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We all know that IoT has immense potential in improving productivity and transforming traditional businesses into the new age of digital innovation and maximising customer satisfaction. We have all seen the case studies, the challenges, the promise of IoT for a better future.

What else can we talk about?

A good point raised by one of our panellists at the CIO Panel held at IBM’s Watson Centre, as part of the industry gathering, is looking at IoT as not just a technological opportunity, but the opportunity to change the business model to a new, more efficient one.

This is in line with one of the main themes raised by the ASEAN telcos’ panel and various presenters on the first day, which is Collaboration & Partnerships.

The success of IoT depends highly on the collaborative efforts among stakeholders – from various service and solution providers across the IoT ecosystem, to the end users. IoT’s biggest potential lies in its ability to collect and analyse data, giving valuable analytical information from real-time processes that can play an important role in improving business activities.

The new business model proposed is a “partnership” or “revenue-sharing” model, whereby stakeholders put in resources and take up accountability for their contributions in the IoT-isation of the business, so results can be shared among the contributors.

Partnerships in the making

This is particularly interesting in how it could potentially mitigate the resistance to change – financially, strategically and technologically – which is the main roadblock in many ASEAN enterprises adopting next-generation technologies like IoT, as it does not require the enterprises to take up the risk wholly, but share it with their technological partners.

The partners, meanwhile, have more freedom to involve innovative practices that they thought might be useful for the business, further pushing the envelope.

As we move forward to engaging discussions at the local levels in Thailand, The Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia this coming July and August, I look forward to engaging in more conversations that address pain points of enterprises, which could give valuable insights for technology providers as they work on making their IoT solutions more relevant, customer-centric and cost-effective to their end users.

What is your challenge in adopting IoT in your organisation?

manufacturing YY

This time, a week ago, we had the chance to be part of Microsoft’s IoT Day for Manufacturers in KL.

The theme was “Accelerating Digital Transformation for Manufacturing” and it was a strong turnout. Participants learnt from international case studies on how they could enable IoT for their own company and there was a robust Q&A session.

It got me thinking: in 2016, the manufacturing and industrial sector represented a large proportion of our participants (75% of our participants are from enterprise buyers and manufacturing and industrial decision makers made up a quarter of these numbers) but what has been the adoption rate of manufacturers in ASEAN? How has the level of maturity in this sector grown?

manufacturing in ASEAN

Image credit: ASEAN Briefing

What we found in the last year was that expectation for IoT in manufacturing are mainly centered around its impact on lowering operating costs.

A report by McKinsey in 2014 found that even while economies in the ASEAN region are at vastly different stages of development, new technology like IoT could increase profit margins and lower costs in manufacturing, potentially creating US$25 billion to US$45 billion of annual economic impact in ASEAN by 2030.

Many of the manufacturers we spoke with in 2016 agreed that this was their main motivation. Mr. Nguyen Quoc Khanh, Executive Director R&D, Vinamilk said that they were able to use technology to become the world’s most advanced automated and integrated dairy plant, increasing their efficiency to produce 400 million litres of milk in the first phase and up to 800 million litres of milk a year ultimately to meet the demand for dairy in Vietnam and Asia.

But aside from increased efficiency and decreased cost, can the manufacturing and industrial sector in Southeast Asia utilise IoT to move up the value chain?

In another report by McKinsey on Manufacturing the Future, five broad groups with very different characteristics and requirements were identified.

manufacturing YY 3

Image credit: McKinsey Global Institute

The manufacturing and industrial sector in Southeast Asia seems to be focused more on the labour, capital and energy intensive sectors. Even when we consider the automotive sector in Southeast Asia, much of the R&D is done in their home countries in Japan, Korea or Europe while the manufacturing facilities in Southeast Asia are more focused on the production aspects.

Is it possible for us to increase the “value density” of manufacturing in Southeast Asia? What are the challenges and how long will such a process take?

These will be some of the questions we will be asking our enterprises in Southeast Asia in 2017 as we move from educating them about the benefits of IoT to addressing their pain points in their IoT strategy and implementation.

Do let us know if you have a story to share and we look forward to accelerating IoT adoption among enterprises in Southeast Asia.

If you are interested in understanding more about the adoption of IoT in different verticals and sectors in ASEAN, please do not hesitate to contact me. We will be holding the 12th edition of Asia IoT Business Platform in Singapore on 14 February 2017 to present the latest IoT developments in the region.

By Fong Yue Yeng (yueyeng@industry-platform.com)


In 2014, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, urged small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to venture overseas, citing Iskandar Malaysia as a great option for firms to regionalize. Last December, President Tony Tan said that IE Singapore is devoting more resources to step up its presence in the Philippines to spur homegrown Singapore companies to access the market in the Philippines. Recently, amid the weak local market and more heated competition, conversations around internationalization and venturing overseas start to dominate; more so with Trump’s executive action to scrap the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Apart from the intrinsic challenges of being a small country (market), the grim economic outlook and uncertain market conditions have become a loud clarion call for homegrown companies to venture overseas. Internationalization or regionalization is no longer a new phenomenon, nor is it a ‘mere’ option for Singaporean firms, especially those in tech. Besides the small domestic market, the thriving tech scene is largely dominated by large tech MNCs.

Despite the apparent challenges in regionalizing efforts—primarily due to cost—we strongly believe that it is important for local tech firms to look beyond Singapore for their business development. We are throwing our (hopefully significant) weight behind the regionalization drive by the Singapore government because, as PM Lee said, there will be opportunities for the ‘bold and enterprising’.

Opportunities in ASEAN


In our recent article, which looked at our activities in ASEAN, we saw a promising economic area with burgeoning individual economies. Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia make the top 10 of IMF’s 2016 World Economic Outlook world’s fastest growing economy. The rest of ASEAN including Thailand, Indonesia, and Philippines, projects robust growth over the next 3 years, averaging at 5-6% growth.

With a population of over 600 million, ASEAN also offers Singaporean firms a market that is 120 times the size of the domestic market they are currently operating in. On the technological front, we have seen many tech companies, new and old, aggressively growing their ASEAN teams. Alibaba invested $1 billion into Rocket Internet’s Lazada, while Amazon Web Services recently opened offices in Philippines, Thailand, and Malaysia.

Most importantly, Singaporean tech firms and IoT solution providers can expect great demand in the region for smart technologies, surprisingly from smaller companies. The absence of legacy systems make SMEs in ASEAN nimbler and more aggressive in adopting IoT solutions. Case in point, 2016 State of the Cloud survey by Rightscale found that 32% of SMEs are ‘cloud-focused’, compared to 25% for large enterprises.

IE Singapore Grants


Cost is largely cited by home-grown companies as an issue in regionalizing. While this is a fact, it is not a valid enough point to not venture beyond Singapore for business development. The authorities in Singapore have long been a proponent of internationalization and regionalization. Thus, it is of no surprise that there is assistance in place to help Singaporean firms to venture abroad for the business development.

IE Singapore, a government agency promoting international trade and partnering with Singapore companies in going global, has grants in place to support local companies in venturing overseas. The Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) grant for instance, supports companies that are taking their first steps overseas by granting 70% support of eligible third-party costs. Similarly, the Global Company Partnership (GCP) grant will those that are looking to enhance their market presence overseas.

IE Singapore also cites trade shows, expos, and business missions as great ways for companies to reach overseas buyers, get feedback on products and services, make valuable contacts, and learn more about a market. For that reason, the agency introduced iMAP to support companies in participating in business missions and international trade fairs and exhibitions via Singapore Pavilions.

The different assistance schemes supporting local firms’ overseas endeavors underscore the importance of regionalization. While Singapore may be a hotbed for starting a business, the saturated and competitive business landscape is not sustainable for businesses, especially SMEs and startups. Overseas investments are therefore the natural way for Singapore companies to sustain their business. With the small domestic market, it is more important than ever for companies, especially tech firms, to gear their business development towards the region where investment, economic growth, and infrastructure developments are robust.

If you are interested in introducing your IoT solutions to your prospective customers and partners in the different markets in ASEAN, do reach out to us. Our Asia IoT Business Platform series will be returning to Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, and Jakarta in 2017. We are also holding one in Yangon and Ho Chi Minh City.  If you are interested in any of the markets, email me at zaidani@industry-platform.com.


A recent survey by Computer Weekly with over 1000 APAC IT professionals found that 2017 will be another good year for CIOs in the ASEAN region. 26% anticipate an increase of more than 10% for their IT budgets and a further 27% predicted a small increase.


Credit: CW+ ASEAN IT Priorities 2017

What stood out to me were the initiatives that these CIOs will be focusing on in 2017. Deriving value from data is key: 44% mentioned an investment in the big data and business analytics area, 33% spoke about IT automation and rounding up the top 3 was the Internet of Things at 31%.

Similar to what we heard from our enterprise participants in 2016, the survey found that the pragmatic approach to IoT has accelerated IoT technology towards widespread enterprise adoption. When asked about their planned use of IoT platforms, more than a third mentioned a cloud-based or analytic platform, followed by platforms for hardware and software in a a thing or endpoint device and platforms that simplify mobile connections.

Is IoT in Southeast Asia finally crossing the chasm in the innovation adoption curve?


Geoffrey Moore introduced the concept of tracking the business uptake of innovative high tech products in his book “Crossing the Chasm” in 1991. In it he expanded on the diffusion of innovations theory by Everett Rogers and argues that there is a gap between the early adopters of the product (the technology evangelists) and the early majority (the pragmatists).

Crossing the chasm refers to the moment when true business value becomes apparent and the technology switches from being purchased for its perceived technology possibilities to buyers seeking the product for its recognized commercial value.

The customers are no longer limited to the early adopters, who deploy technology in hope of gaining a business advantage. By delivering a recognized business advantage, the disruptive technology creates enough momentum to reach the next stage of the adoption curve.

It is this pragmatic approach that drives our discussion of IoT in Southeast Asia. Our partners like HPE completed a research that examines the reality of IoT via real-world case studies and examples. By presenting these results from real IoT initiatives and identifying what went well and what didn’t, they were able to distill some lessons on how to avoid the pitfalls and do IoT right.

Similarly, by getting speakers like Vinamilk, LTA and Iskandar Regional Development Authority to share their insights at our upcoming Singapore conference, we hope our regional participants can use this as a springboard to launch their own IoT initiatives.

Can IoT in Southeast Asia move towards mass adoption? A participant at our recent Vietnam event updated us last week that they have set up their IoT department to tap into the burgeoning IoT opportunities in Vietnam. We are heartened by such feedback and look forward to accelerating the adoption curve in the years to come.

by Fong Yue Yeng

With the vision of creating the Thailand 4.0, Thai government has introduced the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (DE) in place of previous Ministry of Information Communications Technology (ICT). DE Ministry takes over all responsibilities of the ICT Ministry, National Statistics Office, Software Industry Promotion Agency, Electronic Transactions Development Agency, Thai National Meteorological Department and Thailand Post, as well as oversight of state-owned telcos TOT and CAT Telecom. The National Disaster Warning Centre, previously under the supervision of the ICT Ministry, is the only agency that was transferred to the Interior Ministry.

thailand ict

This change is brought about as previously ICT Ministry only covered communication technology but not the development of economic and social via digital technology. Therefore, Ministry of Digital Economy and Social is an important entity to encourage both public and private sector to employ digital technology in their operations to achieve the ultimate goal of social stability and economic growth.

