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Firms get on board with sustainability drive


The trend of sustainability and use of large language models (LLM) and the Internet of Things (IoT) will drive demand for cloud computing services, according to Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Thailand's startups, large enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises are still on the cloud transformation journey towards digitisation, said Vatsun Thirapatarapong, country manager of AWS Thailand, the local unit of the global cloud computing giant, at AWS Cloud Day yesterday.

He said businesses in Thailand and Southeast Asia have made the sustainability trend their top priority, a significant change when compared with the previous perception that sustainability represents a burden.

Mr Vatsun cited a study entitled "Southeast Asia Green Economy Report 2023: Cracking the Code", which notes that Southeast Asia is facing challenges in balancing decabornisation goals with economic development. The report was jointly produced by Bain & Company, Temasek, GenZero and AWS.

The report estimated that the region's transition towards a green economy and sustainability would help unlock new investment across the region of up to US$2 trillion and create 5 million to 6 million new jobs.

The Thai government has also set an ambitious goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% within 2030.

"The opportunities to tackle climate change are tremendous," said Mr Vatsun.

One way the cloud could be used to assist organisations to achieve their sustainability goals is if organisations were to shift from on-premises data centres to cloud data centres. This represent the concept of "sustainability in the cloud".

On-premises data centres refers to private data centres companies established within their own facilities, while cloud data centres refers to a third-party service cloud provider offering computing resources to organisations.

According to 451 Research, a cloud data centre is five times more energy efficient than an on-premises data centre in Asia-Pacific.

AWS's cloud data centres aim to use 100% renewable energy by 2025.

"We've achieved sustainable cloud infrastructure through energy efficiency, renewable energy, water stewardship and by reducing waste," Mr Vatsun said.

AWS can lower the carbon footprint from the data centre workloads by nearly 80% on average today when compared to an on-premises data centre and up to 96% once Amazon is powered with 100% renewable energy.

One of the most visible ways AWS is using innovation to improve power efficiency is its use of energy efficient AWS Graviton processors in its cloud data centre service, he said.

There is active use of LLM, a model of generative AI, in Thailand and this requires massive computing power. The use of LLM stimulates use of the cloud. With data ready, tools and hardware readiness, it is now possible to create 3-4 LLM models per month, whereas this used to take 3-4 years per model.

He added that the company has encouraged the design and development of applications within the cloud system, so developers can ensure the performance of the application and also measure sustainability targets. This represents the sustainability in the cloud concept.

Another concept of sustainability via the cloud is when customers are able to use digitisation and sustainability to develop innovations and new sources of revenue.

Mr Vatsun said it is not only listed firms that need to comply with sustainability goals and that are eager to invest in sustainability, but also SMEs, which are attempting to move towards sustainability. Banks are also offering green loans with a special interest rate to green companies.

Conor McNamara, managing director for Asean at AWS, said during the same event that Asean is an important region for AWS and it is investing "ahead of the curve" with 190 billion baht in Thailand by 2035.

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