Taking Thai entrepreneurial flair to the next level

Arunsawad.com founder Kittinan now looks to turn car-insurance claim start-up into major success both here and overseas

Kittinan Anuphan, who embarked on his tech start-up journey when he set up Arunsawad.com 14 years ago, is now 12 months into another challenge, having established a second company – in the mobile-app field.

A couple of years ago, the entrepreneur expanded Arunsawad.com onto the cloud platform and then, last year, he formed Anywhere to Go to provide the Claim Di mobile solution for car insurance – the goal being that the firm’s mobile app would become the gateway for clearing claims for all types of auto insurance.

Kittinan, who had no experience in software programming, was keen on sales after working as a technical sales representative for several IT companies – before taking the path of software entrepreneurship back in 2000.

He acknowledges that he has been both a winner and loser during his 14 years running a software business in Thailand. However, in the past two years, Arunsawad.com has begun to grow well, with Bt20 million in revenue per year.

Kittinan was visionary enough to foresee over the last 14 years that mobility would grow in importance and that there were huge opportunities in the field. Arunsawad.com mainly provides enterprise mobility solutions focusing on two main industries, insurance and healthcare.

It now offers many services, such as Anywhere to Claim, Anywhere to Go and Anywhere to ER. The company already has a 40-per-cent market share in terms of auto insurance policies, and 20 per cent of the market in healthcare insurance business, he said.

“We develop mobility solutions for enterprises. It is such a good business, but we could not expand our capacity for this kind of business because it requires investment in terms of human resources. Therefore, we have maintained our revenue at around Bt20 million per year,” said Kittinan.

Despite this limitation, over the last couple of years he expanded Arunsawad.com’s mobility solution for enterprises onto the cloud platform – with one customer, Falcon Insurance, having 300 to 500 claims per month.

“Under the cloud platform, instead of providing system sales to each insurance company, insurers that have fewer claims per month can use our service without buying a system, as they can pay per transaction,” he said.

Fortunately, Big Data and social networking now play critical roles across businesses and consumer lifestyles, he said, adding that huge business opportunities are out there.

His initiative in this respect was to expand mobility solutions previously designed and developed specifically for a particular enterprise to a whole industry ecosystem, especially for the insurance sector.

To pursue this goal, he founded Anywhere to Go with Bt1.5 million of capital and then took his start-up idea in the form of a prototype of Claim Di to be incubated in the “dtac Accelerator” programme – run by DTAC (Total Access Communication) – for the past three months.

Claim Di was one of five winners whose entrepreneurs were given a chance to pitch to global investors in the “Geek on a Plane” event, and to receive seed funding from top venture-capital firms such as 500 Startups, Golden Gate Ventures, and individual investors such as Mike Prasad, Takeshi Ebihara, Rebright Partner, Samer Karam, Alice Tommy Chila, Super Aces Ventures, Ravi Agarwal and engageSpark.

Kittinan said the funding would assist the company to prepare to further pitch for series-A funding and launch onto the regional and global markets.

“We will use the pre-series-A funding to promote our services and to further develop our application, as well as to improve the features. This year, we will focus on the Thai market before expanding to the regional market next year. We plan to raise series-A funding, which we expect to use to jump into the Asian market,” said Kittinan.

The business idea of Claim Di is to offer a mobile application that allows car owners to make a claim to their insurer right at the accident scene within 15 minutes of an incident taking place.

This dramatically shortens the time to make a claim, saves on insurers’ claim costs, and reduces the incidence of claims fraud.

“Our main product for car insurance is called Anywhere2Go, which is the business-to-business model between customers and us, while Claim Di is the business-to-business-to-consumer model, which means we develop a mobile solution for car insurance, and a mobile application for car owners. We charge the insurers, while letting consumers use the app for free,” said the entrepreneur.

Initially, he said, his company is targeting its 11 existing insurance-company customers to expand the use of Claim Di, while at the same trying to attract new customers. Five insurers have already confirmed they will use Claim Di.

Sights on regional expansion

Next year, the company hopes to take the app into the markets of Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, China, Taiwan and Malaysia.

“However, the company expects to generate revenue of US$2 million [Bt64 million] next year, all from Thailand. Revenue from overseas markets will be recognised by 2016,” he added.

The value of the Asian car insurance market is many times bigger than the Thai market, which is worth $43 billion, and there is therefore a huge opportunity for Claim Di to expand regionally.

