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Cloud, mobility, collaboration the key drivers

Industry also sees 'Internet of Everything', upcoming AEC as major factors, while political situation seen as main threat

The Thai information and communications technology industry and the overall business sector will enter a new era of device innovation this year, along with companies continuing to invest in ICT technology in order to enable their businesses.

Vatsun Thirapatarapong, managing director of Cisco Thailand and Indochina, said an overview of the ICT market this year showed that Asia-Pacific is expected to witness shining growth, expanding 5.5 per cent to US$767 billion (Bt25.15 trillion) - and reaching $933 billion in 2017, according to Gartner, the technology research firm.

The research found that smart-phone user penetration in Thailand had reached 36 per cent and migration to these devices would continue to be the key revenue driver for the ICT and adjacent market over the next 12 months.

Moreover, 14 million out of around 20 million households in Thailand are now able to access the Internet, he said.

Cisco believes the commercial market place this year will be nourished with the growth of cloud, enterprise mobility, collaboration and the rise of "Internet of Everything".

"The intelligent network will be the critical platform that connects people, process and things, anytime, anywhere and on any devices. With this connectivity and the adoption of public Wi-Fi, we believe security shouldn't be an afterthought.

"Securing the network should be fully integrated to ensure that connecting the unconnected devices in Thailand will transform the way businesses, schools and governments change the way they work," he added.

In Thailand, with gross domestic product expected to grow by 3 per cent and the ICT sector to potentially expand by 9.8 per cent, the key market drivers for 2014 will be major government infrastructure investments, which will be integrated with ICT as critical enablers.

In addition, the move towards "Smart Thailand", investments in 3G/4G network coverage as well as digital TV will help boost domestic consumption and economic transformation, he suggested.

The foundation for this will be the development of skills to ensure the country has a future-ready workforce that is well-prepared and equipped with experience to leverage ICT in order to enhance business opportunities, said the MD.

"Cisco is looking forward to the transformation of the mobile industry towards 3G or 4G, enabled by software-optimised networks, the quad-play broadband over cable, and the platform for digital TV which has been projected to officially launch next year [2014]," said Vatsun.

Cloud crucial for enterprises

He said that for the enterprise sector, the development of cloud infrastructure would be more obvious, as organisations would start to adopt cloud services, IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service), and UCaaS (unified communication-as-a-service).

Moreover, the readiness for business continuity solutions will be retouched, as well as the adoption of the next-generation workplace, including BYOD (bring your own device), mobile offices, TelePresence and collaboration.

Nart Liuchareon, chief executive of CDG Group, said that in 2014, the main trend for hardware would be the continued growth of the mobile-device market.

Consumers obviously prefer mobile phones and tablets since the devices have been developed to be more and more user-friendly. Mobile applications will, therefore, have high growth potential during the year, especially those involving social media, which has become a major part of worldwide communication since the beginning of 2012, he said.

For the next decade, IT advancement will play a vital role that will shift consumer behaviour and needs and will provide the key solutions for larger and more complex data in every industry, he added.

Cloud computing, "Big Data" advancement and analytics, social matrix, and increasing the usage of mobile devices with free mobile applications, for instance, will enable the business model, rendering "business as usual" a thing of the past, he said.

Moreover, innovation is the key to tackling such changes. This is not only the case at CDG and G-Able, as every organisation will have to do the same - and many have already started, he stressed.

"Innovation that we as a company will focus on at this stage will be related to the process, product, service and business model. In order to achieve it, we need to start from inside, start from our people, which is not an easy step" he said.

Nart added that this year's Thai IT service sector growth is expected to reach 10 per cent, with opportunity services in consumer mobility, business recovery, data security, virtualisation, ERP (enterprise resource planning) and the supply chain.

AEC set to drive growth

Meanwhile, the upcoming Asean Economic Community will also drive IT market growth. For Thailand, the expansion of the market and potential consumer base when the AEC is implemented in 2015 has raised the demand for organisations' requirements for the Internet and the ability to work from remote infrastructure.

More companies will invest in IT solutions as a key element of the infrastructure that will help them better serve consumers in different countries around the region, he suggested, adding that the market for mobile phones and tablets will grow even faster than in the last few years.

The chief executive said the factors having a positive impact on business this year would be economic growth and technology advancement, as well as competitiveness in trade and industrial sectors.

Meanwhile, political instability and its potential impact on the country's economic situation could be the top threat during the course of the year.

Nart said technology always plays a major role in the growth of every business. Many organisations seek IT solutions to help cope with their immense and complicated data.

Big Data, cloud computing technology and air-wired mobile devices will continue to be major factors in the growth of IT, together with increasing demand from new "Gen Y" consumers, who are growing in double digits, he added.

"I think Big Data analytics will gain more interest from both the private and public sectors in every industry dealing with data, and especially with unstructured data, such as telecommunications, retail, consumer products, and food and beverage services. Technology will give suppliers a better understanding of consumers' requirements and behaviour, which in turn will enable them to provide better services.

"Cloud computing, whether private or public, will receive a better response from large to medium-sized enterprises, and will expand to the larger scale and cover other industries. This trend will lead to 'everything as a service'," said the CEO.


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