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  • Huawei advances APAC tech ecosystem to accelerate digital transformation
    Huawei opened its first Digix Lab in the Asia Pacific in Singapore to empower developers and partners for the HMS ecosystem.

    Huawei opened its first Digix Lab in the Asia Pacific in Singapore to empower developers and partners for the HMS ecosystem. This is one of the programs that the leading global tech company initiated to cultivate a diverse tech ecosystem and accelerate the digital transformation in the region, Huawei Asia Pacific spokesperson told the media on Thursday during the MWC Shanghai 2021.

    Located at Changi Business Park, Huawei leverages Singapore’s importance as a growing technological hub in Asia Pacific, boosting the mobile ecosystem throughout the region. Equipped with AR, VR, HMS Core Kits, and other open technological capabilities, the lab is designed to support developers of all levels throughout their mobile app development journey.

    “In the new intelligent era, Huawei aims to build a ‘1+8+N’ all-scenario mobile ecosystem with HMS that empower developers to innovate as they build their business. The Digix Lab provides a platform to cultivate and equip developers with the necessary app development tools to innovate and advance the future of the digital space,” Jay Chen, Vice President of Huawei Asia Pacific, said in an interview during the Mobile World Congress (MWC), which runs from February 23 to February 25 in Shanghai.

    Headlined “Connected Impact,” the MWC Shanghai 2021 showcases how the entire digital ecosystem continues to transform our lives towards a safer and better world. 

    According to Jay, the Huawei will collaborate with its partners on multiple programs to cultivate the technology ecosystems in order to accelerate the digital transformation in the Asia Pacific region. 

    Complementing the DIGIX Lab, Huawei also announced that it will bring more local in-demand apps onboard HUAWEI App Gallery to elevate its mobile ecosystem in the region.

    Asia Pacific will be the leading region in terms of 5G technology adoption with 1.14 billion subscribers, accounting for 65% of global 5G subscriptions by 2024, according to latest statistics by GlobalData.

    Through joint innovation and strategic partnerships with its customers, Huawei is working to coordinate 5G communication and industry standards to scale up 5GtoB applications.

    To cultivate the 5G ecosystem, Huawei plans to invest 475 million Thai baht (about 1.5 million USD) to support the 5G Ecosystem Innovation Center (EIC) in Bangkok. The tech company is committed to incubating more than 100 local SMEs and startups every year to adopt 5G solutions for different vertical industries within three years in the Asia Pacific country.

    “This 5G EIC is as a sandbox for digital innovations of 5G applications and services across various industries. These innovations will create new business opportunities for SMEs, startups and educational institutions, paving the way to achieve Thailand 4.0 and build the digital hub in the ASEAN region,” said Mrs. Vunnaporn Dehastin, Thailand Secretary-General of the National Digital Economy and Society Commission.

    “This goal must be achieved through cooperation between the public and the private sectors, at both domestic and international level. Together, we can overcome the challenges and build a better future,” she said.

    For the startup ecosystem, Huawei Asia Pacific kicked off its Spark Program in Singapore in 2020 to support deep tech startups with the use of 5G, Machine Learning & Analytics, IoT, Mobile Edge Computing, and Mobile & SaaS applications. The program has attracted more than 500 startups from 75 countries.

    The rapid development of the digital economy also means a potential shortage of ICT talent in the Asia Pacific region. Through projects such as Huawei Academy, ICT Certification, and Seeds for the Future, Huawei will help to train at least 200,000 ICT talents in the next five years.

    “In the era of ecosystem collaboration, it is more important to manage cooperation than to manage competition. With this in mind, Huawei will continue to increase investment in building a diversified and prosperous ecosystem to build a fully connected, intelligent Asia Pacific,” said Jay Chen.

    27 February 2021
  • Food tech ‘Next Gen’ raises US$10 million
    Singapore-headquartered food tech startup Next Gen, pioneering plant-based foods, has closed a US$10 million Seed round, the largest ever for a plant-based food tech company, according to Pitchbook. This follows an earlier founder capitalisation of US$2.2 million.

    Singapore-headquartered food tech startup Next Gen, pioneering plant-based foods, has closed a US$10 million Seed round, the largest ever for a plant-based food tech company, according to Pitchbook. This follows an earlier founder capitalisation of US$2.2 million.

    Heavyweight investors in this Seed round include Temasek, K3 Ventures, the New Ventures arm of the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), NX Food – part of METRO AG, FEBE Ventures, and Blue Horizon, along with others.

    The funding will be used for the global launch of Next Gen’s plant-based chicken consumer brand “TiNDLE” in Singapore, expansion into additional Asian cities and continued research and development of new plant-based products. 

    The global plant-based protein segment is expected to reach US$85 billion by 2030, according to UBS.   Global investment in food technology for the first three quarters of 2020 was US$8.37 billion, beating the US$7 billion raised in 2019. 

    Next Gen co-founder and CEO Timo Recker noted strong investor confidence. “The exceptional response from our investors, raising more than our initial US$7 million target, is a strong validation of our team, our technology, our business model, our fantastic product, and our expansion strategy. Our investment success is thanks to support from all our investors, K3 Ventures in particular, which has a track record of being early backers of successful startups such as Grab and ByteDance.”

