Compared to other Southeast Asian countries, Philippines seems to be quite ahead in terms of IoT adoption and digital transformation, especially in the industrial and logistics sectors. Throughout our panel discussions among leaders in telecommunications, industrial & manufacturing, transport & logistics, issues not dissimilar to discussions in other countries arise: manpower, education, connectivity, yet the industry leaders seem to be optimistic about The Philippines’ potentials in digital transformation. Is that the case?
One highlight that was mentioned in our panels is the crucial role of collaboration among the stakeholders. SMART, our platinum sponsor and industry leader in IoT and digital initiatives in the country, has been working closely with local enterprises to not only introduce new technologies, but also influence thought leadership regarding the role of IoT and digital in improving productivity and efficiency of the local economy. While 48000 schools and healthcare systems have been provided with connectivity, 30% of the country is still not connected. Philippines continues to have one of the slowest connections in the region - but the National Broadband Programme aims to fix this by giving landing rights for Internet connection to pass through the country directly. Forwardness in thought leadership plays an important role in pushing digital initiatives in the country:
“You need to have bold vision and having a vision on how things are going. When we speak IoT, there's always a reason i.e technology is not there, i.e but there's no optimum point for IoT. We need to be bold in pushing things forward, move away from discussions to pushing things out. start small and with something practical - if the current process doesn't work, find a change, not work around it.” - keynote panellist Gio Abaquin, Category Head, M2M & IoT, SMART Communications.
Another highlight that was mentioned by not only the Keynote panellist, but also industry experts from Germany and Spain in the Industry Trends & Outlook panel, is that leading stakeholders - CIOs, Directors of IT - need to consider taking risks to invest in small but important steps of digital transformation. Local leaders from Maynilad, MERALCO, Calata Group and LBC Express who have done so see the benefits that digital transformation can bring to their operations, and urge other industry players to do the same. Dr Francisco Castillo, CIO of Maynilad Water Services, commented that while issues like lack of well-established infrastructure and standards, unreliable connectivity and cybersecurity still hamper the growth of digital initiatives in the country, by taking risks and taking small steps in investing in technologies like smart metering, the company still manages to see end results that are not only encouraging, but also indicative of the immense potentials that the digital can bring to its operation, services, and most importantly - bettering people’s quality of lives.
Overall, the exciting and engaging discussions of Day 1 of Asia IoT Business Platform, Manila, The Philippines have shown great potentials, optimism and enthusiasm regarding IoT and digital transformation. We hope the leadership shown by the speakers and panellists continue in the companies and organisations, wherein leadership, education and collaboration are the key drivers to embrace digitalisation in the country.
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