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Cloud computing: Forecast sunny – Phuket Business

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Cloud computing: Forecast sunny – Phuket Business | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Lately, I have been hearing many stories of expats and tourists in Phuket whose laptops have been stolen. Having your laptop stolen is a terrible experience. You not only feel violated, but your life was basically on that computer. Picking up the pieces can be hard, but today it can be made easier with cloud computing. Cloud computing is the ability to back up all your data and do everything in cyberspace or in the cloud.

The easiest form of cloud computing for us expats is through Google’s Gmail. If you have a Gmail account, you have Google Drive. With Google Drive, you no longer need Microsoft Office. You can create a document, a spreadsheet, a presentation, keep track of your calendars, and everything is backed up on Google servers or in the cloud.

With Gmail all you need is a browser and an Internet connection. So if your laptop is stolen, all you have to do is go to an Internet café and access all of your important data just by logging into your Gmail account. All your documents and files will all be there on Google Drive.

A big advantage to doing everything through the cloud is that we no longer have to buy the most expensive laptop. The fastest computer with the most memory is no longer necessary. Basically all you need is a cheap laptop with wifi and a browser. So if this laptop gets stolen, it’s not as problematic as before.

Now I know many of you are thinking about security and privacy. The idea of handing over our important data is concerning. But we must remember that these companies have their reputations at stake and require security measures in place. If they didn’t they wouldn’t have any customers. Keep in mind that the only way to access your data is with your username and password and only you have that info.

Fortune 500 companies are now going way of the cloud. It helps them save IT costs by a tremendous amount. If Fortune 500 companies are going this route, it makes sense for us as well.

I have to tell you that cloud computing has made my life easier. I no longer have to worry about losing my data. As I travel through Thailand and back to the US, I can access all my info on my laptop or even on my smartphone. I really think cloud computing is the way of the future and I think cloud computing is a good area to be in for me and my clients.

My favorite stock is Google (GOOG). Google started as a search company, but has branched into so many other businesses. There’s Gmail, Google+, YouTube, Google Drive, soon Google Glass, and they own the popular Android operating system for smartphones. The stock has been a huge winner for me coming out of the 2009 financial crisis rising from US$300 to US$900.

If Google is a little pricey for you, I also like Salesforce.com (CRM) stock. Salesforce.com is purely a cloud computing company. They specialize in customer relationship management or CRM. A company can assign each customer an account and everyone in the organization can collaborate remotely. According to Forbes, Salesforce.com is the most innovative company in America.

How Salesforce.com makes money is via subscriptions. Salesforce.com has its services available in over 16 different languages and has over 100,000 customers with over two million subscriptions. The stock has been a great performer as well the past five years rising several hundreds of percent.

My third favorite stock in the sector is Accenture.

Accenture is the former consulting arm of Arthur Anderson that was spun off. Accenture is transitioning corporations to the cloud. Companies hire Accenture to streamline their operations and the easiest way for Accenture to do this is via the cloud. Accenture just this week invested $400 million to boost their cloud capabilities. More and more clients are going digital and Accenture wants to help them make that transition.

What I like about Accenture is that the company has virtually no overhead. Its assets are its people. Most employees work remotely or at the client’s locations. The stock has been a nice steady performer over the past five years rising from $30 to about $80 today. Since the company has virtually no overhead, there’s no need to make costly investments. Instead, the company returns the money to shareholders. In the past 7 years, Accenture has paid out $15.3 billion in dividends and share buybacks.

I like the cloud computing sector and it offers opportunities for the investor. If you would like to discuss cloud computing or investing in general, feel free to send me an email, call or Skype. I’m available any time to discuss technology, the global markets and the potential in cloud computing for investors.

Don Freeman is president of Freeman Capital Management, a Registered Investment Advisor with the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), based in Phuket, Thailand. He has over 15 years experience and provides personal financial planning and wealth management to expatriates. Specializing in UK and US pension transfers. Call 089-970-5795 or email: freemancapital@gmail.com.

Keep checking the Gazette’s business pages for the latest local and national business news updates affecting Phuket and Thailand. Alternatively, join our Facebook fan page or follow us on Twitter.

— Don Freeman

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Business

Slow return of foreign tourism makes more redundancies inevitable – Airlines Association of Thailand

Maya Taylor

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Slow return of foreign tourism makes more redundancies inevitable – Airlines Association of Thailand | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia

The president of the Airlines Association of Thailand says further layoffs in the sector are inevitable, due to the slow return of international tourism. In a Bangkok Post report, Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth says the sluggish revival of foreign tourism, now not expected until the last quarter of the year, means all carriers continue to face financial hardship. And while there was a surge in the domestic market during the last quarter of 2020, the return of the virus in late December brought demand to a grinding halt.

“We suffered a tremendous domestic impact during the second wave, and it will take months to climb back to its peak again. While re-opening for international markets will likely occur with few countries that have bilateral agreements with Thailand first, as health safety is a big issue for local communities.”

Significant layoffs have already happened over the course of the pandemic, with staff numbers at 7 carriers under the AAT umbrella now standing at 16,000, down from between 25,000 and 30,000, prior to Covid-19. Bangkok Airways has cut 20% of its workforce and only has 30% of its fleet in operation. Puttipong, who is also the airline’s president, says it transported just 300 passengers a day during the month of January. Peak passenger numbers prior to the pandemic were around the 5,000 mark. Covid-19 has also led to the demise of low-cost carrier Nok Scoot, which went out of business in June 2020.

