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Advanced technologies with secure connectivity and intelligent capabilities, coupled with enhanced collaboration fostered among policymakers, community stakeholders, and technology vendors, will empower smart cities, address digital inclusion challenges, and promote increased gender equality, according to the technology giant Huawei. This holistic approach aims to effectively tackle Thailand's pain points of the digital economy, the digital divide, and the ongoing shortage of skilled cybersecurity talents, contributing to a more inclusive and technologically advanced future in line with Huawei's mission to "unleash digital for a better future".

The smart city revolution

At the Thailand Smart City 2023 event, Mr Sheldon Wang, Vice President of Enterprise Business at Huawei Technologies Thailand, confirmed the company's focus on the integration of technologies into cloud computing, smart connectivity, and intelligent operation centres to help create innovations in smart city development.

"We are committed to sustainable social and economic growth, prioritizing the enhancement of overall quality of life and education in urban areas." said Mr Wang. “Moreover, we are also dedicated to efficiency and security in smart city initiatives through the implementation of intelligent sensors, including 5G systems and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, contributing to swift emergency responses. Smart cameras and IoT devices connected via Wi-Fi will ensure real-time monitoring, enhancing the city's safety infrastructure.”

At the event, Prayuth TungsaNgob, Huawei Thailand's Chief Technology Officer of Enterprise Business, also highlighted Thailand's technological advancements, showcasing the most advanced 5G system in Asia and the unique AI computing system tailored to understand the Thai language.

The concept of Omni Safety is at the core of Huawei's Smart City security strategy, integrating data from communication systems across organizations in Thailand. An intelligent operation centre will serve as the control system, consolidating data for swift and systematic responses during emergencies.

Huawei's commitment aligns with its mission to contribute to Thailand's growth and transform the nation into a digital and smart city hub in ASEAN, emphasizing real-world applications and collaboration with sector partners for sustainable progress. Prasert Jantararuangtong, Minister of the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (DES), explained that the Smart City development plan for Thailand is part of the Mega Program for the country's transformation, aiming to enhance digital capabilities to bolster Thailand's competitiveness.

Smart cities in Thailand emerge from the integration of provincial or local government and private sector operations, with a focus on placing people at the centre. It involves the application of digital technology and innovation, including the creation of the City Data Platform (CDP) to gather useful data for efficient management and resource allocation. Currently, Thailand has several smart cities in operation, emphasizing the need for a continuous and sustainable approach to development with the aim to reduce disparities and create a unique identity. To date, country has 36 smart cities in 25 provinces, according to Mr Prasert.

Advancing Green Education in Communities

In a notable TECH4ALL initiative, Benjamin Liu, Human Resources Director at Huawei Technologies Thailand, showcased a collaborative endeavour with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Education Ministry, and local communities in the "Supporting Green Education and Schools in Thailand Project" in Nakhon Nayok Province. Spanning three years, the project aims to benefit more than 10 Green high schools, vocational schools, and communities, and will promote green infrastructure and sustainable practices, as stated by Mr. Liu.

The Digital Bus project has also been instrumental in providing free digital and cybersecurity training to over 4,000 students and residents in remote areas for two consecutive years, significantly contributing to the reduction of the digital divide. This collaboration mirrors a collective aspiration for capacity building, youth empowerment, and digital inclusion, marking significant steps in Thailand's journey towards a digitally connected future. The initiative also focuses on developing green infrastructure to serve as training hubs, imparting knowledge and skills in green energy and installations, thereby fostering a skilled workforce in schools and the job market.

Part of Huawei's global "TECH4ALL" initiative, which encompasses education, environmental protection, economic development, and healthcare, is geared towards addressing the digital divide. It aims to provide digital infrastructure and sustainable energy solutions, with a commitment to ensuring that at least 50% of the workforce impacted by the project are female students, thereby helping to close the gender gap in digital skills.

"Talent cultivation is a long-term, collaborative process that is vital for supporting Thailand's digital, low-carbon, and sustainable growth. Huawei, having been rooted in Thailand for 24 years, is committed to equipping more people with digital skills, ensuring no one is left behind in the journey towards a greener, more connected, and intelligent Thailand," stated Mr. Liu.

"Embracing greening is a conscious effort towards being more environmentally friendly. It involves making decisions and adopting lifestyles that encourage ecological responsibility. It's essential for protecting and sustaining resources for current and future generations," remarked Kirimoke Drollett, Chief of Administration of the UNESCO Regional Office in Bangkok, at the project launch in Nakhon Nayok Province.

Mr. Chaipat Panwatanasakul, Expert on Curriculum Development and Division Director of Strategy and Planning at the Department of Learning Encouragement (DOLE), highlighted that Huawei and UNESCO are also focusing on the issue of global warming. This includes sharing knowledge on water security, clean energy, biomass production, and waste management.

Trailblazing Women in Cybersecurity

AVM. Amorn Chomchoey, Secretary-General of the National Cyber Security Agency (NCSA) in Thailand, highlighted a significant gender gap in the field of cybersecurity, noting that "In Thailand, women comprise only 3% of the cybersecurity workforce, compared to the global average of 10%."

The NCSA, in partnership with Huawei, is spearheading efforts to increase the number of female cybersecurity experts in Thailand. This initiative includes promoting gender diversity in IT through the Women Thailand Cyber Top Talent 2023 competition, which is also shaping a future where diversity is a key driver for innovation and excellence in the rapidly evolving digital world.

The 2023 competition attracted 218 teams across three categories: Junior, Senior, and Open, totaling over 407 participants. It offers a platform for contestants to utilize their knowledge and skills in addressing real-world cybersecurity challenges, ultimately contributing to a skilled and prepared cybersecurity workforce for Thailand's future.

Pimchanok Utamee, from the Junior level winning team 'NR01', shared her experience: "Winning the Women Thailand Cyber Top Talent 2023 award has been an immense learning and growth opportunity. It enhanced my network in this career field and raised my awareness of the importance of cybersecurity systems."

Ms. Pimchanok emphasized the role she can play in educating others about cybersecurity and responsible technology use and noted the potential impact of technology from Huawei and other private organizations in enhancing Thailand's cybersecurity. This includes using AI for threat detection and prediction as well as creating platforms for collaboration and knowledge exchange to increase cybersecurity awareness, especially among children and the elderly. She also recounted challenges and doubts from male counterparts but stressed that expertise is not gender-based.

Lt.JG. Ratiros Phaenthong WRTN and SM3 Natthaya Ruasrijan, from the Open level winning team 'hacKEr4nDtHECA7-1', expressed their pride in representing the Royal Thai Armed Forces Cyber Security Center. They highlighted how the competition helped in assessing their skills, fostering problem-solving abilities, and keeping up to date with technological advancements.

Lt. JG. Ratiros emphasized the need for a shift in mindset regarding gender roles in professions. She believes that increasing gender equality can address skill shortages in public sector occupations. SM3 Natthaya, a forensic expert, added that women offer unique perspectives and approaches in problem-solving. She advocates for investing in educational programs and technology in schools to prepare the next generation while noting that organizing female-focused competitions can also create opportunities and promote acceptance in society.

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Quelle/Source: Bangkok Post, 31.01.2024

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