In line with government’s digital economy policy, DE Ministry’s vision is to lead the transformation towards Digital Thailand. DE Ministry’s 10-years plan has the following goals:

  • Raising the country’s competitiveness with digital innovation such that at least 25% of country’s GDP is from digital sector.
  • Creating equal opportunities with information and digital service to ensure that all Thais have access to affordable (less than 2% of income) broadband internet.
  • Developing human capital for digital era by improving Thai’s digital literacy
  • Revolutionizing government operations for better transparency and effectiveness by using digital technology in all government operations.

Since last year, DE Ministry has rolled out multiple projects such the Smart City pilot in Phuket. Together with Financial ministry, Thailand also introduced the first-ever national e-payment, Promptpay, late last year. Minister of Finance Apisak Tantiworawong has remarked that this is the first and crucial step in the nation’s digital finance plan.

One notable plan that DE Ministry has introduced is Digital Park Mega Project. The project aims to encourage transfer of knowledge which can lead to Innovation in various areas such as IoT technology and data centre. Digital Park will be located in Sriracha, Chonburi with an area of 240 acres consisting of various zones: Research centres, innovation centres, education institutes, and housing. Companies and start-ups that set up business in the park will receive maximum tax exemption for 8 years and 50% reduction for the next 5 years. Income tax exemption is also given for researchers working in Digital Park to encourage the inflow of foreign skilled labour.

What does this mean for IoT industry?

Firstly, there will likely to be an increase in adoption of IoT technology in the banking and finance, as well as the manufacturing sectors as the government has provided a range of incentive and aid to help business adopt such technology in terms of both software and hardware. “We will encourage large-scale cloud computing for both the public and private sector,” said Ajarin Pattanapanchai, Senior Executive Investment Advisor with the Thailand Board of Investment (BOI).

Secondly, there is likely to be rapid growth in Thailand’s IoT industry due to government effort for both supply and demand side. On supply-side, various government incentives such as Digital Park mentioned above will attract both local and foreign investment into this industry. On demand-side, government has enabled digital literacy education and also made the internet accessible to all. This helps to create a larger market for IoT as more people has the means to use these technologies.

In conclusion, the government has put in a lot of efforts to develop a digital economy and allow IoT industry to grow further. It will be exciting times ahead for Thailand’s IoT industry.

We will be hosting the 13th edition of Asia IoT Business Platform in Bangkok, Thailand on 24 – 25 July 2017. This year, the program will focus on addressing the challenges and pain points of adopting IoT technology in businesses. If you are interested in finding out more about IoT in Thailand or if you are interested in exploring the market for your IoT solutions, contact us at info@industry-platform.com 

by Ramon j.

drones gaga

Lady Gaga recently performed a 15-minute death-defying SuperBowl halftime show that skyrocketed her music sales by 1000%. To most people, that’s impressive. But to some (like me), what’s equally impressive is the flock of “stars” which are drones with LED lights attached forming an impressive backdrop of moving stars and an American flag, as Gaga sings the patriotic opening tune “God Bless America”.

It was only moments after the performance that it was revealed that the drones spectacular was indeed pre-filmed before the actual halftime show, due to restrictions over the use of Unmanned Ariel Vehicles, or UAVs.

The use of drones has long sparked interests in various stakeholders. They have been used in warfare, filmmaking, delivery and even firefighting. Interest in the consumer usage of drones has skyrocketed over the past few years, and commercially drones are being explored for many industrial, agricultural and – most recently – entertainment purposes.

In Southeast Asia, drones have been moving away from military technologies to more industry verticals and applications. Asia is seeing a “proliferation of companies coming out thinking creatively and informatively about how drone technology can be developed,” according to a spokesman for SZ DJI Technology Co., world’s top consumer drone maker by revenue.

One industry application that drones can be very useful for in Southeast Asia is agriculture. Making up a big part of the economy in Southeast Asia, agriculture however is still mostly done manually due to the lack of capital investments into new technologies done. Farming is still mostly done in small family scale, and lack of awareness of new technologies further distance farmers from gaining the capability to transform traditional farming.

Drones can produce precise 3D maps for early soil analysis, plant seeds automatically reducing the amount of time and manpower needed, spraying more efficiently to reduce amount of chemicals penetrating into groundwater, monitor crops over a large area at real time, provide weather-dependent irrigation and assess crop health remotely. All of these possibilities can be achieved from the comfort of a control centre and may even be done automatically, for example in the case of Cau Dat Farm in Da Lat, Vietnam, which has developed various IoT technologies for their own farms in the area to produce fresh, healthy and farm-to-table agricultural produce.

The usage of drones is still very contentious in the region. Many countries in the region are still working on imposing certain restrictions and regulations on how to use drones commercially and personally. Nevertheless, just like any other new technologies, under proper regulations and management, drones have the potential to amaze – on and off stage.

Let me know your thoughts. If you have any inquiry on next-generation technologies and their use in Southeast Asia, reach out at dinh@industry-platform.com!

by Nguyen Dinh Viet Anh

asia iot business platform singapore

We are honoured and privileged to have hosted the region’s key IoT stakeholders in Singapore on 14 Feb – yes, V-day – who convened to discuss their love for IoT and IoT developments in the region. Among the conversations between the region’s telcos, thought-provoking presentations, and conversations during our networking sessions, three common themes arise:


Collaboration is seen as the key to success in IoT deployments, from both the solution providers’ perspectives and the end users’ perspectives. Apinetr Unakul, Board of Directors, CAT Telecom, Thailand, mentioned that as a connectivity provider, they are always looking for partners to create business values for their enterprise products. This requires having good relations with government agencies, meeting more potential partners and creating an ecosystem that caters to the specific requirements. Echoing this sentiment, Mike Frausing, Head of Enterprise & IT Enabled Services, Globe Telecom, The Philippines, emphasised the nature of partnership in today’s IoT and digital sector that is no longer “vendor management” but “partnership management”, whereby sharing business models and revenues will lead to better chance of success in the digital space. At the same time, collaboration is important in ensuring proper integration among different technologies and services, as Zamry Bin Ibrahim, CMO, Telekom Malaysia VADS Lyfe noted. They also maintain a “technology-agnostic” approach to IoT and next-generation technologies, ensuring that proper technologies are used for different needs. Similarly, Pete Murray, Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Vice President OEM & IoT GTM, emphasised that partners within the IoT ecosystem need to work together seamlessly to further understand and provide solutions that ultimately improve quality of life, and address pain points of the society. From the government agencies’ point of view including Singapore’s Land Transport Authority and Metro Cebu Development and Coordinating Board, Public-Private Partnerships are the key to ensuring that policy makers and technology providers work together to accelerate the IoT developments.


The second key to successful IoT deployments is being customer-centric. IoT should not be taken up for the sake of using IoT, but to better the society and economy. Examples from the smart cities – Da Nang, Metro Cebu, Land Transport Authority, Iskandar Regional Development Authority and Thailand Smart Cities all pointed to how IoT is being planned and used to address social problems including: environmental management, flood monitoring, government processes, traffic control etc. Being culturally aware is also very important for these smart cities’ governing bodies to understand the people, their priorities, needs, and how to focus the technologies on addressing the most important pain points before touching on other matters. For instance, traffic is a big issue in Metro Cebu and Da Nang, and the respective representatives – Evelyn Nacario-Castro, Head of Metro Cebu Development and Coordinating Board, and Pham Thanh Son, Information Technology Expert – shared on their plans to use technologies to not only control traffic, but also utilise the predictive abilities of data to inform city planning for the future. Understanding how people react and respond to technologies is also crucial in a successful deployment, and examples like the citizens’ feedback system that is used in Jakarta and Da Nang at the moment, are exemplary of addressing the citizens’ needs.


As much as IoT sounds exciting and promising for the future and many grand plans have been shared, all our speakers have also mentioned many challenges that are characteristic of technology developments in Southeast Asia. While attempting to address the society’s pain points, it can be hard to identify which areas to focus on as there are many social issues to be addressed. Iskandar Regional Development Authority – represented by Chief Executive Datuk Ismail Ibrahim – for instance, has identified 35 programmes for the region, addressing both short-term and long-term challenges that are now faced by the region. The limited resources, both human, technological and financial, create the needs to develop step by step and to strengthen collaboration efforts. Scalability is also a potential issue, especially when applying strategies from a small city like Phuket (with a population of 300,000) to a bigger city like Chiang Mai (population 1,200,000) – for instance – prompting the solution providers and policy makers to work together and ensuring that things do not go “out of control”. Thus, having a comprehensive, realistic and customised plan for IoT developments and deployments is very important, while being adaptable and open to changes will be the key to sustainability in the new era of business and technology disruptions.

Today’s discussions have been fruitful and exciting in many ways – from the gathering of top IoT stakeholders in the region sharing experiences, ideas and visions, to discovering similarities and differences among the Southeast Asian countries with regards to technologies, digital transformations and disruptions. We hope that you have had a good time and looking forward to many more productive conversations in our future editions!

And while we’re at it – happy Valentine’s Day.

Interested in participating in our upcoming programs across ASEAN? Reach out to us at info@industry-platform.com


Singapore’s Changi Airport has been named the “World’s Best Airport” for a fifth consecutive year, by research firm SkyTrax.

The SkyTrax World Airport Survey describes itself as a quality benchmark for the world airport industry. It is independent of any airport control or input and undertakes a private survey assessing customer service and facilities across 550 airports.

The award is based on 13.82 million airport survey questionnaires conducted between July 2016 and February 2017. The firm said it evaluates a range of benchmarks from check-in, arrivals, transfers, shopping, security and immigration through to departure at the gate.

According to International Air Transport Association (IATA), the number of passenger trips is likely to double over the next 20 years from 2014, driven largely in part by improving living standards and the decrease in travel costs. This a report carried out by Expedia and the Airlines Reporting Corporation in 2016, also found that the prices for round trip economy class tickets have fallen between 4 – 7% globally between 2015 to 2016 and the trend is likely to persist with increasing airline capacity and competition.

Increasing passenger trips will put airports around the world to the test. Airports will need to innovate and do more with less, to keep service levels high without busting their budgets.

To stay ahead of the game, Changi Airport is set to transform its operations for the future, with a new S$50 million programme to drive innovation over the next five years. The Changi Airport Living Lab Programme was launched in January 2017, in partnership with the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB). Mr Lee Seow Hiang, CEO of Changi Airport said, “Building innovation today is critical to transforming our business and operations for the future.” The programme will see Changi Airport collaborating with innovation-driven companies and start ups, to develop and demonstrate new technology solutions, in a live airport environment.

