dtac Net for Living digitally upskills Seniors to Boost Silver Economy

September 29, 2021dtac Net for Living, is upgrading the digital skills of Thailand’s seniors with a focus on self-employed entrepreneurs aged 50 up. In partnership with dtac, the Digital Economy Promotion Agency, the Internet Foundation for the Development, and social enterprise Young Happy, the first batch of 250 trainees are expected to build their resilience in today’s challenging economic climate.

Sharad Mehrotra, chief executive officer of Total Access Communication Plc or dtac, said, “Aging society is a mega trend of the 21st Century. The United Nations has predicted that the population aged 65 and above will double to 1.5 billion by 2050.  Thailand is also heading towards this direction, with its elderly expected to grow from 20 percent today to 28 percent in 2033. In 30 years, Thai persons aged 50 and above are expected to account for 50 per cent of the total population or around 30 million people. If we don’t ensure seniors are digitally savvy, they will struggle to access healthcare, banking and government services. We also predict that they will need digital skills to develop additional income streams. Hence, dtac Net for Living is committed to closing the digital gap affecting Thailand’s seniors.”

The Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council has predicted that Thailand’s dependency rate – calculated from the ratio of elderly to working-age people – will rise from 27.7%today to 56.2% in the next two decades. This may lead to older generations having to stay in the work force longer.

Dr. Nuttapon Nimmanphatcharin, President and CEO of Digital Economy Promotion Agency (depa), said, “The ‘silver economy’ is one of the five economic fields that the government seeks to revolutionize with innovations, technologies, and creativity. If active aging is fostered among older persons via digital-skill development, the elderly will not only be emotionally and physically healthy but they will also contribute hugely to the economy. Today, the silver economy is worth about Bt100 billion and has the potential to grow by between five and 10 per cent annually. Internet of Things (IoT) technology, for example, can help reduce accident risks. Online games may be used to stimulate the brains of the elderly too. And digital connectivity facilitates health monitoring and enables telemedicine.”

Building Active Aging

“dtac sees digital technology as a key enabler for older persons’ quality of life. Digital tech promises to enable active aging and promote self-reliance among the elderly. Instead of being the vulnerable, the elderly can be valuable and meaningful contributors to society on a sustainable basis. To address these social and economic issues, dtac Net for Living is on a mission to groom entrepreneurs aged 50 and up,” Mr. Mehrotra added.

dtac Net for Living’s mission to groom ‘Silver Entrepreneurs’ ages 50 and up is a collaboration with the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (depa), the Internet Foundation for the Development of Thailand, and Young Happy, a social enterprise focusing on the elderly.

The dtac Net for Living team will be in charge of conducting digital-marketing training, coaching, and identifying selling points for elderly entrepreneurs’ businesses while depa will provide a fund and seek cooperation from other state agencies for target groups’ maximum benefits. The Internet Foundation for the Development of Thailand is responsible for managing projects and conducting training on how to handle risks in the online world. Young Happy, meanwhile, has the duty to select trainees and designing activities. In the first phase, dtac Net for Living will train 250 participants. 

Srida Tanta-atipanit, Manager of the Internet Foundation for the Development of Thailand, said, “In addition to giving access to technology, this mission will also focus on promoting digital literacy so as to ensure that the elderly keep abreast of changing circumstances, keep guard against deception and Romance Scam, know how to generate income through digital tools, and boost their self-reliance.”

Thanakorn Phromyos, co-founder and chief executive officer of Young Happy, the social enterprise promoting elderly community, said, “Young Happy is extremely pleased to play a role in solving problems for Thailand as the country is transitioning into a full-fledged aged society. The collaboration will slow down the decline of emotional and physical health among the elderly as well as reduce the risks of them becoming bed-ridden or home-bound. I trust that the mission will extend participants’ active aging for as long as possible based on the concept of having ‘Fun, Value, and Self-Reliance’.”

As the United Nations has declared 2021–2030 as the Decade of Healthy Aging, dtac is leveraging connectivity in support of this agenda and its wider agenda of digital inclusion, which ranges from safe internet for youth to high-speed internet for all.