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How Digital Skills Help a Formerly Incarcerated Mom Launch a Successful Business

“Take nothing, get nothing, but bear the brunt” is a common Thai saying. It refers to situations in which people receive no benefits from their involvement, but instead suffer all the negative consequences. This saying perfectly encapsulates what happened to Suwimon “Dear” Suk-udomchokechai. An Accidental Criminal A few years ago, Ms. Suwimon worked as a teacher at a small primary school. But when the accountant resigned, certain school executives requested her to take on accounting duties on top of her teaching load, and she agreed. She certified certain key documents as part of her new role. But due to her implicit trust in the school executives, as well as her fledgling accounting knowledge, Ms. Suwimon soon unwittingly became party to corrupt dealings. Irregularities in the school’s accounting papers began to surface in late 2016. A probe identified Ms.  Suwimon as the person who certified the documents under investigation. She was charged with embezzlement and was convicted in February 2019. Her sentence could have been as long as 48 years, but being a first-time offender who confessed to her accidental crimes, she was sentenced 20 years – a daunting prospect nonetheless. To make matters worse, during her admission to the Central…

Citizen Developers Program: dtac’s key to a successful digital transformation and future-proof workforce

18 November 2022 - In the past five years, digital transformation has become a top agenda item at many organizations. The Covid-19 pandemic became a test on resilience and ability to transform in order to thrive in the digital battleground. The same is true for dtac, which has embarked on a full digital transformation journey since 2020. Raewat Tankittikorn, dtac’s head of Channel Excellence, said that dtac’s digital transformation efforts began with simplification and modernization, which required the organization to rethink its strategies, systems, and service-delivery methods. For customers, this means the in-store experience is continually improved with digitization. For example, today dtac shops are completely paperless, while the experiences on digital channels, such as dtac app and dtac One (app for retailers), are becoming more effective and seamless. Curbing Disruption Impacts “Over the past few years, the pandemic had forced temporary shop closures and reduced hours. Many dtac employees shifted to working from home,” Mr. Raewat said. “Thanks to our full-fledged digital transformation strategy, we were able to handle the situation well and successfully curbed impacts from disruptions, changing consumer behaviors, and natural disasters.” dtac has integrated artificial intelligence (AI) into its work process in the past two years…

Look into Frontliners’ Lives: How dtac Engineers Work Behind the Scenes during Flood Crisis

Floods have been raging in Thailand’s Central region for nearly two months now. According to the National Water Command, accumulated rainfall has been 21 per cent higher than average during the period because of three storms: Mulan, Ma-On and Noru, plus low-pressure ridges. As the Chao Phraya River overflows, run-offs spread through its western fields to Chainat, Sing Buri, Angthong and Ayutthaya alike.  Kanokporn Thongprasert, a 56-year-old villager in Ayutthaya’s Paniad Klong Chang Community, told dtacblog that even though her community had been inundated every year, this time floods were more serious – even when compared with 2011 big floods. Now, floodwaters are about two metersdeep. In other words, the first floor of her house is completely swamped. Worse still, in previous years inundation used to subside within weeks. But this year, floods have persisted for about two months already.“Floods are quite common in Ayutthaya. But during the past two years, floods have become a real crisis because the floodwater level is higher and floods drag on longer,” Kanokporn lamented. In the face of severer flooding, Kanokporn has lost her income. She usually works at Klang Klong Sa Bua Temple, which has received fewer financial donations lately. Monks cannot go…

How one former prisoner is changing lives with her online bakery

We have all made mistakes. But some of us have made mistakes so serious and irreversible that they have deprived us of future opportunities. Chon Buri native Sansanee Tanakarnkowit made one such mistake when, 12 years ago, she got involved with drugs. At the tender age of 20, she started working at nightclubs. Due to the nature of her profession, she spent lots of time with friends and partied wildly every night. One night, a friend invited her to do “something fun”. She agreed and tried narcotics for the first time. Within four years, Ms. Sansanee became heavily addicted and began selling drugs to her friends. Eventually she was arrested and sentenced to two years in jail. Losing Freedom Twice As a person who thrived on city living and the company of friends, Ms. Sansanee became desperately lonely in prison. “Life behind bars was very difficult for me especially during the first few weeks. I had to adjust a lot. The prison was crowded. The bathroom was an open-plan with no privacy. I was stressed out and experiencing withdrawal symptoms. I even collapsed at one point,” she recalls. “But after a few months, I finally settled into a routine. I…

How Thailand’s casual gaming landscape gets a boost from dtac’s Gaming Nation

In June 2021, dtac launched a gaming initiative as part of its “Beyond Mobile Connectivity” strategy, which aims to build a comprehensive digital ecosystem and transform the dtac app into a super-app. Gaming Nation, dtac’s mobile platform designed for all gamers, has been the key component of this gaming initiative, and a pioneer in Thailand’s growing casual gaming landscape. dtacblog spoke to dtac’s Head of Digital Product (Gaming) Patchara Vanthongkam, whose team is responsible for Gaming Nation, about Thailand’s gaming habits and the role that Gaming Nation plays in industry growth. The Rise of Mobile Gaming A gaming enthusiast himself who has worked with big-name game developers in the region, Mr. Patchara understands the potential of the gaming industry in Thailand. “About 32 million Thais – almost half of the population – play games. Overall, this market is worth around 30-40 billion baht,” he said. “And though the growth rate has not been very high in the past few years, the gaming market continues to grow steadily thanks to mobile games.” The continued growth of Thailand’s gaming industry is spurred by several factors. First, with the boom of smartphones, players no longer need dedicated gaming devices in order to play.…

