IBM helping Khon Kaen become top MICE city

Corporate October 01, 2013 00:00

By The Nation

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IBM is working with the provincial government on Khon Kaen city's two key priorities. IBM will send a team to help city officials develop a strategy to promote Khon Kaen as a preferred destination for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MI



The project begins on November 1 and the IBM team will present its findings at the end of the month.
IBM in 2011 launched the Smarter Cities Challenge – a US$50-million (Bt1.6 billion), three-year, 100-city programme that is the information-technology company’s single largest philanthropic initiative. It funds in-person engagements staffed by teams of top IBM experts, who study and then make detailed recommendations addressing locally important urban issues. 
Khon Kaen was one of the cities this year to receive a grant.
“Khon Kaen province has long been a business hub of the Northeast,” Governor Somsak Suwansucharit said yesterday. “As Thailand is entering a new era through international economic integration, we have to address technological changes and cope with the challenges of globalisation. 
“Officials and private organisations have been supporting the move to make Khon Kaen one of the leading cities in Asean within the decade. 
“We see the potential for Khon Kaen to be a centre for the MICE industry, as well as data-analytics education. We are excited to work with IBM through the Smarter Cities Challenge programme.” 
 
Research centre
Under the data-analytics education project, the team of IBM people will work with Khon Kaen University to build a centre for education and research into big data and analytics, as well as mobile technologies. 
This centre will lead local and international academic institutions from the university’s network in providing IBM coursework and knowledge-sharing opportunities. 
The learning centre will also provide data analytics consulting services to government agencies and private organisations for social-development and business purposes. 
The Smarter Traffic and Smarter Public Safety Management project will see the IBM team working closely with the city to uncover and develop a plan to transform its traffic and public safety systems, which will be key competitive advantages to becoming a preferred MICE city.
“Khon Kaen is considered one of the key strategic cities in Thailand. The city’s commitment to improving the quality of living and education is well aligned to IBM’s ‘Smarter Planet’ vision,” said Parnsiree Amatayakul, managing director of IBM Thailand. 
“We are pleased to share the talent and expertise of top-performing IBM leaders with the city of Khon Kaen. 
“Especially in the area of data-analytics education, we strongly believe in developing and growing the local talent pool, and have actively supported numerous academic initiatives, projects and activities throughout the country.” 
Other provinces that have benefited from the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge include Chon Buri last year. IBM outlined a traffic-management and public-safety plan for Pattaya and suggested ways for Laem Chabang Port to become a major logistics hub and gateway to countries in the Mekong Subregion.
Chiang Mai won the grant in 2011. The IBM team focused on smarter healthcare and smarter food. Smarter healthcare was aimed at making both Chiang Mai and the University Medical Clinic a medical hub as well as improving hospital efficiency. 
Smarter food was focused on creating insight into agriculture data for farmers, helping with pricing, weather forecasting, crop supply and demand, and the branding of Chiang Mai produce.

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