Digitalisation Developments and Progress in Myanmar – Key Insights from Day 1 of Asia IoT Business Platform Myanmar 2019

Day 1 of the 34th edition of Asia IoT Business Platform in Yangon, Myanmar demonstrated opportunities for local digitalisation within the enterprise space, with conversations and discussion around various aspects of digital transformation. 

In the Government Keynote Address by the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MOTC), U Myo Swe, Director General of Posts and Telecom Department shared that Myanmar is trying to bridge the gap with other ASEAN countries in terms of telecommunication and ICT services provided. He pointed out that “liberalization and competition in the telecommunications sector has enhanced the availability and affordability of communications service. The Myanmar government has created the right conditions for the telecommunications sector to enable the growth of digital economy with more than 130% SIM penetration.” The government has established a high-level Digital Economy Development Committee (DEDC) and is currently drafting the Myanmar Digital Economy Development Master Plan. They have issued a consultation paper for spectrum roadmap, proposing the release of specific allocation of spectrum including 120 MHz in C Band. 

U Myo Swe stressed on the need for collaboration between different stakeholders to create a secure, interoperable IoT ecosystem that will build trust and confidence in the technology and bring maximum possible value.

Continuing the discussions on Digital Myanmar, Nwe Ni Soe Yin, Director of Information Technology & Cyber Security Department, MOTC, Reizo Umeda, Chief Commercial Officer, MPT-KSGM Joint Operations, Anadi Agnihotri, Chief Business Officer, Ooredoo Myanmar and Caroline YinYin Htay, Chief Business Officer, Telenor Myanmar immersed in a dialogue revolving around current developments and opportunities for Digital Myanmar as well as issues concerning infrastructure, policies and regulatory environments.  

Having pursued multiple projects and POCs in various domains, the panel posed an interesting exchange on some of the challenges within the local market. Security and awareness are among key factors pointed out to be the hindrance of IoT/digitalisation adoption by enterprises locally. 

Anadi emphasised that it is important for companies to identify the key problems/ objectives for digitalisation, in order to co-create a solution to address these issues; while Caroline highlighted the benefits of planning for a long term sustainable roadmap financially, continuing beyond any initial obstacles, in order to fully reap the benefits of technology. 

Technology solution providers added dimensions to the discussions on infrastructure and foundation to prepare for digital adoption in Myanmar. Pathom Suksathit, Manager of ATG Systems shared case studies of modernisation of national public systems through installation of data centers. 

Myanmar is also working on several smart city plans. Both international and local case studies covering various aspects of smart cities were discussed during the last session of Day 1 of Asia IoT Business Platform Myanmar 2019.

In Dong Cho, Deputy Mayor for Economic Policy, Seoul Metropolitan Agency, Dr. Supakorn, Executive Vice President of the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (depa), and Sam Majid, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, PLUS Malaysia, brought in respective case studies from their countries that may be relevant to the cities of Myanmar; while Navneet Anand Sunu from Signify looked at the more specific components of a smart city – presenting ways to make a city smarter and more liveable with smart lighting and introduced the concept of “Interact City”.

Day 1 of the conference ended with sharing by Dr. Toe Aung, Director General of Urban Planning Department, Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) on some of the challenges faced and a number of projects in progress by YCDC. He emphasized on the importance of city planning and how different partners can play roles to ensure sustainable development. 

We look forward to more fruitful discussions on strategies to accelerate digital developments in Myanmar and innovations in banking and finance on Day 2 of Asia IoT Business Platform Myanmar 2019.

Asia IoT Business Platform

3 December 2019

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