Thailand’s ministry of digital affairs has laid out 10 outstanding projects across five broad themes that aim to drive the country towards a modern economy and society.
The government aims to spearhead change across the country, particularly in remote areas, to create economic value and opportunities for all.
As such, the government is looking to invest 45,000 million baht (US$1.44 billion) over the next four years to grow the digital economy.
The first theme where the government has been investing in its people, particularly in regards to initiatives such as the Pracha Ratana Project and the investment in infrastructure providing high-speed internet access to approximately 24,700 villages, amounting to 5.53 million people.
This is meant to enable people throughout Thailand to enter the digital age, addressing those that have traditionally been unserved or underserved by the government and technology advancements.
The government also looks to develop the skills of workers through initiatives like the intelligent agriculture learning platform (Agriculture 4.0), designed to increase productivity and the quality of farmers’ lives through increased income.
“The Pracha Rat Internet Project recently won a world-class award in the ‘world summit on the information society (WSIS) prizes 2019’ at Geneva, Switzerland,” said Dr Pichet Durongveerot, minister of digital economy and social affairs.
Furthermore, the government looks to develop the country’s digital manpower through platforms such as CodingThailand.org, which has helped over 200,000 Thai youths to develop coding abilities and technical knowhow.
Coding ability is considered a basic skill for youths to have in today’s increasing digital economy. Projects such as CodingThailand.org aim to develop this skill and ultimately stimulate awareness among the population on the importance of learning to code.
The second theme includes efforts to stimulate the digital economy through initiatives like the digital start-up and digital transformation project by the digital economy promotion agency (DEPA).
Meanwhile, the third theme includes adapting to changes in the ‘digital society,’ which comes under ongoing projects, namely, digital projects such as e-commerce, integration, utilisation of Pracha Ratana Internet to expand the distribution channels of products for entrepreneurs and various community enterprises through the retail store management system for the community ‘Point of Sale (POS)’ and Thailandpostmart.com website.
There are currently 900 registered users in the POS system with 1,700 products, with the community generating a collective income of 20 million baht.
The other two projects include the use of big data to create a digital society, connecting about 2.9 million low-income people registered for government welfare to agricultural census data, which is analysed to provide greater support to these communities.
The fourth theme includes the development of Thailand’s infrastructure to support the digital economy. This is done through the implementation of various projects, including the development of the Digital Park Thailand and IoT and Digital Innovation Institute of CAT Telecom and DEPA.
The Digital Park Thailand has been designed to be a fully integrated digital city in the Sriracha Chonburi province of Thailand.
In regards to the IoT and Digital Innovation Institute, construction is expected to be completed in 2020, which will play a central role in designing products and services for IoT technology, AI, robotics, AR, VR and 5G.
Another project is the ASEAN-Japan Cooperation Centre, which will develop personnel, cyber security, etc, through the ASEAN-Japan Cyber security Capacity Building Centre: AJCCBC).
The AJCCBC was established by the Office of Electronic Transaction Development (Public Organisation) (OBEC) with support from Japan, with a mission to enhance the development of personnel in the cyber security sector of ASEAN.
The fifth theme includes the development of the digital economy ecosystem in the country and across ASEAN.
Outstanding projects under this theme include ASEAN Digital Agility, which focuses on five key areas of development, including cyber security, smart city, connectivity and mobility, harmonisation and alignment, and manpower & society.
To date, seven intelligent cities are being piloted in Phuket, Khon Kaen, Chiang Mai, Bangkok and three provinces in the EEC, Rayong, Chonburi and Chachoengsao. Twenty-four more cities are expected to be piloted in 2019.
Dr Pichet said that Thailand’s digital ministry is committed to the mission of using digital to drive the country, which is an important part of the country’s Digital Thailand initiative.
To achieve this, the ministry will focus on five areas for development, namely, cyber security; digital infrastructure; digital government; digital manpower creation; and business development, industry and digital application.