A 30-year-old digital entrepreneur is producing innovative electronics and automation solutions to drive Cambodia into the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Lim Sangva founded ArrowDot after research revealed future market demand in Cambodia is poised towards technology and digitalization. He saw a world where robotic and automatic systems have mainly replaced humans to enable manufacturing systems to produce more efficiently.
According to the Industrial Development Policy 2015–2025 (IDP), Cambodia's industrial structure must transform into a more diverse and skills-driven industry by 2025. And automation and the Internet of Things (IoT) will play an essential part in Industry 4.0, Sangva said.
Automation has been widely used in industries to produce food, beverages, and other consumer goods to increase production rhythms, he added. Meanwhile, IoT has been used to transmit and receive data via the internet.
“Workforces will be hard to find in the future,” he said. “It is becoming increasingly difficult to find workers or technicians. This means if the factory is automated it will decrease a large amount of the workforce, including heavy lifting.”
Automatic and IoT systems will be required when the industry grows, Sangva added. As a result, he has been preparing himself for technological advancements since 2012.
Adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies can help increase firm productivity, improve product quality, reduce waste, and improve supply chain integration, according to an EuroCham report.
Sangva founded ArrowDot out of his passion for technology in 2012, after graduating from the Institute of Technology of Cambodia with a degree in Electrical Engineering,
ArrowDot is an automation company working on industrial control systems, IoT systems, and electronic products. It was established to meet the hardware and software development needs of local companies, NGOs, and the government.
According to the United Nations Development Programme 2020, Industry 4.0 can be described as the adoption and integration of information and communication technology (ICT) in industrial manufacturing.
Industry 4.0 is made up of two components: a digital application emerging from a cyber-physical system and a manufacturing industry connection.
He began with a team of three. This has grown to the current size of 15 employees, who work on various abilities.
Working with technology, his initial difficulty was a lack of research funding. In order to conduct research and develop products, he needs a soft budget to acquire supplies for the research team as well as his staff.
Additionally, Sangva said the understanding of the automatic and IoT system is not yet comprehensive, and human resources were sparse at the time.
“As this industry requires high technology in manufacturing hardware or software, we need someone who fully understands it to produce it,” he said. “Currently, we can see that the government and private sector are attempting to promote its benefits and it is starting to grow.”
Sangva has previously built systems for clients in sectors including cement, beverage, and beer that required this automated system. He has also installed IoT system for various NGOs and private institutions.
“We have worked with People in Need and Smart organizations. We work with them to equip devices that can capture information, such as the generator,” he said. “When it moves, we know where it is and how much fuel it uses. It is used to gather data.”
“When customers wish to construct a product, they will contact us and present us with their idea. We will then consider the technology for them, he added.
ArrowDot has produced many products, including Romdoul, Firedot, and Smart Farm Assistance.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the company invented the Emergency Low-Cost Ventilator Machine (ELCVM). It can infuse oxygen and breathe air into the airways of patients with respiratory ailments.
As a result, ArrowDot was awarded the Cambodia ICT Awards 2021 for the best product in research and development – a prize their game-changing innovations have clinched them in previous years.
Sangva said his team is currently researching products that can compete in the external market. The products are related to smart devices that are for smart homes and the agriculture sector.
Additionally, ArrowDot can offer training sessions and lectures to people interested in studying the skills of automation, electrical, and robotics. There are three courses that cover basic and advanced electronics, and industrial automation.
Despite his present focus on Phnom Penh installations, he intends to be able to supply automation systems to additional provinces within the next five years. Furthermore, he aims to improve his products to cater to domestic demand while also expanding internationally.
"We’re seeking to expand the company's system to the common people," he said. "Our goods have previously been offered to institutions, organizations, and private companies. But we'll try to expand the product to meet the needs of the common people.”
Heng Sokkong, Secretary of State and Spokesman for the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology, and Innovation, said it is good that automation companies are starting in Cambodia because it aligns with the Ministry’s Policy Evolution 2020-2030.
It also sits in line with the Cambodia Industrial Development Policy (2015-2025). This aims to transform the industry from being labor-reliant to depending more on technology and skills, he added.
“We can see that ArrowDot has installed automation systems in various industries, which is a part of increasing productivity and production rhythm. It also improves product quality,” he said. “For instance, in the past, our productivity was limited, but after developing this automation system, we were able to double our output.”
He added that as Cambodia has set a vision of becoming an upper-middle income nation by 2030 and a high-income country by 2050, science and technology are critical in driving the economy to be in line with the vision set.
“I think it’s a good step towards bringing our country into Industry 4.0, and the digital revolution implies that digital transformation is a beneficial thing that may ensure economic growth in society,” said Sokkong.