    The roadmap for the next one to two years includes raising Series A funding, product diversification, and international expansion into Europe and the United States. The Company is already laying the groundwork for the US, including recruiting a Growth Director, who will build a network of distributors, restaurants, and chefs.

    TiNDLE Global Launch

    Next Gen’s consumer brand TiNDLE will be making its global debut in Singapore in March 2021. Distributed by Classic Fine Foods, Next Gen’s official distribution partner, it will be rolled out in select restaurants including Three Buns Quayside, The Prive Group, 28 HongKong Street, Bayswater Kitchen and The Goodburger among others.  

    Developed in collaboration with chefs and for chefs, the first TiNDLE product is TiNDLE Thy, delivering the unmistakable taste and versatility of chicken thigh. Chefs can easily use TiNDLE Thy to prepare dishes in multiple culinary applications, and for many kinds of cuisines – Western, Chinese, Indian, Middle Eastern and more.

    Next Gen Co-founder Andre Menezes said, “TiNDLE Thy will first be available in some truly great restaurants across Singapore. With TiNDLE Thy we want to deliver a fantastic culinary experience, made from sustainable food.” 

    TiNDLE Thy has been created directly with chefs, offering high protein, high fibre and low carb; it is also GMO and naturally cholesterol-free. TiNDLE Thy meets the nutritional guidelines for the Healthier Choice Symbol administered by Singapore’s Health Promotion Board due to its lower sodium and lower saturated fat content as compared to regular plant-based meat alternatives.

    “Not only does TiNDLE Thy deliver to the quality, versatility, and cookability Chef’s demand for chicken made from plants, it also delivers the full taste experience consumers seek. This unique combination, along with Next Gen’s brand development and marketing capabilities, aligns TiNDLE to meet the global opportunity for plant based chicken,” said Jean Madden, Chief Marketing Officer, Next Gen.

    Plant-based meat has seen strong demand in the West and is now also gaining momentum in Asia. According to DuPont N&B, demand for plant-based products in Asia will surge over 200% in the next 5 years. 78 percent of APAC consumers say that plant-based meat alternatives are here to stay, and consumption will continue to grow. Technavio projects the market will be worth US$12.75 billion by 2030.

    Next Gen, co-founded by Timo Recker and Andre Menezes, was launched in Singapore on 1 October 2020, with founder capitalisation of US$2.2 million (SGD$3 million). Prior to founding Next Gen, Timo was the founder and CEO of German plant-based meat company, LikeMeat and Andre was the General Manager of Country Foods Singapore.

    27 February 2021
  • Global award ‘source of great pride’ for AIS
    Thailand’s technology and digital services leader, AIS, has won a prestigious global accolade, with the announcement that it has won the Most Innovative Knowledge Enterprise (MIKE) Award for 2020.

    Telecom leader committed to innovation, use of knowledge, for national development 

    Thailand’s technology and digital services leader, AIS, has won a prestigious global accolade, with the announcement that it has won the Most Innovative Knowledge Enterprise (MIKE) Award for 2020.

    The global MIKE Award comes after AIS was named winner of the Thailand MIKE Award for 2020. The judging panel for the award comprised two qualified groups made up of executives from global Fortune 500 companies in many parts of the world. The panelists were experts in knowledge management, learning and intellectual capital, the learning organization and innovation.

    The awards underline leadership in Thai innovation and technology that supports not only the creation of an innovative organization, but also adds to sustainable national development.

    The Chief Human Resources Officer at Advanced Info Service (AIS), Kantima Lerlertyuttitham, said the awards were a source of great pride, and proof that AIS is a Thai telecom operator accepted at the global level. 

    “AIS never ceases to apply digital technology and innovations to upgrade the company’s management, while efficiently delivering value in terms of business, society and the environment,” Kantima said.   

    Judging criteria for the awards were divided into two main groups and eight subgroups, concerning both quality and quantity.

    Group One involved sustainability criteria, for example, empowering staff to keep themselves informed with new knowledge whenever there were changes; the strength of the company’s corporate culture and its ability to stipulate strategies for dealing with various situations; and the organization’s ability to show a constant readiness to develop products and services, and empower staff to think creatively.

    Group Two involved innovation criteria. A company must show constant development of products, services or new businesses, with good revenue, sales and operating results, indicating customer satisfaction. It must also have won honorable and prestigious awards, and other guarantees.

    “In the six years since AIS announced its vision of becoming a Digital Life Service Provider, our top priority has been creating a corporate culture instilled with awareness of using innovation to inform people’s thinking,” Kantima said. “This includes managing knowledge for transfer through digital platforms, bringing a new capability to meet the needs of a digital world, and delivering tangible and sustainable performance. 

    “An example of implementing this vision of knowledge management on digital platforms is LearnDi, a hub for the transfer of knowledge aimed at driving the company’s innovation culture. Under the program InnoJUMP, there is a forum for staff to propose new start-up businesses using technology to solve pain points. This can bring ideas to build real businesses, such as the School Van Clever program, a smart school bus. 

    “The AIS Academy for Thais ‘Think For Mission’ program brings concepts and knowledge to Thai people in seminars and digital platforms to deal with the challenges of digital transformation. As well, the AIS RooJakLom program encourages employees to apply lessons from their mistakes for successful learning. All of this, besides delivering economic value, powers our corporate culture, to create a truly innovative organization.

