The Ministry of Posts and Telecomm-unications yesterday urged government bodies and companies operating in Cambodia to redouble efforts to digitalise processes and embrace the latest technologies and trends in information and communication technology (ICT).
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“Finding ways to react to and shape digital disruption should be on the agenda of every organisation and company,” Minister of Posts and Telecommunications Tram Iv Tek said.
The minister was speaking at a workshop on digital transformation held in Phnom Penh and attended by more than 170 participants from government agencies and the private sector.
Mr Iv Tek explained that digitalisation is no longer just and add-on feature to existing channels, products and services. He said now many aspects of the customer experience are digital by default, and so should be the processes that underpin them.
“Digital technologies have evolved tremendously. Now we have the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, machine learning, cloud computing, big data and predictive analytics,” he said, adding that companies must strive to adopt these technologies and incorporate them in the day-to-day running of their businesses.
He said IoT is making the amount of data describing the physical world grow exponentially, and it is enabling the fast development of artificial intelligence.
Under a range of names – such as deep learning, autonomous vehicles, cognitive computing, robotics and algorithms, among many others – artificial intelligence and IoT present both a threat and a promise, as they will revolutionise all aspects of information technology, business and society, Mr Iv Tek explained.
“Extrapolating from the rapid growth of IoT, artificial intelligence, big data and cloud computing in the consumer world, we see where and how it will drive business and impact e-commerce, banking and finance services, manufacturing, real estate and government projects,” he said.
“With the enormous growth of big data, especially from IoT devices, now is the time to start planning for and building skills and infrastructure in artificial intelligence and IoT to take advantage of new technologies in support of decision making in your business,” he told his audience at the event.
Thai Sokvutha, director of the Data Centre Unit at Te Aik Hong, a provider of security and data storage solutions for businesses, said demand for big data continues to increase every year, and stressed that digital technologies are crucial for all business, from small ones to big corporations.
“Digital technologies are a crucial asset for any company to sustain growth and remain competitive,” Mr Sokvutha said.
“Cambodia already has some companies working on IoT, artificial intelligence, machine learning, cloud computing, big data and predictive analytics. Particularly, we have a lot of players in the e-payment segment.”
Seng Sopheap, president of the National Institute of Posts, Telecoms & ICT, said the minstry’s focus is now on developing the infrastructure needed to use these technologies.
“We are building the telecommunications infrastructure across the country to give access to the Internet to all people in Cambodia,” he said, adding that they are working on programmes to spark interest in new technologies and sciences in young people so that they will play a role in the development of the new generation of technological advancements.
Minister Iv Tek said they are also working to streamline the government’s telecom-ICT development policy through the implementation of digital agendas and national and regional strategies for broadband development, in particular the Asean ICT Master Plan 2020.
He said these strategies not only aim to expand broadband coverage and infrastructure, but also seek to create a platform for digital transformation while building a healthy and dynamic digital ecosystem.
“Cambodia is strongly committed to connecting the country and to ensuring that the benefits of ICT reach the remotest corners as well as the most vulnerable communities,” the minister said.
Around 30 percent of Cambodia lacked access to the internet according to a poll conducted last year. Mr Iv Tek said their goal is now to have full broadband coverage in urban areas and 70 percent coverage outside major urban centres by 2020.
“As mentioned in our telecommunication-ICT development policy for 2020, affordable access to high quality ICT has become a key priority for our government and businesses,” he said.