Deploying advanced tech for a smarter Vietnam

November 09, 2020 | 07:01
The bloom of startups with strategies to develop smart cities in Vietnam is creating soaring demand for smart technologies such as 5G, facial recognition, and AI. Tan Aik Hoon, regional president for South Asia, South Korea, and Avnet United at leading global technology solutions provider Avnet, told Kim Oanh about Avnet Asia-Pacific’s contribution to helping local startups in Vietnam.

Last year, investments in local startups reached $741 million, placing Vietnam second in Southeast Asia after Indonesia. How does Avnet offer support for young entrepreneurs to realise their ideas within the local startup scene?

deploying advanced tech for a smarter vietnam
Tan Aik Hoon, regional president for South Asia, South Korea, and Avnet United at leading global technology solutions provider Avnet

Avnet sees great potential in Vietnam and in the region for the development of innovative technologies with its thriving and vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Our extensive ecosystem delivers design, product, marketing, and supply chain expertise, helping companies of all sizes at every stage of the product lifecycle to realise their ideas by reducing the time, cost, and complexities of bringing their products to the market.

Avnet is committed to support Vietnam in becoming a leading technology and innovation hub. In fact, we were one of the earliest companies to invest in Vietnam’s electronics industry, back in 2009. Avnet has been working with many local companies and startups particularly by leveraging our design and supply chain expertise.

Recently, we have been working with an e-scooter startup but due to COVID-19, the customer ventured into automatic touchless sanitiser dispensers instead, which Avnet also supported in the electronics board design. In another case, we helped to develop an e-payment system for a startups using plasma for the treatment of COVID-19 and other medical conditions and in some beauty clinics.

Avnet has also been actively promoting and encouraging young entrepreneurs. For instance, we have partnered with the Hanoi University of Science and Technology to organise workshops and seminars for undergraduates and offer internship programmes to nurture the next generation of local engineers.

What other examples of emerging technologies have been helpful in the fight against COVID-19?

AI, the Internet of Things (IoT), and other emerging technologies are proving to be very vital in battling the pandemic. Avnet provides design chain services and technical expertise to our customers to facilitate their product development in the areas of AI, IoT, machine learning, embedded vision, autonomous driving, and so on to better serve the community.

For instance, we supported a startup in China with the development of unmanned delivery vehicles. We provided support in system architecture, device selection, and design support on both hardware and software. In addition, we helped them to implement AI design and system optimisation. During the coronavirus outbreak, this unmanned delivery vehicle has been deployed in Hunan’s science park to provide truly contactless delivery of meals.

Avnet also supported the design of the hardware and firmware for a contact tracing device and gateway which work together as an ecosystem. Through Bluetooth and LTE connectivity, the device can trace the proximity of individuals to the infected or suspected COVID-19 patient. This allows the authority to contact the individuals at the proximity very quickly. The gateway will track the timing of individuals arriving and leaving the high-density area, for example schools, malls, public transport nodes. This can effectively prevent and stop further spread of the virus.

Including touchless thermometers, sensors, and even e-wallets, COVID-19 has encouraged growing contactless and digitalisation trends.

deploying advanced tech for a smarter vietnam

Both the central city of Danang and Ho Chi Minh City are planning on developing a Vietnamese silicon valley, focusing strongly on technological advancements. How would you describe Avnet’s position amid these developments in country?

Avnet has the world’s largest online communities of engineers with Farnell and hackster.io, besides our experienced field application engineers and technical expertise who will call on our customers onsite. We work closely with our global suppliers and partners to empower our customers.

We simplify the complexity of IoT by bringing everything together for our customers – offering an extensive ecosystem as well as both hardware and software expertise to scale their business in a quick and cost-effective manner. Using Avnet’s IoTConnect platform, developers can seamlessly connect devices that address both the software and hardware needs of IoT solutions.

This isn’t just happening in Danang and Ho Chi Minh City. In Hanoi where much of the government’s offices are located, Avnet can support in many areas like smart city development, 5G infrastructure, AI, and security requirements. We have offices in both Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, and the team is always ready to service and value-add to the Vietnam market.

Industry 4.0 technologies such as AI, big data, and IoT are crucial for smart cities. What products and services can Avnet offer to spur smart city development in Vietnam?

New smart cities here will require implementation of many tech solutions from smart energy management technology, transportation systems, security management, urban and environmental solutions, and so on.

Avnet is involved in various such projects, working with system integrators in deploying smart and green city solutions such as smart street lamps and smart surveillance cameras that gather data for government entities to provide better traffic management and security to its citizens.

One recent example that I can share is that we are working with a local conglomerate whose business spans across many areas including automotive and property development. They are involved in smart city projects and Avnet has helped them with the technology and design of smart surveillance cameras, smart lighting, and smart buildings.

By Kim Oanh

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