Thailand has defined its vision to increase and improve its use of ICT to help develop a stronger economy as well as boost social equality and environmental friendliness by 2020, as part of the Smart Thailand concept.
Speaking at a public hearing hosted by Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, Chadamas Thuvasethakul, Nectec’s deputy executive director , said ICT can be used to strengthen the kingdom’s economy and reduce the social gap by boosting the public’s knowledge and the quantity of smart human capital through increasing the availability of high-speed Internet.
There are seven strategies of development to drive this vision, starting with building a next-generation infrastructure to allow equal access to high-speed Internet, with a target to reach 80 percent of the population by 2015, up from 3.4 percent today.
The second strategy is to build a more advanced ICT professional workforce and increase hiring so that the field represents at least three percent of the country’s overall workforce, up from 1.09 percent today.
The kingdom will build more highly skilled professionals and new skill capabilities, especially in multidisciplines that are necessary for creativity and innovation in ICT services.
The third approach is to build the ICT industry to become more competitive at Asean level and uplift Thailand’s ICT benchmarking industry competitiveness.
Furthermore, the use of domestic products will be encouraged, especially in software, ICT services and digital content.
‘Smart Government’ is the fourth strategy, providing intelligent and integrated services open to all stakeholders.
Currently e-Government services are still not yet widely used or accessible to citizens, causing Thailand’s rank in the e-Government index to slip from 64 in 2008 down to 76, from a total of 183 countries, in 2010.
Software Park Thailand board chairman Manoo Oradeedolchest said the government should adopt social networking as a tool to reach their citizens and encourage them to become e-Participants, and as a tool to recruit a talented workforce.
"Free trade and investment liberisation represents an opportunity to recruit talented people, but it is also a challenge to retain existing talent," he explained.
"The government should be aware of this and leverage use of social media to reach global specialised talent and the young generation."
Chadamas continued that using ICT to build a stronger economy is the fifth strategy, which can be achieved by enabling the use of ICT in agriculture and encouraging the use of wireless sensors with embedded systems and creating innovation in the service industry.
The use of ICT to encourage social equality is the sixth strategy, with the aim that all citizens should gain greater IT literacy through improved access to and utilisation of telecommunications and information services.
Using ICT to sustain environmentally friendly practices is the final strategy, with research and development of green ICT to be encouraged alongside the use of an intelligent transportation system and Smart Grid.
Moreover, Chadamas plans to propose some pilot projects for key initiatives such as Smart Grid, Green Data Center, e-Waste and the second phase of the Intelligent Transportation System.
"The success of this vision will depend on a strong political and a strong leadership and governance structure, together with an effective coordinating mechanism across ministries," she said.
A representative from the Royal Thai Police said the draft should promote the use of domestic security ICT, such as CCTV, to reduce costs from imported technologies and open opportunities for domestic professionals.
"Currently, any incident related to domestic security affairs needs CCTV footage as evidence," said the police source.
"It is estimated that 10 million CCTV cameras are needed to cover all critical areas."
Meanwhile, a representative from the Royal Thai Navy said the draft concentrates only on cyber security, but it should consider using ICT more to strengthen national security issues such as protecting the country and tackling cyber crime.
Methini Thepmani, executive director, Policy and Strategy Bureau, Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, said the draft will be proposed to the National Information Technology Commission (NITC), of which Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is the chairman, and submit to cabinet a solution by next month.
Currently, there are discussions to establish a sub committee with the Labour Ministry to endorse national IT professional certification for project managers, system analysts and security experts.