IoT @ Changi Airport

Internet of Things (IoT) technologies that include sensors, robotics and data analytics will feature heavily in the Living Lab and Changi Airport has already started working with partners to test solutions in some of these areas to achieve a more seamless and positive experience for passengers and visitors to the airport. Targeting specific areas of improvement, the program will provide the platform to create the next generation of solutions for Airport management.

Optimizing manpower and infrastructure resources

Sensors combined with analytics provides opportunities to enable a more accurate and real time perspective of airport operations. As manpower resources are scarce, a combination of robotics and analytics can help better optimize operational processes and power smarter decision making. This will empower the airport workforce to operate at higher efficiency and productivity levels.

For example, Changi Airport has been running prototype trials for autonomous cleaning robots to clean the vast tracts of floors in the airport terminals. It is also exploring the use of automated guided vehicles to ferry passengers between terminals.

In addition, smart controls can help better manage infrastructure resources, such as energy and water . Data collected on the airport’s assets will also allow airports to analyse and understand how predictive maintenance can be carried out, such that impact of downtime is minimized on staff and travelers.

Strengthening Lifestyle Product Offerings

The airport is a treasure trove of data from travelers, adding analytics into the mix, the airport is looking to uncover deeper insights into travelers’ habits and preferences and is looking to utilize the insights to strengthen the airport’s lifestyle product offerings.

An example is taxi queue analytics, whereby sensors are used to determine the number of people in taxi queues and the estimated wait time. This would allow the airport to provide travelers with better advice on ground transport options during peak periods, as well as alert taxi drivers about impending demand for taxis at the airport.

Improving Security

Stronger safety and security standards are often inversely correlated with passenger experience. With the use of non-intrusive technologies, Changi Airport aims to greatly enhance the passenger experience and reduce the stress of undergoing security clearance.

Our team will be hosting the 2017 editions of Asia IoT Business Platform in Thailand (24-25 Jul), Malaysia (27-28 Jul), Philippines (1-2 Aug) and Indonesia (7-8 Aug) to discuss benefits and challenges of adopting Internet of Things locally.

As part of the Asia IoT Business Platform 2017 activities in Singapore, I was fortunate to be able to attend a closed door discussion among senior technology and innovation executives from Enterprises around the ASEAN region. One of the panel discussions involved senior technology executives from, a Telecommunications company, an Automotive Manufacturer and a Conglomerate with multiple businesses ranging from agriculture to banking, who shared their thoughts on the Internet of Things , and what it meant to them.

Opportunities in IoT:

All the senior executives agreed that IoT provided opportunities to improve their companies bottom lines, either through revenue enhancements or cost reductions. They see IoT as the next step of evolution in enterprise technology, comparing it to moving onto the cloud 10 years ago. It wasn’t a question of whether you would do it, it was when and how you would incorporate IoT together with the existing infrastructure.

The Telco executive mentioned that they were late to the game on mobile. In a bid to push forward, they are looking to skip a generation, incorporate IoT technologies and build on their expertise in City infrastructure. He believes that technology will enable them to offer smart services to their clients and thus open doors to new sources of revenue.

On the other hand, the executive in automotive manufacturing spoke about how his firm is looking at IoT to further enhance their Just in time production model to add transparency and accountability to their suppliers and through this process reduce overall costs and improve production lead time.

Risks & Challenges:

When asked about their views on risks and challenges on implementing IoT, security came up as a common theme. Increasing the number of connected objects to their networks, increases the entry points where cyber attacks can be launched and potentially disrupt operations.

Corporate espionage was also highlighted as vulnerabilities in the networks could allow competitors to quietly listen in and obtain information on daily production and react by changing their production and pricing levels. In addition to stealing data, there was also a real concern on theft of physical goods, as leaked information can be sold to thieves who could choose the best possible locations to hijack delivery trucks travelling through remote areas of the country.

The other common theme brought up was the challenge in changing the mindset of their colleagues in adopting new technology. The tech executives would need to build a business case to convince the senior level folks to show how investing in IoT will impact their bottomline. On the other hand, operational colleagues would need to be convinced that implementing new technology and processes would make their life easier as manual, labor intensive tasks are reduced. There is often inertia on both ends. Companies which are currently profitable, see little need in investing as current business models work, while operational staff find it too much of a hassle to change the way they work. The executives agreed that there was much work required to get the company aligned, but it will go a long way in making implementation successful.

Towards the end of the discussion, one executive highlighted that it was more risky not doing anything at all. Technology is moving at a breakneck pace, one would need to take calculated risks in adopting IoT or risk being left behind by their competitors. In his words, “Invest or get disrupted.”

Asia IoT Business Platform 2017

This year, the team at Asia IoT Business Platform will be focusing on understanding the challenges of IoT adoption and deployment that businesses and enterprises are facing in each of their local markets.

We will be in Thailand (24-25 July), Malaysia (27-28 July), Philippines (1-2 August) and Indonesia (7 – 8 August), discussing the challenges of IoT adoption.

Without any surprise, Indonesia is considered to be one of the most prospective markets in Southeast Asia for enterprise Internet of Things (IoT) adoption. Gartner predicted that by 2018, Indonesia, together with other Southeast Asia countries, will have spent a total of $62 billion for technology.

Taking a closer look at the market, there are two upcoming sectors looking to tackle their problems and improve their business performance with the use of IoT technologies. These sectors are agriculture and property.


In the coming decade, farming industry will become more significant than ever. UN Food and Agriculture Organization forecast that the world needs to increase its food production by 70% in 2050 compared to 2006. As a key sector of Indonesian economy, will Indonesian agriculture be able to fulfill the growing needs?

According to World Bank, Indonesian agriculture comprises of 13.3% of the total GDP in 2014. Despite being a large contributor of Indonesian economy, the agriculture does not have the capacity to catch up to the escalated demand for food with its current farming performance. Take an example of cocoa farming. International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) foresee that demand for cocoa will exceed the supply by 2020. Being 3rd largest cocoa producer in the world, unfortunately, does not guarantee that Indonesia will reap all the benefits. The reason is that, as mentioned by Marc Donaldson, senior partner at On The Ball Consulting, limited sustainable network in Asia hampers its ability to fulfill future cocoa demand. However, the most important factor is due to the unpredictable climate change, causing inefficient production.

Indonesian farmers understand that they need to improve efficiency. Turning traditional agriculture into smart agriculture with IoT is definitely key to their survival in the industry. With application of technologies in the field, such as sensors and drones, not only will they be able to access climate forecasts but also to collect crop data. A number of studies on average farm done by OnFarm (connected farm IoT platform developer) showed the success of IoT in agriculture with revenue grew by 1.75%, energy cost fell by 35% to $13/acre, and use of water for irrigation dropped by 8%.



The use of IoT in property development sector has become more prevalent. Gartner predict that smart homes (a home equipped with lighting, heating, and electronic devices that can be controlled remotely by smartphone or computer) will use over 1 billion connected things in 2018. The reason for the rise of smart home is the greater value property developers can gain in terms of revenue. But how does that work?

IoT technologies allow developers to boost their competitive position in real estate market by going an extra mile to enhance resident living experience. According to Intel, houses with IoT guarantee a safer and more comfortable environment as well as lower energy consumption. It is proven by the survey conducted in the United States by Coldwell Banker Real Estate and CNET (consumer technology news and reviews website) which discovered 45% of smart home product users claim that these products helped them save $1,100 per year and 87% agree that their lives have been easier with everything controlled through their smartphone.

Understanding these benefits, several Indonesian developers have realized the importance of integrating technology to everyday life. With the aim to increase its market share, Indonesia’s biggest property developer, Agung Podomoro Land (APLN), has planned to equip smart home technology products for its residential properties in more than five estates. Homeowners may enjoy the connectivity of all devices at home from microwave to washing machine in just one click away.

To sum up, even though Indonesia is still a developing country, we believe that there is a potential to venture into the market. Both agriculture and property are upcoming sectors looking forward to improving their businesses with IoT.

Find out more about how IoT is impacting Indonesian enterprises at Asia IoT Business Platform Indonesia 2017, 7- 8 August, Jakarta.

Exactly two weeks back we had the pleasure of hosting partners from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and Brunei in a closed door gathering – mainly to share and exchange insights on the current and upcoming IoT developments across Southeast Asia.

I know; one day was not enough to cover all projects across the region. To put things into perspective, here’s a very brief summary of the sessions discussed (I’m including my personal observations here and there – feel free to drop a note if you have a different opinion).

On Telecommunications

Regional Telco & Connectivity Panel: Telekom Malaysia, Mobifone, CAT Telecom, Globe Telecom, Telkomsel, Telenor Connexion (Asia IoT Business Platform, 14 February 2017)

Telcos’ initiatives vary across ASEAN countries (duh), but surprisingly, there weren’t much debate nor disagreement over the panel discussion. As the profitability of their old business model declines, telcos find potential revenue stream from IoT services through new business models, products, and a wider range of potential customers (this is reflected in the setting up of IoT/M2M teams).

Over the past 3-4 years, ASEAN telcos have been actively working with technology partners to develop their IoT portfolio and extend their services offerings. Beyond that, some are starting to look at developing platforms to integrate their fragmented products.

On Smart City

Promoting Sustainable Urban Development and Addressing Transport & Traffic Management – Metro Cebu Development and Coordinating Board (Asia IoT Business Platform, 14 February 2017)

The definition of smart city is pretty broad, and most public sectors have different visions of enabling smart communities. The good thing is, we are seeing some approaches – as our partners humbly call it, baby steps – to provide citizens a comfortable and safe environment.

Most key projects that were discussed revolve around traffic management (LTA Singapore, Mega Cebu), waste and energy management (Iskandar Regional Development Authority), redesigning city architecture and infrastructure (Chiang Mai, Saensuk), eGovernment services (Da Nang), smart tourism (Phuket).

Infrastructure and cost is still a challenge issues are looking to be addressed, telcos are keen to explore collaboration with technology partners who can help them extract value from IoT and create business value.

On Industries Focus

Concluding the overall feedback we received from our partners including enterprises, some key segments that seem to be of focus moving forward include:

  • Personal safety, e.g. kids surveillance, building monitoring, cyber security and data protection (uh oh – news on Singapore Ministry of Defence cyber attack breach just came out today), etc.
  • Agriculture, e.g. success stories from Vietnam that are looking to scale – this area accounts for quite a big portion of GDP growth within some ASEAN nations (Malaysia mentioned this in their National Agenda last year).
  • Healthcare – governments are pumping funds to enable the wide spread communities access medical attention (there’re a couple of startups that are progressing quickly in medtech..)
  • Manufacturing, e.g. vision of Vinamilk to double their revenue by end of the year through investments in smart production systems.

