Enterprise Digital Innovation – Opportunities & Challenges in Southeast Asia

Asia IoT Business Platform hosted their launch event of 2018 on Feb 26-27, gathering enterprise clients from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. As a prelude of our following agenda in these countries, here are some of my takeaways from the discussions presented.

The IoT & Digital Opportunities (Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia)

IoT initiatives in Malaysia started early in the 2000s, to support the increasing demand for exports of agri commodities. Take for instance the Edible-Birdnest Traceability Initiative, MCMC share their IoT solution using RFID to track and trace exports throughout the entire supply chain up till retail outlets in China (largest market for Birdnest). By the way, refer to this article if you’ve not heard of durian tracking.

Malaysia’s mobile-cellular penetration rate surpassed 133.7 in 2017 and coupled with the recent transformation of industries like healthcare, retail, farming/agriculture, I think the local market sees competition in the speed of data acquisition and analytics for immediate (or even, predictive) action.

In Thailand itself, over 112 million sensors were used in automotive industry in 2017 (13% growth in average) while IoT and automation device production reaped a 159% growth over 2016-2017 (over 60% contributed by consumer electronics, smart devices, along with sensors for automotive and healthcare); embedded systems even reached USD 193 million and 25% of 3D printing world market share.

Beyond industrial applications, DEPA shared their current development on 7 smart city projects (Phuket, Khonkaen, Chiangmai, Bangkok, Chachoengsao, Rayong, Chonburi) including improvement on digital infrastructure (smart pole, IoT networks), development of applications for safety, transportation, tourism, medical hub, farm, etc.

As a potentially USD 4 billion market itself, Indonesia sees a lot of drive coming from the local telecommunication operators. While figuring out the monetisation models and aggressively getting new solution partners on-board their portfolios of digital services across industries, KEMKOMINFO shared some of the latest supported projects including launch of hybrid telco services based on NB-IoT.

In terms of industry dominating digital adoption, it seems like banking and financial services are leading in Indonesia – digital financial services like micro payment, micro credit and micro insurance have become pretty common locally.

Overcoming the Hurdles of Enterprise Digitization

Based on our conversations, one of the challenges commonly highlighted by enterprises is the incompatibility of old and news systems. Be it a manufacturing plant or fleet/logistics management, companies always face the problem (and hence delay in implementation) in integrating different sets of devices – which may or may not have the capability/capacity for new applications. One of the speakers said that they had to build from scratch a full-feature device that is extensible with open technology standards, and can achieve cross-fleet needs to make it secure and cost-efficient.

Security is the next big topic, following the recent many many many cyber-attacks and data breaches in government agencies and private enterprises. A workshop conducted by BlackBerry on “securely manage and connect the Enterprise of Things” received very positive response by our delegates and this is a topic we will be delving deeper in our upcoming agenda.

A lot of assessment on technology readiness has to be made for a successful transformation – infrastructures, connectivity, talent, etc. This can be a huge problem for enterprises in this developing region to start their digital journey, and more often than not they welcome service providers that are flexible (and creative) and able to adjust to local content and resources optimization.

Bridging the Gap

If you’ve been following our agenda closely over the past 5 years, you would know that Asia IoT Business Platform is a strong advocate of solution selling. One of the speakers, Lam from EG Industries Group nicely summarized it at the conference:

“Back to the basic… What are our IOT services?

1. What are the real world problems we are trying to solve?

2. Who are the users with those problems?

3. Why should they use ours rather than the existing solutions?”

Here’s another version of the discussions summary from last week (a more neutral piece!) and you may refer to this overdue article for a snapshot of the speakers and presentations.

We’ll be posting more interview sessions with enterprises on their digital transformation journey. Stay in touch – feedback and comments are greatly appreciated.

Sue Yuin Ho

7 March 2018

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