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Innovation park helps turn Phuket into a smart city

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To help turn Phuket into a smart city under the Smile Smart and Sustainable Phuket 2020 project, the Software Industry Promotion Agency (Sipa) has opened the Phuket Smart City Innovation Park to serve as a learning centre for both public and private secto

Uttama Savanayana, minister of Information and Communication Technology, explained that Phuket would become a sustainable and smart city that uses digital technology in infrastructure projects. The park will also promote innovation, technology learning and offer business consultancy under the Phuket Smart City project.
Jirawan Boonperm, chairperson of Sipa’s executive board, said the Phuket Smart City Innovation Park marks an important step towards the development of Phuket Smart City. The park will become a hub for learning and development to promote digital investment under the collaboration of the Board of Investment (BoI) and innovation centres such as the Asean Tourism Software Excellence Centre, IoT Smart City Lab as well as BIM Innovation Centre in order to help create entrepreneurs through the Creative Entrepreneurship Academy. 
Jirawan said the government plans to turn Phuket into a smart city by 2020.
Pracha Asawateera, manager of the Phuket branch of Sipa said the aim of the innovation park is to promote investment, support start-ups, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and innovation development in the Andaman area. The first step towards this has been to provide Wi-Fi for 50 local retail shops in Phuket’s popular Patong area, so shop owners can opt for digital marketing. Free Wi-Fi coverage will be locally available in 1,000 spots by March next year. 
The park will also provide space to digital entrepreneurs, and has joined hands with the BoI to provide consultancy services and information to investors who want tax privileges for their business. It will also help SMEs adapt innovations for their products and services. 
It is also creating a monitoring system for seniors living in the province in order to ensure they get timely medical care in case of emergencies.
Jirawan added that the Phuket Smart City project is being carried out in collaboration with several sectors, with a focus on seven aspects, namely smart business, smart tourism, smart education, smart safety, smart environment, smart government and smart healthcare. However, the highlight for the first year would be smart economy, smart tourism, smart safety and smart environment. 
Phuket Governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada said the smart city project would help engage people as well as offer new technology and innovation in order to boost the quality of life for people, businesses and society as well as educate them so they can help create a learning community in Phuket municipality. 
Phuket alone has over 13 million visitors per year and this year the number is expected to rise to 17 per cent from last year.

Published : September 16, 2016

By : JIRAPAN BOONNOON<br /> THE NATION