    “Since 2020,” she continued, “the Covid-19 pandemic has led to ‘new normal’ lifestyles, built on a basis of uncertainty. In these circumstances, both people and the organization must be constantly aware, and adapt and adjust to the extent of their capabilities, to cope with these impacts.

    “It is a source of great pride to the AIS team that this world-class organization that is ranking companies for innovation, knowledge management and internal human resources is also focused on the transmission of information. The Thai people have this capability, together and continuously, under the ‘Think For Mission’ concept. This is because we believe that knowledge is the key weapon to upgrade the competitive capabilities of Thai people; to be fully prepared to competently guide the country into the future,” Kantima said.

    26 February 2021
  • dtac closes digital gap for migrants
    dtac is launching new services to bridge digital gaps among Thailand’s large migrant population.

    dtac is launching new services to bridge digital gaps among Thailand’s large migrant population. The campaign, dubbed “Love Grows with Time,” is in celebration of the 10th anniversary of dtac services specifically tailored to customers from Myanmar and Cambodia.

    As Thailand’s first operator to focus on this segment, dtac is announcing three new initiatives to continue its decade-long commitment to lifting migrants’ digital inclusion. 

    1. More accessible digital services, with the dtac app now available in Burmese, and Cambodian launching in 2021.
    2. Network site additions near migrant communities and workplaces, leveraging dynamic 4G/5G spectrum sharing on 700 MHz and 5G-ready Massive MIMO technology.
    3. Broadening the reach of dtac services that can reduce migrant’s cost of living and improve their healthcare access.

    How Lih Ren, Chief Marketing Officer at Total Access Communication PLC or dtac, said, “dtac is the first mobile network operator in Thailand to recognize the specific needs of people from Myanmar and Cambodia, which are the country’s largest groups of foreign-workers. Our migrant customers expect great voice and data services for their local usage and to stay connected with their loved ones back home. dtac goes one step further with online and offline channels in Burmese and Cambodian, and with offers designed specially to meet their needs. I’m proud of the deep bond dtac has with such loyal customers for 10 years.”

    dtac’s decade-long dedication to customers from Myanmar and Cambodia has earned it a strong leading market share of mobile network services within this segment. To celebrate this milestone, dtac announced three additional services to foster digital inclusion and deliver a superlative digital experience to customers from Myanmar and Cambodia:

    1. The dtac app is now available in Burmese, with Cambodian to follow later of this year. This ensures all dtac customers can get the same fast, secure, and rewarding experience that has made the dtac app so popular. As a digital service, it also supports safe, continuous connectivity in case of a lockdown, which has affected migrant communities more frequently of late.
    2. dtac is introducing a more affordable daily essential internet offer where an on-top internet package of 1 GB can be purchased for only Bt10 to ensure access to critical connectivity needs.
    3. dtac is extending the Jaidee Pharmacy Vouchers to Myanmar and Cambodia SIM users to provide them with low-cost access to licensed pharmacists. The vouchers, which cost Bt59 and Bt89, can be redeemed for purchases of Bt100 and Bt200 respectively in participating pharmacies. Redeeming the digital coupon is as simple as showing the SMS confirmation message on one’s mobile device to the pharmacy.

    dtac’s data also confirms the lockdowns’ impact on migrants’ mobile usage. In 2020, their data consumption grew by 15 percent per person per day compared to 2019. The most popular applications for these segments are 1. Facebook, 2. YouTube, 3. Line, 4. Messenger and 5. TikTok.

    10 Years of Innovative Service

    dtac has a long history of serving customers from Myanmar and Cambodia.

    • In 2011, dtac became the first mobile operator in Thailand to introduce a Burmese-language SIM. Cambodian language SIMs followed in 2015.
    • In 2011 and 2015, the dtac Call Center also began serving customers with Burmese- and Cambodian-speaking personnel respectively.
    • In 2014 and 2015, dtac launched Facebook pages in Burmese and Cambodian respectively. These are now the most popular online brand platforms for Myanmar nationals and Cambodians in Thailand with over 1.8 million followers on the dtac Myanmar Facebook page and more than 200,000 followers on the dtac Cambodia Facebook page.
    • In 2016, dtac signed leading Burmese rap artist, model and actor Sai Sai Kham Leng. He led a campaign for dtac Myanmar via social media to cheer on his compatriots working far from home.

    In 2021, dtac enhances access to the dtac app and Jaidee benefits for its customers from Myanmar and Cambodia.

    25 February 2021
  • SCG unfolds 2021 business plan
    Home innovation leader SCG unfolded its business plan for 2021, pointing out that the trends for good hygiene, well-being, working from home, and environment will be key growth drivers in the market for building materials and living amid newly-emerged challenges.

    Home innovation leader SCG unfolded its business plan for 2021, pointing out that the trends for good hygiene, well-being, working from home, and environment will be key growth drivers in the market for building materials and living amid newly-emerged challenges.

    To digitize business in aligning with the new normal, the use of digital technology will be intensified to strengthen business operations across the supply chain with overall concept of “Transformation with Innovation”.

    The plan will drive forward three key areas of excellence: Innovation & Service Solutions, Digital Transformation, and Sustainable Development.