Just One Takeaway

If I were to name one takeaway from the conference, it would be customization. It is almost a requirement in all IoT offerings (be it technology development, pricing..). I found that the common point between the most successful use cases is that the solutions were made to address the pain points and direct needs of end users.

Putting it bluntly, solution providers should work very closely with enterprise clients (and sometimes the society) to make sure that what you’re providing is aligned with the desired outcomes – I guess this could be an advantage for SIs and startups that are traditionally more flexible in their offerings.

We look forward to hearing from ASEAN enterprises on their challenges and concerns throughout their digital transformation journey this July and August.

If you think my piece makes sense (or does not), feel free to connect and share your thoughts.

In 2016, SMEs industry in Thailand has grown up to 5.3% to account for 41.1% of Thailand’s GDP. SME accounted for more than 80% of employment as well. This highlights the importance of SME in Thailand’s economy. Knowing this, Thailand 4.0 policy also encompasses the development of SMEs as well. With the aim to increase the value of SME GDP to be at least 50% of total GDP by 2021, the government plans to drive the growth of SME with three drivers:  Active Cluster/Smart Farming, Smart SME and Global SMEs.

To boost the growth of traditional SME markets such as Agricultural and Community enterprises, Active Cluster/Smart Farming is introduced. First, it aims to promote cluster to tap into potential that external economy of scale has to offer. It also helps the SME access funding via Village and Community funding, while provide training to SME’s owner as well as encourage usage of technology and Frugal innovation. Additionally, it centralises marketing effort by promotion via “Pracharat” store as well as encouraging e-commerce usage.

For new growth industries, such as FoodTech, Health Tech, Auto Tech and Digital Tech, the government has put in place “Smart SME” project. The detail of this project is shown in the diagram below.

To increase the competitiveness of SME for them to venture abroad, Global SME is used. This is done so by giving them International Market Expansion Grant as well as providing other incentives. Another area of this project that should be highlighted is encouraged the usage of market intelligent and usage of e-commerce in the foreign market.

This is a good news for the IoT market.

Firstly, E-commerce in Thailand is expected to grow tremendously as it is heavily emphasised by the Thai government. Recently, the Thai government has signed a deal with Alibaba to provide its expertise with the government is in e-commerce area. This includes providing training for SMEs in e-commerce aspect as well as providing guidance for setting up Thailand’s National E-commerce platform. This shows that Thai government sees the potential that E-commerce has to offer in Thailand and thus putting in significant effort in this area.

Secondly, the government highlights IoT industry is one of the key industries in Smart SME and Global SME project. It is safe to expect growth in local IoT industry as there will be incentives, funding, and training going into this market. International players can benefit from the projects as well as these projects highlight the importance of usage of technology in SME operations such as in Agricultural and Healthcare. This is illustrated in Thailand 4.0’s focus on smart farmers. Under modernization program, farmers will have to adapt or lose government aid. This will definitely push most of agricultural SMEs in Thailand to adopt digital technology in their production.

The Thai government has invested a lot of effort in modernization and digitalization of SME to increase productivity and in turn promote digital economy. With government’s vision of transforming towards Thailand 4.0, it is safe to say that Thailand’s digital industry is in good hands.

Looking beyond the business and technology, it is important to realise that communities in the region are to benefit most from the increased adoption and implementation of IoT.

Internet of Things (IoT), Internet of Everything, Intelligence of Things, Intelligence of Everything – a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. We are in the age when humans and artificial intelligence converge to transform into an interconnected, thinking entity, facilitated by massive amount of data. From machine automation in manufacturing facilities to your home refrigerator texting you to replace your wilting spinach with fresh ones, IoT is something of the future that has dawned upon us.

Even in the emerging and developing region of ASEAN, IoT has come to bring glad tidings.

Over the years, enterprises and public sectors have adopted IoT to make business processes and operations more efficient, and public services more seamless. We have seen how a Vietnamese farm deploy a gateway to collect data from farm through a system of sensors, weather stations, and robots, so that farm operations can be managed via the cloud. We have seen the local government Jakarta leveraging IoT to manifest a smart city through a plethora of intelligent systems – smart surveillance, smart equipment trackers, and smart street lighting system, among others.

The growing intelligence in the different sectors across ASEAN reflect not only a promising economic region, but also a gradual improvement in the quality of life of communities here. However, despite robust technological development in many areas, most conversations are focused on identification of potential business benefits. Much less is known about the current and future impact of IoT on society – the interaction between communities with IoT systems and smart cities, and how the acceleration of IoT adoption can impact ASEAN societies.

It is therefore important for IoT solution providers to access ASEAN and introduce their solutions and products with a bigger end picture in mind. IoT solutions, as the names goes, need to solve prevalent and pervasive issues in a society. Apparently, problems are abundant. From urban blooding and traffic congestion to poor rural health systems, there is much for IoT to solve.

In our previous article, we wrote on how effective applications of IoT for flooding and other disaster prevention are anticipated. In a country like Vietnam, where flooding is a pervasive and longstanding issue, more substantial flood mitigation and flood monitoring projects are critical. With the implementation of a calculated and carefully crafted IoT flood monitoring project, the flooding issue in the country can be alleviated. Apart from saving billions of Vietnamese dongs, loss of lives can be prevented too.

IoT can also be a beacon of hope for the healthcare industry, especially in ASEAN where the majority live in rural areas. With inadequate healthcare facilities and structures, providing a sufficient level of healthcare to citizens can be a feat. While big data analytics, remote care, and flexible patient monitoring have been implemented in countries like the Philippines, there is still more that can and should be done on this front. From assisted living to connected health devices, IoT solution providers in the healthcare sector have much to work on in the region.

The point of it all is that there is likely to be more radical innovations in the future. The benefits should be used, ultimately, for society’s gain. There needs to be more research on real applications for real scenarios for real societies, in order to inform policy and practice in ASEAN. Over the next couple of months, we will start looking at real problems that are plaguing communities in ASEAN that can be solved with IoT. This would help inform solution providers of not only the opportunities in the region, but to inform them of their corporate responsibility to use technology to alleviate social and environmental issues that can greatly affect the lives of people in the region.

If you have IoT solutions that you are keen in introducing in ASEAN to solve a particular social or environmental issue i.e traffic congestion, flooding, famine, healthcare, please email me at zaidani@industry-platform.com. You can find out more about our IoT programs in ASEAN here.

marina barrage and water resource


Water is the vital source of life.

71% of the Earth’s surface is covered in Water, however only 2.5% of water on Earth is fresh water and 98.8% of this is found in ice and ground water. This makes fresh water an extremely scarce resource.

According to the United Nations World Water Assessment Program, 70% of fresh water is used for irrigation, while 20% and 10 % is used for industrial purposes and consumption respectively.

Water has become an interesting area of focus recently in Singapore, where the government has recently announced that water prices will be raised by 30% over the next 2 years. This is to reflect the scarcity of water in the country and that citizens should be prudent in conserving water.

The magnitude of the price increase has made consumers and enterprises sit up to take notice of their water consumption patterns. A leak in the water pipes could potentially be extremely expensive affair. In 2015, I was personally affected when a silent leak in my toilet resulted in the water bill going up 100% from the previous month.

In the larger scheme of things, leaky and aging pipes cause significant water loss. It was reported that in England and Wales, about 3.1 trillion litres of water, representing 25% of potable water leaving the nation’s treatment plants never reaches the tap. While in the United states, the American Water Works Association estimates losses of approximately 26.5 trillion litres of water, costing public water utilities USD2.8 billion annually.

Water conservation is important, as it is forecasted that by 2040 the gap between the global demand for freshwater and its supply will hit 50 per cent, intensifying the competition for global water resources in a way that will impact businesses.

IoT & Water

With the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), objects such as Smart meters, toilet bowls and showers, can now be connected to a network in which, data that relates to water use is captured and further analysed. Insights can then be used to improve water conservation efforts.

To combat the problem of leaky pipes mentioned above, global water utilities are utilizing Smart meters and advanced analytics to pinpoint leakages and conduct pre-emptive maintenance on their water networks, thus reducing the amount of water wastage. Other examples which have made use of IoT technologies to conserve water are listed below.


The city of Barcelona has implemented IoT technologies to remotely sense and control park irrigation and water levels in public fountains. Using sensors to monitor rain and humidity, park workers can determine how much irrigation is needed in each area. A system of electrovalves is then remotely controlled to deliver necessary water across the city. The program, implemented in 68 percent of public parks, helped the city achieve a 25 percent increase in water conservation, for savings of approximately $555,000 per year.


A study conducted by the National University of Singapore and the Public Utilities Board, found that installation of smart shower devices showed that a person could save up to 5 litres of water a day. This has been followed through with the installation of smart shower devices in 10,000 new homes in Singapore. The installation of smart devices in homes are as part of a wider water conservation plan and can help consumers in combating the 30% increase in water prices mentioned earlier.

United States

In San Francisco, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, has automated water meters in place for 96% of its water accounts. Hourly water consumption data is transmitted wirelessly to the utilities billing system. The reliable and frequent water usage information allows consumers to monitor use and detect leaks faster than possible with the existing manually-read meters. For example, consumers are alerted by email or phone call, when water use exceeds a specified limit or when a meter indicates continuous running water for 24 hours.

Consumers and Enterprises have an important role to play in water conservation and Technology can be an important facilitator. With the help of smart devices consumers and enterprises are now able to track water usage on a real time basis and can better manage their water costs!

mobile money

Picture source: http://www.cellspanglobal.com/images/pages/1405749813_mobilr-money.png

There are two sectors that are most progressing in Myanmar; they are telecommunications and financial services. The two combined, creates an exciting venture: mobile financial services.

People still have distrust for the formal financial institutions in Myanmar. Only 4.8 percent of the population has bank accounts. To get people out of poverty, financial inclusion is necessary. However, some do not even meet the minimum deposit amount to open a bank account. In fact, 62 percent of adults do not have savings in Myanmar.

Cash is still king and many prefer to load up on physical assets such as gold and gem stones. This in turn would limit the banks to lend money, fuel investment and provide job opportunities, thereby hampering economic development of the country.

Furthermore, in rural Myanmar, if people need to use the bank, many would have to travel to another town for the nearest available bank, which will cost them a whole working day, plus another to travel back. Thus, coupled with little faith in the financial sector, they are prompted to turn to loan sharks in times of need.

Mobile Money is the Key

Myanmar has the fourth fastest growing mobile market in the world, being responsible for 5% of the world’s 84 million new mobile subscriptions. Banks need to take a short cut and jump on the bandwagon to link the poor to safer and more regulated financial services. Mobile money could be the country’s best bet to reaching the unbanked and achieve financial inclusion.

In 2016, the new regulations have allowed non-bank financial providers to offer mobile money services.

What is the difference between mobile banking and mobile money?

