There’s an exciting wave of digital transformation sweeping across Thailand, as the country’s Digital Economy and Society Ministry (DES) works tirelessly to expand its digital horizons. In a swift and strategic move, the ministry recently made an extension to the influential ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN). Having added three more Thai provinces – Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen, and Rayong, the DES is propelling Thailand further into the digital age.
The proud announcement was made by the esteemed DES chief, Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn, at the significant sixth annual ASCN assembly in Bali, Indonesia. With these new inductions, the network, which began with 26 cities, has now grown to encompass a total of 29 cities – a commendable expansion indeed.
However, the ASEAN Smart Cities Network is not just about numbers. The mission behind ASCN is to fuse efforts of member cities in a synergistic collaboration with the private sector. The goal? To infuse modern technology into public infrastructures, aim for better urban planning, and aspire for enhanced management. All of which would not only improve living conditions but make for a more sustainable future.
The ASCN does not just stand as a symbol of unity among its member cities. According to Chaiwut, it also forges robust cooperative ties with nations such as Japan, South Korea, and Australia. This, in turn, builds a strong platform for technology exchange and innovation.
On a parallel note, the Smart City Project Management Committee has also identified six more potential areas for development into ASEAN smart cities. These areas, ranging from Lampang in the North to Southern Nakhon Si Thammarat Municipality, are set to provide significant benefits to about 1.8 million citizens, as per DES Minister.
Notably, the nationwide Smart City blueprint currently sprawls across 36 different regions within 25 provinces. Each of these budding smart cities is expected to embrace the ‘smart’ core values, advocating a ‘Smart Environment’, a ‘Smart Economy’, and ‘Smart Governance.’
Adding another feather to Thailand’s digital cap, Nuttapon Nimmanphatcharin, the head of the Digital Economy Promotion Agency, mentioned the training of 134 Smart City Ambassadors as part of their groundwork. These Ambassadors aim to drive the smart city initiatives in their native regions.
The comprehensive groundwork also includes the commencement of the Smart City Leadership Programme, which has enlisted over 140 delegates from various sectors. Plus, the first ever Smart City Solutions Awards 2023 will also be unveiled at the forthcoming Thailand Smart City Expo 2023, as confirmed by Nuttapon.