The Southeast Asian region boasts a population of over 600 million, with cities like Manila and Jakarta ranking amongst the world’s highest in terms of population density. There is no doubt then that with its massive population, Southeast Asia becomes an ideal region for adoption of IoT and M2M technology and to ensure its implementation. Or is it?
The Asia IoT M2M Business Platform recently concluded a series of IoT and M2M industry gatherings in Manila, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, and Bangkok – this spanned over a year, with all major local telecommunications service providers co-hosting each event. Each city has shown considerable progress and developments in its respective IoT ecosystems, and this becomes a driving force for us to continue bringing in business and investments to each location through our IoT events. Here are summaries and snippets for each city, while you can read the full reports here.
Indonesia is perhaps the country in Southeast Asia which offers the biggest potential for project implementation. Apart from its sheer size—fourth largest country in the world, behind China, India and the USA—and having a dynamic and digital-minded young population, the Indonesian government has been proactively improving its infrastructure to support investments. This is evident from the launch of the Palapa Ring Program which seeks to connect the whole archipelago by high-speed fibre optic cable by 2015. The adoption of new technologies such as cloud computing and the rapid growth of e-businesses are optimistic signs of the nation’s move towards a smarter landscape. While top tier tech companies recognise the potential in Indonesia by establishing offices there, the country also has a lively tech startup scene which local telcos are investing heavily in. These small solution providers ramp up the excitement for IoT as they provide solutions which are cheaper and easier to manage; this in turn makes adoption of such sophisticated technology for Indonesia enterprises all that much easier. It also helps that the three biggest telcos have formed dedicated M2M teams and the scale of their distribution networks can only help spread the uptake.
Being the most advanced with regards to its ecosystem, Malaysia also has a sturdy governmental support with regulatory mandates buttressing the IoT and M2M industry. The country’s fragmented market is helmed by many dynamic SMBs and startups. While the local telecommunications service providers are more focused on providing connectivity, stronger support from regional and international tech profiles can definitely help shift the country’s IoT and M2M outlook. Not forgetting, Malaysia also has a healthy and lively IoT supply chain with many regional HQ offices located there.
The Philippines has two leading telcos and a host of conglomerates. This provides a good basis to ramp up the pure number of M2M connections. While the infrastructure in the country is still being developed and built up, the local telcos are already focusing on the IoT and M2M sector. This is supported with a familiar dynamic and digital-minded workforce where most enterprises at our event carried two SIM cards to enhance reliability. The presence of conglomerates the likes of Ayala Corporation, which run a host of businesses provide a great alternative to governments to spearhead large scale IoT and M2M projects. While the ecosystem is still at an infantile stage, the Philippines holds much promise with solutions growing locally, especially within the Banking and Healthcare space.
There is little surprise when the most ‘Instagrammed’ place in the world turns out to be a mall in Bangkok. Thailand is witnessing a rapid adoption of technology. Similar to Philippines and Indonesia, Thailand has a tech-savvy young population which is demanding for increasingly sophisticated technologies to enhance their lives. With a strong social media basis, Thailand continues to move up the tech ladder as its infrastructure continues to be developed and more Thai enterprises actively seeking platforms to know more about the benefits of adopting IoT technology.
The crux of the issue of bringing IoT and M2M to the Southeast Asian region is awareness. It is of paramount importance to raise awareness and educate enterprises on the benefits of adopting the technology. IoT solutions can really help alleviate uniquely local problems that enterprises face; but when can we witness the surge happen? We think this happens within the next 2 to 3 years with the joint efforts from local, regional, and international IoT and M2M specialists and players.
If you're interested in IoT/M2M developments, do drop me a note with your thoughts. We will begin the second round of our events in the region, starting with Indonesia on August 25 - 26, which you can view here. Events in Kuala Lumpur, Manila and Bangkok will follow. See you in the region if you do decide to drop by.