Mobile money is different from mobile banking in that although users can perform the same transactions such as money transfers, salary disbursement, mobile phone top-ups, peer-to-peer transfers and perhaps more in the future, they do not need to have a bank account.

How does mobile money work?

Even though a bank account is not necessary, there is still an agent shop to go through. A user must still visit the nearest company agent to do any money related transactions. Cash will go to the agent and user’s account will be credited with the same amount in digital currency.

What do you need to become a mobile financial service provider in Myanmar?

As required by the Central Bank of Myanmar, the mobile financial service providers must show a minimum capital of at least 3 Billion Kyats (approx. 2.2 million USD to date) if they wish to provide mobile money services. They also need to register for a Mobile Financial Service (MFS) license, and pay an application fee of 3 Million Kyats. Additionally, unlike its customers, MFS providers must open a trust account in commercial banks in Myanmar, approved by the Central bank, and maintain 100% of liquid assets in the account.

Current situation in Myanmar

The most talked about mobile money providers in Myanmar include Wave Money – collaboration between Telenor and Yoma Bank – and True Money – partnership between C.P Group and Asia Green Development Bank. Both are bent on targeting remittances because banks could shift their focus to more profitable activities in the future.

In the end, mobile money service still has a long way to go in the country. Although it bridges the unbanked and underbanked to affordable financial services, there are still impeding factors such as limited mobile access in unbanked areas, literacy and ongoing regulatory landscape.

Hence, if these technology companies succeeded in building trust from the consumers and explaining the value of such financial platforms, people would become used to digital financial services, which in the future, could lead to beyond making simple money transfers or top-ups.

It seems that currently, early movers into Myanmar would have the advantage, as there is a competition for signing banks up for partnerships and establishing an agent network, which will be needed to extend services across the country.

The next trend in Myanmar

In the future, digitalizing financial services through mobile alone would not be enough. It is apparent that the next generation that grew up in this Information Technology age would expect more than mobile technology from financial service institutions. Hence, to get a head start, banks should also start focus on creating a seamless digital channel experience for customers in its branches.

We will be in Yangon, Myanmar this coming November, where there will be a feature of banking panel, discussing about the technology adoption in banking and financial services. Yoma Bank and KBZ Bank will also be sharing their experiences in mobile banking and digital branches, so stay tuned for more updates!

If you have any questions, leave a comment!

This is a post by one of our exhibitors, Bright Box. Bright Box will be participating in the 11th edition of the Asia IoT Business Platform in Hanoi, Vietnam on 29 and 30 November 2016. http://www.bright-box.eu/

As I work for an IT company within the automotive industry I can tell that cars are the best customers for mobile operators today. Do you know why?

In most countries, last year’s Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) critically lost their consumer base growth. And usually they also lose business revenue every year.

People have already purchased as many SIM cards as they can. Every person (in modern countries) usually have 1–2 SIM cards for smartphones (one for personal and second for business use) and sometimes tablets equipped with SIM card. No more if we are referring to the mass market.


Data analysed by technology research firm Ovum

At the same time a competition between mobile network operators has dropped its traffic margin per SIM card to a very low level. Data bundles offered from operators are large enough for most people and same time these bundles are very cheap.

Of course regular services like voice and SMS are already in the past. People call and text using WhatsApp or Skype using Internet from their data plans with operators.

Data consumption grows fast. Most of all because video service usage has grown. And the second driver for this has been a growth in cloud music services.



Ericsson data

Data consumption is growing at the same time operator revenue is not. Data plans become cheaper and cheaper. So operators try to sell more SIM cards with new services subscriptions or launch new services for all SIM cards to generate new revenue channels for its business.


Source: Wireless Operator Strategies Service

IoT as a chance

IoT a hot topic these days the telecom sector. Operators trust IoT will bring them new growth points and they try to find out what are the best business models for it.

People already bought too many SIM cards? Sell more SIM cards to other things! Things — are new customers for operators. And a new chance to sell more.

Internet Of Things (IoT) — the connected devices market is growing very fast.


IoT looks like what M2M business operators had years before. M2M itself is about B2B projects: ATMs, payment terminals, electricity meters, fleet tracking and so on. But IoT gives M2M a new breathe — a chance to launch B2C high margin services and new business models, an empty market niche of unconnected consumer things and yet small competition.

IoT sounds good but not the whole segment can help operator business. IoT has different directions: Smart Home devices, Wearables, Connected Cars and others.

Wearables. Most new IoT devices developed are wearables. But most wearables use Bluetooth to connect to the owner’s smartphone. They don’t need a special SIM card but use the owner’s smartphone to connect to the internet and other services. At the same time wearables do not generate too much data because they don’t have services with heavy content. So they are not present for operator business.

Smart Home. If your home equipped with smart devices — it is 99%+ chance it has good Wi-Fi internet which is provided by wired connection. Again MNO are out of business here (we are not referring to MNO wired network providers).

Connected Cars. This is something really special and MNOs like it very much.

Cars are really our second home where we spend a lot of time each day, we listen to music, our passengers watch the videos, we use navigation software with traffic data updating in real time from the cloud. Our cars are something we care about very much. We want to know what happens to them when they are far from us. Cars get connected in order to provide their owners with data on their position, their health status and other things sent to the owner’s smartphone, in real time. Also, cars can become remotely controllable. So we can prepare a car to the trip in advance. Or send an address to a car navigation system before we get into the car or start the climate control system to precool or preheat the interior.

The most important thing for operators — cars are 100% movable things in the IoT world. So Wi-Fi or wired connections cannot help them stay connected to the internet and the cloud services. And our second home — we use all our gadgets in it like tablets, smartphones, laptops which always needs the internet.

So cars are the MNOs best friends. Because they can’t become smart and connected without SIM cards.

New competition for MNO s— a car as a customer

Wi-Fi inside the car has become a popular option for the US market.

Wi-Fi in OEM embedded car infotainment systems to reach almost 60% in N. America by 2019
ABI Research

Wi-Fi in the car also means people will download more cellular data per month. For example when you have childrens using gadgets like tablets, game PSPs and so on — you’ll plug a SIM card into every such and pay for its data subscriptions separately. But when your car has Wi-Fi — that means each child will continue to use all their devices inside the car as they do at home. When cars have Wi-Fi — car owners buy more data from operators. Because he (or his passengers) are able to use more devices inside the car they usually use only at home/office with wired internet.

But for operator business competition is not only to sell more SIM cards to new segment like cars. When in several years all cars will be equipped with a SIM card — what is next? Next again — fall of the competition margin for the full market segment.

Operators try not to be only the only connectivity provider.

VAS services like SMS dating or weather forecast, music and video content services. But operators don’t run projects fast enough and feel the market changes in time and loose VAS challenges with external services providers. Today music services are lead by Apple, Google and Spotify. Video — Netflix. SMS itself was gone after WhatsApp and others new players have arrived.

Do you remember when Nokia smartphones were run by Symbian OS? It was a basic mobile OS on the market. And operators were in the business of mobile app sales. All Symbian application stores were controlled by operators. And they thought they were smart enough to hold this market segment. But there came Apple with the first iPhone. Operators thought it was too small and a new niche product and let iPhone have their own AppStore with their own billing. So money streams for mobile applications started to flow without the operators. That was the operator’s huge mistake. After the Apple expansion next came Google with the Android with the same business model. So operators worldwide lost billions of US dollars letting Apple charge customers for applications directly without mobile operator.

Services are always more profitable than just traffic and bring competition advantages to the operator’s basic traffic business. Connected Car services are a new chance for operators to win the game. They have to learn from the past and not make these mistakes again.

Today Verizon, AT&T, TeliaSonera and others develop Connected Car products and services.

pic6 pic7

Big operators are investing in own Connected Car services and technologies. Smaller — use white label solutions presented on the market. Finally they understand — Connected Cars are their chance for a good future. There will be no other connectivity channel in cars other than the cellular network in the near future. And it is the best chance to take new market segment not only with a basic connectivity service but also with high-margin value added services.

How can operator reach the car as a customer?

At Bright Box we have successfully developed and launched Connected Cars services and products for many years.

Of course in every connected car project we have a partner — the mobile operator. Because every car we make connected in every country worldwide we need a SIM card from the operator to put it in the car. So maybe I have the first seat position to see the what happens with an operator’s expansion into the Connected Car segment today.

Operators basically have 2 ways to deliver its SIM cards to a car:

  1. Close a deal with a car maker or local car distributor (like Hyundai, Nissan, etc.) or Tier1/2 supplier (like Harman, Continental, etc.) to deliver SIM cards to new cars.
  2. Launch your own solution to the aftersales market and deliver it to all cars on the road.

The first option looks like an easier way from an operator point of view. It is a regular way for operators to sell M2M SIM cards in different market segments where GSM based M2M connectivity is needed.

As I can see that operators pay most of their attention to the first option and this might be a mistake. Let’s compare them:


So from this comparison I can tell that 2nd way is much more effective for the operator. It does require more resources to bring your own solution to the market. But at the same time it gives better perspectives for SIM cards sales and revenue from every SIM card sold to a car.

The second way is realized today by only few operators, some of them being:


As a Bright Box company — we provide Connected Cars services and we have crazy good numbers from these services, as there is strong demand from end customers as car owners. We deliver our products as the value end customers are ready to pay for.


For example our try&buy retention is at 97% and this is huge! Not many services in the world have an even similar retention when customer vote for your service with their money.

Connected Cars are not the future. Today’s products that are the future. And most important — people need them and we know it.

As we launch first ever IoT-focused conference in Vietnam, here are some of the conversation snippets we had with the local telcos on the current IoT development:

What is the current state of IoT development in the Vietnam? 

In Vietnam itself, IoT development is still at the initial stage: service providers are learning and importing solutions from abroad to apply in Vietnam.

“It’s like a 4-5 year old child and has ample opportunities for interested stakeholders to join now. If you join later, the child will grown up and you can not catch him,” said Alex Nguyen, Vice Director of Viettel IoT Center.

Which industries are leading the uptake of IoT locally?

From a bigger picture, public sector seems to be a huge focus for local telcos. Industries that have been allocated huge amount of budget from the government include vehicle tracking, smart electric grid, smart water and smart city.

“Wireless data fee is relatively cheap, and it gives opportunities for IoT applications such as connected car and taxi, railway or transportation services,” said Alex.

VNPT is working on Smart City Plans for cities which, including Smart Lighting, Smart Grid, Smart Parking, Smart Home, Smart Office, etc.

According to Vũ Ngọc Quý from the market research and product development team in VNPT VinaPhone, logistic companies within Vietnam can largely benefit from tracking devices such as VNPT Tracking.

“Recently, Smart-home become well populated in Vietnam. We’re seeing more companies with solutions like security, alarm system, camera, air monitoring, smart controllers, etc. Smart-home with plug and play function as well as preinstall flat brings a lot of potential to the property business,” said Quý.

Alex added that Vietnam has a lot of agriculture areas, and smart farming is an important industry with currently change in the environment change.

