Thailand needs a better ecosystem to support the Internet of Things (IoT), an important tool to help the government attain its ambitious goal of building smart industries following the Covid-19 period.
5G wireless technology, which promises super-fast exchange of data, is crucial but was not emphasised when Jesada Sivaraks, head of government and industry relations at Ericsson (Thailand), looked at how the country can move towards the fourth industrial revolution focusing on technological advances.
Mr Jesada instead preferred an IoT ecosystem that requires a combination of key players such as technology service providers and the government to jointly facilitate factories connecting their machines, making them "speak" to one another and having them work automatically with a minimal amount of human involvement.
"But our ecosystem is not ready for IoT," Mr Jesada told a webinar on smart industries, co-organised by the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau, the Thai Chamber of Commerce, Post Today and Bangkok Post.
Some state regulations make it difficult for developers to design new equipment for use in certain industries, he said.
Procedures that need official approval are usually time-consuming and do not encourage product development in the country.
Some entrepreneurs are also uncertain whether they should adopt high-tech equipment at their factories, said Bunn Kasempsup, managing director of SCG Distribution Co, which oversees SCG Home Retail and Distribution Business.
An automated warehouse, for example, can help businesses better manage their stocks without the need to employ many workers, but factory owners view the technology as too expensive and tend to ask when they will see returns on investment if they decide to build it.
"These are outdated views," Mr Bunn said.
It is not necessary to look into the future and calculate what entrepreneurs will gain, because "the investment already paid them back yesterday", he said.
Building an automated warehouse, in which items are stored, sorted and picked along vertical space by a computer system, is a sound investment from the start because such management helps businesses reduce storage areas and better manage costs, said Mr Bunn.