Connect with us

Phuket

Phuket going ‘smart’ with B430mn initiative

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published 

 on 

Phuket going ‘smart’ with B430mn initiative | The Thaiger

PHUKET: The province is forging ahead to develop ‘smart city’ status with a 430 million baht initiative launched earlier this year.

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak gave the green light on March 21 to launch the pilot project. “The Thai government had been developing a smart-city concept, focusing on information-technology systems, which would become the foundation for the economy, society and tourism,” Deputy PM Somkid said.

The same day, Phuket Governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada and the mayor of Busan, South Korea, inked a deal to adopt digital technologies already in use in some of South Korea’s smart cities.

Information and Communications Technology Minister Uttama Savana-yana told the Phuket Gazette that Thailand’s Software Industry Promotion Agency (SIPA) was charged with using the 430-million-baht budget to develop the infrastructure for Phuket’s smart city status.

The minister initially announced the idea of turning Phuket into a ‘smart city’ in September of last year, concentrating on environmental concerns, investment-friendliness and tourist safety.

Plans for a 10-billion-baht digital real estate development, billed as a ‘digital-business hub with a view’ in Pa Khlok were revealed last December as part of a joint government-private sector venture aimed at attracting global technology giants, such as Microsoft, Google, Alibaba, Samsung and Facebook.

Deputy PM Somkid said that special privileges would be afforded to foreign investors looking to establish their businesses in Thailand’s new special economic zones. He added that the government would support Thai investors in negotiations with those foreign investors.

Last week, Phuket’s smart city status took a significant step forward when provincial officials met with diplomats from the British Embassy and representatives from the UK’s Trade & Investment Department (TID).

UK TID Technology Specialist John Griffiths said he was enthusiastic about the opportunities for Phuket to adopt inexpensive hardware and software solutions from the UK’s tech industry, when he met with officials at Provincial Hall on June 3.

One of the products of particular interest to provincial heads at the meeting was sensor technology from British-based tech manufacturers.

“If you wish to pick up and use data, traditionally you would go to a mobile operator and say, ‘I have a SIM card and would like you to transfer this data to my server.’ That’s a relatively low-cost option for about 250 baht per month to gather data and send it through,” Mr Griffiths said. “But cellular data is restricted by the cellular network. If you have no signal, you have no sensor.”

Mr Griffiths said he was eager to set up a data-collecting and analyzing system, called Laura, in Phuket, as a part of the smart city development project.

“Laura is a free-to-air spectrum that is close to an FM radio signal, meaning that the signal can penetrate buildings,” he explained. “It can run continuously for four to five years with a small battery.”

Mr Griffiths estimated that the infrastructure requirements for a system of sensors across Phuket would be about five radio masts, each with a 7km radius that could transmit data from up to 50,000 nearby sensors.

“It’s basically 100 times cheaper than a cellular network,” he said.

“The system would allow real-time measurements of things like water levels and water quality. You could have an interactive refuse collection system, which notifies you when bins are full and ready to be collected,” explained Mr Griffiths. “For example, sensors powered by small batteries or solar cells at intersections could measure carbon monoxide levels, and that, is your ‘smart city’.”
The data from the sensors can then be collected and analyzed.

“You may have companies that want to make a traffic app, or the local government could free up that data and have local companies doing a variety of things with that data,” Mr Griffiths said.
“In the UK, we have a hospital that has to check 9,000 water taps every day. That’s a job that usually requires two staff members and a manager,” he said. “But, with Laura, you can have sensors on each tap, doing the job of those three employees.

Marcus Winsley, Director of Trade & Investment at the British Embassy in Bangkok, said the solutions offered by technology like Laura, provides people and governments with data that allows them to improve their efficiency.

“We are here because we are excited about the ambition that the Thai government has to move up the curve of innovation, to become sustainable and environmentally clean,” Mr Winsley said.

“We believe there are technologies and solutions to issues, held by British companies and experts, that directly meet the needs of Phuket, all while building partnerships.”

“Phuket is an ideal location to develop as a smart city; as an island, you can control the system better. Also, Phuket is a fantastic base of tourism, which lives on data. There are lots of ideas which British companies can share that would be useful for Phuket.”

Patong Mayor Chalermluck Kebsup said that he’s looking forward to finding applications in data collection for predicting his city’s annual flash floods.

“My concern is with environmental issues in Patong, like flooding, air pollution and waste management. I’d like to see technology implemented that can detect water levels so we can issue timely flash flood alerts,” said Mayor Chalermluck.

