Keo Phearin’s speciality lies in developing VR technology. SUPPLIED

LASTMILE WORKS Cambodia chief technology officer (CTO) Keo Phearin is pushing the boundaries of his company’s digital vision with digitalisation transforming the Kingdom’s business ecosystem.

The 29-year-old Phearin, backed by his talented Japanese and Cambodian teams, is striving to create a digitally empowered workforce as the demand for tech professionals grows in the domestic market.

“Our main mission is to encourage our young generation who love technology to learn more about the field and see the changes happening in Cambodia, while we also want to create a society in which effort is rewarded.

“With around 23 million mobile users alone, not to mention the ubiquity of computers, Cambodia will become a major hotspot for technology. And one goal of Lastmile Works is to produce quality human resources for the industry,” Phearin said

CTOs – architects of the digital transformation agenda – are more and more in the limelight with the technological revolution changing how we live and work, a shift accelerated by efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Starting as a rookie VR developer in 2016, with determination and hard work Phearin scaled the corporate ladder with the guidance of Lastmile Works founder and CEO Yu Kobayashi – becoming a project manager before landing the coveted CTO position. And his salary rose more than 10-fold.

In operation for more than six years, Lastmile Works is a Japanese technology company specialising in virtual reality technology for real estate development, where Japanese and Cambodian IT experts merge the physical and digital worlds to deliver messages to customers.

Sixty-five young Cambodians are employed at the Lastmile Works headquarters in Phnom Penh, and with offices in Japan and Vietnam, the company is also developing VR technology for markets abroad.

After graduating in Human Resource Management from Asia Europe University in the Cambodian capital, Phearin added another two-year qualification in Information System Management from SETEC Institute to enhance his career in the demanding digital technology sector that is transforming the business world.

Phearin’s speciality lies in developing VR technology, where he is involved in creating applications, largely for real estate clients who can now display property in the virtual sphere, something proving essential with mobility restricted due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Lastmile Works has created job opportunities for 65 Cambodians. SUPPLIED

“On top of my main role as a VR application developer, I am also involved in the research and development department along with my Cambodian and Japanese teams.

“My other main duties include guiding my teams to successfully produce quality projects for our clients, as well as troubleshooting.

“I also train new colleagues in project management skills – and even I have to keep up with new developments to stay abreast of the ever changing technological world,” he said.

Cambodia’s digital transformation is well under way, with banks, financial institutions and SMEs rapidly utilising the tools of the technology era, embracing digitalisation to improve productivity, achieve greater customer satisfaction and cut operational costs.

With this shift having been accelerated even further with the Covid-19 outbreak, there is an increasing need for specialists in the IT sector, says Phearin, but despite the local talent being there, a lack of training has often been an issue.

“The Cambodian market indeed has strong potential as the demand for local projects and jobs is increasing, and this is why we need people skilled in CAD, 3D design and Adobe Photoshop. But with young Cambodians currently not having the skills required, these jobs go abroad.

“So our main goal is to create awareness among young Cambodians with a passion for technology as to what is possible, with Lastmile Works having put in a lot of effort to equip young people with modern real-world skills.

“My passion and the vision of Yu Kobayashi is to make Cambodia a digital hub that creates VR technology for the rest of the world,” Phearin said.