Digital Economy Promotion Agency (depa) is joining forces with AIS, PMH (provider of POMO services), FLOW (yacht marina operators) and Thai Yachting Business Association to revive Phuket tourism with the launch of Digital Yacht Quarantine, a first for Thailand. It is powered by the AIS NB-IoT network and NB-IoT Wristband Tourist Tracking, and will enhance Thai public health capabilities. The goal is to instill confidence and incentivize tourists to return and reinvigorate the economies of Phuket and Southern Thailand.
Asst. Prof. Dr. Nuttapon Nimmanphatcharin, President/CEO of the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (depa) commented, “The Covid-19 pandemic has had severe effects on the Thai tourist industry with associated economic impacts, especially in Phuket, which derives its main income from tourism and depends chiefly on foreign tourist arrivals. In 2020, Phuket lost revenues of over 320 billion baht.”
At latest depa, Advanced Info Service Plc. (AIS), PMH Holding Co, Ltd. (POMO), FLOW-yacht marina operators and Thai Yachting Business Association have addressed this problem by cooperating to create the Digital Yacht Quarantine program for the first time in Thailand. It will deploy the innovative platform of smart health monitoring wristbands with NB-IoT Wristband Tourist Tracking technology as a health monitoring tool for tourists during the 14-day quarantine period. It will instill confidence and promote medical safety for tourists travelling to Phuket, being efficient for both the tourists quarantining on yachts and the medical teams and other officials containing Covid-19 infections.
Tanapong Ittisakulchai, Chief Enterprise Business Officer at AIS noted, “AIS, in its role as Digital Life Service Provider, has the strongest digital infrastructure. Its AIS 4G and 5G networks have the most spectra covering low, middle and high bands for every use, in 700Mz, 2600MHz and 26GHz. Then there is the Internet of Things (IoT), which includes both NB-IoT and eMTC, covering all 77 of the country’s provinces. We are dedicated to leveraging digital technology and the capabilities of our team to continuously level up Thailand’s digital infrastructure.
In particular, the Covid-19 pandemic and the project of “AIS 5G Fighting Covid” has already deployed the network in many quarantined areas and field hospitals such as Thammasat University Hospital and the Sakorn Care Center (Samut Sakhon Field Hospital). Now we are supporting Thailand’s first Digital Yacht Quarantine program with the potential of AIS’ NB-IoT networks and NB-IoT Wristband Tourist Tracking, which is a method of quarantining tourists at sea, before they go ashore.
We chose to use the Narrowband IoT network (NB-IoT) as the main network on a Cloud platform. This supports connections to IoT devices in the 900MHz band, which has a signal range at sea of over 10 km, This is connected to the platform of NB-IoT Wristband Tourist Tracking developed by PMH Holding Co (POMO). This company provides monitoring and tracking solutions to assist in Health Monitoring for tourists, such as skin temperature, heart rate, pulse, physical coordinates and location tracking. Medical professionals can analyze tourists’ health risk data in real time during the 14-day quarantine period on a yacht, before they go on land for further tourism.”
The first Digital Yacht Quarantine program in Thailand powered by AIS NB-IoT and NB-IoT Wristband Tourist Tracking starts with the tourist making contact to arrive by sea, from where the Thai Yachting Business Association coordinates with medical teams for the first coronavirus test. The tourist is asked to wear the NB-IoT Tourist Tracking Wristband which transmits health data continuously throughout the 14-day quarantine period to a Dashboard at the offices of Ao Po Smart Pier. At the end of the 14-day quarantine, this data is analyzed to determine the tourist’s risk of being infected with Covid-19, to give the tourist confidence before going ashore in Phuket.
Chatchai Tangchittrong, CEO/Co-Founder of PMH Holding Co, Ltd added, “POMO has been in operation since 2014 as a the first IoT Thai startup for children and creative innovations for the young generation bringing products to the global market. This cooperation with AIS and DEPA uses technology and innovation to support the containment of infection from Covid-19 in the Digital Yacht Quarantine project, which is quarantining tourists for 14 days on their yachts from Ao Po Smart Pier in Phuket. For this project, we have two models, Activ 10+ and Smartwatch Activ 30+, which are trackers and health devices which tourists wear as wristbands, so they can be monitored and prevented from leaving the area.
The system works accurately with smart sensors to measure the tourist’s pulse, blood pressure and temperature. It can also send an emergency SOS. If there is an incident and the tourist wants assistance, information is displayed on the website dashboard in real time to send for assistance or receive advice at all times. Smart wristband Health monitoring services use the same models as on the Cayman Islands, for the Hotel Bubble Project there.”
Tanyuta Singhmanee, Managing Director of Asia Pacific Superyachts Co Ltd, representing the Thai Yachting Business Association (TYBA) said, “The Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 devastated our members as the majority of their income came from foreign yachts, losing about 50-60%. We have been seeking solutions to find employment for people in the yacht business, and this was the origin of the Yacht Quarantine program. In cooperation with AIS, depa, PMH (POMO) and yacht marina operators, we have upgraded to Digital Yacht Quarantine.
We believe that this program will instill confidence among tourists reassure every sector that tourists traveling in their yachts are being quarantined to the standard of the Public Health Ministry. Since the start of the Yacht Quarantine program in October 2020, we have recorded zero Covid infections, and tourists have enjoyed their yacht-based quarantine. It is forecast that in 2021, approximately 100 yachts will bring some 300 to 500 tourists to Thailand.”
Tanapat Thuatraiphop, CEO of Flow Corporation, added that, “We have conducted our business of managing safety for the Marina and tourists with technology under the FLOWLOW platform. This sets a standard and gives a new favorable experience for the travelers in all aspects, Including the Andaman’s traveling information, emergency instructions, traveling insurance and Flow Pay E-Payment service. For Digital Yacht Quarantine, Flow Corporation has partnered with Patri Tour Group Co., Ltd, which is the concessionaire managing Ao Po Smart Pier in Phuket.
The agreement is to conduct registration services for NB-IoT Wristband Tourist Tracking, for tourists to wear the wristbands during their 14-day quarantine. We also manage a medical team to test for Covid infections on board yachts with constant monitoring of Health Data, and after the 14-day quarantine is complete. All of the data is analyzed for Covid-19 infection risk among tourists. before they are allowed to go ashore and travel in Phuket. This cooperation is a new dimension of tourism in the New Normal.Besides modernizing tourism in Phuket and the island archipelagos of the Andaman and making it smarter, it is also stimulating the tourist sector to revive quickly.”
The Digital Yacht Quarantine program is an example of deploying digital technology from Thai network providers and startups to boost public health capabilities and create a new level of standards for tourism in the New Normal. It is also powering the full potential of Phuket Smart City, in line with the Phuket Model (GEMMSS) policy.
This makes the province a prototype for the management of tourism and containment of Covid-19 in Thailand, according to the goal of developing Phuket Smart City, ‘a Livable City for Sustainable Tourism.’ “It will help to stimulate and incentivize both Thai and foreign tourists to visit Phuket more often. In turn, this generates liquidity for the tourist industry, to strongly reinvigorate this key sector,” concluded Asst. Prof. Dr. Nuttapon.