“Patong is an old town. It was once a small village and now it’s a heavily populated tourist destination. Our infrastructure was not built to support such rapid growth. We have small pipes, yet more buildings are going up all the time. This is an ongoing problem which affordable technology can help solve.”

Phuket City Mayor Somjai Suwansupana echoed concerns over water management.

“These problems cannot be solved by the city alone,” she said. “Sensors would be useful along the canals running through Kathu, Wichit and Rassada.”

Vice Governor Prajiad Aksornthammakul said he was keen to use the British technology to address island-wide security issues.

“CCTV and other technologies could be used to screen people entering Phuket at a ‘gateway’ onto the island, and at piers. There, we could gather information about our visitors,” he said. “This is a good start for Phuket in becoming a smart city, and we welcome the British government’s involvement and support.”

Pracha Asawateera , Phuket branch manager of SIPA, believes Phuket has excellent potential to compete as a smart city against neighboring technology hubs, like Singapore and Malaysia, but admitted that a priority is increasing the province’s internet speed.

“High-speed internet access is essential for drawing companies to the island,” Mr Pracha said. “We aim to work with CAT Telecom to increase high-speed internet levels on the island to 100MB within the next three years.”

An additional 1,000 CCTV cameras to monitor traffic are also among the smart city plans for Phuket, ostensibly in order to curb traffic violations.

— Chutharat Plerin

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.

Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Phuket. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

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

Tourism

The Area Hotel Quarantine – tweaking Thailand’s arrival options

The Thaiger

Published

on

The Area Hotel Quarantine – tweaking Thailand’s arrival options | The Thaiger

We spoke about the new proposal for an Area Hotel Quarantine last Friday and in Thailand News Today. The mandatory 14 day quarantine (magically extended a couple of days at many facilities at the foreigner’s cost) remains the key sticking point for the return of tourists or travellers, in any significant or useful numbers. A number of visas and quarantine programs has done little to increase the numbers of foreign arrivals to Thailand.

The proposal, leaked out as a ‘discussion’ pending cabinet talks and a final decision, has not received much support from the overseas community that are trying to travel to Thailand, or former expats that are trying to get back. Many of the comments believe the 14 days, even restricted to a larger set of walls, is still too restrictive, costly and inconvenient.

“It would also be nice if the two weeks quarantine was not part of the visa! You get a two month visa minus the two weeks.”

“It’s still a prison if you can’t get out. Voting with my feet”

“There’s just not going to be any tourism until Thailand stops this 14-day quarantine nonsense.”

The proposal allows guests to leave their hotel rooms after the first 3 days of a 14 day stay. The proposal is on the agenda for the next CCSA weekly meeting. The proposal was mooted at a meeting last Thursday and chaired by Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn.

After the first 3 days, guests would have another swab test before being able to spend the remaining 11 days meandering around the rest of the hotel complex (so, suddenly, REALLY large hotels in great locations become much more attractive). But they wouldn’t be able to leave the hotel property.

The Area Hotel Quarantine is being seen as an accommodation for the hardest hit tourist zones in Thailand – Chiang Mai, Phuket, Krabi, Surat Thani (the 3 islands of Koh Samui, Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao) and Chon Buri (Pattaya). In all cases the key tourist zones are desperate for the government to ease restrictions or do something… anything… to help boost travel to the battered tourist economies that rely, mostly, on the visits from tourists.

After the 14 day AHQ the visitor will be free to travel anywhere around Thailand.

Last Thursday’s conference call says that Ministers are trying to come up with ways to start re-opening up Thailand to more travellers from next month by expanding the options and slowly easing restriction.. They also want to re-open talks with neighbouring countries and other countries deemed ‘low risk’, or with high vaccination uptake, with travel bubble options, hopefully by May.

About vaccinations, the government is also considering plans to have a no-quarantine option for visitors to come to Thailand as long as they’ve been vaccinated. But the Public Health Ministers says they are looking at the lead from the World Health Organisation about how to administer this sort of ‘vaccine passport’ access as there needs to be a greater body of knowledge about the efficacy of various vaccines. The International Air Transport Association is also in discussion with airlines and governments about restricting access to international travel for people who have been vaccinated.

It was also disclosed this week that some foreigners in the first batch of golf quarantine, where they have to stay in their room for 3 days then can roam around the golf course and play golf, have tested positive for the coronavirus after the test on the third day of their stay. Another batch of Villa Quarantine tourists, visiting Phuket at the end of February, have all returned negative test results.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

(The hotel depicted in the main photo may, or may not, be associated with the Area Hotel Quarantine program)

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.

Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.

Continue Reading

Crime

2 Phuket Town nightclubs shut down after allegedly violating multiple laws

Avatar

Published

on

2 Phuket Town nightclubs shut down after allegedly violating multiple laws | The Thaiger

2 Phuket Town nightclubs are shutting down after allegedly violating multiple laws. The Maldives and H20 on Lim Sui Ju Road, on the south end of Phuket Town were ordered by the Phuket Governor to close immediately, with the Maldives being orderd to close for 5 years.

The order comes after the Phuket City Police inspected the Maldives club, arresting the manager for operating an entertainment venue without a permit, allowing people under 20 years old to work or “use services in the venue,” and for selling alcohol without a permit.

Governor Narong cited his authority under Section 4 of NCPO order 22/2558 to order the Maldives nightclub to be closed for 5 years, from March 5, 2021 to March 4, 2026.

The order also prohibits the operators from opening any other entertainment venues during the same period. The H20 nightclub was ordered to close by a provincial order after Phuket City Police say they inspected the venue and charged the operator for selling or providing shisha, or baraku, without permission.

The owner was also accused of operating an entertainment venue without a permit and violating the provincial order for enforcing Covid-19 safety measures. But it is unknown what penalties were handed down to the operator of the H20 nightclub, unlike the Maldives operator, who received a penalty.

Instead, the governor cited the Revolution Council announcement of 1959, to shut down the establishment for 30 days from March 5, 2021 to April 3, 2021. The orders noted that both operators of the clubs have the right to appeal the closures, having 15 days to file an appeal directly with the Phuket Governor.

Meanwhile, Phuket is set to open its doors to vaccinated, international tourists by October, pending the government’s approval. The local government’s initiative, named Phuket First October, proposes vaccinating a majority of its population over 18 years of age in time for the high season.

The move would allow thousands of vaccinated Europeans to enter Thailand, while locals would be protected from the virus symptoms.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.

Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.

Continue Reading

Drugs

Early morning drug busts in Phuket yield 9 arrests

Avatar

Published

on

Early morning drug busts in Phuket yield 9 arrests | The Thaiger

An early morning drug bust in Rawai, Phuket has yielded 9 arrests. The first raid yesterday consisted of 30 task force members who raided a sea gypsy shack near the beachfront in Rawai.

43 year old Saroch Homhuan, and 34 year old Juree Bangjak, were arrested and charged with posession of a Category I drug with the intent to sell, after police found 9 pills of methamphetamine, or yaba in Thai, over 6 grams of crystal meth, or ya ice in Thai, and 3 other “items of evidence.”

31 year old Suriyan Na Takuathung, and 29 year old Prathip Areerop, were arrested and charged with possession of a Category 1 drug with intent to sell, and possession of a Category 5 drug respectively. Police say they found 20 pills of methamphetamine, 0.92 grams of dried marijuana and 5 items of drug paraphernalia.

Police also raided 2 houses in Moo 2, arresting 5 suspects, named as 21 year old Vikrom Kongwiriyakul, 32 year old Narunat Chanthamuwong, 18 year old Chanchai Damrongkaset, a woman named Chantha Hansaithong, and 21 year old Warut Rodphan.

Warut was allegedly found with a bottle containing 500 millilitres of kratom juice. Police also say they seized 150 grams of kratom leaf dregs which are used to boil leaves in order to make the juice. Police charged him with posession of a Category 5 drug.

Police say they confiscated a total of 13 litres of kratom juice from 4 other suspects, which was contained in 10 bottles along with other ingredients and equipment to produce the drug cocktail called ‘4×100.’

All 9 suspects were taken to the Chalong Police Station in which only 1 agreed to undergo drug rehabilitation.

The raids come after the Phuket Provincial Government ordered officers of the Muang District Office to target villages where drugs are prevalent. A spokesman for the government said police will continue to remove drug traffickers from the community while working to improve the quality of local people’s lives so they don’t have to use drugs anymore.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.

Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.

Continue Reading
Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4 | The Thaiger
Thailand3 days ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO | The Thaiger
Tourism4 days ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2 | The Thaiger
Phuket5 days ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO | The Thaiger
Tourism2 weeks ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 weeks ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO | The Thaiger
Tourism2 weeks ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21 | The Thaiger
Thailand1 month ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Follow The Thaiger by email:

Trending

Copyright © 2020 The Thaiger