French Tech x ACOEM
Hello, my name is Patrice Pischedda, I have been in Thailand for 11 years and in Asia for 21 years, I am the Director Asia of ACOEM Group and I am also VP of the Franco-Thai Chamber of Commerce the FTCC.
Feeling more French or Thai?
It’s a very good question that I am often asked by both my colleagues and my friends in France, let’s say that my roots are obviously French but my life is in Thailand, so I’m a little bit of a mixture of the two. And then, as you probably hear, my accent means that I’m more from the south, so I’m more southern Thai.
ACOEM turns the environment / data into an opportunity … but how?
At ACOEM we believe in balance, we believe that human activity should not hinder the preservation of the environment and vice versa. Preserving the environment should not hinder human activity, so everything is a question of balance. Our activities are on two poles: an environment pole where we will do regulatory measurement, air quality, noise, vibration for what we call virtuous cities in French or in English, the term would be smart cities. The other pole revolves around industry. So here we are more in what is called condition-based maintenance. We help industries to produce better and while spending less on energy, carbon resources, etc. So we put in place systems that help make condition-based maintenance programs to help both machine performance and operators to make a decision, environments, ecosystems, smart sensors that allow good decisions to be made both for the environment and for industry.
Why is Thailand a favorable digital ecosystem?
Actually Thailand is for me and ACOEM a no-brainer, it’s quite a few, but for example Bangkok has 50 benchmark PM2.5 particle sensors and everyone has heard of it these days. And it is much more than, for example, more than the Ile de France, which is nevertheless a benchmark in terms of action against atmospheric pollution. Also Bangkok, for example if you take the SkyTrain the BTS, you should have seen that we see these measures that are posted there and are installing up to 20 giant signs in public parks to inform the public. Very advanced in this area, but also in industry, we have a very diversified industrial fabric. We have advanced technologies that are being developed here. High-level researchers in a digital start-up environment who are created for us, which is obviously interesting for a company like ACOEM. In addition, I like to recall the concept of Japanese companies in relation to Thailand which is the concept Thailand +1 Thailand +2 Thailand +3 which is therefore to be based in Thailand, it allows them to shine in the ASEAN and address one, two, three, four, five countries around. It worked for them, we can see it, so for us, that’s also what we want to do. And we chose Thailand to have our platform which covers all of ASEAN from here.
How does your company innovate in digital? How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business?
Before the pandemic, since 2018, we had initiated a very strong digital transformation in our everyday practices, we use digital systems to communicate. It should be known that at ACOEM Asia we have teams both in Thailand, in Malaysia and China and distributors all over, partners all over Asia. Before our practices were to visit them. We started to change to something else two or three years ago. This has accelerated our digital practices. This has enabled us to find and imagine new solutions for services in industry, in particular for example, helping operators to work together while respecting these rules of social distances that we must put in place today.
An example of new digital practices?
In a factory, you have an operator who must manage a whole fleet of machines, in fact, there will be several teams in iterations which will have shifts. They are going to have to communicate on the machine to make decisions. The idea is to give them an easy-to-use tool to interpret and share information. So, in fact, we launched a tool, a tablet that allows all this information to be linked to intelligent sensors, including artificial intelligence, which already gives a diagnosis to the operator which will allow them to have the possibility to act on what is called in English actionable data. It is not just a data or a data for a number, we give an action to be done on the machine and we communicate to everyone.
And for the well-being / protection, what do you do?
For me, working at ACOEM means participating in helping to create a sustainable world. I have been at ACOEM for 20 years to say that I participate, I act at our level to help preserve the planet while helping industries. That motivates me enormously. Then, I have two children who are attending the Lycee Francais in Thailand since they’re little. We know that today, air pollution in Bangkok, especially at the moment, is a concern for parents generally, so we decided to equip a school, to help a Thai school to equip itself with an air pollution measurement system that allows the school to set up protocols that will help teachers and management make decisions to protect children, especially children at risk, asthma, etc. When the pollution rates are high, it was a real privilege for me to do that.
For example, here you have an app. We can see that it is not very good indeed, yet. There are both PM10 and PM2.5, ozone, and we created this health well-being index for schools, also called the Healthy School Index, which allows easy decisions to be made. We care about protecting the safety of people. In this context, we also innovated very recently, we were even at CES a year and a half ago with that to create a pod that can detect threats in the city, whether it is car crashes or people that break glass, or unfortunately the worst gun shots. So, we have today’s pods such as these, which we can install in the city and which communicate directly via optics to CCTVs cameras and which allow the city to see an event, detect it, locate it and know exactly where it happened, so that it can send people and check what’s going on.
In conclusion, a word to remember to define your action?
If you don’t mind, I’ll use a word in English because I’m having trouble finding the exact synonym in French, it’s “care”. Care because, in fact the French translation: to worry has a rather negative connotation which does not please me. But it’s really caring about the well-being of people. It’s finding a way to protect people. Besides, “care” is often used in the Thai language, it is convenient. In fact, with ACOEM in addition to creating possibilities for companies to protect their environment, we create environments of possibilities for the protection of the well-being of people and companies. And then, if I had to conclude and come back to the example of the school protecting our children, this is the best project for a human being.
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