Venture-capital support and Claim Di’s business model being focused on the cloud will help the company accelerate into expanding within Asia and globally in the near future, he said.

Turning to this year’s domestic focus, Thailand has 15 million cars, of which 8 million have voluntary insurance. These 8 million cars together involve some 14 million claims transactions a year.

The cost for an insurance company to send an agent to the scene of an accident in order for a claim to be made is Bt550 per time in Bangkok, and Bt1,100 outside the capital, he said.

Kittinan said Claim Di enabled insurers to cut their operating costs because car owners could make a claim themselves instantly via the application. In fact, the cost per claim is lowered to just Bt50 per transaction when they do not have to dispatch an agent to the scene.

Khailee Ng, a venture-capital partner for Southeast Asia at one of the top early-stage venture-capital firms in California’s Silicon Valley, 500 Startups, said he saw big opportunities for the Anywhere to Go business model.

“The main criteria we consider to invest in that size of business are opportunity and speed of growth. Anywhere to Go has both.

“We also invested in a similar application called Snapsheet, which focuses on the US market. We know and understand this kind of business, so we are confident there are huge opportunities.

“More importantly, its founder [Kittinan] has good understanding of his business domain and good expertise, as well as being humble enough to listen to mentors in order to improve and get his business moving forwards,” said Ng.

As an investor, he said 500 Startups’ goal is on two levels: to create a return on investment, and to create a start-up success story.

He also commented that Thailand’s start-up ecosystem was growing rapidly, as evidenced by his company’s biggest number of investments in Southeast Asia being in the Kingdom – with eight invested start-ups from a total of 18 in the region.

Anywhere to Go is in fact the seventh, and another is due to be formally announced soon. The other six Thai start-ups already invested in by 500 Startups are Noonswoon, Playbasis, Eko, Pomel, Taamkru and Builk Asia

“We have invested in 800 start-ups in more than 40 countries worldwide. In Thailand, in the last 12 months, we have already invested in seven start-ups, with Anywhere to Go being the latest one. We are working on the documentation for another one, which is set to be announced soon,” said Ng.

Thailand is considered as an interesting destination for investors looking to put money into start-ups, he said.

The country has many new start-ups every month, and its readiness and strength include strong support from telecom companies, Thais having global experience as start-up mentors, government support, and a community of start-up founders and investors, he added.

“Only [having start-up] founders and investors is not enough to drive the start-ups to move forwards, and the support from all stakeholders in the ecosystem is very important to encourage the development of start-ups. Thailand is good at doing this,” said Ng.

Ruengroj “Krating” Poonpol, dtac Accelerate’s programme director, said the Kingdom’s start-up community was already on the world’s start-up radar.

“We have done 30 start-up deals, the deal with Anywhere to Go is a most exciting one as we completed it within two weeks,” said Ruengroj.

ICT associations to be linked to strengthen competitiveness

The Association of Thai ICT Industry is set to link all information and communication technology associations in Thailand in a bid to strengthen the sector so it can better penetrate Asean countries.

ATCI president Adirak Patitus said the 25-year-old organisation had contributed immensely to Thailand’s development and the enhancement of the IT industry, but it was time to reform it.

He said ATCI was a coordinator linking all parts of the ICT ecosystem and collaborating with the sector to strengthen its competitiveness both domestically and in Asean.

The association’s priorities included encouraging collaboration among ICT-related associations, such as the Association of Thai Software Industry and the Thai Software Export Promotion Association, to create demand in the government and private sectors while helping develop a high skill level in the industry.

Adirak said that due to the changing ICT landscape, the sector’s associations needed to be re-categorised, going from hardware and software to three main categories – ICT infrastructure, application and professional service.

“We need to work together to straighten the country’s ICT industry to complete in the Asean market successfully,” Adirak said.

South Korea’s SolStudio is coming to Thailand

With its ambitious targets and exciting portfolio of email and calendar applications, Daum hopes to be one of the leading communication and planning application companies in the region this year. Daum is planning to do this through its SolStudio, which offers consumer communication and planning apps for smartphones. The vision of SolStudio is all about being open, simple and intuitive.

SolMail and SolCalendar were launched globally a year ago and they have reached more than 3.5 million downloads globally.

Brian S. Bae, Asia-Pacific managing director at Daum Communications, said last week that Thailand’s explosive smartphone user growth of 43 per cent year on year was one of the reasons the company chose Thailand as its target country to introduce SolStudio and its apps.