    In addition to new innovations to be expected from across products, services, and solutions, it will address changing consumer behaviors with SCG HOME Active Omni-Channel and emphasize on social and environmental contribution side by side with business growth and development of SCG people to keep them abreast of the changing world. SCG expects to increase the number of products with SCG Green Choice labelling by 30% this year.

    Nithi Patarachoke, President of SCG Cement-Building Materials Business, revealed, the market for building materials and living in 2021 will be driven by people’s well-being needs: consumers are looking for products and solutions that provide health safety and good living hygiene.

    At the same time, with the uptrend of remote working, consumers are looking for digital technologies that will enable them to work from home more conveniently. They are also increasingly aware of sustainable development and have a growing preference for eco-friendly products and solutions.

    Based on these trends, Nithi said the company would take a “Transformation with Innovation” approach by intensifying its use of digital technology to tap into new opportunities, address customers’ needs, and reinforce its business operations from upstream to downstream with three-pronged business plan for 2021.

    Innovation & Service Solutions for good health and hygiene of the consumers will be the focus of development.

    Planned launches for this year include Smart Building Solution that employs IoT technology to improve air quality and increase energy efficiency. Product diversification in bathroom category will see addition of COTTO Touchless Series of sanitary hardware and anti-bacterial COTTO Hygienic Tiles.

    Moreover, innovations in response to COVID-19 outbreak will make construction quicker, cleaner and safer, such as Medical Solution by CPAC BIM, Bathroom Mobile Unit, and positive pressure room built with Smart Board Ultra Clean Wall Solution.

    Innovations for energy efficiency and eco-friendliness will include Active Air Quality and Solar Roof solutions that have already expended into the non-residential market. At the same time, Smart Living Platform will enable customers to manage SCG solutions within their home easily.

    BAUEN by SCG will also be launched officially as an end-to-end renovation service solution in addition to construction and living, which underscores SCG positioning as the provider of end-to-end service solutions.

    Digital Transformation will integrate digital technology into every aspect of business.

    On consumer front, stores will be more e-commerce oriented than before, connecting offline and online store experiences with SCG HOME Active Omni-Channel technology. Big data analytics and AI will be used to gain customer insights for future product and service development and build a stronger ecosystem that connects contractors, builders, and partners by means of technology to help deliver better services to homeowners.

    As for digital technologies for production, Industry 4.0 approach will be extended, including introduction of smart digital operation and automation systems to the company’s production operations.

    Sustainable Development is aimed at creating a nice balance between business growth and pleasant society and environment.

    Sustainability will be a treasured value across its supply chain, being applied it in three different areas of business operation. Firstly, in product and service development, the company has a goal to increase its offerings in SCG Green Choice category by 30% this year.

    Secondly, Green Plant will increase the use of alternative energy, such as through installation of solar power system and use of EV forklifts. And in terms of social responsibility, return contribution to the society and the environment will continue.

    Most recently, the company and its dealer stores have handed over its innovations for public interests, including positive pressure rooms that were built with Smart Board Ultra Clean Solution, CPAC BIM Medical Solution, and Bathroom Mobile Unit.

    SCG will provide active support for self-development of its people with primary focus on skills needed in modern-day context, such as digital competency, data analytics and service excellence.

    The company continuously seeks partnerships with educational institutions to boost its capability to innovate products and solutions. At the same time, it continues to work closely with business partners to grow its expertise in online retail.

    “The key to business growth today is to obtain consumer and market insights and adapt to changes quickly. We believe that integrating digital technology and sustainability approach into every aspect of business along with reinforcement of our strength in service solutions will bring sustainable growth and development to our business, the society, and the environment. We will continue to build a stronger business ecosystem and expand our open innovation partnerships to jointly develop innovations for the consumers. Based on this business plan, we expect to grow in line with the overall market and increase our profits from improved business efficiency and production cost,” said Nithi.

    25 February 2021
  • Huawei’s Catherine Chen: Believe in the power of technology
    The Connected for Shared Prosperity Forum was held at Jumeirah Himalayas Hotel in Shanghai by Huawei, Global Mobile Association (GSMA), Center of Environmental Economics of Fudan University, and The Paper.

    The Connected for Shared Prosperity Forum was held at Jumeirah Himalayas Hotel in Shanghai by Huawei, Global Mobile Association (GSMA), Center of Environmental Economics of Fudan University, and The Paper.

    Participants joined both online and in person to discuss the value of digital technologies in sustainable development for a better, connected world, representing organizations from around the world, including international industry regulators and think tanks from China, Malaysia, Spain, Thailand, Hungary and Portugal. More than 1000 guests from over 50 countries attended the conference online.

    Chen Lifang, Huawei Senior Vice President and Board Member, delivered a keynote speech titled “Believe in the Power of Technology” where she described how technology can be used as an engine for human progress. While calling on individuals and businesses to think big and act small, Chen reiterated her support of the UN’s sustainable development goals and building a green, innovative and inclusive world. The full text of her speech can be found below:

    We’ve all had mixed feelings about 2020. The pandemic has changed our lives. Many things we took for granted no longer exist and our values have changed. My biggest takeaway from the past year has been just how hard it is for society to reach a consensus. There seems to be constant conflict and disagreement, from deciding if it’s necessary to impose lockdowns to debating if it’s worth it to wear a mask.