Where do the most opportunities for CSPs lie in Vietnam?

According to Quý, the most opportunities for CSPs lie within the public and business sectors.

“In which, the customer does not pay directly to us. However, they pay for extra services of their other providers. For example, customer buy insurance for their car, within the insurance contract the customer received the package including the VNPT Tracking which they can know the location of their cars or the health check via M2M installed in their car (by VNPT VinaPhone) reported to them.”

To Viettel, CSP is the central of all connections and they strongly encourage new connections to be developed in Vietnam. “We don’t have enough capability to expand IoT every single industry, so we are planning to develop IoT platform to support IoT developers with connectivity and software development,” said Alex.

Alex attended the 9th edition of Asia IoT Business Platform in Jakarta last month, and saw opportunities to develop new network with a cheaper price and lower energy for IoT such as SigFox and LoRa.

Advice for solution providers that are looking to venture into Vietnam?

Quý: It is the best to work together with operators like us since we have large customer based and also understand the market. The combined package of various services is easier to sell than single solution since customers want convenience.

Alex: Don’t be late, join us now and work together to make your solutions happen here in Vietnam.

Co-hosted with local governments and telecommunication companies, Asia IoT Business Platform is the largest ASEAN gathering to educate public sectors and end users across verticals on adoption of IoT and M2M technologies. The 11th edition will be held in Hanoi, Vietnam on 29-30 November 2016.

Leave us a comment if you would like to be included in the latest updates of IoT in ASEAN.


Vietnam is becoming a manufacturing powerhouse. It is emerging as a low-cost hub for manufacturers who face increasing labour costs from neighbouring China and Thailand, with the likes of Intel and Siemens investing billions of dollars into factories around the country. Samsung recently announced its plan to increase direct investment in Vietnam to USD 20 billions in 2017.

Yet, Vietnam’s manufacturing scene is not immune to the “rise of the robots”. With global developments in automation to cut labour costs and reduce human errors, what do rising manufacturing hubs like Vietnam and Thailand stand to gain (or lose) from this movement? How then do manufacturers leverage on existing competitive advantages while continuing to innovate and stay ahead of the curve?

Cheap labour still a pull factor

Despite high entry barriers to foreign investors, Vietnam remains an attractive destination for manufacturers looking to cut cost. Wages in China rose at around 120% in the past few years, coupled with high-profile exposé of inhumane working conditions and lack of human rights protection for workers. Entering Vietnam is becoming easier with the country continuing to open up its economy by signing the Trans-Pacific-Partnership agreement and the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement. Meanwhile, average manufacturing wage in Vietnam is expected to be around USD 3,500 per year in 2020, compared to China’s USD 11,300.

Automation and the future of manufacturing

The International Labor Organisation recently reported that more than two-thirds of Southeast Asia’s 9.2 million textile and footwear jobs, including 86 percent in Vietnam, are at risk due to automation. In response to this, Vietnam’s manufacturing scene has been moving away from the traditional portfolio into more higher value-added products like chipsets and parts for mobile devices. Yet, this move is still threatened by manufacturers being pressured to return to their own country (i.e. #MadeInAmerica), aided by the rise of automation that increases labour productivity while reduces labour cost.

What about manufacturers?

At the moment, manufacturers in Vietnam can still make use of the cheaper labour costcompared to its neighbouring countries (average monthly wage in Vietnam was at USD 197 in 2013, compared to USD 391 in Thailand and USD 613 in China, according to the International Labour Organisation). Early adoption of IoT and automation will allow manufacturers to stay ahead of the curve as costs are bound to increase, while tackling other issues such as quality management, efficiency, increasing labour cost, and human rights issues concerning workers’ work environment. Furthermore, government initiatives and legislation that accelerate the adoption of new technologies will allow the market to become even more attractive to foreign investors.

Moving forward

As Vietnam moves towards becoming an industrialised country by 2020, it needs to find a way to maintain its competitive advantage while catching up to technological innovations. IoT in manufacturing can provide valuable information for operators to maximise efficiency and reduce human errors, such as using sensors to monitor conditions of machines so companies can be alerted when maintenance is due – rather than having more costly routine checkups or unexpected breakdowns.

Meanwhile, the young and tech-savvy population needs to be educated with new technologies, and how to prepare to adapt to the fast-changing manufacturing work environment. In fact, as university graduates face increasing unemployment, some 32% of high school graduates in Vietnam qualified for university are applying to previous less-coveted technical tertiary institutions for better future prospects. Leveraging on this highly-educated labour pool, the government and technical institutions need to ensure that the graduates are equipped with future-ready skills, especially in up-and-coming technologies, so the workforce remains sustainable and competitive.

IoT in Industrial & Manufacturing will be discussed at the 11th edition of Asia IoT Business Platform, which will take place in Hanoi at the end of November. For more information, visit http://iotbusiness-platform.com/iot-vietnam or drop me an email at dinh@industry-platform.com.


Flooding is an issue that has been plaguing Vietnam for years, with the recent ones that inundated the provinces of Ha Tinh and Quang Binh in central Vietnam being severely devastating. Despite being a longstanding issue in the country with billions of Vietnamese dongs spent to ease flooding situations in the country’s provinces and cities, the problem persists. Clearly, more substantial flood mitigation projects should be put in place.

In view of the severity of Vietnamese floods, government agencies and city councils are establishing measures to alleviate the issue. Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) authorities recently set specific goals and decided to apply more serious measures in the action plan to reduce flooding in the 2016-2020 term. According to the HCMC Planning & Investment Department and the HCMC Operation Center against Flooding, the total capital to be mobilized in the next five years to tackle the issue is VND74.35 trillion USD 3 billion). Some projects that are being set out include the construction of waste water treatment plants and upgrading of water drainage system.

However, many past projects have not been able to fulfil their full potential, largely because the technology deployed have not been robust. This reflects the larger issue at hand where the IoT ecosystem in Vietnam—and in many other emerging markets—is fragmented.

Going back to the issue of flooding, effective applications of Internet of Things (IoT) for disaster prevention are greatly anticipated. In the context of flood disaster prevention, flash flood warning and flood impact analysis based on massive data collection are critical. Yet, it is also important to propose an IoT system that is based away from servers due to the probability of network overload and feedback delay. A disaster-tolerant access network is therefore important in such situations.

To achieve this and to effectively implement city-level IoT projects, there is a need for stronger cooperation and partnership between local and international IoT players. This flooding issue sheds light on the opportunities that international IoT solution providers can tap on in Vietnam.

In our recent visit to HCMC last week, we found that many local system integrators and IoT solution providers are realizing that IoT projects cannot exist in silo. This has led to greater interests in seeking partnerships with more experienced players in the IoT space to complement their solutions and technologies; be it in terms of platforms, hardware, or software. In a nutshell, to solve the issue of system fragmentation, integration is key. Viettel, a local telco, puts the IoT situation into perspective, “We don’t have enough capability to expand IoT, so we are planning to develop IoT platforms to support IoT developers with connectivity and software development.”

Case in point, effective IoT technologies and projects do not work in silo and partnership and collaboration between local and international IoT players are essential to ensure the success of IoT projects implementation in markets and to ensure a lasting effect for IoT in Vietnam.


If you would like to know more about the opportunities in Vietnam, visit Asia IoT Business Platform 2016 Hanoi, Vietnam.

If you would like to participate in Asia IoT Business Platform 2016 Hanoi, Vietnam as a sponsor or exhibitor, visit our sponsorship page. Alternatively, you can attend the conference as a delegate by registering here!


by Abdullah Zaidani



On my last trip to Ho Chi Minh City to speak to local vendors, I saw a (personally) surprising leap in the IoT space that I did not expect from the local companies. Most have either deployed, tested or looked into different IoT solutions, especially in the Agriculture, Smart Homes, and Banking sectors. Yet a topic that always comes up is the search for suitable IoT Platforms for their portfolio of products.

So what exactly is an IoT platform?

IoT Platform

An IoT platform, simplistically, connects IoT devices with applications, which allows data to be transmitted and interpreted by the applications. With that being said, IoT platforms vary depending on design – some focus on the IoT/M2M connectivity between devices while others also include data analytics capabilities; some are open platforms while others are only meant for proprietary hardware.

There are more than 300 IoT platforms in the current market, and the number continues to grow. One platform can also exist in variance, depending on the company’s business models with regards to the distribution and usage of the IoT platform. The IoT platform market is expected to grow 35% per annum and attain a size of $1.16B by 2020, and the potential is just as big in Vietnam.

Why the need for an IoT platform?

An IoT platform is necessary to let the user have a better overview of their devices, make sense of the data generated and allow IoT operations to be more scalable. Most (commercialised) IoT-related devices in Vietnam right now are separate efforts by different teams within the company that make use of device-to-device connectivity, but vendors (system integrators, telcos and local developers) are looking into platforms that can unify these existing and future IoT/M2M devices.

What are the concerns?

Security of IoT platforms remains the number one concern for vendors and end users alike. With the recent DDoS attacks on IoT devices that caused mayhem (including Internet outages), it is foreseeable that in 2020 with 25 billion connected devices, a successful attack will be detrimental to all stakeholders: loss of data privacy (does that still exist though?), disruption to business, and even security risks at various scales – internal, national, even international.

The potential in Vietnam

The interest in IoT technologies is booming in Vietnam this year, with the government, big tech firms, and startups raving on the potential of IoT as bringing Vietnam forward in its “digital revolution”. Already famed for its software outsourcing business, the tech workforce in Vietnam has the capability to tap into IoT and grow their product portfolio. They are looking for international inspirations, existing use cases, and how they can be applied into their currently fragmented portfolio of products in the IoT ecosystem.

If you wish to connect with Vietnamese companies about your platform solutions, drop us a note and we will get back to you with more details.


We are excited to welcome the Department of Information and Communications from Ha Noi, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Duong and Hai Phong to our upcoming Asia IoT Business Platform, taking place on the 29-30 November in Hanoi, Vietnam. As they will be sharing their experience and future direction with regards to the respective smart city projects at the panel, here is a quick update to catch you up on the latest happenings in the soon-to-be smart cities in Vietnam.

Đà Nẵng

As the first city in Vietnam to officially embark on the “smart city” project (before the term was cool), Danang collaborated with IBM in their “IBM Smarter Cities” programme to address social issues such as traffic jams and environmental pollution. Viettel recently signed a memorandum to help Danang further develop infrastructure for smart city solutions in areas such as: air control, water management, garbage collection and meteorology, energy, earthquake and tsunami warning, floods, erosion, sewage, lakes, dams and bridge management systems. Honeywell is another partner who has committed to Danang’s vision of an environmentally green and sustainable smart city. Danang aims to be the first smart city of Vietnam by 2025.

