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‘Pho’ a connected future: Internet of Things heats up in Vietnam

One of the fastest-growing economies in the world, Vietnam has been rapidly growing its IT sector to pursue the aim of becoming an industrial country by 2020. The recent Vietnam ICT Comm 2016 in Hanoi witnessed strong interest particularly in the IoT sector, with thousands of people trying out IoT products and attending a presentation about IoT by Mr. Hoang Viet Tien. The potential for IoT in Vietnam - according to Mr. Tien, with a nationwide average of 1.4 mobile phone per person. At the same event, VNPT debuted its IoT complete solution package called Smart Connected Platform, that has already been implemented in various projects in different verticals such as agriculture, transportation, healthcare and manufacturing, helping to increase operational and monitoring efficiency.

While receiving massive attention now with tech giants like VNPT, FPT and CMC identifying IoT as the "leading trend" of tech, IoT is, in fact, not new to the Vietnamese tech scene. Smart City projects started out as early as 2008, and since then has appeared in at least 5 more cities. The healthcare industry identified Big Data and Analytics as its greatest concern in improving competitiveness, according to a survey done by IDC in 2015. The Government pledged to invest USD 111.6m from the State Budget in the ICT sector by 2020, incentivising local and international firms to invest in the country. In 2013, the Ministry of Science and Technology set up Silicon Valley Startup Ecosystem to stimulate growth and encourage Vietnamese to venture into tech startups.

"I believe [2016] is the right time for Vietnam to think of developing the Internet of Things as a solution to foster socio-economic development thereby, it can help increase the national competitive advantage." said Nguyen Minh Hong, Deputy Minister of Information and Communication

Despite the benefits of IoT, much of its presence in Vietnam at the moment remains fragmented, lacking standardisation, and having security concerns. IoT projects are being deployed without fully understanding the effects and implications of the technologies, resulting in uncomprehensive technological changes and incompatibility between new and legacy devices, and unsustainable deployments that do not reap the long-tern benefits of IoT. Most of the IoT technologies in Vietnam at the moment are imported, hence understanding of the system and troubleshooting can be costly and ineffective, as the products may not be tailored to fit the local market's requirements. Vietnam's IT talent pool, while young and large, still lacks the level of expertise seen in other countries such as USA and India. While Vietnam is rising as a manufacturing powerhouse due to its cheap and abundant labour force, IoT harnesses the power of machine-to-machine automation that in the long run will nullify the competitive advantage that Vietnam's market currently holds.

Therefore, it is important for all organisations, enterprises and vendors across the IoT ecosystem in Vietnam to cooperate, discuss and educate relevant policy makers, end users and interested individuals about moving towards a standardised, localised ecosystem that generates the most amount of benefits for everyone involved. Government officials need to be aware of the implications of IoT technologies - pros and cons - and establish a strategic roadmap for IoT development in the country that compliments the national ICT roadmap. Technical and higher IT education continue to be the key to sustaining the country's workforce's advantages over its neighbours, so that technologies can be transferred completely and customised to fit specific needs and requirements.

Asia IoT Business Platform Hanoi 2016 will be working with the Ministry of Information and Communication, Ministry of Science and Technology, Vietnam Digital Communication Association and solution providers across the IoT ecosystem to discuss and develop the IoT market in Vietnam. For more information and the full report on IoT in Vietnam, drop me an email at dinh@industry-platform.com 


By Dinh Viet Anh Nguyen | May 1st, 2017

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