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This startup fights for fun and meaningful learning experiences in Thailand

The outbreak of Covid-19 was a turning point for Thai education. When schools closed and shifted to online classes, a lack of digital tools and skills, as well as outdated curricula, were laid bare. dtacblog spoke to Chalipa Dulyakorn of INSKRU, the education startup and a partner of dtac’s Safe Internet project, to understand how tomorrow’s classrooms can be redesigned to build digital resilience among children and youth. Create safe spaces in school INSKRU has made learning more enjoyable for over two million students. In 2018, it reached the final round of dtac Plikthai, a platform to crowd-source socially conscious initiatives. It received the funding of 100,000 baht and was connected by dtac to a group of experts. Ms. Chalipa then used the money for creative workshops with teachers, which turned out a success. Not long after, INSKRU was chosen as a partner of dtac Safe Internet, whose ambition is to foster digital resilience in children and youth by joining forces with students, teachers, parents, and both private and public sectors. dtac leverages INSKRU’s expertise and their community of 200,000 teachers, who play a vital role in redesigning learning process and act as guardians in school. “dtac has set a…

New Culture Needed to Fight Cyberbullying Says Behavioral Economist

During the past years, discussions on behavioral economics have been growing among economic and social policymakers in Thailand. Their debates have raised questions as to whether traditional mindsets are still practical for policymaking in today’s context. Case in point: policies that try to promote savings among Thais. They have hardly achieved any success because of cultural factors, and often Thais get old before they can get rich.To support its fight against cyberbullying, dtac collaborated with Chulalongkorn University’s (CU) Faculty of Economics to use behavioral economics to better design practical policies and solutions to this issue. Together, dtac and Chulalongkorn University worked on a framework to engage Thailand’s youth around Safe Internet projects that could truly change behaviors. To better understand how behavioral economics can promote healthier online spaces, dtacblog spoke to Asst. Prof. Thanee Chaiwat, president of CU’s Program in Political Economy and director of the Chulalongkorn Experimental Economics Center,“Focusing on motivators including emotions and experiences, behavioral economics recognize that humans are not always rational,” said Prof. Thanee. “If motivators are well-designed, humans can be expected to give positive responses—similarly to a free market system. Behavioral economics can address cyberbullying too, as it recognizes the cultural complexity behind the problem.”Prof.…

Meet the LGBTQ ally and diversity champion helming dtac’s human resources

During Pride Month, dtac made history as a large enterprise in the SET50 extending its spousal benefits to same-sex couples. dtac also categorized gender reassignment surgery as medical leave and now offers parental leave for parents who adopt infants. The new policies reflect dtac’s responsible business foundation that brings together compliance, data privacy, supply chain sustainability, digital upskilling, climate change, human rights and the health and safety of our workers. dtacblog spoke to Nardrerdee Arj-harnwongse, Chief People Officer of dtac, to understand what motivated her to the launch these new policies. Bringing Your Whole Self to Work “Diversity and inclusion have always been at the core of dtac’s culture,” she said. “A few years ago, a same-sex couple asked if they were entitled to dtac’s wedding leave and allowance—and we said yes! But there was no specific mention of same-sex couples in our policies. We’ve now corrected that to send a strong message to our LGBTQ employees. We see you, we value you, and we want you to feel at home here.” As dtac’s Chief People Officer, Ms. Nardrerdee must keep thousands of positions staffed with happy, productive employees. Overall, dtac’s male-female divide leans towards the latter (68 percent) and the…

Why tackling climate change matters to dtac and Telenor

The planet is facing severe environmental deterioration caused by resource exploitation, leading to a decline in biodiversity. Shoreline cities like Bangkok are sinking faster than expected due to the rapid rise of sea levels. Agriculture is being disrupted by flooding and drought brought by extreme weather patterns, posing challenges to food security. “Climate change is not a linear problem, it’s an exponential problem,” Kristian Hall, Climate and Environment Director at Telenor, told dtacblog, referring to tipping points such as the melting of arctic permafrost, resulting in additional emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane. Telenor is a major shareholder of dtac and provides the company with expertise in many areas, including climate change. Adhering to the Paris Agreement In 2015, representatives from 196 states gathered in Paris to adopt the legally binding international treaty on climate change, the Paris Agreement. Its goal is to limit the rise of global temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius – preferably to 1.5 degrees – compared to pre-industrialization levels. “To achieve this long-term cap on temperature levels, each country is required to issue plans on how to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Nordic countries are setting stricter and more ambitious climate targets, aimed…

dtac CEO: Rethinking Business Resilience for the Post-Pandemic Economy

Human resilience is truly inspiring. And mobile connectivity has underpinned much of society’s ability to rapidly adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic. Within the first lockdown, dtac saw triple-digit growth in the apps our customers use to keep productive under social distancing guidelines, such as apps for video conferencing or collaboration in the cloud. During this third wave of the epidemic, we are also seeing data usage double at field hospitals, as patients and healthcare workers rely on mobile connectivity for critical information—and to stay in touch with their loved ones. And who could have predicted that 95 percent of dtac’s head office would be working from home one day? But despite these examples of human resilience, businesses are not always as flexible as individuals. And Thailand is now faced with the formidable challenge of rethinking business resilience for the post-pandemic economy. How can businesses be faster to change, less easily disrupted, and built on sustainable models that benefit all their stakeholders? We believe responsible business is the answer. CLOSING THE DIGITAL GAP COVID-19 accelerated the adoption of digital channels, both for private and government services. This has been an extraordinary opportunity for businesses to build their resilience by developing always-on,…

