CAT Telecom selects Actility to power rollout of Thai national IoT communication network

cat telecom

The Actility Newsroom

CAT Telecom selects Actility to power rollout of Thai national IoT communication network with support from Teo Hong Silom

Actility is pleased to announce today that Thailand’s CAT Telecom has selected the ThingPark Wireless LPWA connectivity platform to power a national IoT communication network rollout across the country, beginning with a smart city solution for Phuket, soon to be followed by Bangkok. Actility is partnered with local system integrator and communication network specialist Teo Hong Silom Group to support the deployment and scale-up of the network.

Colonel Sanpachai Huvanandana, President of CAT Telecom, explains: “CAT Telecom is determined to develop a LoRaWAN network to support IoT services in line with the Government’s Thaliand 4.0 agenda. The key factors in developing true smart cities, such as we are pioneering with the city of Phuket, are infrastructure and services. These smart services will include Smart Metering, Smart Buildings, Smart Lighting, Smart Parking, Smart Farming, Smart Logistics and Smart Tourism. These services require a data communication infrastructure which covers a long distance, uses low energy and cuts the operating cost, all of which are major advantages of the LoRaWAN wireless network.”

“We’re very proud that our platform has been selected by CAT Telecom. This is a big win for Actility, demonstrating once again that ThingPark Wireless is the preferred solution for national commercial IoT network rollouts worldwide. We’re delighted to welcome CAT Telecom to the community of over 50 operators already using ThingPark-powered networks to support innovation in IoT applications and services. We’re also glad to be able to help CAT encourage innovation with a developer platform and a series of hackathons across the country.”

Olivier Hersent, CEO, Actility Tweet

Wisut Kaewbangkapom, Deputy General Manager ICT Solutions Business of Teo Hong Silom Co., Ltd (THS), comments: “We are excited and inspired by being a part of this project. We are confident and ready to deliver innovative solutions to CAT Telecom, to stimulate IoT activities and benefit everyone nationwide”.

CAT has also launched a ‘LoRaWAN IoT by CAT (Thai link)’ platform to support the commercial sector in developing and innovative industrial IoT services. Currently the company is testing a tracking service combining GPS and IoT communications enabling cars, motorbikes, dump trucks and coaches to be tracked across the province. In Phuket the service is supporting tourism, with a speed-boat businesses deploying the tracking technology to ensure the safety of their customers by installing trackers on their boats and providing tracking wristbands for their customers. CAT is also working with its alliance partners to support the smart tourism campaign through the Smart Phuket 4.0 mobile application, ‘Beacon’ devices that accurately inform tourists and foreigners in the province about product deals and tourist attractions, and ‘Digital Signage’ locating restaurants, tourist spots, accommodation, hospitals and the locations of key governmental offices.

“In the future, the information on the behaviours and activities of tourists will be aggregated by a Big Data Platform”, adds Colonel Huvanandana. “It will greatly benefit the business owners and city administration in. They will be able to perform deep analysis of consumer behaviour, and also improve the quality of life and the safety of the local citizens, improve all aspects of city management in all aspects and make Phuket a world class smart city.”

CAT Telecom will use its learnings from the Phuket project to create a transferrable business model and technical solutions to accelerate the deployment of Smart Cities in 18 provinces across Thailand, including the Bangkok region, Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen, Nan, Saraburi, Nakhon Nayok, Prachinburi, Songkhla, Surat Thani, Nakhon Ratchasima, Maha Sarakham, Udon Thani, Ubon Ratchathani and Nakhon Pathom. and the three provinces in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), namely Chonburi, Rayong and Chachoengsao.

Smart National Park 4.0: Thai students preserve wildlife using LoRaWAN

CAT Telecom IoT Challenge

The Actility Blog

Smart National Park 4.0: How Thai students use LoRaWAN to preserve wildlife

CAT Telecom IoT Challenge

From 6-13 January 2018, the Top Gun Rally gathered 300 Thai engineering students to join a five-day hackathon. The Thai Embedded Systems Association (TESA) created this annual “rally” to boost national student skills and provide the industry with talented engineers. Participants are getting morning lectures and are challenged with development problems in the afternoon.

