Mobile technology, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics have given rise to new and exciting industries. By 2030, Vietnam aims to become an AI hub, among the top four leading centres of innovation in ASEAN  and the top 50 globally. The target is to establish ten prestigious AI trademarks in the region and set up three national big data and high-performance computing centres within the given timeframe. To achieve this and drive the growth of AI in Vietnam, the government has issued a national strategy to promote its research, development and application in the region. 

The plan aims to support the AI startups Vietnam has to boost its socio-economic development, eventually transforming it into an innovation hub with AI applications recognised throughout the world. Here, we’ll take a look at Vietnam’s journey to date, including its successes, ongoing development plans and challenges in the process. 

Significance of AI in Vietnam’s response strategy against COVID-19

Vietnam is already off to a good start with the successful administration of AI technologies amidst the pandemic in the form of testing applications, contact tracing and declaration sites to combat the virus. AI has been paramount in reducing the burden on medical staff and controlling new outbreaks and infections in the community. 

How using NLP and AI in education in Southeast AsiA

It has also aided in streamlining several processes, including data collection whereby all declarations and epidemiological questionnaires are digitised and uploaded into the system. As community infections increased, healthcare providers could simply scan paper declarations, and the computers would do the rest. 

In Vietnam, Binh Anh Electronic Technology Development Co. has introduced an AI application that issues warnings when facemasks are not worn on public transportation. The app is linked to surveillance cameras on public vehicles and can access and analyse image data automatically. The facial recognition app picks up passengers who are wearing masks incorrectly or not at all and alerts the authorities. 

The use of AI during the pandemic did not stop there. Researchers from the Vietnam National University Ho Chi Minh (HCM) City introduced a solution combining the internet of things (IoT) technology with AI to control the movement of people in hospitals, quarantine facilities, industrial parks, border gates and crowded places at the same time. Moreover, they used medical and delivery robots to replace medical staff at these quarantine sites, further reducing direct contact. 

Ongoing development plans 

Global economies are witnessing the emergence of a new industrial model based on the adoption of digital technologies and physical systems, which will significantly impact manufacturing, logistics and value chains. As such, AI research and application are fundamental to Vietnam’s digitisation. Because of its powerful, revolutionary and game-changing impact on the development of all aspects of human life, it is a core technology that drives national productivity. Critical policies have been put in place to lay the groundwork for the infrastructure, creative capacity and human resources required to capitalise on the current economic transition.

Recently, the Vietnamese government announced the launch of a new program to encourage innovative startups in information technology, telecommunications,  automation, and clean energy through complimentary access to public funding, infrastructure, tax benefits and startup incubation opportunities. In addition, the government recently launched an initiative to improve technology in manufacturing, mobile app development and exportation of creative goods. 

Challenges to overcome

Despite government backing and entrepreneur eagerness and investment, the development of the AI industry in Vietnam is not without its challenges.  One major stumbling block, which is echoed throughout much of the world, is the need for talent and the upskilling of current workers remains a significant hurdle to development. Skills provided by the formal education and training system do not meet the labour market’s demands. Educational systems have yet to keep up with economic growth. Project 911 was a special program aimed at assisting university and college lecturers and students in completing PhD studies between 2010 and 2020, established in the hope of bridging this gap. The Vietnamese government is also striving to improve researcher outputs on a global scale.

AI is at the forefront of technological advancement. Governments and private entities are investing heavily in research and development for new AI-driven solutions. The country is fine-tuning legal documents, designing a legal framework for AI and strengthening global collaboration in the field to encourage an inclusive economic transformation. Additional emphasis will be placed on human resource training and developing a wholly synchronised database with the computing infrastructure.

The development of AI in Vietnam has already begun, and the country is on the road to becoming a world-class AI hub in the ASEAN region by 2030. The slew of new, bright and innovative AI startups Vietnam is developing signals a promising future ahead. With AI, Vietnam may become an AI technologically advanced country and break free of the middle-income trap.