IBM joins hands with Digital Ventures to strengthen business and education sectors, supporting Thai fintech, underpinning new S-Curve and Thailand 4.0 Bring ‘IBM Watson’ to fully drive cognitive technology in Thailand

IBM joins hands with Digital Ventures to strengthen business and education sectors, supporting Thai fintech, underpinning new S-Curve and Thailand 4.0
Bring ‘IBM Watson’ to fully drive cognitive technology in ThailandExecs_SASIN-Watson-IBM-DigitalVentures-MFEC IBM-Watson_Avatar ParnsireeAmatayakul_IBM ThanaThienachariya_DigitalVentures

August 4, 2016 – Bangkok, Thailand: IBM joins hands with Digital Ventures to integrate the strength of Thailand’s leading financial institution with ‘IBM Watson’, intelligent technology currently applied by businesses across industries worldwide to enhance their competitiveness. The partnership will serve as a catalyst and incubator for financial technology (fintech) ideas to be developed on cognitive technology platform.

Through this partnership, IBM showcases its readiness to introduce cognitive technology for enhancing Thai businesses, from corporations to startups. In addition, IBM experts team up to create an ecosystem for business and education sectors to drive government policy.

Nowadays 88% of data is unstructured. Images, voice, video and other unstructured content are too massive for computer systems operated by current programming computing to fully harness them”, said Parnsiree Amatayakul, Country General Manager, IBM Thailand Co., Ltd. “Right now, only 15% of organizations benefit from data analytics for their internal use[1]. The day when every business is ready and fully digitized, the ability to gain insights and benefit from such big data will be the key to make a difference and enhance business competitiveness. Cognitive is the next step of every business. Those who have vision and start first will have an edge.”

Cognitive technology is ready for Thai market; businesses are keen, as demands show.

Today, IBM Watson is the world’s first cognitive technology that integrates 5 fields of study, namely, (1) big data and analytics, (2) artificial intelligence, (3) cognitive experience including human-computer interaction (HCI), speech, translation, machine vision and visualization (4) cognitive knowledge including knowledge representation, ontologies, semantics, context and (5) computing infrastructure. So far, IBM has invested over $30 billion dollars to enhance cognitive technology, including acquisitions of The Weather Company to prepare for the Internet of Things, Merge Healthcare to gain ability to analyze and cross-reference medical images against 315 billion data points, Truven Health Analytics to help optimize offerings for value-based care, and Ustream to unlock the value of video, a rapidly-evolving digital media and data asset. The company also partners with Twitter, Facebook, Cisco, etc. to expand Watson’s capabilities to get ready for businesses of any size in any industry.  

IBM has also set up business units, such as IBM Watson IoT to drive collaborative innovation with clients, partners and IBM researchers and data scientists to create new opportunities for growth in IoT. Another business unit is IBM Watson Health which aims to improve the ability of doctors, researchers and insurers to innovate by surfacing new insights from the massive amount of personal health data being created daily. Most recently, IBM launched the Watson Centre at Marina Bay in Singapore – This latest facility will connect almost 5,000 IBM cognitive solutions professionals in the Asia Pacific region alone, including researchers, IBM Watson specialists, data scientists, software engineers, agile developers and analytics experts, and will be hub serving clients across Asia Pacific region, including Thailand.

Regardless of the size of enterprise, IBM provide solutions from the Watson Health Cloud Platform, Watson IoT Platform, and Watson-as-a-Service to the soon to be 50 Watson APIs on the IBM Bluemix cloud platform.

“Cognitive technology has been adopted across 45 industries in 20 countries now, such as finance, retail, healthcare, tourism, education and research, food and energy, from large multinational enterprises to startups. Some of IBM’s current clients and partners are the Singapore Government, SoftBank, Hilton group, ANZ Bank, Airbus, Medtronic, Sesame Street, The North Face, Thomson Reuters, Under Armour, KPMG, Parkway Pantai, Macy’s, and TED Talks. Bumrungrad International Hospital is the first hospital in Thailand to apply Watson for Oncology for lung, liver, colon, and breast cancer.” said Timothy Greisinger, Vice President of Cognitive Solutions & Apple Partnership, IBM ASEAN. “Thailand is one of the most open countries in ASEAN to embrace cognitive technology, particularly in finance, retails, insurance, healthcare, public sectors and startups. IBM has been continuously working with clients to explore how they can scale up their businesses with Watson.”

Build an ecosystem of business and education sectors

This year, IBM also plans to launch a full-scale innovation center in Thailand to bring cognitive technology and expertise while leveraging success cases from around the world to enhance potential of clients and business partners, in line with Thailand’s digital economy policy and research and education.

IBM has also set up teams to provide support related to IBM Watson in Thailand, mainly for Watson Analytics and Watson-as-a-service. In addition, regional and global experts work to educate clients, business partners, startups and developers in Thailand to help businesses leapfrog with cognitive technology. By the end of this year, IBM aims to enable more than 2,000 professionals and developers with related cognitive business knowledge, to help build competitive advantage for businesses in the digital era.

To date, over 2,000 professors and students in science, IT and business fields have also been enabled with IBM Watson and cognitive technology knowledge by IBM’s experts. Academics are also entitled to free courseware and usage of IBM’s Watson APIs on Bluemix cloud platform. These initiatives will help to develop the skills required for Thailand’s future, in supporting the country towards the new S-Curve and Thailand 4.0 roadmap.

This year’s highlight: partnership with Digital Ventures to support Thai fintech to regional and global arena

A highlight for this year is IBM’s partnership with Digital Ventures to host the world’s first IBM Watson Business Case Competition in Thailand. The focus of this competition is ‘fintech’ because it is the foundation of every business in any industry and it is one of the new S-Curve industries to drive Thailand towards the digital economy at full scale.

This competition will serve as a stage for Thai students and startups to learn and showcase their potential. Studies have shown that 9 out of 10 startups fail[2] because there is no market need[3]. The competition focuses on solutions that enable business adaptation in a quantum leap manner rather than perfect IT solutions without business feasibility. Experts from the event partners: IBM Watson, IBM Thailand, Digital Ventures, SASIN, Software Industry Promotion Agency (SIPA), and MFEC, will join the competition as coaches for all qualifying teams from the very first day of their participation in the competition. Each team will have 3-5 coaches to provide well-rounded perspectives covering cognitive technology, fintech, IT, and business viability.

“One of the missions of Digital Ventures is to support Thai startups in areas related to financial technology. This competition is a good opportunity for us to accelerate Thai fintech startups,” said Thana Thienachariya, Chairman of the Executive Committee, Digital Ventures Co., Ltd. “IBM Watson Business Case Competition is a good start for us to support education in Thailand. Digital Ventures is glad to help coach and give advice to all teams, while offering a trip to the whole team to explore more opportunities for their business. We will also provide an investment of THB1 million venture capital to the winning team.”

The competition winner will also stand the chance to participate in the IBM ASEAN SmartCamp, and will have opportunity to join the LAUNCH Festival, the world’s largest startup conference held every year in San Francisco, USA, to broaden their views on business and technology and seek opportunities for their business adaptation.


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[1] HBR Insight Economy Study

[2] Marmer, M., Herrmann, B., Dogrultan, E. and Berman, R. (2012). Startup Genome Report – A New Framework for Understanding Why Startups Succeed. (Version 1.1)

[3] The Top 20 Reasons Startups Fail by CB Insights