    Today, we’ve come together to discuss the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals. I, personally, believe that technology is crucial to advancing these goals, and together, we must do two things to fully unleash the power of technology and drive sustainable development.

    Our first challenge will be to reach an honest consensus on whether technology is an engine of human progress.

    Looking back over history, we’ve seen how large social changes happen in lockstep with breakthroughs in science and technology. But today, technological advancements are hyped and politicized, sometimes demonized. Many have stopped believing in the power of technology because of fear and distrust. Some are going to great lengths to hinder the development of technology.

    I recently read a report, which said that any important digital platform that is dominated by China will be highly dangerous to the US if not effectively contained and that 5G was one such platform.

    5G is a standardized technology defined by its high bandwidth, low latency, and broad connectivity. It helps traditional industries transform and can benefit all. Wide-scale 5G deployment can already be seen in multiple industries around the world. Every-day consumers are benefiting from 5G experiences, while industrial use in seaports, mines, and the transportation sector is increasing operational efficiency. Is this a bad thing? I don’t think so.

    If we claim that technology is critically important but its development is ideologically wrong, this will only result in division, confusion, and regression.

    We must reach a global consensus on this issue and believe in the power of technology to leverage it for the benefit of the society.

    Of course, there is always the danger that someone will abuse a new technology. This is not a new concern. But since the industrial revolution, we have seen how establishing rules to manage technological risks can safeguard us. Through rules, technological developments can transcend national boundaries and improve the livelihoods of all without incurring undue risk. We are entering a digital era, and many are hard at work creating the governance rules for cyber security, privacy protection, and trusted AI that will keep us safe. For the rest of us, it’s time to be confident and open to technological development.

    Our second challenge will be taking resolute action to make technology truly effective and create value for all.

    It may be hard to reach a consensus, but it is easy to shut down technology. For enterprises, believing in tech can start from something small. For example, let’s look at the minimum viable product concept. Typically, MVP refers to the product development stage where what you’ve made just meets the most critical of user requirements while using the smallest amount of resources. That MVP can then be constantly iterated and refined after its launch.

    Building broad consensus is difficult, so we can draw on this MVP concept to help technological advancement continue. By focusing on the limited common understanding we have right now and by keeping in mind what resources are actually available, we can drive progress step by step. Iteration means perfect. Fostering conflict will mean stagnation.

    Huawei has always supported technological advancement. We believe, ultimately, tech benefits humanity. We also believe digital tech will help the UN achieve its SDGs. Already, Huawei has explored many applications of digital tech guided by the SDGs.

    Huawei’s Smart PV solution is being widely used in more than 60 countries to reduce carbon emissions by 148 million tons. This is the equivalent of planting more than 200 million trees. In Ethiopia alone, we have helped our customers deploy over 400 solar power stations, reducing carbon emissions by 2,850 tons. In China, we have also helped build the world’s largest solar stations dedicated to agriculture and fishing in Ningxia and Shandong provinces.

    What’s more, Huawei and UNESCO launched the Open Schools program over the course of a three-year partnership, to help schools in Egypt, Ethiopia, and Ghana improve their digital skills with online education.

    Every one of these examples, every single connection, every gram of emissions reduced, every watt of electricity saved, every small improvement we’ve made, couldn’t have been achieved without small advances in tech. This is the value tech brings to the world. Thank you.

    24 February 2021
  • VERSO announces first-ever hackathon
    VERSO International School is hosting its first-ever Hackathon, VERSO HACK 2021 which will take place on its campus 6-7 March 2021

    VERSO International School is hosting its first-ever Hackathon, VERSO HACK 2021 which will take place on its campus 6-7 March 2021.

    Open to all high school students ages 13-18 in Thailand, VERSO HACK is a guided hackathon, where participants collaborate with their peers to gain fundamental tech skills and meet other aspiring student entrepreneurs and tech enthusiasts. They will learn lean methodology to customer validation,  prototyping to pitching – same skills that the world’s best entrepreneurs all have.

    No prior experience in coding, technical skills, entrepreneurship, or business is necessary to join VERSO HACK. However, it is recommended that students have some basic knowledge of using computers & apps. All fundamental skills will be taught to students on-site as part of the program.

    VERSO has partnered with Reactor School, Singapore’s #1 Entrepreneurship Education Company which has designed, developed and organized several youth hackathons across Asia and Disrupt Technology Venture, Thailand’s first startup school– supporting innovative leaders since 2012.

    “VERSO HACK 2021 is an opportunity for young, budding entrepreneurs to turn their coolest and most creative startup ideas into reality during a bootcamp weekend,” said Cameron Fox, Founding Head of VERSO.

    “They will learn what it takes to start  their first venture, gain confidence to pitch and create prototypes in front of investors, and meet with startup CEOs, entrepreneurs and possibly future business partners,” he added.

    We all know the world of work is changing and some jobs are changing faster than others. According to  the Future of Jobs 2020 report, released by the World Economic Forum (WEF), critical thinking and analysis, complex problem-solving and self-management skills such as active learning, resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility are among the top skills that future employers view as important.

