkok to offer talented and motivated university students the opportunity to enhance their digital skills through a hands-on training program with leading ICT experts.

A group of 15 students from Chulalongkorn University (CU), Kasetsart University (KU), King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (KMITL) and King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT), were selected to participate in an exclusive five-day ICT course covering the fields of 5G, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud and the firm’s mobile services (HMS) centre.

Initiated in Bangkok in 2008, the Seeds for the Future program aims to help cultivate young talent, ensuring that the digitally-resilient young people have the skills and mindset needed to compete in the future work landscape. Every year over the past decade, 10 qualified Thai students were given a chance to go on a two-week ICT study trip to China, where they meet fellow students from 125 countries and explore first-hand Huawei’s state-of-the-art learning centres and facilities in Shenzhen and Beijing.

Due to the global pandemic, this year’s event was held locally at the Thailand branch head’s office. The intensive week-long program included ICT courses live-streamed from the tech’s headquarters, an extensive culture workshop, offline courses held exclusively at the office and a comprehensive tour of Thailand 5G Ecosystem Innovation Centre (5G EIC) and Customer Solution Innovation and Integration Experience Center.

Experts on 5G, Cloud, Artificial Intelligent (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and HMS shared industry insights as well as their personal experience in helping the country’s transformation using advanced technologies. The company also invited the team from the Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA) which under the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society. During this special session, the students listened to a presentation on the role of ICT technology in developing solutions and services for the e-commerce sector in Thailand.

The presence of the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society Permanent Secretary confirmed the firm’s alliance and commitment with the public sector. Because of its relevance and importance to Thai progress, the program has had the support of the Ministry for several years.

It was noted that the DES Ministry believes that ICT skills development is critical for today’s digital economy. Practical training programs will enhance the students’ ICT capabilities and broaden their horizon. The tech firm’s long-term mission to incubate young talent and unlock opportunities for sustainable growth is in line with the governments. The Seeds for the Future program contributes to Thailand’s digitalization that will drive the country towards Thailand 4.0, the Permanent Secretary said.

During his opening address, the CEO of the firm’s Thailand branch stated that the company is proud to be part of Thailand’s development. With the mission of ‘Grow in Thailand, Contribute to Thailand,’ they stress their commitment to helping Thailand become a digital hub in the Asia Pacific region. Their implementation of the Seeds for the Future Program is proof of their commitment to helping promising, young ICT talent gain knowledge and skills about new technologies, and boost their career paths.

As a prominent enabler and accelerator of digital transformation, the tech giant has been investing heavily in cultivating ICT professionals and concentrating its efforts on supporting the development of the ICT ecosystem in Thailand. Over the past two decades, several government agencies have partnered with the tech giant to create effective ICT development models that bring benefits to society for decades to come.

Through talent promotion programs such as the Seeds for the Future initiative, the company seeks to close the gap between knowledge learned in the classroom and the skills required by the industry. The government intends to continue to support and collaborate with the firm to enable sustainable economic and social development in Thailand.

The Digital Economy Promotion Agency (Depa) announced plans to officially announce the first batch of four smart cities designated under its development scheme at Thailand Smart City Week scheduled for mid-October 2020.

These four smart cities have met five categories for smart city transformation. They are given two years for development to become smart cities. The Depa president and chief executive stated that if these four designated cities fail to meet the smart city requirements within two years, they would have their smart city certificates revoked.

There are five categories for smart city consideration. First, they must have a clear geographical boundary. Second, they need to have infrastructure investment and development plans. Third, they have to design an open and secure city data platform. Fourth, they must have a sustainable management model. Finally, they need to come up with smart city solutions in any or all of seven dimensions: economy, mobility, energy, living, people, governance; and environment.

The Depa President stated that the smart city development project is part of the government’s 20-year national development strategy to create liveable cities with an eco-friendly landscape. The government wants to see 100 smart cities by 2024, he said.

The Depa collaborated with partners to hold Thailand Smart City Week 2020 showcasing digital technologies to steer people-centric smart city development from 16 to 22 October. The event, which was held in both online and offline formats, aimed to attract 50,000 participants for the virtual event and 200,000 for offline showcases.

The physical event was held at True Digital Park, Samyan Mitrtown and the Depa office. The online content from the event will be kept on the websites for a year.

The event offered space for business negotiation, while activities included Smart City Plays, which demonstrated digital technology and innovation adoption. Meanwhile, at Smart City Learns, experts shared knowledge and ideas about smart cities. The Smart City Week also hosted a hackathon for people seeking the right digital solutions. Another activity is Smart City Meets, which exhibits advanced digital technologies and innovations created to accelerate smart city development.

Several cities in seven provinces have been committed to pursuing smart city development. They are in Phuket, Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen, Chon Buri, Rayong, Bangkok and Chachoengsao.

According to another article, the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners at Digital Economy Promotion Agency (depa), presided over the opening of Thailand Smart City Week 2020, stated that Thailand Smart City Week 2020 aims to move Thailand forward to become a world-class smart city as well as driving the development of smart cities in Thailand and abroad.

The event serves as the bridge to connect people in general with the advanced technologies and innovations to facilitate the smart urbanization, technological adoptions and digital transformations. The ultimate goal is to enhance economic and social development sustainably.

Smart city development is regarded as a global agenda that people around the world are greatly interested in as it is fundamental for economic and social development. Smart city development will be driven by the collaboration between state agencies, officials and local people in each designated area, particularly the public and private sectors.

The aim is to achieve the same ambitious goal to develop a more liveable, modern city with a commitment to helping people have a better quality of life. The Depa has always prioritized and carried out a smart city development policy in alignment with the 20-year national development strategy.

Meanwhile, the MDES laid out the highly-efficient digital infrastructure across the country as part of the roadmap to Thailand 4.0 model. Therefore, smart city development is the government’s core mechanism initiated to help narrow society disparities as well as helping to promote a fairly distributed growth and prosperities in each region across the country, he added.

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