World Bank will help Thailand drive digital transformation

The World Bank will do its bits and bytes to help drive Thailand’s digital transformation by collaborating on activities to promote understanding, awareness and adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT), while Moody’s Investor Service said that local banks will benefit from Thai consumers’ increasing preference for digital transactions.

The World Bank said it would partner with the Kingdom’s Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA) to help drive digital transformation in both the public and private sectors. The two institutions announced their plan during a seminar last week where the Bank launched its report The Internet of Things: The New Government-to-Business Platform. Over 150 representatives from the Thai government, international organizations, businesses, NGOs and the media attended the seminar in Bangkok.

“IoT has significant potential, but it requires systematic, informed work by the government, private sector, and civil society.  I hope this study will help examine the progress made in Thailand and encourage further thinking and discussions among policymakers and the private sector on the social and economic impacts of leveraging IoT applications,” said Prasanna Lal Das, lead author of the report.

Participants at the seminar discussed opportunities that will be created by the development of the IoT and ways to make the Internet of Things work in Thailand.  Jointly organized by DEPA and the World Bank, the agenda also covered collaboration on creating benchmarking indicators, developing smart cities and an IoT Institute. The Institute is a flagship project under development in the Eastern Economic Corridor, the Kingdom’s advanced development zone, and is a public-private partnership.

About 60 percent of space in the Institute will be used as a testing ground and laboratory for IoT, Artificial Intelligence and robotics. It will also contain areas for testing autonomous cars and drones.

“The Internet of Things is not just hype. We need to raise awareness of IoT in all sectors by providing a networking forum so we all can meet and discuss opportunities offered by this technology as well as ways to allow IoT work for Thais,” said Nuttapon Nimmanphatcharin, the President and CEO of DEPA.

While the World Bank addressed digital issues on the national level, Thai commercial banks will begin to see improved cost efficiencies and be able to rationalize their branch networks because of their adoption of digital strategies, Moody’s Investors Service said last week.

“Thai consumers’ preference for digital transactions is credit positive and demonstrates the initial success of Thai banks’ digital strategies,” Moody’s said.

Mobile and internet banking accounted for 33 percent of total payment transaction volume for the first nine months of 2017, and the percentage is steadily growing.

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