    As the school of the future, driven by design, VERSO is committed to supporting students with the confidence and skills to lead their own journey, both in school and beyond and to apply what they learn to the world around them. 

    During the hackathon, students will be given a challenge or a business problem to work on and have 48 hours to collaborate and create either a new solution or technology to respond to that challenge. They will be guided by facilitators and business mentors who will be on-site to help them on their startup. There will also be a structured curriculum with sufficient breaks to ensure that teams have a great learning experience.

    On day 2, the students will pitch their innovative ideas and technology and demo their solution to our judging panel who currently include: Grab’s Country Lead Vee Charununsiri, 500 TukTuks Partner Mameaw Pahrada SapprasertAngel Investor and Hubba and Techsauce Co-Founder Amarit Charoenphan Rabbit LINE Pay’s CEO, Victor TopoyossakulThe Story Co-Founder, Asina PornwasinSaturday’s School Founder, Sorawit Paiboonrattanakorn

    Submissions will be judged on the novelty and technical complexity, user experience and impact, potential, and sustainability of the idea. The best ideas will be rewarded with a Blockchain certificate, software deals, opportunities for internships at innovative companies, and more.

    Participation guidelines  and event details can be found at: verso.ac.th/hack and participants are invited to apply as soon as possible. For further details, please email versohack@verso.ac.th or call +662 0806200.

    24 February 2021
  • ONDE push Thailand towards ASEAN Digital Hub with National Policy
    The digital technologies can and will play a critical role to pave the way to net-zero emissions and bring equitable education to more beneficiaries.

    National Digital Economy and Society Commission, Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, Thailand (ONDE) said in “MWC Shanghai 2021” event that it will focus on Digital Transformation and improving Digital Economy in Thailand, as well as helping Thailand become a Digital Hub in ASEAN, by utilizing national policy and collaboration with the private sector to lay the foundation of digital infrastructure for 5G, internet, and network innovation for sustainable future.

    As the world embarks on recovery from the pandemic, there is growing recognition of the need for a green and inclusive growth. The digital technologies can and will play a critical role to pave the way to net-zero emissions and bring equitable education to more beneficiaries.

    To tackle the challenge, Huawei, with the participation of UNESCO, and co-sponsored by GSMA, the School of Economics, Fudan University, and The Paper,  hosted “Connected for shared Prosperity”, an online and offline forum aiming to advance sustainable development during the Mobile World Congress Shanghai 2021.

    With Thailand having experienced one of the highest digital development advancements, Vunnaporn Dehastin, Secretary-General of the National Digital Economy and Society Commission, gave the honor to provide a speech on “National Policy Driving Digital Technology and Sustainable Development: Building Digital Hub of ASEAN”, joined by government representatives from other countries.

    She also elaborated on Thailand’s policy to advancing the country to become a digital hub in ASEAN, the vision behind it and the aims to boost economy, improve social well-being, and achieve sustainable development.

    “We have developed Thailand Digital Economy and Society Development Plan from a national level. This plan acts as a blueprint to revolutionize government operations, business practices, and people’s lifestyle,” said she.

    The plan covers building a country-wide, high-capacity digital infrastructure to provide accessible and affordable internet, digital transformation through initiatives such as Digital SMEs, Digital Agriculture, and Digital Industry, and a collaboration with Huawei on opening 5G Ecosystem Innovation Center (EIC) in Bangkok last year.

    This center is as a sandbox for digital innovations of 5G applications and services across various industries. These innovations will create new business opportunities for SMEs, startups and educational institutions, paving the way to achieve Thailand 4.0 and build the digital hub in the ASEAN region.

    “This goal must be achieved through cooperation between the public and the private sectors, at both domestic and international level. Together, we can overcome the challenges and build a better future,” said she.

    Regarding sustainable development, Vunnaporn stated that digital technologies have positively impacted the society, especially during and after the pandemic. Digital economy promises new ways for business to grow, brings social well-being, and aligns with Thailand sustainable development goals and global trends which prioritize tackling climate change, reducing carbon emissions, pursuing new renewable energy resources, and supporting circular economy through green ICT solutions. 

    Based on the Speedtest Global Index 2020, Thailand ranks at the top out of 176 countries in fixed broadband internet speed testing, also the first country in South East Asia to launch commercial 5G services. 

    In addition, there are many initiatives the government has launched to improve public service, such as Government Data Center and Cloud service (GDCC) project, aiming to improve the efficiency and decrease the government budget for digital infrastructure development.

    Other initiatives include the Pracharat Internet Project, installing free high-speed internet networks through a total of 24,700 with more than 80,000 km of fiber optic, and Digital Community Center Project, with 2,277 sites in 77 provinces, and over 2,300 volunteer staff.

    The “Connected for shared Prosperity” offline and online forum, hosted by Huawei, saw Catherine Chen, Corporate Senior Vice President and Director of the Board, Huawei give an opening speech.

    She was joined by representatives from other countries, experts in innovation and digital technology. The purpose of the forum is to tackle climate change and advance sustainable development during the Mobile World Congress Shanghai 2021, with the participation of UNESCO, and co-sponsored by GSMA, the School of Economics, Fudan University, and The Paper.

    In addition, Huawei would like to promote Thailand as a digital transformation role model for other countries in South East Asian region.

