Log in


  • Thursday, April 15, 2021 13:45 | Anonymous

    When it comes to cutting-edge, Magna, Canada’s leading auto-parts manufacturer always seems to be ahead of the game. Below is a summary of their latest technological innovation.

    AREA 1: Eco Innovation

    This area highlights the technologies that deliver on vehicle dynamics and performance while protecting the earth through reduced CO2 and increased efficiency.

    A. Powertrain Electrification

    While the shift towards electrification is well under way, the real innovators are no longer those companies that are simply supplying eDrive products. Real innovation is awarded to those who are taking electrification to the next levels of efficiency and range. Magna is embracing this challenge with its Best-in-Class (BIC) portfolio, formulated with scalable building blocks. We are developing highly innovative systems of components that meet a wide range of customer requirements, while providing an optimum combination of BIC efficiency, safety, driving dynamics, and convenience.

    BIC Efficiency optimizes energy use throughout the complete lifecycle. BIC Safety is a new level of control and active safety which comes with increasingly automated driving and e-mobility. BIC Dynamics enables vehicles to be “fun-to-drive“without compromising safety. BIC Convenience simply improves peace-of-mind as to when and where you will have to re-charge. Whether it’s providing vehicle expertise, full powertrain systems or individual components, Magna can provide BIC attributes for the entire electrified powertrain. Proud to be recognized as a 2021 Honoree in the annual CES Innovation Awards program.

    B. Active Aerodynamics

    In an electric, autonomous or new mobility vehicle, the inevitable new systems will draw more power. Our systems are integral in making the vehicle of the future more efficient through extending range capability, thereby reducing anxiety, improving fuel economy and reducing emissions.

    Within the automotive industry, Active Aerodynamics has saved Trillions of kg of CO2. Increasing global regulations are pushing OEMs to offer features like the Active Grille Shutter to meet targets.

    C. Battery Trays

    As a leader in structural products and material processing, Magna has brought together our composite expertise with metal forming prowess to develop an essential element of any electric architecture, the battery tray.

    Lightweighting is integral to making the other big stories such as autonomy, electrification, and smart mobility become reality. At Magna, we focus on the right material for the right application, joining expertise, and the ability to understand the complete vehicle and make intelligent lightweighting decisions based on the overall vehicle.

    AREA 2: Dynamic Drive

    ADAS technology isn’t only changing how we move; it’s changing how we live. In terms of safety, comfort and accessibility, the features and functions that we’re creating today are shifting how we move, work and play. Our work is also ensuring that as the word moves toward increasing levels of autonomy, Magna has the building blocks to support that transition.

    A. ADAS Technologies

    Magna’s complete system, ADAS technologies are driving toward an autonomous future and improving lives.

    Full autonomy is coming. But to create the technology which will bring it into view, you need the desire and ability to adapt complete ADAS systems or modular solutions to any vehicle, for any mobility need.

    B. ADAS Features

    Magna’s ADAS solutions connect OEMs to their customers with features that improve their lives. It’s our expertise across the entire vehicle, key strategic partnerships and culture of innovation that allow us to make our industry-leading technologies road-ready. And it is how we’ll continue to build a safer, smarter and more connected mobility experience for all people.

    C. Intelligent Vision

    Because we understand the entire vehicle and how individual systems complement each other, we aren’t limited to traditional sensor placements. We’re able to place each and every sensor in its optimum location. As market leaders in lighting, mirror and camera systems, Magna has the unique ability to offer complete ADAS systems down to the product systems, which the given sensors are integrated into.

    AREA 3: Intuitive Comfort

    Vehicles of the future need to be as responsive and intelligent to personal connections with drivers and passengers. Our technologies provide for intuitive and responsive human and machine interface, making the vehicle experience uniquely yours, whether you own the vehicle or it is shared.

    Understanding the challenges people will face, allows us to create the technology to create more convenient, safe and flexible ways to travel. From ingress/egress solutions to flexible seating solutions, we have reimagined the experience from the inside out.

    A. SMARTACCESS™ Technologies

    Our designs fuse the capabilities of mechanical systems with the intelligence of electronic control systems to enable new ways of interacting with the vehicle. Doors, frunks, tailgates, liftgates, and more – any way you access the vehicle, Magna has new, creative, and high-tech solutions to deliver unique vehicle access experiences.

    B. Seating

    As cities and roads change, how we use cars will too. Magna’s smart mobility seating allows vehicles to be used and shared differently by making them more adaptable, comfortable, and ready for the long-haul by ensuring comfort and cleanability are priorities.

    C. Lighting

    Magna offers customers a wide choice of various lighting technologies, each with specific characteristics that have been designed to help achieve striking and captivating brand identities.

    From functional headlamps and taillamps to decorative exterior trim lighting, Magna has a complete portfolio to address all our customers illumination needs.

    AREA 4: Complete Vehicles

    This area is where it all comes together. Magna is a global leader in a high-tech complex industry with deep complete vehicle engineering, systems knowledge and complete vehicle manufacturing excellence making us the go-to partner for new entrants and traditional OEMs alike.

    Mobility is in a huge transition phase. As already mentioned within the other areas, global megatrends in digital transformation, environmental impact and health & well-being have a huge long-term impact on the automotive industry in electrification, automated driving and new mobility. This results in challenges for our customers. Traditional OEMs and new entrants need to make high investments, meet new legal regulations while ensuring a fast market entry with these new solutions. Moreover, this is often linked to volatile volumes, which requires flexible production assets.

    Complete Vehicles is the experienced & flexible partner from the first sketch to the start of production and beyond for all those quests. Regardless of the customer’s initial situation, we can complete it with all kinds of services so that in the end a full vehicle is created.

    With the passion of our employees and our extensive automotive know-how, we enable our customers to successfully bring their vision of mobility to the road.

    Our ability to lead in all aspects of the vehicle and connect that expertise to our full vehicle development, design, testing, validation and complete vehicle manufacturing is unmatched in the industry.

