Dec 27, 2011 (The Nation – McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) —
BANGKOK (THE NATION/ANN) — The day is just around the corner, they tell us, when it will be common to see curtains of water that keep out the heat much more cheaply than air-conditioning. And we’ll have 360-degree “4D” cinemas everywhere.
Energy-saving lamps will illuminate our roadways, vast exhibition pavilions will be made of recyclable plastic — formed in the shape of sea waves and leaves — and robots will be at our beck and call.
Yes, we’ve been hearing that last one for half a century, but evidently there’s sounder evidence for the claim now, and it doesn’t necessarily include military drones.
You can see how close we’ve come to all these wonders by being one of the five million people expected to visit the 15-day BOI Fair that starts on January 5. It’s a World Expo of ideas courtesy of the Board of Investment and should, at the very least, underscore Thailand’s gift for innovation.
The exhibitors — Thai private firms and foreign companies that do business here — say this third BOI Fair since 1995 will also do a lot for public and corporate morale after the flood catastrophe that engulfed a lot of them.
“The show will highlight confidence in Thailand and the Kingdom’s economic recovery,” says Ninnart Chaithirapinyo, vice-chairman of Toyota Motor Thailand. “We want to bring joy to all Thais after the recent years of stress.”
Where are we going? We’re “Going Green for the Future”, according to the fair’s theme, and if there are to be more and more frequent natural disasters, here’s how we can live in better harmony with the planet with the aid of advanced technology.
To make events like the fair itself more earth-friendly, the Aeroklas group — which has registered more than 300 patents for its six companies over the past 20 years — has erected a pavilion at Impact in Muang Thong Thani.
The material is all recyclable, LED lighting will keep the energy bill below Bt7,000 for the whole half month, coffee will be served in bio-degradable cups, and towering over everything will be nine wind turbines made of plastic.
“We’re not a huge company but we have technology that’s ready to show to foreign investors,” says Aeroklas president Pawat Vitoorapakorn. “We’re also demonstrating social responsibility by creating energy-saving items.”
Shellhut has used recycled paper to decorate its pavilion full of hi-tech gear that promises to make show business even showier. Working with GMM Grammy, it’s created “Byrdland” to prove how even a small Thai company can reach consumers in more than 150 countries.
PTT will fuel arguments (perhaps inadvertently) for developing alternative forms of energy by demonstrating how hard it is to find petroleum.
Siam Kubota, whose farm-truck plant in the Nava Nakhon Industrial Estate is still in flood-recovery mode, will explain its sustainable earth-water-balancing scheme inside a pavilion that’s shaped like a grain of rice. The water-treatment technology promises to increase agricultural output and show “how humans can live with limited food and water”, says executive Opas Thanwarachorn.
Siam Cement Group similarly looks for balance in its leaf-shaped 2,000-square-metre Eco Pavilion, also made of recyclable materials. One segment depicts a future city where green nature still has a prominent place. In a 360-degree cinema equipped with “4D” technology you’ll witness past environmental tragedies.
Hitachi’s Super Express Train rides to another town of the future while, outside the coach, the seasons change like they do in more temperate climates — which means it’s going to snow.
General Motors’ vast Bt84-million pavilion delves into green propulsion technologies in the form of the Chevrolet EN-V, the Miray and the Volt.
Toyota’s Partner Robot is visiting from Japan and might take a spin in one of the other concept cars on view, the Whee and Prius-C.
And you’ll be able to check out Smart Grid technology for efficient energy management, Sony’s 19-metre LED screen, and the Tablet S, and watch new films in 3D, play games and test your luck in contests.
“We hope the innovations on display inspire Thai businesses to pursue a similar path,” says BOI secretary-general Atchaka Sribunruang. “Thailand still has lots of potential.”
The BOI Fair runs from January 5 to 20 near the lake at Impact, Muang Thong Thani.
There will be 84 pavilions in all with 3,200 booths, occupying 300,000 square metres of exhibition space.
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