Hồ Chí Minh City

The economic capital of Vietnam, HCMC, is on track to (also) become the first smart city of Vietnam. The city recently signed a deal with Altai Technologies and ETN Singapore to provide free WiFi for District 1 – the city’s central business district. A smart city advisory board has been created, consisting of experts including Microsoft Vietnam, hoping to create a comprehensive strategy for the city to address issues such as flooding, traffic jam, education and healthcare.

Hà Nội

The actual capital of Vietnam, Hanoi planned to invest USD 3 billion (in 2012) to develop the city into an “intelligent” city, focusing on transportation, healthcare, education, environment and urban development. 73% of public schools have been equipped with Internet connection to assist online learning, while trials for Intelligent Transport System have been in place. With the Metro line expected to be operational by 2020 and continuous urban transformations taking place, Hanoi is expected to continue its strategy to become Vietnam’s intelligent capital city.

Hải Dương

A small province 60 km to the west of Hanoi, Hai Duong is at the beginning stage of research for smart city solutions. Faced with similar problems as other cities such as traffic, environmental pollution, digitising government… Hai Duong’s Department of Information and Communications is seeking consultancy and solutions from vendors and cities with more experience in the subject to formulate an applicable strategy for the city and its countryside.

Hải Phòng

Known for being a port city, Hai Phong is emerging as the new destination for foreign investment, attracting USD 2.66 billion in the first 8 months in 2016, 5 times higher than the same period last year. Key verticals of the city include mechanical manufacturing, shipbuilding, the support industry, seafood processing and the production of equipment, electronics, cement, steel, fertiliser and high-quality consumer goods. It has a long-term partnership with the International Cleantech Venture Finland, that helps the city with green energy, and the city continues to explore opportunities and case studies to come up with a more comprehensive smart city plan in the upcoming phase of development.

Get the opportunity to connect with officials from these cities and more in Hanoi at the end of November. Drop me a note at dinh@industry-platform.com for more details.

UPDATE: we are looking for moderator for our Smart Cities panel, which features panellists from the abovementioned cities. Let me know if you are interested to lead this exciting discussion.

In one of our previous insights (What does Automation Mean for Manufacturing in Vietnam?), we discussed Vietnam’s position as a manufacturing powerhouse and how the country is emerging as a low-cost hub for manufacturers around the world. In this article, we look further into the booming domestic sector and the opportunities to be tapped by solution providers of disruptive technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data.

Southeast Asian economies are touted to become the next ‘factories to the world.’ A survey by McKinsey revealed that 19 percent of ASEAN businesses themselves plan to shift investment or business from China into their own region; respondents in the survey also identified Vietnam as one of the most attractive countries for new business expansion and investments.

The country continues to manifest and strengthen itself as a manufacturing hub in Southeast Asia. McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) developed a competitiveness index in 2013 to assess foreign investors’ decisions in plant location as well as cost and quality considerations in ASEAN. Unsurprisingly, Vietnam is one of the most promising markets for manufacturing and industrial works.



While the data presented was in 2013, there is no doubt that Vietnam has grown exponentially since then. Latest figures from a survey conducted by Grant Thornton Vietnam in the third quarter of 2016 revealed a continued positive outlook from domestic and foreign investors alike about Vietnam’s economy; 69 percent of businesses evaluated Vietnam as an attractive destination for investment activities and 91 percent of enterprises agreed on the positive growth prospect of Vietnam’s economy. Buttressing the positive sentiments, Asian Development Bank Outlook stated that reduced inflation, stronger external accounts, and stable foreign exchange market have enabled Vietnam to improve its macroeconomic landscape to sustain the country’s macroeconomic stability.

More importantly, however, there is a gap in the sector that is waiting to be harnessed: technology. MGI’s research posited that disruptive technologies could increase profit margins and lower costs which could potentially create $25 billion to $45 billion of annual economic impact in Southeast Asia by 2030. A survey by The Economic Intelligence Unit revealed that 15 percent of ASEAN respondents said they were optimistic of big data’s ability to improve forecasting accuracy which could increase revenue or efficiency for their company by 50 percent.

With Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade’s announcement of a master plan for the country’s industrial development by 2025—with a focus on electronics and telecommunications as well as industrial processing and manufacturing—the opportunity for disruptive technologies to be integrated into the existing surge of industrialization in Vietnam is unmatched.

Disruptive technologies such as the deployment of IoT in industrial automation will help Vietnam to sustain its competitive advantage by providing valuable information for operators to maximize efficiency and reduce human errors. In the recent Vietnam Summit 2016 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vo Quang-He, managing director of Bosch Vietnam, discussed the future of manufacturing and the prospect for Industry 4.0 in the country. He emphasized the need for more new requirements for human capital in the wake of the fourth generation of the technological revolution in manufacturing, which led to the company’s heavy investments in ICT development in the country. A nurtured and invested tech-savvy population will be equipped to operate IoT technologies that are deployed in various business operations.

The potential of IoT in the manufacturing sector is undeniable, apparent from the existing investments by tech firms such as Bosch. It is therefore unsurprising that manufacturing companies in Vietnam are turning to disruptive technologies such as IoT and big data to improve their operations and deliverables. Companies such as FrieslandCampina Vietnam, Vinamilk, and Masan Group, among many others, are seeking technology vendors to help deploy and integrate IoT technologies into their business operations; all in the name of retaining and sustaining their competitiveness in a highly competitive economic outlook.

IoT in Industrial & Manufacturing will be discussed at the 11th edition of Asia IoT Business Platform, which will take place in Hanoi at the end of November. For more information, visit http://iotbusiness-platform.com/iot-vietnam

There has been an increased focus on IoT adoption within the manufacturing sector in Southeast Asia. If you’re also interested in other markets in the region (Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand & Indonesia), please visit http://iotbusiness-platform.com

For more information, please contact

Abdullah Zaidani

Analyst, Marketing & PR

+65 6733 1107



by Abdullah Zaidani


We recently concluded our 11th edition of Asia IoT Business Platform two weeks ago in Hanoi, Vietnam. While it was also our last programme for 2016, it was our first programme in Vietnam to explore the country’s IoT market. Over two days, we saw different IoT stakeholders ranging from government bodies, telecommunications companies, IoT solutions providers, and enterprises convening and engaging in vibrant and interesting discussions on all things IoT.


It was amazing to witness the excitement and enthusiasm of our participants toward the prospect of emerging sophisticated technologies that can potentially transform business processes, operations, and systems. Considering that Vietnam is still in the nascent stage of developing their IoT infrastructure and capabilities, the level of interest in the market is impeccable.

Having said that, there are some case studies and presentations that caught our attention; mainly because some enterprises and verticals are already deep into the IoT game! Here are our three interesting takeaways from our programme in Hanoi:

  1. Cau Dat Farm and their IoT aspiration



Tung Pham, Director at Cau Dat Farm presenting on the application of IoT in agriculture and the difficulties and challenges of deployment

Cau Dat Farm—initially a tea factory built by the French in 1927—is one of the first movers to leverage IoT to tackle their supply side. Cau Dat Farm’s current IoT solutions deploy a gateway to collect data from farm through a system of sensors, weather stations and robots, so farm operations can be managed via the cloud. The farm is now looking to build a substantial database for agriculture to solve the questions of forecasting crops, diseases, and productivity. However, they do not have the capabilities to achieve that and they are looking for partners and solutions providers to take their IoT project to the next level.

  1. The Smart Cities Race in Vietnam



Smart Cities Panel comprising leaders from Da Nang (Tran Ngoc Thach), Ha Noi (Nguyen Xuan Quang), Ho Chi Minh City (Vo Minh Thanh), and Virtual Access – N’osairis (Patrick Conway). The panel was moderated by Dr. Mai Liem Truc, Former Deputy Minister, Ministry of Post and Telecommunications

One of the panels at our programme in Hanoi was dedicated to the discussion on Smart Cities. Through the panel, we realised that cities in Vietnam are making great progress in their respective Smart City initiatives. Da Nang, for instance, have already rolled out their e-Government platform which is able to connect everyone—from public servants and leaders to citizens—on a single application. The city is now looking to develop and catalyse the progress on their IT infrastructure, manpower, communications, and other applications. To achieve this, investments and partners are critical.


                                                                            Questions from the audience

  1. Vinamilk’s Mega (Smart) Factory



Nguyen Quoc Khanh, Executive Director R&D at Vinamilk, presenting a case study on Vinamilk’s Mega (Smart) Factory

Vinamilk is the largest dairy company in Vietnam and it is also one of the enterprises in the country to have deployed IoT to streamline its manufacturing operations and improve efficiency. Vinamilk has a factory with the highest technology automation, connecting all processes within the factory via system from input to output. Its smart warehouse is operated by automatic transport and management system, complemented by an extensive Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. This underscores the efficacy of certain enterprises in adopting and deploying IoT, which poses much opportunity for solutions providers to seize.

There were many other presentations and case studies shared in Hanoi which are interesting and valuable for IoT stakeholders. From the instances above and from the other case studies shared in Hanoi, we are confident that Vietnam will continue to grow and develop and provide many opportunities for solutions providers targeting enterprise adoption of IoT. While IoT stakeholders also believe that the potential of IoT in Vietnam is undoubtable, it is critical to have more supportive policies from the government. We hope that our programme in Vietnam managed to communicate the importance of seizing the IoT opportunities in an emerging market and that when we return to Vietnam next November, more developments are in place and IT companies will realise the value in these emerging markets.

If you’re interested in exploring the ASEAN enterprise IoT market, we will be holding an exclusive programme in Singapore in February 2017. It will feature the most relevant IoT case studies and panel discussions across the different markets in the region. The programme is the launch event for our 2017 series in Myanmar, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, and Vietnam. Feel free to contact me at zaidani@industry-platform.com for more information.

by Abdullah Zaidani


Being my first time in the country, I didn’t know what to expect when I touched down at Yangon International Airport (except I knew that I had to change Burmese kyats at the airport since it was not available at Changi International Airport – tip for those who are making their way to Myanmar.) I wanted to find out more about the interesting, relatively new but robust ICT market in Myanmar, by attending CommuniCast and speaking to some key stakeholders in the telecommunications market about the potential of the enterprise IoT market.

(Let me know if you/your company is interested in the Myanmar market and I’ll drop you a quick email with more information!)

1. The so-called ‘leapfrog’

Lots of articles talk about the potential ‘leapfrog‘ of Myanmar with regards to technology adoption. With connectivity and devices at exorbitant prices until a few years ago, enterprises and government organisations still relied heavily on paper and pen for their administrative work. Recently, with the entries of new telcos in the market, connectivity has become much more accessible, allowing these organisations to explore new options and enable more efficient and productive ways of managing data.


(source: http://image.slidesharecdn.com/myanmardigitalcontentoverview2014-140710024549-phpapp02/95/myanmar-digital-content-focus-on-mobile-vas-overview-2014-6-638.jpg?cb=1450951031)

The lack of legacy devices provides an interesting opportunity for these organisations to ‘leapfrog’ into technologies like Cloud and Big Data, without the usual-seen hassles of converting and maintaining compatibility with previous systems.

