Designing your life and business in the Next Digital Life 2020

There can be no arguing that the  internet and smartphones have changed our lives and how we do business in ways that would have seemed unthinkable even a short decade ago. Just about everything we do these days is associated with technology – think e-commerce, media & entertainment streaming, travel booking, ride hailing services, and financial services.   Digital technologies help cut costs, enable delivery of services at a higher speed, promote ease of doing business, leverage an increasingly non-tactile world and grow economies. Little wonder then that entrepreneurs are reshaping their business models and streamlining their work processes to cope with technology disruption.

The advent of 5G technology will result in ultra high speed with massive machine-to-machine communication, high reliability and low latency.  It is closely associated with key frontier technologies such as Blockchain, Data Analytics, AI, 3D Printing, IoT, Automation/Robotics and Big Data/Cloud Computing.

The following ideas and updates were discussed during the recent edutainment talk show event “The Next Digital Life 2020” arranged by Business Today, and could well inspire how you adapt your work and business in this tech-driven new year.

Buddhiponsge Punnakanta, Minister of Digital Ministry of Economy and Society, opened the forum by announcing that the spectrum auction for 5G will take place on February 16.  The Thai government is pushing very hard to implement 5G by next year so that we remain competitive in terms of attractiveness to  foreign direct investment especially from China, where investors from more than 190 large multinationals are eyeing relocation of facilities to this region.  CAT & TOT, the telecommunication state-enterprises, will be taking part in the 5G bidding and will help  drive those government-related projects as well.  Meanwhile, construction of the first building of the Thailand Digital Valley in Sriracha district, Chonburi province – one of the government’s digitalization showcases – has started and the project is expected to be completed in the next 3 years.    Advanced technology such as drones equipped with water/pesticide are being tested in the Thai agricultural community as part of the “Digital Agriculture” project, allowing for the treatment of 180 rai per day per drone, compared with 2 rai using manpower, and the young generation is being educated to practices these technologies to increase efficiency and productivity.  If successful, this pilot will serve as a role model for other sectors and other applications.

Sanpachai Huwanand, managing director of CAT, said that AI or machine learning with 5G will help in data analysis and provide useful solutions in various sectors such as healthcare, automobiles and travel.  Public and private collaboration on information sharing and connectivity are key to the success of the Thai digital economy and will benefit all Thais.

Airport Authority of Thailand’s deputy managing director for IT & Communication Kittipoj Venunan, meanwhile, added that it is revamping the current structure under which its 6 international airports are separately controlled by different systems and integrating them into an Application to create a unified database and deliver new experiences to passengers and stakeholders under the  “Alive Airport” project. This will give passengers such information as the check-in gate number and how to get there, promotional discounts offered at airport duty free shops, nearby available restrooms, parking lots, advance bookings for public transport and more.

Challenges due to technological innovation have caused entrepreneurs to adapt and outline the business models that fit them best, using tech to deliver products and services based on consumer preferences/behaviors collected through data prediction. Human development needs and corporate culture should be clearly identified and action taken, said Santi Methavikul, managing director of United Information Highway Co Ltd.   The ability to act fast and maintain an energetic mindset are vital to surviving in this digital age.  Notwithstanding, the average corporate life is shortened to 15 years compared with the traditional 60-plus years based on the US Securities Companies records.

A report released by Google, Temasek, and US consultancy Bain & Co showed that Southeast Asia’s digital economy is expected to reach US$100 billion in 2019 and USD$300 billion in 2025, to which e-commerce and ride hailing are key contributors.  In the cities, where markets are becoming more competitive, ‘user engagement’ is becoming more important than user acquisition, the report notes, adding that “the internet economy is expanding beyond these bustling burgs to smaller communities, where consumer services are quickly becoming part and parcel of the digital realm”.

Tech giants such as Facebook, YouTube under Alphabet, Line under Naver Corp, with massive databases and customers are gaining advantages over other competitors.  “We are their products implicitly and they are generating billions of dollars in revenues from advertising.   The online ad industry has been increasingly accepted and subscribed since it allows advertisers to target users at scale with incredible precision and keep changing upon request,” the report states,

As about 40 per cent of Thai e-commerce is now conducted on social media platforms, the following tips shared by professionals and experts from tech companies could help us all make money  and succeed in the digital era.

Facebook

  • Analyse users’ demographic data, target products/services to be offered
  • User engagement and re-targeting approach
  • Expand customer base by using Lookalike tool

YouTube

  • Make ‘Knowledge+Wisdom’ visual VDO clip to communicate personal storytelling and attract target group

Twitter

  • Tag the intended name or proper words in Twitter Trends to make it known quickly.

LINE

  • Build up continuous engagement with users and aggregate varieties of entertainment, news, food delivery, games, shopping, transportation in one app
  • Use Online-Merge-Offline in one App for marketplace online shopping
  • Linkage with payment channels developed by Fintech App

Apart from normal fund transfer between parties, Fintech startups have kept up collaborative work with banks and tech platforms to smoothen the payment process embedded in a smartphone app. This will make life easier and faster in the cashless society.   For business, blockchain-based technology is being increasingly used by banks and corporations for domestic and cross-border transactions.  Thailand is shifting towards this cashless society, as evidenced by PromptPay’s 46 million-plus users with more than 1.1 billion transactions and we should expect that to increase rapidly in line with accessibility of seamless telecommunication infrastructure at a very high speed. We will also increasingly see tech-savvy millennials moving into higher self-generated income groups.

Speed, innovation and an open mindset in the Next Digital Life will bring success to the new YOU.