    22 February 2021
  • KBTG debuts Software Development Excellence
    Software Development Excellence is a new department reinforced with the DevX team – with its sights set on becoming a world-class tech specialist.

    Software Development Excellence is a new department reinforced with the DevX team – with its sights set on becoming a world-class tech specialist.

    Guided by the strategies of reaching out to AEC+3 (China, Japan and South Korea), KASIKORNBANK (KBank) has expanded its business into China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Indonesia, Cambodia and Vietnam in the form of local banks, joint ventures and branches.

    To this end, KBank has adopted an asset-light strategy while focusing its efforts on synergy and collaboration with our partners in various forms with the aim of providing greater customer convenience via digital channels to ensure their improved access to financial services.

    Even though the number of KBank branches in each country is limited, the Bank can provide comprehensive services thanks to its technology deployment as evidenced by digital lending, mobile banking, payment systems and funds transfer rolled out to customers.

    KASIKORN Business-Technology Group (KBTG), as KBank’s tech arm, has a capable management and technology team that is geared up for developing services that are at the market forefront and competitive in any circumstances.

    KBTG has therefore established the Software Development Excellence department along with the DevX team to provide additional support for developers and thus ensure the utmost efficiency, slashing redundancy while also bolstering digital services in the regional arena.

    The latest move reinforces KBTG’s strategy of striving towards being the best tech company in Southeast Asia and emerging as a world-class technology specialist by 2025.

    Jirat Srisawat, assistant managing director of Software Development Excellence, said that the new department – set up in February – will serve as a central unit dedicated to studying the software development process and enhancement of automated tools for the highest efficiency and effectiveness in this field. Its work also involves closing operational gaps and determining best practice.

    The Software Development Excellence department comprises four teams, namely Agile, DevOps, Software Development Methodology and DevX.

    Of the four teams, the DevX or Development Excellence team was first established from the KBTG Transformation Program.

    Its mission is to build the best practice for the success of KBTG and a platform for enhanced operational efficiency, and eliminate redundancies, to allow software developers to work at their full potential, with the assistance of the central software and automation.

    The goals of the DevX team are to create an enterprise common library to reduce redundancies in operations and better align languages among those operations. Moreover, the team is scheduled to build a knowledge management framework, based on a new practice.

    It will also explore new knowledge in-depth, analyze specific gaps within the company, and develop new software programs or tools to close such gaps, as well as upgrading the capacities of developers to be on par with regional standards.

    These goals are consistent with KBTG’s strategy of becoming the best tech company in Southeast Asia and global technology expert within 2025. With this in mind, the Regional Team has been established to support digital services at the regional level. 

    One major challenge for the DevX team is to ensure that the team of approximately 100 people can work on different tasks by building a common library and central platform technology so that they can share work, reduce redundancies and increase time for innovation development so as to upgrade KBTG’s digital services in the region, including China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Indonesia, Cambodia and Vietnam.

    Another goal of the DevX team is to increase the capacity for monitoring and testing the performance of applications from start to finish, or application observability in terms of logging, metrics and tracing.

    The DevX team has cooperated with the Infrastructure team to establish the standards and build a common library to pass on to the Application team.

    The team has also created a developer utility platform to enhance the quality and efficiency of automation-based development, which combines all of KBTG’s applications in a single, shared space for ease of management.

    Jirat added that the essential skills for potential applicants to join the DevX team are not so different from those typically expected of a software engineer.

    However, instead of creating a software that caters to KBank or our customers, the DevX team aims to aid fellow developers – helping them to reach the desired results. Therefore, all team members must have a solid understanding of existing issues, act as KBTG developer’s advocates, and be fully committed to improving work processes.

    KBTG will have members of the Software Development Excellence department stationed in Thailand, China and Vietnam.

    Anyone who wishes to join the team can submit their CV for application at recruitment@kbtg.tech

    22 February 2021
  • dtac’s resilience strategy for a transformed Thailand
    Digital-first strategy of high-speed internet for all and personalized services can respond to fast-changing consumer behaviors while lifting Thai society’s resilience dtac unveiled deep changes in Thailand’s mobile users to which it is responding with the continued rollout of 5G/4G sites and digital-first services. User data highlights the emergence of new segments in 2020, such […]

    Digital-first strategy of high-speed internet for all and personalized services can respond to fast-changing consumer behaviors while lifting Thai society’s resilience

    dtac unveiled deep changes in Thailand’s mobile users to which it is responding with the continued rollout of 5G/4G sites and digital-first services. User data highlights the emergence of new segments in 2020, such as remote workers and rural digizens.

    To best serve their specific needs, dtac is investing in a range of network technologies, such as 5G/4G dynamic spectrum, while cementing its leadership on TDD and massive MIMO. The operator also stressed that the dtac app will deliver more affordability and enhanced services.

    Sharad Mehrotra, Chief Executive Officer at Total Access Communication Plc or dtac, said, “Connectivity is an essential service and dtac’s high-speed internet will lift the resilience of our customers. In addition to affordable and reliable 4G and 5G, we are also developing a wide range of services to empower their digital lives. In 2021, dtac is committed to making our customers’ experience smoother, more personalized and more rewarding.”