“We also found that SolStudio apps and Thailand users share the same values. Many Thai users enjoy expressing their feelings in creative ways, which is one of the major features that SolCalendar and SolMail provide,” he said.

SolStudio will introduce these two apps that help users evolve the ways they manage their work and life in the local market soon.

Google expands education apps

A million students, teachers already benefit from tech giant’s cloud-based initiative; another 4,000 schools now set to participate

US giant Google is expanding its “Google Apps for Education” initiative to cover another 4,000 institutes in Thailand, said Samuel Cheung, head of access and education at Google Asia Pacific.

Over the past few years, Google has encouraged 500 Thai institutions to take part in the initiative, which has benefited a million students and their teachers around the country, he said.

“Any school and education institute can join up and use Google Apps for Education. It is basically open to all institutions. The schools just need to have at least an Internet infrastructure that is capable of supporting cloud-based learning.

“Google is trying to support schools in this area, including workshops on network planning and how they should create the Wi-Fi system at each school for the best use of Google Apps for all,” he explained. Cheung said there were three focus areas for Google’s support for education: tools and solutions; programme to community; and support and investment.

“Google Apps for Education is Web-based, so Internet infrastructure is very important – as is the collaboration between teachers and

students. They can collaborate and communicate with each other on the same document at the same time, but from different places and different devices,” he added.

Google has worked with the Education Ministry and institutions nationwide to ensure they have the right infrastructure in place to support a digital learning environment.

This includes running technical workshops and consultations, training teachers in how to implement technology in the classroom effectively, and establishing guidelines with the ministry to help Thailand’s educational institutions become cloud-ready.

“In Malaysia, we worked with the Education Ministry along with our partner there, YTL. There are 11 million people involved – students, teachers and educators – and 10,000 schools joining the Google for Education project. There are 100,000 Chromebooks in the education sector available in Malaysia,” said Cheung.

In terms of hardware, Chromebooks are great for the classroom, he said. They are nicely integrated with Google apps for education and can help improve the teaching and learning experience.

While Chromebooks have not yet been commercially launched in Thailand, the devices are available in education institutes through partners in order to launch pilot schemes.

“Some education institutions in Thailand have been using Chromebooks in the classroom. This is a part of Google for Education initiatives in Thailand. We will try to launch Chromebooks in Thailand and [elsewhere in Asean], so that they are available commercially for schools to purchase.

“For partners, we have worked with them in several different ways. For example, at Surathampitak School, we worked with them to launch the devices for use in the Google Apps for Education scheme. They have been using these devices for over a year and a half. The beauty of Chromebook is that it is a multi-user device, which maximises the use of Chromebooks per classroom,” said Cheung.

4,000 schools ‘Going Google’

Somkiet Boodrod, assistant secretary-general of the Office of Basic Education Commission, said technology was now playing an important role in daily life, including in teaching and learning.

Access to the Web and Web-based devices enriches education by bringing these tools to the classroom.

Educational institutions across Thailand that have already deployed Google’s Web-based tools are experiencing a range of benefits, from cutting printing costs and paper wastage, to minimising the time staff spend processing documents, he said.

“As to the institutional benefits, we have seen our students really benefit from the ability to collaborate online, as well as create and learn in a more global and immersive way. This year alone, 4,000 schools at all levels – primary, secondary, high school and vocational – will start using Google Apps for Education,” said the official.

Google Thailand’s head of marketing, Pornthip Kongchun, said the experience gained during the two years since Google launched Google for Education in Thailand had showed how technology could transform education.

For example, students and teachers at Surathampitak School have moved from a “talk and chalk” style of learning to being able to give and receive feedback in real time using Google Docs.

Teachers at Chalermkwansatree School, meanwhile, have moved from paper-based courses to creating websites for each subject using Google Sites, which makes it easy for students to access what they need and for teachers to share their resources with other teachers.

“We are playing a [major] part in transforming education in Thailand. Now, over 1 million teachers and students across Thailand have ‘Gone Google’ – and we’re just getting started. We are humbled to be helping equip students across Thailand with the skills they will need in the 21st century and to be part of a broader transformation of Thailand’s education system,” she said.

Moving to cloud-based tools has also helped Thai institutions save money and go green.

For example, since moving from on-premises servers to Gmail and Google Drive, Pibulsongkram Rajabhat University now saves Bt3.2 million annually on maintenance and printing costs, while Mahidol University now gets student feedback instantly with Google Forms, instead of having to issue hundreds of paper feedback forms, she added.