Telenor Connexion and dtac bring IoT-powered resilience to Thai businesses

As Thailand continues to digitize, the Internet of Things (IoT) market, which is a key enabler to this transformation, is slated to grow to US $2.19 billion by 2030 from US $120 million in 2018[1]. This staggering growth, coupled with even stronger data connectivity driven by 5G deployment, will be crucial not only to recovery, but also economic transformation. Against this backdrop, major IoT providers such as Telenor Group’s Telenor Connexion are in leadership positions to drive the innovation required to maintain and extend Thailand’s already high levels of IoT implementation. Telenor Connexion and Telenor’s businesses in the Nordics recently consolidated its global portfolio of brands under a single brand, Telenor IoT.  Telenor Connexion is a major partner to dtac and has been invaluable in dtac’s development of 5G and IoT use cases.  To better understand how machine-to-machine communications can boost Thailand’s digital transformation, dtacblog spoke to Seth Ryding, Chief Sales Officer Global Sales for Telenor Connexion. Q: How has the pandemic impacted the need for IoT solutions? A: The past 12 months have accelerated demand for IoT solutions. Things that could be done in person, such as meter readings, can no longer be carried out in the same way…

Changing digital usage drives need for radical transformation in mobile operators

dtac’s Head of Transformation shares how fast-changing consumers are pushing organizations to adapt Due to the pandemic, consumer behaviors are changing more rapidly than ever Organizations must accelerate their digital transformation to meet customer expectations for better services, more flexibility and greater personalization.   Driven by new ways to shop and work online that bloomed during lockdowns, mobile data usage in Thailand nearly doubled in 2020, reaching 20GB per person per month. To keep up, mobile operators must invest heavily in their networks. And they must do so while maintaining affordability. In this context, the sustainability of network operators will depend on their ability to transform and deliver services beyond basic connectivity. To understand how dtac is navigating this dilemma, dtacblog spoke to David Uhlenbrock, dtac’s new Head of Transformation and Business Development. Digital First “Digital transformation has been a hot topic for years. But there’s this misconception that you do it once and then you’re done.  In fact, we will always need to transform ourselves,” said Mr. Uhlenbrock. “As usage of digital channels grows, dtac’s ways of work must be simpler and more automated to deliver on the speed and experience customers expect. This isn’t new. But with the…

“Never stop learning,” dtac tech chief advises

This month, dtacblog conducted its “Lunch at the Top” interview with Prathet Tankuranun, the chief technology officer of dtac. His venue of choice sits high on the 26th floor of Chamchuri Square, on the same floor as dtac’s network operations center. There is no fancy executive dining room on that floor. Instead, the venue was dictated by Mr. Prathet’s lunchbreak routine. These days, 15 minutes and a boxed lunch brought to his desk by his assistant is all he gets. Mr. Prathet is a man on a mission, namely dtac’s “One Cell Site One Hour” rollout. His long workday starts at 8.30 am. At 7 pm sharp, while others are heading home, he begins a daily meeting with his network team. He then wraps up a few more loose ends and leaves the office at about 9 pm. Given that Mr. Prathet spends more than 13 hours at his office, he has little patience for “death by PowerPoint.” Instead, he meets with his team in a table-less room where armchairs are arranged in a circle and participants are encouraged to speak frankly—and concisely. The business of network quality is always one of utmost urgency. “Testing the performance of our network around the…

Unlocking the power of 5G in Thailand remains uniquely complex

VP of External Relations Austin Menyasz on how 5G’s benefits can be unlocked more quickly Originally from Canada, Austin Menyasz joined dtac in June 2020 after three years in Singapore with Telenor Group’s Asia operations as Director of Public and Regulatory Affairs. Previously, Mr. Menyasz was based in Hong Kong representing the mobile industry across Asia Pacific on policy and regulatory matters with the GSMA and was a civil servant for the Government of Canada. As VP External Relations at dtac, he continues to work with numerous stakeholders, from industry groups to technical experts and regulators, to ensure dtac can provide the best possible services to its customers. He joins dtac at a time when public-private partnerships have never been so critical to the success of Thailand’s digital transformation, due to 5G reshaping how businesses, government and telecom operators work together. dtacblog spoke to Mr. Menyasz to better understand how Thailand’s policy and regulatory framework affects the future of mobile connectivity. “Ultimately the underlying government objectives in Thailand do not differ substantially from the ambitions anywhere else: leveraging technology to better the everyday life of citizens and boost economic productivity. What does differ in every country is the regulatory and…

How COVID-19 made purpose and empathy the future of work

In this month’s Lunch at the Top, dtacblog asks dtac’s Chief People Officer Nardrerdee Arj-harnwongse about work’s next normal COVID-19 accelerated the need for dtac’s transformation due to changing consumer habits dtac is a pioneer in flexible work in Thailand, with thousands of employees working remotely. dtac’s head of human resources says leaders must empower their teams with a strong purpose. dtacblog’s Lunch at the Top series interviews top executives from dtac and Telenor to understand how they view telecommunications’ changing role in Thai society. But due to COVID-19, “lunch” has mostly been transformed into video calls. And no one is closer to such changes than Chief People Officer Nardrerdee Arj-harnwongse. As dtac’s head of human resources, she’s spearheaded the largest flexible work scheme in Thailand, with dtac announcing last year that remote work is here to stay indefinitely for all roles that allow it. We spoke with Ms. Nardrerdee this January, just as Thailand was experiencing a second wave of COVID-19. The company headquarters had been maintaining a 30 percent occupancy level to enforce social distancing throughout the year but had just tightened rules to reduce it further. LEADING IN A CRISIS “The new normal impacts dtac in every…