While at this year's Startup Thailand conference, Dr. John Jiang, Group Chief Digital Officer of CP Group sat down with Techsauce to discuss all things tech and business as Thailand's industries push forward in this digital era.

Dr. John Jiang is affiliated and head of an array of impressive and forward-thinking organizations which are listed below.

  • Co-founder & President, Globe Touch, IOT platform
  • CTO of China Mobile International
  • Executive Director, Cingular/AT & T Wireless
  • Doctoral Fellow, AI, Cambridge University
  • Faculty member, computer science AI, imperial college London

With such scope and influence in the tech industry, his opinion is highly influential.

Can you tell us what your role as Chief Digital Officer and the CP Group entails?

No business is not a digital business nowadays and we have all sorts of industries within the CP groups portfolio that are being integrated with digital technologies ranging from the farming industry to the telecoms industry. In this era, it's all about collecting data, this is the strategy to obtain data and essentially monetize and understand your business with disruptive ideas through digitalization. We can apply new technologies that can carry out these tasks. My role as the Chief Digital Officer is not just about digitalization its about applying the newest technologies into every industry so that people can upgrade their own businesses and we want to discover new disruptive ideas through this process and collective data. You can transcend your business into different markets and grow exponentially - if we look at Grab, for example, this company has started off as a delivery service but is now a restaurant company, mobile company etc through the power of technology.

When you become digitalized you can achieve so much more as a business, we are already making it easy for people to receive their prescriptions by having them delivered to your door form the pharmacy for example.

We also have 7/11 within our company as a client and an idea through this digitalization era is turning 7/11 into an advertising platform. We can turn every fridge in 7/11 into an advertising platform as it will reach the masses across Thailand easily, effectively and cost-effectively.

The digital transformation is not just about collecting data. It's about transcending and implementing disruptive ideas that you never thought of before that can push your business forward.

You are affiliated and have many titles with a wide range of tech positions which is extremely inspiring, which role do you feel gives the most impact on the tech industry?

Good question: obviously as the digital officer I have the advantage of looking at a lot of industries and pinpointing how to bring new ideas and technologies into the business to help expand it. After all, I am not the one getting my hands dirty, I am a strategist and advisor in this particular position. However, I have a real passion for being more hands-on and having a real influence and in the future, I will be the Chief technology officer of the medical group due to my affiliation with health care and research in medical science.   This position I feel will have the most impact as we develop health tech which will really change and bring longevity to all humans at a cellular level. The discovery of immortality is very possible, we need a lot more research and clinical trials but we are very close to making this possible. Cancer, for example, is the secret clue and pass that God has left us to discover this secret of immortality as it forces us to find ways to cure it. Look within, like the Buddhist way, the clues lie in the cellular level of each human being.  By developing and conducting research we can achieve immortality by 2040, not metaphorically, literally. We will be able to extend life exponentially.

In what way can IoT data transform traditional business?

IoT is not just an application, its a strategy. The example of the fridge becoming an advertising platform, that is a strategy. It's not limited and can be an aggressive strategy to collect data and reach more people quickly and effectively. An example of this IoT strategy is in the collection of data when collecting Pig's weight. The pig's weight changes rapidly. This is a way of tracking it quickly. This a basic need of IoT technology. We can do it by taking pictures. This is an example of IoT as an application and a strategy. Another important development is in the medical field with prevention is better than cure. IoT can be in the form of tracking your overall health and bringing the data to a watch that allows you to track your overall health, detecting early stages of the disease. In Medicare preventative care is becoming more important than clinical care.

In what way do you have an influence on this implementation and change of dynamics in business with regards to digital transformation?

I am an idea person rather than a project person. I am always thinking about ideas and getting inspiration from startups and the latest tech and then advising businesses with regards to digital transformation.

What sort of technology do you feel will have the most impact and be adopted quickly by industries?

For me, AI is now a commodity. In the Medicare industry, we can transfer the data to mobile apps that people can treat themselves at home. This will help with prioritizing and increasing better health for everyone.  Through a camera, for example, we can detect skin cancer using your mobile phone. it will be a home testing kit for cellular level medical problems that will make the whole health system more efficient and effective.

What are your thoughts on Blockchain having an effect on IoT and how will this benefit Thailand and the industries?

I'm not a fan of public blockchain and cryptocurrency but private blockchain can have a beneficial impact. The technology of Blockchain is very influential. Private blockchain solves a lot of inefficient problems.

What industries have adopted IoT and has been successfully beneficial for the industry in Thailand?

If we look at the agricultural industry they have adopted IoT efficiently, in terms of detecting which plant is beneficial and which one is a weed and must be killed off. This is an example of a successful use of IoT.  Machine learning training was implemented into plant seed development in the industry.

What is your advice for other CTO, CIO, CSO, CDO who want to transform their traditional business by using innovation and technology?

My motto is always to listen, learn,  contribute and lead.

From a CTO and running an organization perspective I think its important that the data gets properly synergized and implemented. Are you thinking about implementing and transforming the business in a digitalized way? There are different aspirations for each company. You need to understand your business and how you can run it more cost-effectively. You sometimes need to think beyond your business to come up with disruptive ideas and transcend into more industries.

You can never predict the future but as Steve Jobs stated ' You can connect the dots'

Are there any startups in Thailand that have caught your eye?

Yes, The health care system is the most revolutionary in my opinion and is making the most impact in Thailand.  The potential for health tech is ready to be disruptive in Thailand and in south-east Asia as there is a large an ageing population. In Thailand, there is a lot of inspiring health tech startups that are making an impact.

Bio of Dr John. Jiang

Leading visionary of mobile roaming and IoT industry - AI training (Bell Lab and Cambridge) and mobile services/IoT/eSIM/AI-ML/ConnectedCar/Autonomous-driving specialization by practice. Serial Silicon Valley entrepreneur with extensive product development, technology, strategy, delivery, operational and BD experience. Worked in both operators world (Cingular/ATT, China Mobile) and vendor world (Roamware/Mobileum, ITC/Microsoft, GlobeTouch). Now working on the most exciting area of application of AI/ML in medicine, human immortality, farming, cultured meat as well as retail industry.

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