How institutions benefit

Matthayom Watnairong School’s students and teachers are among over a million that have moved to Google Apps for Education in the last two years.

Surapong Ngamsom, director of the school, said that during the 2011 floods, when it was too difficult for everyone to commute to school, the institution was faced with the prospect of continued student absences.

Instead of suspending lessons, however, teachers and students used Google Hangouts to continue classes. They also shared class materials and student work via Google Drive and Sites, all without having to go to school.

“Today, every teacher hosts their course materials on Google Sites. This has two benefits: firstly, teachers become content creators and this platform gives them a way to share their knowledge and expertise with other teachers. Secondly, students can log in and access everything they needfrom anywhere,” said Surapong.

Artit Ungkanont, Mahidol University vice president for information technology, said the university had started participating in the Google Apps for Education programme last year in order to facilitate more flexible and efficient communication.

“Instructors and students now use Google Drive, Gmail and Google Calendar to share their work, communicate and stay organised. And we’re confident that experience with these mobile, cloud-based tools is preparing our students for the workforce of tomorrow,” he said.

Moreover, the University Council has also improved its processes, by moving to paperless meetings with Google Drive and minimising travel costs with virtual meetings via Hangouts.

Monchai Pantoop, director of Uttaradit Darunee School, said the school’s students, teachers and staff have now started using Google Apps for Education to collaborate more effectively after implementing Google Apps.

Teachers have found that it is easier to give feedback and that peer-to-peer learning is more effective than traditional models. Teachers can comment on students’ work quickly and easily, while students develop their listening and group-work skills.

Sawanee Jamroenvong, a teacher at Surathampitak School, said that by using Google Apps for Education since 2013, course materials were now hosted online with Google Drive and Sites. This makes it easier for teachers to give students feedback and for students to do group work from wherever they are located.

Another benefit of moving to Google Apps has been that learning continues beyond the four walls of the classroom, she said.

Students now have the opportunity to use the Web to go beyond the information presented in class and research topics in greater depth. This means they’re gaining independent research skills, and accessing a world of information online, she added.

“Our school has also recently started using Google Classroom – a tool for creating and organising assignments, giving feedback and communicating with classes. We’ve found that it has saved teachers lots of time and paper, as we now distribute and collect work from students with just a couple of clicks,” said Sawanee.

Trend Micro continues track record of security innovation with VMware NSX Interoperability

Trend Micro has announced at VMworld 2014 new solutions for VMware environments, including tailored interoperability with the VMware NSX network virtualisation platform.

It said in a press statement that it has released Trend Micro Deep Security 9.5 to deliver agentless security tailor-made for customers deploying VMware NSX across both file and network-based security controls.

The combination of VMware NSX’s zero-trust, micro-segmentation model of virtualized security with Deep Security’s comprehensive range of agentless security controls enables advanced security services including more granular micro-segmentation, and real-time quarantine, and remediation capabilities with minimal service downtime for the modern data center. Trend Micro will demonstrate these new capabilities at the VMware NSX Hands-on Lab, the statement said.

“Trend Micro and VMware continue to collaborate on security solutions for the software-defined data center, and with our new solution for VMware NSX, we are advancing our ongoing commitment to security innovation,” said William Tan, Regional Country Manager, Thailand, Indo-China and Philippines, Trend Micro.

“Our expertise with cloud and data center security combined with VMware’s virtualization leadership offers customers the best of both worlds for performance, agility, and security. The combined capabilities of our respective industry-leading solutions will allow our mutual customers to execute their businesses with confidence.”

At VMWorld 2014Trend Micro showcased enhanced cloud support with Deep Security 9.5, featuring a new, dynamic Smart Agent that streamlines deployment and increases flexibility.

The Smart Agent technology also takes advantage of a new program for rapid response to Linux kernel updates that are common in today’s dynamic deployments, helping to ensure that security does not slow down a company’s business. Trend Micro will also introduce plug-ins for VMware vCenter Operations Manager, providing customers with real-time status of security related events across virtual data centers through a dashboard display.

“Security is now a board-level issue with our customers, with the rate of security spending being outpaced only by the increasing frequency of security breaches,” said Hatem Naguib, senior vice president, networking and security, VMware. “Through collaboration with Trend Micro, we are working to deliver new advanced security services that leverage security controls inherent in the software-defined data center.”