  • Thursday, April 15, 2021 13:23 | Anonymous

    A recent Thai law might finally solve many of the frustrations of owning or leasing property in Thailand

    By Paul Gambles and James Fraser

    MBMG recommends that clients carefully review their property arrangements in light of the provisions of the 2019, Rights over Leasehold Assets Act. This act provides an alternative to many conventional long-term property ‘ownership arrangements’, both for residential and commercial purposes and for foreigners who aren’t legally able to own land in Thailand and also for businesses whose commercial lease arrangements are becoming increasingly unviable due to changes in the Commercial Industrial Leasehold Act.

    The Rights Over Leasehold Assets Act became legislation in October 2019 and is an alternative to the conventional immovable property lease under the Civil and Commercial Code (CCC). 'This new Act is a big step towards enabling property and land ownership rights for periods of up to 30 years. It is more straight-forward, in that it does not require or depend on the specific clauses of a written agreement but simply on the registration of the transfer of the rights. This removes the sometimes ludicrously onerous clauses in typical lease agreements such as returning the house or property in the same condition as it was 30 years previously, or disallowing subletting or charging annual land fees or defining the arrangements, sometimes in an unhelpful or costly way for monthly utilities payments.

    You can make changes to the property or even use your rights as security (e.g. for a mortgage). A rights holder under the new agreement (the worst part is that we don’t know how to describe them – a lot more than a tenant but not quite an owner) is free to sublease the property or to modify or have work done to the property (although of course other legislation might still apply such as The Condominium Act 2010) or even to mortgage the rights, without the owner’s prior permission. The owner must effectively wave goodbye to their control of the property, and expect to receive back only the bare asset (e.g. just land if it’s a house and land asset).

    The rights over leasehold asset is automatically inheritable while the conventional Thai lease requires the inheritance of the lease to be written into the agreement otherwise the land and property will be returned back to the lessor (or their heirs) on death of the lessee (a conventional lease can be for up to 30 years or for lifetime of the lessee according to clause 541 of the CCC).

    What if the owner wants to terminate? It’s possible for the land or property owner to terminate the rights but only once the owner and the rights holder come to an agreeable settlement, having also ensured that there are no other parties, such as sub-tenants who might be renting all or part of the property from the rights holder, are disadvantaged. The rights over the leasehold asset can’t be sold or transferred onward by the rightsholder.

    The one right that the holder doesn’t have is to allow illegal dwellers to possess the land and if this happen then the owner can void the lease. This is important because in Thailand after 10 years squatters can claim their right to the ownership of the land that they possess.

    This 2019 Act was spearheaded to help the property sector because the conventional lease not only requires an agreement which might be easily broken but is also subject to a growing number of other clauses in the Civil and Commercial Code, that increasingly came into conflict with the express intentions and terms of lease agreements.

    It worthwhile to review your commercial property leases because the 2019 Act simplifies and clarifies arrangements better than conventional commercial leases and, in some respect, supersedes the Lease of Immovable Property for Commercial and Industrial Purposes Act. This has many of the characteristics of the 2019 Act but subsequent revisions to the Commercial and Industrial Leasehold Act have infringed upon the practicality of the conventional commercial lease and, for example, prevents a property from being both residential and commercial. This is not the case with the 2019 Act, where split usage isn’t prohibited.

    For the conventional commercial lease it would seem to be even more important to examine the benefits of the 2019 Act as there appears to have been several legislative modifications and additions relating to commercial leases that might create future problems for your business, but which is not the case with the 2019 Act. Overall, the 2019 Act is a cleaner piece of legislation for Commercial Leases.

    Both the owner and rights over the asset can obtain a certificate showing the transfer of ownership rights at a cost of THB 10,000 from the land department and/or can have an agreement to the same extent. The registration fee is a flat THB 20,000, and the transfer tax is 2% of the capital value, or THB 1,000 in the case of no capital value (the same in the case of inheritance).

    MBMG’s Tax Webinar kindly hosted by CanCham

    MBMG IA’s Thai tax webinar with CanCham discussed the ins & outs of Thai personal income tax and ways in which to reduce it. The Webinar was well attended, with many follow-up questions both during the webinar and in the days that followed.

    One question concerned tax earned overseas for regional work undertaken in Thailand and if this is subject to tax – the basic answer is Yes.

    Another interesting one was on a company car used by an expat whilst in Thailand but who didn’t arrange the lease himself – is this taxable income? The answer, in this particular instance, is No because the car in question is viewed as an extension of the business assets and all of the upkeep is the responsibility of the company in the same way an office is.

    A further question, which might be sadly all too relevant at this time, related to the taxation of payment for loss of employment – in this specific instance, the individual is entitled to receive THB 300,000 tax free!

    Finally, a number of people asked about the age to sell provident funds without being taxed. As long as other requirements (which can be complex) are satisfied, the age is 55.

    However, in all cases, the details of the specific situation are vital and it’s always important to obtain professional advice, as the cases described above might not be equally applicable in cases that superficially seem similar.

    For more information and to speak with our advisor, please contact us at info@mbmg-group.com.

  • Thursday, April 15, 2021 13:17 | Anonymous

    Written by Aung Thu Hein, CTO and Co-founder, and Jadapa Anantanikorn, Managing Director at TRENDS Digital

    Crisis both inspires and escalates widespread technological innovation. We have witnessed this throughout history as a necessary reaction to wars and health pandemics as we adapt to rapidly changing and challenging environments. This recent time is no exception. COVID has forced major changes in how we all use technology in our daily lives. We are all increasingly living in a digital world.

    Based on our hands-on experiences of providing digital consultancy services for MNCs and NGOs across Asia, our team at Trends Digital have put together some innovative tech trends within our ecosystem with a 3-5 year point of view. While this list is not exhaustive by any means, we hope it provides some insights when building out your strategic digital plan.

    Innovation is a broad term so we have focused on trends that apply to corporates, SMEs, and startups along with key emerging technology trends to watch for.

    CORPORATE TRENDS: Customers expect companies to have an online presence

    Corporates have been investing in technology for years yet few could expect the digital needs required in a COVID environment. Companies continue to digitize their workforce, from managers to executives, however that takes time, investment, and training. Below are some recent trends for corporates.

    ● COVID led to the significant increase of technology adoption rates in everyday life for consumers. From e-commerce stores to super apps that do everything from restaurant food, grocery store items, or even bubble tea. It has never been easier to order items online. Platforms and apps that offer ease, convenience, and great user experience are emerging as leaders in this long race.