    High-speed for all

    dtac’s data indicates that the social distancing measures of 2020 reshaped Thailand’s mobile usage. Data usage in the provinces grew nine times faster than in Bangkok. Likewise, smartphone penetration grew three times faster outside of the capital. This underscores that rural and sub-rural users are increasingly digital. To better serve them, dtac is committing to 4,400 sites operating on 700 MHz nationwide within Q1’20. A low-band spectrum, 700 MHz provides the widest possible coverage and dynamic spectrum sharing between 4G and 5G. 

    Prathet Takuranun, Chief Technology Officer at dtac, said, “It’s never been more important for us to deliver high-speed internet for all. Our accelerated rollout of sites on the 700 MHz band will vastly improve our rural coverage. Low-band also boosts indoor coverage and upload capacity, making it perfectly suited for the growing number of remote workers and students in residential areas.”

    dtac identified four new usage patterns that emerged in 2020, and which require matching network solutions:

    • The New Rurals”: In 2020, data usage grew nine times faster in provinces compared to Bangkok. Smartphone penetration also grew three times faster in provinces. The superior coverage offered by dtac’s 700 MHz sites will be a game changer for these users.
    • “The Remote Deskers”: This category encompasses students who study virtually due to lockdowns and remote office workers, as both rely heavily on productivity apps and video conferencing. From Jan 2020 to Jan 2021, usage of Zoom grew 5050% and Google Hangouts 740%. This also led to data traffic growing faster in residential areas than in city centers. These users’ priority is indoor coverage and upload capacity, which dtac will deliver with 4G/5G dynamic spectrum sharing on 700 MHz.
    • “The Non-Stop Streamer”: Lockdowns have caused spikes of entertainment usage for YouTube and Tiktok. Nonetheless, dtac was able to hold on to its Download Experience Award from Opensignal for the second time in a row by tripling its capacity at high-traffic locations nationwide, with 5G-ready massive MIMO technology and over 20,400 TDD sites nationwide in partnership with NT.
    • “The Critical User”: Hospitals and emergency services, as well as essential businesses, increasingly depend on mobile connectivity to function. By virtualizing 100% of its core network and upgrading its IT infrastructure, dtac is now more resilient in case of lockdowns or natural disasters. And dtac is also exploring 5G use cases on 26GHz and 700 MHz that will deliver highly-secure networks.

    Digital-first resilience

    In keeping with changing customer behaviors, the dtac digital ecosystem has also evolved to be more inclusive, entertaining and rewarding. By encouraging the use of touch-free, always-on channels, dtac ensures its customers can enjoy uninterrupted connectivity in any situation.

    How Lih Ren, Chief Marketing Officer at dtac, said, “dtac’s customers expect highly personalized services tailored to their individual needs, which dtac delivers with AI-powered recommendations. They also expect a very smooth experience in all our channels, and a whole universe of useful and fun services, from games and discounts to health insurance. dtac’s growing ecosystem of digital benefits ensures our customers can stay safe and happy while using touch-free channels.”

    Mr. How also unveiled the five key consumer trends that underpin resilient mobile services.

    1. “Digital-First Experiences”: As all mobile users become more digital, including prepaid and rural users, digital experiences must provide smoother customer journeys: seamless online to offline experiences (such as online purchase and in-store pickup), multiple languages and touchpoints (chat & shop, WeChat mini app in Chinese, dtac App in Burmese) and new media integration (Facebook Live, Tiktok).
    2. “Digital Inclusion”: Digital services are often designed for the best devices and most advanced users first. dtac is instead designing a rewarding digital experience for all. In line with the dtac’s high-speed internet for all, dtac reward is now open to prepaid customers. Moreover, use of digital channels is rewarded via the instant gamification of dtac coins.
    3. “360-degree Personalization”: Using artificial intelligence, dtac makes highly personalized recommendations that outperform generic offers by a factor of three. This contributed to 40 percent growth of the dtac app’s monthly usage in 2020.
    4. “New Business Normal”: dtac is forging partnerships to bring customers new services such as health insurance, discounts at licensed pharmacies or safe internal money transfers. These services boost customers’ digital inclusion and resilience.
    5. “Trust Matters”: dtac commits to being a trusted and secure internet provider whose priority is to safeguard personal data. This is in addition to supportive services such as Jai Dee borrow or Jai Dee Transfer, and the overall affordability of dtac’s services.

    A resilience future

    dtac also announced its broader commitment to supporting the resilience of Thai society by conducting its business responsibly.

    • dtac’s latest initiative, Net for Living, will train low-income sellers to develop a digital revenue stream. www.dtac.co.th/dtacNetforLiving/
    • For children, dtac will continue its Safe Internet program which has already taught digital resilience skills to over 200,000 students.www.dtac.co.th/sustainability/th/project/Project-SafeInternet
    • Lastly, dtac views global warming as a serious threat to Thailand’s resilience. It has committed to halving its GHG emissions by 2030 and to zero landfill for its general waste and e-waste by 2023.

    Mehrotra said, “dtac has the privilege of being in a position where we can have a strong impact on Thailand’s recovery in 2021. We are staying the course for our strategy of high-speed internet for all and supporting our customers’ digital transformation. It is based on our deep understanding of our customer needs, so that dtac may bring them happiness, resilience and lots of luck for the Year of the Ox.”

    22 February 2021