Three taxi apps compete for top place in ‘e-hailing’ market

Thanks to Easy Taxi, Grab Taxi and Uber, Bangkokians can find a ride any time

Taking a taxi in Bangkok is now easier even during rush hours or rainy days, thanks to applications designed and developed to help people hail a cab from their smartphone rather than having to go out to the street and wave their hands.

Currently, there are three such the apps available in Bangkok: Easy Taxi, GrabTaxi and Uber.

Easy Taxi’s chief operating officer, Nattapak Atichartakarn, said the company’s core business would consist of four services: the app itself, ET Corp, ET Pro and ET Pay. Currently only the Easy Taxi app and ET Pro are available, while ET Corp and ET Pay will be launched next quarter.

The Easy Taxi mobile app is for individual accounts, while ET Corp and ET Pro are Web-based apps for corporate accounts. ET Pay is the payment platform acting as a clearing house for taxi fare payments.

The company’s revenue comes from two streams: advertising and booking fees of Bt20 per ride. Advertisements appear on the passenger’s app, while the booking fee is charged to passengers or their corporate account. These fees are expected to be the major revenue stream.

ET Corp and ET Pro look similar, both designed for corporate accounts. ET Corp is for large companies that have a lot of employees who commute. Instead of giving cash directly to these employees, the company can put a chunk of money in Easy Taxi’s corporate account to allow employees to hire a cab with the Easy Taxi app.

“The benefit to companies is allowing them to track their expenses effectively. They can set budgets and monitor expenses in real time. Corporates can access our back office to get a report on all rides taken by their employees,” Nattapak said.

ET Pro is designed to allow hospitals, hotels, restaurants and conference halls to book a cab for their customers easily and conveniently. A Web-based app, it can book up to four cabs at the same time. One advantage is that it can track usage in case a passenger loses something in the taxi.

“Our service can add value to these kinds of corporate services. Bangkok Hospital, Fashion Island Shopping Mall, and more than 50 restaurants are trying our service, while Bumrungrad International Hospital is going to try it,” Nattapak said.

Currently under ET Pro, booking fees are charged to passengers, but a monthly fee for business subscribers may be possible in the future.

As of early last month, the Easy Taxi app had around 500,000 downloads. The company expects a million downloads within the next 12 months. It aims by the end of next year to have 40 per cent of the country’s 110,000 taxi drivers on the Easy Taxi platform.

GrabTaxi deputy general manager Vee Charanunsiri said more than 300,000 people in six countries – Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia – used the GrabTaxi app at least once a month. To date, GrabTaxi has been downloaded to more than 1.7 million mobile devices.

“In the near future we’re committed to growing within each market and expanding to more cities in each of our six markets. We also believe constant evolution and change are essential to staying ahead of the curve and providing our customers with the best possible service,” Vee said.

Already available in Bangkok, the GrabTaxi service is scheduled for official launch in Pattaya tomorrow.

There is a booking fee of Bt25, but for now this goes to the driver.

“At this point we are still not charging, but in general, our revenue stream is to take a small flat fee for every successful ride. We don’t charge a monthly flat fee. So in this way when the driver and passenger get a ride, they win and we win,” Vee said.

In Southeast Asia there are 600 million people, 500,000 taxis and more than 7 million taxi rides as day. So being focused on providing a great service at this point is more important than diversification of revenue, he said.

“Our focus is to give awesome rides to customers and to revolutionise the taxi industry. We are a social enterprise and we look at ways to better the lives of the taxi drivers. We launched GrabCar this year, and are focused on expanding to new cities.

“Our competitors are never our major worry, as we have enough to focus on with providing the best service possible to both our drivers and passengers. We pride ourselves at being a hyper local company and we will continue to find out what the specific needs of each market are for both taxi drivers and consumers,” Vee said.

GrabTaxi says its competitive advantage is the way it works for the people and taxi drivers. It has strong support from drivers. Its key features include real-time tracking of each passenger’s journey. Passengers can share the route with their friends or family. There is also an advance-booking feature.

“We are still the largest taxi-booking app in Southeast Asia both by volume of downloads and usage and are confident of remaining so, as long as we continue to provide our users with the services they want,” Vee said. “In fact, we have continued to see growth in downloads and usage from both taxi drivers and consumers in recent months.

