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KMUTT grad students offer Thai-language analytics tool

May 21. 2015
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By Asina Pornwasin
The Nation

Ask-DOM arises from university project, targets up to Bt20 million in revenue this year
A group of computer-engineering graduate students at King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT) have developed a social-media analytics tool to help businesses and other organisations take advantage of the online flow of big data efficiently – and in the Thai language. 
Nareerat Saetiew, the group’s leader, said the tool was called Ask-DOM. Its main features allow users to monitor social networks anywhere at any time over any platform. Importantly, Ask-DOM is designed and developed to support the Thai language, including spoken Thai.
DOM is short for “data opinion mining”, which is the engine for processing social-network data, performing public sentiment analysis, determining relationship influencers and conducting natural language processing.
“Our tool can track social-network messages that are talking about your brand. It shows analysed data on a dashboard. It shows insights including trends, keyword discovery, automated sentiment analysis and influencer scoring. 
“Users can added more sources [of information] for monitoring. Our service can be accessed on any device, not only on desktops but also on tablets and smartphones,” Nareerat said. 
She said the analytic engine consisted of data mining, machine learning, and deep learning. The engine can analyse data in any format including voice and video, and from any kind of data source.
Currently, the tool can analyse data in the form of text and still pictures from several social-media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Insta-gram, Pantip.com, weblogs, and Foursquare. By next year, it will be able to analyse more types of data including geographic information systems or maps, and video from closed-circuit TV. 
She said the Ask-DOM service was offered under two models: software as a service (SaaS) and on-premises service. Under the SaaS model, users pay a annual fee of between Bt1 million and Bt3 million depending on the numbers of brands and data sources to be monitored, while the on-premises service varies from Bt5 million to Bt20 million depending on requirements. “The on-premises service blends the analytics between data from social media and data from the organisation’s internal sources for particular purposes,” Nareerat said.
Ask-DOM is a further development of undergraduate computer-engineering students’ projects. The team won multiple awards nationally, including the National Software Contest the in science and technology category and the Thailand Imagine Cup 2014 in the innovation category. 
“The idea behind Ask-DOM came from our experience during internships in Singapore. We were inspired by the idea of social media and data analytics and we found that the missing piece, which has become our core value, was to support the Thai 
language. Data analytics in Thai are a lot more difficult, especially the 
spoken language, and it was our biggest challenge,” Nareerat said.
The team met with G-Able, a large Thai information-technology company, which helped commercialise the students’ project. The team then set up Ask-DOM and welcomed G-Able to invest in it. With the support from G-Able, she said, Ask-DOM underwent a lot of improvements in terms of technical features and business aspects. 
Pajaree Saengcum, vice president of G-Business, a subsidiary of G-Able Group, said big-data trends were the company’s focus. The firm found that the core value of Ask-DOM was its ability to conduct advanced data analytics in Thai. 
“There are a lot of social-media-monitoring tools out there in the market, but most of them are not keen on the Thai language. Those tools do not really understand Thai, especially in spoken form, on social media. Ask-DOM applies natural language processing with data analytics to improve accuracy.” 
She said that initially G-Able offered Bt600,000 as seed funding and then invested in the company as a minority shareholder.
“Our two main focuses are big data and cloud solutions. We have offered big-data analytic services for two years. We have acquired and invested in many companies in these two areas. As of now, we have eight subsidiary companies, Ask-DOM being the latest one,” Pajaree said.
G-Able targets Bt5.5 billion in revenue this year.
Meanwhile, Ask-DOM aims to have 10 customers by the end of the year. It already has five: McDonald’s, 3K Battery, G-Able, and two government organisations. It expects revenue this year of between Bt15 million and Bt20 million, and to double that in 2016 and 2017.
The team members are Theparit Wongkaew, Sirapop Na Ranong, Patcharaporn Tenviriyakul and Nareerat herself. They became friends while studying for their bachelor’s degrees at the KMUTT faculty of computer engineering, and now they are pursuing master’s degrees at the same faculty, while setting up their own business from their own idea, Ask-DOM.

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