Puttipong predicts that Thailand’s aviation sector could take 4 years to get back to anything like the 40 million foreign arrivals of 2019. He says all carriers will need to look at cost-saving initiatives as the only means of long-term survival. Thai Air Asia is one of 7 airline members of the AAT calling for a 14 billion baht soft loan. The carrier has been pushing the government to re-open, warning that Thailand risks losing its status as an international hub.

The Bangkok Post reports that the AAT plans to submit 3 requests to state agencies this week. They are calling for the vaccination programme to be extended to airline workers as a matter of priority, for the rapid introduction of a vaccine passport policy, and for the Transport Ministry to prepare the necessary regulations for international flights.

Puttipong has welcomed the recent decision to reduce quarantine for vaccinated arrivals, pointing out that the 14-day quarantine was the most significant hurdle preventing the return of foreign tourists.

“It’s quite impossible for tourists and business travellers to take 14-day quarantines before and after trips. They might have money to spend, but they don’t have the luxury of time to be kept in isolation for almost a month.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military

Maya Taylor

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Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook

Facebook has confirmed the removal of 185 accounts run by the Thai military and allegedly involved in information-influencing. The social media giant says the accounts were deleted for engaging in what it calls, “coordinated inauthentic behaviour”. In total, 77 accounts, 72 pages, and 18 groups have been removed from the platform, in addition to 18 Instagram accounts. It’s the first time Facebook has taken such action against accounts linked to the Thai government.

The accounts were associated with the Thai military and were targeting people in the southern provinces, Facebook said its regular report on coordinated inauthentic behavior. The south of the country has been the scene of decades-long conflict, with insurgent groups in the majority-Muslim, Malay-speaking region calling for independence. To date, around 7,000 people have died in the ongoing struggle.

Facebook says the deleted accounts were most active last year and used both fake and real accounts to manage pages and groups, both openly military pages and pages that hid their links to the military. Some of the fake profiles pretended to be people from the southern provinces.

The report mentioned a post by the now-removed account named “comprehending the operation” in Thai. The page posted the logo for Amnesty International Thailand and wrote “The NGO never cares about ordinary citizens because they have no role in society. Normal people are not famous. Any case is not big news. They are not worth the investment of foreigners so they will not do anything to help. This is why we don’t see anything from the NGO.”

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | News by The Thaiger

Image overlay translates to “The NGO never cares about ordinary citizens because they have no role nor money.”

On another now-removed account, named “truth about my home Pattani” in Thai, a post said “Muslim leader declares southern border is a peace zone. The southern separatists started a movement by spreading the idea that Thailand is under control by different believers so that people would come and fight for their religion. This was declared that the action clearly violates Islam faith.”

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | News by The Thaiger

Image overlay translates to “Southern border is not Jihad zone.”

When contacted by Reuters, the military had no comment on the removal of the Facebook accounts, with a spokesman saying the organisation does not comment outside of official press conferences.

The head of Cybersecurity Policy at Facebook, Nathaniel Gleicher, has confirmed the reasons behind the platform’s decision.

“This is the first time that we’ve attributed one of our takedowns to links to the Thai military. We found clear links between this operation and the Internal Security Operations Command. We can see that all of these accounts and groups are tied together as part of this operation.”

He adds that the accounts had spent around US$350 on advertising on both Facebook and Instagram. One or more of the pages had about 700,000 followers and at least one of the groups had 100,000 members. Gleicher says the accounts were removed because of their misleading behaviour and not because of the content being posted. The content included support for the military and the monarchy, with allegations of violence and criticism of insurgent groups in the south.

It’s not the first time accounts linked to the Thai military have been removed by a social media platform. In October, Twitter removed 926 accounts it says had links to the army and posted pro-military and pro-government content. The Thai army has denied any involvement with the accounts in question. In November, Twitter also suspended an account posting pro-monarchy content that was found to have links to the palace and to thousands of other accounts posting similar content.

To read the February 2021 Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior Report, click HERE.

SOURCES: Reuters| Facebook

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Central Thailand

Airline executive arrested for failure to pay wages of 150 workers

Maya Taylor

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Airline executive arrested for failure to pay wages of 150 workers | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia

An airline executive has been arrested in the central province of Samut Songkhram, after complaints from150 employees that they had not been paid. Chawengsak Noiprasan, who had a court warrant issued against him in October, was taken to Don Muang police station from a property in the Bang Khan Take sub-district. He is a board member of Siam Air Transport.

The airline began operations in October 2014 with services out of Don Mueang to Hong Kong, using 2 Boeing 737-300s. 2 Boeing 737-800s were added to its fleet in late 2015. It expanded by adding Zhengzhou and Guangzhou in China to its network in early 2015. In late 2015, the airline launched flights to Macau and Singapore. In 2017, the airline ceased all operations.

But according to an article in the Bangkok Post, the carrier operates a number of scheduled and charter flights from Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport. The Post reports that, as Chawengsak signs the company’s legal paperwork, all legal matters concerning the airline fall to him.

The Metropolitan Police Bureau says the executive has admitted to ignoring a 30 day notice issued by the labour inspector and ordering the payment of wages to 150 workers. It’s understood he is also wanted in relation to 7 other cases.

The authorities sought Chawengsak’s arrest following complaints from employees who say they haven’t received their wages for 2 months. It’s understood the airline had previously deferred salary payments for over 8 months. 150 workers filed an official complaint with Don Mueang police and also approached media outlets, asking them to pressure the airline into paying the money owed.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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