Nice advantages that make you smile from ear to ear when dtac and True merge into Telecom-tech Company

The Telecom-tech Company will be a new company utilizing the synergies from the more than 30 years of telecommunication expertise of dtac and True. This company defines itself as a technology-oriented telecommunication service provider with a mission to satisfy customers with advanced infrastructure, innovation and services towards sustainable growth and cultivation of a solid digital ecosystem. If we are customers of Telecom-tech Company, by being existing customers of dtac or True, what services or care can we expect to receive under Telecom-tech Company? Better, faster network with improved coverage in Thailand. Improved mobile experience with 5G and 4G broadband internet with more efficient services due to merged coverage, and more capacity for the company’s 50 million customers by providing the best access across all provinces in Thailand. With access to True and dtac’s combined infrastructure, customers will get the ultimate mobile experience. More convenience and more service centers and call centers to provide better access for customers There are more service centers to provide better customer support with after-sales services. dtac shops and True shops nationwide will provide customers with a seamless service experience and innovations to enhance customer convenience. Customers can expect nationwide service 24 hours every day. Better…

Mobility data unveils 19 tourism clusters that can attract more tourists to second-tier provinces and reduce economic inequality

In the past four decades, Thailand has been struggling with the challenge of area-based inequalities. Before the Covid-19 crisis, the Thai economy was worth 16.9 trillion baht, but 70 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) came from just 15 provinces, which are those of the Bangkok Metropolitan Area, Chon Buri, Rayong, Chachoengsao, Phuket, Songkhla, Surat Thani, Chiang Mai, Nakhon Ratchasima, and Khon Kaen, while the rest 62 provinces contributed only 30 percent to GDP. Area-Based Inequalities A deeper analysis of Thailand’s economic drivers reveals that the same 15 provinces have generated 88 per cent of tourism revenue, while the other 62 provinces, also known as second-tier provinces, have contributed just 12 percent of gross tourism revenue. Asst. Prof. Dr. Nattapong Punnoi, a lecturer at the Department of Urban and Regional Planning of Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Architecture, said, “Area-based inequalities have prevailed in Thai tourism for a long time. Most tourists choose to visit only major provinces, which led to resource degradation and significant income equality.” According to a report published by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, the average length of stay for each domestic trip is 2.5 days, suggesting that Thais usually travel during weekends or…

How a mobile operator, a university, and a data expert harness the untapped potential of mobility data to rebuild Thai tourism and promote social good

“Our project started out of our belief in the power of data. We have already seen so many use cases involving commercial data. So, won’t it be better to bring experts from various fields together to solve social problems through data? dtac decided to do this project after just a one-hour talk with Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Architecture and Boonmee Lab,” said On-uma Rerkpattanapipat, Head of Communication & Sustainability at dtac. She is the key person behind the “Study Project on Mobility and Concentration of Thai Tourists during COVID-19 Outbreak based on Mobility Data” with the code name Project Phatthalung. Ms. On-uma believes that the telecom industry is an important “data enabler" because only a few industries have access to such massive amounts of customer data. In the beginning, the three partners of the project thought about conducting the study in Phatthalung province only. But after reviewing the potential of mobility data, they agreed to conduct the study on a national scale. Billions of Datasets It took nearly two years for the Phatthalung Project to take off, though. The three partners spent considerable time assessing and reviewing the risks involved in mobility-data handling during the research process. Over a one-and-a-half-year…

How mobility data can improve public policymaking for tourism promotion in second-tier provinces

The transition into a digital society has rapidly changed the social landscape, with the private sector actively using big data for commercial purposes. Many governments are discussing how to apply big data in a similar manner for the formulation of public policies. According to Asst. Prof. Dr. Nattapong Punnoi, a lecturer at the Department of Urban and Regional Planning of Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Architecture, there are widespread debates on the use of big data for policy formulation in many countries. Norway, Sweden, France, and Slovakia, for example, use mobility data to analyze travel patterns to develop tourism strategies. Likewise, the collaboration between dtac, Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Architecture, and Boonmee Lab also reveals the potential of mobility data in public-policy formulation. When compared with data from surveys, mobility data is much more extensive and the process of data collection is much more cost and time efficient. If used in policymaking, mobility data can drive massive impacts and innovations for sustainable economic, social and environmental development. “Access to mobility data does not just allow the public sector and researchers to better understand social circumstances in a timely manner, but it also enables civil society, communities, and small-scale business owners to…

Mobility data reveals second-tier provinces with potential to develop overnight tourism

Another tourism-promotion strategy that came out of the study on movement patterns and concentration of Thai tourists during COVID-19 outbreak based on mobility data focuses on developing experience-based overnight tourism. Asst. Prof. Dr. Nattapong Punnoi, Urban and Regional Planning Department, Faculty of Architecture, Chulalongkorn University, said, “Overnight stay is an indicator of tourism success. Cities with many overnight tourists are considered successful because overnight tourism can generate higher revenue and economic value than same-day tourism.” Overnight tourism also creates higher positive social impacts as tourists have more opportunities to interact and engage with local communities. The longer the visit, the higher chance they are exposed to a cultural exchange experience. The aim of experience-based overnight tourism development is to build a “fanbase” of a city, which leads to quality tourism and repeat visits. Also, tourists will continue to purchase products from those areas even after they have returned to their hometown. This is the importance of experience-based overnight tourism development and how it can pave way for sustainable tourism economy. “Tourism can generate a positive economic and social impact to local community, especially in regards to experiences and cultural exchanges,” Asst. Prof. Dr. Nattapong added. Three Overnight-Tourism Trends The study…