The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Ministry will embark on three strategic digital initiatives by year-end to facilitate the emergence of "Thailand 4.0" -- a sustainable, value-based economy.
Building digital communities, establishing digital parks for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and creating digital innovative start-up networks are the government's three digital initiatives to be rolled out this year.
"The government sector can play a crucial role in building an environment and regulations related to the development of the economy and businesses in order to drive the country towards the digital era through the 'Digital Thailand' scheme," said ICT Minister Uttama Savanayana.
Speaking at the Digital Thailand 2016 fair yesterday, Mr Uttama said the government was committed to working closely with all local and foreign companies as well as international organisations in order to ensure that the country will not fall behind.
Mr Uttama said efforts to build digital communities were aimed at promoting all industrial sectors, especially agriculture, to use digital technologies to increase their productivity and competitiveness.
The establishment of digital parks for SMEs is intended to drive local companies to enter into Industry 4.0, or the fourth industrial revolution, in order to digitise the manufacturing sector.
Creating innovative networks to encourage start-up businesses is one means of supporting efforts to develop Digital Thailand, said Mr Uttama.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said the government is optimistic that the push to help the country enter its "Thailand 4.0 phase" in the near future will be successful.
He noted efforts to promote the use of information technology and innovations across industrial sectors as contributing factors. "Our goal is to develop sustainable economic growth and increase personal income per capita," Gen Prayut said.
Mr Uttama also said the government expects to submit all seven digital economy-related laws to the cabinet for endorsement by year-end.
In another development, True Corporation, in collaboration with global technology firm IBM Corporation, announced yesterday that they would jointly establish what it dubbed Asia's first development centre for innovations on digital platforms.
Called True/IBM Innovation Studio@Bangkok, the facility is aimed at supporting the next-generation of business operators, start-up companies and all enterprises using digital technologies to increase their business competitiveness.
"We want to be part of the government's efforts to help Thailand become a digital infrastructure hub in Southeast Asia," said Suphachai Chearavanont, chief executive of True Corporation.
He said the collaboration would be a win-win for both True and IBM. The centre's innovations laboratory is designed to break new ground when it comes to digital experiences for Thais, Mr Suphachai added.
True will provide its fixed-based broadband connectivity and fourth-generation (4G) wireless broadband network for the innovation development centre.
IBM for its part will supply advanced digital technology platforms for various business sectors.
Mr Suphachai stressed a digital economy cannot take off unless there is support for soft infrastructure, including innovation laboratories.
Located on Siam Square Soi 2, the 1,500-square-metre True/IBM innovation Studio is scheduled to open by year-end.
Mr Suphachai said the collaboration between True and IBM was one part of a long-term partnership to innovate on various digital platforms to support the arrival of emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things and big data.
Randy Walker, chairman and chief executive of IBM for Asia-Pacific, said the company would continue to build more strategic partnerships with various sectors to bring digital capabilities to Thailand.