THAP SAKAE: Representatives from the Prachuap Khiri Khan provincial telecom office, Thap Sakae sub-district municipality and district police have signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) to develop the municipality into a ‘Smart City’ zone.
Signed on September 21 at the Thap Sakae Sub-district Municipality office, the agreement will serve as the basis to carry out various projects and initiatives to utilize telecom technologies for the stated purpose of “ensuring security of lives and property”.
Specifically, it implies increased surveillance, (wireless) connectivity and tracking of people’s property, movements and behaviors through integration of the internet of things, or the internet of everything (IoT, IoE).
This integration will focus on what has been dubbed the “Smart Safety Zone 4.0” – the number 4 being a reference to the fourth industrial revolution.
This 4.0 agenda and concept, which was popularized by Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum, a powerful international non-governmental and lobbying organization, has been embraced by the Thai government since 2016 when it was announced that Phuket would be among Thailand’s first 4.0 smart cities, in addition to Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya, Chiang Mai and Khon Kaen.
In Thap Sakae, smart city development will focus on three main areas initially:
- Setting up “SOS Call points” throughout the district, which will enable the instant reporting of emergencies. (Currently, to report an emergency in Thailand, one has to dial 191 from a working phone)
- Installing and integrating modern technologies to “surveil security of public spaces, tourism sites, communities and shady areas” to improve the quality of municipality and police operations
- Utilizing “health innovation” through the Smart Help Call Center of the National Telecom Public Company Limited to provide free wireless internet service throughout the district for tourists and locals seeking information and access to government services.
It is not immediately clear what link is implied between free Wifi and health innovation, but TriCove.Asia is seeking clarification on this aspect.
Elsewhere in Prachuap Khiri Khan, there has been an increased push for “smart city” tracking and tracing surveillance technology adoption and integration, especially since the expidited launch of new LTE 5G networks starting March and April 2020.
In November 2021, it was revealed that 480 CCTV cameras at 116 spots throughout Hua Hin had been integrated to support the city’s smart city agenda.
In March of this year, Hua Hin officials met with Korean investors, who expressed interest to invest in the development if the Thai resort city into a smart city similar to Busan and Songdo.
In Busan, robots and AI have been employed to assist in 4.0 ‘security’ measures, including for tracking and assisting elderly.
In related news. plans were recently announced to build a new $37 billion dollar smart city in Chonburi province. .According to Bloomberg, the new city will emphasize “precision medicine, clean energy and 5G technology, as well as a residential quarter that will be able to accommodate up to 350,000 people by 2032. . . The area has already attracted billions of dollars in investment pledges from firms in fields such as health care and robotics.”