    ● Whether your market is mass consumer or elite and niche, you will still require a professional online presence. B2B and B2C clients are doing research before, during, and after purchase. This is a good thing, since building loyal customers through online channels is an effective way to grow your business.

    ● From a governance perspective, most if not all executive boards are being asked to firm up their cyber and IP protection. This is reasonable since risks of online scams and intrusions have been increasing. It is well advised to demonstrate and action best practices in managing your clients and company data.

    ● It is important to have and update your digital communications strategy. This playbook should layout which digital channels you will use when engaging external stakeholders, partners, and potential clients. Be prepared.

    SME TRENDS: Extensive digital opportunities for SMEs and startups

    ● Some good news for SMEs and Startups is that advertising online has never been easier and affordable. You do not require a large budget in digital to get started which levels the playing field for small businesses to participate in. Video platforms such as YouTube and Instagram remain good for audience reach.

    ● If budgets are tight for content planning and production then look to hire freelancers to get started. The growing pool of freelancers can help with website development, social media, etc.

    ● Many SMEs have found themselves needing to revamp their online presence. When in doubt, keep it simple such as your your website, Linked-In, Instagram or other channels that make sense for your business. It is advisable to focus on a few channels and manage them well through quality versus quantity to start.

    Emerging trends in technology

    1. Big data for predictive analytics

    ○ There is immense access to data, the key is now how we process that into meaningful and actionable data. As an example, predictive analytics are recently being used for supply chain monitoring to alert when key equipment needs to be maintained before costly breakdowns.

    2. Artificial Intelligence with Machine Learning

    ○ AI helps us make decisions when we input our known variables, yet machine learning takes this further. While an AI coffee pot makes a cup of coffee on time, a machine learning coffee pot will adapt to make you the best cup of coffee everyday. Machine learning is a game changer.

    3. Cryptocurrencies

    ○ Cryptocurrencies, best known through Bitcoins, will continue to go mainstream despite scams and negative press. The technology and infrastructure behind many of the cryptocurrencies exchanges are impressive. While we expect the volatility to continue, digital currencies are becoming more widely accepted globally. While Bitcoins dominate the headlines many lesser known cryptos offer better opportunities for the speculators. Despite the frequent bubble and bust cycles, we expect crypto currencies to gain in popularity.

    4. Digital Privacy

    ○ Large adoption of citizen’s digital data for health and location tracking helped contain the spread of COVID but raises questions about personal privacy. Many people are willing to give up their privacy to help contain a deadly virus. However most people also expect governments and companies to manage that personal data with appropriate care and trust.

    5. Quantum computing

    ○ Quantum is an exciting area for advanced computing. Canada is currently a world leader in the complicated production of commercial quantum computing. Canadian made quantum computers are now used in critical areas such as healthcare research and space exploration. With the emerging hardware and software is still under development, quantum computing is in the early days of a long term trend.


    ● Countries globally raced to use digital data to measure and contain outbreaks. Transferring key virus information with healthcare professionals and scientists was also a significant driver for research in vaccines produced in record time.

    ● Corporations all over the world have reiterated their focus on online and e-commerce strategies. Consumers are expecting companies to have an online presence with a modern and well designed user experience.

    ● The Internet of things (IoT), connected devices, and 5G has just started. Digital content, education

    ● As work from anywhere becomes a more common practice for many organizations big or small, focus has shifted to digital training to equip key personnels in efficiently managing remote teams and stakeholders.

    ● Our team this year is seeing increased demand for social listening, crisis management, digital & social audits, consumer research, strategic research, and digital corporate training. The digital landscape continues to change and evolve at a rapid pace. At Trends Digital our key objective is to help our clients adapt to this ever changing digital world.

    To learn more about technology and digital, visit www.TrendsDigital.com

  • Thursday, April 15, 2021 13:10 | Anonymous

    Space Bangkok, it’s not a furniture or interior design company. But it is about improving the space around you to make you a better and more productive person. And the woman that runs and started the organization is Jenn Weidman (seen above).

    Before we get into what Space does, it’s important to learn how Jenn ended up here. She was raised in the Lancaster area of Pennsylvania, a couple hours outside of Philadelphia.

    She first came to Thailand (Kampeng Phet) in 1993 in her junior year in high school as an exchange student with the Rotary Youth Exchange program.

    She didn’t know anything about Thailand when she arrived – her choice had been either Thailand or Hungary, a quick look at the atlas (her flip of the coin) decided her fate.

    Jenn knew she wanted to return to Thailand – what had cinched it was her work as a cultural/language translator for a man who had flown in to Kampeng Phet from Singapore to instruct engineers on oil rigs. It was her job to help him understand how Thailand worked and that struck a chord with her.

    Back in the US, she attended Northern Illinois University in Dekalb, which is a two-hour drive west of Chicago. That’s where Jenn received her undergraduate degree in Southeast Asian Studies focusing on Thailand and Indonesia. She then moved back to Thailand to work at Payap University in Chiang Mai in their International Programs Office. She went back to Northern Illinois for three years to do her Master’s Degree in Cultural and Applied Anthropology with a concentration in Southeast Asia, while spending her summers in Thailand.

    Upon graduation, she discovered The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International was starting the Rotary Peace Center at Chulalongkorn University, a professional development program giving certificates in an intensive three-month peace and conflict resolution program. Jenn joined the program and was with it for a decade spending the last seven years there as its Deputy Director. She specialized in facilitating and training and oversaw all aspects of the Center’s peace and conflict resolution professional capacity building program.

    At first, Jenn was focused on practical aspects of the program, facilitating, and advising program participants as they designed interventions in conflict zones. But as time wore on, she came to see a different side of those participating in the course. “Attendees were mid-to-high level professionals working in a field related to peace and conflict resolution,” Jenn recalls, “whether it be human rights, humanitarian aid or development as well as journalists, and medical doctors all facing a time of transition in their lives.

