Category Archives: Khon Kaen, Thailand

Khon Kaen Press Conference

The Smarter Cities Challenge team rounded off the 3 weeks in Khon Kaen with a press conference, involving the local TV station and a number of print journalists. The Governor was delighted with the work done by the team and wanted to be personally involved in the press conference.

The Traffic team parked on stage before the press conference

The Traffic team parked on stage before the press conference

After the Governor’s opening remarks, Khun Pawasut Seewirot from IBM Thailand outlined the Smarter Cities Challenge initiative.

The Governor making his opening remarks

The Governor making his opening remarks

Then it was over to Geraint to run through the Smarter Traffic approach and recommendations and Dr Greg to cover Smarter Analytics.

The 3 G's...Greg, Geraint and the Governor

The 3 G’s…Greg, Geraint and the Governor

A number of questions were handled by the team before formal photographs were taken.

The Governor with the SCC team and Khun Pawasut Seewirot

The Governor with the SCC team and Khun Pawasut Seewirot

A very professional conference to end a memorable 3 weeks for the team.

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Presenting our Final Report to the Provincial Governor

The Khon Kaen SCC team presented our final report to the Provincial Governor of Khon Kaen, Somsak Suwansujarit, and his entire team of stakeholders this Wednesday morning. Participants includes representatives of the Governor’s executive staff, Khon Kaen University (including their Vice-President of Research), and local industry associations.

The IBM team included the five members of the SCC team, our interpreter, 5 members of the local IBM Thailand team, and our support team from ABV.

Over a 75 minute period the Smarter Traffic team presented a detailed set of data, findings, and recommendations for Khon Kaen, culminating in a roadmap of actions to cover the near-, mid-, and long-term goals of Khon Kaen.

Geraint and our interpreter presenting Smarter Traffic

Geraint and our interpreter presenting Smarter Traffic

The Smarter Analytics team presented a 15 minute summary of their work, having presented their full version to Khon Kaen University previously.

A vigorous and supportive discussion by the attendees following, with almost an hour of comments and suggestions concerning how Khon Kaen could best proceed and implement our recommendations.

The governor and the attendees were impressed with the full extent and clarity of the work that we were able to accomplish in our 3 week assignment, and expressed their appreciation of our efforts and our results.

The governor and the SCC team

The governor and the SCC team

They are eager to continue working with the local IBM team, and through them the SCC team, on the actions that we recommended.

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Lunch with the Governor

Following our presentation to the governor and his team, he hosted a lunch for the SCC team, featuring a local delicacy – Gai Yang Isan – grilled chicken, northeast Thai style. It was ‘saap’ – delicious!

Following an enjoyable lunch, with some heartfelt expression of our enjoyment of our time in Khon Kaen, the governor concluded our lunch with a traditional ‘tying on’ of a welcome belt for each of the SCC members.

Rob and the Governor

Rob and the Governor

The governor mentioned that we were the first consultative team from a foreign company to work with the Khon Kaen government, and that this was a special recognition of his appreciation of our work.

The Governor and the team

The Governor and the team

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Khon Kaen – A jewel in the night

A Thai Temple lit up at night in the main square park in Khon Kaen

A Thai temple lit up at night in the main square park in Khon Kaen

Khon Kaen, a lively and bustling mini metropolis by day transforms into a city of lights once the sun goes down.

The parks become the epicenter for night life for the young, old, couples, families and even those who wish to contemplate the meaning of life in solitude!

The parks are teaming with activities, from people watching movies – three different ones were playing at once – on large screens provided by the municipality.

Food vendors are hawking delicious and tempting snacks, shoes, cloths and other trinkets of interest.

There is a buzz in the air – an excitement if you will – when you enter the park, there is an air of  celebration and euphoria oozing from the gathered crowd. One gets the feeling that there is a special event.

In reality it’s just another normal night in Khon Kaen, its people are enjoying life and squeezing out every ounce of happiness that they can – they have a wonderful philosophy – something that we all can benefit and learn from.

My team and I leave this wonderful city with a feeling of  fulfillment, in that we were able to meet a considerable of enthusiastic and dedicated people who all strive towards a single goal, teams of people who make Khon Kaen the wonderful city that it is today.

With the future of Khon Kaen in their hands, we see a wonderful and bright future.

We also leave with a slight sadness in our hearts as our visit was too short, but hope to return one day soon.

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Smarter Analytics & Traffic review with KKU

Our team met with Khon Kaen University today for the final presentation on Smarter Analytics. We took the opportunity to also brief them on the findings/recommendation for Smarter Traffic.

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Greg and Hance updated Dr Somjit and his team on Analytics

a moment of levity

a moment of levity with Geraint at the helm

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Rob clarifying a point on Traffic

The University team led by Dr. Somjit was quite keen to engage in analytics related Smarter Traffic recommendations for the city, and we had a good discussion on how the University can engage with both public and private sectors to help improve traffic in Khon Kaen.

Now that we have reviewed our work with the Mayor and the University, we are geared up for tomorrow’s big presentation to the Governor and the broader Khon Kaen SCC Working Team.

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Smarter Traffic review with the Mayor

The Smarter Traffic team met with the Mayor Khun Teerasak and Khun Tawatchai from Khon Kaen Municipality to share our findings and recommendations on improving traffic management in the city. We had a very interactive session in which we were able to validate many of our findings, as well as get the Mayor’s feedback and support on our recommendations.

Final presentation to Mayor1

The Mayor has been a key sponsor of our work here, and it was a rewarding experience for us to meet with him ahead of the final presentation to the Governor this week.

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Vinod, Rob, the Mayor, Geraint, Khun Chidchanok and Khun Tawatchai

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Loy Krathong festival

On Sunday the SCC team enjoyed a cultural evening at the Loy Krathong festival held at the University. As the full moon of the twelfth lunar month lit up the night sky thousands of traditional banana leaf floats (or “krathong”) were pushed out into the lake (“loy” means “to float”). This ritual is one of the oldest in the Kingdom.

Traditional dancing as part of the parade

Traditional dancing as part of the parade

A float carrying a float

A float carrying a float

Crowds at the festival

Crowds at the festival

Food and fun at the festival

Food and fun at the festival

Each float carries with it the wishes of the person or couple. The candles and joss sticks are lit and the krathong floated out into the lake. As the krathong drifts away the hope is that the candle will not go out, as the flame signifies longevity, fulfillment of wishes and release from sins. It is also a romantic evening, as couples who make a wish together are said to stay together in the future.  (Rob launched a krathong, but on his own.)

The krathong

The krathong

The festival also features a traditional beauty contest, called a Nopphamat Queen Contest. At the University, each faculty had an entrant in the contest and the winner was judged by a group of dignitaries that included the Governor.

Some of the competitors

Some of the competitors

The SCC team were hoping our friends in the Computer Science department would win the crown but we didn’t attend the final judging as we stopped to enjoy some local sports activities.

Rob enjoying some local sport

Rob enjoying some local sport (and hoping his krathong wish would come true)

Some local sport

Some local sport

(Thanks to Hance for the better pictures above.)

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