“The bottom line is that the biggest problem for GrabTaxi is not our competitors but changing fixated human behaviour – turning people from street hailing to e-hailing,” Vee said.

Experts’ recommendations on the digital economy

Manoo Ordeedolchest, honorary president of the Association of Thai ICT Industry, said networks and mobility were the key technologies for transforming the country.

A large portion of the country’s economy is small and medium-sized enterprises that are struggling to access funding, ICT (information and communications technology) literacy, and literacy in the new context of business competition. Therefore, the government should take action to help SMEs’ competitiveness with ICT.

Second, ICT can help address poverty. There is a huge income gap, and ICT can bridge this gap but it needs leaders who help people benefit from ICT equally throughout the nation, not only in Bangkok and other big cities.

To reform the country with ICT, the areas that the government should focus on include laws and regulations, for example micro payments; cellular and broadband Internet; and basic software. All these are the necessary foundations.

He said the key basic infrastructure was Internet broadband, which has been on the national agenda for many years, but still does not work adequately. Therefore, reform is needed in relevant government organisations.

“Reform needs to be across the economic, social, and educational sectors. This time, we need radical change, not incremental improvements. People need to be aware to reform themselves, while the country needs to be transformed in the line with the people’s [needs],” Manoo said.

He added that the government’s role was to collaborate with the private sector to provide SMEs with necessary infrastructure, laws and regulations. This is in the line with the ICT Ministry’s other priorities including amending computer and e-commerce-related laws and improving the financial performance of state telecommunication enterprises.

According to ICT Minister Pornchai Rujiprapa, the ministry was considering bringing the National Electronics and Computer Technology Centre, currently under the Science and Technology Ministry, under the ICT Ministry. There was a report that the ICT Ministry would change its name to the Digital Ministry, but this has been not officially confirmed.

Manoo added that the ICT industry itself needed to reform in order to be sustainable and to support the country’s reform. For example, cloud computing is expected to the platform for reform, so software needs to be designed and developed to be able to run on the cloud. As new software is needed, software companies have to reform themselves first.

“We should not be promoting the [ICT] industry but need to promote the end-users who are enabled by ICT. The strategy is to let end-users lead the [ICT] industry through their needs and requirements,” he said.

Robert Fox, chairman of the ICT group in the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce in Thailand, said reform was only important if it was going to make a positive difference to the economy and people’s lives.

His recommendation is that the telecom industry, for example, needs some structural reforms to be more efficient, effective, and innovative. And this is a part of the digital economy. What is needed is a strong regulator responsible for licensing all telecom operators, along with reform in the state enterprises, and the liberation of the telecom industry in terms of innovation and competition.

If a digital economy is to become a reality, it needs a trusted Internet supported by data-protection laws, a broadband backbone, e-government and so on.

GrabTaxi service available in Pattaya

GrabTaxi, a large taxi-booking mobile app in Southeast Asia, has launched its beta trial in Pattaya. Mayor of Pattaya City, Itthiphol Kunplome, chaired the launch, which was held at Ocean Marina Yacht Club.

This is the 16th city that GrabTaxi operates in Southeast Asia and the second Thai city after Bangkok. 

GrabTaxi was launched in Bangkok late last year and became popular among passengers and taxi drivers.

GrabTaxi has a regional footprint across Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore and Indonesia.

“We are extremely happy to welcome a technology platform like GrabTaxi, which will provide convenience to both locals and tourists to use public transport in Pattaya,” Itthiphol said.

“Since our mobile app was first launched in 2012, the response from commuters around Southeast Asia has been amasing,” said GrabTaxi Thailand Director, Juthasree Kuvinichkul.

“The ease-of-use and safety aspects made it an instant favourite among commuters with one GrabTaxi cab being booked every two seconds regionally. Now, we are bringing the convenience and reliability of the GrabTaxi mobile app to Pattaya commuters.

Drivers using GrabTaxi always charge the metered rate together with a booking fee and we feel this will greatly improve the people’s perception of taxis in Pattaya”.

GrabTaxi Thailand Deputy General Manager, Vee Charanunsiri said the app’s popularity in Bangkok has raised its profile with local residents and tourists requesting for GrabTaxi to be introduced to the other Thai cities.

“We selected Pattaya due to its proximity to Bangkok,” said Vee.

“Having provided our services in six countries, we understand the pain points that many passengers face. In Pattaya, we aim to revolutionise the taxi industry and encourage taxi drivers to use the meters. We want to provide passengers with safe and reliable taxis and to make sure that they get a taxi soonest after making a booking via the app.”