    “But many were suffering from emotional burnout and trauma — really skilled and talented people, just exhausted. And these were the people we were trusting to change the world, but they were not functioning at their best. The industry was chewing people up, spitting them out and then grabbing the next starry eyed 20-years old who wanted to save the world. So I thought, why do we have to harm a part of humanity to help another part of humanity? Who is healing the healers? Who is caring for the caregivers?”

    In the Chula course, Jenn would help participants through something called “accompaniment”, a nexus of coaching, counseling and mentoring, basically accompanying them on a difficult part of their life journey, giving them support and assistance whether it be in analyzing a conflict or dealing with trauma.

    And the impact of this burn-out and neglect is huge, not just on the individuals but the cost to business and industry due to lack of performance.

    When asked about this aspect, Jenn quotes a survey in The Guardian on the Global Development Professional Network saying, “79% of aid workers globally experienced mental health issues. 93% said it was related to their work in the aid industry. 66% of aid workers cited lack of support at work as the principle factor impacting on their mental health. 84% of aid workers suffering mental health issues negatively impacting their work continued to work untreated. She also notes when it comes to productivity, “It is estimated US employers are losing US$63.2 billion per year in lost productivity due to insomnia alone citing an article in Science Daily quoting the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, ‘Insomnia costing US workforce $63.2 billion a year in lost productivity, study shows.’”

    But as time went on, Jenn realized that the though the majority of people were not dealing with the same kind of trauma as front-line aid workers, we are all dealing with some form of dysfunction that restrains us from our peak performance.

    So she left Chula and officially created Space Bangkok in 2016, recently moving the company into an office in the Modern Town building on Ekkamai.

    So what is Space exactly? “Space between us, space around us, and space within us, we are creating space for things to happen,” Jenn says. “We work with everyone: governments, NGOs, universities, big corporates, and small corporates. We do process facilitation, the values underpinning that are tied to resilience, which is the ability to move through difficulty in a more positive and constructive way. We do strategic planning, problem solving, training, teambuilding, the theory of change (Is what you are doing having the impact you want?).”

    “If you are burnt out that is a joint collaboration between you and your working environment. We help people and organizations solve the problems by encouraging creativity, innovation and resilience so you are better able handle any obstacles thrown your way. It’s about individuals and organizations working together to achieve that goal.”

    So summing up, Space Bangkok specializes in facilitation, training, peace-building, leadership development and resilience work. It provides the time, space, and setting for people to make tangible progress in overcoming obstacles, discovering new approaches to their problems, and offers experiential lessons to help them overcoming their difficulties.

    Space also offers retreats in both English and Thai. It is certified in implementing the Emergenetics tool to help colleagues gain a greater understanding of their interaction and to identify strategies to work more effectively. It offers a creative and dynamic approach that enables reflection and encourages innovation, connection, and strengthened communication. Space creates a pause from the frenetic pace of work and life to foster resilience and innovation.

    To learn more about Space Bangkok, follow their blog at https://www.space-bangkok.com/blog.

  • Thursday, April 15, 2021 13:00 | Anonymous

    By Robert Kief

    Being from Canada, we all have similar cultural values, whether it be sports, music, a similar ethnic background or just a love of the diverse geography of Canada. I arrived in Phuket some 12 years and the British, American and Australia community welcomed attendees to their events but where were the Canadians? I know they were here as some of the first people I met were from our snowy wonderland. Yet as years pasted and events came and went there was no one single gathering of us Canucks?

    The Facebook group “Canadians in Phuket” brought some of us together online but still no real cohesion occurred. The group acted more as a source of information, whether humorous, informative or educational. In 2015, under the guidance of a young and not so traditional official, the embassy arrived in Phuket for a Canadian Embassy meet and greet. The Canadians appeared! But as the event drew to a close, so did the Canadians and what looked like a promise of more gathering of Canucks slowly vanished like the snow in spring.

    Several years passed and alas CanCham Thailand brought hope that a chapter might just be coming to Phuket. With a successful launch party and full roster of attendees the wheels of motion were again set forward. But like a novice on a snowmobile the track dug in and began to spin leaving the ski doo motionless in the snow.

    Spring is upon is again! With a pandemic Covid winter hopefully losing its cold grip on the world and people slowly emerging from there isolated winter cabins, time has never been more opportune for us Canadians to once again come together. This time around it will be different. With the encouragement and support from both CanCham Thailand the Canadian Embassy, “Canadians in Phuket” will finally have an opportunity to gather together. However, this chapter will be a little different.

    Of course, networking/speaking events will be our focus and other nationalities are more than welcome to attend these events. Our goals include highlighting and supporting fellow Canadian businesses on the island and providing a welcome mat to the Canadian embassy so it help Canadians aboard voice their views and concerns and enable the embassy to reach out to us directly. When called upon, we also hope to provide assistance and charity to those less fortunate in our host country.

    And, at the very least, a group of us can get together over a hot cup of coffee and complain how cold 22 degrees Celsius really is!

    Here’s to keeping the stick on the ice!

    (Robert Kief is the Cancham South Representative, Cell: 095 257 3525; Email: robertkief@outlook.com; Facebook: Canadians in Phuket)

  • Thursday, April 15, 2021 12:44 | Anonymous

    After such a trying year, it may be challenging for some to look past the negative headlines and see the potential, but that is exactly what this Canadian entrepreneur is doing as she plans her moonshot to disrupt the language training industry.

    “Actually, Covid has been a real blessing for the e-learning industry as a whole”, says Sandra Petryk, Founder of Hoopla Technology. “It has forced people to rethink the traditional approach to how they, and especially their children, learn. To learn and grow during lockdown, people had to give up the idea of a “classroom” and make a massive shift to online learning. It was almost overnight that people got comfortable with using online learning management systems and platforms, video calls and texting the teacher for help”.

    “For me personally, Covid has helped me grow and develop as an entrepreneur. In February 2020 I was about to launch my first online language product for staff training in the tourism industry …. It quickly became painfully obvious how tourism was one of the hardest hit industries with Covid and it might be years before they began to invest in staff training again,” reflects Petryk. “So, I had to pivot to a consumer direct product and spent time redeveloping and testing the concepts. We are just about to launch our first consumer direct product through “Learn with Hoopla”, and we are currently doing a trial project in a new industry that wasn’t as strongly impacted by Covid - the IT industry.”

