Internet of Things can boost Thailand’s economy given the right ecosystem

An announcement made by The Nation highlighted how establishing the right ecosystem is essential in order for IoT to take off in any ASEAN country. If Thailand were to maximise its benefits, then it should focus its IoT solutions to the sector that contributes the largest to its economy, which is manufacturing.

The Thailand 4.0 policy has highlighted opportunities and investment trends in 10 targeted industries which are divided into two broad categories.

The first 5 S-Curve industries include general automotive, intelligent electronics, advanced agriculture and biotechnology, food processing, and tourism. The country’s competitiveness in this group can be enhanced by building on its current strengths with the use of technological innovation.

In order to accelerate Thailand’s new industrial growth base, the five new S-Curve industries that should be focused on are digital, robotics and automation, aviation and logistics, biofuels and biochemicals, and medical hubs.

Industrial enterprises are the largest contributor to Thailand’s economy. CEO of Asia IoT Business Platform Mr Irza Suprapto said that Thailand should focus on IoT solutions for is sector that contribute the largest to its economy, which is manufacturing. The government has identified that potential and is making both hard and soft investments to ramp up companies along the technological curve.

Mr Suprapto said, “The enterprises under the industrial verticals are most advanced in exploring and/or implementing IoT solutions.” 

With these investments and developments, the IoT industry in Thailand is expected to be worth US$1 billion (Bt33 billion) by 2020.

The most obvious potential for Thai enterprises implementing IoT solutions lies in productivity gains. Thailand has trailed behind its ASEAN neighbours in improving productivity, which can be solved by proper adoption of IoT solutions as this should help enterprises bridge this gap.

Not only that, but increased productivity would also make Thailand a more attractive location for foreign investments.

Mr Suprapto added the importance of establishing the right ecosystem if IoT implementation is to take off in any ASEAN country. The four key stakeholders within an ecosystem are governments, telecommunications companies, solution providers and local enterprises.

Governments can create the right ecosystem by crafting policies that increase the solution options available to enterprises. They are also responsible for providing both financial and non-financial support.

The Ministry of Digital Economy and Society was formed to track how digital transformation projects affect the growth of both the economy and the society. The digital sector has to target 25% contribution to Thailand’s GDP as set by the Ministry.

The role of the telecommunications companies is to guarantee strong and reliable connectivity, whether Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) or traditional bandwidth.

Large solution providers target each ASEAN country differently. ASEAN economies continue to outpace global growth rates. Thus, the larger technology vendors have started to commit additional resources to increase their product and service offerings in the region.

Local enterprises need an ecosystem that encourages them to make investments in IoT and the three aforementioned stakeholders will play key roles in providing the impetus for ASEAN enterprises to adopt IoT solutions.

“IoT implementation isn’t the same as a traditional enterprise IT product purchase decision,” said Mr Suprapto.

He added, “And enterprises need to invest a fair bit of resources to adopt IoT successfully.”

He explained, “Having supportive policies, strong connectivity infrastructure and leading-edge technology minimises the risks business leaders are exposed to in adopting IoT projects.”

 Mr Suprapto furthered, “Southeast Asia cannot be ignored, as overall economic growth is expected to remain strong over the next few years.”

He concluded, “IoT is not a problem which can be solved with a one-size-fits-all solution. Business models will have to adapt. This starts with having in-depth, honest discussions among stakeholders. And that is what we aim to provide.”

An earlier announcement highlighted a survey conducted by Asia IoT Business Platform wherein Thailand led among the ASEAN countries with the most number of enterprises that are exploring and/or implementing IoT to boost their productivity and innovation.

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