• Pichet Durongkaveroj, Thailand’s Minister of Digital Economy and Society.
  • Clair Deevy, Facebook’s director of Community Affairs for Asia-Pacific and Latin America

Big data making giant leaps 

Tech September 22, 2018 01:00

By Asina Pornwasin
THE NATION WEEKEND

7,345 Viewed

Digital transformation and demand for data analysis drivng growth, study finds



The big data industry in Thailand is expected to reach Bt17.7 billion in 2019, a growth of 16.4 per cent from this year’s Bt15.45 billion, which itself represented a 13.7-per-cent increase over 2017. 

The Digital Economy Promotion Agency (Depa) last week joined hands with IDC Research (Thailand) to release their “Big Data Analysis and Forecast in Thailand” at the Digital Thailand Big Bang 2018. It was their first such analysis. 

The top industries with most spending on big data were financial and banking; media, communication and transportation; and manufacturing and construction. This forecast of the size of the big data market was conducted by working with product vendors, distributors, and service providers/system integrators.

The big data market in Thailand in 2017 was Bt11.84 billion, a growth of 17.4 per cent and was made up of Bt6.47 billion in services, Bt3.87 in software and Bt1.51 billion in hardware.

The factors driving the big data industry were digital transformation, the huge and vast data created, and the demand for data analysis. The survey also found that the trend in big data investment in Thailand will see a major increase in the number of projects coupled with a smaller average size for individual projects.

However, there are factors impeding the growth of big data, including the complexity, readiness of data (garbage in and garbage out) and the lack of human resources.

The study found that organisations in Thailand are likely to 

invest in big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning. 

Key economic driver

Pichet Durongkaveroj, Minister of Digital Economy and Society, said that digital technology will be the key driver for Thailand’s digital economy, as the nation struggles to reduce the wealth gap and move from a middle-income country to a high-income country, while developing the digital capability of the new Thai generation.

There are five factors driving the support of Thailand’s digital economy – security, infrastructure, government, manpower and applications. The government aims to provide infrastructure, called Netpracharat, to ensure that by 2019 high-speed Internet is available for the entire country, covering all 75,000 villages. 

The government also places importance on developing digital manpower throughout Thailand, especially in big data, data science, coding as well as encouraging start-ups.

To encourage digital application development, the ministry’s Depa has already established the IoT Institute to offer a platform for digital technology development, to support start-ups and to expand smart cities to seven provinces. 

Moreover, the government is also promoting cybersecurity and digital government through many initiatives, including moves to a paperless and cashless society as well as big data, analytics, a data centre, and data science.

Clair Deevy, Facebook’s director of Community Affairs for Asia-Pacific and Latin America, says that big data will deliver unlimited possibilities to Thailand. Some 52 million Thais use Facebook, of which 51 million access it via mobile. Around 38 million users visit the platform every day. 

Early this year, Facebook joined hands with Morning Consult to conduct a survey about Facebook usage by Thai small and medium enterprise (SME). It found that most SMEs accepted the role of Facebook in helping them expand their market by reaching new cusotmers, because of information about potential customers on Facebook.

Speaking on the topic of “Big Data, Big Possibilities” at Digital Big Bang 2018, Deevy said the challenge is how to create and balance opportunities for both SMEs and large businesses through using big data. 

Of the 2 billion Facebook users worldwide, around 1 billion have connected with the Facebook pages of SMEs. Thus SMEs, including those in Thailand, need to improve their digital skills and digital literacy, said Deevy.

Ling Chenkai, vice president of Corporate Strategy and Investment, JD.com, said that big data and data analysis, as well as AI, cloud, and robotics, are must-have technologies for e-commerce business. 

Monsinee Keeratikrainon, managing director of Accenture Thailand, said that big data is the key driving factor for supporting the 4.0 industries. He cited the example of Germany, where big data plays the key role in driving industry 4.0 through digital technology that creates the data. Big data is also the key support to the digital transformation that helps maximise value from shifting channels, redefine consumer experiences, reinvent new models for products and businesses, drive operational excellence, empower talent and build teamwork, and connect the enterprise. Napat Jatusripitak, founder and chief executive officer at Siametrics Consulting and analytics adviser of True Digital Media & Platform, said we have entered the golden period of AI and big data.

Meanwhile, Tee Chayakul, country manager of Traveloka, said that big data plays an important role for his company. Big data provides the 4Vs – volume, velocity, variety and value – enabling the company to draw on the findings to develop their business model and offer an auto-complete search function.

Between June and August 2018, some 5 million people visited Traveloka’s website, around 51.2 per cent using a mobile device. The company expects that the digital economy in Southeast Asia will grow 15 per cent, and that within the next decade, the market will expand to US$197 billion (Bt6.37 trillion). 

Online travel business will account for 38 per cent of the digital economy or around $77 billion, the company believes. For Thailand, it expects the market value of online travel market during 2015 to 2025 will grow 5 times, from $3.9 billion to $19.8 billion.