    So, what is she excited about? “I envision a Thailand whereas a foreigner, I could go into a big box store, and the staff would actually approach me, because they are comfortable with basic English,” shares Petryk. “Our mission is to reinvent how people learn and develop skills for work so they can advance in their lives.”

    A momentous task, especially considering the November 2020 article in The Thaiger stating “Thailand’s English levels drop for the third year”, which reported that in the past year, Thailand’s ranking dropped from 74 out of 100 countries to 89, according to the 2020 English Proficiency Index by EF Education First. The index is based on test results from 2.2 million adults from 100 countries and regions.

    But those types of reports only encourage Petryk (photo below). “Learn with Hoopla’s goal IS NOT to have our student’s become fluent – our goal instead is to support the students to increase their confidence and comfort using the most frequently used words in English combined with the key phrases they need to perform their specific jobs and engage with customers in English.”

    There are three innovation elements required to reach her goal.

    The first one starts with rethinking the assumption around learning vocabulary. “Since moving to Thailand, I’ve been studying Thai… Every instructor I have ever had wants me to learn 40 new words each session. By now I know a couple of thousand words, but I still have a hard time speaking a sentence in Thai,” says Petryk. “I knew there had to be a better way. So, I started researching how Polyglots (those that have six or more languages) learn languages and found many fascinating things – including mastering a limited vocabulary.” Further research showed that by mastering only the most common 100 words of English, the user will be able to understand 50% of an average conversation.

    Petryk believes this basic foundation will greatly increase student’s fluency and support their comprehension development. Not to mention it is a goal the average student can easily commit to. Then, once this core foundation is established, additional vocabulary blocks that include 200+ words and phrases for specific vocations or activities will be added.

    The second innovation is shattering the belief you can only learn a language with an instructor. “There have been many advancements in the last few years with online language learning apps such as Hello English and Babble,” notes Petryk. “They have been the pioneers who have begun building a foundation for language e-learning. Based on their student’s success, it is clear technology has now made it possible to move past the traditional teaching models and develop effective, engaging learning content that can be accessed and studied at the student’s convenience.”

    Learn with Hoopla is using evidence-based learning techniques to grow knowledge and develop skills along with proven “brain hack” techniques, which will allow students to quickly encode, store and ultimately retrieve their new knowledge. Most traditional language programs focus on a rote memorization – which is repetitive and can take time to learn new skills. Learn with Hoopla instead focuses on three different strategies:

    a. Teaching the students using techniques to maximize their memory through the use of pictures, stories and word substitution tools.

    b. Applying the Generation Effect, by beginning with practise testing and maximining the impact of hypercorrection – which improves long term memory as the brain is forced to learn from its mistakes and tries to avoid future errors.

    c. Interleaving or mixed practise - which forces the brain to deal with the new knowledge in a broad sense vs just as a process and allows it to make abstract generalizations which makes the knowledge more flexible.

    The final innovation is around creating structure to help the students practise and master the foundational skills. Thanks to technology, specific structures have been created to support the students in each learning area. These will include daily assignment texts and check-ins as well as group video calls with a language coach to strengthen speaking skills.

    Thanks to Covid, advances in technology and a shift in consumer preferences, it seems basic online English training may be Hoopla Technology’s moonshot.

    For more information:

    Website: www.learnwithhoopla.com

    Email: sandra@learnwithhoopla.com

    Phone 093-264-0137

  • Thursday, April 15, 2021 12:36 | Anonymous

    By Robertson Hopkins

    Greg Beatty didn’t expect to be writing children’s literature. Growing up in Canada he played hockey, often sitting around the locker room with teammates comparing missing teeth, facial scars and broken bones. He was recruited to play varsity hockey in the US at Colby College in Maine. Upon graduation, he went to law school in Boston and laced up his skates for the Bruins Old Timers, a team of retired professionals.

    The first fork in the road occurred when Greg passed the New York bar exam and had just spent his entire savings to obtain a Green Card. Shortly afterward, he got an invite to work in the Bangkok office of a leading U.S. law firm. Perhaps a two-year sidestep to Asia would strengthen his CV with the international experience it would bring.

    The next twenty-five years was all international - a succession of legal and executive roles, working on Asia’s big telecom and energy projects, Hollywood movie licenses, and technology contracts for international hotel chains. The sharp elbows in the hockey arena were replaced by the intellectual battles and occasional political hijinks of the business world. The bigger the deal, the bigger the boardroom brawl. Verbal fisticuffs are part of the scene.

    Life changed when Greg met his Thai wife, Rung, and it changed again with the arrival of their daughter, Mai. “I’m not sure family life presented another fork in the road,” he says, “but it certainly offered a path to maturity. I had to reset my purpose and priorities.”

    When Mai turned seven, Greg and Rung moved her from Thai school to an international school in Bangkok. That move was the trigger for Greg and Mai’s first book.

    “We used to read stories to Mai, but her English was not strong at the time and none of the stories related to her,” Rung says. So, Greg wrote a short story about a girl who transfers to a new school and tries to fit in. Instead of making English the challenge, he gave the central character an unusual physical feature. She sits beside the class bully and thus the conflict unfolds.

    Mai liked the initial story but insisted on a few changes, and in particular, she didn’t want the lead character and the bully to become friends when the conflict resolves. Greg and Mai revised the story many times over two years. Their collaboration resulted in the critically acclaimed, Snow Flake and the Big Race, published in 2018. It was illustrated by award-winning author and cartoonist, Colin Cotterill. An audio version of the book was narrated by Dan Russell, the voice of the TV series, The Amazing World of Gumball and Diary of a Wimpy Kid audiobooks.

    Greg and Mai teamed up again with the cartoonist for the release of their second book, Coach Beefcake’s Leadership Lessons, published last December. Their third book, Starting Your First Business, A Journey for Young Risk Takers, was published in January. The titles are self-explanatory, but the lessons are told in a fictional setting with characters from their first book.

    “Due to the nature of the topics, I had a leading hand in the content of those two books, but Mai let her editorial nature be known”, says Greg. “We would sit at the dining room table and argue over the language.” When Mai disagreed on word choice or thought things were too nerdy, she would say, “If you don’t make the change, take my name off the cover.” Greg was being out-lawyered by a twelve year old.

