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Exploring Innovation: A Visit to KBTG Bank's Innovation Centre in Bangkok

Updated: May 26

On February 20th, 2024, AISB had the opportunity to visit the KBTG bank’s innovation centre in Bangkok with 28 students from years 9 through 12. The centre is located in the outskirts of the city and is a hub for financial innovation and technology. We were given a tour of the centre, and we had the opportunity to attend four talks on Artificial Intelligence (AI), software engineering, innovation, and cyber security.

Our group was met by Ms Angkana Sornsawad Vice President and Mr Phongyuttakarn Tanjaichon Assistant Vice President. To have two such important members of the bank greet our group so warmly is testament to the important view the bank took of our visit. 

Each of the four presentations were thoroughly professionally prepared and very interesting. Each presenter held the interest of the audience. Not always easy to do with teenagers. The interesting approach of a small gift to those students asking or answering questions was a novel approach and very successful.

The AI talk was about the latest advances in artificial intelligence here in Thailand and how it is being used in the banking industry. They demonstrated facial recognition, talked about developing support for natural language processing, specifically for the regional languages, and addressed the issue of bias in the data. KBTG has strong links with the MIT labs and so are clearly in the forefront of this technology.

The software engineering talk focused on the importance of software quality and how to build high-quality software. The presenter talked about the different employment routes that are open to a software engineer.  The presenter also discussed the various University Degrees/pathways a student could take to enable a position in the financial industry.

The innovation talk was about the future of banking and how technology is changing the way we bank. They talked about both their successes and failures of new apps with a strong emphasis that all innovation needs not just a good idea but field research behind it to determine what might be successful. They also emphasised that it is important to start the roll out small and then adapt to the users way of working, and collect yet more data.

The security talk was about the importance of cybersecurity and how to protect banks from cyberattacks. They talked about the different types of hackers and how important the protection of our data is. They talked briefly about the importance for multi-factor authentication and the problems of social engineering in cyber security. The figure of 100,000 cyber attacks a day was mentioned, all defeated. However the security expert stated 2 or 3 were really serious attempts. He clearly stated the need to be vigilant and up to date in their cyber security in order to protect the customers.

The Bank is clearly focused on the future and in particular is future in the SEAsian region. 

After the talks, we were given a tour of the innovation centre. The centre is divided into several sections, each named after a famous scientist. These pods would provide a positive environment  and conducive atmosphere for collegial work with innovative and creative ideas.

Overall, the KBTG bank’s innovation centre was extremely impressive and it was wonderful to see a state-of-the-art facility that is dedicated to innovation and technology, here in the heart of Thailand. The visit was really important on many levels. Firstly, to help us appreciate that our world is growing ever more dependent on technology; secondly,  we were able to develop an appreciation of how the latest advances in technology are being used to change the world and finally, of the challenges faced by the financial sector and the many career opportunities available to our young people today. Computers are not taking jobs, they are creating the need for a new, well educated workforce to fill the new jobs on the horizon.

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