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Socioeconomic Changes in the Digital Age Cause Growing Concerns Over Family Structures and Child Development

With economic and social pressures on the rise in Thailand and around the world, intense competition in the job market, and accelerating adoption of digital technologies and social media, many Thai families have begun to suffer from chronic stress and eroding mental health. Furthermore, many parents spend less quality time with their children, which can worsen family ties and impact child development. And the situation is only worsening. dtacblog spoke to Associate Professor Dr. Adisak Plitponkarnpim, pediatrician and director of Mahidol University’s National Institute of Child and Family Development, about Thailand’s family crisis, the concept of inclusive childcare, and autism-like characteristics in children caused by excessive screen time. His research aligns closely with the goals of the dtac Safe Internet initiative, which aims to promote digital resilience for children, the future builders of the nation and tomorrow’s citizens. Family Stressors Impact Child Development A joint research study, conducted by Mahidol University’s National Institute for Child and Family Development and the Child Safety Promotion and Injury Prevention Center of the university’s Faculty of Medicine Ramathibodi Hospital on nearly 2,000 children from low-income neighborhoods, found that poverty is directly correlated with dysfunctional family relationships. Children raised in such families tend to experience…

Telenor – Building a new telecom-tech company in Thailand for growth 2.0

During a briefing with media in Thailand, Sigve Brekke, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Telenor Group and Jorgen Rostrup, EVP and Head of Telenor Asia, Telenor Group talked about Telenor’s ambition to build great telecom-tech companies in Thailand and Asia. The roundtable discussion happened one day after Telenor and Axiata received regulatory clearance in Malaysia to move on to the next steps with the Celcom-Digi merger in that market. When Telenor enter the Thai market 20 years ago, the company’s vision was that every Thai deserves a mobile phone and should be able to afford it. Telenor launched market-changing initiatives such as per-second billing and new marketing and distribution models to bring affordability to the masses. Today, Thailand’s mobile phone penetration is 86% with 98.5 million mobile connections. That was what Sigve Brekke called Telenor’s growth 1.0 in Thailand. For the next 20 years, Telenor’s growth in Thailand will look very different. Sigve Brekke said that the telecommunications industry is facing a perfect storm with new technologies – artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and 5G - coming together. It will no longer be about connecting people together but connecting machines and physical objects to the Internet. There will…

Biodiversity Means National Security: What lies inside the National Biobank’s Vault

Through a joint research project between dtac, NECTEC and Chaipattana Foundation, Lingzhi mushrooms herald massive benefits for Thailand’s future Thailand ranks among the world’s richest countries in terms of biodiversity. In ASEAN, it is the third-most biodiverse. Around 10% of the world’s fauna species can be found here, as well as 8% of all flora species. In fact, at least 20,000 plant types are known to grow on Thai soil. But during the past five decades, the rate of species extinction has been hundreds of times higher than the rate of species discovery. This net loss is due to human encroachment, habitat loss, natural disasters and climate change. Recognizing this problem, dtacblog spoke to Sissades Thongsima, CEO of the National Biobank of Thailand. His agency is in charge of protecting what he likes to call “the country’s bio-security.” National Infrastructure for Biodiversity Dr. Sissades said that the biodiversity of fauna/flora species and microorganisms has historically been one of Thailand’s strengths. Such diversity is a precious resource that can be utilized for economic purposes. However, even Thailand’s level of abundance is exhaustible. Aware of this fact, the Thai government in 2018 approved a budget of roughly THB 800 million for the…

Breakthrough Research in Lingzhi Mushroom Cultivation in Thailand

In Thailand, farmers are recognized as the country’s backbone. But the Puey Ungphakorn Institute for Economic Researchreports that 40 percent of Thai farmers live below the poverty line. Their economic and social development was a strong focus of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who established the Chaipattana Foundation in 1988 to develop practical solutions to benefit his people. With this goal in mind, the foundation’s Highland Agriculture Research and Development Project is now collaborating with dtac for a 5G “Internet of Things” solution set to enhance the cultivation of the lucrative lingzhi mushrooms. Agricultural Lab Anutra Wannaviroj, director of the Highland Agriculture Research and Development Project, says HRH Princess Maha Chakri Siridhorn established the research center to develop agriculture in Thailand’s North. The Chinese government also provided investment in the form of products, machinery, personnel, plants, and technology transfers. Spanning 578 rai (231 acres) of land in Pong Nam Ron, in Chiang Mai, the project aims to train farmers and agricultural experts, making it the “agricultural lab” of the North. Ms. Anutra explains that the project’s operations are designed to match the geosocial context of the surrounding area. The project facilitates studies, experiments and the development of comprehensive organic-farming management…

Thai social enterprise wants elderly to go digital

Thailand has become a full-fledged aging society since 2021. Its elderly population (those over 60 years old) now accounts for about 20 percent of the total population, and that number is expected to rise to more than one third or about 20 million people. To better understand the so-called “silver tsunami,” dtacblog spoke to Thanakorn Phromyos, CEO and Co-founder of YoungHappy, a social enterprise that works to promote active aging and is a partner of dtac. He shared with us his inspiration in starting the social enterprise and the ambition to help seniors stay engaged, active and happy. Social Enterprise As an only child, Mr. Thanakorn, a graduate in aerospace engineering, wanted to become financially successful in order to take good care of his parents. But after his father retired, he started noticing that his father grew much older and started losing pride in himself. This, combined with his keen interest in solving social issues, inspired him to begin his journey as a social entrepreneur. “I’m always interested in finding solutions to social and environment issues, and I have participated in several volunteer programs,” he said. “One day I came across this book by Muhammad Yunus, a Bangladeshi banker and…

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,…