    Mai’s streak of independence was not evident with the first book, recalls Greg. He shakes his head now, “The locker room and boardroom never prepared me for the challenges in the dining room.”

    Greg and Mai wrote the two books during the Covid-19 pandemic along with two more that will be published later this year – The Big Bake Off, the story of a cooking competition with a companion cookbook assisted by creative food consultant Andrea Stewart, and Job Day, short essays on What I Want to Be When I Grow Up.

    The pandemic has been a human tragedy, but the consequence of the economic slowdown has allowed for more time to write. The timing was fortuitous. If it happened a year later, the authors may not have been as productive. Greg senses that the collaboration may wind down soon.

    Later this year, Mai will be a teenager. That’s a time when she’ll want to be hanging out with her friends, not doing book promotions with her father. “Hopefully her passion for reading and writing will continue and serve as a good foundation for all the new interests she discovers on her own,” says Rung.

    Their books were created out of a passion to write and to collaborate. But all authors must answer this question: Why should people read them?

    Greg and Mai hope that the characters in their books are good learning partners for readers, ages 8-12. There are themes of bullying, overcoming challenges, and maintaining a positive attitude. They also hope other kids get inspired to write their own stories or just keep a daily journal.

    Greg and Mai’s books are available on Amazon and in Thailand at Asia Books and Kinokuniya.

  • Thursday, April 15, 2021 12:28 | Anonymous

    Canadian Solar Manufacturing (Thailand) Co., Ltd., is a leading manufacturer of solar cells and modules with over 3,000 local employees working full time on site at their Bo Win factory in Si Racha, Chonburi. In this issue of Voyageur, they share with us their successful strategies in preventing Covid-19 in their factory as the pandemic impacted millions of businesses around the world.

    Due to the nature of our business, “working from home”’ was not an option for our company. Since the beginning of the second wave of the Covid-19 spread in Thailand, Chonburi has been regarded as a high-risk area, and many regulations from the municipal and federal authorities have been implemented. These strictly implemented measures have on the one hand been useful and given satisfactory results in preventing and controlling the massive spread of Covid-19 in the area, but on the other hand left us with the difficult task of trying to continue our normal business operations.

    High-level management in coordination with the heads of 27 departments came up with a combination of preventive measures, enabling our business to continue in a safe and hygienic environment for our employees, subcontractors and suppliers.

    Provide free masks and promote proper hand hygiene

    Since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, our primary preventive measure has been focused on accessible hand sanitizers and the wearing of face masks at all times in the plant. We gave free face masks to our employees as well as our subcontractors working in the production lines and the back office. The lack of face masks during a short period throughout Thailand was not an issue for us as we prepared for this scenario once news of the pandemic broke. Apart from building awareness amongst our employees on what the importance of wearing a face masks can do to their personal lives, their families and to the company’s operations, we set up a patrol team composed of a representative from 27 departments to check and report to all heads of departments in a case of any non-compliance on this issue.

    Screen for potential Covid-19 risks before entering the plant

    Before entering the plant, every person, whether they be an employees, subcontractor, supplier or visitor, was required to go through a checkpoint at the entrance, which is strictly monitored by our security department and licensed nurses. At this stage, one was obliged to scan a QR Code that leads to a daily COVID-19 self-assessment form, consisting of a questionnaire concerning health conditions, exposure to an infected person and being in risky areas as cited by national and local authorities. If the assessment shows no risk, one must follow subsequent stages of a temperature check (not exceeding 37.3 Celsius) and washing with a hand sanitizer at the point of entry.

    If the result of the questionnaires shows some risk, differing from 1 to the maximum 5, the person in question was sent to a hospital for a Covid-19 check-up. If the result was negative, the person was allowed to come back in the plant after a medical certificate was obtained. If positive, the relevant procedures subject to the authority regulations were performed.

    Zoning & the increased frequency of cleaning and disinfecting shared spaces

    From the end of 2020 when the infection rate in Chonburi aggressively increased, we started to implement a zoning approach, which saw us divide the plant into areas by colours and we assigned each employee with a colour sticker for the area where they worked, or the canteen closest to their building. The only exception for entering an area with a different colour was for a work-related manner. This approach helped eliminate the chance of the spread of infection.

    Besides restriction to certain areas, there was also a restriction period for entering the canteens. All canteens were opened at specific times (4:30am–8:30am, 10:30am–1pm, 4:30pm–8:30pm and 10:30pm–1am). The canteens were disinfected and cleaned when they were not in use. Canteen vendors had to wear gloves, face masks and hair nets at all times. They also had to provide regular medical certificates to the company and conform to our preventive measures. Disinfecting all areas, whether they be the production lines or the back office is preformed weekly by a professional cleaning company, and our employees’ shared spaces is cleaned and disinfected every four hours.

    At present, we organise meetings three times a week with all department heads to follow up on the Covid-19 situation. We discuss raising awareness and review our internal preventive measures as well as oversee our performance and compliance levels. We also coordinate with the relevant authorities and licensed medical professionals who monitor and check-up on health conditions and act immediately in case of emergencies.

    Communication is essential because effective measures require good cooperation in the fight against Covid-19.


  • Thursday, April 15, 2021 12:16 | Anonymous

    1.) Please tell us about BMAsia came to be and what the name signifies?

    BMAsia began 19 years ago as the first B2B provider of licensed computer-based background music solutions, initially in Thailand and then growing into Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe primarily through major hotel groups. It began in the late 90’s, with the meeting of the two founders while working at Smile Radio. Richard Buckle and Chris Andrews, who shared an interest in music and promotions, launched the concept. Both are UK nationals and have been in Thailand for over 30 years.

    Richard's career began in the early seventies selling records in the music department at Selfridges London; moving on to Sperry Computer London producing AV presentations and as a DJ with campaigns to establish independent private radio stations in the U.K. He spent 18 months as a DJ on Radio Caroline, the famous pioneering free radio ship in the North Sea. Richard then headed to the US to learn more about radio programming and formats which in 1988 lead to radio assignments in Thailand as a program producer/presenter at Smile Radio and U&I Corporation (also known as FM 105 and FM 95.5.).

