Thailand AIS launches automated DigitALL store in Phuket
Source：Bangkok Post Newspaper
From：Taiwan Trade Center Bangkok
Largest mobile operator Advanced Info Service (AIS) on Friday launched Thailand's first unmanned store at Central Floresta Phuket, offering a new customer experience designed for the "connected generation".
AIS spent 20 million baht creating its first DigitALL shop to capitalise on digital lifestyles in Phuket, the first so-called smart city of Thailand.
At the AIS DigitALL shop, there is no queue, no counter service and no cash required.
Pratthana Leelapanang, AIS's chief consumer business officer, said the intelligent DigitALL shop aim to reduce daily operating cost to 30-40% of other shops at full-scale operation. There are 161 AIS service shops nationwide.
Mr Pratthana said the company plans to embed artificial intelligence (AI) at every customer touch point in every service shop, as AIS has positioned itself to be a digital life service provider.
"Apart from Phuket, we plan to develop unmanned shops in major cities nationwide, but we have to monitor the results and responses at the first shop," he said, adding that Phuket is the most appropriate location for innovative interfaces because half the customers there are foreign tourists.
AIS president Hui Weng Cheong said AIS strives to apply technological knowledge to the development of basic digital infrastructure for the betterment of the Thai public.
AIS DigitALL was formed in response to Gen C consumers who prefer control, convenience, speed and mobile payment. Gen C customers are attracted to new technological trends.
They are eager to learn and try out new experiences and search for information before making purchases.
Mr Cheong said it is AIS's duty to understand changing customer behaviours, assess them and redesign services to fulfil their needs.
According to Bussaya Satirapipatkul, head of customer and service management, the unmanned shop consists of five zones. "Lisa" is an AI-driven robot providing customers with general information and guiding them to product and service displays upon request.
At the shop, customers can make orders and purchases themselves via touchscreen. They can select products, make payments and receive them instantly, and enjoy coffee, drinks and snacks from a Rabbit Line Pay vending machine and smart coffee machine.
AIS chief executive Somchai Lertsutiwong said AIS has a budget of 20-25 billion baht to upgrade 4G networks and install 5G-compatible architecture, in addition to expanding fixed broadband and digital platforms.
For 2018, AIS reported a net profit of 29.6 billion baht, driven by growth in both mobile and fixed broadband.
"Throughout 2018, the telecom industry continued to be challenged by the changes in technology," Mr Somchai said.
He said it's crucial to blend the advancement of technology into business operations and upgrade workers' digital skills.
Another key aspect is that digital infrastructure be developed and utilised to enhance the living standard of Thais, Mr Somchai said.
Overall in 2018, the company had total revenue growth of 7.7% year-on-year and captured a roughly 48% revenue market share.