Viettel brings Industry 4.0 to change life in land of golden pagodas

June 09, 2018 | 08:47
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With 70 per cent of its population being farmer, Myanmar needs proper technologies to improve its agricultural production. The opportunity has come through the telecom sector, with a Vietnamese company bringing Industry 4.0 applications and services on a super mobile broadband platform.  

Mandalay Highland story

viettel brings industry 40 to change life in land of golden pagodas
Myanmar is famous for golden pagodas

The Pyin Oo Lwin Highland in Mandalay province is Myanmar’s major flower and vegetable production hub thanks to its cool weather and ideal georaphic location. The affluence of Pyin Oo Lwin Highland reminds one of Myanmar’s richness in the past. The military coup in 1962 destroyed Myanmar but the country has strongly recovered since 2016 when the US lifted its embargo after 19 years.

However, it is not easy to achieve rapid economic development with 70 per cent of the population working as farmers.

San San Yi is a farmer and would like to change her life but has had to struggle for many years with her eight-hectare flower farm. Her lack of technology knowledge has hindered Yi’s efforts to learn new things like how to install and operate a water-efficient irrigation system or measuring the fertility of the land.

Everything has changed since she accepted an invitation to trial a smart farming app called Nextfarm of Mytel, which is officially launched on June 9.

This is an application to manage farming through sensors buried in the land. The app will provide owners with all the information needed for farming such as salinity, humidity and light intensity.

In the past Yi’s farming was based on the traditional knowledge and skills inherited from her ancestors, and much depended on the weather. Now she only needs to touch her mobile phone screen to know about the status of her farm and start watering from wherever she is.

Yi now hires 10 to 20 workers depending on her crop, but believes the expenditure on human resources will be cut by half in the coming time by Nextfarm.

Elsewhere, Kyaw Shwe, one of the millions of Myanmarese farmers to benefit from smart phone agricultural apps, told the Nikkei Asian Review that following the appearance of telecom companies in Myanmar, especially highly capable ones, he has accessed information and improved his output.

A few years ago no one in Kyaw Shwe’s village knew about mobile phones, but now the younger generations are helping seniors like Shwe use technology. This enables them to escape the frequent pattern of good harvests but low prices, debts and distress sale, which has haunted farmers for centuries.

Digitisation Express in Myanmar

viettel brings industry 40 to change life in land of golden pagodas
Industry 4.0 comes to Myanmar

When the Myanmarese government ended the monopoly in the telecommunications sector in 2013, the mobile phone usage rate in the country increased several folds from the earlier 5 per cent within just a few months.

Officials and the media had predicted that when 90 per cent of the population, including 80 per cent were farmers, used smart phones, the economy would benefit, and this has come true now.

The entry of foreign telecom companies with the most modern technologies has created significant changes, not only in the economy but also the whole of Myanmarese society.

The newly established Mytel has brought about a revolution with its nationwide mobile broadband infrastructure (the only 4G network that covers the whole country with 30,000 kilometres of fibre-optic cable).

Mytel is also the company that has brought the largest number of apps for daily life through its mobile broadband platform, and Nextfarm is a good example.

Mytel in fact provides a diverse range of services to help build a smarter society, such as smart agriculture solutions, traffic signal management system, electronic wallet, route surveillance equipment.

Mytel is the brand of Telecom International Myanmar, a joint venture between Viettel Global, which is a subsidiary of Vietnam’s Viettel Group, and two local companies, Star High Public Company and Myanmar National Telecom Holding Public.

The company has a mission of creating “super mobile broadband” for people in Myanmar to connect with each other and offering Industry 4.0 apps to help usher in a smarter society using.

Mytel’s apps, including those for farmers like Nextfarm, for the enteprise community like electronic wallet (QRCode and Prcode payment) and for the government (car number plate management system in Yangon), and other wider social services (satellite transmission of digital content and TV services through 30,000km of fibre cable), are becoming more and more practical and useful for Myanmarese.

By Huu Tuan

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