2018 is the year that Thailand joins the countries like Malaysia and Singapore in exploring the cutting-edge technology and exciting business ventures that will put Thailand on the map for innovation and success.
The project is spearheaded by Chulalongkorn University, a prestigious and state-of-the-art school who understands the importance of funding and supporting technological endeavors. The Innovation District will be located in central Bangkok, on a designated 10,000 square meter plot of city land. It will cost one billion baht over five years and is an ambitious pairing of governmental and private money. The objective is cementing Thailand’s place on the map as a global mover and shaker. It will have four primary focuses; talent building, futurism, marketplace, and industry liaison.
Talent building centers on grooming promising entrepreneurs and innovators through a carefully cultivated community and mentorship program. An estimated 120,000 people will be streaming in and out of the completed Siam Innovation District daily, creating the perfect environment for an organic, supportive community to develop. Through talent building, the potential of this community will be harnessed in structured mentorships, competitions, and events. Hopefully, through organic and structured communities, innovation will be accelerated and streamlined.
Futurism will turn an eye to the smart cities and infrastructure of the Thailand of tomorrow. It will help create a roadmap to reach lofty goals and allow creators to imagine and then realize the projects that will continue to move Thailand forward. With an ever-changing world, smart cities are necessary to stay current. Futurism is a big component of the Siam Innovation District because it’s a constant reminder of the end goal and a prompt to continue to work hard to make magic happen.
Marketplace refers to Chulalongkorn University’s commitment to foster a healthy environment that encourages innovation and works with community leaders to engage them in the process. It will work to pair up innovators with developers, or experts with novices to put important projects on the fast track to development.
Industry liaison follows the same vein as marketplace, but on a more hands-on level. Creators would be tasked with solving specific market issues in exchange for contracts with business, taking the Siam Innovation District from theoretical to real-world application. Industry liaison is the logical last step of the project. As needs evolve, so will technology. The Siam Innovation District acts as an incubator for talent, then will export this talent to local businesses who can use it to create exciting new projects and offerings. Eventually, industry liaison will be married to futurism, with Siam Innovation District participants designing cutting-edge infrastructure.
The four primary focuses of the Siam Innovation District will act as the foundation and core of their mission, that will allow them to achieve specific objectives. Chulalongkorn University has identified certain sectors and objectives associated with these sectors, including addressing the needs of an aging society, create blueprints for smart cities, sustainable development and farming, and digital technology.
Thailand’s society, like much of the world, is aging rapidly. The Siam Innovation District will look at how to best keep these people healthy and happy in their twilight years. Best healthcare practices will be explored and streamlined, and communities that cater to the needs of the aging will be prototyped and launched.
Smart city infrastructure is only one element of the initiative to envision metropolises of the future. Creative tourism and adherence to the ASEAN aesthetic and Thai culture will be explored also. How best to promote Thailand to the world, while still staying true to its unique cultural position?
Sustainable development and farming addresses the need to be ecologically friendly and make smart use of land and resources. It also looks at changing standards of food safety and how best to keep products fresh during transport.
Digital technology will leverage the current technological landscape to make the best use of the Internet of Things and robotics while taking into account the need to come up with innovative solutions to Big Data breaches. With the internet filtering into more and more of our daily lives through a variety of different sources, we are more vulnerable than ever to hackers. Digital technology will look at the twin needs to use new technology and also protect people from misuses of this technology.
The Siam Innovation District will officially open in March 2018. Currently, it has substantial government funding and local businesses such as Kasikorn Bank, the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) and Thai Beverage Plc. There are ongoing talks with large and medium-sized Thai companies regarding further funding.
Chulalongkorn University’s Siam Innovation District marks a major step for Bangkok and indicates a shift towards futuristic and forward thinking regarding the most pressing problems that the country faces. 2018 promises to be a very interesting year for innovators, educators, entrepreneurs and business leaders in the Thai city of angels.