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The IoT Opportunity in Thailand’s Manufacturing Sector

What good is a market if there is no prospect?

Lucky for Industrial IoT solution providers that are looking to access the Thai enterprise IoT market, the manufacturing and industrial sector in Thailand appears to be in a pretty good shape.

As we are planning for the upcoming Asia IoT Business Platform program in Thailand which is happening in July, we are also on the lookout for the latest industry developments in the country. One of the most salient items that we saw in media conversations recently is the role of Internet of Things (IoT) in Thailand’s manufacturing sector.

It is no surprise that Thailand has always been a manufacturing giant, not only in Southeast Asia, but in the world. The Thai economy, which has traditionally been based on agricultural exports, has transformed within the past few decades. Presently, the industrial sector constitutes a substantial share of Thailand’s economy.

The manufacturing sector in Thailand is valued at around US$120 million, contributing a consistent share of the GDP ranging between 32.5 per cent and 35.6 per cent from 2010 to 2014. Manufacturing exports from Thailand also occupy a 76.29% share of merchandise exports in 2014, further emphasizing the importance of manufacturing industry in Thailand.

In a bid to propel the industry forward and keeping the industry competitive, the Government has officially approved the Thailand 4.0 initiative – a move to push the country’s economy into the digital era. The manufacturing sector is underscored to be one of the main sectors to adopt digital technologies to help the Thailand 4.0 initiative to take off.

Yet, are manufacturers in Thailand ready to explore IoT? Apparently so.

Thailand is reported to be using IoT for various functions, thanks to the proliferation of high-speed wireless infrastructure. Hugh Ujhazy, associate vice president at IDC said that the influx of mobile devices, the increased readiness of fourth-generation broadband and data centres, and the availability of analytic centres are the key drivers of the use of IoT in the country.

The manufacturing sector has played a leading role in adopting IoT. IDC predicts the top five sectors that will spend on IoT until 2020, to include major manufacturers, valued at US$1.3 billion.

IDC also reports that businesses in Thailand see IoT as a tool to differentiate themselves from their peers, making them a key factor in the country’s digital transformation plans.

Beyond figures, statistics, and rhetoric, we have also personally seen great interests from local manufacturing companies in Thailand, towards IoT. In the 2016 edition of Asia IoT Business Platform in Bangkok, major manufacturers such as UAC Global, Unitech Co., Ltd, Royal Universal, and AAPICO Hitech Public Company have participated, to learn more about how IoT can be deployed in their respective businesses to improve the efficiency of manufacturing process and to cut maintenance costs. Besides the education, participating end users were also engaged by IoT solution providers through live demos of IoT technologies to automate processes, and harnessing data for more productive operations.

As Thailand continues to tread the path towards a digital economy, challenges will arise. From legacy systems to complex technologies, end users will not be able to fully seize the benefits of IoT as long as challenges and pain points are not addressed. Moving forward, solution providers have to understand the end users’ perspective in order to deliver better service and eventually contribute to the digital transformation of enterprises in, not only Thailand, but across ASEAN.

This year’s Asia IoT Business Platform in Bangkok, Thailand will have a special focus on the challenges and pain points that end users face in deploying IoT. We hope that with this new focus, IoT solution providers are able to better understand the end users perspective, and in turn respond to their business needs. You can contact me at [email protected] for more information about our upcoming program in Thailand.

By Abdullah Zaidani | May 1st, 2017

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