Cars, the Cloud and the end of traffic congestion

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Imagine Bangkok without traffic congestion.

While it may seem like fantasy for many Bangkokians, my team and I spend every day figuring out how to use Cloud computing and GPS to unravel Thai traffic jams for up to a million people a year.

The solution we developed, an app called TSquare, provides drivers with real time information about the best available routes in Thailand. People who use the app can reduce travel time by up to 30 percent. There are currently about a million users of the app in Thailand, which costs 240 baht a year.

TSquare has a core group of users: male, urban, Gen X users who are trying to get home to their families as quickly as possible from their offices in the central business district.

TSquare is a prime example of the way technology and Cloud computing can make life better for all. And the reality is that Cloud computing, and its ability to help people quickly access technology infrastructure and seamlessly scale at a very low cost, is a key driver in transformation of how we live.

TSquare has over 60,000 vehicles on the road in Thailand embedded with GPS devices that stream data to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud. AWS helps to make the most of the data collected from automobiles on Thailand’s roads and generates useful analytics to help road users.

Today, Cloud computing has made many aspects of the TSquare mission easy. If everyone in Thailand decided to download TSquare overnight, the AWS Cloud would give TSquare the Cloud computing power needed to grow from 1 million customers to 65 million customers overnight.

Instead, the biggest challenge to defeating Thai traffic woes faced by TSquare is the human factor.

While it’s clear that TSquare could dramatically improve Thai traffic if every driver uses the technology, the reality is that not enough drivers use it. There’s not much we can do to change the behaviors of drivers who don’t use the app.

But as more cars become connected, and as autonomous cars start appearing on Bangkok streets, we believe a much higher percentage of cars will include smart technology such as TSquare that will result in the car automatically choosing the best, most efficient route.

Until driverless vehicles start appearing on Thai roads (which may be sooner than most of us anticipate) our team at Toyota Tsusho Electronics Thailand will continue to enhance the app, add new features, and innovate using the AWS Cloud to improve the user experience, and reduce costs for the TSquare team. The fact is, Cloud computing has accelerated our internal innovation process and given us the flexibility to test new ideas without fear of failure.

We know that Thailand will be among the Asian countries expected to be at the forefront of the connected ecosystem revolution within the next five years, and we know that analyst firm IDC predicts the Internet of Things (IoT) to be a US$678 billion market opportunity for Asia-Pacific.

We also know that, one day, Bangkok will be a city with much less traffic gridlock – and that Cloud computing will be the backbone that eventually makes the daily commute much easier for millions of Thais.

It’s just a matter of time. Cloud computing and connected data will be the solution to Bangkok’s traffic challenges. We are sure of it.

(Goragot Wongpaisarnsin is the Assistant General Manager of Toyota Tsusho Electronics (Thailand) Co., Ltd. Under his leadership, Toyota Tsusho Electronics created the TSquare app to reduce traffic congestion. Toyota Tsusho Electronics has been using the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud platform since 2011 for the TSquare application development and innovation.)

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