Passengers in Bangkok pay the taxi driver the metered fare with an additional Baht 25 service fee, which goes directly to the driver. The same mechanism applies within the Pattaya city limit but the service fee is 40 Baht.

Additional charges will also apply for distances beyond 6 kilometers of the city center.

“We feel our fares are reflective of the local market rate, yet provide a safe and stress-free ride for passengers. This creates a win-win situation for both passengers and drivers,” Vee said.

Using the mobile app, which can be downloaded for free for smartphones and tablets running on iOS Android, Blackberry or Windows, commuters can book taxis in a fast, convenient and safe manner.

When the application is launched, GrabTaxi automatically detects the commuter’s current location using the smartphone’s in-built GPS (Global Positioning System) and shows the number of available taxis within a certain radius.

The commuter selects the desired destinations and the booking request is then sent to taxi drivers within the said radius. The drivers bid for the job and the one nearest to the commuter is assigned the booking. The commuter receives a booking confirmation within one minute, along with the driver’s contact details, name, vehicle registration number and estimated time of arrival.

The commuter can also track the real-time location of the booked taxi, watching as his driver moves towards him. GrabTaxi is also integrated with popular GPS maps application to help drivers with direction.

The app is currently available in six countries. With over 1.7 million downloads of the GrabTaxi mobile app around the region and with 300,000 users per month, GrabTaxi is the market leader in Southeast Asia.

Users can have a safe and convenient taxi experience with the same app in all the six countries that GrabTaxi is in. Using GPS to help locate taxis, the mobile app is not dependent on any local taxi network.

To celebrate the launch, GrabTaxi will offer Baht 40 discount off all taxi rides in Pattaya for two weeks, from September 17 until October 1, 2014.

Passengers need only to download the GrabTaxi app for free onto the iOS, Android, BlackBerry or Windows devices, book the taxi and key-in PTY into the promo code field.

GrabTaxi service available in Pattaya

GrabTaxi, a large taxi-booking mobile app in Southeast Asia, has launched its beta trial in Pattaya. Mayor of Pattaya City, Itthiphol Kunplome, chaired the launch, which was held at Ocean Marina Yacht Club.

This is the 16th city that GrabTaxi operates in Southeast Asia and the second Thai city after Bangkok.

GrabTaxi was launched in Bangkok late last year and became popular among passengers and taxi drivers.

GrabTaxi has a regional footprint across Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore and Indonesia.

“We are extremely happy to welcome a technology platform like GrabTaxi, which will provide convenience to both locals and tourists to use public transport in Pattaya,” Itthiphol said.

“Since our mobile app was first launched in 2012, the response from commuters around Southeast Asia has been amasing,” said GrabTaxi Thailand Director, Juthasree Kuvinichkul.

“The ease-of-use and safety aspects made it an instant favourite among commuters with one GrabTaxi cab being booked every two seconds regionally. Now, we are bringing the convenience and reliability of the GrabTaxi mobile app to Pattaya commuters.

Drivers using GrabTaxi always charge the metered rate together with a booking fee and we feel this will greatly improve the people’s perception of taxis in Pattaya”.

GrabTaxi Thailand Deputy General Manager, Vee Charanunsiri said the app’s popularity in Bangkok has raised its profile with local residents and tourists requesting for GrabTaxi to be introduced to the other Thai cities.

“We selected Pattaya due to its proximity to Bangkok,” said Vee.

“Having provided our services in six countries, we understand the pain points that many passengers face. In Pattaya, we aim to revolutionise the taxi industry and encourage taxi drivers to use the meters. We want to provide passengers with safe and reliable taxis and to make sure that they get a taxi soonest after making a booking via the app.”

Passengers in Bangkok pay the taxi driver the metered fare with an additional Baht 25 service fee, which goes directly to the driver. The same mechanism applies within the Pattaya city limit but the service fee is 40 Baht.

Additional charges will also apply for distances beyond 6 kilometers of the city center.

“We feel our fares are reflective of the local market rate, yet provide a safe and stress-free ride for passengers. This creates a win-win situation for both passengers and drivers,” Vee said.

Using the mobile app, which can be downloaded for free for smartphones and tablets running on iOS Android, Blackberry or Windows, commuters can book taxis in a fast, convenient and safe manner.

