11 Industry Leaders Discuss Thailand's Readiness for Digital Transformation

On June 18, the Digital Economy Committee hosted Digital Transformation: Are You Ready for the Future?, a half-day conference hosted at the Four Points by Sheraton Bangkok. During the conference, 11 leaders and experts within fields gave their takes on how every facet of Thai society should react to both opportunities and risks presented by the digital transformation.

The conference’s Keynote Speaker, Michael Araneta, presented a compelling case in the next phases for machine learning and artificial intelligence development. As Araneta’s data shows that Thai consumers are becoming more (in fact, most in the region) conscious of how their digital identity corresponds with their actual one, it calls for greater consideration of consumers’ consent and right to anonymity.

For many businesses, regardless of size, the future is already here, and the effects are already being felt. According to David Aldridge, Practice Manager at AWS Thailand, artificial intelligence and machine learning already form a portion of service offerings by Amazon and its subsidiaries. One notable example is Amazon Go, a grocery store that combines the physicality of a storefront and the seamlessness of e-commerce. Moreover, for traditional businesses like Central Group, Axel Winter, the Group’s CTO, perceives the change in brick-and-mortar operations to be web-based to be as beneficial as it is necessary. Besides the B2C side of the argument, in his presentation, Brenton Mauriello, Group CEO of dwp|design worldwide partnership, attested to how cloud computing has allowed simplified and seamless management of dwp’s many offices across Asia-Pacific from its headquarters in Bangkok.

However, there is still much potential yet to be unlocked from this transformative period of digitization. David Uhlenbrock, Vice President, Head of Strategy and Project Management Office for dtac, described the possibilities that 5G will enable for telecommunications companies. Karndee Leopairote, co-founder and CEO of ICORA, presented the possibilities of blockchain as a payment method beyond Bitcoin. Similarly, Javier Garcia Lopez calls for corporations to seriously consider the potential of Internet of Things. Passakon Prathombutr, Senior Executive Vice President at Digital Economy Promotion Agency, spoke on the development of smart cities and how the government could leverage its authority to encourage such development.

An important takeaway from this conference is that digital metamorphosis requires businesses as well as the government to aggressively adapt to these changes. According to Bhume Bhumiratana, Technology Consultant for the Securities and Exchange Commission, given the heightened risks of cyberattacks, well-informed regulations are indispensable to cybersecurity of consumers and businesses. Simultaneously, Rune Solvsteen, Senior Partner Commerce at the Ogilvy Group Asia, sees stakeholders’ engagement and maturity in marketing as necessary in order to maintain a competitive edge. Lastly, with all the focus on technological advancements, Ariya Banomyong, President of BEC World, calls the attention back to engaging with people’s perception and attitudes towards constantly advancing technology.


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