2. Challenges

Despite the great potential for enterprise ICT adoption in Myanmar to grow, there are many fundamental hurdles that the enterprises and solution providers face. Telecommunications infrastructure is still being developed – MPT, the country’s largest telco network, covers more than 90% of the population. There are still frequent power cuts due to depreciating power lines and surge in demands, even in Yangon – the biggest city and commercial centre – making it more risky for businesses to rely on technologies for their day-to-day operations. 4G is just starting to roll out and broadband/fiber connectivity prices still remain high, resulting in the penetration rate of less than 1% and the proliferation of satellite connectivity, especially in more remote areas.

Another challenge that ICT adoption in enterprises in Myanmar faces is the cost. While number of enterprises in Myanmar has grown tremendously over the past few years as a result of economic liberation, most enterprises remain at a small and medium size. This means that capital investment in technologies – most of which come from international solution providers – can be expensive.

The government is also considered to be lagging behind in terms of digitisation initiatives, thus enterprise digitisation usually turns to foreign investments (e.g. Myanmar Beer) or is limited to the bigger firms with capital to invest (such as banking).

On the other hand, the lack of legacy systems and experience with technologies have led to a lower level of tech-savviness in the population, compared to its neighbouring countries. This means that educational efforts need to be made in order for the enterprises to be more familiar and ready before integrating technologies into their workplace.


3. What’s next?

Enterprise technology adoption in Myanmar is definitely growing. As the economy continues to open up, connectivity and electricity become more stable, awareness on technologies’ benefits and how to use them increases, the relatively open market provides much opportunity for solution providers to not only access the market, but also provide guidance for the local enterprises wishing to learn and adopt new technologies in the near future.

Telcos have an advantageous position in the current Myanmar ICT/IoT market. They already have a strong brand recognition among both consumers and enterprises, and local enterprises prefer one-stop solution providers with local presence, making existing telcos the ideal partner for accessing the enterprise market.

Local organisations such as Myanmar Computer Federation and Phandeeyar are also helping to grow the IT workforce and helping the relevant government agencies understand new technologies such as IoT and Smart City. This will potentially help the policy-making process faster as the government looks to support the local ICT growth and developments.

What do you think 2017 holds for Myanmar’s ICT/IoT developments? Comment below.

Drop me a message (here or at dinh@industry-platform.com) if you’d like to learn more and/or discuss about ICT/IoT developments in Myanmar.

by Nguyen Dinh Viet Anh

It’s 2017 and Internet of Things (IoT) continues to be a buzz; appearing frequently in almost every news article regarding technology trends, digital transformation and the next “industrial revolution”. However, behind the seemingly robust industry boom, rates of IoT adoption across ASEAN seems to be at a more conservative level.

Enterprises and organisations are cautious of adopting IoT for various reasons, and it is important for solution providers to understand these gaps in order to address enterprises’ challenges and bring IoT to a wider reach.




Arguably the second-most popular buzzword, security issues have been the top concerns of any digital, connected projects out there. 2016 was a “year of hack” around the world, from the (alleged) hacking of the US elections, US $81 million stolen from Bangladesh Bank, and hacking of airports and banks in Vietnam. All these issues raise the concern of the security of enterprises putting up sensitive information about their business in the cloud, where IoT devices without basic security functions can be hacked within minutes.

Ensuring cyber security is crucial for businesses when they decide whether or not to migrate into the cloud and rely on technologies for operations and sensitive information.



Cost is another big concern for enterprise IoT adoption, especially in the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in ASEAN. Many of the IoT product offerings currently pose a challenge for SMEs to adopt, especially when the benefits are usually seen in the long run rather than short-term. This is especially apparent in emerging economies like Myanmar, where despite the high potential for enterprise ICT/IoT adoption, the high cost of digital products still poses a challenge to the local companies, prompting them to either seek foreign investments, collaborate, or find localised products that are more affordable – prompting local system integrators and distributors to be active in helping to grow the local markets.

This also prompts another important issue of having a strategic planning when it comes to digitisation and using IoT, in order to cut upfront costs while still benefiting from the new technologies.

Sustainable investments & developments


As the IoT buzz continues to ride the waves of publicity, especially from big names like Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IBM, Oracle, Microsoft and Google, enterprises should avoid jumping on the bandwagon without understanding the actual benefits and what IoT can bring to the table. A Bain & Company survey found that 59% of global companies believe they lack the capabilities to generate meaningful business insights from data, while another survey had 85% of respondents saying that they will require substantial investments to update their existing data platform – which can be costly and time-consuming.

Understanding the challenges that the businesses and enterprises face will be crucial for solution providers to offer not only products for the sake of having products, but also be able to offer their clients advice on strategies and plans of how to apply IoT successfully and strategically – depending on each company’s needs and requirements.

Businesses in ASEAN comprise many young, robust and innovative enterprises hoping to use technologies to differentiate, expand and produce with high efficiency and productivity. Addressing the pain points and challenges of technologies will allow solution providers and businesses to have better understanding of each other, and help the ASEAN IoT market to reach new heights.

What is the top challenge that your company is facing with regards to technologies/IoT adoption?

If you are interested in learning more about ASEAN”s enterprise IoT markets and connect with businesses across the region about your solutions, drop me a note at dinh@industry-platform.com.


You thought that Singapore is the only country that is capable of harnessing technology to create a sophisticated and smart city? In my previous article, we have seen some great initiatives in Malaysia (Cyberjaya) and Indonesia (Jakarta Smart City Lounge). ASEAN remains to be ambitious in realizing its smart cities. Here, we look at the smart city initiatives in Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.


Manila City

With the influx of Filipinos migrating into the cities due to the rapid changes in economic opportunities that many major cities in the Philippines offer, the obsolete infrastructure in these cities have been struggling to keep up with this growth in urban population, resulting in urban decay, severe pollution and overpopulation within the cities. For instance, 37% of over 12 million registered residents in Manila live in slums throughout the city.

A collaboration between Davao City, the biggest city in the Philippines, and IBM Philippines is the first smart city development that relies on technology to address issues of public safety. In 2013, Davao City implemented IBM’s Intelligent Operations Centre (IOC) solution as an additional support for its existing Public Safety and Security Command Centre (PSSCC), utilizing IBM technology, such as video analytics software, multi-channel unified communication, and GPS location tracking. Today, the IOC allows various government agencies, including the police, fire, anti-terrorism task force, and the K9 urban search and rescue services, to monitor operations in the city in real time and respond more quickly and efficiently to emergencies.

As a country suffering from the damage of numerous natural disasters from typhoons to volcano eruptions, Philippines have also adopted Smart City technology to improve disaster management and minimize damages from such natural disasters. Project NOAH was launched in 2012 as the Philippines’ key disaster risk reduction and management system, and has won an IDC award for the top smart city initiative in public safety at IDC’s Smart City Asia Pacific awards (SCAPA). Information, such as real-time weather data and high-resolution flood, landslide, and storm surge hazard maps, are collected on online platforms to help the relevant bodies to identify the occurrence and severity of the disaster and respond more rapidly.



With aims to transform Thailand into a digital economy and digital hub of ASEAN, the Thai Information and Communication Technology Ministry is looking to develop Phuket and Chiang Mai into smart cities as pilot projects due to their technology readiness, location and international ties. According to Thailand’s Software Industry Development Agency (SIPA) which is also managing the Phuket project, the Phuket smart city pilot project will focus on digital infrastructure development, the construction of a data centre and the enhancement of the city’s tourism industry through the use of sensors and analytics.

In addition to the two pilot projects, the ministry has identified the formulation of a solid digital economy master plan as their first task, which will consist of 5 main domain missions – hard infrastructure, soft infrastructure, service infrastructure, digital economy promotion, and a digital society. The second task will involve other ministries in developing and delivering pilot projects across areas like e-commerce, e-education, e-industry, and e-government. For instance, the ministry would work with the Commerce ministry to create an e-commerce platform to help businesses, especially small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and those in agriculture, to go online.

To address the aging population in Thailand, Saensuk Smart City project was recently launched in 2016 in the Saensuk Municipality in Thailand, where 15% of the residents are aging citizens and most of them live at home alone during the day with minimal supervision or in nursing facilities. Collaborating with technology partners Dell, Intel and the IoT City Innovation Center (ICIC), a small Bluetooth-enabled smart device is distributed to all elderly patients to monitor the health condition of the patients, with the data collected and analysed by intelligent Intel-based gateway systems to provide insights to the municipal nursing headquarters cloud system. Healthcare practitioners and family members are also notified in instances of emergency or unusual activity or when the panic button is activated, allowing for a more efficient use of the limited human resource while providing more efficient and swift responses during emergencies.



The Vietnamese government has been extremely supportive and encouraging with its numerous efforts to promote its municipalities towards becoming smart cities in recent years, in order to address various socioeconomic issues such as traffic congestion, environmental pollution, and energy conservation. This has led to a smart cities race in Vietnam with several smart cities projects and initiatives being developed simultaneously to become Vietnam’s first smart cities.

Da Nang aims to be the first smart city of Vietnam by 2025, and has collaborated with IBM in their “IBM Smarter Cities” program to develop smart city infrastructure to address issues such as air control, water management, waste management, energy, and disaster warning.

As one of the latest cities to join on the bandwagon, Vietnam’s commercial capital Ho Chi Minh have developed plans for a new smart city program with these main components: smart services such as education, healthcare and traffic; enhanced citizen participation in city life; and a common database plan. This is in addition to an earlier collaboration between ETN Singapore and the Ho Chi Minh City’s People’s Committee to provide free public WiFi for the city with Altai’s Super WiFi Solution.

In line with the nation’s vision to turn Phu Quoc into a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in 2010, the local government has also been working closely with Vietnam Post and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) to strengthen the network infrastructure by building a data centre and smart services, with the high-speed 4G network already successfully trialed on the island. 

In Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, an investment of USD 3 billion was planned for smart city developments in 2012 with a focus on transportation, healthcare, education, environment and urban development. Efforts to transform the city into a smart city have continued with public schools being equipped with Internet connection and trials for an Intelligent Transport System taking place.

Smart cities are not just a fancy word that governments and other stakeholders can be proud of. Smart cities mean much more to the people than just automatic public feedback and lesser road congestion. Smart cities make public services smarter for the benefit of the larger local population so that they can experience a better standard of living in the city. As these cities continue to experience an influx of migrants from the rural areas, more needs to be done to support not only the growing population, but the pressure placed on public infrastructure too. 

ASEAN Smart City Projects will be discussed in Singapore on 14 February 2017, with speakers from Land Authority Singapore, Da Nang Department of Infocomm, Iskandar Regional Development Authority, Metro Cebu Development & Coordinating Board. If you’re interested to know more about the agenda, get in touch at zaidani@industry-platform.com.