This year’s event is sponsored by CAT Telecom, I had the chance to be invited to support CAT’s team with my LoRaWAN expertise and our ThingPark developer tools. Being with Actility Asia Pacific sales engineering team for two years now,  it was the first time I was joining such an important developer event and the vibrant energy from all the participants was really amazing and exciting.

The challenge was to turn Khao Yai, the country’s third largest park, into a “Smart National Park 4.0”. To understand this choice, I turned to Professor Vara Varavithya from King Mongkut’s University of Technology North Bangkok, who was responsible for the event’s technical set-up.

“The Government is pushing the country towards Thailand 4.0 and this IoT project with a national park was an ideal opportunity. The Department of National Park loved the idea and we found with TESA the perfect candidate for it: Khao Yai.” Professor Varavithya

The reasons are threefold:

  • The Kingdom’s Government wants to transform the Thai economy into an innovation-driven, Thailand 4.0
  • Tourism and IoT are two key industry focuses on this initiative
  • The National Park department was keen to use this initiative to explore the interaction of large animals with tourism; to improve the management of tourism during peak periods and to enhance scientific studies on wildlife.

World Heritage Site

The national park is located three hours North of Bangkok. It spans over + 2,000 km and welcomes 5,000 people (visitors and staff) each day. Khao Yai is part of the Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex, a World Heritage Site declared by UNESCO. This pristine natural environment suffers from illegal logging, poaching, and traffic accidents.

“This IoT challenge leverages embedded systems, sensors and communications to come up with a solution to monitor the incidents in the park and alert the relevant park rangers. CAT Telecom provides participants with LoRaWAN connectivity, that is both low-power and long range”, comments Dr. Nuttawit, Executive VP at CAT Telecom.
 

For this kind of use case, students needed to create energy-saving devices because batteries can’t be charged or changed easily. The LoRaWAN technology was a perfect fit then: wide coverage, low energy consumption and it’s cheaper than cellular connectivity.

All 41 teams used LoRaWAN dev kits offered by CAT Telecom to create sensor-based solutions. he students could integrate and test them with the different tools available on ThingPark partner portal.

“We certainly want our LoRaWAN service to be 100% available and reliable, and with Actility’s support we ensured that the network was always up and running during the event.” Dr Nuttawit, CAT Telecom
 

Real problem-solving

During this hackathon, I’ve discussed with one of the teams, the “Hookworm”. The five members are 4th year engineering students at King Mongkul’s Institute of Technology Ladkraban. It’s the second year in a row this team is taking part in the Top Gun Rally. In 2017, they ranked 3rd in the competition with a smart monitoring system using image processing for a durian farm.

For this year’s project, they had to develop a solution using accelerometer and temperature sensors set on trees to detect major vibrations or shocks and send an alarm to the park staff when:

  • Big animals like elephants are around or crossing (traffic accident prevention);
  • Air temperatures soar (forest fire detection);
  • Trees are being logged (illegal logging).
“The LoRaWAN technology is easy to use, and so is device provisioning with the ThingPark developer tools. The platform is user-friendly.” The Hookworm team
 

What do these five students take away from such development events? Their list is long…

  • Get experience with real problem-solving in the real world
  • Use it as real work experience
  • Improve their technical skills but also project management, team communication, experiment with scrum and agile methodologies
  • Network and meet other students from dozens of universities across the country.

Unfortunately, I had to leave before the award ceremony on Saturday 13 January…  but I was glad to learn that the “Hookworm” came first and see the award pictures online.

A sample of a huge community

Catching up with Dr. Nuttawit at CAT Telecom after the event enlightened me about the scale and needs of the IoT developer community in Thailand:

“There are almost 300 students/IoT developers from top engineering schools around the nation that CAT Telecom and Actility have supported during this event. Based on the numerous requests of LoRaWAN technology training we received recently, we believe that the number of IoT developers in Thailand is huge.”
 

Feeling all the energy and commitment from the Thai development community, as well as from the education and industry towards innovative low-power smart solutions was very exciting and inspiring. I would like to thank all the CAT Telecom team and Dr. Nuttawit for the invitation, the TESA team for their warm welcome and all the professors and students I met during the event.