When the application is launched, GrabTaxi automatically detects the commuter’s current location using the smartphone’s in-built GPS (Global Positioning System) and shows the number of available taxis within a certain radius.

The commuter selects the desired destinations and the booking request is then sent to taxi drivers within the said radius. The drivers bid for the job and the one nearest to the commuter is assigned the booking. The commuter receives a booking confirmation within one minute, along with the driver’s contact details, name, vehicle registration number and estimated time of arrival.

The commuter can also track the real-time location of the booked taxi, watching as his driver moves towards him. GrabTaxi is also integrated with popular GPS maps application to help drivers with direction.

The app is currently available in six countries. With over 1.7 million downloads of the GrabTaxi mobile app around the region and with 300,000 users per month, GrabTaxi is the market leader in Southeast Asia.

Users can have a safe and convenient taxi experience with the same app in all the six countries that GrabTaxi is in. Using GPS to help locate taxis, the mobile app is not dependent on any local taxi network.

To celebrate the launch, GrabTaxi will offer Baht 40 discount off all taxi rides in Pattaya for two weeks, from September 17 until October 1, 2014.

Passengers need only to download the GrabTaxi app for free onto the iOS, Android, BlackBerry or Windows devices, book the taxi and key-in PTY into the promo code field.

New EMC VMAX3 redefines enterprise storage

EMC Corporation has announced the highly anticipated VMAX3 Family, which transforms VMAX from enterprise storage to an enterprise data service platform.

This fundamentally changes what has – until now – been possible with enterprise storage by bringing new levels of cloud-like agility, efficiency and control within the data center, EMC said in a press statement.

The VMAX3 enterprise data service platform enables customers to regain control of where best to run specific workloads, within the data center or in the public cloud. VMAX3 introduces this innovation to help customers manage their Storage-as-a-Service through predictable service levels at hybrid cloud scale.

The rearchitecture of VMAX3 is based upon the new HYPERMAX OS and Dynamic Virtual Matrix architecture.

HYPERMAX OS is the industry’s first open converged storage hypervisor and operating system. It enables VMAX3 to embed storage infrastructure services like cloud access, data mobility and data protection directly on the array. This delivers new levels of data center efficiency and consolidation by reducing footprint and energy requirements. In addition, HYPERMAX OS delivers the ability to perform real-time and non-disruptive data services. The Dynamic Virtual Matrix architecture enables customers to dynamically allocate processing power for improved performance and to ensure predictable service levels at scale.

VMAX3 combines the control and trust of the traditional data center with the flexibility, economics and scale of the cloud, delivering customers a more powerful, trusted and agile system.

The new VMAX3 hybrid systems – including the 100K, 200K and 400K – are purpose-built to support the hybrid cloud by dynamically allocating up to 384 processing cores on-demand to meet the performance requirements of dynamic mixed workloads. VMAX3 enables customers to hyper-consolidate enterprise applications. The new systems are designed so that customers can start “small” – from 100′s of virtual machines – and grow to tens of thousands of virtual machines, all while delivering predictable service levels.

VMAX3 offers up to 3X faster performance and 50% lower total cost of ownership as the previous generation VMAX, accelerating Oracle, SQL, SAP transactional processing, high bandwidth data analytics and file workloads.

The new flash-optimized VMAX3 delivers the agility and economics of the cloud, with the control and trust of the VMAX Family’s greater than 99.9999% (“six nines”) availability.

EMC ProtectPoint, a new data protection solution, enables direct backup from primary storage to protection storage. Providing up to 10x faster backup and instant access to protected data, this innovative approach enables backing up the VMAX3 directly to a Data Domain system, eliminating the need for traditional backup infrastructure and reducing total cost of ownership by up to 65%.

VMAX3 delivers radically simple single-click provisioning and enables customers to define service level objectives across consolidated mixed workloads using the new VMAX Advanced FAST Suite. With EMC ViPR integration, these capabilities are provided through a self-service model.

Brian Gallagher, President, Enterprise and Midrange Systems Division, EMC, said: “The rearchitecture of VMAX3 – from enterprise storage to an open enterprise data service platform – delivers customers the ability to transform a traditional storage infrastructure to an agile data center infrastructure. Simply put, it’s hyper-consolidation for existing workloads, and their underlying infrastructure. As the first open enterprise data service platform, VMAX3 is the foundation for hybrid cloud as customers look to deliver Storage-as-a-Service with simple, policy-based service levels.”