IoT adoption set to surge on lower costs
Internet of Things adoption in Thailand is expected to receive a boost as IoT network operators continue to jump into the market.
Several players are engaging in wireless technology that supports IoT. They include Things on Net Co, an authorised provider of the Sigfox network in Thailand; CAT Telecom, which provides the LoRaWan network; and Advanced Info Service (AIS), which is pursuing NB-IoT technology.
"We see an opportunity in IoT because of increasing user awareness and lower cost of connected devices," said Prapan Asavaplungprohm, chief executive of Things on Net.
He said there are various business cases in which IoT can be used to mitigate problems, reduce costs and broaden revenue sources.
Things on Net, which has registered capital of 100 million baht, is under the umbrella of Platt Nera, a Thai outsourcing and systems integrator.
Things on Net was chosen by Sigfox, a France-based IoT network operator, to use its technology. Sigfox's low-power network system allows remote connectivity and continuous small messages sent among IoT devices.
Thanks to energy efficiency and long-life batteries, these devices require low maintenance. When devices are taken abroad, the automatic roaming system will connect them with Sigfox signals in different countries around the world.
Sigfox network is available in 65 countries, supporting billions of devices. In Asean, it was introduced in Thailand after Singapore and Malaysia.
Sigfox is a popular global network, especially for tracking parcels and measuring outdoor conditions, such as for streetlights, farm and livestock conditions, and petrol operations, all of which are key features in the Thai market.
"This is the right time for Thailand to embrace more IoT, as the price of a sensor has dropped to $2 from $10," Mr Prapan said.
He said Things on Net plans to invest 600-800 million baht in 1,400 base stations nationwide by 2020 to cover 85% of the population.
The firm's network covers Bangkok and seven major cities now.
Things on Net hopes to file for an initial public offering in the next two years, Mr Prapan said. New shareholders that would serve as strategic partners will be unveiled by the end of this year, he said.
The company earns revenue based on the airtime used from networks, averaging 200 baht per year per device.
Mr Prapan said he is working with leading universities to train a skilled workforce for Sigfox and recruiting system integrators, application developers and device makers.
Roswell Wolff, president of Sigfox Asia-Pacific, said Thailand has one of the highest levels of digital investment in Asean, putting it on a pace to reach par with others in Asia.
"The Thailand 4.0 initiative is being embraced by industries and users, creating demand for the IoT services that Things on Net and Sigfox offer," Mr Wolff said.