    Chris began his career working with disadvantaged children in 1977, which eventually returned him to his love of music when he set up what became the best night club in the UK for 3 consecutive years (New Musical Express.) and a nationally recognized alternative arts center. Later he joined BBC where he spent ten years as both a music and news program producer. He arrived in Bangkok in 1989 where he worked with three private radio stations and assisted the Public Relations Department of the Thai government to establish its international radio platform, Radio Thailand, and produce its quarterly English language magazine Thailand Illustrated. He went on to teach English at various Universities including Kasetsart and Burapha and provide language training to key staff at Ford Mazda and General Motors when they opened, before returning to Bangkok to team up with Richard to create BMAsia.

    These similar experiences put them in touch with program sponsors particularly luxury hotel managers who spearheaded the demand for more control over the ambience in their restaurants, bars and public areas. This led them to enter the B2B music services arena, establishing Broadcast Media Asia in 1999 and securing their first order to provide in-store radio and advertising to Tesco Lotus Thailand stores nationwide. This catalyzed more orders from local luxury hotels such as Hyatt, Sheraton, Amari, Anantara, etc. with a flourish. The founders restructured the company as BMAsia (Thailand) Co. Ltd in 2002 and it remains one of the few with a permanent presence in the region, becoming known to its clients as Background Music Asia.

    2.) How has the company evolved over the years?

    “There have been dramatic changes over the last 20 years”, says Chris. “We began from a spare room in Richard’s apartment at a time when the internet, email and the array of social media apps, now taken for granted did not exist or were in their infancy. Sales were built in the traditional way, phone calls and door knocking.”

    As orders grew from nearly all of Bangkok’s luxury hotels the first office was opened in Thonglor just as computers became able to multi-channel music. Major groups such as Centara, Onyx and Minor Hotels signed up and stuck with BMA ever since despite strong competition coming on the scene. Soon, other major brands such as IHG, Hilton and Starwood were demanding music services in Thailand and across Asia.

    Richard recalls, “Computers and internet access were still quite limited. We had to load music up on CD’s and personally deliver and install on-site at a client venue.” Chris and Richard recall the fantastic life of flying to luxury resorts all around Asia to first design playlists on site and then return to install. In parallel, marketing was a footslog of multiple appointments a day at resorts in major tourist areas presenting a wonderful opportunity to explore Asia and stay in some amazing hotels. “I recall witnessing the opening of famous properties such as the Shangri-La in Lhasa, Tibet,” says Richard. Chris recalls stays in Bali during the early days of the Sheraton and Westin Nusa Dua. Both remember the excitement of trips to Vietnam and China as they opened up.

    Alas, those days are over with the advent of the internet, increased computer use, network and bandwidth improvements and music able to be downloaded remotely to a site and nowadays streamed worldwide. Marketing moved from phones and door knocking to emails, Skype and video conferencing even before Covid-19. Travel is no longer required!

    “Streaming killed off CD’s by 2014 and pushed down our subscription pricing”, says Chris. However, clients were demanding a greater diversity of music delivered on platforms with more interactive features. We reacted swiftly, teaming up with suppliers of major label and independent music content that grew our music library from thousands to an astonishing millions of songs to create playlists. Partnering with a Spotify spin-off, Soundtrack Your Brand (SYB), in 2018 immediately provided access to a catalog of over 50 million tracks of major label content licensed for commercial use and an interactive streaming platform instantly providing music to multiple venues that can be controlled from any device, even a mobile phone, while allowing switching from custom designed playlists for daily use, to preset playlists for regular events and self- selection from the Spotify library for special occasions, all on a self-managed or managed service basis.

    COVID-19 forced our next major change in early April 2020. It was “do or die”. One staff member tested positive; the office was immediately sealed off. Shortly afterwards, most of our clients, being in the hospitality sector, closed. Survival mode triggered a major downsizing; going virtual; automating as many processes as possible and a wake-up call to diversify the client profile from hospitality to groups in commercial offices, real estate, fitness centers, mid-sized restaurant chains, shopping malls, hospitals and auto showrooms with some recent success. Nevertheless, a year on sales remains well below pre-COVID 19 levels but luckily the downsizing has allowed us to buy time for a return to normalcy.

    During the last year, the pandemic has forced BMAsia to become a much leaner business to survive. Updated music design techniques and delivery technology, reduced office costs, engaging paperless processes, moving operating data to the cloud, digital contracting and payment systems, virtual meeting technology and digital marketing techniques have allowed us to keep going albeit demanding a change in mindset, responsiveness and more discipline by staff. This would not be possible without the internet and music streaming technology and the tremendous support of our staff and suppliers.

    3.) Please describe the products/services you offer, citing an example playlist, if possible, and how it was developed.

    Through all the changes our core motto remains – “Wherever Music Matters” - providing custom designed music channels to commercial venues. Each channel consists of 300-500 tracks in two background music products, Major Label or License Inclusive Music (LIM) able to work on any device, Windows, android or iOS. It can even connect with smart TVs and send music to the social media of guests or customers if requested. It does not need expensive hardware and can settle in nicely to existing set ups.

    The design process begins with scoping the music concepts with a client, selecting either License Inclusive and/or Major Label content, moves to designing and compiling music playlists and finishes by downloading on-line with ongoing management. The final design and ongoing management can adjust for moods, styles, time of day or adding seasonal mixes including local music representative of the culture where each property is located.

    Music design is the key element to success. Music Experience Manager, Norbert Platzer, with a degree in psychology and years of DJ experience with hotel groups such as Four Seasons and Hilton says, “Designing successful playlists is no easy matter. We find and blend music tracks to build playlists that represent the brand image, location, product/services offered, guest/customer profiles and time of day.” “To top that off you must always have an ear for what each individual venue manager feels personally about music for the final playlists to be accepted." he adds.

    4.) Please elaborate on "License Inclusive Music" & "Major Label Content" for the layman.

    Major Label Content is controlled by Universal, Sony and Warner Music in which only the reproduction and transmission rights are included by the supplier. The end-user, in our markets, is normally obligated to obtain a separate public performance license from a Collection Management Organization in a venue’s jurisdiction.

