Message From The Chair

Dear ITS Colleagues:

Opening Remarks of Stephen Schmidt, ITS Chair at the 16th International Telecommunications Society (ITS) Asia-Pacific Regional Conference in Bangkok, Thailand, November 26-28, 2023

Good morning!   

Welcome to Bangkok!

Welcome to the 16th International Telecommunications Society (ITS) Asia-Pacific Regional Conference, hosted by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC)!

A very big thank you   – KHOB-KHUN KHRAP – to everyone who has made the effort to be here, in person.

It is really wonderful to be back in Asia!  In a very real and fundamental sense, being in Asia is coming home for ITS:  our very first conference took place almost 40 years ago in Tokyo, Japan, and we have returned to Asia almost 25 times since for conferences and workshops – drawn in by the vitality of the region and the vitality of its scholars.

As we come together from over 20 countries, it’s fitting and proper that we have a sense of place, as we experience this vibrant city and learn about Thailand’s evolving digital landscape.

This morning, I would like to acknowledge and celebrate:

  • Our conference themes
  • Thailand
  • Our esteemed host, NBTC

1) Conferences Themes

Our conference theme is:  “Reimagining the Future of the Digital Society“;

This theme is both an aspiration and challenge – that calls upon us to imagine a better, more harmonious coexistence between humanity and technology.

Throughout this conference – our papers, our questions and our discussions will advance our conference theme, including questions concerning:

  • How can we bridge the digital divide (in all of its dimensions) in an era of rapid innovation – digital platforms, 5G, AI, and more?
  • How can we safeguard our digital realms – to create a secure online environment where all persons can prosper, both economically and socially?
  • And most fundamentally – How can digital transformation and the AI revolution amplify the best of humanity, rather than deepening our divisions?


ITS is an ideal context for advancing a holistic dialogue about these questions:

ITS is a global forum for dialogue:

  •  in friendship and scholarship:
  •  amongst people, nations, stakeholder communities and academic disciplines.

2) Thailand

Thailand’s journey towards a digitally empowered society is vividly painted across both bustling cities and its beautiful rural landscapes.

Thailand’s digital transformation is seamlessly integrating traditional lifestyles and contemporary advancements.

In Bangkok:

  • street vendors in traditional markets pervasively accepting digital payments
  • highlights an integration of tradition and transformation:
    •  where digital innovation is driven by:
      • thoughtful government policy,
      • thriving startups,
      • and long-term vision.

Three examples are noteworthy, in this regard.

Digital Payments Revolution

  • Under the Thailand 4.0 economic scheme, the country has made significant strides in digital innovation:
    • Over 60% of its vast population uses e-wallets daily, among the world’s highest rates.

Flourishing Startup Ecosystem

  • Bangkok is in the top 50 startup ecosystems:
    • With unicorns like Line Man Wongnai and Flash Express exceeding $1B.

Vision for Smart Cities

By 2025, seven provinces are poised to become home to smart cities leveraging IoT and big data for improved urban living.


The pivotal role of the NBTC in spearheading Thailand’s digital revolution cannot be overstated:

  • Thoughtful and visionary policies around mobile (5G) network deployment and digital security services (Mobile ID system)
  •  Have created indispensable regulatory and network infrastructures, to ensure that people have access to technology and can integrate it into their lives.

The NBTC’s decision to host an ITS conference, once again, marks the 6th time that NBTC has hosted an ITS event in the last 14 years and, as such, is the continuation of a profound legacy of friendship and scholarship.

The NBTC has hosted ITS conferences and workshops in 2009, 2012, 2017, 2018 and 2019 with the result that NBTC stands as one of the most globally active hosts and organizers in the history of ITS.

Thank You’s

I’m grateful to everyone who devoted time and expertise to this conference:

  • My deepest appreciation to Commissioner Suphat Suphachalasai and his colleagues at the NBTC. Your collective vision and leadership have been instrumental.
  • I extend heartfelt thanks to my friend and ITS colleague Professor Hitoshi Mitomo, the chair of our organizing committee.
  • I would like to thank all of the authors, presenters, and participants, who bring the conference to life with brilliance and goodwill.
  • Finally, a very special thank you to the many, many students whose presence and innovative ideas enrich and energize ITS.

I look forward to our adventure, together, over the next two days.

Thank you!

Stephen Schmidt
ITS Chair