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 firstname.lastname@example.org