    Our LIM product is for those on tighter budgets or not requiring mainstream artist content. No additional public performance fees are necessary, and the operating platform has fewer bells and whistles. The user of LIM has no need or obligation with regards to the supplier or any third party whatsoever to seek permission to use this music. BMAsia has direct licensing agreements with major aggregators of LIM from a library of thousands of tracks. Content is delivered on a managed music player platform specific for this category of content.

    5.) What separates you from your competitors?

    Most of our competitors attempt to service Asia from HQ’s in EU, UK and US and lack an understanding of B2B music service needs in emerging markets. Their systems often require special, expensive hardware to run, dragging out timelines to activate the music and at rates unpalatable in our markets. Most do not offer a choice between Major Label and LIM or the ability to mix and match within a property. None offer access to the “Spotify” music library. Unlike us, some have not survived the COVID-19 crisis. Our Bangkok base, under a transformed leaner operation, gives us a strategic advantage in Thailand and throughout Asia to persevere with our unique selling propositions in real time with 24/7 front-line technical support, access to regional content and special event designs all delivered online via plug and play manner on our LIM or Major Label platforms – all in – BMAsia makes it easier to happen in an efficient and cost-effective manner and easier to manage from your mobile phone.

    Thanks to all this quick maneuvering, we are now moving forward, albeit slowly, despite the ongoing pandemic. With existing and new hotels beginning to open and a more diverse client profile in the pipeline the future looks bright for the new streamlined operation that is BMAsia today.

    BMAsia (Thailand) Co., Ltd

    725 Metropolis Building, Suite 144, Level 20, Sukhumvit Road, Klongtan Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok 10110 Thailand

    Contact info: info@bmasiamusic.comwww.bmasiamusic.com 

  • Thursday, April 15, 2021 12:01 | Anonymous

    Written By Sean Allan and Ian Walker (Sean and Ian help support Aware Group’s clients in Thailand and internationally with Digital Marketing Services)

    About The Mortgage Trail:

    Incorporated in 2013, The Mortgage Trail, an independent mortgage brokerage based in Toronto, Canada, assists its customers with residential mortgages and financing options.

    The Mortgage Trail has helped clients with hundreds of millions of dollars in mortgage financing, focusing on the long-term needs of clients rather than one-off transactions.

    Assisting clients in the process of homeownership and debt-management are pivotal to financial well-being. Through a suite of services that include Debt Consolidation, Reverse Mortgages, Mortgage Maturity, and assistance for first-time buyers, The Mortgage Trail helps their clients navigate the mortgage landscape.

    The relationship between The Mortgage Trail and Aware Group was born out of two Canadian entrepreneurs, Jerome Trail and Steven Prussky, looking to innovate in the world of real estate technology, by taking complex financial processes and reinventing them as an easy-to-use digital application.

    The Project:

    The idea behind The Mortgage Map is based on The Mortgage Trail’s own desire to increase operational efficiency while easing pain points and confusion for mortgage applicants. They soon realized this could benefit other independent mortgage brokers, leading to the creation of a digital mortgage product that any brokerage can use.

    The Mortgage Trail teamed up with Aware to bring innovation and a fresh perspective to the real estate world. The result of this collaboration is The Mortgage Map. A web app that runs on any device and puts the borrower in complete control of their mortgage application, with help every step of the way from a broker.

    Each broker who joins gets a customized portal, with tailored branding, a unique URL, and other customization capabilities creating a seamless experience between the broker and The Mortgage Map app in the eyes of the applicant.

    The Mortgage Map helps mortgage applicants take the sting out of applying for a mortgage and reduces the feeling of being overwhelmed by all the necessary documentation and red tape. It keeps them informed throughout the entire journey and enables brokers to efficiently manage and engage with each individual.

    Applicants get an easy-to-understand, friendly, guiding path through their complete mortgage application. It helps the applicant understand what is happening now and what will happen next. Walking them through each stage so that they will get a clear understanding of what is happening at every step in the mortgage application process and what they need to do, providing immediate feedback, and easy document upload functionality. The friendly user interface is easy-to-use for all the people they need on the journey to their dream home.

    This was made possible through Aware’s design and technical specialists coupled with a robust data storage system accessible to the brokers on any device. The app consolidates multiple data sources, including easy integration of automated applications, to give a snapshot of each applicant, including their credit scores, property valuation, and financial documentation, eliminating unnecessary manual work for the broker.

    The whole system was integrated on a robust and secure Amazon AWS cloud platform, durable even through the heaviest of user workloads.

    The result is a backend for the broker that is data-rich but easy to understand, and a smooth applicant experience on the front-end, thanks to the step-by-step visual journey, or as they call it, The Mortgage Map.

    About Aware Group:

    Founded in 2013, Aware Group is a privately held group of technology companies focused on business technology applications and managed services for SME’s and multi-national Enterprises. Aware strives to break down technology barriers and provide intelligent, effective solutions and services that optimize their clients’ business results.

    Today, Aware Group is made up of 5 specialist businesses that support the operations of our clients domestically in Thailand and internationally. ACL (Aware Corporation Limited), ATS (Aware Technology Solutions), AOS (Aware Outsourcing Services), AIES (Aware International Enterprise Solutions), and ITR (Information Technology Resources) make up the complete Aware family with over 1000 employees, 3 offices, and a presence in Africa and Europe.

    Aware supports:

    • Custom Software & Mobile Application Development
    • Business Process Management and Consulting
    • ERP Solutions
    • Outsourced Project Staffing
    • Software Testing Services
    • Data Analytics and Business Intelligence Solutions
    • Managed Services
    • Systems Integration
    • Digital Marketing Services

    Contact info:

    info@aware.co.th or visit the website at www.aware.co.th

CanCham Thailand (Thai-Canadian Chamber of Commerce)
139 Pan Road, Sethiwan Tower, 9th floor, Bangkok 10500, Thailand
Phone: +66 (0) 2 266 6085-6 | Fax: +66 (0) 2 266 6087| info@canchamthailand.org

© Thai-Canadian Chamber of Commerce All Rights Reserved 2020

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software